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Food Travel and Culture in Spain - Piccavey Blog

Loving Food in Spain, Discovering the Culture and Travelling around the country all year.
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Should I Travel to Spain in March or April? Coronavirus COVID-19
10 March 2020

Coronavirus in Spain

Since Coronavirus broke out in Spain on 31st January, media attention and panic has been widespread. I have created a list of good sources of information and recommendations. 

Living in Andalusia, this area has some regions that are not at all affected and others such as Costa del Sol with many cases. 

Here's is the updated article>

Booking travel this month

As there are many offers on flights and hotel stays at the moment. It is actually a good time to book ahead for summer holidays. Make sure you book your trip and then arrange travel insurance straight away. This will cover if the situation alters in the following weeks.

Wash your hands
The advice that most authorities are giving is to use soap and warm water to wash your hands. Wash them throughly and for over 20 seconds. Although some choose to wear masks its not so clear how useful this measure is.

Should I cancel my trip

Keep up to date with travel restrictions on official channels such as CDC or Governmental websites. It is not clear how Easter processions in Spain will be affected at the moment. 

I will be updating my article as further developments come to light.

Best wishes from Southern Spain


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Keeping Cool in a Spanish Heatwave
08 August 2019

As Europe records the hottest temperatures for decades Spain just carries on a normal.

Sweltering temperatures in Souther Spain are barely news in places which regularly reach 40C each summer.

After spending 13 summers living in the city of Granada I have now got al the insider tips and hacks to share.

Basically it comes down to 4 different areas

  2. FOOD

Many simple choices can make a huge difference.

Cotton Clothes

Always make sure that you choose pale coloured or white clothes, avoid synthetic garments too.

Cotton, Silk and Linen keep us much cooler than nylon and lycra.

See all of my tips here:

Food choices

Any food with a high water content is a good idea when the mercury rises.

Melon, watermelon, salad, cold soups such as salmorejo gazpacho or vichysoisse are great choices.

Ice lollies are better than ice cream as they have more water content and less fat.

Skip heavy food like potatoes, oven baked meats and pastas or roast dinners.

Keep meals light and remember to keep alcohol to a minimum while the sun is out. Alcohol can accelerate dehydration.

Other ideas

Get any errands like food shopping or exercise out of the way in the morning (before 12 noon) wherever possible. Try to keep indoors and rest between 2pm and 6pm the hottest part of the day.

Walk in the shade and drink water throughout the day. Cold teas and juices are good alternatives as long as you keep an eye on the sugar content. 

Remember to keep curtains and blinds drawn in the daytime. Windows closed from the hot air. Its good to keep the sun out of home to keep the inside temperature as cool as possible.

How are you keeping cool this August?




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A City Break In Granada, Spain - Visit the Alhambra Palace
25 July 2018

The City of Granada is a magical place to visit at any time of the year.

In Summer months (July & August) the city is quieter than the rest of the year as Erasmus Students have headed home and locals are holidaying on the Costa Tropical. 

Visiting the Alhambra Palace is often the main reason for spending a weekend in Granada.

This stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site is a collection of palaces from different centuries. The oldest part is the Alcazaba fortress (10th century) and the most modern the 19th century Charles V Palace. 

There are practically buildings from the last 1000 years in varied architectural styles all on this same site. The Generalife gardens are especially pretty in Summer months. Don´t miss the Water Staitcase. It will refresh you on warmer days.

Getting Tickets to the Alhambra Palace can be very simple or complicated depending on the date you want to visit. You will need the ID number, age and full name of each visitor to purchase tickets.

More details about Getting Alhambra Tickets online HERE

What to See in Granada

As well as the Grand Alhambra Palace, there are many other things to see in the city. The Albaicin quarter is a wonderful part of town to wander, quaint cobbled streets with pretty balconies. Red Geraniums dotted about and views across to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The Cathderal and Royal Chapel is one of the most popular sites for visitors in the city. With the tomds of Ferdinard and Isabel in the underground crypt and the grand dimensions of the Cathedral it won´t leave you indifferent.

Opposite the Royal Chapel the Madraza shouldnt be overlooked either. This Koranic school was the first university in the city and preserves some beautiful plasterwork and wooden ceilings inside. (Entrance costs 2 euros to go inside) 

Eating in Granada

Discover zero mile produce and what the local eat with the A Taste of Granada tour. Available every day at 11am or 6pm (closed Sundays/holidays) this will give you an insight into the Local produce from Granada province. You will also enjoy some Tapas created exclusively by local Granada chefs. 

More information about this Granada Gastronomic Route HERE

Restaurants in Granada

Many Granada restuarants offer Menu del dia, a set 3 course menu which costs from 10-15 euros

There are also some great places offering Gourmet Hamburgers in the city. Find out more about my Up to date selection on my latest Blogpost


I hope that you are enjoying the Spanish Summer, in the South it´s much milder than last year so we can really enjoy the good weather this season.



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Springtime Visit to Andalusia
08 February 2018

February, March & April in Andalusia

With Springtime getting closer although its quite cold across Andalusia at the moment, I look ahead to Easter and the coming weeks.

In Granada the Alhambra palace is getting busy as the reservations are made for the peak months of March and April.

Easter comes in March this year so just over 6 or so weeks to go now. Seville is one of the most famous Semana Santas in Spain, yet cities like Cordoba Granada and Antequera also have lots of processions and traditions that are worth looking at.

More details here:

Strawberries Blueberries and Raspberries are in Season in Huelva, this province of the very edge of Andalusia neighbours with Portugal. 

Huelva has amazing seafood and Iberian Ham too. 

Find out more about this lesser known region of Spain

Foodie Tour with Granada produce

If you are a foodie fan, there is a new route in Granada to learn about Local products in the Granada province. Spain Food Sherpas are based in Malaga and offer cooking classes and routes in the city. They have now extended their tours to cover Granada too.

The tour is every day at 11am and 6pm for small groups in the Historic part of Granada.

Find out more about their Taste of Granada tour here:

Granada in April

Every year Granada celebrates its white night of culture. The date for this years edition has been announced so you can set the date in your diary. 

Lots of street activities and cultural events worth looking into. Most are free of charge.

All the details here:

Wherever you are planning to visit this Spring, Enjoy it




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Summer Festivals in Granada & Jaen
20 July 2017


Summertime in Alcala La Real Alpujarras & Granada

Over the summertime there are lots of Special Activities to enjoy.

Here are a few of the lesser known ones on now and over the next month


This FREE festival in Alcala La Real takes place 21st, 22nd & 23rd July. The line up includes Youssou N´Dour as well as lots of other concerts, craft markets, outdoor activities and workshops. If you are in Granada, Jaen or thereabouts it´s worth checking out. This is the 21st Edition of this diverse ethnic event.

  •  Alpujarra Theatre Festival

Laroles holds the third Edition of Me Vuelves Lorca. This years line up has Improvisation, Jazz Music, Rock Concerts as well as Theatre. On Fridays and Saturdays in July and August.

Check out more details on this article > Alpujarra Theatre Festival

Laroles is close to Roquetas de Mar and a short drive from Guadix.

  • Summer Nights at the Fortress

Alcala La Real has summer activities called Veladas de La Frontera. Organized by TU HISTORIA these evenings have guided tours at Fortaleza de la Mota. Spooky nighttime tours, medieval markets and murder mystery evenings. On weekends throughout July and August.

Find out more here> Summer Nights in Alcala La Real


  • Flamenco at the Alhambra

From now until 26th August at the Generalife theatre in the Alhambra palace grounds the OH CUBA performance is on. With 2 x1 tickets mid week this is a great way to enjoy being inside the palace on a summer evening. The show is at 10pm and combines classic Flamenco with cuban influences.


Wherever you are in Spain this Summer

Enjoy it




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The Prettiest City in Spain
12 April 2017

Did you know that ´The Prettiest City in Spain´ is the same location which also has the Most Impressive Easter Week.

Also the website Foxnomad  (Tips to help you travel smarter) has selected it as Best City 2017 amongst finalists cities such as Vancouver and Sydney.

So where is this amazing place?

Granada, Spain.

With it´s thrilling Easter Week in full swing, the sun shining and it´s unique geographical location, between the Sierra Nevada mountains and Costa Tropical. It´s hard to beat this Andalusian city for a Spring break. 

On my last blog here I wrote about the typical Easter week in Spain  and have also heard about this wonderful Alpujarra event over Easter too. Made in the Alpujarra  A local food and craft market which brings together all the local businesses on one site. A showcase of organic food, Alpujarra wines and cheese as well as traditional crafts such as coloured jarapa rugs or baskets made by locals from these remote villages.


Wherever you choose to spend your Easter or Spring break have a lovely time


Best Wishes from Andalusia





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Understanding Semana Santa in Spain - Easter time in Andalusia
15 March 2017

Semana Santa Granada Spain  Easter in Andalusia

Easter is approaching. In just one month we will be enjoying the Easter break.

In Andalusia Semana Santa is an important date in the calendar especialy for locals involved in the processions and hermandades 

This week I have written up an extensive guide to Eastertime in Spain covering the different typical food to look out for and explaining the different participants in the procession and their roles.

Some of the roles in each procession are:

  • Costaleros who carry the figures representing the Easter story on large wooden floats or Pasos
  • Camareras, are ladies dressed in black as a sign of mounring with black lace mantillas and typical comb, peineta. They carry candles too. 
  • The most recognisable figures are Penitente or the Nazareno. These completely covered and wear a pointed hood called a caipirote on their head. With tiny gaps to see you cannot recognise the person walking along. 
  • At the head of the Easter procession you will see the Cruz de Guia. This important touch announces that the procession is Christian one.
  • The head of the hermandad is called the Capataz this figure is important to coordinate the movements of the whole group and timing. 

Find out more about Spanish Eastertime by reading the full article here> Spain at Easter

Another event coming up in Granada soon is the White Night of Culture.

On Saturday 25th March La Noche en Blanco will fill the streets with outdoor activites and museums will be open until late into the night.

Worth taking note if you are in the area around that date.

Wherever you are enjoying Easter I hope you have a wonderful time


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Win a Spain Travel Guide (until 4th Sept) Hiking around the Coast
30 August 2016


Cicerone Press have just published a brand new guide to Coastal Walks.

A perfect travel guide for hikes with a seaview in Spain

To win a copy enter this giveaway until Midnight on Sunday 4th September at this link>

Guy Hunter Watts has carefully written up detailed tips for walkers. The guide includes coloured maps and stunning photos of the routes. 

I hope you enjoyed the Summer

Good Luck



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Love Flamenco? Don´t miss this competition
26 June 2016

A giveaway of two novels set in Southern Spain.

Flamenco Baby and Men Dancing. These books are the debut novel and sequel of author Cherry Radford. 

Flamenco Baby is partly set in the Albaicin and Sacromonte district of Granada. An area especially important for Flamenco in Spain.

Men Dancing her first novel and this sequel are both being given away in this 10 day competition. 

Head over to Piccavey com for a chance to win. It´s simple and there are five ways to actually enter the competition.

These two books would make perfect reading for the long Summer ahead. 

Enter up until end of Wednesday 6th July.

Good luck



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Andalusia - A little way off the beaten track
28 August 2015

This August I have spent some time visiting areas of Eastern Andalusia which I´d not seen before.  As my summer holidays draw to a close I´m looking through my photos and I thought I would share some of the little gems here.


Ubeda & Baeza – Jaen

Both towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I noticed that most of the tourists visiting these cities were Spanish. To reach Baeza and Ubeda you need to drive past the city of Jaen. The road is not on the way to anyway else, which is why it may be reserved from the crowds and tourist buses. (Baeza Cathedral in photo above)

Each location deserves at least a day. Ubeda alone has 42 monuments in the town and both places have some fabulous restaurants and typical squares to discover.

Set amongst thousands of olive trees the views from the highest points are breathtaking. There are 66 million olive trees (in the official censorship list) in Jaen and it´s unsurprising that Jaen produces a large amount of the Olive Oil exported from Spain.

Most visitors to this area are interested in the renaissance architecture or history of the region but any visitor will be impressed by the typical Spanish squares, beautiful fountains and tranquillity in the area.

Recommended: Take the tourist train (close to the parador in Ubeda) (in Baeza from Plaza de los Leones) to see the main sights around town. The Synagogue in Ubeda is also worth visiting, fabulous restoration of a historic building.

Nijar – Almeria

This is the largest town in the Cabo de Gata area. Set inland this small location is mainly agricultural although there is a main street lined with small stores and some craft shops. Great souvenirs from this area include Jarapa rugs, local food such as honey, biscuits, olive oil and bread and ceramics with the symbol of Almeria the Indalo on.

The main square in the town of Nijar is charming and a great place to stop for coffee or a cold beer.

San Juan de los Terreros – Almeria

This is the last place along the Almeria coast before reaching Murcia. Actually the last town of Andalusia as you head North East.

A charming coastal town with several large beaches and smaller coves this town has a large castle set up on the hill.

Worth a drive or hike up the hill just for the beautiful views along the coastline.  A small bar with an outdoor terrace is there if you need refreshment once you arrive.

Inside the castle they have a 3D film of the nearby lead mine. This mine has one of the largest Geodes in the world. Gypsum crystals were discovered in 2000 and can´t be visited at the moment. This way you can see the virtual visit of the Pulpi geode while visiting the castle.

Another tiny place I stopped off at was the hamlet of Sopalmo (close to Mojacar playa) This has a few bars, a small hermitage and fabulous views over the Carboneras coast road. 

The Andalusia road trip has been quite an eye opener this Summer.

Hope you enjoyed your month of August.


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