Explore Mykonos

Mykonos Promises an Unforgettable Experience for Everyone!

A Greek island belonging to the Cyclades, Mykonos lies between Naxos, Paros, Syros, and Tinos.

Mykonos is famed not only for its beautiful white sandy beaches and landscapes but also for its history. It is famed for being part of the Greek mythology as the place where Hercules fought the Giants; it is also said to be where Zeus had a battle with the Titans. It was named after Mykons who was the son of Anios, son of Apollo to nymph Rio.

Mykonos Town Chora

Chora and Ano Mera make up the two main communities of the city.

Chora

Chora is the main town of Mykonos, thus, it is also called Mykonos Town. A stunningly picturesque town, Chora features a maze of tiny streets with churches and houses. In the Aegian region, it is one of the most crowded and most cosmopolitan towns. It is lined with little art galleries, boutiques, shops, cafes, and stylish restaurants and bars.

Despite the rapid growth and development of the island, Chora has still not lost its traditional Cycladic architectural character and style.

The Our Lady Paraportiani Church is one of the favorite sights in the area. Lying on the Old Venetian Kastro hill, this complex church is also considered a national cultural museum. Among the many churches in the island, it is the oldest and most famous.

The shore in Chora leads to a place called “Little Venice” because of the high Venetian houses that come with porches in various colors and wooden balconies.

During summer, many tourist come to the island for its exciting nightlife.

Ano Mera

This small village is located on the middle of the island, 7km east of Chora. Ano Mera is the only on land settlement in Mykonos. It is here where the 1542- built monastery of Panagia Tourliani is situated.

Other communities in Mykonos are Agios Ioannis which is famous for being the setting of the “Shirley Valentine” movie, Agios Stefanos which is known for its many hotels, taverns, restaurants, and cafes; Platys Gialos which is popular for its beaches; Ornos famous for its markets and shops, and Tourlos which is known for its private yachts and fishing boats.

The geology of Mykonos is primarily composed of granite. It has very little natural fresh water – despite being surrounded by it – and thus relies heavily on the sea water’s desalination to meet its inhabitants’ need for fresh water.

discover the beauty and history of Mykonos

Mykonos History

Among the many islands in Greece, Mykonos would probably be one of those with a very interesting history as along it is a myth.

Named after Anios, the son of King Delos, descendant of god Apollo and nymph, Rio, myth has it that Mykonos was formed after Hercules defeated the Giants – which was one of his twelve tasks. The hero then threw the creatures in the sea which later formed as an island.

The first inhabitants of the island were the Carians. After them, the Egyptians and the Minoan Cretans followed. The coins in the island depict Dionyssos as their patron god.

Ancient Times

Mykonos, during Antiquity, was part of Athenian Alliance along with the other islands in the Aegean Sea. During the Hellenestic Era, Mykonos took a neutral stand. It had its own set of currencies and lived prosperous. When the Romans conquered the island in 146 B.C., Mykonos experienced another period of prosperity. However, this was stopped when Mithridatis conquered it and Delos.

Medieval Period

In 1207, Mykonos was conquered by the Venetians. It was governed by the Gyzi brothers until 1390. In 1537, Barbarossa, a pirate, occupied and looted the island. On that same year, the Turks conquered it. During the latter’s occupation, Mykonos became a “great navy force”.

Independence

Between 1821 and 1828, Mykonos took part in the War of Independence. In that period, the island had a good number of ships maneuvered by experienced seamen. Despite this though, many of their brave soldiers died in battle.

World War 2

Mykonos’ tourism industry started to emerge between the First and Second World War. During World War II, the people in Mykonos played a role in the Greek Resistance against the conquests of the Germans.

Mykonos Architecture

Mykonos Architecture

The architecture in Mykonos is mainly influenced by the Cyclades region. Known for having a Mediterranean climate, the island’s architecture were made to adapt with the intense and extended sun exposure, strong winds, high humidity levels, and long period without rain.

Thus, the traditional Cycladic houses mostly have cubic shapes and flat roofs for protection from the strong winds of the Cycladic region. The northern sides of the houses all have small openings to eliminate humidity and thermal loads. Its stone walls help achieve cooling, while its white-washed walls reduce the absorption of heat from its walls.

If you are explore the alleys and streets in Mykonos, you will also notice how the number of houses are distributed according to the direction and exposure of the winds – and this isn’t coincidental at all! The houses’ different heights, ledges, interior yards, recesses, and the various types of semi-open spaces and entrances are not for mere aesthetics only.

Mykonos architecture possesses the typical characteristics of Cycladic architecture. Its houses stand like “a cluster of white grapes” with tiny strokes of color. These cube-like houses feature smooth asymmetrical shape on the corners of the structure.

Aside from the houses, Mykonos’ votive chapels also make up the island’s interesting architecture. Some of these chapels are even declared historical monuments. On the other hand, the wind mills, which once were a strong component of the island’s economic prosperity, have also become an important landmark of Mykonos.

The Paraportiani, which was also declared an important monument in the island, is also a distinctive architectural structure in Mykonos. Its name comes from its location – next to the small northwest gate called the ‘paraporti‘.

As you go and travel to Mykonos, you will learn that these structures are all better in sight than in words.

Everyone Can Look Forward to an Unforgettable Experience in Mykonos!

Small but incredible. This is the best way to describe Greece’s “little Venice’, Mykonos or simply Chora for the locals. It is a small island known for its nightlife, beaches and enchanting sunset. Although the island is small, its beauty is exceptional. The island’s landscape is a beautiful sight to look at, with five windmills, churches, shops, whitewashed houses with flat roofs, colorful shutters on the doors and windows, flowered balconies and endless small streets that form a remarkable labyrinth.

Tiny streets in Mykonos

The Allure of Mykonos

Aside from its nightlife, beaches and enchanting sunset, Mykonos Greece has a lot more to offer. Like the complicated design of their narrow paved streets that was intended to confuse the pirates in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; the Agricultural Museum housed in a sixteenth century windmill; museums like the Archaeological and Aegean Maritime Museums that housed various ancient artifacts related to the history of Mykonos and other nearby islands; Paraportiani, one o the most architectural structure in Greece; Petros the Pelican, an old celebrity of the city’s harbor; a lot of churches and chapels like Panagia Paraportiani; waves splashing windows, creating a little Venice scenery and the famous street of souvenir shops, fashion boutiques, and bars; Matogianni.

Why visit Mykonos?

Mykonos is the most famous island in Greece and certainly one if not the most beautiful city in the Greek islands. As what many people say, “You have not seen Greece, until you have seen Mykonos.” A city that can be traveled all on foot while marveling at its one of a kind beauty, traditional architecture, endless parties and complicated labyrinth like streets.

When is the best time to come?

Mykonos, the island of winds, as the locals call it has the perfect sunny weather. Its climate is characterized by hot, dry summers, mild winters and low rainfall. You can expect rain showers between October and April but it hardly ever rains during summer. This period is usually warm and sunny, best for swimming in the beach, relaxing at cozy cafes while eating or / and drinking something, wandering or to lose your way in the labyrinth of narrow streets.

Who should visit Mykonos? Mykonos is good place to travel for anyone who wants to work on their tan, to take pleasure in the breathtaking white beaches, to marvel at the amusing architectures and enchanting sunset and to those looking for long and great cosmopolitan nightlife.

Mykonos Attractions

Top Mykonos Greece Attractions

Mykonos is home to many breathtaking sights you will never find elsewhere in the world. Topping this list of attractions in the island though are the following:

Delos

This small island is one of the country’s most well-known archaeological sites. Situated 2 kilometers from Mykonos town, the whole island of Delos has been declared a national museum.

The Armenistis Lighthouse

Lying on the northwestern tip of Mykonos, this lighthouse was built in 1891. It provides visitors an overlooking view of the straight separating Tinos Island from Mykonos. Armenistis Lighthouse was designed with an “octagonal cylindrical stone tower”. It stands 62 ft tall with a focal plane of 604 ft.

Windmills

Located in Chora or the Mykonos Town, the Windmills have been a recognized landmark in the island since the 16th Century. This landmark is a remembrance of the once-great wheat and bread production in Mykonos.

Petros the Pelican

“Petros” has been the island’s official mascot for many years. The pelican became a local ‘resident’ in Mykonos when it gave up migrating after a storm in 1954. Thirty years later, Petros eventually died. The animal’s loss was deeply felt not just by the locals but by the tourists as well that when a replacement was found, the residents in the island established a tradition to care for pelicans in the waterfront in memory of Petros.

Little Venice

The Little Venice was given to the most western part of Mykonos where the “town meets the sea”. Because of it has been attracting a lot of visitors, businesses were established here and buildings were constructed on the edge of the sea. It has been said that during the 16th and 17th centuries, when pirating was rampant in the island, the Little Venice served as a loading and unloading point for goods.

Churches in Mykonos

Paraportiani

This church is one of Greece’s most popular architectural structures. It lies near the main entrance of the harbor and is the central feature of the castle area, the oldest section in Mykonos. Paraportiani is a name which means, inner or secondary door. The church was constructed in 1475 and was originally a part of the five smaller churches built in the area during that time.

Of course, this list of the top attractions in Mykonos is not complete without its beautiful beaches. Among the famous beaches in the island are Psarou, Platys Gialos, and Paranga. These beaches boast of its clear cool waters and white sands.

Museums on Mykonos

Mykonos is known for its rich history and culture. If you are interested about understanding the island’s past better, visiting the museums in Mykonos will be a good thing to do. Below are some of the museums in Mykonos with their unique collections:

Archaeological Museum Mykonos

Hafenpromenade, Hora, Mykonos, Greece

One of the most popular cultural attractions in Mykonos, this museum was built in 1902 primarily to preserve the vestiges that were recovered from “Purification Pit”; these vestiges were said to date back from 426-425 BC.

This museum is also notable for its elegant architecture – thanks to its designer, Alexandros Lykakis. The museums also houses vases from the Hellenistic period.

Aegean Maritime Museum of Mykonos

Tria Pigadia, Mykonos, Greece

This museum opened in 1985 mainly to “present and study” the Greek nautical tradition’s history. It is headquartered in a traditional Cycladic building at the island’s capital. Among its exhibits are the ship models that date from the early Minoan period until the start of the 20th century. It also showcases rare engravings, maps, and historic shipping documents. There is also a library in the museum which houses about 5000 rare books.

Lena’s Museum

Tria Pigadia, Mykonos, Greece

A 19th century, middle class, Mykonian house, this museum is named after its last owner, Lena Skrivanou. It stands in Tria Pigadia in Mykonos Town. The house is complete with furnishings along with a spacious drawing room, two courtyards, two bedrooms, and a dovecote. This house will give you a glimpse of the middle-class life in the island a hundred years ago.

Agricultural Museum

Agiou Ioannou, Mykonos, Greece

This museum showcases an open-air setting. It allows visitors to explore the Windmills that are all in perfect working order. Its miller’s house has a vast collection of agricultural tools, which include a wine press and a threshing floor. During mid-September, visitors are allowed to take part in the celebration of its grape harvest.

Folk Art Museum

Kastro, Mykonos, Greece

This charming cultural museum is headquartered within the house of a sea captain in the 18th century. It has large collection of eclectic artifacts, which include old musical instruments, historical furnishings, photographs, and ceramics. It also has an exhibit of etchings, paintings, and vessels from the past. The admission in this museum is free, which makes it even more enjoyable to visit.

These are just a few of the museums in Mykonos. Do drop by on them and get to experience the unique offerings of the island.

Mykonos Map

Mykonos Festivals

All year round, various feasts and religious festivals take place in Mykonos, Greece, most of which in celebration of the feast day of the island’s many churches. During these great festivities, bountiful sumptuous food and wine are served, while dances and music events take place all night long.

One of the best times to come to the city is during summer. Aside from the warm and sunny weather (that allows you to do a lot of stroll in the beach), summer in Mykonos also offer a wide variety of art exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical performances. Organized by the island’s municipality, these events often bring together many artists coming from all over the world, which would make a visit in the island during these days truly enjoyable.

Two of the main celebrations often looked forward to by locals and tourists alike are the Greek Orthodox Easter during April and the Feast of the Assumption in August. In September, the feast of the grape harvest also takes place. During this time, tourists in the island can get a taste of the delicious grapes in Mykonos – which include wine-tasting too!

Taking part in Mykonos festivals is surely one thing to add in your things to do list in Mykonos. Most of these events can be enjoyed for free, thus, given Mykonos pricey lifestyle; these events will significantly cut off your expenses while experiencing the best of the island.

So whether you have a short stay or long weekend in Mykonos, participating in the island’s festivities will already give you better understanding of this Greek island’s culture and way of life.

Mykonos Cuisine

The top attractions in Mykonos aren’t the only things you would be looking forward to when visiting this beautiful Greek island; its Greek cuisines, too!

Based around colorful and flavorful foods with high nutrients and low animal fats, the Greek diet is a perfect manifestation of a healthy traditional Medeterranian eating. Below are some of the common compositions of Greek cuisines:

Grain-based foods

For thousands of years now, wheat has been a staple in Greece. Many bread varieties in the country use wheat, including, peasant and pita breads. Bulgur and pasta are other wheat-based foods famous among Greeks. The first is made from cracked whole wheat and is often eaten to accompany hearty stews, salads, or soups; the latter was introduced by the Italians.

Nuts and legumes

Lentils, split peas, lima beans, and chickpeas are just some of the favorite legumes used in traditional Greek dishes. The people in Mykonos eat them either whole in soups, salads, pilafs, and stews, or pureed to be used as dip and spread.

Olive oil and olives

Olives has been part of the Greek cooking since the ancient times. The virgin olive oil, which is often used in most Greek dishes, came from the first col pressing of olives. This golden green oil is also used to as dip for crusty bread. Aside from oil, olives are also eaten as whole by the people in Mykonos. The plump kalamata olive is usually added in salads and stews to be eaten as whole.

Vegetables, fruits, and seasonings

Because Greek is famous for its warm climate, growing fruits and vegetables in the country is ideal. For vegetarians and health buffs, Greek cuisines will be a haven for you as the fruits and vegetables in the country come in abundant amounts.

In fact, the myriad of flavorful and colorful vegetables is already a fundamental part of the Greek cuisine. Garlic, zucchini, eggplant, onions, fennel, cabbage, wild greens called horta, and lettuce are just a few vegetables and flavorings often seen in Greek delicacies.

Fruits in the Greece are eaten fresh or preserved thru drying. Some of the favorite preserved fruits in Greece are grapes, apricots, cherries, dates, figs, plums, and pears.

For seasonings, the Greeks often use cilantro, mint, sea salt, cinnamon, oregano, dill, and flat-leaf parsley to add flavor to their dishes.

Desserts and beverages

For dessert, the Greeks love fresh and dried fruits. Pastries and other rich desserts are usually preserved for special occasions (during birthdays or anniversaries).

Unlike other countries, where wine is reserved for special occasions, this beverage is consumed regularly in the country. Beer and ouzo (ani seed flavored spirit) are two of the favorite alcoholic beverages in Greece as well; while strong black coffee for non-alcoholic drink.

The food in Mykonos will surely keep you full and satisfied as you explore the island.

Mykonos Nightlife

Nightlife in Mykonos

Mykonos nightlife is another reason why the island is one of the most frequented places in Greece. Often put in comparison to Ibiza, the nightlife in Mykonos has a wide range of offerings, entertainment wise. Whether you are a male or female; straight or gay, the fun and excitement in Mykonos’ nightlife will make your vacation more unforgettable.

The party options in Mykonos nightlife is as plenty as the choices in daytime activities. Although drinks in Mykonos clubs and Mykonos bars are expensive (nothing less than 9€), this does not mean for you not to have a good drink in the island at night. In fact, if you are a little more resourceful, you’ll find a way to lessen you drink expenses in Mykonos – say, buying your drink earlier in supermarkets!

Aside from the party venues, there are also fashion shops, small supermarkets, boutiques, and jewelers in the island that closes until 1AM to give you more time to enjoy your shopping experience. And for the oldies – or even those who are just not a fan of late night parties, there are countless of restaurants in Mykonos that serves sumptuous delicacies for dinner you can forget about your diet!

To find out the best place to party in Mykonos, check out our list of the clubs and bars in the island from the link above.

Party animal or not, there is always something that everyone can enjoy in Mykonos at night. So after an exhaustive day exploring the top attractions in Mykonos, have time to let loose and be yourself in Mykonos nightlife.

Mykonos Shopping

Shopping in Mykonos will be a pleasure to those with enough money to spend as there are simply a lot of places to shop in the Greek island! Whether you are a jewelry lover or a wine enthusiast, an art collector, or simply one looking for souvenirs to bring home, there are a lot of shopping options in Mykonos.

Shopping in Mykonos

Jewelry

For those who fancy glittering and shimmering pieces, Mykonos has got a number of shops to serve you with your interest. Among these are Gofas, Ilias Lalaounis, Marquise, and Naomi F in Mykonos Town.

Gofas is one of the most popular names among jeweler’s in Mykonos. It has been in the island for five decades already, and has thus been a trusted name for premium and exclusive jewelry brands. Ilias Lalaounis on the other hand is known for its classic Greek jewelry designs, including 3000 pieces designed by Lalounis who was an ace jeweler in Mykonos.

Marquise is a family-run business established in the 1930s. It is one of the island’s high-end jewelry shops Its jewelry pieces stand out for its archaic designs, which include handcrafted bracelets and necklaces set in 18 and 22 karat gold.

A Mykonian local, Naomi F is one of the island’s pride jewelers. She has a degree in fashion design from Veloudakis, Athens. Her jewelry pieces are distinct for its unique feminine tones.

Wine

Wine lovers should head to Cava Stamboulis. This family-run liquor store established in 1980 is located in Ano Mera in Mykonos Town. This shop is known to be among the top distributors of wine and other liquor beverages in many hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and bars in Mykonos. Aside from local wine, Cava Stamboulis also has a collection of many popular Greek and international wine labels.

Art Galleries

Mykonos will not disappoint art lovers either with its various shops catering to this specific market. Elizas, Minima, Pinelies, and Rarity are four of the many art galleries in the island.

Elizas is located in Mykonos Town’s Mavrogeni Street. Aside from art work, it also sells a variety of hand crafted items as well as jewelry. Minima on the other hand is a two-floor building in Goumenio Square. It was founded in 1997 to showcase the contemporary Greek’s art pieces.

As it welcomes foreign artists too, this gallery serves as a platform for budding artists to showcase their works too. Rarity Gallery in Kalogera Street also showcases the work of contemporary artists from Greece and other parts of the world. Its main objects are sculptures and paintings, which make it great for those looking for something to hang on their walls.

For those who want to furnish their homes with creative decors, Pinelies should be the shop for you. For almost decades, the shop has already decorated many of the houses, restaurants, stores, and villas in the island. It has a good range of interesting art work pieces, metal creations, and crafty furniture pieces. The imported art pieces from China are just a few of the popular items offered in this shop.

Shopping in Mykonos will surely be a worthwhile experience!

Mykonos for Kids

Mykonos may be known for its lively night spots and wild nightlife, but with creativity, research, and resourcefulness, you’ll find that there are a number of things that the family – with kids – can enjoy in this Greek island.

In the morning, you can take your kids to explore the island‘s capital, Chora. They will be delighted to see the town’s picturesque Windmills which served as remembrance of the island’s wheat and bread production many years ago.

The Little Venice will also provide a breathtaking sight for the kids with its relaxing view of the sea. You can also enjoy a walk to the small alleys in the island, while taking a snapshot of its unique and colorful houses.

If your kids are up for some educational trips, you can also tour them around the various museums in Mykonos. Bring them for a visit at the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos and let them see interesting collections of jewelry, figurines, funerary statues, and pottery which date thousands of years ago.

If your kids are interested in ships, you can also take them to the Aegean Maritime Museum, where they can take a look at a wide range of nautical instruments and ancient vessels.

Of course, kids love the beach! And if it’s beach they want, Mykonos will not be a disappointment. Blessed with a beautiful Mediterranean weather, Mykonos beaches will a great place for the kids to dip in the cool waters or bathe under the sun.

Some of the favorite beaches in Mykonos are Plati Gialos, Psarou Beach, Agios Ioannis, and Megali Ammos. Aside from taking a bath, you and your family can also enjoy beach sports and activities like doing sand castles, playing beach volleyball, and many more!

The ancient Delos island

For families with kids who love Greek mythology and have a longer time to stay in the island, you can go have a day tour in Delos. Located not far from Mykonos (just a few minutes away via ferry), Delos features ruins from Ancient Greek. It is said to be the birthplace of twin gods, Artemis and Apollo. The sights in this island are ideal for those who want to do some educational adventure.

Although the nightlife of Mykonos is not for kids, you can always treat them to a good Mykonos restaurant and have them taste some of the island’s hearty and healthy Greek cuisines for dinner.

There surely are a lot of things that you and your kids can enjoy in Mykonos. So bring them to the island and let them experience the beauty and offerings of Mykonos.

Mykonos Weather

The weather in Mykonos is well-known for wind and sunshine – but mostly sunshine. Because Mykonos is part of the island group, Cyclades, its climate is almost identical as the other islands – dry and hot summers with mild winters; very true for a Mediterranean climate.

Rain in Mykonos falls between the months of February and March. However, this is not too frequent. In the summer months, the temperature in the island can go high, but thanks to its cooler winds, the summer activities in Mykonos are not interrupted.

The temperature in Mykonos during winter season can go about 15 degrees. Unlike the other islands from the Aegean Sea, the temperature in Mykonos is 2 degrees cooler. This is because of the city’s geographical location. With a cooler summer and warmer winter, the vegetation in Mykonos is positively affected.

There are generally two kinds of winds in Mykonos that affect it. The first is the one during winter that blow from the south. This wind often bring along electrical storms in the island. The other is known as “Sirocco” which blows during spring and sends ‘red’ rain as the sand from the Mediterranean Sea is blown.

With a generally good weather all year-round, Mykonos offers itself to be a good tourist destination.

When to Visit Mykonos?

Mykonos is generally a seasonal destination. That said; expect your experience in the city to vary from one season to another. Many tourists though opt to explore the wonders and attractions of the island during July thru August because of summer.

If you are thinking about meeting people from different parts of the world, this could be the best time to visit Mykonos. However, you would need to book your trips months earlier because these months are considered the peak season in the island.

If you are not so enthusiastic about bumping into strangers in the little streets of Mykonos though, you may choose to schedule your trip on months other than this. The months of May thru June offer a relaxed and pleasant Mykonos; the weather is equally sublime and is also perfect to stroll around its beautiful sandy beaches and breathtaking landmarks.

The months from December thru March are the coldest times in island. Many would consider these months to be the least-likable months in terms of strolling around the island. But of course, because it is off-season, there are fewer tourists visiting the top attractions in Mykonos, thus, you’ll get a chance to experience its amazing longer.

The best time to visit Mykonos is relative. With proper planning, right information, and fun companion, you’ll see Mykonos is easy to enjoy regardless of the time and season.

Explore France

Why is France a Well-liked Tourist Destination?

The country of France is about eighty per cent of the size of Texas. France is a metropolitan area and it is located within the western part of Europe. The metropolitan area of France covers an area of five hundred and forty seven thousand square kilometers, and this makes it the largest member of the European Union.

France is home to a number of different landscapes. In the west and north of France there are coastal landscapes and to the southeast is the mountain range that is known as the Alps. In the south and central region of France is the area that is known as Massif Central and then in the southwest are the Pyrenees.

Mont Blanc is located within the Alps and it has a height of fifteen thousand seven hundred and eighty two feet above sea level, which makes it the highest point in Western Europe. Mont Blanc is located on the border between France and Italy.

The most stunning natural areas in France

France Culture

The culture of the French people has been shaped by historical events and geography. France and especially the city of Paris have an important part to play in terms of culture and decorative arts and this has been the case since the seventeenth century. This importance was first in Europe; however, nowadays it has developed to be important all across the world.

Since the later part of the nineteenth century France has played an important part in terms of cuisine, cinema and fashion. Over the years the culture of France has changed depending on the importance of political, economic and military influences.

Nowadays the culture in France has been marked by both socio-economic and regional differences and also by the unified tendencies.

History of France

The country of France has a rich history and this can be seen in a number of different features throughout the various areas. The country of France is in Western Europe and it is an independent nation. This country is the administration center for overseas. During the ancient times France was part of the Celtic territory.

The name France comes from the Latin word of Francia, which actually means country of the Franks. The Germanic people that conquered this area during the fifth century gave this name to the area. France became a separate area during the ninth century.

Since the seventeenth century France has played a major role within Europe and it hosts a number of world events. During the twentieth century France experienced a number of crises and this included two world wars. Despite the various crises that have affected this area it has survived and emerged from the ruins that were left by the Second World War. After the Second World War France became an important supplier in terms of agriculture and other industrial supplies.

The history of France dates back to the arrival of the first humans in the country that is now known as France. This area was visited by members of the genus known as Homo and this took place thousands of years ago. There are a number of important archaeological sites that are located in various locations throughout France and this reflects the habitations of the modern humans.

During the Bronze Age France was part of the maritime culture and trading network and this was known as the Atlantic Bronze Age. The Atlantic Bronze Age also included Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Britain and this led to the development of the Celtic language.

The Iron Age was the time that the first historical records appear and this showed that there were a number of regions that were developing across the country. During this time the Romans and Greek occupied the area. The records from this time also showed that there were three main groups, and these were the Belgae, Gauls and Aquitani.

During world war one the country of France was one of the powers known as Triple Entente. France fought world war one alongside Russia, the United Kingdom and other allies. France was also one of the allied powers during the Second World War; however, this was conquered within two months by Nazi Germany. Since the Second World War France has become a leading member within the United Nations, NATO and the European Union.

During the twenty first century France continued to be strong within the sector of economics, military, politics and culture. Nowadays the France metropolitan area is used to refer to the mainland departments and also Corsica, which is a large island that is located within the Mediterranean Sea just a little distance from the Italian coast.

Since 1768 the island of Corsica has been part of France. France consists of six different departments for overseas. For many years France has been at the forefront of the European Union for member states that are looking to exploit the momentum for monetary union.

Tipping in France

The law in France demands that a service charge must be included in all of the prices that are displayed within restaurants and bars. This fee is an amount that is levied on the table and this is normally for bread. The bill will not indicate tipping, as it is not expected or welcome in return for the good service.

When the service received is good it is generally the tradition to round the bill up and leave a little extra. Within a bar it would be traditional to round the bill up to the next euro, and in a restaurant slightly more is left and this is normally about ten per cent of the bill. Although these amounts are the tradition it is acceptable to leave more than this.

The main thing that you should bear in mind about tipping is that it is designed to reflect the service that was received therefore the amount left should reflect this. In France tipping is not obligatory. However, it is normal unless the level of service was unacceptable.

Currency in France

The national currency in France is the Euro; however, there are a few places that will still accept United States of America dollars. The prices for restaurants, hotels, goods and services within France tend to be reasonable and the most expensive area is Paris. Most of the places in France offer good discounts for students, senior citizens and children under the age of eighteen years.

Best of France

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is located in the city of Paris and was built during 1889. Over the years since this attraction was built it has became a popular landmark for Paris and is one of the most recognized structures anywhere in the world. This tower is the tallest structure in Paris.

Every year this tower attracts millions of visitors. The engineer who was known as Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower. It was built for the entrance hall to the World’s Fair, which took place during 1889. The Eiffel Tower has a height of three hundred and twenty four meters and is the best attraction in France.

Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum is commonly referred to as the Louvre. This museum is one of the biggest museums anywhere in the world. The Louvre Museum is a central landmark within the city of Paris and it is situated on the banks of the river Seine. This museum is home to more than thirty five thousand objects which date back to the nineteenth century.

Louvre Museum Paris

This museum is located within the Louvre Palace which first started out as a fortress during the late part of the twelfth century. There are still remains of the fortress, which can be seen by people visiting this area. The Palace of Versailles was chosen by Louis XIV to be the residential home for his family.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is a popular recreation and holiday resort and it is located within the area that is known as Marne-la-Vallee. This resort is located about twenty miles from the center of Paris. Disneyland Paris consists of two main theme parks, an entertainment district, a dining district and a retail district. There are also seven different hotels within the resort. This resort has been operational since April 1992 and it is one of the best place to bring your kids in France.

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is a commune that is located within the city of Paris. It is located about fifty-five kilometers to the south east of the city center. This commune covers the biggest area of land within the region known as Ile- de- France. There is a scenic forest within this area. The area is home to a historic chateau which belongs to one of the French kings and it is also home to INSTEAD which is one of the most elite schools for business.

Arc De Triomphe

The Arc De Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments within the city of Paris and is a very popular tourist attraction. This monument is located within the western part of Champs-Elysees. There is a small archway which is known as the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. This is located at the western side of the Louvre.

This monument has been erected in memory of the people that were killed during the French revolution and also during the Napoleonic Wars. This is another one of the best attractions in France.

French Alps

The French Alps are part of the mountain range which is known as the Alps and is located within France. This mountain range is located within the French area that is known as Rhone-Alpes and it spreads into the area that is known as Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur.

Mont Blanc is part of the French Alpes and is located on the border between France and Italy. Mont Blanc is one of the highest mountains within the Alpes and is also one of the highest mountains in Europe.

Things to Do in France…

The city of Lyon is one of the biggest cities within France. It is a beautiful city which is the capital for culture within the region known as Rhone-Alpes. This area of France is very popular with tourists as they are totally overwhelmed with the spectacular architecture and superb gastronomy, which is all offered within a natural setting that is unique.

This city is very proud of its ability to attract tourists and it does this through a range of quality tourist attractions and activities. This aspect is also popular with the local people of this area. Here is a list of things you can do in France.

Enjoy the Downtown Scene of Lyon

There is a vast array of different things to see and do within all regions of France. The cities in France such as Lyon are able to offer people a good shopping experience. The city of Lyon is able to enjoy a downtown scene which is thriving, and this area is at the heart of the area that is known as the Rue de la Republique.

The downtown stretch of this town features long cobbled streets, and these are free from cars. These streets are packed full of outdoor cafes, boutiques and other shops. There are a lot of attractions within this area as well and these include several fountains that are impressive and also the opera house.

Enjoy Panoramic Views From the Basilica Notre Dame

A lot of the cities within France are similar to the European cities in that they have an abundance of churches. The city of Lyon is home to two churches which are famous, and these are known as St John’s cathedral and Basillique. The attraction that is known as Basilica Notre Dame is often mistaken by tourists as being a church that has been featured in a storybook.

Notre-Dame de Paris

The inside of this attraction is also able to create a similar reaction as the walls are lined with paintings that shimmer and staircases that are full of statues that are made from marble. There is a room within this building that features bejeweled items from the past. From this building it is easy to enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the city.

Combining Roman and Gothic Architecture at the St Jean Cathedral

Another popular attraction in France is the St Jean cathedral, which is located within the city of Lyon. This cathedral combines Roman architecture and gothic architecture and this is because the cathedral was built between the twelfth century and the fifteenth century. This cathedral features stained glass windows which are high, and they offer a soft glow to the craftsmanship stone.

Spiral Down From the Top of the Gallo Roman

The museum and ruins that are known as Gallo Roman are located within the city of Lyon and they are not far from the Basilica. This museum is open to the public and it is free of charge to get in and wander around. This museum offers people the perfect place to wander around and enjoy artifacts and other elements of history. This museum is home to the normal cracked bowls, Roman artworks and old mosaics and all of these can be enjoyed as you spiral down from the top.

Travel Back Several Centuries On the Cobbled Streets

The area that is known as Vieux Lyon is the older part of the city of Lyon. This part is home to cobbled streets that are narrow and this allows people to travel back several centuries. This area is also home to a large amount of historic architecture, which can be seen in the form of buildings and the spiral staircases.

French Cities

Paris

The capital of France is the city of Paris and this is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities anywhere in the world. This city offers a vast amount of things for people to see and do. One of the most prominent attraction within this city is the Eiffel Tower.

There are a lot of attractions within the city of Paris and this includes museums and art galleries that can be classed as award winning. There are also a number of spectacular gardens and parks within this city. This city is romantic and it is possible to enjoy a boat trip down the Seine River.

If you love to shop, you can enjoy buying luxury items at all the branded shopping outlets. One of the other attraction within this city is Disneyland Paris, which is a fun filled resort. It is true to say that the city of Paris has something available to suit everyone.

Marseilles

The city that is known as Marseilles is situated on the southeastern coast of France. This city is home to one of the largest ports anywhere in France. This city is a popular tourist destination and it is located on the Mediterranean coast.

There are a lot of interesting attractions within this city and this includes landmarks and museums. The area in this city that is known as Vieux Port is home to a number of places of interest and historical buildings. This city has a lot of good hotels and a lot of these are located close to the city center.

Nice

The city of Nice is located within the area that is known as the French Riviera in the area that is known as Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur. This city is very popular with tourists as it is home to luxurious golden beaches, convivial atmosphere and also sparkling seas. Due to the location of this city it is able to benefit from a temperate climate and this helps to attract visitors from all across the world.

port of Nice

This city is a major hub for air transportation within Europe. There are a lot of low cost airlines that fly regular flights in and out of this city. There is a rail service which is high speed and it operates between this city and Paris.

Lille

The French city of Lille is the capital of the region that is known as Nord Pas de Calais. This city is located within the northern part of France. Lille is one of the biggest metropolitan areas within France. This city has a population of two hundred and twenty six thousand and fourteen. The city can be described as having a climate that is temperate and oceanic.

During the summer months the temperatures do not go very high; however, the winter months tend to be very cold and it is often below freezing point. The main sectors within this city are textile manufacturing, food industry and mechanical. There is an increasing trend within this city for finance and retail.

France’s Cuisine

There are a lot of foods that people should try when they are on holiday in France. France is the second biggest country within Europe and mountains cover a lot of the surrounding area. The highest mountain within this area is Mount Blanc. This mountain is located close to the border between France and Italy. Both the soil and the climate within France create the perfect conditions for farming.

However, only about four per cent of the population makes their money from farming. France is self-sufficient when it comes to food as it grows all of its own food. Most of the French food that really should be tried is available within other European countries. However, these foods are traditionally from France.

One of the foods that you should try when on holiday in France is steak tartare. This dish consists of raw steak; however, this dish is also available with raw horsemeat and this is considered to be a refined dish. This food is a favorite amongst French people, and it is really only the more adventurous tourists that give it a go.

Another French dish that should be tried is Escargot. Escargot is traditionally served in the shell. The diner is given a small fork that they can use to easily remove the slimy food from the shell. The small fork makes it possible for the food to be removed and eaten without any of the herb or butter being spilt. When you are trying this dish it is very important to be careful as it is served at a very hot temperature. Therefore, be careful that you do not burn your tongue on the butter.

People that come from the city of Paris do not usually eat much for breakfast. When in France why not do as the French do and just pop into a café and get a croissant with butter. Another popular breakfast item in France is a croissant with plain chocolate. The most popular drink to have for breakfast is an espresso along with a cube of brown sugar. If you find an espresso too strong then you could opt for a latte. Regardless of your food preferences whilst in France you should at least try a patisserie.

There is a large Arabic population within the French city of Paris and this has led to a lot of Arabic restaurants. One of the most popular Arabic restaurants within the city of Paris is Mansouria. This restaurant tends to get a lot of return customers, and one of the most popular foods in this restaurant is couscous.

It is a good idea to eat as much French food as possible when you are on holiday in France as this is a good way to get a real feel for all things French. Even if you are staying in a posh hotel it is a good idea to venture out and try some of the other cafes and restaurants which serve a wide range of French cuisine.

Shopping in France

There is a lot of good shopping that is available within France. There are a number of things that people should bear in mind when it comes to shopping in France, and the first thing that people should bear in mind is that people should take one euro with them for use in the trolley.

In France the large stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets rarely open on a Sunday. However, most of the garden centers are open on Sundays. There is an increasing trend for people to be more conscious with regards to the environment, and the supermarkets are starting to get rid of the plastic carrier bags.

They are trying to get people to switch to using heavy-duty reusable bags. A lot of the bigger supermarkets in France have fuel stations which operate alongside them, and they have facilities that allow customers to purchase diesel and petrol using credit cards.

Supermarkets and Hypermarkets

There are a number of supermarkets, mini markets and hypermarkets that are available in France. Some of these stores are large name corporations that are recognized all across the world such as Aldi and Lidl. As well as these big name supermarkets there are a lot of smaller stores. A lot of the supermarkets and hypermarkets allow people to purchase items online.

Shopping for Clothes in France

One of the main stores for clothes shopping in France is Decathlon. This store is a sports supermarket. Decathlon supplies equipment and clothing for a wide range of leisure and sporting activities that include skiing, riding and swimming. This store is popular with people that own ponies and horses as they sell a wide range of tack and clothing.

Furniture, Furnishing, Decorating and Home Accessories

There are a vast number of different stores that sell furniture, decorating equipment and home accessories. A lot of these stores stock a fantastic range of goods; therefore, on a lot of occasions it is possible to get everything within one store. The store that is known as Ambiance and Style offers an array of attractive items which include cushions, glasses, cutlery and candlesticks to name a few of the items. This store is great for people that love cats as they have a wide range of items that feature cats. There are also collectable miniature cats.

Garden Centers

There are a lot of garden centers within various areas of France. The garden center that is known as Baobab sells decorative household items such as plant holders and candlesticks. This store sells things at low cost prices. This company has fifty different stores that are located across France. This company also sells a range of garden plants and interior and exterior items.

Another popular garden center within France is Botanic, and these stores are located throughout the eastern part of France. These stores are a fantastic place for gardeners as they sell everything that a gardener could possibly want. The garden center that is known as Gamm Vert sells a wide range of gardening equipment, plants and also regional foods. Despite this being a garden center it also sells toys and books.

France’s Climate and Weather

The weather in France can be split into five different climate zones and these zones vary in terms of the weather. The five climates zones for France are northern and northwestern, northeastern and central, Mediterranean coast and Corsica, and the fifth zone is the mountainous regions.

The weather within the northern and northwestern climate is controlled by the Atlantic. Areas that are within this zone tend to have a changeable climate that can be classed as maritime. This part of France is able to enjoy a mild winter with very little snow or frost. The rainfall within this part of France is spread evenly over the year.

The summer months in the northern part of France are a little warmer compared to those in the southern part of England. Further down the west coast in France however, the summer months can be sunny and very warm and this area is able to enjoy between seven and eight hours sunshine. During the winter months it will only have about two hours of sunshine.

The weather within the central and northeastern part of France tends to have cold winters with regular frost and snow and this is especially the case along the eastern border. The separation of France into the different zones has a line that runs between Lille, Lyon and Paris. The areas to the east of this imaginary line are able to enjoy a climate known as mid latitude which can be classed as continental.

The rainfall within this area is spread evenly over the year; however, the annual rainfall within this area is low. It is common for this part of France to experience thunderstorms during the hot summer months and this is especially the case in areas leading towards the area of the Jura Mountains.

In the southwestern part of France the summer months tend to feature long spells of sunshine, which are broken up by heavy showers of rain. However, these only last for a short space of time. This part of France can be very hot during the summer months and the summer temperatures tend to last in October and sometimes November.

The winter season in this part of France is very short and there is still a good volume of sunshine. The winter months in this area tend to be very cold and it is often minus fifteen degree centigrade or even colder. The worst winter months in this area are from the middle of December until the end of January; however, February is a very wet month.

Along the coast of the Mediterranean in France and in Corsica the climate can be classed as a Mediterranean climate. The summer months in this area tend to be very hot with a lot of sunshine. Between June and August this area tends to have only a small amount of rain. However, there are occasional thunderstorms during these months. The winter months in this area tend to be mild with a reasonable amount of sunshine. It is not uncommon for this area to have a couple of days that are very cold during the summer months.

The mountainous parts of Vosges, northern Alps and Jura tend to have summer months that are very wet. The Pyrenees region tends to have most of the rain during the winter. The Pyrenees, Southern Alps and Massif Central tend to have warm summer months and there are regular thunderstorms within these areas.

Getting Around In France

There are a number of different ways that people can get around whilst visiting France as there is a good network of public transport. One of the best and easiest ways to get around France is to have your own set of wheels whether this is a motorcycle or a car.

Having your own set of wheels in France will allow you to have a vast amount of freedom and it makes it possible to visit the areas of France that are more remote. There are also disadvantages of using your own wheels in France and these disadvantages are that it can be rather expensive and parking within the cities can be a bit of a nightmare.

Motorcyclists will find France a fabulous area for touring as there are a lot of good quality winding roads and there is a lot of spectacular scenery to enjoy. People that are planning to tour France on a motorcycle should ensure that they have good quality waterproofs.

France has one of the densest networks of highways anywhere in Europe apart from Belgium. There are really four main types of roads that can be found in France. These are known as multilane highways which are referred to as Autoroutes, national highways which are referred to as Routes Nationales, local roads that are referred to as Routes Departmentales, and minor rural roads that are referred to as routes communales.

During peak holiday times and long weekends the roads throughout France tend to block up. All cars within France must be insured, and the numbers of suitable roadside assistance companies are written on the insurance papers which must be kept in the car. These are usually stuck to the inside of the windscreen.

Drivers that are renting a motor vehicle in France should contact the rental company if they require assistance. It is very important to make sure that the car has all season tires or winter tires as it is possible that you may have to drive through snow.

Rental of mopeds and motorcycles is very popular within the southern part of France, and this is especially the case within beach resorts. However, sadly there are a lot of accidents by people that hire this mode of transport. There are a lot of city and town listings that feature relevant details on rental options that are available.

People that want to hire a moped or motorcycle in this area will normally have to leave a large deposit due to the risks that are associated with this mode of transport. If the vehicle is damaged the deposit would be forfeited up to the value of the damage or if it is stolen all of the deposit would be forfeited.

It is possible for people from the United Kingdom to take their motor vehicle to France. However, right hand drive motor vehicles will have to be fitted with deflectors in order to prevent problems caused by bright headlights as these will dazzle the oncoming vehicles.

Experience the Beauty of Greece

Uncover Greece

One thing you need to know about Greece is that while it is a great vacation spot, it is also one that encompasses many different cultures. That being the case, you are going to find that there are number of different factors that will ultimately play into your visit and determine just how it turns out. First of all, let’s talk a bit about the Greek culture in general.

Discover Greece's history, culture, and beautiful locations

Greece Culture

Greeks are extremely proud of their culture, and with that being the case they will generally speak of their country with passion. They have a sense of what you would call ethnic belonging, and with that being the case, you will want to tread carefully. Greek tradition includes, their music, customs, and even food.

There are many Greeks who might be considered superstitious, and they go so far as to believe in the supernatural. It’s hard to tell what type of culture you might run into when you visit Greece, but you can be sure that it will be quite interesting.

Greece Religion

Believe it or not, 97% of Greeks are Orthodox Christians. The rest of them will be either Roman Catholic, Jewish, or even Muslim.

Greece Music

The Greek culture consists of a number of different influences, mostly assimilated from other cultures. That being the case, the music found in Greece can be traced back to the ancient world quite easily, and many of the modern influences are also quite prevalent throughout the country.

Greece Tipping

As with any culture, tipping is most definitely appreciated by those who work in service oriented jobs. Something to note is that when sitting down at a table in a restaurant, you will be charged a cover fee for the table which will include bread and non-bottled water. It would be unwise to argue this bill as it is standard across the country.

As far as actual tipping goes, a waiter should be tipped 10 to 20 percent of the total. In addition to that, you can tip taxi drivers if you wish, but they do not expect tips. There is however a charge for a taxi driver handling your luggage. Keep this in mind! The final tipping procedure we will address here is that of toilet attendants. These are found in public bathrooms and they will ensure that there is both toilet paper and soap present in the bathroom.

Greece Internet

As far as internet goes, you will find that there are a few broadband providers, among them Otnet, Forthnet, Vivodi Telecom, Hellas On Line, and Tellas. Vodaphone Greece offers mobile broadband for those who would much rather spend their time on the go.

These are just a few of the things you will need to know before taking a vacation in Greece, and soon enough you will have all of the information you need to make your vacation a memorable one. That being said, it’s time for you to continue your information gathering quest and prepare for a vacation you will never forget. After all, anytime is a great time for a Greek vacation!

Greece History

Greece is an amazing place to visit, and as you can imagine, it actually has quite the history. That being said, let’s talk a bit about that history so that you will have some background information before you start out on your journey. After all, a little knowledge goes a long way!

First of all, the original settlements in Greece too place during the Paleolithic era which happens to be 11,000 – 3,000 BC. For those who don’t know the dates actually moved in reverse at that time in contrast to the dates recorded after AD.

On another note, BC stands for “Before Christ”, and AD stands for “Anno Domini” as opposed to “After Death” like so many tend to believe. Anno Domini is translated as “In the year of our Lord”. This of course has nothing to do with Greek culture, but it is important to know nonetheless.

During the second millennium BC the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the Cycladic civilizations settled in Greece, paving the way for the next generation. Moving into the sixth century BC, the Classical period was in full swing, and this is where Greece finally began to assimilate different cultures.

As you know, Greece today consists of a number of different cultures which makes it difficult to differentiate. In any case, the 6th and 4th centuries saw something rather amazing from Greece, which was of course a new government structure: democracy. This would begin to form the roots of the western world long before America was even an idea.

Though Greece did form the first democracy, it wasn’t all development and fun. The history of Greece is dotted with a plethora of invasions, regime changes, and domination. For instance, Alexander the Great invaded Persia and continue to conquer through to India in 334 BC. Like so many other great armies however, his was destroyed the moment he died.

In 1453, as was to be expected, the Ottoman empire managed to conquer Greece, taking it from the Venetians. During the Ottoman occupation rebel groups were formed and the people did attempt to fight back, but the majority of these groups were quashed, and finally, the Greek War of Independence started in 1821. In 1829, nine years after the start of the war, the country of Greece won it’s freedom.

Some freedoms are short lived however, as Hitler and his Nazi regime conquered the eastern world and implemented their own government. Greece resisted during this time, but like many other countries of that era, they did fall, and they would have to endure until the Allies finally made their way through, destroying the Nazi war machine once and for all.

As you can plainly see, Greece is an amazing country, and one that has endured much throughout the years. That being the case, this is an amazing staple o the ancient world that you will most definitely want to visit and experience the next time you choose to take a vacation to the other side of the world.

Best of Greece

There are many different vacation spots that one might take advantage of in the world, but one of the most popular happens to be Greece. As one of the hotspots of the ancient world, it is no surprise that so many people want to have a look at it, and even see these great landmarks for themselves:

The Acropolis and the Parthenon

The Acropolis is without a doubt one of the most famous monuments in the ancient world, and each year thousands of visitors from across the globe gather to bask in it’s magnificence. There are quite a few monuments upon the Acropolis, many of them having been built during the age of Pericles, which took place in the 5th century BC.

Athens Acropolis visit the Parthenon

Parthenon is one of the most famous and beautiful monuments of the Acropolis, and this temple was dedicated to the Goddess Athena who guarded the city of Athens. Believe it or not, the design of the Parthenon has actually inspired a number of different western world universities and continues to have an incredible effect on the world in general.

Temple of Zeus

Zeus, the king of the Gods was obviously very important in Greek mythology, and as a result, he did indeed have his own temple in Olympia. This was a beautiful, fully developed Greek temple that was built sometime between 472 and 456 BC. The temple housed the status of Zeus, and it is in fact one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. This statue was one of the most famous artistic works in all of Greece, and the temple of Zeus complimented it well.

There are many speculations as to what the Temple of Zeus might have looked like in the ancient world, but in 426 AD, Theodosius II ordered the temple burnt to the ground. Though the fire did not completely destroy it, earthquakes in 551 AD did finish the job. This was not a complete loss as pieces of the sculpture and temple have been excavated to be put on public display.

Olympia

Olympia is yet another amazing place in Greece, and it’s name likely gives it away. Yes, the Olympic games were held here, and the first set of games were held in honor of Zeus. The most famous area, Altis, consisted of a number of different buildings such as the Temple of Hera, Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion, and of course the stadium. In the ancient times, Olympia was considered to be sacred ground. Today, it is one of the most important historical sites in the world.

Greek Islands

Greece has a number of different islands, more than six thousand actually, though only two hundred and twenty seven of the six thousand are actually inhabited. In addition to that, only seventy-eight of the two hundred and twenty seven have more than one hundred inhabitants which makes for a very sparse, very spread out population. Many of these islands can be seen from various parts of the mainland, though some of them are simply too far out to sea.

Meteora monasteries

Meteora

In ancient Greek, Meteora mans “suspended rocks”, perhaps suggesting something a bit supernatural at one point in time. These are six monasteries constructed on natural sandstone rock pillars near the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly. Having been featured in many different movies and song, the Meteora is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist sites in the world.

Delphi

Being both a modern city, and an archaeological dig site in Greece, Delphi was actually the site of the Delphi oracle, and a site of worship for the god Apollo. Not only is this an important place in Greek mythology, it is also the site of the Pythian games, which were the precursor to the Olympic games. Everything has to start somewhere, right?

Greece Delphi

Mycenae

Mycenae is yet another archaeological site in Greece, and it is located just south-west of Athens. It is estimated that in the second millennium, Mycenae was among some of the largest centers for Greek Civilizations. This is of course comparable to capital cities of today, though we doubt that ours are quite as fun.

Santorini Architecture

Santorini architecture is unique from most other Greek architecture, and as with anything else, these alterations were inspired by necessity. During thee era of the Venetian and Turkish occupation, there was a severe pirate problem, and for this reason it was found necessary to create winding roads leading from the castles that masked the departure of horse and rider.

Santorini

In addition to that, there were frequent earthquakes and volcanoes which called for higher buildings. This also led to a common use of arches throughout the city. While Santorini architecture might be used creatively today, it was a necessity in those days.

Beaches of Crete

Crete is the largest island off the coast of Greece, and as a result it is one of the biggest tourist destinations. That being the case there are a number of different beaches that you might visit. From modern beaches, to the more primitive, all the way to nude beaches if you so desire. There is something for everyone on the beaches of Crete.

Things to Do in Greece

You know that Greece is an incredible country to visit, and you are probably well aware of the historical impact the country has had on the world, but the question still remains as to whether or not there is anything to do in Greece.

The answer of course is a resounding YES! There are plenty of things to do in Greece, things that will not only broaden your horizons, but also serve to provide you with a high level of entertainment. That being said, let’s talk a bit about the different attractions within Greece that will undoubtedly leave you with pleasant memories.

First of all, you might try visiting the Acropolis Museum. Unlike many museums around the world, the Acropolis museum actually features exhibits with a museum archaeologist on site to answer any questions you might have.

From the second floor balcony you will be able to see the Archaic Gallery, and the Parthenon Gallery is located on the third floor for those who are interested. Another interesting thing about the museum is the fact that visitors can watch conservators clean the Caryatids using highly sophisticated laser technology.

The Acropolis Museum is a family venture and you can actually check out a family backpack by leaving an ID at the counter. In addition to that you will find that the museum actually features various refreshments and meals on the second floor, and that floor provides some amazing views of the Acropolis.

Greek Island cruises are yet another way that you can pass the time effectively while you are staying in this incredible country. There are a number of islands surrounding Greece, some of which can be easily seen form the shoreline. A decent cruise ship will carry you to each island, giving you the chance to explore Greece like never before. Ask your travel agent, or check online for different cruise options. You might just be surprised at what you can find out there!

For those interested in the landscape that Greece has to offer, there is always Mount Athos, and it will undoubtedly provide you with a beautiful view of the country. Atop the mountain you will find that it is home to twenty Eastern Orthodox monasteries, which creates a self-governed monastic state.

Interested in caves? Why not have a look at Melissani cave? This is a beautiful cave northwest of Sami, and you can find a number of parking lots near the cave interest. In other words, access is available to virtually anyone that has the desire to visit.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Greece if you know where to look, and with that being said, you will undoubtedly find just what you’re looking for in this ancient cradle of civilization. Look around, see what else you can find, and enjoy your stay in Greece!

Greek food

Food in Greece

Before you make your exodus to Greece, you will undoubtedly want to know just what type of food is available. Believe it or not the food in Greece is quite diverse, and the available cuisines are generally based on those from Italy, the Balkans, the Levant, and even Turkey.

Today, quite a bit of Greek cookery that uses olive oil, vegetables, herbs, bread, wine, and of course fish. In addition to that you will find that there are a number of different meats that utilized, and what any people are interested in when they visit Greece are the various meat dishes available.

To visitors, one of the more exotic dishes is actually the Chtapodi sti schara which consists of grilled octopus in vinegar oil and oregano. This is definitely not a common western combination though it is served in some Greek restaurants stateside.

For a more familiar dish (to a point), Giouvesti is available, it it happens to be lamb or veal baked in a clay pot with Kritharaki and tomatoes. It’s still far from home, but what better reason to go to Greece than to experience the unique cuisine?

The last meat dish we will discuss is Kleftiko. This word can be literally translated into: “In the style of the Klephts”. In order to understand this, you will need to remember that at one point there were gangs of bandits roaming the hills in Greece, and one of them happened to be the Klephts. This band did not have their own herds, so they would simply steal sheep from different farmers.

When they were cooking their loot, they would cook it in a sealed pit so that the smoke would not alert nearby farmers or even law enforcement to their presence. This sealed in cooking method created a unique taste, and a number of different foods can be cooked in this manner.

There are also quite a few vegetarian dishes to speak of in Greece, one of which happens to be Domatokeftedes. These are tomato fritters fried in olive oil, usually served with split pea paste, otherwise known as fava. If you’re more of a bean fan, then you’ll be glad to know that the Gigantes dish consists of baked beans in tomato sauce along with different herbs. This is definitely a favorite among some of the locals!

These are just a few of the dishes that you might experience in Greece. Remember that there are plenty more dishes available, and each of them will have an interesting story behind them! This primer will help you to prepare for your trip to Greece, and soon enough you will be knee deep in their culture, enjoying the spoils and looking for more.

Weather in Greece

When one is planning a trip to Greece they will undoubtedly want to know a few things regarding the weather, particularly how it will affect them. Like any other country it is affected by the changing of the seasons, but there are quite a few differences between Greece and North America. That being said, let’s explore a few of those differences.

Winter: Mediterranean winters, unlike winters in the western world are typically cool and damp. It does snow quite a bit in Northern Greece, but you will find that the south of Greece is generally devoid of snow save for a few days out of the year.

Fall: At the right elevation during the fall, you will discover an unusual amount of snow, but for the most part there is an excess of rain.

Summer: You will find that hot and dry conditions prevail in the summer, and the temperature will in fact be somewhere around twenty-seven degrees Celsius in July.

Spring: This season which usually falls in April and May will be warm, comfortable, and you will witness a number of beautiful sights as the flowers bloom, the sky presents some wonderful scenes, and various festivities take place throughout the country. It is important to note that boat travel during the spring can be significantly interrupted by the harsh winds, though this is not always a sure thing.

As you can see, the weather changes significantly throughout the year, and you can expect various celebrations to occur in the majority of those months. For instance, the Carnival season begins in February during some years, and in March, the celebrations will actually start.

No matter which month you decide to visit in, you will more than likely find that the countryside is beautiful, the locals are friendly, and that there are plenty of sights to see. After all, Greece is an amazing country that is the seat of many historic events including harsh battles, technological advances, and even incredible romances that have stood the test of time.

The only question remaining is what you’re waiting for! International travel isn’t terribly expensive, and if you look closely you will surely find plenty of inexpensive activities within Greece. No matter which month you choose to visit Greece in, you can be assured that it will be tourist friendly, though the low season will undoubtedly be a great time to visit if you want to experience the country of Greece without the massive tourist rush.

Either way, you’re certain to have a great time experiencing an incredible country that has existed since the founding of the ancient world and has surpassed expectations for it’s very existence. That being said, it’s time for you to start planning.

Getting Around in Greece

If you’re thinking of visiting Greece then you may be wondering just how you would get around. Luckily there are quite a few ways to navigate this amazing destination, and to begin we will discuss the option of car rentals. There are plenty of other options of course, and we will get to those in due time.

Renting a Car in Greece

Let’s just say that a car rental in Greece is not going to break the bank. If you can afford to fly to Greece then you can most likely afford to pay the $150-$200 for an economy car. While gas an insurance will cost extra, the low base price on the vehicle will allow you to travel virtually anywhere in the country, and if you want to pay even less, then you might take a look at the available ‘Mini’ cars that can be rented for about $100 per week. If you’re unsure about rental locations you can always check online and see which car rental agencies are available in the area you will be visiting.

Traveling in Style

If you’re not interested in public transportation then you certainly have plenty of other options, even if a car does not appeal to you. Believe it or not, you can rent a moped for about ten Euros per day, and you can use it to tour the city for as long as you want so long as you pay the fee and leave a passport behind to ensure that you will eventually return the motorbike.

Taking the Bus

The intercity bus system in Greece is fairly efficient, at least on the mainland. These busses are part of the city of course, and they were not intended for tourists, and as such the bus drivers will speak Greek in most cases. That being the case, you will want to learn at least a little bit of Greek so that you can find your way around the city. The Greek Interstate Bus System is dubbed (KTEL) and routes can be obtained from the AUTO.

You do of course have the option of using taxis, though this will be considerably more expensive than some of the self transportation you could avail of. Keep in mind that there are a number of inhabited islands around the country of Greece and you will need to take advantage of boats and ferries in order to get to them.

The country of Greece is one full of mystery and excitement, and before you know it you’ll find yourself engrossed in the culture, food, and the incredible vistas. Just remember that you’ll need a good transportation system to get you from here to there.

the best things to see and do in Alicante Spain

Alicante City Travel Guide

Alicante History

It is thought that the area in and around present-day Alicante has been inhabited for over seven thousand years. Controlled by the Roman Empire for one thousand years, the area was the subject of many feuds and battles with Carthage.

Lucentum, as it was then known, was conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century and was eventually taken by the Castillian King, Alfonso in the 12th century.

best places to see in Alicante

It very quickly then passed to the Kingdom of Valencia in 1298 and ruled by King James of Aragon. Alicante developed into a major Mediterranean port, trading in rice, wine, fruit and wool.

Alicante then suffered years of decline until the early 20th century when it became a port of huge strategic importance during World War One. Spain’s neutrality in the Great War allowed it to trade with any country it wished, leading to a prolonged period of affluence. Alicante became the last Republican loyal city to fall to Dictator Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

Alicante Population

Alicante is the capital city of the province of Alicante and is the second largest city in the Valencian community with a population of 330,000 inhabitants. The city is one of the fastest growing in Spain and is currently a major economic port.

The wider conurbation of Alicante-Elche has a population of 770,000 with a large foreign population mostly made up of Argentinians, Ecuadorians and Columbians.

There are thought to be a large number of illegal immigrants from North Africa and eastern Europe currently living in the area. This area is also home to many retired British, French and German citizens.

Places to Visit in Alicante

Perched over the city of Alicante is the Castle of Santa Barbara on Mount Benacantil. The castle was originally built by the Arab occupiers of the 9th century and was constructed as a defensive fort. The Explanada de Espana is a very impressive promenade that is made from over six million individual marble stones.

Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante Spain

The promenade is a popular meeting place, concert venue and place to take a relaxing stroll. There is a Mark Hersch monument at the end of the promenade. The majestic San Nicholas Cathedral was built in the 1600s over the site of an ancient mosque and was only given cathedral status by Pope John Paul XXIII in 1959.

There are two fantastic parks in Alicante – El Palmeral Park and El Ereta Park. El Palmeral includes playgrounds, lakes, walking trails, picnic areas and a concert auditorium. There is also Tabarca Island, just of the Alicante coast. The island boasts a church, a lighthouse and a population of around one hundred.

The island is a very popular tourist attraction, with boats ferrying people from Alicante on a regular basis. The coves, rocky beaches, fishing locations and seafood restaurants prove very popular with holidaymakers from Alicante Santa Pola and Torrevieja.

Basilica of Santa Maria in Alicante Spain

The Basilica of Santa Maria was built in stages during the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Its gothic style and the high Rococo style altar make it a must-see attraction. The military and religious heritages of the Alicante are evident all over the city with tourist attractions such as Gravina Palace, the Castle of San Fernando and the Defence Towers of the Huerta de Alicante.

There are also many museums in Alicante, showcasing many local artefacts from the various wars, occupiers and rulers the city has known. The Archaeological Museum of Alicante houses local items dating as far back as 100,000 years ago. The museum also won the 2004 European Museum of the year.

Alicante Beaches

The city is a first rate tourist centre thanks to the splendid Alicante beaches, excellent climate and well known facilities. As one would expect of a sea-oriented city, the sea front (with its beaches, port and promenade) is the main characteristic of Alicante.

Beaches in Alicante

El Postiguet Beach

Playa del Postiguet is one of the classic Alicante beaches, envied by many other provinces, by its size, its fine and almost white sand, especially for where it is placed, in the middle of the city. The beach is 667 meters long and 40 meters wide and is bordered by a promenade with many palm trees.This beach is cleaned daily and it usually has visitors all year round due to Alicante excellent climate, however the summer months are the busiest.

If you ask people about Postiguet beach, they probably will tell you that it is not the best when compared to other Alicante beaches such as San Juan or El Campello beaches but it is obviously more comfortable for people who is staying in Alicante city and have no time or desire to leave the city to enjoy the sun and Mediterranean sea.

Playa del Postiguet in Alicante

The great thing of course about the location is you can stay very nearby, laze on the beach by day and explore the city at night. There are a wide range of hotel options in Alicante, and you can do some research on our accommodation sections or use websites such as Tripadvisor or Trivago. There are also plenty of rental properties available.

It has all the own infrastructures of a much visited beach and is a point of meeting for the free time in the summer nights. It is a beach adapted for handicapped persons. Playa del Postiguet has been awarded the Blue Flag for all its services and clean beach.

Equipment and services: this beach has bus station, red cross, lifeguards, parking, showers, beach umbrellas and hammocks, cleaning service, waste bins, public phones, promenade, chiringuitos and restaurants. You can practice here different beach sports like beach Volleyball.

San Juan Beach

Located 8kms to the north of Alicante, San Juan has a long, open beach of some 7kms in length and with an average width of 85m. The beach corresponds to the two municipalities of Alicante and El Campello. It is located in a residential area that is lively in the summer months and very peaceful during the rest of the year.

Playa de San Juan

Facilities available on the seafront include restaurants, bars, cafés and car parks, and services include access for the handicapped, toilets, watchtowers, a Red Cross post, tourist information and water sports on the beach.

This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union. It can be reached by car, by bus (numbers 21 or 22) or by tram, offering a nice trip from Alicante.

El Saladar-Urbanova Beach

Urbanova Beach, out from the South, we come across a long and well-equipped beach. Little known to foreign tourists, it is therefore the quietest of them all.

Playa del Saladar Urbanova in Alicante

This beach, near to El Altet airport, is officially called Playa del Saladar due to the salt pans that used to exist nearby. However, it is popularly known as Playa de Urbanova, the name of the residential complex facing it.

Free from parking problems, bathers can stretch out comfortably on the sand, and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the city and the bay of Alicante. This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union.

La Albufereta Beach

Albufereta Beach, Alicante cheerful beach with lots of vegetation in the shape of palms, other trees and cactus plants. Located to the north of Alicante. A few tall buildings can be seen from the beach.

It is cut off by two cliffs on either side from which you can fish. Off the parking area there are steps onto the beach. This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union.

Cabo de las Huertas Beach

Cabo de Huertas Beach in a residential, tranquil area lying between San Juan and Albufereta, the coves along this part of the coast of Alicante are outstandingly beautiful, combining as they do, rocks and sand.

Some of these beaches are nudist bathing areas, and diving is possible in almost all of them, but particularly in the rockier coves. Of particular note are Cala de los Judios and Cala Cantalares.

Cabo de Huertas Beach

The coves can be reached by car; alternatively, a bus (number 22) runs all round the Cabo de las Huertas as far as San Juan Beach.

The beaches and blue skies of the Costa Blanca are popular with families who take advantage of up to 330 days of sunshine a year. With endless entertainment options for people looking for cheap holidays in Spain, Alicante is an excellent holiday destination you should not miss.

Alicante Beaches are just a dream come true, miles of beaches along the province coupled with excellent weather, makes Alicante an ideal holiday destination.

Alicante Cuisine

Like any Spanish city, Paella is found everywhere and the abundance of locally caught, fresh seafood in Alicante makes the dish particularly popular in the area. There are several tapas bars in and around Alicante that serve selections of appertisers.

However, there are some dishes that have their roots in the region. A very popular local spin on Paella is called Rice a la Alicantina and is a combination of rice, chicken and seafood with red peppers.

Arroz a Banda is hugely popular all over Valencia and is best described as a fish based risotto. A very famous Alicante dessert is called Turron. This is nougat and is particularly popular with the locals at Christmas time.

However, many restaurants sell it all year round. Jijona is the soft form of Turron whilst the hard variety is called Alicante. A speciality found in many Alicante restaurants is the Turron a la Piedra which is stuffed full of almonds and flavoured with cinnamon and lemon.

No visit to any part of Spain would be complete without a jug of Sangria which is wine seasoned with honey, chopped fruit and wither triple sec or brandy.

Alicante Accommodation

As with all the main Spanish resorts, there is no shortage of places to stay in Alicante. There really is something for everyone, whether it’s a cheap hotel or a luxury villa. Hotels such as the Melia Hotel, Amerigo, Palmera Beach, Castilla and the Hesperia Spa Golf are amongst the best on offer in Alicante.

The locations of El Campello, San Juan and Muchavista are extremely popular with tourists as they offer a wide range of accommodation against the backdrop of the beautiful beaches of Alicante.

Alicante Weather

The average annual temperature in Alicante is around 18C but there are very large seasonal variations. The average temperature in July and August is 32C but temperatures can dip to just above zero in the winter months with the average January and February temperature currently at 6C.

The area in and around Alicante is generally very dry with the most rainfall occurring in October when an average of 48mm falls. The driest month on average is July when an average of only 5mm falls during the whole month. Humidity is relatively low with the peak occurring in October at 69%.

In the summer months there are around 11 hours of sunlight per day and around 6 hours in the winter months. Clearly, the best time to visit Alicante is June to August as the average temperature is in the 30’s, there is very little chance of significant rain and around 11 hours of sunshine can be enjoyed every day.

Transport in Alicante

Visitors to Alicante can fly straight into the city as the airport is amongst the biggest and busiest in Spain. There are regular internal flights to Barcelona and Madrid and Alicante is a popular destination from many European airports.

The railway station has regular services to all the major Spanish cities and there are regular ferry services to the Balearic Islands and Algeria.

For tourists staying within the old town, most tourist locations are within walking distance. There is a great transport infrastructure in Alicante with both buses and trams serving all of the major resorts and places of interest.

These services generally operate between the hours of 6am and 11pm although there are a number of night services available. One bus or tram ride costs around €1.20 and the bus drivers carry change.

A rechargeable travel card can be bought for €7 plus €2 for the card and can be used for 10 rides. These cards are available for purchase at the TAM office near the Mercado Station.

Taxis are in abundance in all the resort locations and tourist hot-spots. All Spanish taxis are generally very reliable, so long as they are properly licensed. Radio-Taxi and Tele-Taxi are the main operators in Alicante.

Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos

Other Places of Interest in Alicante

There are currently two football teams playing in Alicante. Hercules FC which competes in La Liga and Alicante CF which plays in Segunda Division B. Hercules CF often competes against the best teams in Spain and are based at Estadio Jose Rico Perez.

There are also a number of exciting and very popular festivals in Alicante. The Bonfires of Saint John is held during the summer solstice.

A week later, seven nights of firework contests between companies on the urban beach of Playa del Postiguet commence with various other forms of pyrotechnic wonder.

Another very popular Valencian festival is the Moros y Cristianos which commemorates many battles between the Muslims and the Christians over the villages, towns and cities of the Valencia area.

Explore Barcelona

Barcelona Travel Guide

Caught between azure sea and hills overgrown with juicy verdure, Barcelona is rightly considered to be a highlight of Spain and of the whole Mediterranean. It is a city with a centuries-old history, rich traditions, sandy beaches, impressive architectural heritage, open-hearted and well-wishing people.

All these aspects provide for constantly growing flow of tourists who come to see amazing natural, cultural and architectural riches of the Catalan capital with their own eyes.

Best things to do in Barcelona

Over more than two thousand years of its history Barcelona experienced many ups and downs, periods of prosperity and oblivion. Tough historical peripeteias formed its inimitable appearance and freedom-loving character, which is most vividly reflected in its variegated architecture that bears no resemblance to the rest of the world.

Imposing Gothic cathedrals tower over the narrow and twisting streets of the Old Town, and modernistic works by Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner adorn wide and straight streets of the new quarters. And the green slopes of the Montjuic hill, which hosted the Olympics of 1992, harmonically neighbor with ultra-modern skyscrapers that spring up all over Barcelona.

The token riches of the Catalan capital include the tender Mediterranean Sea and mild climate. Five kilometers of golden beaches with modern infrastructure are a perfect supplement, or rather an alternative, to informative tourism. A traveler will hardly stint oneself of an opportunity to luxuriate on a sandy beach and to bath in the warm sea water.

Barcelona’s geographical location is also reflected in its cuisine, which is a typical Mediterranean diet combining gifts of the sea, mountains and fertile valleys. It is based on seafood, meat, rice, vegetables and olive oil seasoning. Being combined in an unusual way, they create matchless dishes that strike city’s guests with amazing tastes and aromas. It is impossible to visit Barcelona and not to taste wonderful Spanish and Catalan wines, which have won the world fame.

To touch Barcelona’s rich culture and to visit at least one of the grandiose festivals that are celebrated in a big way by the locals must be also included in tourist’s obligatory itinerary. The January procession of the Magi, the September celebration of the National Day of Catalonia, and how castles of people are built are definitely worth seeing. And, of course, you should also dance the typical Catalan dance sardana.

Barcelona is a large stage for vivid shows, art and photo exhibitions, as well as for world stars’ concerts. All this will definitely add many bright emotions and sensations to the baggage of your tourist experience and will remain in your memory for a long time.

It is important to note that Barcelona’s locals take care of their guests. Thus, you can safely say that Barcelona is a city without borders, which offers all conditions for full-blown recreation for people with disabilities.

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Barcelona History

Barcelona is a city with a proud historical, political and cultural history and is the capital of the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia. Catalonia is a truly unique area of Spain and many of the locals still consider themselves as being Catalonian before being Spanish.

Until the late fifteenth century, when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabel of Castile, Catalonia was an independent state. Before that, Catalonia was an extremely successful state in its own right – a fact that is demonstrated by the Gothic quarter and old port of Barcelona.

Catalonia was swallowed up by the imperialistic Spain, which was a true world power in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; however, the heritage and pride of the locals was never forgotten. During the second republic, the democratic government in place just before Franco’s revolution, Catalonia gained independence very briefly.

Once Franco had defeated the Republicans, nowhere in Spain was affected more by the change in government than Catalonia. Franco banned the Catalan language and changed area and street names from Catalan to Castilian. After Franco’s death, Catalonia and particularly Barcelona, has regained much of its identity and is very much a bilingual area.

Places to visit in Barcelona

Places to Visit in Barcelona

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to the world famous Sagrada Familia. This catholic Cathedral was started in 1882 and it still isn’t finished! The architect, Antoni Gaudi, is responsible for this massive structure, which divides opinion amongst residents and tourists alike. Many believe it detracts from the traditional Barcelona Cathedral, La Seu, which can be found in the Gothic quarter of the city.

The Barcelona Aquarium can be found in Port Vell, the Barcelona port area. This is a hugely popular attraction in the city and kids in particular love it.

Poble Espanyol, or the Spanish Village, is another of Barcelona’s great attractions and consists of different living quarters designed in styles from all over Spain.

There are also a number of workshops and craft stores to browse authentic Spanish goods and souvenirs. It is also the location of the famous Flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen.

Antoni Gaudi’s influence can be seen all over Europe and La Pedrera is one of his most popular creations. The English translation is ‘quarry’ and the multi-colored tiles with wavy brickwork make for a wacky, yet interesting building.

Mila House or La Pedrera

The Picasso museum is another of Barcelona’s gems, pulling in many thousands of visitors every year. The works of Pablo Picasso are arranged in chronological order which gives visitors an idea of how he developed as both a man and an artist over the years.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic is one of the most fun attractions in Barcelona and consists of a water and light show played out to music. Performances take place in the evenings all through the year making it one of Barcelona’s most visited sites.

In many ways, the epicentre of Barcelona’s social scene is Las Ramblas. This is a promenade which is over a kilometre long! It is lined with fantastic shops, cafes, restaurants and attractions like the Wax Museaum and the Christopher Columbus monument.

This is a very busy area of Barcelona during both the day and night and is a great place to head to for an evening of dining and entertainment. People should be wary of the south end of Las Ramblas however, as this is considered a more seedy area of Barcelona during the evenings.

Barcelona’s Beaches

Situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona brags about many kilometers of sandy beaches, which receive up to seven million vacationers from all over the world per year. It is hard to imagine, but up until recently the city hardly had a beach zone. Now Barcelona’s coastline features modern infrastructure, necessary for full-blown beach recreation, including facilities for people with disabilities. Barcelona’s beaches have a good public transport connection to all parts of the city.

Best Barcelona beaches

Playa de St. Sebastian y de St. Miquel

These are ones of the oldest beaches in Barcelona. Thanks to the fortunate location in the center of the city, not far from its main sights, they enjoy popularity among Barcelona’s locals and guests.

Numerous cafes, restaurants and sports clubs work on the wide, more than 1.5-kilometer-long sand stripe. The beaches have cloak-rooms, showers, Wi-Fi zone, rental points of deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

Getting there. Take a metro train to the station Barceloneta (L4). The building of the Hotel W, shaped as a sail, serves as a good reference point.

Playa de la Barceloneta

Situated behind the namesake city quarter, Barceloneta is one of the most popular beaches in the Catalan capital. It has wonderful sporting infrastructure: volleyball ground, gymnastics area, children’s playgrounds are equipped there. Barceloneta features cafes and restaurants with a wide selection of seafood dishes.

Getting there. Take a metro train to the station Barceloneta (L4).

Playa de Somorrostro

Playa de la Barceloneta is followed by the half-kilometer-long beach zone of Somorrostro, which was also named after the namesake quarter. The beach is famous in the first place for its sporting and spa infrastructure. Catalonia’s first center, where therapeutic properties of the sea water and the Mediterranean climate are used for treatment, is situated there.

Getting there. Walk from the metro station Barceloneta or Ciutadella (L4).

Playa de la Nova Icària

Playa de la Nova Icària is situated to the north from Somorrostro. It is seen as the most tranquil one and therefore perfectly suits for family recreation. The same as all other beaches in Barcelona, it offers all conditions for comfortable recreation: shower, cloakrooms, sporting infrastructure, Wi-Fi zone, kiosks with food and ice-cream, numerous cafes and restaurants.

Getting there. Take a metro train to the station Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica or Bogatell (L4).

Playa del Bogatell

It is one of the youngest beaches in Barcelona. It appeared during coast’s upgrading within the framework of city’s preparation to the Olympic Games of 1992. Playa del Bogatell is quite crowded, but still less popular than Barceloneta. It has everything necessary for full-fledged recreation: shower stalls, cloakrooms, Wi-Fi zone, volleyball grounds and ping-pong tables.

Getting there. Take a metro train to the station Poblenou or Llacuna (L4).

Playa Mar Bella y Nova Mar Bella

Situated not far from the university buildings, they are reckoned among the most popular beaches among the youths. They feature volleyball, basketball and ping-pong grounds. A diving station works on the beaches’ territory.

Getting there. Take a metro train to the station Poblenou or Selva de Mar (L4).

Playa de Llevant

It is the youngest and the most distant from the downtown beach area of Barcelona. That’s why it is seen as the most tranquil and the least crowded one. Kiosks with food, drinks and ice-cream work there. The guests have an opportunity to rent deck chairs and beach umbrellas, take a shower.

Getting there. Take a metro train to the station Selva de Mar (L4).

Barcelona Cuisine

The cuisine of Barcelona is generally more varied than in other parts of Spain. This is due to the many international influences found in Catalonia. The Romans, Arabians, Jewish and French have all played a part in the city’s history and it was inevitable that some of their culinary tastes would have been left behind.

There is still a very Spanish feel to Barcelona cuisine, however, with the tastes of traditional Mediterranean cooking coming through very strongly. Fresh vegetables, freshly caught seafood and lots of olive oil can be found all over the city.

One delicacy specific to the region is Faves a la Catalana which consists of the typical vegetables of the Catalonian region cooked and served in a clay pot with various meats and bolets, which are a type of mushroom.

Butifarra con mongetes is a very popular Barcelona dish which consists of the Catalonian sausage, butifarra de pages and string beans and is prepared with fresh garlic and parsley.

The famous local dessert, Crema Catalana is made from egg, milk lemon rind, corn flour and burnt sugar. This dessert is served all over Barcelona. These dishes and many more specific to the region can be found in the restaurants of Las Ramblas.

Barcelona Accommodation

There are a wide range of options in Barcelona when it comes to accommodation. Ciutat Vella is in the medieval heart of the city and takes in the fantastic harbour at Port Vella. The amazing acrchitecture of Gaudi and many of the Barcelona visitor attractions are within walking distance.

Gracia is a more tranquil and sleepy option and is popular because of its quaint village feeling. The area’s attractive squares, bars and artisan workshops make this a very pleasant place to stay.

Les Corts is the university district of Barcelona and is overlooked by the Tibidabo mountain. The Camp Nou football stadium, many museums and gardens make this a popular choice to stay. There are a number of apartments in this area which offer tourist the chance to live like the locals. Barcelona has a number of fantastic hotels and apartments all over the city, with options for any budget.

Barcelona Weather

Barcelona is situated in the north east of Spain and as a result is slightly cooler than some southern parts of Spain. Nevertheless, it can get very hot in the summer months, with the most pleasant months to visit probably being May to July.

The average temperature in July is around 25C but it can get much hotter than this. The average temperature in August is around 30C and it becomes very humid, making it feel even hotter.

October and November are also very good months to visit as the temperature is still a very pleasant 16C-20C and will probably be a lot more comfortable for those who don’t like the heat. However, it is worth noting that October is significantly the wettest month of the year in Barcelona, with July being the driest.

Generally speaking, the Barcelona climate is hot and dry in the summer, warm and wet in the autumn and dry and chilly in the winter. During the spring months of March and April, the average temperature will quickly rise to a pleasant 16C-18C.

Transport in Barcelona

The transport system in Barcelona is considered one of the most reliable, efficient and affordable anywhere in Europe. The metro system will reach most parts of the city along with the comprehensive tram and gas powered bus network. A one way trip on a bus, metro or tram costs around €1.45 but a T10 ticket can be purchased for between and and can be used for ten bus, tram or metro journeys within the city.

As in most of the cities and resorts in Spain, the taxi system in Barcelona is generally very good. Journeys within the city shouldn’t cost more than €7 and a taxi is definitely the best option when arriving at Barcelona airport. Cabs in Barcelona are yellow or black and a green light on the top of the car means it is free for hire. A fare tariff should be found on the rear passenger window although tourists should be aware that there are additional charges for airport journeys and for baggage.

Malaga Vacation Guide

Malaga is the capital city of the province with the same name from Andalusia, in southern Spain and the coastline near Malaga is known as Costa del Sol, a great touristic destination with a pleasant climate and popular beaches.

Visit Malaga

Malaga forms a large metropolitan area, together with the villages around – Rincon de la Victoria, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Alhaurin de la Torre, Mijasand, Marbella, Málaga City and accommodated over one million inhabitants. The metropolis is surrounded by a spectacular natural setting – the mountains at the north of Malaga, the Mediterranean Sea in the south and it is framed by the rivers Guadalmedina and Guadalhorce.

The city was initially a Phoenician colony, conquered by the Greeks, then by Carthaginians, Visigoths, Arabs and, in the end, by Christians. Nowadays, Malaga is a very important Spanish port, and an important name on the touristic map of the country.

Until recently, the city was considered a touristic destination for young people in particular; however, it has become a powerful cultural city within the past years and has started to attract tourists of all ages and of all origins. The main incentive for the fresh touristic wave is Pablo Picasso’s legacy, profoundly connected with the city.

The city at the foot of Axarquía hills is Picasso’s place of birth; in 2003, in the old city center, Pablo Picasso Museum opened its gates and this event has stressed the cultural aspect of this touristic destination. Yet, this museum is only one of the many touristic attractions of the region.

Costa del Sol is known as one of the most profitable coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea and of the entire European territory. Within the past decade, the number of annual tourists visiting these sunny beaches has not gone under 7 million.

There is absolutely no chance to get bored in this cosmopolitan city. If you are not a great fan of beaches, you can always visit one of the historical destinations of the city, such as the Alcazaba Fortress, the Buenavista Palace, Plaza del Toros (the largest arena in the region), Castle Gibralfaro.

Things to See in Malaga

Best of Malaga

Malaga is a metropolis in southern Spain, located in a wonderful golf, with gentle temperatures, luxurious vegetation and superb beaches. Although the city has a modern general appearance, it is in fact a mixture of old and new, of history and innovation.

The buildings dating from the Islamic occupation, especially the palaces and the Alcazaba fortress, with its wonderful gardens, give birth to a special atmosphere, which reminds of the long and troubled history of these places.

There are many great touristic sightseeing spots, on any taste, from the generous beaches covered in fine sands, to the historical center of the city, the gardens and parks, museums and art galleries, open-air markets and shopping centers.

Gibralfaro Castle

Gibralfaro Castle dates from the XIVth century and was built by the order of Yusef the First from Granada on an old Phoenician foundation. Only its defense towers still stand today.

Malaga’s Cathedral

Malaga’s Cathedral architecture combines various styles: Gothic, Baroque, Izabelin and neoclassic with a predominant Renascent influence. The entry is via the three access gates decorated with marble of different colors, cut in the form of crosses.

Cathedral of Malaga

Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace is located across the street from the Cathedral and dates since the eighteenth century. Today it houses the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art.

Alcazaba Fortress

Alcazaba Fortress dates from the eighteenth century, but most part of the structure was built one century later. Together with the defensive walls, the fortress was the main defense system of the city and today it is one of the best preserved Moorish museums in Spain.

Alcazaba Fortress

The Roman Theatre

The Roman Theatre can be found under Alcazaba and was discovered in 1951. It hasn’t been used since the third century A.C. and the Moors utilized pieces of this construction when they built the Alcazaba Fortress.

The Interactive Museum of Music

The Interactive Museum of Music is a building with a futuristic look, famous for its unique collection of musical instruments and it is made up of themed rooms such as “the origins of instruments”, “skull and bones musical instruments”, “Andalusian music” and many others.

Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum was founded by the local administration with the help of Pablo Picasso’s heirs. This museum is located in the Palace Buenavista, which hosts over 200 of Picasso’s works.

Beaches of Malaga

There is much to enjoy on Malaga’s sixteen beaches. They extend to a total length of about fifteen kilometres and are divided by the harbour into East and West. The East side is popular with most tourists because it is within walking distance of the city centre.

The city’s beaches are well maintained, clean, fairly wide, and nearly all of them are awarded with the blue flag. This is an international environmental award, given annually to beaches that are safe and clean.

Some beaches are wider than others, and the sand ranges in color from light to dark brown. What makes the beaches a real treat is the casual atmosphere and the presence of the many ‘chiringuitos’, where you can sit down for a drink, some tapas, a serving of Malaga’s famous grilled sardines or a simple meal.

La Malagueta beach

Malaga’s Most Famous Beaches on the East Side of Malaga:

Beach – La Malagueta

The most famous beach on the East side of Malaga is the city beach ‘La Malagueta’. It is a bustling beach that is easily reachable from the city centre. Walking from the centre, you will come across the gorgeous shopping centre Muelle Uno at the harbour. The beach itself is frequented by both locals and tourists. It is is 2.5 kilometres in length and consists of fine sand.

Beach – La Caleta

This wide beach is right behind the beach of La Malagueta and is slightly less crowded. It has fewer facilities, but it is certainly a fun place to visit. It’s an easy walk down the boulevard.

Beach – Baños del Carmen

If you head a bit further East, you’ll get to the beach of Baños del Carmen. This is a relatively unspoilt and quiet beach, covered with coarse pebbles, gravel and boulders. From here you can catch a glimpse of the now dilapidated resort of Baños del Carmen

Beaches of Pedregalejo and El Palo

Walk further and you will reach Pedregalejo beach. It is five kilometers from the centre but everything is accessible on foot or with a rental bike via the boulevard. Of course, you can also use public transport to get here. Pedregalejo is best known and appreciated for its low rise buildings, the authentic atmosphere and it’s many language schools. The atmosphere is casual and international. It’s enjoyable to have a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants to be found here.

The same goes for the El Palo district beach which is a bit further along. Here you’ll find the famous open-air seafood restaurant, El Tintero, located right on the beach.

The Most Famous Beaches on the West Side of Malaga

The most famous beaches on the West side are San Andres and La Misericordia. These beaches merge into one another and are local favourites. The beaches are wide, with good facilities including showers, toilets and small restaurants.

Food in Malaga

Aspiring at the statute of European Cultural Capital in 2016, Malaga is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Spain, and in Europe as well. Malaga is one of the large urban centers on Costa del Sol in southern Spain, with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful beaches and many entertainment areas and offers countless options for relaxation and leisure.

Flamenco dances, jazz music, shopping sessions, bright sun and wonderful beaches define Malaga as a captivating tourist destination. Not to mention that fun in Spain means tasting at least several of the seducing gastronomic Spanish creations.

If you want to intimately get accustomed to the area’s traditions, you need to try the local dishes. There are countless amazing chefs in Malaga, specialized on cooking seafood in particular – fish and sea shells, shellfish and squid.

However, once you arrive in Malaga, the first dish you simply have to order is Pescado Frito (well-fried fish), espeto (sardines cooked in a specific manner), cazon en adobo (tuna marinated in garlic and vinegar) and coquinas (mussels cooked in wine white).

Malaga Espetos

Moreover, all terraces located on the beach serve a great dish called chiringuitos, which are in fact fried sardines.

Malaga’s cuisine combines centuries old traditions of the people who wondered throughout these lands. A culinary specialty that defines the region is the traditional jamon, which is dry ham pork that is sold in special shops here, resembling those that offer jewelries.

Like in all respectable Spanish cities, most restaurants here serve tapas (appetizers, about two euros per serving – in other Spanish cities, tapas are offered for free, accompanying wine or other drinks) and paella.

Malaga is also the city where a great type of wine is produced – the Malaga wine. Its flavor and color have the purpose to mask the sweet taste of this wine. Malaga wines have a greater longevity and are very expensive, and Lagrima is the most expensive wine of this origin.

Best Shopping Streets in Malaga

In terms of tourism, Malaga is a complete destination for sure. The beaches are excellently arranged, the golf courses are beautiful, there are plenty of historical spots to visit and shopping is a routine activity.

The epicenter of entertainment is disposed around the city’s Cathedral and on the streets around Uncibay Square. The shops, souvenir boutiques, restaurants and cafes on Calle Larios, the most famous street in Malaga, are full at any time of day or night for tourists. Shops on Calle Larios offer a wide range of items for sale, from clothing, electronics, music and household products.

Larios Street Malaga

There are other streets in Malaga, smaller than Calle Larios but just as generous when it comes to shopping options, such as Almazul, Calle Beatas and Los Artisanos on Calle Cister. Among the multitude of shops on this street, the ones offering souvenirs and Andalusian crafts, like ceramics, traditional clothing, mugs and others alike are the most popular.

The famous supermarket chain El Corte Ingles is present in Malaga as well; yet, it is not the only such kind of large store you can visit. Other shopping malls, for instance Malaga Plaza Centro Commercial, on Armengual De La Mota Street, or La Trocha Centro Commercial, on Coin Cartama, close to the city center, are also important shopping places.

For those looking for bargains, San Julian area in the southwest of the city is the perfect place to visit. Here, a shopaholic can find just about anything, from sports articles at great discounts, to furniture and clothing items.

There are also various options for those who prefer fresh food bought from open-air markets such as La Canada, Marina Banus, and Plaza Major near the Malaga airport. On Sundays, there is another open-air market offering clothing items and shoes next to the Stadium La Rosaleda.

The discount seasons for shopping in Malaga lasts from July to August and from January to March.

Explore Seville

Explore the City of Seville

When it comes about Seville, arriving here is the easiest part of your journey. The dangers of having too much fun and being seduced by the magic of the city will make it extremely hard for you to leave. Most visitors who set step in the wonderful city are mainly attracted by its romantic past – the Moorish fortress, the magnificent cathedral, the palaces, fountains and gardens.

Plaza de Espana in Seville

Seville’s most famous buildings are concentrated on a distance you can cover by foot, in the city’s historical center, on the eastern shore of the river Guadalquivir. Horse-drawn carriages wait for clients next to the Cathedral, in Plaza de Triunfo, to offer them a tour of the city.

Touristic buses without roofs give the visitors another alternative to visit the city’s attractions, and their main starting point is on the opposite side of the river, called Torre del Oro. Torre del Oro is a very interesting tower, built in the 13th century, and it is one of the last buildings constructed in the Almohade period. The 12-facet tower houses the Maritime Museum – Museo Nautico – with exhibits from ancient times of the port of Seville.

If there is a building no tourist who comes here leaves without visiting at least once, Seville’s Cathedral would be it. The cathedral is a huge, impressive construction, 116 meters in length and 76 meters in height. It is the third largest Christian church in the world and it could have occupied the first spot. It is said that its initial plan would have ranked it the first largest cathedral in the world, but it was intentionally reduced in proportions so that Rome’s cathedral would occupy the first place. However, it still remains the largest gothic religious construction on the planet.

Even if you are not a fan of visiting old buildings, you can still have a great fun here in Seville. You have the chance of spending unforgettable moments together with the locals, as Seville is the Spanish city with the best bull fights, concerts and football games. Whenever you want to relax and spend pleasant moments with your friends or your date, you can attend a classical concert or see a play in one of the numerous theaters in Seville travel.

Sevilla bull fights

From a touristic perspective, Seville is a greatly appreciated city because of the locals who surely know how to make their lives fun and dynamic, and are proud with their city. Most of them feel the need to prove how wonderful their city is and make great efforts to show that to any visitor they meet.

Best of Seville

Seville is the capital of the Spanish region, Andalusia, and one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the past, during Spain’s Golden Age, it was said that riches brought back from the New World was carried on the river Guadalaquivir to Seville and people called the city “the Capital of the World”.

Guadalquivir Seville

Places you must see in Seville:

Gothic Cathedral

The gothic Seville Cathedral is the third largest cathedral in Europe after St Peter in Vatican and St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Formerly known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria from Sede, Seville Cathedral is currently the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world and the largest medieval place of worship. Its construction began in 1401 and lasted for many centuries; for its foundation, builders used stone from the ancient Roman monuments. Inside the cathedral, you can see an impressive shrine, many gold decorations, religious objects, sculptures, paintings, and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

Giralda Tower

Giralda Tower hosts the bell of Seville Cathedral and is, without doubt, the most visited landmark of Seville. Like so many other constructions in this city, the tower was initially part of a Moorish building, built in the 12th century AC by the engineer Gever.

Giralda Tower

Alcazar Palace

Alcazar Palace, also known as the Royal Palace, was initially a Moorish fortress. The construction is a gorgeous result of several centuries of architecture, and successfully combines Islamic with Gothic elements. Its construction started in the first century AC, under the rule of Abd ar-Rahman II, the Emir of Cordoba.

Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is the most visited museum in Seville and the second most important pinacoteca in Spain after the Prado Museum. Its construction was finished in 1835 and the museum was officially inaugurated in 1841.

Torre del Oro

Torre del Oro or the Gold Tower, built between 1221 – 1222, is one of the last buildings dating back to the Almohad period; it was part of the initial last wall of defense that made the connection between Alcazar and the river. Formerly the dome was covered with plates of gold, hence the name. Today, the Naval Museum is located here, and gold has become just a legend.

Real Alcazar

Real Alcazar is the Royal Palace of Seville, it is a magnificent complex of courtyards, terraces and large halls built in different architectural styles, from Mudejar (Moorish architectural style) to Gothic.

Real Alcázar in Seville

Archives of India

The construction called the Archives of India, built in the fifteenth century, hosts valuable documents that describe the relationship between Spain and the American colonies. The building was erected in 1572 and has 8 km of shelves containing over 80 million documents dating from 1492 until the end of empire in nineteenth-century.

Archivo de Indias, the Seville Cathedral and Real Alcazar were included in the UNESCO World Heritage in 1987.

Food in Seville

Spain’s rich history and cultural influences have led to the birth of a unique Spanish gastronomy, with thousands of recipes and flavors. Its roots are Mediterranean and fish and seafood are the basic ingredients for Spain food.

Daily meals are still traditionally prepared from fresh ingredients purchased from local open-air markets. This practice, however, is more common in rural areas than in cities, where supermarkets have replaced traditional markets.

Spanish traditional cooking often revolves around outdoor grill, in a brick or clay oven.

Tapas in Seville

Seville is a playground for lovers of gastronomy. There are restaurants, bars and cafes at every step, where they serve typical Andalusian dishes and drinks. Seville is a city where a genuine phenomenon was born and it crossed the borders of Spain itself: it is called tapas.

Tapas are small bites of snacks sold (or even offered for free) to go with the drinks in Spain’s restaurants and other eating places. They can be served either plain, as snacks, or combined, in order to form a complete menu, and in some parts of Spain they are included in the price of the drinks. In Seville, tapas are “upgraded” to larger rations, the equivalent of a “media ration”.

Other Andalusian Traditional Dishes

Another specific dish is Andalusian gapacho. Gapacho is a soup made of tomato puree, which is served cold, with ice.

Churro is a sweet pastry product, fried in oil and sometimes called Spanish donut. It is usually served together with a cup of thick, hot chocolate. Cinnamon is churro’s typical aroma; this donut is served with powdered sugar.

Paella are appetizer plates, accompanied by a glass of wine. In Seville you can find all types of paella, from the simplest variants, with ham, sausages, cheese, to the finest delicacies with fish, shrimp, octopus and seafood; paella is served with traditional sauces.

Seville Paella

Among the many recipes included in the Andalusian cuisine, we can also mention tortilla de patata (potato omlet), fabada asturiana (bean stew), migas (a day-old bread with garlic and pimento – smoked paprika and olive oil), mariscos (sea fruit), lechazo asado (fried lamb), and chuletillas (grilled lamb).

Eating out

The Seville restaurant scene is one of the finest in Spain with good eateries to enjoy just about everywhere.

There is fine Spanish dining to be found but don’t think about dinner before 8pm – the locals in Seville dine late. It’s also probably best to avoid the Cathedral and Giralda areas unless you want to splash out – menus there can be pricey.

Tapas is everywhere, so you can combine a tour of Seville’s character bars with delicious snacks along the way.

Seville tapas

Tapas originated in Seville to protect the local Fino or Manzanilla sherry. Wine glasses were supplied with small tops, or tapas, to keep the flies away. A food snack appeared and tapas were born.

Seville tapas is a fun, and generally inexpensive way to eat. Try the tapas at a series of bars or restaurants. They come in three sizes – tapas; raciones – large plates of the same food – and inbetween, ½ raciones. Tapas are displayed on the bar or with a menu, the ‘lista de las tapas’.

Typical Seville tapas dishes include anchovies, both salted (anchoas) and in vinegar (boquerones); meatballs (albóndigas); potato tortilla; peppers; slices of cheese, particularly aged Manchego, and of chorizo; vegetables in oil; chicken, possibly on a skewer, and much more. Raciones will also include dishes like mixed fried fish and chicken with potatoes.

The Spanish king and queen are said to enjoy tapas at the Casablanc (c. Adolf Rodriguez Jurado, 12) when staying in Seville. Other tapas favourites include Bar Estrella (c. Estrella) and the Vineria San Telmo (Catalina de Ribera, 4).

Seville restaurants

Restaurants in Seville are often graded (1 to 5 forks) and often have a menu of the day, or menú del día. Seville restaurants called Marisquerias specialise in fish and seafood. Many up-market restaurants offer tasting menus, or menú de degustación.

Wine from the Seville region is generally best value, with Montilla-Moriles the local white wine. Local reds are not so common so a safe choice may be reliable reds from Rioja, Penedes etc.

Barri Santa Cruz restaurants

The Barri Santa Cruz area is where most restaurants are concentrated. There’s a cluster next to the Cathedral exit where Robles is a favourite. It serves tapas downstairs and on tables in the street. Upstairs, there’s a very pleasant restaurant with an interesting menu and good presentation.

West of the Cathedral, another group of restaurants is focused on the lively Mateus Gago, although they mostly serve tapas. The popularity of Bodega Santa Cruz is clear from the crowds gathered outside an it has a wonderful range of bites. The Cervecería Giralda serves traditional dishes in what was once a Muslim bath house.

On Calle San Fernando, the long-established Egano Oriza has an excellent reputation with Basque-influenced dishes.

Extraverde, on the pleasant Plaza Dona Elvira, opened in 2009 and is proving popular for its tapas and sandwiches.

El Arenal restaurants

Between the Cathedral and the bullring, in El Arenal, Enrique Becerra is a smart family-run business offering hearty Andalucian dishes in a pleasant, intimate room. It’s very popular Seville restaurant so it is best to book ahead.

In the same area, try Mesón Cinco Jotas in c/Castelar for tapas, including fine Iberico ham. The Iberian pork sirloin in sweet wine is a superb dish and real favourite. Top quality fish can be found at Arenal Sevilla, in the Mercado del Arenal. It’s pricey but the fish is as fresh as you’ll find next to the sea.

El Centro restaurants

Plaza de la Alfalfa has a lively tapas scene – try La Trastienda or La Bodega while El Patio San Eloy has excellent ham and small filled rolls called burgillos. Students congregate at Bar Levies for the generous raciones.

Restaurants in the area include Habanita serving a variety of Andalucian and Cuban dishes plus a choice of vegetarian dishes.

Near to the Museo de Bellas Artes, the Casa Salva is hugely popular restaurant and offers traditional home-cooking. It’s only open from 1pm to 5pm on weekdays.

If you want a change of style from Spanish, try Porta Rossa in Calle Pastor y Landero. The decor is simple, the food Italian and it is a very popular Seville restaurant.

Triana

There’s a selection of restaurants across the river. Abades Triana at Calle Betis 69A offers traditional dishes with a modern twist.

Shopping in Seville

Seville is a city that oozes beauty and exuberance like the Andalusian sun that shines above it. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, sprinkled with ancient vestiges of past civilizations. However, Seville mixes the old with new in a graceful manner; it is the cultural, financial, social and artistic center in southern Spain and a heaven for avid shoppers from all over the world.

Where can you shop in Seville?

Most of the shops in Seville open at 9 a.m. in the morning, so tourists have plenty of time to wonder and find small bargains. Beautiful, cheap souvenirs can be discovered especially in artisan shops around Seville Cathedral or shops that sell anything, from bracelets and other small, cheap jewelry to other types of tourist gifts and they are called “tienda de veinte duros” or “todo a cien”.

Mercados are open-air markets where you can also buy gifts and other small items. They are spread around the main district, Calles Tetuan Sierpes, and Nervión Plaza. Nervión Plaza is a large shopping mall, close to the city center, and houses a food court and many clothing and accessories stores that you would expect to find in a larger mall.

Plaza de Armas is placed in the Córdoba Train Station, also close to the center of the city. While in Plaza de Armas, you can eat from McDonald’s or other chain restaurants and do your shopping in Mercadona, a large supermarket.

Another shopping mall is built on the E1 road, just as you enter the city. There is a large offer of clothes and accessories, at extremely affordable prices. Across the street, a Mango outlet offers sales all year long, together with many other small stores nearby.

Calle Alcaicería de Laloza is another wonderful street filled with countless small shops, offering accessories and shoes in particular. Clothing stores on Calle Sierpe and Plaza San Francisco have fancier items and if you want to purchase a traditional flamenco outfit, expect to pay around 200 euro.

Seville nightlife

Seville has tons of nightlife to offer the city break visitor with a world-wide reputation both for its opera and for flamenco.

This was the home of Don Juan of Don Giovanni infamy, of Carmen and the ‘Barber’. Flamenco is always associated with the city and is worth searching out, but with care.

Seville flamenco

Seville is the home of flamenco, but care is needed in choosing where to enjoy it. There are many pale imitations on offer and it’s worth taking local advice. Many of the advertised Seville flamenco shows are expensive, tacky and often use recorded music.

Favourite Seville flamenco hotspots include Casa Anselma in c/Pagé del Corro. It’s decorated with colourful local tiles and features both professional flamenco dancers and more spontaneous performances by the public, perhaps less accomplished but often great fun. Flamenco goes on well into the night and really gets going around 3am.

La Carbonera at c/Levies is a converted coal yard and is a popular flamenco spot for both locals and visitors, always a good sign. It has two large bars and live flamenco from around 8pm until 4am.

Casa de la Memoria de l’Andalus, in c/Ximinez de Encisco 28, has nightly flamenco shows in a patio setting while Los Gallos, at Plaza de Santa Cruz is also well regarded.

Seville clubs

Seville is a very late-night city with partying starting between 2am and 4am. Be careful about dress code – always dress more smartly at weekends when casual wear can prevent you getting into many nightclubs.

Younger music fans will be drawn to La Sala Malandar in Calle Torneo, the most fashionable and sophisticated music nightclub venue in the city.

The Plaza Alfalfa and the Alameda de Hércules areas are also popular – try Bulebar, La Habanilla or the Fun Club – this nightclub has funk, latino and hip-hop in a warehouse and also features jazz nights. Naima offers live jazz and is well worth a visit.

Other popular nightclub venues include Weekend at c/del Torneo, with top-class live music and DJs; Aduana – a huge dance venue about a kilometre south of Maria Luisa park at Avenida de la San Antonio Raza s/n; and the Lisboa Music Club at c/Faustino Álvarez. La Imperdible stages contemporary dance and live music at Plaza San Antonio de Padua 9.

There’s a lively nightclub scene in Triana – try La Otra Orilla with a terrace overlooking the river.

Seville opera, theatre and jazz

The Seville opera season is nearly a year-long at the Teatro de la Maestranza, opened in 1992 and one of Spain’s finest stages. The Seville Symphonic Orchestra also plays almost every Thursday and Friday. There’s open-air opera at the Auditorium of la Cartuja.

The Seville Jazz Festival is held at Teatro de la Maestranza in early spring while the main theatre is the Teatro Lope de Vega, featuring Spanish national companies.

Seville rock concerts

The big Seville rock concerts tend to be at the two football stadiums or the Expo site. The official ticket agent is La Teatral in Calle Velázquez near the Plaza del Duque de la Victoria, or at the El Corte Inglés store.

Getting around

With the main attractions all within walking distance, Seville is an easy city to explore. Local public transport has improved dramatically with the construction of a new Metro system and, for the more romantic visitor, there are horse carriages for hire.

Seville walking

Walking is the best way to enjoy a Seville. Nearly all the major sights are close to each other and many of the streets in Barri Santa Cruz, including the main shopping streets, are pedestrian only or are so narrow that only a scooter can get through.

Walking tours for small groups (minimum four people) are available, Monday to Saturday (Monday, Wednesday and Friday in August). Tours of the Cathedral and Alcazar can also be arranged. Call 902 158 226 or 616 501 100 for information.

María Luisa Park

Seville buses

Seville has a good network of buses including services to the railway station and the airport. Buses are also a useful way of returning to the city centre after walks in the huge Maria Luisa Park and the Plaza de España, particularly in the tiring heat of summer.

Seville has a couple of open-top tour bus firms – SevillaTour (red) and Tour por Sevilla (green). They are based by the Torre del Oro on the riverside. The buses are hop-on and off, but with only a few stops and long distances between them, they are of limited value.

While buses are a great way to see the major parks, the narrow streets of Seville city centre mean they can only run along the main avenues – in effect the inner ring road. The bus tour across the river can also be disappointing.

Seville metro

Seville has been building a 19km tram system since 2003 and the first city centre service started in April 2009. Trams now connect Plaza Nueva, Avenida de la Constitución, Puerta Jerez, Calle San Fernando (the University) and the Prado de San Sebastian.

Trams connect with the airport bus arriving at Plaza Nueva. Eventually the tram will link up with the Santa Justa train station, but nothing seems to happen with a great deal of urgency.

A four line metro system is planned, most of it underground. Work on one line is well advanced and work on the other three is set to start in 2010.

Seville horse carriage

This is the romantic way to tour Seville. Horse carriages are widely available around the Cathedral at an official price of €30 an hour. They seat four with maybe a fifth sitting next to the driver.

Seville river cruise

The Guadalquivir is one of the great rivers of Spain and Seville is the only river port in the country. Historically, the port was the main link with the Americas until Cadiz took over much of the traffic.

Cruise boats run from near the Torre del Oro – with a reduced price if combined with a Tourist Bus ticket – and Seville cruises last an hour with departures every half hour. While the views are OK, this is more of a pleasant way to cool down on a sweltering summer’s day.

Seville taxis

Seville taxis are numerous and reasonably cheap. They can be hailed in the street if the light is illuminated. Tips are generally 10% of the taxi fare.

Valencia City

Valencia Travel Guide

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, after Spain’s capital, Madrid, and Barcelona. The city is a pleasant surprise for anyone who chooses to visit it, but also to those who return or even decide to settle here for good. The city is located on the east coast of Spain, on the shores of Mediterranean Sea and it was an important harbor of the Iberian Peninsula and an economic power and a famous cultural center.

One of the greatest attractions in Valencia is Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas, a splendid baroque building, whose facade is adorned with extravagant sculptures, and its interiors successfully match the outside. This palace houses the Museo Nacional de Ceramica, which exhibits works from Manises, Paterna and Alcora.

Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas

Museo de Bellas Artes is another imposing building in Valencia and one of the most famous museums in the country. The world-renowned artists El Greco, Velasquez and Goya have many of their works exhibited here. Another famous touristic objective is Loja de Sela, a remarkable gothic building dating from the XV century.

Catedrala de Valencia is located in the heart of the city; as representatives from Vatican claim, it houses the famous Graal and the cup used at the Last Supper. Even if this might be just a legend, this does not prevent thousands of pilgrims from visiting the cathedral each year.

Bull fights have always been a strong symbol of Spain and this bloody tradition is well represented in Valencia in Museo Taurino, one of the oldest and most impressive such museums in Spain, displaying many items and documents, which tell the story of bull fights throughout the 18th-20th centuries.

One of the most important cultural events in Valencia is Las Fallas, a festival that lasts from 12 to 19th of March. During the festival, hundreds of huge statues made of papier-mache are risen in all squares of the city and most of them are critical or ironic messages.

Best of Valencia

Valencia is a large, beautiful city, which pulses with life and features some touristic sights unique in Europe. You can either visit Valencia by foot, by car or with a touristic guide to enjoy the best of Valencia.

Torres de Serranos

The tour of the city usually starts from the old historical center, where you can admire old parts of the old fortress, known as Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart. Valencia’s Cathedral can be visited free of charge and is one of the most important places for sightseeing in the city. It is an old construction, built in the 18th century, on the spot of a former mosque. It has a gothic design and houses holy treasures of Christianity (such as the Graal) and art masterpieces.

Torres de Quart and Torres de Serrano

La Lonja de la Seda

The building known as La Lonja de la Seda is the most famous building in Spain included in the UNESCO patrimony and considered the best-preserved example of late gothic architecture.

Plaza de la Virgen

The squares in the city, such as Plaza de la Virgen, are very beautiful places where you can admire the fountains and architecture of the buildings and you can have lunch at a terrace. Green areas of the city, and Turia gardens, are other free attractions, extremely beautiful.

Valencia’s museums

Museo Fallero

Museo Fallero is famous for its extensive exposition of items and documents related to the history of bull fighting in this region. Between 12 and 19th or March, the city hosts a celebration called Las Fallas (The Celebration of Fire) and the locals burn paper statues of politicians, characters in books or movies. As a remembrance of each year’s festival, only one of this statues in kept in Museo Fallero.

Museo Historico Municipal

Those who love history can visit the Museo Historico Municipal located in the building Ayuntamiento (City Hall). The museum has an impressive collection, including special items such as Senyera (Regional Flag), many very old books, documents and objects that belonged to various trade guilds.

Museo Maritimo Joaquin Saludes

Among the important museums we can also count the Museo Maritimo Joaquin Saludes, located in Torres de Serranos which hosts an impressive collection of amphorae and other archaeological objects recovered from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, and an exhibition of models of ships.

Instituto Valenciano Arte Moderno

Instituto Valenciano Arte Moderno focuses mainly on the modern and contemporary art and displays a permanent exhibition of sculpture by Julio Gonzalez and numerous exhibitions of some of the leading avant-garde artists of today.

Food in Valencia

The rich variety of the cuisine in Valencia successfully reflects the diversity and attractiveness of the products here, and offers a list of pleasant surprises to any foreign visitor.

Paella stands among the specialties of the place, with a long tradition. Paella is cooked over a wood fire and is one of the famous Valencian recipes based on rice. Other famous foods that contain rice are arros a banda (rice with seafood or fish), arros negre (rice with cuttlefish), arros amb fesols i naps (rice with beans and turnips) and many others.

Valencian Paella

In Valencia, you will be lucky to enjoy the famous local noodles, which resemble to paella, but are made of pasta instead of rice, all i pebre, eels in garlic sauce, suquet de peix, some sort of dish prepared with fish, esgarrat, salted cod with sweet peppers, and figatell, liver meatballs.

All these delights are excellent when combined with the local wines, from the white wines, called Alto Turia, or Serrania, to the red wines, such as Requena, Utiel or Campo de Lliria.

There are many local deserts served in Valencia’s restaurants. Most people prefer the fresh fruit that have an incredibly good taste among which oranges occupy the first place. Arnadi, a sweet potato pie, is a preferred cooked dessert.

Mercado de Colón

If you like to prepare your own meals, at extremely affordable prices, you can do your shopping for food in one of Valencia’s many open-air markets. The Central Market or Mercado Central is a place where you can find fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood at a very low cost.

There are many restaurants in the city where promotions are made. For instance, a three-course meal may cost as little as 10 euros per person. Bars and clubs also serve the famous appetizers food known as tapas, which may be a good meal and very low prices.

Shopping in Valencia

Valencia is one of the few European cities where you can admire sunny beaches, surrounded by mountains and beautiful natural parks. In addition, the historical center of this wonderful settlement is guarded by old defense towers that offer a great view over the Mediterranean Sea.

Shopping Streets in Valencia

You can find many small stores on the streets that leave from the historical center, offering souvenirs and traditional items. If you are interested in jewelry and luxury stores, we recommend Calle Colon and its surroundings. On Calle Colon there are many other types of stores, including three different buildings from El Corte Ingles, the Spanish largest department store chain.

There are many other streets in Valencia, well-known for their various and attractive offers for shopping:

Poeta Querol is a street with fancy stores, famous for the brands they commercialize.

A street offering similar designer stores is Calle de Virués, also known as the Golden Mile. Barrior del Carmen is an attraction for those who don’t want to leave Valencia empty handed: small items, souvenirs, traditional clothing and art craft, antiquities – you name it, they offer.

La Calle de La Paz is mainly specialized on sports stores, and home items.

Barrio del Carmen

Shopping Malls in Valencia

Shopping stores are a convenient location to do your shopping when abroad. They gather together stores, which sell anything you might need or think of, from food courts, to clothing, shoes, souvenirs, cafes, electronics, music and film.

Galeria don Juan de Austria is a small shopping centre, attracting tourists and local population willing to spend high amounts of money on exquisite art items.

Centro Comercial el Saler is a tempting average-sized mall, with plenty of stores, a cinema, food court and a Carrefour supermarket on the ground floor.

Centro Comercial Nuevo Centro, another medium shopping center, includes over 30 shops and a Mercadona supermarket.

El Corte Ingles – Moda is a branch of the famous stores chains, that accommodates fancy clothing stores and can be found on Calle Pintor Sorolla.

Aqua Shopping Mall is a recently opened large mall, near the City of Arts and Sciences. Besides the regular stores attractions, it also offers leisure options, such as spa and beauty saloons.

Most shops open at 10 a.m. and close for lunch at 1-2 p.m.; they reopen their doors around 4-4:30 and close at 8:30 in the evening.

Is Madrid Worth Visiting

Is Madrid Worth Visiting

Is Madrid Worth Visiting? Absolutely! In the heart of Spain, Madrid is a unique city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family adventure, or an escape from the ordinary, Madrid is a great destination. From its world-famous museums and galleries to its vibrant nightlife and outdoor activities, Madrid is sure to keep you entertained. Learn more about why Madrid is worth visiting!

Madrid is steeped in history, but it’s also a modern, vibrant city. Located in the center of Spain, it has been the country’s capital since 1561. With its rich cultural heritage and vibrant nightlife, Madrid is the perfect destination for travelers looking for an authentic experience. From its beautiful parks and gardens to its iconic buildings, Madrid offers plenty of attractions for visitors to explore.

Parterre Garden Madrid

Flamenco

Once you set step in Madrid, you immediately get absorbed into the flamenco atmosphere, which is not only a simple style of music, but a synthesis of traditions. You will find yourself surrounded by flamenco everywhere: in magazines, radio programs, hundreds of dance academies, bars and restaurants.

Bullfighting

Bullfighting is another characteristic activity of this country. The most important arena for bull fighting is La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espritu Santo – a long name for a long appreciated occupation – and has with a capacity of 25,000 people and a very tempting program especially during the tourist season. The place is an impressive building of red bricks and pottery. In Madrid, the best time to watch bull fighting is in May and June, when there is the famous festival of San Isidro, the most famous festival that brings together combatants, both bulls and bullfighters.

bullfighting

Museums and Galleries

There are various museums and galleries for art lovers, but the main attraction of the capital of Spain is definitely the Royal Palace (or Palacio Real) which is partially open to the public. This wonderful architecture masterpiece was the royal residence of Carlos III and boasts the title of the largest palace in Western Europe. This is also the place where the King of Spain lives today, but the building is administered by the National Heritage and is one of the most striking symbols of Spain. It’s definitely worth visiting and photographing whenever you have a couple of hours to spare.

Royal Palace Madrid

Best Attraction of Madrid

A large economic and financial center, the heart of culture and art in Spain, capital of the monarchy, but of the fun as well, Madrid is the Spanish city that never sleeps, where the various rhythms overlap in a continuous fight. Tourism is highly developed, thus diversified, but the multiple possibilities give plenty of headaches to the uninitiated tourists. And that happens because, in a city like Madrid, this is the hardest thing to do: to make up your mind.

Prado Museum

Apparently founded by the Romans, but first attested in the ninth century, when it was already under Arab domination, Madrid today is synonymous with European art and culture. The Spanish Golden Triangle of Art is here and is composed of three museums with an unparalleled international reputation:

The Prado Museum certainly the most famous art center of the three ones mentioned, houses the largest collection of paintings of the world – over 8,500 works of art. Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is housed in the fascinating neoclassical building Villahermosa Palace and the National Center of Arts Reina Sofia is the perfect choice for those who thirst for contemporary art.

Prado Museum Madrid

The Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre (Teatro Real or Teatro de la Ópera) can be visited in Plaza de Oriente, facing the Royal Palace. It is both a masterpiece of architecture and a historical place; here, almost every great opera singer of the nineteenth and twentieth century has set foot and performed live at least once in their lives.

Royal Theatre Madrid

El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

One of the most famous football stadiums in the and has a capacity of 75.342 people. It was used for European Cup final on several occasions and 2010 UEFA Champions Leagure final. A sight not to be missed for football fans!

Gran Via

Gran Via is the heart of the city, its busiest and most crowded boulevard, where life mumbles day and night. It is the district of cinemas and theatres, business buildings, shopping centers, cafes and reflects the very essence of the modern Madrid. You will find lots of Spanish fashion brands here like Zara, Pull & bear etc. Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the majneficent sight of the lavishly decorated buildings while shopping.

Gran Vía Madrid

Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol is a place always crowded, always alive and welcoming. From here you can choose to walk on the streets, waste time enjoying a glass of Sangria in one of the many restaurants or cafes nearby or lose your head and your money in a fashion store. From downtown you can choose any path. Any road has plenty of surprises of the restless visitor. However, it would be a great idea if you kept your map at hand, as getting lost in Madrid is not only possible, but also highly probable.

Exploring the Unique Neighborhoods of Madrid

Madrid is full of unique neighborhoods to explore. Each one offers something different, from the traditional atmosphere of the Barrio de las Letras to the lively atmosphere of La Latina. Other popular neighborhoods to explore include Malasaña, Chueca, and Lavapies. Each one has its own distinct character, making it easy to find something to suit every traveler’s taste.

Best Time of Year to Visit Madrid

The best time to visit Madrid is between April and June, when the weather is mild and the city is in full bloom. The months of July and August can be hot, so if you’re looking for a more comfortable climate, plan your trip for the spring or fall. Winter can be cold, but there’s still plenty to do in the city, including Christmas markets and ice skating.

Food in Madrid

If you are a vegetarian, there are few survival chances for you in Spain. Luckily, Madrid has some vegetarian restaurants, but apart from this city, Spain is not ready for vegetarians.

Good news though for meat lovers: if you really want to eat something local then the first dish that you should order for lunch in winter, is the delicious Madrilenian steak called cocido madrileno which is traditionally cooked in an earthen pot on fire wood. This dish is served in two stages: you eat the soup first, where the noodles have been previously added, and then meat and vegetables. The dish goes best with a red spaniel wine, for example a bottle of La Mancha. For accuracy, it should be added that Madrid also has a less spectacular culinary specialty – beef or sheep (callos) tripe.

Eating and drinking in Madrid is more than a necessity, and they may become genuine revelations for the visitor’s taste buds. One of Madrid’s greatest charms is the possibility of visiting any of the countless bars, cafes and restaurants as a way to relax at dusk, after a tiring day of wandering through museums or galleries.

Madrid’s Eating Places

The city takes pride in its many restaurants, which offer services for all tastes and pockets. The eating places here are known under many names: asador (where meat is roasted a wood oven), meson and tasca (the old name for “inn”). One of the city’s specific eating places is the taberna, an old bar, often decorated with ceramic plates, which functions as a restaurant.

The Traditional Dishes

In all these places you will find a wide variety of Spanish dishes, including best Basque specialties (considered the tastiest in Spain) and the filling ones from Castile: suckling pig roast (cochinillo Asado) and lamb (Cordero). Surprisingly for a city located so far from the coast, Madrid has the best offer of fish dishes and seafood in the whole country.

In this multicultural city, breakfast begins late (at 9:30) with the customary coffee (which is great in all cafes from Madrid) seasoned with a healthy sandwich (half a stick filled with jamon and cheese) or a potato tortilla (omelet). The cost of breakfast is usually very low, under 10 EURO.

When it comes to lunch, Spaniards definitely know how to enjoy it. This meal never starts sooner than 1:30 p.m., but it sometimes lasts until 4 p.m. All locations prepare special menus for lunch, which usually costs over 9 EURO and includes appetizers, the main course, dessert and coffee, including a drink. A traditional inspired lunch menu may include gazpacho (cold vegetable soup), ox tail stew and flan cream for dessert.

A cold beer during summer or a glass of vermouth goes great before dinner, which usually starts at 9 p.m. Tapas (Spanish snacks) are famous throughout the world, and the bars (tapas bar) and breweries (cervezeria) compete to feed their customers with snacks in eager rivalry.

Shopping in Madrid

More and more people leave for a city break at least once a year, in large cities among which the capital of Spain often jumps off the “maybe someday” list and becomes a reality.

Maybe you cannot arrive in Madrid during summer time, but you will have even more fun at the beginning of autumn, when prices usually drop to 50% of what they used to be during the touristic season. Madrid seduces its tourists with an exceptionally tempting shopping offer, with shops on all tastes and budgets, especially during January (the winter sales) and July-August (the summer sales).

Shopping Malls

Calle Fuencarral is a small, bohemian street strategically positioned close to the city center, packed with famous brands stores and outlets. Mercado Fuencarral, built on the street with the same name, is a three-store-high commercial centre, selling nonconformist, colorful clothes and offers just about anything, from tattoos, house decorations, souvenirs, weird haircuts and others alike.

Principe Pio Shopping Mall can be found inside the historical train station Principe Pio. It is an impressive construction meant to accommodate an incredible array of shops with clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, gift shops, both foreign and local.

La Esquina del Bernabéu is most famous for hosting the official store of the Real Madrid team.

Shopping Areas

Grand Via is one of the most beautiful streets of Madrid, that also happens to accommodate the premises of some famous brands impossible to ignore like H&M, C&A, Zara, Mango, Stradivarius, Nike, Adidas, Punto Blanco.

If you have a low budget destined to shopping, you can definitely find something pretty on your taste in one of the small boutiques across the two pedestrian streets, Calle Preciados and Calle Carmen. Tourists never miss the FNAC shopping mall when visiting the area – it is one of the biggest malls in town, specializing in books and music.

The Chueca neighborhood is filled with non-traditional and avant-garde shops, offering their products at prices covering any range: from the most expensive, exquisite, chic clothing, to the cheapest, yet cute items. If you want to shop in the most famous fashion magazines in Madrid, you need to pay a visit to the Salamanca shopping area.

Entertainment Options for Visitors in Madrid

Madrid is filled with entertainment options for visitors. The city offers a wide range of cultural experiences, from live music venues to theater and dance performances. There are also plenty of bars and clubs to explore, as well as outdoor events in the city’s parks and plazas. Madrid is also home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world, so be sure to take some time to explore them.

Nightlife Scene of Madrid for the Young at Heart

Madrid is well-known for its vibrant nightlife scene. From traditional tapas bars to trendy clubs, there’s something for every taste. Some of the best areas for nightlife in Madrid include Malasaña, Chueca, and La Latina. On weekends, the city comes alive with street parties, live music, and more.

Outdoor Activities Around the City of Madird

Madrid is a great destination for outdoor activities. The city is surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens, perfect for strolling or picnicking. The Retiro Park is one of the most popular parks in the city, with its stunning lake and gardens. Other popular outdoor activities include cycling in the Casa de Campo, hiking in the Sierra de Guadarrama, and exploring the nearby towns of Segovia and Toledo.

Retiro Park Madrid

Getting Around in Madrid

Getting around in Madrid can be dazzling if you have not planned your trip carefully in advance. Before leaving for Madrid you should get informed on its public means of transportation, which are diverse and a lot cheaper than traveling with cabs. For instance, going from the Barajas airport to the center of the city by cab might cost you up to 25-30€, while taking the subway costs you 7.4€ for a 10-rides ticket.

The Subway in Madrid

Metro de Madrid is the subway system covering all the metropolitan area of Spain capital and it is among the most complex subway systems in the world. The subway covers the whole city; its lines intersect in many points, so there are always more options to customize your route, depending on your needs.

Moreover, you can find the Madrid subway map in any subway station, as well as inside the vehicles themselves. Unlike in some European countries, the subway always comes from the right side in Madrid, apart from one station, Nuevos Ministerios, where the subway going to the airport comes from the left side.

Buses in Madrid

When it comes to prices for bus tickets, Madrid is situated at the bottom of the most-expensive-tickets list. One can pay the cheapest bus fare in Europe in Romania’s capital (0.31€), Bucharest, while the most expensive one-travel ticket is in London – 2.99€.

Unlike the ticket validation system in Barcelona, where, for 1h or 1.5h you could switch buses using the same ticket, in Madrid you can use a ticket only for one travel. Once you get of the bus, you need to buy a second ticket if you anticipate you will be using the bus again.

The autonomous transportation company in Madrid is a pioneer in applying new technologies on public transportation lines. Starting from 2009, the company created Tempus, the first bus in the world equipped with both an electric traction motor, suitable for the city center, and a traditional diesel one. This type of bus can recover up to 30% of the energy normally required.

As a tourist, you can also use the touristic bus called Madrid Vision, which can take you anywhere around the city, and stops at any touristic attraction. The bus fare for a whole city tour is 17€.

Tips For Staying Safe While Visiting Madird

Madrid is a safe city, but it’s always important to take some precautions. Avoid walking alone late at night and be aware of your belongings. Pickpockets can be a problem in crowded areas, so be sure to keep your valuables close. It’s also a good idea to stay in well-lit, populated areas. Most importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy your time in Madrid.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is really worth it to visit Madrid. Madrid is a wonderful city with plenty to see and do. Whether you’re looking for museums, shopping, or nightlife, you’ll find it here! With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start.

Explore Spain

Spain Travel Guide

Spain is located in southwestern Europe, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, occupying a great territory of the Iberian Peninsula, which also hosts Portugal. The country also includes ones of the most beautiful islands in the world, considered by most visitors a touristic haven – the Kanuri and Baleares Islands. The Strait of Gibraltar, 14 km long, is in possession of Great Britain and separates Spain from Africa.

Information About Spain

Like most European countries, Spain is divided into 50 highly autonomous regions, among which Catalonia is known world wide as its history, language and specific culture offers it a distinct character against the rest of Spanish regions.

Spain’s currency is peseta, which equals 100 centimes.

Economy in Spain

Spain has been part of the EU since 1986 and the eight most important EU member. It is an agrarian-industrial country where the public capitalist sector plays an important role in the economy. Due to the international economic crisis, Spain was forced to adopt the harshest austerity measures in the past 30 years to reduce its budget deficits.

Culture in Spain

Spanish culture is a mixture of traditions with influences ranging from Iberian and Latin directions; it is an eclectic world of religious and cultural minorities, with a long and fascinating history.

The official language in Spain is the Castilian dialect. In some autonomous communities like Catalonia, Calicut, Valencia and the Basque territory, the majority of the population also speaks local dialects, and most of them are extremely different from Castilian.

When it comes to traditions, Christmas is celebrated throughout Spain by most its inhabitants. The celebrations last until the 6th of January, yet the most important day is December 24th, Noche Buena, when families gather to enjoy Christmas.

On the 6th of January, the Three Kings celebration is held in memory of the Three Magi, the streets being crossed by the crowd of people, and children receive sweets and gifts.

In a country full of contrasts, there is no better place to learn Spanish than the southern region called Andalusia, famous for its flamenco dances, pueblos blancos – the traditional houses panted in white, Mauro palaces, bull fighting and the sunny beaches in Costa del Sol.

La Tomatina festival in Valencia is an unusual event, during which participants are fighting in a genuine way, throwing ripe tomatoes at each other.

Cities In Spain

Spain is a beautiful country bordering both the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Its background goes all the way back to prehistoric times, as it has long been a well sought after country as far as location is concerned. Modern day Spain is a beautifully diverse country offering up Spanish culture at its best.

The cities within Spain each have their own unique stories and histories, each as interesting as the next. Spain is mostly a peninsula country; its geography is varied and almost entirely surrounded by water. There are many cities in Spain and they each serve different roles in the economic structure of the country.

Madrid

Madrid is not only capitol of Spain, but the largest city in all of Spain. Madrid is the heart of Spain, and is constantly bustling with tourism. It is said to be the most Spanish city in Spain. More people visit Madrid then any other city within Spain. This urban city brings great Spanish cuisine, night clubs and is the best place to experience Spanish live music.

Barcelona

Barcelona is the 2nd biggest city in all of Spain, with an economy that makes it the 4th richest city in the European Union. Barcelona is, among other things, the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean coastline. Barcelona’s International Airport receives roughly 30 million passengers per year, and remains on the most important tourist attractions in Spain. Great beaches, pubs, restaurants can be found in Barcelona. Barcelona is filled with rich history or arts and architecture.

Valencia

Valencia is the 3rd largest city in Spain, boasting a dense population and rich heritage. It is a beautiful city adorned with unique structures and lovely homes. Many people come from all over the world to sample some of the wonderful gastronomic foods that Valencia offers.

Granada

Granada is the capital of the province with the same name in Southern Spain. It is a beautiful, small city, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and it spreads all across the Darro and Genil valleys. The settlement is famous mainly due to its historical Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance heritage.

El Mirador de San Nicolas Granada

Seville

Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain and the capital of the famous region Andalusia. It is a large artistic, cultural and economic center, famous for its famous touristic attractions, such as the Giralda Tower and the Alcazar Palace. In fact, Alcazar, Seville’s Cathedral and Archivo de Indias have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage in 1987.

Bilbao

Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country and in the province of Vizcaya. It is an industrial settlement, located along the Nervion River. The city is mainly famous due to its City Hall constant efforts to renew and modernize it and also because of the Bilbao phenomenon – the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao has attracted an incredible number of tourists and has become a cultural, social and economic phenomenon.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian, also known as Donostia, is an important city in the Basque region in Northern Spain. Today, the city is in the top of the best beaches in the country, but it offers so much more to its visitors – traditional boulevards mixed among futuristic buildings, many bars and restaurants and also plenty of opportunities for shopping lovers.

Ibiza

Everybody has heard of Ibiza or even intended to once visit it. It is the most famous Balearic Islands, situated the closest to the east coast of Spain. Besides its famous beaches, tourists can enjoy open-air concerts, can walk around through the city surrounded with Renaissance walls, or attend theater and opera performances.

Malaga

Malaga has gained its popularity especially due to its inspired location, Costa del Sol, 100 kilometers away from the Gibraltar Strait. It is a wonderful destination for vacations or short visits, due to its incredible array of beaches, luxurious nature and gentle weather.

No matter which cities in Spain you choose to go, there will also be surprises awaiting for you…

Best of Spain

The Spanish cities and towns are breathtakingly beautiful and offer really old monuments and futuristic architecture. Spain has amazing climate and is truly a very fascinating country! It is an extremely popular location and has a lot more to offer than its fantastic beaches and abundant sunshine.

The Spanish bullfights and Flamenco music and dance are famous worldwide. Spain is a truly a beautiful country and is definitely one of Europe’s cultural centers. It is the holiday destination of a many a dream come true for all those who badly need a vacation.

Madrid and Barcelona

Madrid is the capital of Spain and it is the most popular destination in Spain. Great art galleries, fine restaurants, night clubs and live music are the main attractions in Madrid. Barcelona on the other hand offers a different experience. This cosmopolitan city has great beaches and Gothic architectures in bizarre forms. It is a city filled with art, architecture and style.

Spanish architecture

The cultural palette of Spain has no parallel. Spain is a treasure chest of fine architectural marvels and artistic talent. The monuments and historical buildings are beautiful and have been constructed to perfection. It contains Muslim palaces, roman relics, baroque cathedrals and also modern constructions. The best of Spanish architecture can be seen in Barcelona, Madrid and Bilbao.

Spanish Art

Spanish artists were greatly talented and played important roles in various European artistic movements. Spanish museums are very popular and house some of the finest pieces of art, which have been declared masterpieces by experts all over the world.

Bullfighting in Spain

Bullfighting is one of the traditions in Spain and millions of visitors flock to Spain to catch this spectacular show. The Matador will fight the bull and finish it off with his sword. A great place to watch bullfighting will be in Madrid.

Spanish Flamenco Dances

Spanish music is synonymous to Flamenco, which is a west Andalusia music genre and is not exactly popular in any other region of the world. The guitar originates from Spain and so do the bagpipes. Spanish dances are popular worldwide.

Spanish Night Clubs

Spain has the best of clubs in Europe and all those who love partying and dancing the night away frequent these clubs. The Spanish bullfights are popular worldwide. Most tourists visit Spain just to witness the bullfight.

Spanish Cuisine

Spanish food is absolutely delicious and mouth watering. Seafood is quite common owing to the several water bodies that surround the country.

Spanish beaches and Parks

Spain has several exotic and fantastic beaches. It is a perfect holiday spot and is the best place to be for all those who need a beach vacation. Spain also has several beautiful parks, which are breathtaking, and tourists love visiting the Spanish parks.

Things to do in Spain

Are you on a vacation trip to Spain and trying to find things to do there? There are plenty of activities and things to do in Spain from sightseeing of the beautiful architectural buildings to enjoying musical concerts. There are many bull fighting events as well as festivals celebrating many Spain cultures.

A trip to the theme parks, museums, zoos and parks can be quite enjoyable too. There are plenty of things to do in this beautiful country. Especially when the weather is good, you can enjoy the sun in the beaches of Barcelona.

Visit Theme Parks and Museums

There are several theme parks throughout Spain to enjoy. There are theme parks in Barcelona, Seville and San Bartholomew just to name a few. There are many huge museums spread throughout Spain. These museums have stored many arts, sculptures medals and cultural items on display. If you want to learn more about Spain, it is best to visit one of these museums.

Sightseeing and Shopping

There are so many sites to see and explore in Spain. If you are on a vacation, plan to Spain, you can visit many of these sites. There are many old shops to shop at and just walking through the old parts of some of the towns in Spain is fantastic. The architectural work in Spain is really terrific.

Zoos and Aquariums

The zoos and aquariums are very interesting places to visit with many different species of animals. There are shows with animals performing as well as teaching you about the different types of animals. Your family will love the zoo, especially the kids.

Visit the Alhambra in Granada

This Moorish fortified fortress is totally unbelievable. The compound is infinite and covers a large part of the city centre. You will spend even your whole day to explore this magnificent palace.

Skiing at the Sierra Navada Mountains

These mountains are located closely to the famous vacationer’s spots such as Malaga and Torremolinos. During late spring, skiing can be enjoyed in the morning and in the afternoon, enjoy sunbathing on the beaches. Strange natural set up that you would hardly find anywhere in the world.

Participate in Local Village Fiestas

There are several local fiestas taking place throughout the year in which you can take part. However, most of these village fiestas are of religious in nature, but still they offer a lot of fun. The colorful processions are worth to see and cherish, and then there are parties that usually go on throughout the night.

Running with the Bulls

If you are strong at heart, you can join in the bull runs in Pamplona. If you are not a good runner, it is best to let others run with the bulls. Many get injured in this risky but exciting Spanish festival.

Golfing at Valderrama

Valderrama is an 18-hole championship golf ground that is spread over an area of 6,356 sq meters. Besides Valderrama, the Costa del Sol golf courses are also fantastic. These golf courses along with the friendly weather delight any golfer.

Attractions in Spain

Spain has many beautiful cities and great attractions. Good climate and the scenery of the beautiful mountains are fabulous. Spain is best known for its bullfighting and music. You will discover lots of wonderful historic sites to visit in Spain.

This country is a vacation spot that many of us only dream of visiting. There are many beautiful architectural buildings to see in Spain as well as the beautiful art work in the many galleries.

Entertainment and food is just splendid. Bullfighting alone brings in a million tourists to this great country every year. If you dream to take a wonderful vacation, come to Spain and enjoy the beautiful beaches and parks. This is one vacation that you will not forget.

Sagrada Família, Barcelona

The Sagrada Família is the half-built Catholic Church. Architect Gaudí was its architect and it was his favorite project. The construction work stopped here with his death in 1926. Since 1979, the work has been in progress to finish the church according to the design conceptualized by Gaudí.

Sagrada Família

The Alhambra, Granada

Granada city is the most famous for being the old Moorish capital of Spain. This is also home to the great Islamic art and architecture. There are magnificent palace, patios and gardens to visit here. Alhambra’s ancient Muslim fortress is the greatest attraction here which offers great views of the city from the tops of its towers.

The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum has been opened for public since October 1997. It is one of the most vital centers of modern and contemporary art in the world. The huge futuristic structure was designed by Frank O. Gehry and this outstanding building in Bilbao is one of the most important constructions of the 20th century.

La Tomatina Festival, Buñol, Valencia

This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight. ‘La Tomatina’ festival is the place where over 240,000 pounds of tomatoes are hurled at each other, every year on the last Wednesday of August. The streets literally get flooded with tomato pulp, juice, and seeds. All tourists will enjoy this event.

Cordoba

The Romans are said to be the founders of the city of Cordoba. The Romans built a majestic bridge across the Guadalquivir River. The bridge still exists today and is a remarkable piece of ancient architecture. The mosque of the Mezquita is also here, which is one of the largest and most remarkable mosques in the entire Islamic world.

The Feria de Abril, Seville

The Feria de Abril is a massive festival that features flamenco dancing and lots of celebrations. This festival is held yearly two weeks after the Easter Week. The festival commences with the official lighting of millions of lanterns. This is the perfect place to see the real of Spain.

The Picos de Europa

The Picos de Europa is a wonderful mountain range located in northwest part of Spain. One can reach here after two hours of drive from Santander. The Picos are the biggest single collection of mountain limestone in the whole of Europe and has a magnificent maritime range. This mountain range is a haven for hikers and climbers.

The Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are located just opposite to the eastern Spanish mainland. They are a collection of four main islands – Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Each of these islands has their own distinctive qualities and attraction.

Toledo

The city of Toledo has been included in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1987. The city is built on a rough cliff and is surrounded by the Tagus River on its three sides. One can visit the Army Museum here which has been accommodated in a huge 16th century Alcázar fortress. There are several ancient mosques, churches and synagogues in the city.

Spain Beaches

Spain has some beautiful beaches with over 5,000 miles of coastline; there are many Spain beaches to enjoy. Are you trying to decide where to take a vacation? Spain would be perfect with beaches and parks and many attractions to visit. Tourists like to visit Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol but there are many beaches that are just as beautiful including a few nudist beaches. La Concha is the best beach in Spain, actually it is the best beach in Europe. It is a very nice beach for being in a city; this beach sits in the north-east corner of Spain.

Playa de Las Catedrales

This beach is in Galicia, there are many rock formations that have been formed by the sea and they are an amazing site to see in Spain. This beach is also known as the beach of the cathedrals. It is located in the North West corner of Spain and, due to its naturally formed caves and arches, has been declared a Natural Monument. It is highly recommended to leave the caves before the water invades the beach, as the walls or roofs of the caves might collapse due to water erosion.

Playa de Las Catedrales

Ses Illetes, Balaeric Islands

If you love swimming in clear blue waters than this is the beach for you. This beach waters are beautiful you can actually see the ocean floor; the water is clean and clear. Ses Illetes lures its visitors with its beauty, and this is the reason why there are always plenty of tourists coming from Ibiza by boat, to spend several hours or maybe a few days on this wonderful shores.

Beaches of Sitges

Near Barcelona there are many beautiful beaches. This party town has many beaches to party on. This town has several nudist beaches. There are also a few gay beaches but the majority of the beaches are mixed. This area has become extremely trendy at the beginning of the 20th century, period that left as legacy a series of elegant villas and mansions, spread all across the shores. The seaside is made of a lot of small bays with golden sands. You can also find more quiet beaches near the old city of Sitges. On the other hand, if you have a more adventurous temper, you can always try out any of the various water sports offers – scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing, boat excursions.

Sitges Spain

Tarifa, Andalusia

This beach is great for windsurfing in Spain. You can even see whales from the beach. And the nightlife scene is right here on the beach with drinking, eating and dancing the night away. This one thing about this beach is the wind; the wind can be very strong at times and sand blows everywhere. When you go home you will clean sand out from under your bathing suit. The wild coast of Tarifa equally attracts surfers and those who enjoy relaxing in the middle of nature. These beaches are highly appreciated by ornithologists, due to the large variety of bird species living here.

Food in Spain

Spain has a rich background of cultural foods that have been a staple of tourism as well as residential likeness. The native residents of Spain have always enjoyed their style of food, and keep the traditions alive even in present day Spain. Spain’s long history which has involved the country with many different cultures has lead to its unique and exceptional foods today.

The types of foods that are prepared in Spain are greatly due to the seafood which is abundant in the Oceans surrounding this peninsula country. Of course, Spain has very deep ties with Mediterranean culture, rounding out the food to be unique in every way.

Paella

Paella is a dish that originated sometime in the 19th century to its modern form that we know today. It is a dish made mostly of Valencian rice, and was created in Valencia itself. It is known that many non-Spanish people renown Paella as Spain’s national dish, yet Spain disregards this, opting to consider it a traditional dish of Valencia. It can be made with or without seafood, and there is also a type of Paella that uses seafood and other meats.

Potato Omelet

The potato omelets, or tortilla de patatas, are one of the most recognized foods in all of Spain. It has long been prepared by the native peoples of Spain and is well loved by nearly all who have tried it. It is, simply put, a fried omelets mixed with fried potatoes, making it thick and hearty.

Emputido

Empuditos are well known in many parts of Europe and are a favorite of many more. It is essentially a sausage made of pork which is traditionally wrapped in the skin of pig’s intestines. It may not sound so good, but it is incredibly tasty according to the locals who still make this traditional dish.

Getting Around In Spain

Getting around in Spain can be done easily with different modes of transportation. The transportation in Spain is compiled of an extensive network of Highways, freeways, passage by airplanes, rapid transit, railroads and ports. Each mode of transportation is key to the economic and general structure of the country, while offering different styles of comfort and speed.

Traveling by Train in Spain

Travel across different Spain cities by high speed trains or night trains. It is one of the fastest and cheaper way to reach different cities.

Highways

Highways in Spain cover much of the region, allowing for both civilian passage as well as cargo to be transported from nearly every corner of the country. Highways are popular among civilians traveling from one city to the next.

Freeways

Freeways offer the same type of transport as highways, but allow free passage rather then using pay tolls. Smooth paving and advanced networking make freeways a popular choice among residents and tourists alike.

Rapid Transit

Rapid transit systems are an extremely popular mode of transportation in the larger cities of Spain. They are typically found underground but can also be found suspended above ground. The purpose of rapid transit systems is to move large amounts of people in dense cities such as Madrid, in a short amount of time; without using much land area.

Airplanes

All great civilizations use airplanes as a means to move large distances in short amounts of time. Modern air travel has made it possible to fly across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in about a day’s time, sometimes less. Air travel in Spain offers transport around the country itself, as well as internationally to other countries in Europe and Asia and North and South America.

Ports

Ports have long been a crucial part of transportation in Spain, as well as crucial to all of the coastal cities in Europe. They offer passage by boat to other parts of the country as well as to Europe and Asia.

History of Spain

History of Spain goes all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire. The Romans invaded Spain in those days after a long enduring trek. After the Romans took over, they proceeded to name the region Hispaniola. It was in the middle ages that control of the region fell first into rule of Germans and later by the Muslim invading forces. Eventually, however, Christian influence rained down from the north until the Muslim impression was washed away. It was after this occurred in 1492 that Spain began to grow as the strongest kingdom in Europe, at that time.

The Celtics

It can also be noted that southwestern Spain and southern Portugal may very well have been the origination of Celtic culture. It can be traced back all the way to 500 years prior to any kind of recorded history in Europe. The region that is Spain today is also referred to as the Iberian Peninsula. During the 16th century, and much of the 17th century, Spain was the most dominant kingdom in all of Europe of much of the world.

Culturally Diverse

The history of Spain is rich and filled with many changes. The Country was under the control of many different empires until it finally became the country that it is today. Modern day Spain is a rich culturally diverse country that is an important part of the economic structure of Europe. Spain is now a democratic monarchy that has a king as well as a government.

A Unified Nation

Spain is now a unified nation, with 17 autonomous communities as well as two autonomous cities. It is noted that Spain has a King, Juan Carlos I as well as a prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Spain is also a frontrunner in the fight for gender equality in government.

Best Restaurants in Spain

Spaniards love food. Proof is the slew of restaurants in every nook, cranny, and highway of their beautiful country. Tourists craving for a slice of Spanish life on a platter or in little cups or tazas of steaming chocolate drink should take to the gustatory delights that are definitely Spanish. Get ready to add more inches to your waistline because Spaniards enjoy four meals a day!

Maipi

Valencia is synonymous with paella. But the culinary expertise of top chefs is not limited to this rice dish. In the Russafa district, you will find Maipi along Maestro Jose Serrano 1. For 40 Euros you can have tapas or lunch for two. Imagine blood sausage and fresh artichoke delicately wrapped in super-thin dough. Or if you are one for fish dishes, try the grilled cod fish flavored with lemon and olive oil mixture.

Balansiya

Balansiya is a restaurant that keeps the tradition of Moorish influences in local cuisine. This restaurant is parked along Paseo de las Facultades, between Carrer de Ramon Llull and Poeta Artola Calle. The menu offers couscous and Andalusian pasta which is a mix of chicken, nuts and cinnamon. Try the grape leaves with cereal stuffing and the almond mint dressing gives this dish its fantastic reputation. Wash the meal down with a concoction of flowers, fruits, herbs and spices. A full dinner menu charges 20 to 30 Euros per person.

Casa Lucio

Where do the Royals go when they eat out in Madrid? Casa Lucio. The place serves food worthy of its royal guests – huevos estrellados or broken eggs over potatoes slowly cooked in olive oil until the edges are crisp and sizzling steak. This is Madrid’s favorite comfort food. It is robust, tasty and filling. You can find this restaurant in Cava Baja.

Pan de Lujo

Pan de Lujo is the meal stop of the well-heeled who favor Mediterranean cuisine. The place shows off modern dining rooms with infused lighting with clean yet bold décor. A glass wall serves as the entrance to a reflecting pool. What’s hot here? The eggplant. It is paper-thin and drizzled with olive oil served up with hummus, poached snapper and crisp baby veggies. The apple tart is homemade but stylish. You shouldn’t go there without a reservation. You can find the place in Jorge San Juan

Amayra

Paella fans flock to Amayra restaurant in Madrid. The place also serves the best of Mediterranean cuisine at affordable prices. The best are the Iberico ham, gazpacho and hake smothered with red prawn sauce. The restaurant is located in Hotel Regina. Its location is ideal for tourists wandering in the busy Alcala district. For a memorable dinner, book your reservations online in advance.

Café Chinitas

In the heart of busy Madrid, Café Chinitas is your place for hearty Spanish meals. This place is on its 40th year. The restaurant gives you a perfect backdrop of an 18th century mansion. The décor boasts of famous Spanish matadors or bullfighters. For entertainment, a fiery flamenco dancer furiously and amorously dances to the strains of a flamenco guitar.

If you want to discover what other restaurants have to offer, put on your walking shoes and bring along a map. You can also check out other restaurants online from credited websites. Spanish restaurants always require advance reservation but you can always drop by those little cozy cafes and restaurants that serve authentic tapas and Spanish wine.

Weather in Spain

Due to its interesting geographical position (only 14 km away from the African continent), Spain does not have the same weather across the country. Testimony of this is the fact that Spain has deserts, semi-deserts, wet river valleys, but dried corridors as well, rocky coastlines and swamps.

Due to influences from Africa, during summer, heat waves affect the entire Iberian Peninsula. These are the combined effort of the high temperature above 44 degrees Celsius, which affects mostly southern Spain (Andalusia) and warm air masses arrived from northern Africa.

However, due to the gentle Mediterranean climate, the touristic season lasts all year long and in this country sun shines for almost 320 days a year; the high season months are June, July, August and September.

Seasons in Spain

The warmest region is alongside the Mediterranean Sea, namely, the south and east of Spain. There is a Mediterranean subtropical climate, and most days are sunny and bright. Temperatures fluctuate around the values of 25 to 30 °C, so we can talk about pleasant summer temperatures that encourage tourists to practice water sports and tanning.

Winters in Spain are mild; it is not worth speaking of a real winter when there are temperatures of 8-15 °C. Most rains happen in spring and autumn, but they are rather rare. However, they are more often alongside beaches.

As you come further into the continental area, the weather gets harsher. In Castilia-La Mancha, Extremadura, Madrid and Aragon the winters are much colder and often accompanied by snow. There are higher differences of temperature between day and night than some tourists might be used to, so it’s recommended you bring both summer clothes and warm, thick ones. There are also significant differences of temperature between mountain and lowland areas, where the climate is Continental.

The warmest region of Spain is Andalusia in the south. In July and August, the Andalusian average air temperature varies between 27 and 29 ºC and the sea water between 22 and 23 ºC.

Interesting Facts about Spain

Known for the bullfights, the world-class cuisine and its intoxicating culture, Spain is considered to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The country caters to hundreds of tourists flocking its shores year after year. But before you head out to this part of the world, here are some interesting facts that you should know about the country and Spanish culture that will make you appreciate that visit even more.

Fun Fact #1: Spain is considered to be the second richest in the tourism industry. In 2006, Spain earned a whopping 60 billion Euros from its tourist industry alone. So when you head out to the country, rest assured that there will always be a establishment that can cater to your every wish and whim- from five star hotels, budget accommodations to every travel and tour offers that you can imagine.

Fun Fact #2: Spain should be called the olive-oil capital of the world. Why so? This is because the country produces 44% of the olive oil in the world. More than 25% of the olive oil produced in Spain comes from the town of Jaen. The olive cooking oil is considered to be one of the staple cooking ingredients in Spanish cuisine.

Fun Fact #3: Although the modern day paella – one of the most famous Spanish dishes – is largely made out of different kinds of sea food, the original version was actually made out of chicken, snail meat or pork. Paella originated from the town of Valencia where seafood is very rare. Snail meat was one of the most common ingredients for those who could not afford pork, chicken or rabbit meat. Today, the town of Valencia still makes one of the best Paellas in the world and regularly hold cooking contest during town fiestas. If you are a huge fan of the dish, then a visit during these times would be one great gastronomical experience.

Fun Fact #4: A common misconception: Tapas is not a kind of food but a way of eating. In local dialect, tapas literally mean “to cover”. Traditionally, this way made to refer to placing a piece of cheese or ham over a hot drink. Today, the term is used to referred to food – any kind of food served in pubs and bars – some free of charge, some not.

Fun Fact #5: The third largest plantations in Spain are the grape vines, accounting to more than 15% of the world’s wine production. But although Spain is most famous for its exquisite, world class red-wines, more than half of their vineyard productions are white wines. More than half of the wines produced in the country are considered to be one of the finest wines in the world today.

Fun Fact #6: Nudity IS legal in Spain. So when you head out to the beach, do not be surprised to see people skinny dipping or simply basking everything out in the sun. This is a completely normal and accepted norm in the country.

So there you have it, interesting facts that any traveler should know about the country. So why not put this in your next destination list and experience all these interesting sights and sounds first hand.