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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 :-)

10 Place to visit in Andalucia this Summer
Friday, June 2, 2023

More than 1100 kilometres of coastline, two National Parks and cities such as Seville, Córdoba and Granada are the epitome of Andalusia, but there is so much more to this region. Roman ruins, villages that defy gravity, dizzying trails and rivers that appear to be from another planet. This too is Andalusia. Come discover these other destinations, those that aren't on the first page of the travel guides. They will make your jaw drop all the same. This is the ideal place for your next getaway. (In no particular order)


1. Archaeological Site of Baelo Claudia. Roman Andalusia

If you like archaeology, here are two places that cannot be missed. The first is in Santiponce (a mere 15 km from Seville), where the remains of the ancient Roman city of Italica (206 BCE.) are found. From here you can see its Roman amphitheatre and part of the outline of its streets. In Cádiz, only two and a half hours by car from here, you'll find the Archaeological Site of Baelo Claudia, one of the best known examples of Roman urban planning.



2. Caminito del Rey, Malaga

Leave your dizziness behind to enjoy the Gaitanes Gorge on this unique trail. It has a bridge hanging from the mountain's wall that in some stretches is barely a metre wide, and 100 meters tall. Although it has been closed to the public due to poor maintenance, after a long restoration process, it was reopened at Easter.


3. Río Tinto, Huelva.

It's as if you were on Mars; the landscape seems dyed red along the Río Tinto, a river running through the province of Huelva. The peculiar colour of this river is due to the high concentration of heavy metals in underground aquifers.  In addition to gazing at the river's extraordinary beauty, you can get closer to the Río Tinto with a visit to its Mining Park, where you will learn how the region was transformed thanks to mining.


4. Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz.

This is one of the white Andalusian towns where you'll run the risk of running out of memory on your camera, especially at its walled fortress which is perfectly preserved. Situated on a hill, Vejer shines almost to the point of making you squint. Nevertheless it is necessary to keep your eyes open to appreciate its incredible views that allow us to see the African coast


5. Casacada de la Cimbarra, Jaén

An impressive waterfall nearly 40 metres high is one of the best kept secrets in the province of Jaén. The town council of Aldeaquemada, the nearest village, recommends leaving your car at the foot of La Cimbarra and taking the path to the right in order to see the waterfall from its base, or taking the path on the left to see the waterfall head on.


6. Sierra de Grazalema. Grazalema, Cadiz

It's April year round in the Grazalema mountains. According to records it rains here more than anywhere else on the Iberian peninsula, something that makes this area one of the most ecologically valuable in Andalusia. The intense rainfall and the limestone terrain make this area a paradise for fans of rock climbing and caving as the landscapes are steep and there are many caves and grottos.


7. Cortegana, Huelva

At only 60 kilometres from the Portuguese border you'll encounter a small medieval village with a gem to be discovered, the Sanchocuanto castle, where every August the most important Medieval fair in Andalusia takes place. In addition to the village's historic and architectural value, Cortegana is worth a visit for its natural beauty. The town is located in the middle of the Aracena mountain range, surrounded by valleys full of cork oak and chestnut trees.


8. Pasarela sobre el río Castril, Castril, Granada

While the capital and the Sierra Nevada are the main tourist points in the province of Granada, there are other charming places in this area such as the Granada high plateau, a land of contrasts with nearly desert like terrain as well as high mountains. Here you'll find treasures such as the hanging footbridge over the Castril river, a spectacular 20 minute walk on the wooden footbridge through the river gorge. In addition to the village of Castril, it's also worth visiting Huéscar, the county's capital.


9. Vélez-Blanco. Castillo de Vélez-Blanco

This Renaissance fortress, one of Andalusia's best, impresses from afar with a perfectly maintained silhouette on a hillside. It is nearly 2500 square metres and has two main buildings joined by a drawbridge. The fortress's "Patio de Honor" [Courtyard of Honor] cannot be missed. Made of white marble, it is considered a gem of the Renaissance.


10. Setenil de las bodegas, Cádiz

One of the most spectacular destinations in Andalusia is this village set in stone. Adapting perfectly to the topography of the area, part of the old town has been built around rocks, with some buildings above them and some inside them. Wandering the narrow streets you may suddenly find yourself in the heart of a rock.

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5 beaches you must visit in Alicante
Monday, May 15, 2023

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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Spain's Most Exciting Walks
Friday, April 21, 2023

Spain has some of the most spectacular trails in Europe and even some that were once considered amongst the most dangerous in the world. If you fancy a walk with a little more excitement you might just want to check out these breathtaking but vertiginous walks around are the top 10 (in no particular order.)


1. Bejía Canal, Anaga, Tenerife 

Located on Tenerife’s northeast coast, the path out of the village of Bejía, on the northern slope of the Anaga massif (above), offers plenty of photo opportunities. Moderately difficult, the trail is four kilometres long and follows the Bejía canal through the Seco ravine that eventually drops down to Punta del Hidalgo. The walk can be circular – and longer (7.5 km) – if you climb the ravine from Punta del Hidalgo and come up from the bottom of the valley to Bejía.

2. Faja de las Flores, Pyrenees, Huesca 

In one of the most spectacular belts of Ordesa, there is a challenging trail across the valley that requires some rock climbing. It takes about eight hours but the effort is rewarded by breathtaking views.


3. Cañón de Añisclo, Pyrenees

The Canyon of Añisclo, generated by the Bellós river, is oriented from north to south and extends for almost 25 kilometres, from the Circus of Añisclo - at the foot of Monte Perdido - to the confluence with the Aso valley. Its minimum altitude is 700 m, in the Fountain of the Baths; And the maximum of 3,022 m, in Punta de las Olas.


4. Cares Route, Picos de Europa, Asturias y León 

Accessible and amazing, this magical 12-kilometre walk is carved into the edge of the mountainside in the Picos de Europa. Known as the Cares trail, it connects the Asturian town of Poncebos with Caín in León, offering the kind of views that have made it one of the most popular hikes in the national park. The trick is to have a friend walk from the other end so you can swap car keys midway through the hike and avoid having to trudge the 12 kilometres back to your vehicle!


5. Penya Roja, Mallorca 

There are plenty of exciting and secret climbs on the peninsula of Alcudia in Mallorca, like the trail to Penya Roja from the Victoria sanctuary that hugs the cliff face and is dizzying enough to require a handrail. The highlight of this walk is the Atalaya crossing (above), a narrow 15th-century tunnel designed to protect access to the fort at the top. The climb not only leads you to the ruins of this fort but also gives you a magnificent view of the Mallorcan coastline.

6. Caminito del Rey, Málaga 

For a long time, the Caminito del Rey – King’s Path – was considered one of the most dangerous trails in the world, but the construction of a brand new footbridge over the old and deteriorated trail in 2015 now allows walkers to safely cross the vertiginous 100-meter-high Gaitanes stretch over the River Guadalhorce. A real treat.


7.Cahorros de Monachil, Granada 

Just minutes from the center of Granada, the Monachil River runs through a narrow gorge at the base of the Sierra Nevada massif where an exciting mountain trail – three hours long and moderate to difficult – climbs above the ravine (above), taking you to a suspension bridge that’s 63 meters long and a passageway that forces you to crouch at the part known as The Pigeons’ Cave.


8. Congosto de Mont-rebei, Lleida, and Pasarela de Montfalcó, Huesca 

The most hair-raising part of this walk that takes you along the Mont-rebei gorge – 500 meters high and barely 20 meters wide – has a steel handrail to stop you falling into the abyss. Running through the gorge is the River Noguera Ribagorzana on the border between Aragon and Catalonia in the Montsec mountain range. The round trip is 14 kilometres, with the footbridge of Montfalcó providing the dramatic ending. You can hire mountain guides if needed from the Montfalcó hostal. (


9. Grau de Barrots, Montsant, Tarragona 

The ‘graus’ that crisscross the Montsant mountain range, such as l’Escletxa (above), are narrow trails with sudden ascents. The most vertiginous one is Barrots – 5.5 kilometres of moderate to difficult hiking – which follows terraces that cling to the rock faces overlooking the Priotat vineyards.


10. Mao River Footbridge, Ourense 

The last stretch of the River Mao drops 600 meters in just a few kilometres, creating a stunning series of small waterfalls before it snakes through a narrow valley. A wooden walkway built into the hillside takes you to the point where this tributary meets the River Sil. The walk is an easy two kilometres that leave from La Fábrica, an old power station that has been converted into a lodge.


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Spain's Best Free Tapas
Thursday, April 6, 2023

Arguably one of Spain’s most significant contributions to global gastronomy, the tapa comes in all shapes and sizes, from the humble olive or a few potato chips all the way through to miniature banquets. The pincho, the tapa’s larger and more elaborate cousin, is to be found in the Basque Country, most notably in San Sebastián. The price of tapa or pincho varies: some are offered free with a caña of beer or a glass of wine, and others are charged separately. Below, are 10 Spanish cities where tapas are offered free with drinks or some might say included in the price of the drink and to be honest, if the price of the drink is slightly more, the tapas are so good the increase in price is negligible and well worth it. 


Alcalá de Henares

A visit to the historic town of Alcalá de Henares, birthplace of Cervantes and just half an hour from central Madrid, is not complete without taking in a tapa or two in the old quarter, where any number of bars will be happy to provide a free munch. There are Patatas bravas (fried potato with hot sauce), huevos estrellados (fried eggs on a bed of crispy French fries), a humble sandwich mixto (toasted cheese and ham), hamburgers, and a wide variety of bocadillos (filled bread rolls). Among the hot spots are Índalo, El Tapón, or Maimónides. The price of a beer in these places is around €2.80, which is at the pricier end of the scale, but the generous tapas more than make up for it, such as a fried egg with morcilla (blood sausage).



(The tower of Babel tapa at Las Cancelas, Ávila.)

The tradition in Spain’s highest city – and one of its coldest – is for customers in bars to choose their own free pincho, making it important to know what to ask for, and where to ask for it, which means patatas revolconas (mashed potato mixed with paprika and chunks of crispy pork belly) in Barbacana in the old market, or pig’s ears, snouts and much more in El Rincón, next to the town hall. Nearby, stewed wild boar can be found in Gredos, or chorizo mincemeat in Don Camilo. For a divine (this is the birthplace of Saint Teresa) tortilla de patata (Spanish omelette) try El Rincón de Jabugo in San Segundo street, opposite the cathedral. The house speciality at Las Cancelas, in Cruz Vieja street, is the tapa de la alegría, skewered kidneys with potato. The price of a beer here is between €1.20 and €1.90. 



(Infernal chorizo at Bella Ciao in Almería.)

A wander through the old quarter of this Andalusian port city yields a plethora of bars offering abundant and free tapas with each drink, which typically costs around €2. El Bonillo, popular with locals since time immemorial, has delicious Patatas a la brava, while the recently opened Bella Ciao has remojón, a broth made from dried tomatoes and hot peppers, typically with salt cod. Tío Tom, in the nearby Zapillo neighbourhood, is popular for its generous tapas. 



(Matured cheese and Iberico ham at La Corchuela, Badajoz.)

Badajoz, on the Portuguese border, is one of Spain’s tapa capitals. Most bars provide something to munch on with the beer and wine they serve, but there are three neighbourhoods particularly worth noting: Valdepasillas, San Roque, and Santa María de la Cabeza. The latter manages to bring together, in equal parts, low prices and large portions (fried potatoes, chicken wings, pasties…) La Roca (Ricardo Carapeto street) the venerable La Corchuela (Meléndez Valdes street), Bar Manolo (Muñoz Torrero street), or Mehtura (Jacinta García Hernández street) are just a few of the bars where beer tastes better with higadillos (chopped liver), mashed tomatoes, prueba de matanza (chorizo mincemeat), pancetta (fried belly pork), or fried eggs with chorizo. Beers cost around €1.20.


(The Alhambra tapas bar, next to Granada’s cathedral.)

As if the Alhambra weren’t enough, Granada also offers the visitor a warm welcome, masses of culture, and perhaps most importantly, very generous tapas: three or four are usually enough for a meal. Just about every bar in the city competes to provide the best or the most abundant. One of the best areas is around the bullring and the Realejo neighbourhood. You can get a taste of what’s on offer at Antigualla II (Elvira street), El Pesaor (Pío Baroja street), Bodegas Castañeda (Almiceros street), or Los Pescadores (Dr. Pareja Yébenes street). Prices for a drink range from €1.40 and €2.20 depending on the place and tapa you choose.



(La Barra, one of Jaén’s best-known bars.)

In Jaén, tapas means tascas, and the historic centre of the city is filled with these revered bars, which seem to have been here since the dawn of time. The best places for a free feed with your beer or wine are to be found on Arco del Consuelo, a narrow street a stone’s throw from the cathedral. Try Casa Gorrión or La Manchega. Close by is La Barra, on Cerón street, where the house speciality is morcilla (black pudding) with migas (chunky bread crumbs lightly fried in olive oil and garlic). There are also free tapas to be had a couple of hundred meters away in the streets around the church of San Ildefonso in bars such as El perol de la abuela, as well as in the Gran Bulevar, near the railway station, such as Tito Nono (Cataluña street), which also serves reasonably priced larger portions, known as raciones. The typical price of a beer, is between €1.30 and €1.50. 


(Cervezería Flandes, Leon)

The bars of this bustling northern city has a long tradition of serving free tapas with wine or beer, and going out for a drink usually means eating as well. The best place to head is the old quarter, with its Romántico and Húmedo neighbourhoods. Among the top tapas spots are Ribera, famous for its potatoes, Flandes for boiled ham, or the morcilla at La Bicha. Then there is el Miche, el Llar, and La Trébede, all of the classics. For something newer and trendier, try Camarote Madrid, Monalisa, Flechazo, Gaia, and El Patio. Beers tend to cost around €1.60, with wines a little pricier at around €2. 



(Tapas on parade at El Bardo, Salamanca)

Perhaps because of its huge student population, the price of a beer and a generous pincho in Salamanca is still less than €2. Pork is the raw material here, in all its varieties: Guijuelo cured ham, jeta (cheek), pincho moruno (skewered pork chunks), or farinato sausage from nearby Ciudad Rodrigo. The best areas for tapas are the old quarter and Van Dyck. The morcilla with caramelized onions is a must at El Bardo, as are the pinchos morunos and patatas meneás (mashed, with paprika and crispy pork belly) at the Café Real, while the Mesón Cervantes has a wide variety of different tortillas. Bambú is the place to try a local delicacy, chanfaina salamantina: stewed rice with lambs’ trotters, cumin, and paprika. 



(Duque, one of Segovia’s most popular bars.)

A beer with an unstinting pincho is a must when going out for a beer with friends in Segovia. Just about every bar in this historic city, particularly around the main square next to the cathedral and the nearby Infanta Isabel street, which is lined with bars. Among the essential stop-offs on the tapa trail are bars such as San Miguel, Los Tarines, or Duque. Beers come in at around €1.20.



(A Mina, in Vigo.)

This Galician port city is known for the abundance and quality of its tapas, and a couple of beers or locally produced albariño wines will usually yield enough nibbles that you won’t need to eat afterwards. Try A Mina, a newish place that relies on favourites such as mussels. The Bouzas area is filled with old bars, along with newer establishments such as Patouro, which uses seasonal products such as mushrooms in autumn. Imperial, on Colombia street, has imported beers and generous tapas. Most bars charge around €1.60 for a beer or a glass of wine. 

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Spain's Most Spectacular Waterfalls
Friday, March 17, 2023

Despite the heat and drought most of the year in Spain there are hundreds of waterfalls across its landscape. These 10 stand out among them and must be seen.


1. Fervenza do Ézaro

For its uniqueness, the most beautiful of Spain. The Xallas is the only river in Europe that flows into the sea via a waterfall. 



2. Pozo de los Humos

This waterfall located on the river Uces in northwest Salamanca. It falls within  the Natural Park Arribes del Duero. This authentic water curtain plunges down two brutal jumps of more than fifty meters hitting the bottom with clouds of mis that overhang the landscape.


3. Cascada de Colores

Red, yellow, green, gray and even black. As we were taught at school, water is colorless but in the ravine of Sorrows on the island of Palma this waterfall has all those colors. Sitada in the National Park Caldera, to reach it there is a fun trek through mountain trails.


4. Nacedero del Nervión

In recent years an specially in late summer this waterfall is quite dry, but it is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Spain. The cliff's edge from which it falls is 270 meters high, the highest of Spain. 



5. Oneta

In the heart of a landscape of forests and mountains, this waterfall is located in the municipality of Villayón, western Asturias, relatively close to Luarca. It was declared a Natural Monument.


6. Cascada de la Cimbarra

The Guarrizas river is just two kilometers from Aldeaquemada, Jaen, and only 11 from Despeñaperros, but hardly anyone crossing the famous passage of the highway of Andalusia detours the short distance to see one of the natural wonders of Spain. It was declared a Natural Park by the Junta de Andalucía. The force of this waterfall has created a natural well in the ground which no one knows the real depth of.


7. Nacimiento río Asón

The Ason River is born here and lies within the Natural Park Hillocks of Assos, in the municipality of Soba, Cantabria. This river features a spectacular jump of 70 meters over the limestone wall.


8. Cascada del Estrecho

An area of intimate beauty, the river Arrazas carves it way through the canyon to reveal this spectaucular waterfall.


9. Sauth deth Pish

If in winter the Aran Valley is known for the ski resort of Baqueira Beret, in summer it is know for this beautiful waterfall located to the north. Formed by the river Varradós, it plnges down a 35m drop into a crystal clear pool. It is only a 45min walt to reach it.

10. Chorros del río Mundo

This turbulent waterfall is located in the Los Calares River Park Natural World, Albacete. It is a karstic territory, which means it is porous like a gruyere cheese, where water submerges and is absorbed. The result is abundant powerful springs, the source of the river Mundo.This waterfall of over one hundred meters high  and when it is in full flow it can move over 100,000 liters per second.

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Most Recommended Walks in Spain
Friday, February 24, 2023

Have you been dreaming of crossing medieval bridges, Roman roads, magical valleys, walking along stone pathways bordering rivers, seeing castles or walking through vineyards? That’s no problem, Spain offers all this and much more. You don’t need to be a sports expert, hiking doesn’t require very much preparation and you can always choose from the various routes (Long Distance, Short Distance, Local Paths, Urban Paths, Green Ways…) and difficulties available. Here are 10 of the most recommended walking routes in Spain. Clearly, this is not definitive as the list is endless but it's a very good start...


1. Ruta del Cares : Poncebos to  Cain (Asturias y León)



It is without a doubt the best known of all the routes in Picos de Europa. With a good pair of shoes and a light backpack, this route can be walked without any problem from May through to October. However, It is recommended not if possible, to avoid the route during the month of August to the large crowds that build up. 

Once parked at the beginning of the awl, you will then pass through a tunnel made of rock and take the path that leads off to the right. This is definitely the "hardest" part of the trail as it climbs a gentle slope to the top of the mountain. Once there, a gentle descent begins and then you reach the Cares Gorge. The way to Cain is easy to follow as it is very well marked and lined with precipices. After passing a series of bridges you will reach some caves carved out of rock and before you know it you will be in Cain (2h 30 m. from Poncebos). The timing is just an estimate as you will be passing some of the most beautiful views along the way, some will take more time to soak it all in. Once in Cain turn around and return along the same route.


2. Río Borosa (Andalucía)

This hiking route is deservedly the most popular in the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and LasViñas (Jaén), which also means there's a good possibility of overcrowding on popular dates. The swift waters of the river Borosa, the rocks in the riverbed and the riverbank vegetation, is one of the most spectacular river scenes in southern Spain. 


3. Monasterio de Piedra (Aragón)

Monasterio de Piedra Park is one of the most beautiful places in the province of Zaragoza. It offers a spectacular route where water rises in the form of stepped waterfalls and seeps through untold caves. 
It is an ideal place to enjoy nature and it is a family-friendly environment. You can eat outdoors, there are tables and plenty of shade it also offers a restaurant and accommodation. Dogs on leads can enter the park, except in the area of birds of prey and the visit around the 12th century Cistercian monastery.


4. Ruta de las Médulas (Castilla y León)

The route of Las Medulas in Bierzo (León) is an amazing route that lets us see landscapes of extraordinary beauty. Along the route, you will get to see Cornatel Castle, which is located on a limestone cliff, Lake Carucedo and eventually you will reach Las Medulas, a technological whorl of art excavated by the Romans in their search for gold. This landscape has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and cherished sites of Spain. 

5. Senda del oso (Asturias)


La Senda del Oso runs along the Trubia River valley, it is the second most popular active leisure routes in Asturias, after the universal Ruta del Cares (Nº1 in the list), and the only one that can compete in the number of visitors to the divine gorge of the Picos de Europa. The river is born from the springs in El Puerto de la Ventana, a natural border with the Leonese region of Bahia, and descends between beech trees and limestone boulders to create a fabulous gorge where there is hardly any room for the river, the road and the route of the popular Senda del Oso is one of the most exciting initiatives available for active leisure in the area.

6. Las Islas Cíes (Galicia)

The islands of Ciés can be reached only by sea, by private boat or ferries: Cangas-Cies or Vigo-Baiona-Cies. Once on the island, there are several hiking trails. All are well marked and in good condition. If you wish to be accompanied by experts, The National Park offers guides-interpreters specialised in different guided tours, which are free but have a maximum number of participants per route, which is normally between 10 and 15 depending on the route.

7. Laguna Grande de Gredos (Castilla y León)


A mythical road linking the Platform (parking) to the Laguna Grande in the Circo de Gredos. It is recommended that you wear high boots because of the cobbled and loose rock path. It is easy to see mountain goats, especially at sunset, when they come down to the river to drink.

8 . AigüesTortes y Lago San Mauricio (Cataluña)


 A truly breathtaking route through pine forests surrounded by the Pyrenean peaks, which ends in an impressive high mountain lake. The route begins in the car park called Prat de Pierró and it has been prepared so literally it can be walked by anybody.

9. Por el Valle del Jerte (Extremadura)


There is a no better alternative to enjoying nature tourism than the hiking network of the Valle del Jerte. Discovering the "cherry" Valley is an incomparable experience, especially when the trees are in blossom.

Hiking in the Valley of Jerte is a treat for all ages and physical conditions, different paths are classified into levels of difficulty and length so that every visitor chooses the one that best suits their skills and preferences. The MIDE (Method of Excursion Information) is a system that has been created so that hikers can assess the technical aspects and physical demands of the trails. This system also classifies the difficulty of the route numbering them from 1 to 5. Hiking routes through El Valle del Jerte all have this system to provide quality information to hikers.


10. Ruta de los Cahorros (Andalucía)

Monachil is a town that is located just 8 kilometres to the southeast of Granada, in the south-central part of the region of the Vega of Granada. This is where we find Los Cahorros, an amazing area ideal for hiking or rock climbing. 

It is incredible that this place is just a 15-minute drive from the Alhambra. In literally fifteen minutes you can be in an entirely different place, where peace and tranquillity triumph over the traffic of the city. This makes it a good choice for a getaway from Granada since you can leave in the morning, spend the whole day there and return to the city by night time.

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The Best Three Kings Parades
Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Lights, floats, pages, sweets, and a lot of excitement are all you need to make a procession of the Magi or Three Kings into a one-of-a-kind experience. Even so, every year towns and cities go the extra mile to make these parades special: theatrical productions with top-quality settings and costumes, and fabulous fireworks. From all the processions organised in Spain every 5 January, we have chosen five which amaze children and adults alike, due to their spectacular production values, their originality, or their history.

1. Alcoy, the oldest in Spain

Any discussion of Magi processions in Spain has to begin with Alcoi, which has been holding its parade since 1885. This is not its only impressive statistic - it also has an enormous number of participants, with nearly a thousand people in the procession. One of the most exciting parts of the parade is the torch-bearers, who light the way for the floats and the royal pages. As always in the Valencia region, bands of musicians are an essential part of the procession, with Christmas carols to add to the mood. Up to three bands participate in the parade, as well as groups of drummers and dulzainas (pipers). Another feature of this parade is the work of les negres, the royal pages who bring presents to the children, using wooden ladders to climb up to the balconies of the houses. Traditionally, the event begins at 6 pm and ends after 10 pm, with the sky lit up by an impressive fireworks display.


2. Girona, all lit up

Processions of the Three Kings in Girona province are lit in a very special way, with the fanalets all the children carry. These are small lanterns, made of paper and brightly painted, with a lightbulb inside and carried on a stick. In recent years they have been modernised and can be bought in the shape of one of the Magi, a Christmas tree, a snowman, or even the latest popular cartoon character. The tradition is thought to have begun in mountain villages where the children would light bunches of lavender to make sure the Three Kings would see them, even though there was no procession in the village. Now there are many towns and villages where children light the parade with their little lanterns, in one of Catalonia's most endearing Christmas scenes. Although the tradition has spread throughout the region, the processions in Girona province, such as in the cities of Girona or Vic, are still among the most spectacular.


3. Cerler, the Magi on skis 

Few presentations are as spectacular as the arrival of the Three Kings at the Cerler ski resort, in the Huesca Pyrenees. Their Majesties sweep down the slopes, leaving the children open-mouthed in amazement, as well as their parents - it is pretty unusual to see the Three Kings riding a chairlift or performing pirouettes on skis. For the whole morning, they chat with the children and pose for photos with them, and even hand out sweets, without the need for royal pages. The celebration continues in the afternoon in Benasque, with a more traditional and restrained procession - this is a small village - but with the best possible setting. There's no need to use fake snow to decorate the parade here, as the real thing is usually in plentiful supply for Epiphany, and the scene could hardly be more picturesque.


4. Madrid, the most spectacular

Although there are several processions in the capital every 5 January, the most spectacular pass through the city centre. This is one of the biggest in Spain, with more than 1,500 volunteers taking part. The route traditionally begins at Nuevos Ministerios and ends at Plaza de Cibeles, like so many of the city's major celebrations. It was first held in 1928, and one of its unusual features is that since the late 1980s, the Three Kings have been played by members of the City Council. Another peculiarity is that the people in this parade don't throw sweets into the crowd along the whole route, only in the fenced-off areas. The City Council introduced this measure in 2014 for the children's safety. The parade ends with a fireworks display after a speech by the Magi in Plaza de Cibeles.


5. Santillana del Mar, like a fairytale 

This is one of the prettiest medieval towns in all of Spain, so here the processions of the Magi have an incomparable setting, one of the main factors which have made it an official National Tourism Festival. The setup is different from most because as well as the traditional procession, eight scenes are performed from a Mystery Play, the Auto Sacramental de Los Reyes Magos. The streets are covered in straw, torches are lit as dusk falls, and the townspeople dress up as pages, washerwomen and shepherds. The scene-setting and the participation of many of the residents completely transform Santillana, giving the sensation of having travelled back in time more than two thousand years. The numbers give an idea of the majestic scale of the event: nearly 500 extras, 100 torch-bearers, 5 floats and around twenty horses to thrilling young and old alike with the magic of Christmas.

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New Year's Resolutions in Spain
Thursday, December 29, 2022



I’ve always been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. They give you a chance to reflect on the past year and evaluate what is working well in your life and what areas could use a slight improvement; there is definitely something about a fresh beginning that encourages us to believe we can change.

Unfortunately, the existence of Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day, demonstrates the natural state of humans to continue in their well-established behavioural patterns by which most people have dropped their resolutions.
This ‘special’ day is on January 17th. The theory is that it takes three weeks to form a habit, which probably explains why most people fail and the 'ditch-the-resolution day' falls just short of 3 weeks!

While it is probable that there are a number of general resolutions we all promise ourselves we will keep, like watching less television, doing more exercise, eating more greens, drinking less alcohol and quitting smoking, there are some that are specific to life as an expat in Spain. So I have pulled together a list of 9 resolutions that might make your life a little happier over 2023. If you have thought of doing any of these or can fill in Number 10 please leave a comment...

1. Improve my Spanish
2. Start following a ‘real’ Mediterranean diet
3. Socialise more with Spanish people
4. Learn more about Spanish culture
5. See more of mainland Spain
6. Cut back on the alcohol/stop smoking
7. Watch more Spanish television and less UK television
8. Take up a new hobby

9. Read a Spanish newspaper at least once a day



Advice on achieving your goal!

Keep it real.
It’s one thing to be excited about a goal, it’s another to achieve it. Make sure you set reasonable goals and have a plan to make it work through the year.

Don’t overload yourself.
Pick one or two goals and stick with them. Resolving to change 20 different aspects of your life in one year is only going to give you more things to worry about and fix at the end of the next year.

Be specific
Details matter; make a plan. Also, break down larger goals into smaller ones so they’re easier to achieve. This will help you set clearer and more achievable targets.

Reward yourself
Every time you reach a goal or a mini-goal, treat yourself. You’ve done a good job, you need to enjoy it so you can keep at it and hit the next milestone.

Good luck with your New Year's resolutions

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The Top Restaurants in Spain
Friday, November 18, 2022

Spain has many of the best restaurants in the world leading the way in avant-garde cuisine. Now some may consider this a waste of time but these restaurants should not be considered normal restaurants, places you go to enjoy a bit of food and fill your stomach. These venues are events, like going to the opera or seeing a ballet or a musical. Most menus last around three hours so we are talking about almost three hours of culinary entertainment. A gastronomical experience that few have the pleasure of experiencing. Not so much because of the price but more because of the waiting lists. Can Roca has a 10-month waiting list at present. They are places where these "artists" show off there flavourful masterpieces. Each dish is an experience of flavour, art and creativity and many menus carry up to 20 dishes. If you enjoy food and wish to be startled and entertained there is no better option than arranging to visit to one of these culinary temples. For most people it is a one-off experience but certainly an experience that should be enjoyed at least once in a life time. 

1. EL CELLAR DE CAN ROCA - Gerona (Can Sunyer, 48)

The logo that represents El Celler de Can Roca is an ‘R’ with a difference. The quirk is that the letter that evokes the family name has three ‘legs’ – each representing one of the three Roca brothers, who have combined their diverse skills to such extraordinary effect. This is a Catalan family restaurant through and through, and yet it is also now the best restaurant in the world.

The Spanish favourite entered the World’s 50 Best list eight years ago and has somewhat stealthily climbed the rankings since. Its relatively low-key rise is reflective of the Rocas’ evolutionary approach and modest outlook. The Rocas grew up steeped in their mother’s restaurant in Girona’s working-class suburb of Taiala. In 1986, elder brothers Joan and Josep opened El Celler de Can Roca alongside the original. In 2007 – with younger sibling Jordi on board – they moved just up the road to the striking purpose-built space that remains their home.

Head chef Joan is alone a cook of the very highest order: he helped pioneer the widespread use of sous-vide cooking in the ’90s via his Roner machine and is a technical maestro. Josep is the head sommelier who runs the supremely smooth front-of-house operation: understated but passionate. Jordi is the rule-breaking pastry chef whose creations blow the imagination.

This family triumvirate and their teams create magic without undue theatrics. Eating at El Celler is truly uplifting, with the warmth of the family dynamic all-pervasive. 

2. ARZAK - San Sebastián (Alcalde Elosua, 273) 

This family-run San Sebastián restaurant has living legend of Basque cuisine Juan Mari Arzak at the helm, alongside daughter Elena Arzak Espina, the World’s Best Female Chef in 2012. The pair tease out the best from local ingredients and food culture by reworking ideas using modern techniques. While rooted in its location and loyal to local bounty, team Arzak isn’t afraid to look further afield for flavours, as its spectacular herb, spice and ingredients room attests..


3. MARTIN BERASATEGUI - Lasarte-Guipuzcua (Loidi Kalea 4)

This restaurant is Martín Berasategu's flagship venue. Its menu relies heavily on local produce, to which innovative techniques are applied. The dining room has lovely views of the meadows that surround the restaurant. A place of gastronomic pilgrimage for all who wish to discover the Basque culinary revolution.

4. QUIQUE DACOSTA RESTAURANTE - Denia-Alicante (Ctra. Las Marinas, Km. 3 - Urb. el Poblet)

Part avant-garde chef, part ecological researcher, Quique Dacosta occupies the same culinary perch as fellow countrymen Ferran Adrià and the brothers Roca. His eponymous restaurant in Dénia is a hub for food research and unashamedly top-end dining. Typical plates are minimalist and high impact, featuring two or three ingredients, making for great clarity of flavour, demonstrated by the chef’s famous dish of gelatin of Jabugo ham with liquefied peas.


5. SANT PAU - San Pol de Mar-Barcelona (Nou, 10)

The restaurant has gracefully maintained two spaces in the old seafront townhouse, an interior dining room and a gallery, both of which look out onto the private garden with the Mediterranean sea as a backdrop. Originally the menu at the Sant Pau restaurant was much simpler than the one we find today, especially in terms of technique and complexity. Nevertheless, an equal amount of care and attention was put into selecting the ingredients used always working with the best produce on the market, sourced locally in the Maresme region.

6. AKELARRE - San Sebastian (Paseo Padre Orcoloaga, 56)


Restaurante Akelaŕe is brought to you by Pedro Subijana and his highly efficient team of professionals. All dedicate their deep-felt passion to ensuring that you take away the best possible memories of your visit from start to finish thanks to a perfect gastronomic experience and the exquisite ritual of the service that goes with it.

7. MUGARITZ - Rentería (Aldura Aldea, 20)


At Mugaritz diners are treated to a multiple-course tasting menu of intricate yet small dishes developed through a creative process and attention to detail that borders on the obsessive. Chef-patron Andoni Luis Aduriz aims to play with guests and reflect on the different ways a restaurant can have an impact, rather than just filling people up and sending them on their way. From that point of view, there is no other place like Mugaritz in the world.


8. AZURMENDI - Larrabetzu (Corredor del txorierri salida nº 25)

Gastronomical Azurmendi is a new space created and designed according to Eneko Atxa’s philosophy and desires. It’s a space that seeks identity and diversity; a space that’s alive, vulnerable, and interdependent. It’s an ecosystem in which space, humans, animals, and vegetables complement each other according to Eneko’s objective: “to delight all who go into it, an accommodating, relatable identity of pleasure that seeks to make something universal from what’s local.”


9.ATRIO - Cáceres (Avenida de España, 30)


Atrio is the Spanish word for atrium, a central element of traditional Mediterranean architectural design that dates back to antiquity and is the metaphorical heart of the family home in the Iberian world. Juan Antonio Pérez and José Polo, the team behind the Atrio experience, have created a new international culinary landmark in the historic city of Cáceres, a singular place situated at the crossroads of Iberian culture and history.Atrio is a legendary destination for the most discriminating gourmet traveller.

10. CALIMA - Marbella (C/ José Meliá, s/n)

What Ferran Adrià is to Catalonia or Martin Berasategi to the Basque Country, the young chef Dani García is to Andalusia. García has won the adulation of food critics and cooks by whipping up startling combinations in his wise, fresh and innovative kitchen. The mouth-watering aroma coming from his food, takes us to the Calima Restaurant, in the Gran Meliá Don Pepe Hotel in Marbella. Chef García offers a mixture of natural ingredients, traditional flavours, familiar Andalusian notes, inventiveness and such gastronomic innovations as liquid nitrogen to prepare his meals. 



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Ornithology in Spain - Special spots
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

If you are one of those people who always travel glued to your binoculars, silently looking at the sky with your camera's telephoto lens always ready to go, then you are probably one of the thousands of fans in Spain of ornithological tourism — also known as birding, or birdwatching. If that’s the case, your most frequent travel destinations probably include places like Monfragüe, Doñana, Cabañeros, etc. But there is life beyond the large National Parks. Here are five lesser-known but equally interesting destinations for birding. Get your eagle eye ready!

1. Llobregat Delta, Barcelona

It’s astonishing that, just over six miles (ten kilometers) outside of a major city like Barcelona, you can find an amazing natural area like this one. The Llobregat Delta has been declared a Special Protection Area for Birds because of its excellent location on a strategic point along the migratory route between Africa and northern Europe. The area includes marked routes that you can explore as you please, following leaflets and information panels, or with one of the guided tours organized by the park itself. In fact, there is a special guide service for birdwatching. The visit is guided by an expert ornithologist, who will take you to the spots where the most interesting species can be seen. Storks, Kentish plovers, Little ringed plovers, grebes, avocets, pratincoles, little terns, and even endangered species, like ospreys and Balearic shearwaters, await you here.


2. Los Barruecos, Cáceres

Did you know that, Spain has one of the largest urban colonies of white storks in Europe? In the small Extremaduran village of Malpartida de Cáceres, you have to walk around as if you were in New York city, with your head turned up to the sky—not to see skyscrapers, but instead to admire the hundreds of storks that have made their nests on its buildings. Among the village’s hundreds of specimens, one of the most beloved is Antonia the stork, whose migratory journeys stretch as far as Mali. And outside the village, at the Los Barruecos Natural Monument, you'll be treated to an exceptional landscape, one of the very few colonies of this species of stork in the wild. The birds live on the massive granite boulders — especially on the rock formation called Peñas del Tesoro — in front of the ponds where the storks quench their thirst.

3. Río Lobos Canyon, Soria

The walls and hollows of the canyon that rises up on both sides of the Lobos River in Soria are the perfect refuge for the many birds that inhabit the Natural Park. Strolling along the river or venturing into its forested areas, you can find species like the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the eagle-owl, the goshawk, and river-dwelling species like the kingfisher and the mallard. A unique experience in this area is to get up early and arrive at the Galiana lookout point before any of the tourists. Here, in silence, with the breathtaking canyon in front of us, spectacular specimens of griffon vultures, one of the area's most abundant species, will fly over you at an altitude of only five meters. They take flight from among the rocks beneath the lookout point and emerge, majestic, in front of your eyes, so close that you can even admire the way their feathers move in the wind.


4. Gallocanta Lake Nature Reserve, Zaragoza

It’s not a National Park, but it’s undoubtedly one of the favorite destinations for genuine birdwatching enthusiasts. The Gallocanta Lake, halfway between Zaragoza and Teruel is a salt water lake despite being located at an altitude of almost 3,300 feet (1,000) meters. It is a spectacular setting that has been declared a Special Protection Area for Birds. Among the species that are most frequently found in this area are the common pochard, the red-crested pochard, the mallard, the northern shoveler, and even the aquatic warbler, the most threatened small bird species in Europe. The one that stands out the most, however, is the crane — both for its beauty and for the large number of specimens who find shelter in this lake, with about 40,000 cranes stopping every year.


5. Villafáfila Lakes Nature Reserve, Zamora

Only 40 minutes away from the city of Zamora, you can find one of the best birding spots in Castile and León: the Villafáfila Lakes. These important wetlands emerge almost as an oasis amid the farms, where grains are the main crop. The area includes three large lakes — Salina Grande, Barillos, and Salinas — and other small marshes. It is an exceptional place for all types of birds. The most characteristic species here is the great bustard. In fact, it is one of the world’s largest communities of the species, with more than 2,000 specimens. This species looks like it was born to be in front of the camera, and here you’ll be able to shoot incredible photos, especially when they are in large groups. The observatory in front of the main lake is the perfect place to see species like the Montagu's harrier, the little bustard, the little grebe, the white stork, the northern shoveler, the mallard, and the crane.

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