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Spain's Best

Simple...a series of lists declaring Spain's "best" in anything and everything...they may be lists compiled by independent reviewers or by myself....whichever, I hope you find them useful :-)

Spain's Top 10 Golf Courses 2021
Friday, September 24, 2021

There are over 300 golf courses in Spain and many are amongst the best in Europe and the world. However, these were the top 10 courses for 2021

 

1. Real Club Valderrama


Green fee  € 350,00 

Real Club Valderrama is located in Andalucia, the largest and southern-most region of Spain. A few miles north of Gibraltar, it is approximately two hours' drive from Cádiz and one and a half hours from Málaga. The climate is ideal for year-round golf.

The Par 71 Championship Course measures 6356 metres from the professional tees. The fairways have been described by top pros and leading golf writers as the best in Europe, if not the world. It is not an easy course - nor was it intended to be. It is designed so as to call forth thought and precision for every shot. The course was designed in 1974 by Robert Trent Jones, Sr, one of the great golf course architects, and was originally known as Sotogrande New. In 1981 its name was changed to Las Aves. Finally, Ortiz-Patiño renamed the course, Valderrama, after the ancient estate on which the land is situated.

 

2. Finca Cortesín Golf Club

Green fee  € 280,00 

Very near the Mediterranean Sea and in a privileged area of Andalusia, Finca Cortesin has become a reference in the world of golf. At almost 7,000 meters from the back tees, it is considered one of the longest courses in Europe. The natural environment and landscape of Cortesin are one of it's most attractive features.

Finca Cortesin Golf Club has 18 holes designed by Cabell Robinson, a length of 6800 meters and more than 100 bunkers. It is considered one of the best golf courses in Spain. The privileged location of the layout will make the player enjoy wonderful views of the Mediterranean sea and mountains.

 

3.Club de Golf La Reserva - Sotogrande

Green fee  € 235,00 

The Course RSGC is considered as one of the masterpieces of Robert Trent Jones who chose this course as one of his five favourites from more than 500 courses he designed worldwide according to what he wrote in his book GOLF – THE MAGNIFICIENT CHALLENGE – published in 1988. Officially opened in 1964 Sotogrande was the first course Trent Jones designed in Europe and is blessed with his design philosophy, which consists of building courses perfectly integrated with the natural surroundings which are a great challenge to the better players, but accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Nothing describes better a round on Sotogrande than these words. It is a fascinating course for players of any level which retains all the natural beauty of the land on which it was built only 150 metres from the Mediterranean.

 

4.Golf Son Gual

Green fee € 135,00 

Laid out across beautiful Mallorcan terrain, just east of the capital Palma, Golf Son Gual is the realisation of one man’s dream. Adam Pamer, a double-glazing magnate and a self-confessed golf nut has been visiting the island since 1974 and purchased a holiday home there in 1994. Frustrated with the poor condition and service he experienced at many of the island’s courses, he set out to build his own dream golf club and employed three-time German Amateur Champion, Thomas Himmel, to create it. Himmel has worked wonders and delivered an exquisite golfing experience that blends seamlessly into the local landscape.

 

5. PGA Catalunya Resort

Green fee  € 110,00 

One of the best courses in Spain and Europe and satisfying all requirements for hosting professional competitions.
A beautiful course and a very difficult one, where the stars of the round are the trees and the numerous big lakes. It's a long course suitable for big hitters, though accuracy is also essential from the tee as the greens are surrounded by water. Everyone who has had the pleasure of walking its fairways has gone away with a positive impression of the course. With its naturally undulating terrain, the fairways can seem quite narrow when you are driving off from the tee but they open up for the second shot before reaching greens which are wide but full of secrets.

 

6. Real Club de Golf El Prat


Green fee  € 114,00 

The Royal El Prat Golf Club is designed along classic lines on a marvellous estate and is dotted with bunkers and gentle slopes.
It is a varied and entertaining 45-hole course and is suitable for all levels of play. The greens are very tricky and the round is both demanding and rewarding. It is possible to combine five different rounds.
In short, a new course that plays host both to daily matches and social tournaments and to major national and international championships, while respecting the strictest environmental regulations and blending perfectly with the natural surroundings.


7. Parador & Golf El Saler

Green fee  € 105,00 

In the early 1960s, Javier Arana, undoubtedly the best golf course designer Spain has ever had, took a walk through the pine forest next to the sea at El Saler and his special intuition enabled him to determine that this land could be used to build a magnificent golf course. After a great deal of effort, the Ministry of Information and Tourism agreed to the idea and construction began on the current Parador, with Javier Arana responsible for creating the golf course. His customary wise choices included the decision to do the utmost to respect the natural landscape, keeping as many pine trees as possible and the sand dune that separates the pine forest from the sea.

The result is now familiar to anyone who has visited this golf course, which has generally wide fairways; vast, challenging greens; and almost one hundred bunkers, some of them natural, created by using the dunes. Although there are no other special challenges, it is difficult to achieve the course's par 72. Those who play at El Saler should know that this is one of the best courses in the world, with an exceptional location beloved by all Valencians: the Dehesa de El Saler forest.
 

8. Real Club de Golf Las Brisas

Green fee  € 220,00 


Real Club De Golf Las Brisas was founded by D. José Banús in 1968 as "Club de Golf Nueva Andalucía." He was appointed its first President until 1981. For its design, he chose the American, Robert Trent Jones, already considered one of the best golf course designers in the world. He had just finished building the golf course at Sotogrande and after Las Brisas, went on to design Los Naranjos and Valderrama. The course includes numerous water obstacles: there are ten artificial lakes fed by two streams. The greens, the majority of which are raised, are amply protected by bunkers.

The results of Robert Trent Jones's efforts, which we continue to enjoy today, were truly notable and original, obtaining a difficult and attractive course. He was also original in his choice of Bermuda grass for the fairways and Pencross Bent on the greens, unusual species in the Europe of the sixties. The outcome of all this is a round that requires a precision game of golf. As an example of the opinion of great golfers, we can quote that of Paul Azinger (USA), "There is not a single bad hole in Las Brisas. Indeed it is one of the finest courses on which I have been able to play".


Nº 9  REAL SOCIEDAD HIPICA ESPAÑOLA CLUB DE CAMPO (NORTH) - MADRID

Green fee €100,00
 
The RSHE Club de Campo can trace its roots as far back as 1901- attaining royal status in 1908- and it was one of the founder members of the Spanish golf federation. The two courses on the property – North and South - were both laid out by the prolific American architect Robert von Hagge. The North course was redesigned in 1997 and it now stretches 7162 yards from the back tees. Most fairways are gently undulating and tree lined – but not restrictively – and water comes into play at four holes on the back nine. There are no fewer than seven left-dogged holes. Laid out on a huge scale across naturally undulating and sometimes hilly ground. These elevation changes provide for an interesting and though provoking round


10. Desert Springs Resort


Green fee € 68,00 

In the last `forgotten´ corner of the Mediterranean coast of south eastern Spain on a plateau overlooking the Almanzora Valley, with easy access from the international airports or Almería and Alicante, Desert Springs has constructed Europe´s first ever Arizona style desert golf course.
Designed by Peter McEvoy, Desert Springs is built to full USGA specifications and is well worth the visit.
Here the talk is of water courses, hardpan, armadillos, cactus and there is, of course about half the green planted area you will find on a regular course. But this the desert where host of other westerns so a tough golf course fits in perfectly. Not that Desert Springs is especially tough, it just looks, well, rugged with those towering outcrops of sandstone rock. Eventually there will be two courses on the site.
For the time being be among the first to enjoy the original. Desert Springs is certainly that and it offers a challenging round of golf.

 



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Spain's 7 most venomous spiders
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Although there are no deadly spiders in Spain, some can give painful bites. Here are a few to keep on your radar!


1. Loxosceles Rufescens

 

This spider, common in homes, is shy and not very aggressive. But when it bites, it can produce swelling and, in some very rare cases, necrotic wounds.

 

2. Latrodectus Tedecimguttatus


Although less dangerous than its American relative L. Mactans, the bite of the 'European black widow' can cause neurotoxic symptoms, with fever, stiff belly and cramps.

 

3. Cheiracanthium Punctorium


Somewhat more painful than a wasp sting, in sensitive people, the bite of this spider can cause a variety of skin reactions and even mild fevers.

 

4. Lycosa Tarantula


The venom of this spider, one of the largest on the peninsula, is comparable to that of a bee and can cause a very annoying stinging pain.

 

5. Macrothele Calpeiana


Also a candidate for the largest Spanish spider, it can bite when disturbed and cause intense pain and erythema (intense red rashes) in the affected area, although it usually subsides after a while.

 

6. Florentine Segestria


A very recognizable spider for its iridescent green chelicerae ('fangs'), its bite, although not dangerous, causes intense pain and sometimes general discomfort.

 

7. Steatoda Triangulosa


Known as the 'false widow' due to its resemblance to spiders of the genus Latrodectus, its bite is painful and can cause redness, itching, cramps and nausea that disappear around 6 hours later.



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Best city parks in Spain for an early morning run
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Jogging or running. Alone, with friends or your partner. It doesn't matter what you call it, or who you do it with. The crux of the matter is that city living is no longer an excuse for refraining from taking part in outdoor sport. It is increasingly easy to find parks where you will see people running back and forth at any time of the day. It represents a different way of visiting a city. There are even companies that offer guided running tours of cities to small groups that take in their most famous monuments. However, on this occasion, we're going to see the best urban parks chosen by the runners all around Spain… don't forget to stretch!

Madrid: The Retiro park

In addition to its excellent location in the city centre and good public transport communications, the park offers a number of different routes, whether on dirt tracks or tarmac and allows you to choose the distance you would like to run. Furthermore, on hot days there is no reason to stop exercising, as it has lots of shaded areas. It is also a great place to get to know some interesting monuments, such as the monument of the Fallen Angel, one of just three examples of this type of monument in the world.  A number of the most important races on the national calendar are held here, such as the Madrid half marathon and the Rock and Roll marathon. 

 

Seville: Parque de Maria Luisa    

                                   
To say that Seville is enchanting is an understatement. And the Parque de María Luisa offers indisputable proof of this. Opened in 1914, and Romanesque in style, it is one of the most crowded every day because of its many shady areas, which is essential in a city where temperatures regularly soar. It is yet another place where popular races are held, in which participation numbers are always high.

 

Barcelona: Carretera de les Aigües

 

Despite not being located in the heart of Barcelona, it is the place where runners in the Catalan capital prefer to run. And with good reason, given the spectacular views of Barcelona that can be enjoyed over the route's 9 kilometres (5.6 miles). Enthusiasts can get there either by car or public transport. Alternatively, walking there is the perfect warm-up. 

 

Valencia: Parque de Cabecera

 

Many local and visiting runners choose this spot as an add-on to the Parque Natural del Turia, which runs parallel to the river and offers a route of between 2 and 30 km (1.2 and 18.6 miles) when combining both. It includes steep hills, which are perfect for alternating between different rhythms whilst training. Water plays an important (and refreshing) role in this park, as it also features a large lake, where you can hire a duck-shaped pedalo. You can find more information on the park here.

 

Bilbao: Parque Europa


It is neither the most central nor the most spectacular park in Bilbao but is chosen by the locals for training. You have two paths to choose from, asphalt or grass, both a mile. It has also served as a venue for concerts and even local races are organised by the association of traders Txurdinaga neighbourhood in which it is located.

 

Santander: Parque de la Magdalena


Let the sea breeze caress your every step on this route that runs parallel to the sea, bordering the Magdalena peninsula and the palace of the same name. It can be combined with different routes to make it longer, for example, by going as far as the Cabo Mayor lighthouse, which makes for a run of over 7 km (4.3 miles) in total. And, if its proximity to the sea is not enough, why not stop at its small, golden sanded beach and take a refreshing dip? An absolute luxury to reward your efforts and relax your muscles.


Zaragoza: Parque del Agua. Parque del Agua “Luis Buñuel” de Zaragoza


Rather than a park, a sporting and leisure universe. For runners, there are two different routes, one of 5 and one of 10 km (3.1 and 6.2 miles) in length. Additionally, the latter ventures into the 2008 Expo fairground at which, like at the park, water was particularly important. In fact, the Parque del Agua Luis Buñuel was designed on the banks of the River Ebro and here you will find abundant vegetation that owes much to the river's flow. You'll be surprised by the amount of activity on offer at its facilities: golf course, multi-activity space and even rafting!

 

Pamplona: A lap around the Castle..or two

 


To participate in the San Fermin bull runs, it would be a good idea to do some training first. One of the most popular routes amongst locals borders the Citadel citadel and offers us the opportunity to discover a number of hidden gems. Furthermore, as a totally flat area, it is ideal for all types of runners. The route around the castle is approximately 2 km (1.2 miles) long and features both paved or dirt track routes, in addition to a number of fountains where you can quench your thirst.

 


Parque del Campo Grande - Valladolid

The 'Campo Grande' is a large public park located in the heart of the city of Valladolid. Is triangular, has 115.000 m (11.5 ha) surface and is limited by the street Acera de Recoletos, the Paseo de los Filipinos and Paseo de Zorrilla. Its main entrance is in the Plaza de Zorrilla, where together with a modern bill gate lies a floral shield of the city. 
Its origin as a park or, more specifically, as a garden area, dates back to 1787, although from the fifteenth century must be regarded as an important urban space. A notable feature of the park is the abundant bird population. Spread over the surface lies a Faisanera, an aviary and a loft belonging to Castilla Pigeon Club, which has made the peacocks, pheasants and pigeons very numerous and they have become the real inhabitants of the park. It has a variety of trees that are a true botanical garden. Many races are held in the park throughout the year.



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Discover the most beautiful villlages in La Rioja this summer
Monday, August 16, 2021

La Rioja is the smallest region in Spain, but the territory is home to a range of landscapes and locations typical of a continent. The Mediterranean essence appears in the vineyards, the alpine climate takes shape in the snow-capped mountains, and the rain-fed land creates lush valleys. But, above all, water steals the show. Seven rivers are born in the region and crisscross through it, decorating the landscape. Every step opens onto a new world, without ever leaving the region. Staying at a country guesthouse in a unique natural environment and enjoying a starry night with the Starlight reservation are some of the experiences you can enjoy when you visit La Rioja.  Here are 10 of the most beautiful villages in the region worth visiting during your stay...

 

 

1. San Millán de la Cogolla 

 

In the middle of the Cárdenas river valley sits San Millán de la Cogolla, a Rioja town founded by the saint of the same name and linked for centuries to the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela. The deep-rooted monastic tradition of the town can be seen in the beautiful collection of historic buildings it houses, where the Monasteries of Suso and Yuso, both declared World Heritage Sites, are outstanding. The importance of San Millán de la Cogolla is also due to its status as the cradle of the Spanish tongue, since the first documents written in this language are preserved here.

 

 

2. Nájera 

Situated 27 kilometres from Logroño, Nájera is one of the towns on the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela, thanks to King Sancho III, who in the 11th century modified the route so that it became a staging post for passing pilgrims. The town is divided by the river Najerilla and an exceptionally important monument stands on its banks: the monastery of Santa María La Real. Built in 1032, it underwent several modifications in the 15th century. Its fortress-like external appearance contrasts with the ornamental beauty of the cloister of the Caballeros (knights), so-called because of the great many nobles buried here. The church houses a magnificent piece of carving in the choir, a brilliant high reredos with a Romanesque image of Santa María La Real, the Royal Pantheon, bearing the tombs of some thirty monarchs; the mausoleum of the Dukes of Nájera and, in the crypt, the cave where according to legend the Virgin appeared before King Don García, who ordered the construction of the site. Facing the monastery is the Nájera History and Archaeological Museum, with sections on prehistory, the Romans, the medieval period, ethnography and painting, as well as material from the Nájera region. Also of interest is the Santa Cruz parish church and its lantern resting on pendentives, situated in Plaza de San Miguel.

 

 

 

3. Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Santo Domingo de la Calzada is one of the Rioja towns most deeply marked by the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela. Its network of medieval streets declared a National Historic Interest Site, store a valuable heritage, particularly its walls, the Cathedral and the old Pilgrims' Hospital. La Rioja's gastronomy, and above all the famous wines of the region, are some of the attractions the area offers, where it is also possible to visit the cradle of the Spanish language and the monasteries of Suso and Yuso, in San Millán de la Cogolla.

 

 

4. Ezcaray

Sitting in the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, on the banks of the river Oja, the town of Ezcaray and its surrounding area are ideal for those who seek peace and quiet. Outstanding in the town centre is the church of Santa María la Mayor, built between the 12th and 14th centuries and declared a Historic-Artistic Site. Its Aragonese Gothic style is unique in La Rioja. The cylindrical towers of the church, which reinforce the corners, give it the appearance of a medieval fortress and palace. On the outside, you will see a beautiful row of balconies, carved on which are the coats of arms of the town's former noblemen. The carved wooden door of the main entrance is plateresque in style and dates from 1532. The west door is mannerist, from the mid-16th century. Inside, you will find a church of a single nave with ogival vaults and medallions. Also of interest is the group of buildings which form the Royal Cloth Factory of Santa Bárbara, from the 18th century, and the dyeing house popularly known as “El Fuerte”. The area around Ezcaray is made up of striking mountain scenery, with streams, forests and peaks over 2,000 metres high.

 

 

5. San Vicente de la Sonsierra

It was created in the 10th century as a fortress for the people of Navarre and together with the Davalillo castle, it formed a line of defence. The town inherited the chains depicted on the shield from the kingdom of Navarre, which was the ruling power. Since the 16th century, the Vera Cruz Guild has organised traditional processions and flagellations during Easter, on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, during the Cruz de Mayo spring festivities and in September. The most important of these is the «picaos» procession, which is when the guild's penitents whip themselves in public. This is an ancient tradition that has not been seen in the rest of Spain for centuries.

 

 

6. Sajazarra

The village is a historic and artistic fortified ensemble with ogival arches on its walls. The impressive castle dated 14th century is one of the better renovated in La Rioja. The Church of La Asunción, from the 12th and 13th centuries, has different styles and is next to the castle. Its interior stores an image of the Virgen de La Antigua.


 

 

7. Viniegra de Abajo 

Viniegra de Abajo is one of the 7 Villas in the autonomous region of La Rioja. Viniegra de Abajo is between Camero Nuevo and the Demanda Mountains in the area known as the subdistrict of Upper Najerilla. It stands 881 metres above sea level and is 74 km from Logroño and 50 km from Nájera. The River Urbión crosses Viniegra. The river begins in the Picos de Urbión Mountains which are in the same municipal area as the village.

 

 

 

8. Casalarreina 

Casalarreina is a municipality and town in the autonomous region of La Rioja. It is in the northeast of the province. The district is under the local jurisdiction of Haro. It is predominantly a farming town: wheat, barley, beet and fruit, particularly apples. In the last few years, the number of poultry and pig farms has grown and as a result, there are more sausage businesses. The Dominican Convent of La Piedad in Catholic Monarchs and Plateresque styles is very interesting. This historic and artistic monument was established in 1508. The church has a five-section nave, clover chancel, and chapels between the buttresses. The portal is very decorated. The monastery hosts a Plateresque reredos dated from the beginning of the 16th century, a reliquary cross in gold-plated silver from the same century and several Baroque reredoses with Baroque images.

 

 

 

9. Briñas

Briñas is a municipality in the autonomous region of La Rioja. It is in the northwest of the province between the Toloño Mountains and the left bank of the River Ebro. The district is under the local jurisdiction of Haro. The Parish Church of La Asunción, dated 17th century, has a single nave with chapels between buttresses, a transept, and an octagonal chancel.

 

 

 

10. Uruñuela

Uruñuela is a farming municipality in the autonomous region of La Rioja, just 23 km from the region's capital, Logroño, and 3 km from Nájera. Uruñuela covers 10.4 km2. Today the municipality's surface area measures 13.9 km2, as on the 10 March 2010, the La Rioja government passed Law 3/2010 modifying the municipal areas of Torremontalbo and Uruñuela. Under this ruling, Somalo left the first of these municipalities and became part of the second. The town is 499 metres above sea level and is part of the district of Nájera. The current population is around 950, although this figure increases considerably in summer. Over the last century, the population decreased by 25%.

 



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Top 10 Best Cities for Tapas in Spain
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The summer is in full swing and it's time to get together with friends or family and decide what plans to make. If you have already enjoyed the beach and the pool, you may want to try a gastronomic adventure. One of the best ways to enjoy Spain and good company is to have some tapas in the purest Spanish style. Recently the internet users on the holiday website Holidu voted for their 10 best cities in Spain for ‘tapas’. These were the results:

 

1. Seville


With a score of 10 out of 10, the Andalusian capital has more than 215 establishments that offer these small portions with the highest quality. Its gastronomy is full of traditional recipes such as "cazón marinado" - marinated dogfish or otherwise known as mako shark, the Montadito de Pringá or a very cool Gazpacho.


2. Granada


With a score of 9.22 out of 10, Granada ranks second in this ranking thanks to its more than 150 restaurants that work to offer the best tapas you have ever tasted. Its tasty, varied and simple gastronomy, based on the variety and richness of local products that nature offers, such as vegetables, meats from Sierra Nevada or fish from the Motril coast. Tapas such as roast ham, croquettes or "Carne en salsa - meat in sauce" will keep you coming back for more.


3. Santiago de Compostela


Achieved a score of 8.06 out of 10 and has 72 restaurants specialising in tapas. The Galician city stands out gastronomically for its seafood, considered the best in Europe, although we cannot ignore its excellent meats. All this translates into spectacular snacks that, enjoyed with a good bottle of Albariño, will make you touch the heavens.


4. Cadiz

 

Achieved a score of 7.91 out of 10 and has 82 restaurants specialising in tapas. Cuttlefish, bluefin tuna, shrimp omelette or mackerel with piriñaca definitely stand out. Typically food in Cádiz is made up of a variety of dishes and delicacies predominantly from the sea.

5. Malaga


Achieved a score of 7.46 out of 10 and has 137 restaurants specialising in tapas, Malaga's gastronomy is characterised by being healthy, of quality, varied and, above all, well priced. The art of tapas in Malaga goes much further than just tasting small and tasty snacks; tapas are enjoying the company of friends, a good bottle of wine, a chat and letting yourself get impregnated by the open character of the people of Malaga. The fried fish or the Malaga salad is not to be missed.

 

6. Salamanca


It has a score of 6.90 out of 10 and has 76 restaurants specializing in tapas. Its gastronomy is recognized for its great variety and quality, with special emphasis on its legumes, denomination of origin, meats such as roast lamb and sausages such as Iberian ham or chorizo.


7. Toledo


Achieved a score of 6.78 out of 10 and has 55 restaurants specialising in tapas. Apart from its medieval beauty, Toledo has another attraction: its gastronomy. Toledo's cuisine is characterised by deep-rooted traditions and this is shown in its most typical tapas such as Repollo de Ludeña - cabbage, grilled octopus or the Bomb at the Trebol restaurant.


8. Almeria


Once again in Andalusia, we find Almería, which has a score of 6.56 out of 10 and 114 restaurants specialising in tapas. Being a typically agricultural region with a coastal area, its cuisine is closely linked to the vegetable garden and to the sea. As a result, a multitude of tasty tapas such as fish roe in vinaigrette, grilled octopus or "patatas a la pobre" will make you extend your stay in this wonderful city.


9. A Coruña


In the north, Galicia stands out again and in this case A Coruña with a score: 5.92 out of 10. There we will find 84 restaurants specialising in tapas in which fish and seafood are the protagonists. Tapas and servings of the highest quality can be found throughout the bars, taverns and restaurants all over A Coruña, along with wines, beers and a sensational atmosphere. The octopus, the empanadas and the pork shoulder should definitely be on the list.

 

10. Pontevedra


Finally and once again in the Galician community, we find Pontevedra and its 68 restaurants specialised in tapas. It achieved a score of 5.81 out of 10 and a multitude of small bars that populate every square and every alley, and that will delight everyone who wants to try the fantastic traditional Galician cuisine. Seafood, with its famous oysters and cockle patties, or fish and lamprey as the main protagonist, is the most requested in bars and restaurants. But you can also enjoy good pork and beef.

 

Start eating!



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Best Beaches in the Region of Murcia
Thursday, August 5, 2021

There is no doubt that Spain has some fantastic beaches and Murcia has its fair share. The Region of Murcia is a Mediterranean area with a contrasting landscape from arid basins to wooded areas in the inland mountains, the meadows of the Segura River and the Mediterranean coastline. It is bordered by the province of Alicante, Granada, Almería and Albacete and finally to the south is where it meets the sea and we can find a string of idyllic beaches and coves.

If you are visiting the region be sure to check out some of the beaches:

 

These are some of the beaches in the Region of Murcia in no particular order:

 

1. Playa de Calblanque (Cartagena)

 


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2. Playa de La Manga 


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3. Playa de los Cocedores del Hornillo(Águilas)


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4. Playa de Bolnuevo (Mazarrón)

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5. Playa de Estacio (San Javier)


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6. Playa de Puerto de Mazarrón (Mazarrón)


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7. Playa de La Llana (San Pedro del Pinatar)


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8. Playa de El Portús (Cartagena)


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9. Playa Mar de Cristal (Cartagena)


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10. Cala Cortina (Cartagena)


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Amazing beaches to be discovered
Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Summer is here and the beach is the number one destination this time of year. However most people tend to think of the south of Spain or the Mediterranean coastline is the best place to visit, but Spain has fantastic beaches in every corner of its landmass, here are 10 great beach destinations that can be enjoyed all year round whichever corner of the country you choose to visit..  (the list is in geographical order, more or less, so not in order of greatness!)

 

1. Playa de Rodas, islas Cíes 

This beach joins the islands of Monteagudo and Faro on the archipelago of the Cíes Islands. Its fine, white sand and crystalline emerald waters bring delight to anyone who visits it and encourages bathers to confront the cold sea. Next to the beach there are natural dunes which are currently being recovered. You can spend the night in an idyllic campsite, located among large pine trees, with a beautiful ocean view.

 

2. Playa Torimbia, Llanes

It is one of the wildest and prettiest beaches in Asturias and is also well known for the great atmosphere provided by the people who visit it. Because it is a cliff, which makes it rather difficult to reach, when you see the beach from above you will be sure to want to climb down. Its white sand, stretching for nearly 500 metres, makes it look idyllic. It is very popular with nudists and also surf-lovers, thanks to the fierce waves caused by the wind in the area.

 

3. Playa de Mataleñas, Santander 

This beach is very near Santander, between Cabo Menor and Cabo Mayor, and it owes its beauty to its location, surrounded as it is by high cliffs. Even though the beach is isolated, a great many people visit it during the summer, which is easy to understand since it is one of the best beaches along this coast. It is accessed on foot, by way of steep steps. Its waters are clean and it has a lovely seaside promenade from where you can enjoy some unbeatable views. 

 

4. Cala Estreta, Palamós, Girona 

A picture postcard cove, ideal for anchoring boats and enjoying the transparency of the sea, it is perfect for snorkelling and watching a large number of fish. Access is difficult because you can only reach the beach on foot or by bike (in summer cars are forbidden) There is some privacy and maybe for this reason it is popular with nudists. The beach is very narrow - which is how it came by its name [Estreta, meaning narrow] - and on many stretches it is no more than two metres wide. 


5. Playa Macarella, Menorca 

This virgin beach emerges in the midst of a thickly forested area, filling the Menorcans with pride and offering pure delight to visitors.  Its crystalline waters are a real pleasure that invite bathers to switch off from everything and rest. You can visit several caves in the area, one of which is at the entrance to the cove called “Es Castell de Macarella”. Less than 500 metres away is Cala Macarelleta, just as pure and pretty but slightly smaller, which makes it even more charming.
 

6. Dénia, Alicante 

These beaches and coves will surprise you with every step you take. They all hold international certificates for quality and environmental management; a real guarantee in the services offered. In addition, along the coast of Denia you can find numerous flora micro-reserves. For example, the Cabo San Antonio Marine Reserve is of notable interest: a protected area that possesses an ecosystem with great natural wealth, which can be discovered by means of several underwater routes (subject to prior permission). 


7. Playa de Mazarrón, Murcia 

A lot of sun, warm, calm blue waters and the good weather all year long make Mazarrón (Murcia) the ideal place for resting. You immerse yourself in its depths, lose yourself in its coves and feel the emotion of water sports. The 35 kilometres of coast in the region mean there are beaches that will satisfy everyone's taste, from crowded, urban beaches to hidden beaches in natural areas, where an air of solitude reigns. 

 

8. Playa de los Muertos, Almería 

Located at the northernmost end of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park – Níjar, it is a totally straight beach, as if it had been drawn with a ruler. It affords wonderful views and its waters are an amazing blend of bluesThere is also a small island which is regularly used by nudists. According to local belief, the colour is due to the whirlpools and currents of the water, so if you decide to visit it you must take care not to have a nasty surprise while you are bathing.


9. Playas del Cabo de Roche, Cadiz 

A group of beaches that stand out for their coves, well known for their incredible sunsets. Each one has its own charm: on the one hand, there is Playa de los Bateles, a large, family beach with a seaside promenade, spectacular for its size and the quality of the sand. And, on the other, the jewel in the crown of this coast, the Playa de Castilnovo, which is practically virgin and with a wild appearance that is ideal for surfing. Considered to be a Place of Community Interest, it is a natural beauty spot with walking access to the estuary of the Salado river.


10. Playa del Papagayo, Lanzarote 

It is one of the most spectacular beaches in the Canary Islands and is situated inside Los Ajaches Natural Monument. It is a stunningly beautiful cove sheltered by the cliff walls that surround it on both sides. You need to go well prepared to spend a day there: although it is easy to access, because it is some way from the nearest towns, there are few services around. Its golden sand and crystalline water will make you feel as though you are in paradise. 

 

 

 

 



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Spain's Top Nudist Beaches
Monday, July 5, 2021

 

As the Med is now practically a bath, it’s high time we visited the spots where bathers can bare all and be at one with the elements. Spain has many nudist beaches along its 8000-km coast line offering everything from remote coves to wild beaches. The only thing you need to wear is your sun cream! Here are the top 10:

 

 

1. El Puntal (Ribamontán al Mar, Cantabria)

Nobody is immune to the charms of this beach, which is located smack in the middle of Santander but is only accessible from the city by boat, or after a 40-minute trek from Somo. The pier is just across the construction site for the new Botín Center. Once there, the beach bar El Puntal is a living testimony of how this sandy spit has grown in popularity: 45 years ago it occupied the end of the beach, and now only 300 meters separate it from Punta Rabiosa. Beachgoers still fill the chiringuito at lunchtime because of its popular Rabas (squid strips) and albóndigas de bonito. 

 

2. Els Muntanyans (Torredembarra, Tarragona)

This superb chain of dunes stretching for nearly two kilometres has an area of 200 meters reserved for the Adam and Eve types, who can lie here with the sound of the crashing waves in the background. This may well be the most relaxing spot in the entire Costa Dorada. To get there, park the car near the Cal Bofill Environmental Activity Center and take the boardwalk located behind the magnificent dunes —The Mountains, as they call them around here — until you reach the nudist area, which entails around a 10-minute walk. 

 

3. Playa de los Alemanes (Foz, Lugo)

Translated as Beach of the Germans, this is just one of many strips of sand named after the European pioneers of bathing in the nude. This particular strand evokes the Germans who used to work at the nearby kaolin mine, which is still in operation. It is the most dazzling of the nudist beaches in all of Lugo province and is also referred to as Area Brava. Bathers form a large family within the 135 meters of fine sand backed by a shield of cliffs where pine and eucalyptus trees are reflected in the water. Los Alemanes, which lives up to ISO 14001 and EMS environmental standards, is better enjoyed when the tide is going down. To get there, drive by Cangas de Foz, take the exit to Burela and park in Areoura. The path leading down to the beach is tucked in between a cluster of homes at various stages of construction. 

 

4. Chiringuito Bananas (Matalascañas, Almonte, Huelva)

Sitting atop a tall fossilized dune with no other buildings in sight, the Bananas beach bar flies its rainbow flag to announce the friendly and alternative lifestyle that rules along a 25-km stretch of untouched coastline between Matalascañas and Mazagón. Chiringuito Bananas is Andalusia's gay beach bar “par excellence,” and a living tribute to the original owner and soul of this place, Salvador Jordán, who has since passed away. The nudist area is located around 150 meters from here. The bar serves coquinas (small wedge clams), grilled choco (small cuttlefish) and for dessert, shots of rum, whipped cream and cinnamon. Patrons can sit back and enjoy the sunset to the sound of chill-out and bossa nova.

 

5. Roques Planes (Calonge, Girona)

On the Costa Brava, seekers of nudist havens must take the side roads. In Sant Antoni de Calonge, leave the car at the free parking lot near Martina tower, then walk south for 15 minutes to see for yourself that it is still possible to find a virgin stretch of coastline dotted with nothing but pine trees. There isn’t a lot of sand to go around, but there are lots of flat rocks and other spots to lay down a towel and enjoy views of the bay of Palamós. Erosion has created the Roca Foradada (Hole-drilled Rock) and the Espalda de Ballena (Whale’s Back). 

 

6. Guayedra (Agaete, Gran Canaria)

Now here is one of those pieces of Canary Island heaven that have yet to be truly discovered. A dirt path veers off the GC-200 road linking Agaete and La Aldea, shortly after Kilometer 5. This 900-meter stretch takes you down a ravine that was once a major settlement for the aborigine people of the island. We are inside the Natural Park of Tamadaba, where the contrast between the green hue of the palm trees and the harshness of the rocks creates a unique charm. From here, it is necessary to continue on foot a further 15 minutes before reaching the most enchanting nudist beach in all of northern Gran Canaria, a place of pebbles and volcanic sand under the imposing presence of the Faneque, with its 1,000 meters of free-fall. Swimming here is dangerous.

 

7. Siete Playas (Mutriku, Gipuzkoa)

The well-defined beach of Saturrarán is an excellent place for a stroll over to the crags of Atxeku and the country house of the Count of Motrico. A footpath bypasses the estate on its sea-facing side and leads down a flight of stairs to the wild area of Siete Playas, known for its black flysch sedimentary formations. Old Neptune is always a menacing presence around here, so experts recommend coming on days when the sea is calm, and two hours before low tide if possible. After that, consider another stroll down the newly refurbished seaside promenade to Ondarroa, to sample the creative tapas at Bar Cantábrico.

 

8. Ponzos (Ferrol, A Coruña)

In El Ferrol, large but dangerous beaches are the predominant physical forms along the seafront. A concrete ramp leads down to this wild setting, where spots for sunset-watching are at a premium. There is nothing in Ponzos quite like walking along the water at low tide and gazing down at the ojos vidales, seashells used to make amulets. There used to be a gold mine here, and a cylinder-shaped tower that is still standing marks the beginning of the nudist sector. Swimming here is dangerous, and experts recommend doing nothing more than “poking the wave,” or touching it and quickly jumping out again. 

 

9. Son Bou (Alaior, Menorca)

The longest beach in Menorca is slightly over two kilometres long and boasts fine sand that feels very satisfying under your feet. To reach the nudist area, leave the car back at the hotel and walk around 300 meters. This area is also accessible from Santo Tomás. The dune’s vegetation slopes down in a great display of beauty, as it blends in with the bright green of the prat, the second most important wetland on the island and a watering hole for numerous bird species. Bathers should heed the flags alerting to the swimming conditions.

 

10. L’Ahuir (Gandía, Valencia)

Now here is a true prodigy, a piece of surviving nature — dunes included — in southern Gandía, where untrammeled development is not exactly what one would associate with conservationist values. Yet the success of this two-kilometre strip of untouched coast has led to a conservation effort that includes long wooden boardwalks to protect the dunes. There is a nudist sector and another one for pets, with complimentary doggy bags.

 



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Where do the Spanish go when they want to get away?
Friday, June 11, 2021

 

A recent study of Googles search results reveals which Spanish towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants are the most popular among Spanish tourists. Spain's 7,837 municipalities, which fall into this category, have been evaluated and ranked by the number of average monthly searches in the last 12 months for the terms "What to see in [municipality]" and "What to do in [municipality]". Every wanted to know where the Spanish go when they want to get away? These are the top 5 destinations...

 


# 5: FORMENTERA, BALEARIC ISLANDS


The smallest of the Balearic Islands has earned the reputation of being one of the most spectacular islands in Spain, if not the most, thanks to its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters and unique biodiversity in its 82 square kilometres. Its unspoiled landscapes attract visitors, and spaces such as the La Mola viewpoint, the San Francesc Xavier nucleus, its markets or the Ses Illetes beach, a white-sand area included in the homonymous natural park,  just seduce every one of them who sets foot on this island. All this makes Formentera an unbeatable destination to relax and connect with nature. It comes in at 5th on the list with 4,200 searches per month.

 

# 4: PEÑÍSCOLA, VALENCIAN COMMUNITY


The Castillo del Papa Luna, a 12th-century construction, forms the most emblematic postcard of Peñíscola. Anchored in the sea on a large mound, this castle reconstructs a part of the history of knights and fortresses of the lands of the Maestrazgo. Its Patio de Armas and Torre del Homenaje are an ideal balcony to observe the Mediterranean. It is also worth visiting the historic centre and, from there, visiting the Lighthouse, the Museum of the Sea and entering the Sierra de Irta Natural Park. It is not surprising, then, that it is the fourth most desired town in Spain, with 4,600 searches per month, and that its streets have become sets for series and films such as El Cid or Game of Thrones.

 

AT # 3: RIBADESELLA


Located along the mouth of the Sella River and on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea, Ribadesella is known worldwide for the international canoeing race on the Sella River that gathers hundreds of people every August. There is no doubt that it is one of the most visited municipalities on the north coast of Spain, and its 4,990 searches per month corroborate this. The visitor falls in love with its colourful old town, beaches such as Santa María or the Tito Bustillo cave, where you can see representations of rock art up to more than 35,000 years old.

 

# 2: LLANES, ASTURIAS


Thanks to having one of the best-preserved historical centres in Asturias, the centre of Llanes was declared a Historic-Artistic Site and today it is one of the most visited towns in Spain (it has 5120 monthly searches on Google). Its narrow streets invite you to get lost and discover some of its most representative monuments; such as the 13th-century walls, the Torreón, the Basilica of Santa María or the Palace of Castañaga. Outside its walls, nature lovers will be at home in natural wonders such as the Bufones de Arenillas and Santiuste, along with some thirty beaches.

 

# 1: COMILLAS, CANTABRIA


The architecture and the landscape make up a spectacular tandem in Comillas that has made it a Historic-Artistic Site and the most desired destination in all of Spain: according to the results of the recent study, Spaniards search this Cantabrian town 5,660 times a month on Google. Sitting on green hills and on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea, it also stands out for its past full of historical events related, to a great extent, to the 1st Marqués de Comillas, Antonio López y López. He attracted great architects of modernism such as Gaudí or Domènch i Montener, who listened to him to were able to create some of their best works here, such as Villa Quijano, better known as Gaudí's Capricho (whim), or the Pontifical University, masterpieces of architecture.

 



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5 must-visit beaches in Alicante
Thursday, June 3, 2021


Who doesn't want to enjoy a bit of paradise? Summer is approaching and those who are thinking of travelling to Alicante to enjoy its beaches will find in this selection places where you can immortalise a breathtaking sunrise and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in sheer bliss...

With more than 200 kilometres of coastline, the province of Alicante has a wide selection of incredible beaches, coves and cliffs that will take your breath away, but here are five that are certain to do so...

 

Bol Nou Beach in Villajoyosa

Also considered a cove, it is one of the most representative of this Alicante town. Its small stones and golden sand form a half-moon stretching more than 150 meters with crystalline turquoise waters that will remind anyone of the Caribbean. Awarded with the Blue Flag, it is undoubtedly a compulsory stop-off when looking for a bit of Mediterranean relaxation.


Albir Beach (L 'Alfàs Del Pi)

Just about three kilometres from the town centre, Albir beach is perfect to enjoy a magnificent day out at the beach where its nearby promenade allows you to enjoy numerous restaurants and beach bars. One of the main characteristics of this beach is its transparent water and pebbles, which allows you to get wet without getting covered in sand, for those who are not so keen on the sand getting everywhere, this is your beach. It's also great for the kids...they love playing with the pebbles.

 

Muchavista Beach in Campello

Its varied and attractive coastline offers a great opportunity to satisfy the senses. This extensive beach of fine sand is 3,300 meters long and 80 meters wide. It is located next to San Juan beach and is perfect for practising water sports such as windsurfing.


La Fossa Beach (Calpe)

It is bordered to the north by the Calalga beach and has been awarded the “Q” mark for Tourist Quality. It is considered one of the best beaches in Alicante, where time literally stands still. Its kilometre of fine golden sand is mixed with the fabulous landscape of the Peñón de Ifach, mesmerising.


La Grandella Beach (Jávea)

It is undoubtedly one of the most famous and not to be missed. Winner for two consecutive years of The Best Beach in Spain Award, this 220-metre cove is surrounded by irregular cliffs and crystalline waters where you can practice scuba diving and enjoy its marine fauna.



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