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The Best Viewpoint in Madrid Reopens after 15 years
13 October 2021

 

 

National Heritage has reopened the viewpoint on the cornice of the Royal Palace of Madrid. After being closed for 15 years, you can now return to admire the best views of the capital!

The viewpoint on the cornice of the Royal Palace of Madrid offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city by being able to contemplate the Campo del Moro and the Casa de Campo.

With the inauguration of the viewpoint, the five gates that make up the historic gate have also been opened for the first time. In addition, it has been relocated, now located between the Royal Armory and the Almudena Cathedral.

The opening of the doors and the relocation of the gate, which is now further away from the viewpoint, represent the consummation of a project consisting of the reinterpretation of the cornice as a tourist space, a new space prior to the Royal Collections museum.

The reopening of the iconic viewpoint is part of an agreement that National Heritage signed with the Madrid City Council to improve access to the Royal Collections museum.

You can enjoy these unbeatable views offered by the viewpoint of the cornice every day of the week for free from 10 am to 10 pm. Don't forget to bring your camera, you won't be able to resist taking some photos of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the city of Madrid!

More info here

 



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How Much Do You Know About Spain?
07 October 2021

 

Think you know it all about Spain?

Take the test and see how you do!

No cheating now!

 


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Discover Navarra through the seasons
29 September 2021

You can get to know Navarre at any time of the year. Whether you want a quick visit or to spend more time there, the Kingdom of Navarre offers a wide range of attractions every season of the year.


Spring: the 'green thaw'

This is an ideal season to discover the splendour of the Bardenas Reales or follow the routes of old railway lines on foot or by bicycle: the Bidasoa, Plazaola or Tarazonica vías verdes (green routes). In spring the Pyrenees wake up and the snows give way to a host of colours that you can discover by climbing Mount Ori or wandering through woods such as Orgi, Urbasa-Andía, Irati or Quinto Real. It is also a time to enjoy the Easter Procession in Corella, popular pilgrimages at Roncesvalles or the delights of towns like Ujué, Olite, or Elizondo. At the table, it is the time of menestra (vegetable stew), asparagus and salmon.


Summer: the time of fiestas

In July Pamplona plunges into the fiesta of San Fermín and all the towns and villages of Navarre celebrate their festivities some time during the summer. Tudela, Tafalla, Estella-Lizarra or Sangüesa set the tone for good fun and hospitality. It is also a time to discover traditions such as the dances of Ochagavía. The summer encourages you to enjoy Nature and discover the green valleys of the north of Navarre: Roncal, Baztán and Bidasoa. Culture is present in emblematic places: The Classical Theatre Festival of Olite (next to the town's majestic castle) and the Ancient Music Week in Estella-Lizarra are two good examples of major cultural activities. At the table, the select cuisine of Navarre pays tribute to the varied vegetable dishes from the market gardens along the river Ebro.


Autumn: Navarre in shades of ochre

The Selva de Irati (Irati forest) is the best example of the thousand colours that inundate the landscape of Navarre. The Urbasa mountain range, the Aezkoa or Salazar valleys, the gorges of Lumbier and Arbaiun or the Bertiz Natural Park offer scenery that is difficult to forget. The Central Zone celebrates the start of the wine harvest and invites the visitor to artistic places such as the monasteries of La Oliva, Leire or Irantzu and historic towns like Puente La Reina, where the two main routes of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago come together. These are days for eating game, including the doves of Etxalar and a variety of dishes in which wild mushrooms, boar or pigeon are the stars.


Winter: treading virgin snow

In Navarre winter is something to enjoy. It is the time for Nordic skiing in the Roncal and Salazar valleys and to feel the healthy cold of sunny winter days while trekking. Another option is a casa rural (country house) and a good book next to the fire. Then comes New Year and Carnivals at villages like Lantz, Ituren and Zubieta, ceremonies whose origins are lost in the mists of time. The most demanding palate will enjoy alubias pochas (succulent beans) and the meats, cheeses, wines and liqueurs of Navarre.

 

 

 

 



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Valencia's Volcano
22 September 2021

The province of Valencia has a volcano. It is not active and it seems that it will not be for a while, but if you pass through Cofrentes area you can pay it a visit. It is located in Cerro de Agras, at about 500 meters above sea level and its last activity was about 2 million years ago.

 

 

The Valencian Community is home to 2 of the 4 areas with volcanic activity in continental Spain. One of them is this area of ​​Cofrentes; the other, the Columbretes Islands.

The Cerro de Agras volcano is a "sleeping" volcano. Classified as such due to the fact that it has not registered activity in the last 10,000 years. However, deep inside there is still enough activity to cause some natural springs where fantastic spas have been built nearby such as those at Balneario Hervideros. 

 

 

The process that causes this activity is the expulsion of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methanol), which travels from a magmatic chamber installed deep within the volcano to the Hervideros spring and generate bubbles.

 

 

The volcano itself is located about 3 kilometres from the Cofrentes nuclear power plant, which is scheduled to close in 2030.  Studies were carried on the possible impact of the volcano on the construction of the power plant, and they revealed that the last activity was about 2 million years ago. However, an eventual eruption is a possibility that can never be ruled out in geology. If you want to visit it, you will have to go to Cofrentes, taking the road towards Requena. 

 



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Golfing in Galicia
02 September 2021

 

Enjoy playing golf in your free time? Why not check out this privileged location to practice your hobby? 

Galicia in northeastern Spain. A Region that is not normally associated with golfing destinations but offers courses set in pine forests, at pleasant spa resorts or links courses with breathtaking views of the coast. Admire the surroundings while you practise your swing in some of the most peaceful surroundings.

Between Cantabrian and Atlantic breezes, this unique location is the perfect destination for lovers of stunning countryside and golf. The climate and countryside here are ideal for building golf courses in naturally green areas where the weather is fantastic and not too hot in summer. A real treat for the eyes, highly recommended while you have some healthy fun playing golf and enjoying the fresh air. 

There are many golf courses to be found throughout Galicia. That is why, whether you are looking to perfect your stroke on city courses, courses on the coast or right in the mountains, then Galicia is the place for you. If you love the sea, I would recommend the Pontevedra area. There you can find, the La Toja Golf Club, with its magnificent views of the coast, is particularly outstanding. See for yourself how the green seems to extend right into the sea. And don't forget to admire the view of Vigo Estuary from the course by the Clubhouse there.

If you prefer inland options, then make for the A Coruña, Lugo and Orense areas. Many of the clubs there, such as Golf de Lugo and the Monte-Castrove Foundation (Pontevedra province), have courses with ancient trees and natural lakes as obstacles.

The motto of golf in Galicia could be: "No one should be left without a round". The variety of the courses here (9- and 18-hole) mean that you can have a fun day playing whatever your level or handicap. There are ever more courses on offer, with everything from broad fairways (like those at La Coruña Golf Club), to narrow, winding courses with numerous obstacles (like the one at Real Aero Club de Santiago).

If you have never played golf, don't worry, because at many courses in Galicia there are courses for beginners and experts, adults and children. You will also find modern installations and services such as club hire, buggy hire, putting greens and driving ranges to practise, pitch & putt, and golf pro shops.

If you love golf but your family have other preferences, then no problem either. Some courses in Galicia, like the one at Balneario de Guitiriz Golf Club (Lugo province) or Golf Balneario de Mondariz (Pontevedra province), are alongside spa resorts where your family can rest and relax in thermal waters while you have a round. What is more, in Galicia you can do a range of other sports like kayaking, paragliding, hiking, horse riding, fishing…

 

 

Make the most of your trip by visiting emblematic locations such as the Old City of Santiago de Compostela or Lugo City Walls, both UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites. Enjoy its stunning beaches, its six nature reserves and the Atlantic Islands National Park. Above all, remember to savour the exquisite regional cuisine.

Galicia is one of Spain's great regions.

 

 

[Contributed by J.L Williams]



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'Two Birdies With One Stone'
12 August 2021

Thirteen unique cities and golf courses to enjoy. Spain's World Heritage Cities are a good alternative when it comes to planning a golfing holiday. You can enjoy your favourite sport and also discover monuments that will leave you speechless. Seeing is believing: Spain is perfect for golfers who also like art and culture. Here is the proof.

Play golf with sea views or surrounded by mountains. Admire buildings with different artistic styles and stroll through streets packed with history. See for yourself just how varied Spanish gastronomy is... These are just a few of the options available on this kind of sporting holiday: those to be found at Spain's World Heritage Cities.

Salamanca, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Cordoba… You have probably considered these places as perfect destinations for a cultural holiday. And for a day's golf? They are ideal too - you will find one or more golf courses close to all these cities. In general, they are modern facilities with good access and excellent value for money. What is more, there are courses to suit all tastes, ideal for experts and beginners alike. So get your clubs ready, because in Spain's thirteen World Heritage Cities you will have the chance to discover some of the country's most important monuments, and have fun getting over obstacles on the green.

 

 

Several of these cities are located in central Spain. In Alcalá de Henares, just 30 kilometres from Madrid, don't miss the University, Main Street and the birth house of Miguel de Cervantes; later, practise your swing at the Encín Golf or El Robledal golf courses. In the Castile-La Mancha region there are two further destinations: Toledo and Cuenca. In the former, you should explore the narrow streets of its historic old town, where Muslims, Jews and Christians once lived together in harmony, and later you can play a few holes at the Layos Golf Club. In Cuenca you will love its unique setting and famous Hanging Houses. For golf, you can choose between the La Vereda and Villar de Olalla courses.

If you come to the region of Castile-León, you should visit the cities of Segovia, Ávila and Salamanca. They are fairly close by, so you can discover their most emblematic monuments in just a few days: the Segovia Aqueduct, Ávila City Walls, Plaza Mayor Square in Salamanca… Furthermore, several golf courses await you around Segovia (La Faisanera, Club Campo de Tiro and Los Ángeles de San Rafael are closest to the city), three in Ávila (El Fresnillo, Club Deportivo la Almarza and Casino Abulense) and three in Salamanca (La Valmuza, Villamayor and Salamanca Golf Course).

 

 

If you head south, to Andalusia, in Cordoba you can look back at the splendour of Moorish culture at the magnificent Great Mosque, and play a few holes whenever you like, at its Country Club. In the neighbouring region of Extremadura you should not miss the wealth of monuments in the historic centre of Cáceres and, of course, Mérida and its Roman Theatre. Later, you should go to Club Don Tello.

In the far northwest of Spain, in the region of Galicia, is Santiago de Compostela and its magnificent Cathedral, the final destination on the famous Way of Saint James. Golf Val de Rois is one of the nearby places to get out the clubs. Still in the north, but now on the eastern coast of Catalonia, you have the chance to visit Tarragona, where you can see its major Roman archaeological site. You can then choose between the Costa Dorada Club, Reus Aigüesverds, the PortAventura Golf Club and Bonmont Terres Noves when it is time to play golf.

 

 

There are World Heritage Cities on the islands, too. In the Balearic Islands, the island of Ibiza is outstanding for its biodiversity and ancient monuments and is also home to the Ibiza Golf Club. In the Canary Islands, on the island of Tenerife, you will find the city of San Cristóbal de la Laguna, with its unique architecture and urban layout. Close by you will find the Real Club de Tenerife. However, just a short distance away you can also enjoy the island's other golf courses.

Try a different kind of holiday, and have great times on and off the green. Play golf, while you discover Spain's World Heritage Cities.

Choose your World Heritage City in Spain

Find your Golf Club

 



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7 Gastronomic Festivals to enjoy this summer
21 July 2021

If Spain has something it can boast about, it is eating well. In each of the autonomous communities, you can celebrate the products of the land and the sea through typical regional recipes either in markets or celebrations where local traditions are kept alive.

Many of these celebrations take place during the summer months, so if you are on holiday or just happen to have a day off everyone is invited to these wonderful gastronomic festivals, so take note and plan for the next one...

 

1 International Garlic Fair (Las Pedroñeras)

 
Every year, at the end of July, the International Garlic Fair is held in Las Pedroñeras, in the province of Cuenca (Castilla-La Mancha). This town, considered by many to be the garlic capital of the world, organises a weekend of festivities centred around garlic, one of the typical products of this land.

Activities such as a gastronomic contest, a parade of vintage tractors or a tapas route are on the agenda. The International Garlic Fair, which has been held for more than forty years, takes place at the Las Pedroñeras Fairgrounds for Exhibitions.

 

2 Albariño Festival (Cambados)


 
In the province of Pontevedra, Cambados is one of those wonderful Galician towns that is always recommended to visit, but it is also one of the cradles of wine in the region. Every first Sunday in August the Albariño Festival is celebrated in Cambados, in which tastings, tapas and seafood are always the protagonists, and in which you can stroll from booth to booth savouring the local gastronomic wonders. The town is known as the capital of Albariño in the world and its festival is classified as one of International Tourist Interest.


3 Gazpacho Festival (Alfarnatejo)

 


Among the typical recipes of Spain in summer, gazpacho has to be the most recognisable, so it is not surprising that it has a gastronomic festival of its own. The Fiesta del Gazpacho is held in the Malaga municipality of Alfarnatejo.

Declared a Provincial Tourist Singularity Festival, the Gazpacho Festival takes place at the beginning of August. Nestled in the heart of the Axarquía region, it is a perfect occasion to discover one of the most beautiful landscapes in Andalusia.

 

4 Octopus festivals (Carballiño)

 
The second week of August in O Carballiño, in the Galician province of Ourense, the Octopus Festival (Festa do Polbo) is organised, one of the most emblematic of the autonomous community. Large copper cauldrons are prepared to cook in the traditional manner this delicacy taken from the waters of Galicia. It is a day when local white wine, traditional Empanadas and Cachelos will definitely be on the menu. It is another of the gastronomic festivals of Galicia that was declared of International Tourist Interest.

 

5 Day of the Marmita (Laredo)

The typical metal pot of the Cantabrian lands called "Marmita" gives its name to the next gastronomic festival that must be savoured. The Day of the Marmita in Laredo, also known as Dia del Puerto celebrates cooked Bonito- Tuna steak. This gastronomic festival takes place every August 16, coinciding with the feast of San Roque, who is the patron Saint of the town.

The teams meet at the port to cook in these pots-cum-cauldrons and compete to see who can cook the best Bonito del Norte. Yet another gastronomic festival that must be noted.


6 Clam Festival (Lane)


 
Galicia is an explosion of parties in summer. So much so that if you move around the community in August you will see that in most municipalities one Patron Saints' day or another is being celebrated. Attached to these celebrations it is common to discover a gastronomic festival to aid in the celebration.

In mid-August the Clam Festival takes place in Carril, in Vilagarcía de Arousa (Pontevedra), declared a Festival of Tourist Interest in Galicia. Clam tastings and contests are some of the typical activities during this festival in which neither traditional music nor Albariño wine is lacking.

 

7  Natural Cider Festival (Gijón)

At the end of August, Asturias celebrates one of its most traditional drinks: cider. Thus, in Gijón the Natural Cider Festival takes place. It was declared an event of National Tourist Interest where more than 30,000 litres are distributed. The activities are very varied ranging from pouring contests to urban pilgrimages, apple and cider markets as well as visits to nearby wineries.

The Natural Cider Festival is the most emblematic of the Asturian cider festivals, since it has been celebrated since the sixties, and constitutes one of the best moments to get to know the beautiful city of Gijón.



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Spain's Grass Museum...
16 July 2021

In the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, one can find an abundance of stately buildings, from ancient and medieval structures to modernist masterpieces. Amongst them is the Palau Mornau, a grand Renaissance-cum-modernist structure that now houses a museum – not of portraiture, or decorative arts, or even Catalan history, but of grass..but not any grass.

The Palau Mornau was originally built in the 16th century as a city palace for the noble Santcliment family. Owned by the family for two centuries, the building was bought in the late 18th century by Josep Francesc Mornau (the “honorary war commissioner of the Royal Armies”) and later changed hands again in the early 20th century, coming under the ownership of one Joan Nadal de Vilardaga, the brother of the mayor of Barcelona.
The new owner undertook a major renovation of the palace, transforming the building into a masterpiece of the Modernisme style that was changing the face of Barcelona at the time and continues to be a major architectural signature of the city. The renovation included stained glass windows, floral wrought-iron balconies, a faux stone facade, and exquisite interior design that imparted every room with uniquely styled floors, ceilings, walls, and windows.

 

     


By 2001, however, the building had fallen into disuse and disrepair, when it was a discovered by Ben Dronkers, a Dutch entrepreneur and philanthropist who had started Amsterdam’s Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in 1985. Seeking to expand the museum’s facilities and mission beyond Amsterdam, he purchased the Palau Mornau and embarked on a ten-year project of meticulous renovation – a sensitive task, given the building’s status as a national monument. Once the restoration was completed, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Barcelona opened its doors to great fanfare in May of 2012, with the grand opening featuring drug policy reform advocate Richard Branson. 

 


The museum’s permanent collection contains approximately 8000 objects related to cannabis cultivation and utilization throughout human history, including medicine bottles, apothecary kits, prescription bottles, paintings, pipes, sculptures, and film posters. Exhibit topics deal with not only recreational and medicinal uses of cannabis, but also industrial applications, legislative history, and the horticultural considerations of cannabis cultivation. 

 

 



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What Huelva and Jupiter have in common
24 June 2021

Originating in Nerva a town nestled in the Sierra of the Huelva mountains in Andalusia, Spain’s Rio Tinto runs through the southwestern region of the country. For approximately five thousand years, copper, gold, silver and other minerals have been mined along the river, with dissolving iron giving it a strange reddish hue and hence its name, the "Red River".

 

 

The Rio Tinto is often considered the birthplace of both the Copper Age and Bronze Age. The Iberians and Tartessians in the area began mining the river in 3000 BCE, followed by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. For hundreds of years, the river’s mines were abandoned until rediscovered by the Spanish authorities in 1724 and it once again put back in operation.

After massive excavations and digging by companies from the United Kingdom during the 19th century, the river became extremely dangerous for people due to the high acidity level. Later the multinational Rio Tinto Company was formed to operate the mines. Rio Tinto no longer manages the river, but by the end of the 20th century, it had become one of the world’s largest mining companies.

 

 

The high acidity keeps people away from the waters but draws scientists in. Extremophile aerobic bacteria in the water provide conditions similar to those found in other areas of the solar system. Jupiter’s moon Europa, for example, is thought to contain an acidic ocean underneath its surface. Life in the Rio Tinto such as bacteria feeds on iron and sulfide minerals in the river’s subsurface rocks, making the likelihood of life on Europa all the more possible.

 

 

If you want to live a unique experience, do not hesitate to go for a ride on the authentic 19th-century railway. It is a restored locomotive and wagons that follow the original route of the past. The Rio Tinto Mining Park consists of a complete tour that includes access to the museum, a guided tour of an underground mine and open-pit mine, and finally the ride on the authentic mine train. A visit that you cannot miss if you travel to the province of Huelva.

 

 



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The Second Most Romantic Hotel in the World
02 June 2021


A small hotel in Guadalest has been voted the second most romantic in the world by users of the specialised travel website TripAdvisor, the most visited globally.

The rural complex Cases Noves is located in the urban area of the municipality, it has only five rooms and clients can stay there from 131 euros per night. Guadalest, which has just over 200 inhabitants, is located in the Alicante region of Marina Baja, 20 kilometres from the touristy Benidorm.

This small town in Alicante has been recognised as a Historic-Artistic Complex since 1974 and is also part of the Association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain.

This dream getaway that couples love occupies a 1932 country house that has been remodelled while respecting the original charm. The users of Tripadvisor consider it to be "a real treasure".

 

 

The hotel not only offers accommodation, but its team offers the client a myriad of activities and services. Among them, gourmet breakfasts, romantic dinners, Spa sessions to disconnect, wine tourism activities, hiking trails, as well as the possibility of organising celebrations. Also, there are those who choose this place to celebrate a small wedding.

One of the welcome packs offered by the hotel to surprise your partner offers an aphrodisiac cocktail, chocolates, scented candles and music to liven up the evening. The hotel team decorates your room in a romantic and personalised way.

 

The rural complex is very well located, it overlooks the castle and has fabulous views of the mountainous landscape. From its windows, you can see the Aitana, Serrella and Xortà mountains, as well as the bay of Altea in the distance.

The property, owned by Sofía Alonso and Antonio Serrano, came into operation in July 2005. Since then it has received several recognitions from TripAdvisor and the Booking.com portal.

The Cases Noves is only surpassed as the most romantic by the Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat hotel in Montville, Australia, within this category of "most romantic in the world" establishments.

 

 



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