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Can I Afford to Live in Spain in 2024?
Saturday, January 13, 2024

If you're planning a significant change in lifestyle by moving to Spain, one of the most crucial questions you'll have is - Can I afford it? Below, we'll discuss the projected costs of living in Spain in 2024 across categories like accommodation, leisure, travel, food, utility, and health.

1. Average Cost of Living

Spain is generally less expensive than other Western European countries. In the calculation of the cost of living, we include everything from rent, food, leisure, and health insurance, to name a few.

According to the Numbeo cost of living index for 2023, Spain ranked 38th out of 139 countries with an index cost of living of 54.09 (New York 100). If we assume a moderate rate of inflation and economic growth, the average monthly cost of living in Spain in 2024 would be around €1,500 - €2,500 for a single person.

2. Accommodation: Flats and Houses

Rent is usually the largest single expense in a budget. Rental prices vary depending on the area, with larger cities and coastal areas being more expensive.

According to data from the Spanish property portal, Idealista, the average rent in Spain in 2023 was €790. Nevertheless, in cities like Madrid or Barcelona, you could expect to pay around €1,200 for a decent one-bedroom apartment in the city centre. Assuming a 3-5% increase per year due to inflation, rental costs in 2024 would averagely cost between €815 and €1,260 per month.

3. Leisure Costs

Spain is famous for its rich culture and leisure activities. A movie ticket costs around €9, and a dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost you around €40. A monthly gym membership is about €40. Given that inflation rate, we could expect a slight increase in these prices in 2024.

4. Travel Costs

Public transportation is efficient and reasonably priced in Spain. A monthly pass costs around €50-60 currently. Petrol costs approximately €1.2/liter. A domestic flight is between €50 and €200. These costs will likely see a slight increase in 2024.

5. Food Costs

Food prices can vary significantly depending on your lifestyle and where you shop. On average, a person might spend anywhere from €200-€400 a month on groceries. Dining out at affordable restaurants can still cost you around €10-€15 per meal.

6. Utility Costs

The cost of utilities - including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage - for a 915 square-foot apartment can cost around €150 per month. Internet costs around €30-€50 monthly. Again, these costs may see a slight increase in 2024.

7. Health Costs

Spain's public healthcare system is excellent and free to residents who contribute to social security except for small co-payments for prescriptions. Private healthcare costs can be around €50-€200 per month depending on the coverage and individuals' requirements.

To sum up, while Spain might be more affordable compared to other Western European countries, moving there demands thorough financial planning. Always consider exchange rates, inflation, and your lifestyle habits when determining if you can afford to live in Spain.



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2024 Work Calendar for Spain: 12 Holidays with Nine Common Festivities
Saturday, January 6, 2024

In 2024, Spain's work calendar consists of 12 holidays, with nine of them celebrated throughout the country. The number of common holidays remains the same as the previous year, as stated in a resolution of the Department of Labour published in the Official State Gazette.

Apart from these 12 holidays, two regional holidays are also observed.

The following holidays will be celebrated nationwide in 2024:

1 January (Monday): New Year's Day
6 January (Saturday): Epiphany of the Lord
29 March (Friday): Good Friday
1 May (Wednesday): Labour Day
15 August (Thursday): Assumption of the Virgin
12 October (Saturday): National Day of Spain
1 November (Friday): All Saints' Day
6 December (Friday): Spanish Constitution Day
25 December (Wednesday): Christmas Day


Regions have the option to move some common holidays to other days. For example, Holy Thursday (28 March) will be a holiday in all regions except for the Valencian region and Catalonia. All regions will celebrate Three Kings Day (6 January) on the usual day.

Regions can also designate a holiday on the Monday following national holidays falling on a Sunday. For instance, the Andalusian, Aragon, Asturias, Castilla y León, Extremadura, Murcia, and Melilla regions will observe a holiday on 9 December (Monday following the Immaculate Conception).

Several three-day weekends are expected in 2024, as some holidays fall on a Monday or Friday. These include 1 January, 1 November, and 6 December. Some regions will also have longer "puentes" (bridges), such as the four-day break around Holy Thursday (28 March). In five regions (Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Navarra, Basque Country, and La Rioja), a five-day "puente" will occur due to a holiday on Easter Monday (1 April).

Catalonia and the Valencian region have established an additional recoverable paid holiday. Workers enjoying this holiday will need to compensate by working extra hours. In the Valencian region, the recoverable paid holiday is set for Monday, 24 June (San Juan), while Catalonia must choose between 6 January, 1 April, 24 June, and 26 December (San Esteban).

Each region in Spain has its specific list of holidays, including regional and local celebrations.



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Jerez de la Frontera: The Underrated Gem of Spain
Saturday, December 16, 2023

 

Jerez de la Frontera, a small city nestled in the south of Spain, is a treasure trove of cultural vibrancy and historical richness. Despite being undervalued as a tourist destination, it sees around 115,782 international and 199,941 Spanish tourists annually, compared to the more popular Cadiz, which reels in over three million visitors a year. Yet Jerez is an enchanting city that embodies the quintessential Spanish experience.

With an enticing mix of world-renowned wine and the rhythmic cadence of flamenco, Jerez's charm lies within its cobblestone streets, sherry-laden taverns, and historic palaces. Instead of chasing popular tourist traps, visitors to Jerez are advised to immerse themselves in the experiences offered simply by strolling along the streets.

Recognised as the capital of Andalucian horse culture, Jerez is the starting point of the renowned Sherry Triangle. The city presents a balance of tradition and modernity, where world-leading fashion brands are housed in centuries-old palaces and vibrant sherry taverns are pulsating with a mix of contemporary and conventional patrons.

The Enduring Echoes of History

The city’s diverse religious history is reflected in its architecture. Monumental buildings such as the resplendent local cathedral and a 12th-century Mosque inside a fortified Alcazar—a relic from the city’s Islamic past—offer a rich history lesson. The Alcazar, dating back to the 11th century, is Jerez's oldest surviving structure and houses the last remaining mosque of the original 18 scattered around the city.

 

 

The World of Wine

One of Jerez's principal draws is undoubtedly its viniculture. The city has long been a global cradle of wine, with sherry making up a substantial segment of Jerez's export economy since the 19th century. The city's wineries fall within the Jerez-Xérèz-Sherry denominaciones de origen (DO), the Spanish equivalent of France's Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC) for wine regions.

 

 

Visitors can savour the rich flavours of Jerez in traditional 'tabancos,' local taverns purveying a plethora of local wines, and explore the city’s wine heritage through various wine shops and the city's wine museum.

A Haven for Thrill Seekers

Jerez also plays host to adrenaline-infused events, such as the Motorcycle Grand Prix, held annually at the Circuito de Jerez since 1987. This event attracts motorbikers

ro m all around the world and is one of Europe's most-watched motor racing events.

Embracing Equestrian Excellence

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation in Jerez is acclaimed globally for its "How the Andalusian Horses Dance" show, a stunning exhibition of horsemanship. This highly recommended stop captivates visitors through the beauty and dexterity of well-trained horses.

Jerez de la Frontera: A city unmarred by excessive tourism and teeming with Spanish culture and history, offers a truly unique travelling experience. This underrated beautiful city surely deserves a spot on every intrepid traveller’s bucket list.



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Four things you need to know about Cava
Friday, December 8, 2023

In both outdoor activities, relaxed summer afternoons and of course, at Christmas, I always find myself picking up a few bottles of Cava to enjoy with company. Cava's approachable acidity and lovely fruity flavours offer great value buys for happy hours and fun occasions!

Cava, like Champagne in France, is made with the Traditional Method of sparkling wine production, however, it can not be called "Champagne". The law prohibits using the term Champagne for sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region in France. While most people are used to calling sparkling wines "champagne", the proper name for all sparkling wines other than Champagne thus is "sparkling wine".

 

1. Cava Winemaking Method:

The bubbles or sparkles are produced during the Second Fermentation. In the Traditional Method of sparkling winemaking, the Second Fermentation does not take place in the pressure tank but instead occurs in the bottle, the same bottle to be sold eventually.

 

2. Cava Wine Regions:

In Spain, Cava is produced in DO* Cava, which includes five regions. The grapes for Cava are Macabeo (or called Viura in Rioja), Xarel-lo and Parellada. Some producers now have a proportion of Chardonnay (one of the traditional grapes for Champagne) for its flavours that are familiar to international wine consumers.

*DO, Denominación de Origen, a Spanish quality wine classification.

 

3. Flavours and Styles of Cava:

Cava is required to age for at least 9 months in the bottle. Such ageing time gives Cava the flavours of the pleasantly yeasty, green apple, cherry, berry, peach, and occasionally almond nut. Its clean finish with mellow acidity is always refreshing and friendly. There are quite a few different styles of Cava. Some are best to pair with appetizers, others seafood dishes, and yet others by themselves as delightful summer picnic wine or aperitif.

 

4. Sweetness Levels of Cava:

Another style difference is its various levels of sweetness. What's called Brut Nature would have only up to 3 grams of sugar per litre of Cava wine, and when the sugar level increases to Extra Brut, it could include up to 6 grams of sugar per litre. Cava that has between 0 and 15 grams of sugar per litre is called Brut. The rest of the Cava has an increased sweetness level that most palates can detect. From low to high levels of sugar, these are Extra Dry, Dry, Semi-Dry and finally Sweet.

A bottle of beautiful Cava could be about €10. What a bargain to add sparkles to your life!

 

 

Written by: Bonny-Morgan Lin

About the author:

Bonny-Morgan Lin is the author of the book, "A Crash Course in Wine - 7 Days to Become a Wino". With WSET Certificate, and French Wine Instructor Certificate. Bonny is a passionate wine educator & personal wine coach through her wine tasting seminars and webinars.



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The December Calendar in Spain
Friday, December 8, 2023

Christmas is all but upon us. A time for traditions, celebration, gifts and, above all, joy: the day of the “Santos Inocentes”, cribs, family dinners, Three Kings’ parades, New Year’s grapes… Should you decide to spend your Christmas in Spain you will find a country transformed although not as it is back in the UK.  Excessive Christmas decorations, lights and cheesy Christmasy TV adverts are few and far between. If you are not careful you could even miss that fact that Christmas is around the corner... but then again, Christmas is celebrated differently here.


Calendar of Christmas Events:


December 8th – This is the public holiday of Immaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) which marks the beginning of the religious Christmas celebrations. Most notable in Seville.

21st December – In a few cities including Granada the celebration of Hogueras (bonfires) takes place. This date marks the winter solstice (shortest day) and where it is celebrated involves people jumping through fires to protect themselves against illness.

22nd December – All over Spain people never stray far from a TV or radio as the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of many hours. Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this lottery in the hope of winning El Gordo (the fat one) and the winning number usually means that a good number of people from the same village become a lot better off overnight. Besides the big three prizes there are thousands of smaller prizes shared by people all over Spain. You can buy Spanish Christmas lottery tickets online.

24th December – Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish (The Good night) and it is the most important family gathering of the year. In the evening people often meet early for a few drinks with friends then return home to enjoy a meal with the family. Most bars and restaurants close in the evening. Seafood platters followed by meats or roast lamb would be a typical meal rounded off with a typically Christmas sweet called turrón which is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds. Another typical festive sweet is called Polvorones which is made from almonds, flour and sugar. Cava, Catalan 'champagne' and Asturian cider, would be the chosen drinks for the Christmas toast though plenty of fine Spanish wines will also be consumed with the meal.

25th December – Children may receive a small gift on Nochebuena or on Christmas morning but the day for presents is still 6th January, The Epiphany, when the Three Kings bring gifts for the children. However, this tradition is starting to change with the younger parents as everyone realises that if they give their presents on Christmas day the kids have more time to play with them. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Spain so shops are closed yet it is not a day of great celebration but rather a calm day when people go out for a walk, drop into a bar, visit relatives etc. Another large family meal at lunchtime is common though it’s becoming more common to see families eating out on the afternoon of Christmas day.

28th December – This is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) and is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day when people play practical jokes on one another. Often the national media will include a nonsense story in their broadcasts. In some villages youngsters light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to carry out civic tasks such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay for the celebration.

31st December – New Year’s Eve is known as NocheVieja. To get involved, don’t forget to buy 12 grapes in advance. Why? According to Spanish tradition, everyone has to eat one grape in time with the striking of the clock at midnight. If you manage to eat them all on time, you will have a New Year full of luck. Although the New Year is broadcast on television, you will have an amazing time if you head for the main squares of towns and cities, normally the location of their clock towers. One of the most emblematic places to experience the celebration? Following the clock at Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. There you will find thousands of people decked out with hats and squawkers joyfully toasting and welcoming in the New Year. Later on you can join one of the many parties held until dawn at hotels, bars and clubs 

1st January – A low key public holiday with plenty of people sleeping off their excesses.

5th January –  To ensure smiles on the children’s faces at Christmas, nothing better than the Three Kings Parade held on 5 January, the day before the feast of the Three Kings. In Spain it is the three Wise Men of the East, Melchoir, Caspar and Balthazar, who bring Christmas presents to children who have been good. Three Kings Parades, with their page-boys, camels and all kinds of weird and wonderful characters, make their way through the streets of villages, towns and cities all over Spain, to then leave gifts and toys at the houses. They are all spectacular, but special mention should be made of the one in Alcoi, in the province of Alicante, one of the oldest in Spain. Another is in Sierra Nevada where the Three Kings (Wise Men) can be seen to ski down to the village from the mountaintops.

6th January – This is the Feast of the Epiphany (Día de Los Reyes Magos) when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. For many Spanish children, this is still the most important day of the year when they wake up to find that Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings/Wise Men) have left gifts for them in their house. Santa may leave them some token gifts on December 25th but the Three Kings are their favourites, but this may not be the case in years to come, Santa is gaining ground on the Kings. During the day of 6th, the Three Kings continue their good work and are seen distributing gifts to children in hospitals all over Spain.

7th January – The day after receiving their gifts children return to school, their parents go back to work and Christmas in Spain is all over for another year.

Depending on where you are this Christmas ...


“Feliz Navidad” from Spain
“Bon Nadal” from Catalonia and Valencia
“Gabon Zoriontsuak” from the Basque Country
“Bo Nadal” from Galicia

 


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The Best Places in Spain to Enjoy the Sun in Winter
Friday, December 1, 2023

Spain is known for its sun-drenched beaches, bustling cities, and diverse landscapes. Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, the country offers mild temperatures and sunny days even during the winter months. If you're looking to get away from the cold and dark winter days of northern Europe, Spain is the perfect destination to soak up some sun. Here are some of the best places to visit in Spain during the winter months.

1. Canary Islands

Located off the northwestern coast of Africa, the Canary Islands boast a subtropical climate and over 300 days of sunshine a year. The archipelago is a favourite destination for winter sun-seekers. Some of the top spots to visit include:

  • Tenerife: Known for its stunning beaches, volcanic landscapes, and lush green forests, Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. The south coast boasts the best weather, with popular resort areas like Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas. Don't forget to explore the Teide National Park, home to Mount Teide, Spain's highest peak.

  • Lanzarote: Renowned for its volcanic landscapes and unique architecture, Lanzarote offers a diverse range of experiences for travellers. Visit the Timanfaya National Park, explore the coastal resort of Puerto del Carmen, or take a stroll through the former fishing village Teguise.

2. Costa del Sol

Located in the southern region of Andalusia, the Costa del Sol is characterized by its sandy beaches, lively nightlife, and year-round warm temperatures. During winter, temperatures are pleasant, ranging between 15°C to 20°C. Some of the best spots to enjoy the sun in this region include:

  • Marbella: Known for its charming Old Town, luxury resorts, and iconic beaches, Marbella attracts both sun-seekers and celebrities alike. Wander around the cobbled streets, dine in the trendy restaurants, or hit the local golf courses.

  • Málaga: This bustling port city offers a rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and mouthwatering Andalusian cuisine. Visit the Picasso Museum, explore the Alcazaba, or just relax on one of the nearby beaches.

3. Valencia

The city of Valencia enjoys a moderate Mediterranean climate during winter, with temperatures ranging between 10°C to 18°C. Valencia is the perfect combination of city life, history, and beach relaxation. Check out these popular spots:

  • City of Arts and Sciences: This futuristic complex, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, features a planetarium, opera house, and interactive science museum.

  • La Malvarrosa Beach: This picturesque beach boasts golden sands and a lively promenade lined with restaurants and cafes.

4. Alicante

Located on the Costa Blanca, Alicante is another excellent destination for a winter sun holiday. With its excellent weather, sandy beaches, and historical sites, there's something for everyone in Alicante.

  • Santa Bárbara Castle: Perched on a hilltop, this medieval fortress offers stunning views over the city and coastline.

  • Postiguet Beach: Situated near the city centre, this beach is popular among both locals and tourists.

5. Almería

Located in the southeastern region of Spain, Almería enjoys mild winters and plenty of sunshine. The region offers a variety of landscapes, including the Tabernas Desert, Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, and beautiful Mediterranean beaches.

  • Mojácar: This picturesque whitewashed village offers breathtaking views, narrow streets, and cosy cafes.

  • Roquetas de Mar: This coastal town boasts a 13-kilometre stretch of beaches, a modern marina, and an array of golf courses.

Spain offers numerous destinations to escape the winter cold and enjoy the sun in warmer climates. From the Canary Islands to the Costa del Sol and beyond, there are plenty of beautiful locations to explore during the winter months.



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Romantic Spain
Friday, November 24, 2023

 

 

              

 

Romantic Spain, land of castles and fortresses, relics of the Arabs and Romans. Andalucia, with its image of flamenco and bullfighting. To the west of Málaga the old Spain has been erased and replaced by the glitzy coastal resorts of Fuengirola and Marbella, better known for their sun drenched beaches and package tours than for their castles. To the east lie the towns of Nerja, Torrox Costa, Almuñecar and Salobreña steeped in history. Nerja has drawn visitors to the caves since the 1950s but what of the castles of area, and Roman ruins. Volumes have been written about the palaces of Granada, the last stand of the Moors against the mighty armies of Castille and Aragon led by Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Kings. Little has been chronicled of the castles of the eastern Costa del Sol, the gateway to North Africa, ripe with piracy in the Middle Ages and attacked by generations of would-be Arab rulers. The gloss of the travel brochures show scantily clad bodies and relentless sun but nothing of the magnificent peaceful gardens of the castle of Almuñecar, Salobreña and Almeria.

Almuñecar is situated 15 km west of Salobreña, 56 km south of Granada and 18 km east of Nerja. En route from Nerja, you witness such beauty spots at La Herradura, "the horseshoe", an apt name for the shape of the bay, and the salubrious development of Marina del Este snuggle amongst the trees on the hillside. The road winds down to the coast when you leave the main road, and runs beside a shingle beach lined with cafes where you can sip your beer and watch the waves roll onto the shoe. Follow the road towards town and take the turn for Castillo San Miguel. The road twists and turns and suddenly you arrive at the ruined Moorish castle. It was a stronghold of the Kings of Granada and where they kept their treasure before being ousted by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, the same year as Columbus discovered America. The narrow cobbled streets between cube-shaped houses are negotiable by car, and, if you have a good sense of direction, you can drive through to the centre of town.

The coastal town of Salobreña lies 10km east of Almuñecar. The coastline to Salobreña along the tropical coast is wild and rugged. To the left are the awesome peaks of the Sierra Nevada and to the right the glistening blue of the Mediterranean. Salobreña stands unmolested by mass tourism, although now boasts an eighteen-hole golf course; in the winter the snow-capped Sierra Nevada provides a magnificent backdrop to the green of the third hole. The narrow winding streets of the town remain as a tribute to the Moorish era, the cube-shaped buildings nestle together beneath the looming fortification of the Arab castle. The maze of narrow streets defies the sense of direction and one encounters colourful plazas and little cafes tucked away in the back streets. Calle Antón Segovia leads directly to the gates of the castle, a pretty paved avenue with plants and flowers. The castle has served as a retreat for the Muslim Kings, a defender of the port and beach, and also as a prison. It was one of the most important strongholds on the coast of Granada both from civil and military points of view. Most of the restoration work was done during the Muslim period, but there is evidence that other work was carried out during the reign of the Catholic King and Queen after the earthquake of 1494. The work continued in the 16th and 17th Centuries. During the late 17th Century and 18th Century, the importance of Salobreña deteriorated despite being kept as a defence against pirates.

In the 19th Century, its prestige was restored when the castle was used as a fortification against the invasion of the French troops. No further news can be found until 1956 when restoration began again and the Granada newspaper "La Patria" uncovered some earlier articles about the castle as well as some hand-drawn plans. The castle is now fully restored and summer festivals are held every year on its grounds.

Further down the coast, Almeria is home to yet another imposing castle. The drive from Salobreña takes about an hour and the terrain changes dramatically. Gone are the orange groves and fertile valleys to be replaced by a sea of plastic posing as greenhouses - a scar on the landscape. From these eyesores the mountains become rocky, yielding neither crop nor greenery. The road snakes along the coast and eventually straightens into long avenues. Almeria looms, its Alcazaba is the focal point of the town. The Arab fortress was built by the Caliph of Cordoba Abder-Rahman III, enlarged by Almanzor and completed by Hairan, and covers an area of 35,325 sq.m. with a perimeter of 430 metres and an average width of 83 metres. The castle is situated on a small hill, 95m high, close to the sea and lying east-west, which provides a natural defensive wall and shelters the ravine of La Hoya (the jewel), the site of the original city on the side of the hill. The hill also overlooks the small cove formed between the foothills at the edge of the Sierra de Gador and the mount of the Rambla de la Chanca river - a fishing district whose name still recalls tuna fishing store.

Some kind of fortress must have always existed on the castle hill for defence and look-out purposes to guard the natural harbour of La Chanca, which was used firstly by the inhabitants of Iberian Urci, then came under Roman occupation, and although its population disappeared or was dispersed during Byzantine and Visigoth eras, the settlement reappeared during Arab domination under the name of Bayyana (Pechina) using La Chanca as its port and the castle for the defence. The castle was enlarged and modified in the time of Abdurahman III ad the Almedina was built in front of it, by the sea, surrounded by walls. This led to the founding of the city of Almeria in 955, the Arab town of Bayyana gradually ceding to Almeria as the capital of the region, due to the importance and security afforded by the castle to the Moors of the Almedina.

The castle underwent changes under different Moslem governors, such as Almanazor and Havran the Slave, the first independent ruler-lord of Almeria, who extended the walled area of the city towards the plain by three times the size of the original city of Almedina. The time of Banu Somahdis brought an era of splendour and was the setting for a cultured and literary court in the 11th Century. Later, in the 14th and 15th Centuries, under the Kings of Granada, it retained only its role as a coastal defence. It underwent two sieges, which demonstrated its effectiveness as a fortress; one in 1147, when it fell for the first time to the Christians of Alfonso VII, who was helped by the Genoese, the Catalans and the people of Pisa; and the other in 1309, which lasted a year, when James II of Aragon failed to take the castle.

On 26th December 1489, it was surrendered to the Catholic Kings and subsequently, in 1522 and 1560 - was partially destroyed by earthquakes. Having been abandoned since 1800, its reconstruction was begun in 1950 to restore it to its former glory and today it stands as a reminder of the fierce and warlike past of the area, representing to the Almerians the history of the founding and origins of their city. Much of the grounds have been cultivated and developed into beautiful gardens, a tranquil place to visit on a sunny afternoon. It seems impossible that the rigours of war and earthquakes once threatened to destroy the castle.

Southern Spain is littered with such remnants of the past, pieces of history fitting into a jigsaw and enriching our knowledge of another way of life.



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Torremolinos: The Budget Spanish Beach Town Loved by Tourists and Celebrities
Thursday, November 16, 2023

 

Torremolinos, situated on the famed Costa del Sol, is gaining significant recognition and increasing popularity as the top sun-soaked holiday destination. This budget Spanish beach town claims the most sunny days per year and has even captured the hearts of multiple Hollywood A-listers.

Most travellers to the Costa del Sol have their eyes set on popular sites such as Malaga or Marbella. However, there's a new contender in town – Torremolinos. Located just a short 10-minute train ride from Malaga, this sun-kissed town boasts a multitude of attractions, making it a favourite among the British back in the 1950s.

Based on a recent study by IDILIQ Hotels and Resorts, Torremolinos not only ranks as the happiest spot on Costa Del Sol but also has the most sunny days each year. This spectacular town was home to Spain's first gay-friendly bar, opened in 1962, signifying its progressive nature.

In recent years, Torremolinos has experienced an incredible revival, marking a significant rise in its popularity. Local media reported a record-breaking increase in overseas tourists and overnight stays during August, signifying the town's resurgence as a popular holiday destination. A significant contribution to this growth is the new €6 million train station, which makes getting to this sun-drenched town a breeze.

The town is known for its glorious five-mile stretch of sandy beaches embellished with bars and cafes, offering plenty of fun places to drink, dine, and relax. Among the six beaches, La Carihuela Beach stands out for its extensive length and historical reputation for attracting famous stars like Orson Welles and Grace Kelly.

Apart from La Carihuela, other popular sandy spots include Los Alamos, Playamar, Bajondillo, and Montemar. A haven for budget tourists, Torremolinos presents an affordable nightlife with beers priced as low as €1.60.

 

 

One of the top photogenic spots in the town is the Ruta de Murales, adorned with murals depicting the town's famous visitors including Samuel L Jackson, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Picasso, and Salvador Dali.

For fun-seekers, the town hosts the largest water park on the Costa del Sol. Named Aqualand, this water wonderland is full of thrilling water slides, kid-friendly play zones, hot tubs, and a wave pool. Sport enthusiasts can also enjoy the tennis courts that have been graced by Novak Djokovic on several occasions.

The future looks bright for this sun-soaked resort town with a massive €515 million shopping centre set to open soon. Despite being announced in 2016, the project has been delayed multiple times, but the anticipation and excitement remain undeterred.

Winter travellers need not fret, as Torremolinos is a hit even during the colder season, with several bars and clubs remaining open. Even though the journey from the UK to Malaga is less than three hours, flights surprisingly start from only £14.99 with Ryanair. From the Malaga airport, Torremolinos is reachable in a swift 10-minute train ride.

With its increase in popularity, affordable prices, and accessibility, Torremolinos is poised to become an unforgettable Spanish seaside resort on every traveller's radar.



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Two Birdies With One Stone
Friday, November 3, 2023

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 spectacular 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.

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How about Navarra?
Friday, October 27, 2023

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 and is also a wonderful place to settle down.


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.

 

 

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.

 



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