Friday, 29 June 2007

The Annual Harley H.O.G takes over Fuengirola

The 16th Annual H.O.G ( Harley Davidson Owners Group ) took place recently in Fuengirola, on the Costa del Sol.. All records where set to be broken before hand when it was announced that over 10.000 Harley Owners and their precious bikes would be attending, well apparently it was nearer 11.000 .... and an amazing time was had by all.

There was also extra reason to celebrate this year’s gathering, as the ever popular organisation welcomed its 100,000th member in Europe.

Nigel Villiers, director of the Harley Owners Group Europe, Middle East & Africa, says: “There’s a real sense of anticipation around this year’s event. Not only is Fuengirola a fantastic venue for the rally but we’re also celebrating the arrival of our 100,000th European H.O.G. member - a tremendous achievement since our first rally in 1991.”

 Most of the bikes on display or being ridden around where pure works of art with a lot of the riders drawing as much attention as the bikes themselves. The picture above shows special cusom his and hers models reportedly to be worth over 150.000 Euros each , they where certainly spectacular in design and drew much attention whilst being on display at the main rally area in the centre of Fuengirola.

I think every once concerned will remember this event for a long time to come, not to mention the thousands of curios locals and holiday makers who turned to this festival ….…great fun indeed.

Monday, 25 June 2007

The Climate and Weather in Spain

Due to the important extension of land Spain comprehends and the different geographical areas it has, thus there are many different types of climate in Spain, although there are some general guidelines which can be applied to it as a whole.

In general, all the different areas of Spain show some similarities at each season, although many times they show important differences as well. Despite of learning the general weather conditions of the country at any given time, it is recommendable to learn about the particular weather of each specific region of Spain a tourist would meet before visiting it in order to be properly ready for it.

Summer time in Spain goes from June to September, and during this season the country receives a great amount of tourists who approach attracted by its beautiful beaches. During the central weeks of summer time, most of Spain offers a very hot weather, with temperatures that might be of more than 30º C at some areas.

During winter time, Spain doesn't offer very cold temperatures at most of its territory, although it does show some very low temperatures at some areas, such as for example in Madrid and the central region of the country. Within the central area of Spain, winter time offers temperatures which could reach low temperatures of around 0º C sometimes, although they averagely are of around 10º C.

Most tourists choose autumn or spring time for visiting Spain due to the way in which many of its regions offer their best climate around those époques of the year. During the last weeks of spring or the first days of autumn it might be even ideal for those who wish to enjoy Spain beaches, although towards the Atlantic Ocean there usually are important amounts of rains during those days.

Those tourists who wish to visit Spain without finding it much crowded, should choose October or May. October and May offer nice weather at most Spanish regions and, at the same time, these are not the months in which this country receives most of its visitors, turning them into ideal months for those who wish to meet the country in a more quieter way.

Author: Jakob Jelling
Jakob Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

Faces of Tarifa

Tarifa has long been known as a culturally-blended town, through all its incarnations: frontier fortress, fishing village, trendy tourist town. All the peoples who have settled in or near Tarifa have left a mark, from ancient Roman soldiers to Moorish settlers, Jewish merchants and Celto-Iberians. The Moorish style of architecture is the most common here, but everything else blends in with these walls to create a singularly beautiful place to vacation. You'll find virgin coastline, fine hotels, and tons of water sports to engage your interests.


Tarifa is a perfect place for surfers and beach lovers, and has perfect windsurfing waters and winds. More sedentary beachgoers can lounge on the warm sands and enjoy a spectacular view of the Rif mountains, visible across the Mediterranean from Africa. Virgin beaches and wild coastline offer room for birdwatchers and hikers, rock-climbing and surfing. Scuba diving and horseback riding are also available for those who are interested, and world-class golf courses abound in the region.

Tarifa's Living History

Many parts of Tarifa have not changed in hundreds of years. Local fishermenb stil use the Almadraba circling method of fishing, over seven hundred years old, and the narrow alleys paved with cobblestones stretch through walls cascaded over by jasmine. Wrought iron rejas decorate homes lining the street, and the castellated walls of the old city are closely woven with the homes. The eighth-century city gate of Jerez has been restored, and the church of San Mateo and buildings in the Calle de los Azogues date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
You can visit the Arab castle of Guzman the Bueno, built in 960 AD probably on the ruinms of an old Roman fort. Two high towers in the east section once protected the entrance to Tarifa. And on Calle de la Fuente you can find a historic and unique fountain. La Alameda is an Andalucian paved garden decorated with flowers and old villagers filled with stories.

Modern Tarifa

Tapas bars abound, particularly to the east of the Alameda. On Batalla del Salado, north of town, surf shops and trendy clothing stores line the streets. Wind turbines on the hills generate enormous amounts of power, and they're certainly something to get a picture of.

The most modern parts of Tarifa, though, are the beaches. For families, try the Playa Chica. If you prefer rocky beaches, check out La Caleta, a quiet beach often missed by tourists. The large Playa de los Lances stretches ten kilometers down the coast, and provides perfect surf and wind for kite surfing. Near the Hurricane Hotel you'll find the Playa de Valdevaqueros.

You can also take the regular daily ferry across to Tangiers; visit the souk for a day, or explore the unique nature of Tangiers.

Nightlife in Tarifa is very entertaining indeed. You'll find discos throughout the old town and the beach, and La Casa Amarilla features flamenco music. Continental has live music, and there are dozens of other music and other bars.

Where to Stay

You can stay in a number of hotels located in the town or its outskirts, and you also have the option of camping out in several areas along the beach. The Hotel Punta Sur is perfect for families, and very convenient to the beach. The Hurricane hotel has subtropical gardens that open to the beaches of Playa de Valdevaqueros, and excellent views of Morocco. This hotel is friendly, and its restaurant serves simple dishes with the best and freshest ingredients they can find.
For some history, consider the Cortijo La Hoya, over a hundred years old, or Casa Silos, a medieval townhouse within the old town wall.

For honeymooners or those who prefer style and class, the over-14 hotel El Aguilon may be ideal. Its swimming pool, set in an orange grove, is lovely, and the building itself is an old Andalucian Cortijo.
Author: Jakob Jelling

Jakob Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

Costa de la Luz - Andalucia

Costa de la Luz, meaning coast of light, is a city located towards the western area of Andalusia, on the coast line, offering attractive beaches along with several other appealing characteristics. One of the main activities tourists practice while visiting this town and its beaches is wind surfing due to the way in which some times, winds turn this area of the Atlantic Ocean into an ideal spot for this sport.

The coast in Costa de la Luz is usually divided in two main areas called the Costa de la Luz from Cadiz Province and Costa de la Luz from Huelva Province. Costa de la Luz from Cadiz Province is the area which goes from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Guadalquivir, while Costa de la Luz from Huelva Province goes from the River Guadalquivir to the Parque Doñada area, towards the frontier with Portugal.

One of the most attractive areas tourists can visit in Costa de la Luz is the Calle Facinas or Facinas Road. This road was created as a Roman highway and goes through the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales, a beautiful national park which allows those who walk through its road to relax and forget about everything else than the environment which surrounds them. Besides this, this road also allows visitors to meet some interesting spots and Roman ruins on their way.

Those visitors who enjoy the beach would be able to have a great time in costa de la Luz due to the variety of amazing beaches it offers. One of the most beautiful spots offered by this coastline is the Playa de Bolonia or Bolonia Beach. Bolonia Beach combines soft white sand with clear oceanic waters in a unique way in such a way that people can enjoy spending time into the water and swimming as well as sun bathing and enjoying the landscape.

Another interesting attraction offered by Costa de la Luz is the Jimena International Music Festival. This music festival takes place every year during July, and attracts musicians and spectators from several different origins and preferences, due to the fact that a variety of different musical styles are sponsored by this festival and visitors could enjoy some jazz or classical music as well as some rock or tap.
Author: Jakob Jelling
Jakob Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

Attractions in Lanzarote

There is a great amount of different things to do and places to meet in the island of Lanzarote. Lanzarote is located towards the eastern area of the Canary Islands, and shows a size of about 13 miles in width and40 miles in length. One of the most appealing characteristics of Lanzarote is its climate. Lanzarote offers warm temperatures and scarce rains year around, turning it into a great place for those who wish to spend time at the beach and enjoy as many outdoor activities as possible.

The Limantaya National Park is one of the first spot tourists should visit while being in the island. This park was created over an area of lava field of more than 20 square miles. This lava field was created around the year 1730, when several volcanic eruptions covered the area with lava.

The House of Cesar Manrique is another interesting place tourists can visit in Lanzarote. This house is interesting from several points of view, such as from an architectonic perspective or a historic and an art related one. Near this place, within the central region of Lanzarote, there is the island's city of Arrecife, where tourists can find hotels, shops, restaurants and other facilities.

The northern area of Lanzarote has several attractive places to visit. One of these places is the Jameos del Agua, offering a formation of lava underground tunnels created after a volcanic eruption. Another spot to visit near the Jameos del Agua is the Mirador del Río. The Mirador del Río allows visitors to enjoy an amazing view and incredible landscapes since it is built over a strategic cliff area.

Another great place tourists can visit in this area of the island is La Cueva de los Verdes or Cave of the Greens. La Cueva de los Verdes is a system of lava caves and tunnels which are very interesting to meet. Visitors can walk through them and observe some unique spots and amazing lava formations. Near this place, the Jardín de Cactus is another interesting spot to meet, containing a wide variety of species and kinds of cactus which those who enjoy nature and plants would surely like to observe.
Author: Jakob Jelling
Jakob Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

La Gomera Island

La Gomera, belonging to the Canary Islands, is a very peculiar and interesting spot. This island has a central massif of a height of about 1490 meters which can easily be seen from the distance and is, without any doubt, a unique peculiarity. This massif shows a dramatic drop which turns it to be a very impressive place as well as it provides an amazing sight.

Besides its geographical and geological characteristics, La Gomera also offers several other interesting and attractive peculiarities. One of these peculiarities is the way it has maintained its traditions and cultural characteristics through the pass of time. This way, tourists who visit this island could meet some antique traditions and customs in the same way people could have observed them a long time ago.

There are several interesting spots and places tourists should make sure of visiting while being in La Gomera. One of these spots is the Hermigua. The Hermigua is a village of small charming houses which together offer a very interesting landscape. Besides this, it is also interesting to remark that Hermigua shows one of the main banana plantations areas in La Gomera.

Vallehermoso is another spot tourists should try to visit in La Gomera. Vallehermoso shows a very beautiful environment full of natural elements such as fruit trees, palm trees, and exotic plants which give the area a very colorful appearance as well as turn it to be very aromatic and enjoyable through all the senses. Another spot to visit in the island is the Cedar Forest, which is not only among the most interesting spots in La Gomera, but one of the most attractive forests in the entire archipelago as well.

Valle Gran Rey is another of the most interesting places La Gomera offers. Valle Gran Rey shows a variety of trees and natural elements which together turn it to be a very beautiful place. Besides this, those tourists who enjoy sea related activities and landscapes should visit Playa Santiago. Playa Santiago or Santiago Beach is a very beautiful sea area where visitors can not only enjoy the environment but also fish.

Author: Jakob JellingJakob

Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

Spanish Beaches - A perfect place for Relaxing

Spain has important extensions of coast lines along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. These coast lines offer a great variety of different spots and beautiful beaches, some of them visited year around by people from many different spots of the world.

One of the most visited coast line areas in Spain is the Costa del Sol, meaning the sun coast. Costa del Sol contains a group of amazing beaches which go from the southern area of Spain to Gibraltar. This area offers beaches of soft sand and warm waters and is propitious weather year around. Among the most famous tourism spots of Costa del Sol there is Torremolinos, Nerja, and Marbella.

Another great coast line area of Spain is the Costa de la Luz, meaning coast of light. Costa de la Luz is an area located towards the south western region of Andalucia, on the Atlantic Ocean coast, and which offers some of the bluest waters of the country. Besides enjoying the great beaches, visitors who approach this area could also visit some amazing cities, full of entertainment and interesting spots to meet.

Costa Brava is a coast line area which offers rocky beaches with a wilder appearance than other Spain summer spots. This area is ideal for those visitors who wish to meet more adventurous places which are less conventional and less crowded than others. Costa Brava beaches do not offer the typical landscapes full of sand and quiet environments but it does offer several rocky spots with wilder waters.

Towards the Spanish city of Valencia there is another great coast line called Costa Blanca. Costa Blanca is one of the most famous tourism spots among tourists from the entire world and mainly among Europeans. This area offers a unique type of green bluish waters combined with beautiful and soft sands surrounded by a very enjoyable environment and, most of the times, a great weather as well.

The Balearic Islands is another spot containing some of the most attractive beaches in Spain. This area is located near the coast of Catalonia, and consists on a archipelago which offers many different beaches and a great variety of activities and entertainment. This area ensures those who love the beach and beach related activities of spending a great time.
Author: Jakob JellingJakob

Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

The Rias Altas in Spain

The Rias Altas located in Spain are part of a group of larger formations spread within the coast of Galicia, conformed by the Rias Altas and the Rias Bajas. The Rias are estuaries origin when sea levels rise as well as they can be created by other geographical factors. The rias in Galicia where formed after he Ice Age after the sea level rose and gave shape to several indentations or estuaries throughout the coast line in this area.

The Rias, in Galicia, are considered to be among the main fishing areas in the world. Due to their nature, the rias or estuaries contain very peculiar ecosystems which often contain important amount of fish. This way, it is easy to imagine the importance of the fishing industry to this region and the way it gives shape to the traditions and landscapes visitors could meet, which, most of the times, are very beautiful and picturesque.

There are rias in several other regions of the world as well as near by the Galician ones in such a way that, per example, it is possible to find rias in Norway known as fjords, in Scotland known as lochs, and in Brittany known as abers. Although all of these rias have many aspects in common, they often also contain some characteristics which differentiate from each other and cause them to be unique.

The Rias Altas in Galicia are conformed by a group of several rias among which we can name the Ria de Ribadeo, the Ria de Ortigueira, and the Ria de Veveiro. The Rias Altas can be found in the area which goes from La Coruña to Ribadeo, within the northern coast of Galicia.

Besides their natural beauty and the sea related landscapes this area offers, it also has several other interesting attractions. While visiting the Rias Altas, tourists could meet interesting towns, full of antique constructions and charming areas as well as many different entertainment related spots from where to choose. This way, the rias are one of the most interesting destinations tourists could find in Galicia and one of the most peculiar and picturesque ones as well.

Author: Jakob Jelling
Jakob Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

Ibiza and its Nightlife

Ibiza is an important travel and tourism destination inSpain and is now famous around the world due to its amazing night life, although it offers several other things as well. This island is one of the most visited ones in the group of the Balearic Islands in Spain, and maybe the one which attracts the highest amount of young people as well.

From June to endings of October, Ibiza's night life, as well as the rest of the attractions in the island, is at its best moment due to the fact that it is when the highest among of tourists arrive. This way, if you wish to meet the island when all pubs, discos, cafes, bars, restaurants, and all other spots are open, you should chose a date between those months.

Before planning a trip to Ibiza, it is important to consider the fact that during August, this island receives a great amount of tourists due to what prices tend to rise and it might be very difficult to find a hotel room available. This way, it is very recommendable to make sure of counting on a hotel room before arriving or trying to visit the island once it becomes less crowded.

There are several methods of transportation available for tourists in Ibiza. This island counts on an important amount of taxis as well as buses in such a way that going from one point to another should not be a problem. There also are several car rentals for those visitors who wish to rent a car, and in such case it is recommendable to make sure there will be one available at the time of visiting the town, especially if it will be during August.

Besides its night life, Ibiza also offers many other activities suitable for visitors of all ages and preferences. One of the main activities which attract visitors to this spot is going to its beaches. This island's beaches are extremely beautiful and allow tourists to relax, sun bath, swim, dive, and surf among many others. Besides this, those visitors who enjoy sports would be able to choose from a wide range as well since Ibiza allows them to practice biking, tennis, golf, and karts among others

Author: Jakob Jelling

Jakob Jelling is the founder of
Please visit his website if you're planning a trip to Europe.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

The Osborne Bull of Spain - 50th Aniversary

If you have ever driven in Spain you will undoubtedly have seen a huge silhouette of a black bull stood high on a hill... impressive and nameless, but what exactly are they doing there.

The bulls first appeared in 1957 and where commissioned by the Osbourne sherry company of Jerez
( Sherry ) , however back in those days the name of this famous sherry was also attached to the bull until a law was passed in 1994 banning this type of roadside advertising, so the name disappeared. And although there where protests at the time for the bulls to be completely removed, however by now the bulls where nationally renowned and due to the public response the official order to remove the bulls was lifted as long as they where completely blackened out and all references to the original advertisement where removed. It was the courts that eventually allowed these signs to remain on the grounds that it has become a part of the landscape where it is present and its "aesthetic or cultural significance" thus turning it into a figure of public domain and now as we know now became national treasure.

The bulls are some 14 meters in height, although the design was much smaller during its early appearance's.

There are now only two signs in Spain with the word "Osborne" still written on them. One is at the Jerez Osborne winery and the other in the Puerto de Santa Maria , where the main Osborne headquarters are situated.

Wines form Spain

If you are asked to name a Spanish wine it is most like that you will say Rioja as this is probably the most famous , however Spain really has so much more to offer all lovers of fine wines.

Spain has a long history of producing fine wines, 50 percent of all the EECs vineyards lie in Spain and offers an excellent and memorable selection of Reds, White and Rose wines, which thankfully, are still for the most part inexpensive for the quality on offer.

Rioja ( from the yards around Logroño ) is rightly Spain's best known wine and available in most shops and restaurants throughout Spain, Cune, Berberana, Marques de Caceres and La Rioja Alta are also brands well worth a try. Another top-drawer and currently fashionable region is Ribera del Duero in Castilla-León which makes Spain's most expensive wine, Vega Sicilia, other outstanding reds to look out for are Pesquera, Viña Pedrosa and Senorio de Nava. There are also scores of local wines - some of the best are Navarra (Chivite, Palacio de la Vega) and Catalunya (Bach, Raimat, Caus Lubis and Alvaro Palacios), a region which also produces the champagne-like cava (Codorniu, Marques de Monistrol); Galicia too, in the temperate northwest is producing some notable white wines (Ribeiro, Fefiñanes and Albariño are prominent producers).

You will find many establishments in Spain offer excellent quality menus for around 6 to 10 Euros, some of which ( mostly those catering for the local clientele ) will even include a bottle of wine for two persons. For the most part the wine included is adequate in quality , most establishments serve Valdepeñas which is a reasonable mass produced wine from the central plains of El Castile , however not all Establishment owners offer the same integrity to their clients and the cheaper brew I have tried has been lets say, been bad to horrible, and mostly forgettable.

Most Restaurants will offer a thoughtful and varied Carta de Vino ( Wine List ), even the smaller establishments, and at very reasonable prices , it is not unusual to see good quality house wines for around 8 Euros. As you would imagine though the better wines are only normally found at the higher class establishments.

Costa del Sol - Holidays in Nerja, Marbella, Fuengirola

The Costa del Sol in southern Spain is one of the most famous holiday destinations in Europe. You can choose from 800km of beaches, world-renowned holiday resorts, the warm Mediterranean Sea or the lively Atlantic Ocean. The Costa del Sol runs most the length of Andalucia, the largest region in Spain, from Almeria to Gibraltar. With such wonderful weather and crisp blue skies, the Costa del Sol is a fantastic choice for a beach holiday in Spain.

West of Malaga, are the popular seaside resorts of Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Estepona. These resorts have an upmarket image and prices are generally higher here than other holiday locations along the Costa del Sol. The beaches here are fantastic and the nightlife lively and outgoing. There are many fine shops from expensive boutiques to popular apartment stores to choose from.

Marbella was once a quiet fishing village on the Costa del Sol with a charm and character all of it’s own. Now of course it is a fabulous holiday destination for many people who are attracted by its sophisticated and upmarket image. Marbella has always been a favourite with the rich and famous and with each passing year becomes increasingly more so. There are great efforts to keep Marbella clean and attractive, and the wonderful beach promenade is now lined with palm trees, flowered borders, and lush colourful plants. There are also many restaurants and bars from which to appreciate how beautiful the city has become.

Fuengirola is popular with holidaymakers and Spanish alike, many of whom own summer apartments to take advantage of its semi-tropical climate and mild temperatures during the winter. Fuengirola has 5 miles of beautiful sandy beaches overlooked by high rise hotels and apartment blocks all affording magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea. Overlooking the Sea, the promenade is tastefully designed with palm-trees, flowerbeds and numerous places to relax and enjoy the views.

Along the other stretch of the Costa del Sol, east of Malaga, can be found the idyllic villages of Nerja, Frigiliana and Torrox. Throughout this part of the region can be found numerous small, whitewashed villages, either clinging to the hillside, or built around a small fishing port, of which Nerja is the most popular. Frigiliana and Torrox are becoming increasingly popular as tourist destinations, and for a taste of working life in Spain; these towns are a good place to start. Visit the Balcon de Europa in Nerja with its panoramic views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, or relax in the Plaza de Constitution in Torrox, next to the fountain, surrounded by orange trees.

Some of the best places to shop will be the old quarter, typically in the centre of the town and characterised with narrow winding streets lined with small shops selling a variety of local produce. Take the time to wander the streets for a taste of real Spanish life. Away from the tourist gift shops and beach cafes can be found some excellent shops and places to eat, typically at reduced prices but not quality.

The Costa del Sol is so much more than just world-class beaches and fantastic weather. Andalucia is the largest region in Spain and a pleasure to discover, offering a wealth of culture, historical cities, regional celebrations and a different way to live. Spend a day away from the beach to get to know the real Spain for a true holiday experience.

Steve Greenwood

Aragon Holidays (Zaragoza, Teruel, Huesca Attractions)

The region of Aragon can be found in northeastern Spain and comprises the provinces of Zaragosa, Huesca and Teruel. The region lies approximately with the historic kingdom of Aragon and is bounded to the north by France; the south by Valencia; the east by Catalonia and on the west by the regions of Castilla la Mancha, Castilla Leon, Navarre and La Rioja.

The official spoken language in Aragon is Castilian Spanish, although in some of the valleys of the Pyrenees it is possible to hear the original language of Aragonese.

Aragon is traversed by the river Ebro, which offers fish of such numbers and proportions that the Ebro is considered one of the best locations in Europe for Cat and Carp fishing. With a population of just over 1.3 million people living in Aragon, and half of them living in the capital city of Zaragoza, the region is mostly deserted with beautiful, mountainous scenery to the north, and mainly barren land in the south.

The greatest peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains can be found in Aragon with Aneto, the highest of them all, being found in the province of Huesca. In amongst the mountains can be found some beautiful secluded valleys, which remain largely un-spoilt due to their inaccessibility. Spread thinly through the valleys and plains can be found small towns and churches with great views of the rugged landscape. The region of Aragon has three provinces whose capital cities Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel take the same names as their province.

There are many, small towns all across the region, and especially in the province of Teruel where out of the 236 municipalities, more than half the villages have a population of fewer than 200 people. In-between the villages the land is mostly deserted and quite barren.

Zaragoza, capital of Aragon

The huge Plaza del Pilar is the social centre of Zaragoza, looked over by some wonderful old monuments and fine fountains. Here can be found the Basílica del Pilar; whose domes and towers dominate the city and this is where legend has it the Virgin Mary appeared. To the west of the city centre can be found the La Aljaferia palace. An Islamic-fortress, it was once the residence of Arab kings and later by Christian kings, Aragonese kings and then by Spanish monarchs. Nowadays, the building houses Aragon's regional parliament.

Aragon Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña

Located 30km southwest of Jaca, this monastery church that is dedicated to saint John, is situated beneath a huge overhanging rock. The monastery has had special significance since Muslim times where pilgrims would stop here in the hope of viewing the Holy Grail, a Roman chalice which was hidden somewhere in the monastery. The Roman chalice is now on view in Valencia Cathedral. The lower church represents the heart of the monastery that was founded in 920. On the second floor is the Pantheon where can be seen the tombs of noblemen from both Aragon and Navarre. Inside the apse of the High Church of San Juan can be seen a replica of the Holy Grail which was kept inside the walls to protect it against Muslim invasion.

Ordesa National Park

Declared a national park in 1918, an area of more than 15,600 hectares is now protected in the Biosphere Reserve or Ordesa as declared by UNESCO is 1997. Most of the park is limestone and a retreating glacier still exists on the north face of Monte Pedido, the third largest mountain in the Pyrenees. The park's dramatic mountain scenery comprises of limestone cliffs, canyons, caves, chasms and crystal-clear streams with forests of pine, birch, ash, willow and oak. Great birds fly the skies including the royal eagle, hawks, royal owls, ospreys and the snow partridge, while on the ground can be seen the marmot, wild boar, chamois and the red deer. The park is open all year round but the months between April and October offer the best conditions for walking and hiking.

Aragon is a wonderful region of Spain to visit. The Pyrenees Mountains offer wonderful dramatic scenery to the north and the ancient cities of Zaragoza, Teruel and Huesca have many important historical buildings. If you are looking for a different holiday experience in Spain, Aragon may just be the location of choice.

Steve Greenwood

Navarre Holidays and Pamplona Holiday Attractions

Navarre is a region in northern Spain that is bordered to the north by France, the Basque Country to the west, La Rioja to the south, and Aragon to the east. Similar to other regions of Spain, Navarre has its own parliament and government and is responsible for its regional education, health, employment, housing and environmental policies.

Navarre is a cultural mix of the Basque influence from the beautiful Pyrenees Mountains and Mediterranean influences coming from the Ebro River. The Ebro valley is fertile and rich in nutrients making it amenable for growing wheat, vegetables, wine and olive trees. The river eventually leads to the Parc Natural del Delta del Ebro south of Catalonia on the Costa Blanca and offers some of the best carp and cat fishing to be found anywhere in Europe. Pamplona capital of Navarre Pamplona became the region's capital city in the 10th century and it is now home to a third of the region’s population.

Pamplona has played a central role in Navarre history having been founded by the Romans, occupied by the Moors and briefly the domination of Charlemagne. Pamplona is a prosperous and modern city with wide boulevards and spacious parks. It is also listed as having one of the best standards of living in Spain. Pamplona is well urbanised with good road access and has some excellent historical buildings making it a pleasant tourist destination, especially in the old quarter, with it's cobbled streets. Pamplona is also the location for the world-famous Fiesta de San Fermín and the early morning 'Encierros' (Running of the Bulls).

Fiesta de San Fermin (6th -14th July)

The festival of San Fermín is a deeply rooted celebration held within the city of Pamplona. The event is known locally as Sanfermines, held in honour of Saint Fermin who is the patron saint of Pamplona and the Navarre region. It is probably the most internationally renowned festival in Spain having been central to the plot of Ernest Hemingway's book 'The Sun Also Rises'. The most famous event of the fiesta is the 'Encierro' or Running of the Bulls. Thousands of participants take their life in their hands by running in front of, alongside or preferably behind 12 or so mature bulls with sharpened horns along a half-mile stretch of cobbled streets in the old town. The event is not without risk and since 1924, 15 people have died. During the festival, the whole town is alive with party events, with celebrations spilling out from the bars and restaurants throughout the day.

The south Navarre is typically warm and arid with a landscape typical to that of Castilla & Leon. To the north though are the Pyrenees Mountains, where the weather is cooler with much greater precipitation. This has resulted in a greener landscape with vast forests and varied undergrowth that support a wide range of fauna and flora. For walking and hiking holidays, there are two large National Parks to be found here, the Parque Natural de Urbasa y Andía and the Parque Natural del Señorio de Bértiz.

Steve Greenwood

Valencia Holidays - Alicante, Benidorm & Valencia Holiday Attractions

Valencia can be found on the eastern coast of Spain and is bordered by the regions of Catalonia, Aragon, Castilla la Mancha and Murcia.

The official languages of the region are Castilian Spanish, which everyone is required to know by law throughout Spain under the Spanish Constitution of 1978, and also Valencia, which is similar to Catalan but under a different name.

Costa Blanca

The Costa Blanca is known as the 'White Coast' as it offers miles of fine sandy beaches and a brilliant light, dry, hot climate. The main tourist resorts here are Benidorm and Alicante, although other popular holiday destinations include Gandia with a wonderful 14th century palace, and Altea offering traditional Spanish houses and a thriving artistic community.

Costa del Azahar

Costa del Azahar begins at the Tarragona provincial border and travels south for 112km covering some beautiful beaches overlooked by orchards of olives and oranges. For this reason, it is also known as the Orange Blossom Coast. Popular coastal resorts include Peñíscola with its medieval castle that was featured in the film 'El Cid', and Sagunto offering many Roman artefacts and sites including a 2nd century Roman Amphitheatre.

Alicante Holiday Attractions

Tourism in Alicante is now well known  and a great destination for those wanting a traditional beach holiday. The weather is fantastic with hot summers and mild winters and the city offers an abundance of gardens, parks and squares from which to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. There are many wide palm-lined avenues providing an unlimited shopping experience from the large department stores like Corte Inglés, to fashionable boutiques and souvenir shops. Every street corner in Alicante bustles with holiday activity with holidaymakers perusing the many shops selling local ceramic, marble, leather and wooden produce.

Benidorm Holiday Attractions

Despite the worst excesses brought upon the city by package tourism, Benidorm delivers very well for the package holidaymaker. The two main beaches Playa de Poniente and the Playa de Levante are over 5km long in total and offer enough space for everyone. The bars and restaurants are in sufficient supply and with over 30 discos on offer; nightlife in Benidorm is lively to suit all tastes. The attractive Balcon del Mediterranean set in the middle of the two beaches, has spectacular views of both beaches and also its island lying just offshore. Benidorm is surrounded by mountains as high as over 1,500 metres and these keep the cooler north winds at bay to give the city warm temperatures even during the Winter months when temperatures stay mild. Just 7 kilometres down the coast lies the small town of Altea. A change from bustling Benidorm, Altea offers a traditional community with a preserved old quarter that attracts many artists because of its wonderful light.

Valencia Holiday Attractions

Valencia lies on the Costa del Azahar and is the third largest city in Spain. It is an industrial city with a medium-sized port, but the local government is working hard to improve the city's image to tourism. One example of this is the recent completion of the new City of Arts and Sciences Complex. Surrounding the city is the fertile plain called the Huerta where orange trees grow in abundance as does rice, which is, used for Valencia's legendary dish the paella. Most of the produce of the Huerta comes to the 1,000 colourful stalls of the modernist Mercado Central. Built in the early 20th century, it is an eight-sided iron girder and glass building which contains one of the largest markets in Europe. Well worth a visit even if you’re not planning on buying anything.

Steve Greenwood

Pan Con Aceite - ( Bread with Oil )

If you have never tried pan con aceite then you haven't enjoyed the pleasures of one of Spain's most traditional and delicious tapa, mostly served as breakfast.

One large slice of fresh farmhouse bread lightly toasted on both sides, take one clove of garlic
and brush it all over so the flavour infuses deep into the crispy toast, drizzle some good quality virgin olive oil and let it soak through for a few moments, you can also eat this with finely chopped tomatoes spread over the bread before the oil . The fusion of tastes on the pallate is absolutely mouth watering.

Find some of the best Spanish recipes of famous dishes via our website.

Basque Country - Holidays in Bilbao, San Sebastian and Vitoria

The Basque Country is an autonomous community in northern Spain with capital city Vitoria.

The region borders France, and the locals harbour a proud and defiant nature with strong support for a separate, united Basque state. The origins of their local language Euskadi cannot be traced, like that of the Basque race itself.

Basque Country Coastline

The coastal road from Bilbao to San Sebastian offers some spectacular scenery with small fishing villages and coves overlooked with jagged and dramatic cliffs. The town of Bakio has a long beach, often frequented by the locals, and a rocky island that is joined to the mainland by a small bridge. The picturesque port of Bermeo offers a goof selection of bars and restaurants, while the fishing villages of Lekeitio and neighbouring Ondarroa both offer historical architecture in their Gothic churches. The coastal town of Zarautz as well as having a 16th century Town Hall, Palacio Narros and the church of Nuestra Senora de la Real, also hosts the annual International Surfing Championship.

Bilbao holiday attractions

Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country region and is the capital of Vizcaya province. The city is a major seaport and in the past has offered little in the way of attractions to the visiting holidaymaker. However, major urban renewal has helped to move it away from its industrial roots and more towards tourism. Many developments within the city have helped to improve its image including new parks, Metro system and at the heart of the renaissance, the Guggenheim Museum.

Guggenheim Museum

Bilbao The Guggenheim Museum was opened in 1997 and is one of the most visited museums in Spain. It offers constantly changing exhibits along with a permanent collection focused on the second half of the 20th century. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and is a masterpiece of modern architecture built out of titanium, glass and limestone. Inside, the huge windows of the central atrium bring natural light into the building and outside stand a surrealistic floral structure of a giant puppy.

San Sebastian holiday attractions

San Sebastian is the capital of Guipuzcoa province and has been visited by Spanish aristocracy for hundreds of years due to the quality of its beaches and beautiful city. Much of the original city was destroyed in 1813 during the Spanish War of Independence, so few historical buildings can be found within the centre. However, the city does offer a unique atmosphere and distinguished cosmopolitan feeling making it different from many other Spanish towns. In summer, the resort is packed with holidaymakers, and even in the winter the beach and its wonderful promenade of tamarind trees, Edwardian lampposts and beachfront cafes is a popular destination with the locals.

Vitoria holiday attractions

Vitoria ranks second in standard of living out of all the cities in Spain. It has a huge number of green parks around the city including Florida Park that was created in 1820 with its huge variety of plant species, and San Juan de Arriaga Park, which is the largest in the city. Vitoria is the capital of Alava province, which as a whole offers a tremendous diverse amount of protected spaces including many Nature Reserves including the Izki Nature Reserve with its melojo-oak forest and Gorbeia Nature Reserve, one of the Basque Country's biggest natural tourist attractions.

Steve Greenwood

Holidays in Madrid, capital of Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain, and is located almost exactly in the centre of the country. The provinces Avila, Segovia, Guadalajara, Cuenca and Toledo border Madrid, and with an elevation of over 2 thousand feet, it is also the highest capital in Europe and home to over 3 million people. Madrid is also home to the royal family, Spanish parliament, banking, and is the administration hub of Spain.

Madrid is a lively, cosmopolitan city full of culture and artistic activity and has an endless supply of bars, which are busy well into the early hours. One of the best ways to get around the city is on the efficient Metro System. There are 11 numbered and colour-coded lines that are easy to follow and extend to most of the holiday attractions Madrid has to offer. Madrid Plaza Mayor The main centrepiece in Madrid is the Plaza Mayor. This vast traffic-free cobbled rectangle is completely surrounded by 17th Century architectural buildings, the most prominent being the Casa de la Panaderia (Bakers' Guild), which is covered with modern allegorical murals. Another fantastic building is the Casa de la Carniceria (Butchers' Guild) whose facade is also covered with vibrant paintings. There are nine gateway entrances leading into Plaza Mayor and in the centre stands the 17th century triumphant statue of King Filipe III. The spectacular scenery and ambiance is best appreciated from the many bars within the square and outdoor seating that sprawls out onto the cobbles.

Holiday visits to El Rastro:

El Rastro is Madrid's famous Sunday flea market, which can be found on Plaza de Cascorro and Calle Ribera de Curtidores. It is an excellent way to spend the day, and an experience in itself to join the thousands of people all squeezed into the tiny streets. The variety of goods on sale is amazing with everything from clothes, books and leather goods to plants, tools and anything you could care to imagine. The best time to visit the market is early morning when the stalls are just setting up. By mid-afternoon it will be hard to move either into or out of the market what with the thousands of people who visit every week.

Madrid Palacio Real Palacio Real is located just north of Plaza Mayor in Calle Bailén and can be reached on the Metro underground at Opera, Plaza de España. It is a formidable Palace that overlooks the huge square Plaza de Armas. Construction of the Palace took 26 years to complete and it was occupied from the late 18th century until 1931 when King Alfonso XIII was forced to abdicate. Nowadays the palace is only used for formal occasions as King Juan Carlos I lives elsewhere. The Palace can be enjoyed at your leisure, or you could join an organised tour, which will take in the most interesting rooms. Off the main entrance is the Botica Real, rooms used as a pharmacy containing jars of medicines and herbs. Other highlights include the Thrown Room used for royal receptions, the Gasparini Rooms named after their Neapolitan Designer and the Royal Armoury with its suits of armour and weapons.

Madrid is about as far away from any coast of Spain as you could get, but come August and some of the hottest temperatures to be found anywhere in Spain, the city becomes deserted as many Spanish leave the city for surrounding towns and cooler coastal resorts. The many motorways that leave the city start their life at the bustling Puerta del Sol where 10 streets converge to a point known as 'Kilometre 0’, which is where all distances in Spain are measured from. The spot is identified by a small plaque on the south side of the square, which is under the clock that Spaniards tune in to at midnight on New Year's Eve, eating one grape for good luck with each strike of the bell. The Puerta del Sol buzzes with life and one of the best ways to enjoy it is from one of the many fine street bars and restaurants.

Steve Greenwood

A Whistlestop Tour of Barcelona, Spain

Visiting Barcelona, with limited time? There is so much to see in this fascinating city, which would normally take at least a week, but it is possible to see the major highlights in a couple of days too.

I would highly recommend the following:

The Gaudí masterpieces:

1. Temple de la Sagrada Familia - or Temple of the Sacred Family - Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece and a must-see in Barcelona. A fascinating combination of the original architects' vision (Martorell and De Villar), combined with the magic of Gaudí. Unfortunately Gaudí passed away before the work was complete. Construction still continues on this amazing building and your entry fee helps towards this.

2. Casa Milà (La Pedrera) - in the L'Eixample neighbourhood - Antoni Gaudí was commissioned by the industrialist, Pere Milà, to construct a building on the boundary of Barcelona and Gràcia, as both a family residence and also to be leased as separate dwellings. Owing to the way its facade appears to be carved out of rock, the Casa Milà was nicknamed "La Pedrera", which means stone quarry. Amazing interior architecture, as well as the famous and fascinating chimneys on the rooftop.

3. Casa Battló also in the L'Eixample neighbourhood - a fairytale building. Originally Gaudí was commissioned to demolish the building, and build from scratch, but he convinced the owner to let him completely redesign the existing building. This was in the days when the Paseo de Gracia was undergoing a "keep up with the Jones'" battle - everyone trying to outdo each other with their architecture. Gaudí did an incredible job using tiles and scales on the exterior of the building, wonderful interior design, plus again the famous chimneys on the roof top.

4. Parque Güell (Güell Park) - ideal for a restful stroll after your busy days in Barcelona. Originally planned to be a residential area, it is now a beautiful park with many wonderful Gaudí creations in tilework and stone. The views over Barcelona to the sea are simply beautiful.

Other areas worth visiting are the following: -

The very famous Las Ramblas - a busy street between the Plaza de Catalunya and the port with many restaurants, cafes, bars, kiosks and the famous Human Statues of Barcelona -

Poble Español de Montjuic (the Spanish Village) - situated at the foot of Mount Montjuic. Created in 1929 on the occasion of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the Spanish Village is the only initiative of its kind which has survived the test of time. A collection of streets and squares, monuments and buildings, representing the different peoples and cultures of Spain. Some might call it kitsch, but it is an attractive and interesting place to visit, full of shops selling the handicrafts of the various regions.

There are restaurants and cafes to enjoy a break and also an art gallery, Fundacio Fran Daurel. Above the entrance is a terrace cafe with incredible views (but alas, bad service and incredibly high prices!) However, the views were worth it! -

The Cathedral - a Gothic creation of great beauty -

The Palau de la Musica - a beautiful concert hall -

The Port, Barceloneta and the beaches Barcelona has many more attractions, too numerous to list here -

so if you are only spending a couple of days in this city, plan ahead for a longer trip to Barcelona in the future - you will not regret it.

Anne Sewell


A Whistlestop Tour of Madrid, Spain

Madrid is a modern, world-class, but also historic city - the capital of Spain - located almost centrally in the heart of the country. A contrast of old and new, Madrid is a beautiful and vibrant city with great architectural interest. You might find the drive into the city a bit boring with its suburbs of concrete apartment blocks, but once in the centre, you will enjoy the traditional streets, with medieval buildings and some narrow and very atmospheric alleys, containing shops and bars.

The old quarter has a concentration of magnificent attractions including the Prado Museum with its great art collection, as well as the Reina Sofia and Thysssen-Bornemisza galleries, displaying Picasso and many other European and American masters.

The people of Madrid are among the great attractions of the city. Commonly known as the "Madrileños" they can be seen relaxing in the traditional cafes and cars, at the Sunday El Rastro flea market, and also late into the night at the many bars and nightclubs of Madrid.

For shopping, Madrid is a shopper's paradise, including the classy and expensive shops of the Salamanca Quarter. For those on a more modest budget, the El Rastro flea market is highly recommended.

Other attractions include:

Parque del Buen Retiro (Park of the Pleasant Retreat) - a lovely green and leafy oasis in the heart of the city including a lake where rowing boats can be hired. There are also wonderful puppet shows for the children in the park.

Temple of Debod - an ancient Egyptian temple which has been rebuilt in Madrid. The temple was originally built in southern Egypt, close to the first cataract of the Nile and is dedicated to the goddess Isis, in Philae. Due to the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan In 1960, and the subsequent threat it posed to certain monuments and archaeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical patrimony. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the temple to Spain in 1968.

The Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) which has the world's finest stage and acoustic settings for opera.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium - home to Real Madrid - is a must visit for football fans.

The city has many relaxing plazas with beautiful sculptures, including the Plaza de Cibeles with its magical fountain and the Plaza Mayor, a lovely place for strolling, feeding the pigeons and enjoying a cup of coffee at one of the sidewalk cafes.

Weather in Madrid: Freezing cold in winter, and boiling hot in summer! Recommended seasons for visiting this fascinating city are Spring and Autumn, when you can stroll around the city and enjoy its many pleasures in comfort.

Transport - with the versatile metro and bus transport systems, plus convenient taxis that can be hailed in the street, you will have no problems getting around Madrid. In conclusion, Madrid is among the world's most popular destination cities and is well worth the visit.

Anne Sewell

Ronda - Magical Mountain Top City in Andalucia, Southern Spain

When visiting Andalucia, I would highly recommend making the trip to Ronda. The winding roads up the mountainside can be a little daunting, but what a view all the way to the top!

Ronda is one of the oldest cities in Spain, having origins in the Neolithic age.

Wonderful cave paintings were discovered, including the famous Pileta's Cave, depicting paintings from the Paleolithic age. Its mountain top location made it an ideal location to build a city - very easy to defend. The first builders were the Romans, and many examples of their architecture can still be viewed in the city today.

The Moors then made their mark, and built the walls, gates and arches of the city, which are still very much intact. You can stroll alongside the walls, enjoying the fabulous views… or visit the Arab Baths, still in an excellent state of repair. State protected because of historic interest in 1931, these baths were built at the end of the 13th century or start of the 14th century.

Another fascinating building to visit is the Casa del Rey Moro - or House of the Moorish King - which appears to be from the 18th Century. The house itself is in a dilapidated condition, but the first floor has been restored, and contains the tourist office. Well worth a visit to the gardens of the house, which were constructed by the great French Landscaper Forestier in 1912. The house also has a mine which you can visit, which consists of a wide zigzagging staircase carved into the rock, covered by a fascinating system of stacked vaults. Visit the Sala del Manantial (Room of the Spring) from which slaves brought water to the King.

The hub of Ronda is the "New Bridge", that divides the city, over a deep gorge - El Tajo, with houses literally hanging on the edges of the cliffs. Right next door is the lovely Alameda del Tajo Park - perfect for a restful stroll after your busy sightseeing, and also the Blas Infante viewpoint where you can stand on a balcony over... a huge drop!

Famous people love this city - close to the Alameda del Tajo Park, you can visit the Paseo de Orson Wells - the famous actor loved Ronda and is, in fact, buried there. Ernest Hemingway was also very fond of the city and the Paseo de Hemingway has been named for him. He visited Spain during the Spanish Civil War, to report for the North American Newspaper Alliance.

The Plaza de Toros, or Bullring, of Ronda, is the oldest in Spain and was officially inaugurated in 1785 by the two bullfighters, Pedro Romero and Pepe Hillo. It is possible to visit the bullring, its museum and the surrounding buildings and paddocks. Outside the entrance to the bullring are statues to two famous bullfighters of Ronda, Cayetano Ordonez and Antonio Ordonez.

Strolling the streets of Ronda is like taking a step back in time - narrow streets with attractive buildings, tapas bars and restaurants - and wonderful shops. You will also come across interesting museums, like the Museo del Bandelero… lots of beautiful churches and lovely plazas and sidewalk cafes to rest and catch your breath.

It is difficult to mention all the wonderful attractions of this city in one article, but this is definitely a must-visit part of your Spanish tour! One little warning - try and stay a minimum of 3 days, otherwise you'll miss out on a lot of the attractions. Wear good comfortable walking shoes, and if visiting in summer, always carry a bottle of water.. it gets hot in Ronda!

Anne Sewell

I have been involved in the travel industry online for 10 years, running several websites for accommodation reservations worldwide. Also a keen amateur photographer.

Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain

You might have already visited Fuengirola in summer - too many people, burning summer heat? Time to replan your Spanish holiday!

The ideal time to visit this vibrant coastal city is during autumn and spring. Mild and pleasant temperatures, glorious sunshine, and quieter streets and beaches make for a really enjoyable holiday! You will find people smile just that little bit easier, shopping and dining are an absolute pleasure, and you can enjoy all the attractions this city has to offer in comfort. Wonderful sandy beaches, relatively empty out of season, stretch along the coast with many restaurants, bars and chiringuitos (beach cafes) to choose from. Plenty of good shops including fashion, food, shoes, etc. and some excellent new shopping centres have opened up on the border of Fuengirola and Mijas. Fuengirola is very convenient to Malaga airport - a short drive or train ride away, and is also close to Marbella and other attractions on the Costa del Sol (also known as the Costa del Golf for golfing fans!)

Other major attractions in Fuengirola include:

The Fuengirola Zoo: Right in the middle of town is an oasis of calm, a world class zoo with wonderful animals in very natural enclosures. Appropriate regional sounds play as you walk around the various areas of the zoo. Of particular interest are the Sumatra Tigers, the gorillas, and also the Lemur enclosure, with many of these fascinating creatures from Magagascar. This enclosure is open with a tour guide at certain times of the day - ask when you arrive at the zoo for a close up experience with magical lemurs. Best time to visit is either early morning (zoo opens at 10 am) or late afternoon.

The Sohail Castle: On a hilltop, close to the centre of town is the Sohail Castle. Makes a pleasant stroll (if a bit uphill), with wonderful sea views from the top.

Fuengirola Port: The port of Fuengirola consists of two sections: 1. A working fishing port where it is fascinating to watch the fishermen offloading their catches from the boats - you can also take a pleasant stroll around the port from this point and look at the many boats moored in the port, and also magnificent mountain views. 2. A leisure boat marina, with many attractive yachts and other boats. In this area are several pubs and restaurants, and also enjoyable boat trips are on offer, including sailing boats and glass bottomed boats for viewing the dolphins.

So come and visit Fuengirola and enjoy our city in the so called "off season"! You won't regret it, and will have a wonderful holiday!

Anne Sewell


I have been involved in the travel industry online for 10 years, running several websites for accommodation reservations worldwide. Also a keen amateur photographer.

Warning - Tenerife Touts

Regarding a recent holiday in Tenerife which was booked in October 2006 for my wife and I the holiday was booked through our local travel agent for 1 week in Tenerife .After arriving in Tenerife the second day we were there we were walking in Playa-da-las Americas and were approached by this guy on the street who gave us a scratch card after completing the card he told us that we had won the bonus prize he then took us in a taxi to an office in another part of las americas where we had to sit through a 7 hour sales pitch for a club la costa trial membership which entitled us to 5* accommodation in any one of there 28 luxury resorts after paying a deposit of £295 pounds for the deposit on the trial membership. We were then told that we would have to pay the outstanding balance on arriving home which was £3300 pounds after making all the necessary bank transferals. We received our trial membership which entitled us to 1 prelude week 1 free week and 5 weeks with in the time period of 33 months. The company were very keen to get us back for our first prelude week and we booked it for the first week in March 2007. After arriving back in Tenerife every thing was excellent the reception at the apartments and they were of 5* quality. The second day my wife and I had to go for breakfast with one of the company reps and we then had to attend another 6 hour sales pitch which was telling us that the company would buy back our trial membership for £5595 pounds and if we took the full membership which would cost us additional £8299 pounds this would buy us 1000points / shares in the company and once again we were pressured in to signing for this the money was going to be obtained by a credit company. After arriving home my wife and I have decided to cancel the agreement and have followed the company procedure to cancel this.We would be very grateful for your assistance regarding this matter.We would like to warn other people about this company and its methods of obtaining money.If you need to contact us please do not hesitate to do so.

Posted by William Buchan

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Running with the Bulls in Pamplona

The famous , colourful, historic and often dangerous San Fermines fiestas get under way on the 6th July and finish at Midnight on the 14th. More than 100 Spanish communities celebrate their local patron saint, yet Pamplona’s San Fermin gets all the attention, why, because it was made famous by Ernest Hemmingway in The Sun Also Rises written in 1925

The feast comes alive with the Txupinzao , ( which includes the firing of the rockets, opening of bottles of champagne and cascades of red and white streamers fill the air. Over 1,500.000 visitors flood the area to live this unique festival , the normal population is around 200.000 so you can imagine the atmosphere that is generated in the town.

As you can imagine many locals move out during the festival to make was for thee masses and retreat to more tranquill climes for the duration. The ones that stay however shed their traditionally conservative values becoming free and spontaneous. The festival brings a spirit of happiness rather like Christmas day does for the children.

July 7 the saint’s relics are part of an emotional procession from the Iglesia de San Lorenzo to the Cathedral de Santa Maria for a solemn high Mass. Of the nine days of los Fermines, this is the only religious note. This procession attracts more and more followers each year.

The main event for most of the pilgrims that descend on Pamplona from all parts of the world is undoubtedly the running of the bulls, the famous encierro , the running of six bulls for the daily corrida / bullfight from the bullpen through city streets to the bullring. The bulls run the half-mile course in two minutes. Runners begin lining up an hour before the 8 am start, signalled by a rocket. For the runners, the experience is a pure adrenaline rush.


Friday, 15 June 2007

Vote for the ALHAMBRA

The votes are currently being received and counted for the election of the new 7 wonders of the world.

There are 21 sites included in the voting including the beautiful Alhambra Palace in Granada. The new 7 wonders of the world list will be announced on the 7th July in a ceremony held in Lisbon.

On a tourism level, if the Alhambra was to be included in the list it is calculated to be worth a 20% rise in visitors to this unique palace.

Your vote counts so please go online at and help make history


Sunday, 10 June 2007

Galicia - Spains North Western Paradise

The Picturesque village of Mugardos

The " Islas de Cies "

Galicia, is quite simply one of most picturesque areas of Spain and such a contrast to the hotter south and coastal areas most visitors to Spain are acustomed to. The change in climate, vegetation, atmosphere and oldie worldly charm so similar to the villages of Ireland or another small hamlet in the Britain. Galicia has really everything to offer, it is, clean and green, offers a pleasant climate throughout spring and summer, the coastline is dotted with picturesque villages and small quaint harbours, most of Spain's best beaches are to be found in this area and lush meadows and orchards are abound. Driving around the country side and coastline is a real pleasure with fantastic views from almost every corner of the province, and of course a word on Galicia would not be complete without mentioning the incredible selection of super fresh seafood and fine wines on offer in almost every cafeteria ,restaurant
and tapas bar in Galicia.

Arguably,  the prettiest town in Galicia is O.Grove, situated in the middle of the Rias Baixas region, some 25 kms west of Galicias capital Pontevedra. O,Grove is one of Galicias many charming fishing villages, and due to its situation on the eastern side of the headland which faces the mainland it is protected from the tidal force of the Atlantic Ocean. It has a gentle personal charm endearing to all visitors, there are a good smattering of Restaurants to suit all prices and most of them with one thing in common, seafood, its everywhere and so fresh it basically walks onto the plate by itself.

As you walk along the beaches in the area as the tide reseeds you will come across cockles ,clams , shrimps and small crabs laying in clean golden sands of the Rios. Be careful though not to get the urge to fill up a bag to take away as that is not allowed, and beware as this true treasure of the sea is jealously guarded by the ladies who work in the local cooperatives making their living cultivating this local delicacy.

One strange occurrence or perhaps an oddity was that the locals understood my Spanish , Andalucian twang included without question, which is not always the case in other parts of Spain.

Highly recommended is a trip out into the Rios on one of the many comfortable glass bottom boats which takes sightseers out to the mussel and oyster platforms. Included in the trip is a plate of freshly harvested and cooked mussels washed down with a cold glass of Ribero , one of the delicious young white wines from Spain.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

The Prado Museum - Madrid

The Prado Museum in Madrid is renowned for being the largest art gallery in the world and has been visited by Millions of people over the years. It exhibits sculptures, drawings, coins and other works of arts, but it is undoubtedly its large collection of paintings which has given it fame worldwide. It houses more than 8,600 paintings, incredibly though it exhibits less than 2,000 at any one time due to the lack of space available. Many museums throughout the world have less artistic riches in their halls than the Prado Museum has in storage.

Having said that here are some interesting facts about the people who visit one of the most emblematic buildings in the world. The Prado museum is fast becoming one of the top tourism attractions in Spain.

In 2006 the museum received a total of 2.165.581 visitors of which 380.310 where there to see the temporary Picasso exhibition . The numbers where divided into non-residents ( foreigners and Tourists ) and Residents of Spain. The non residents totaled some 1.363.000 visitors, Madrid capital itself received a total of over 5.000.000 visitors which means that 27% of all non resident visitors to Madrid visited the Prado Museum.

With respect to the nationality of visitors, the USA topped the ranking followed by Italy, Japan, France and the U.K. 50% of the visitors where aged between 25 and 34, 28% between 45 and 64, they also state that 25% where females with a high level of education and medium to high annual incomes.

Send Free Post card from Spain

A new free post card service is available via the web site.

No registration or time consuming collection of the email is required, simply choose your card, edit a personal message and email the card, the person will receive the card directly on his email.

We have posted numerous cards to choose from and will be updating regularly with new ones over the coming weeks and months.

Blue Flag Beaches in Spain 2007

Spain still holds more blue flags then any other country in the world and offers visitors some of the best beaches anywhere.

According to figures published by ( ADEAC ) the consumer association for environmental education one in seven beaches have been awarded the blue flag, could be better I hear you say. However in the northern hemisphere a total of 2.579 blue flags have been awarded, Spain with 499 is in fact the leading country with the most flags. The beautiful area of Galicia in North West Spain has the most blue flags for 2007.

The blue flag will be flying over 499 of Spains beaches and 77 Ports. The prestigious blue flags are awarded by an international committee of judges represented through organisations such as the united nations for the Environment , the world tourism body, the international association for help and life saving and various other environmental protection agencies.

The beaches of Galicia lead the table with 127 blue-flags awarded, followed by Cataluña with 108, Valencia with 107, Andalucia with 72 and the Balearics with 80. On a smaller scale they are followed by the Canaries (30) Murcia ( 21 ) Asturias (13 ) and the Basque Region (8) Cantabria ( 6) Ceuta ( 2) and Melilla (2)