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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 Most Impressive Rocks!
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Spain contains some of the best exposed outcrop geology in Europe. The Iberian Peninsula contains rocks from every age from Ediacaran to Recent, and almost every kind of rock is represented. The core of the Iberian Peninsula consists of an Hercynian cratonic block known as the Iberian Massif. In the northeast this is limited by the Pyrenean Fold Belt, and in the southeast it is limited by the Betic Foldchain. These two fold chains are part of the Alpine Belt. The western peninsula is delimited by the continental boundary formed by the magma poor opening of the Atlantic ocean. The Hercynian Foldbelt is mostly buried by Mesozoic and Tertiary cover rocks on the east side, but nether the less outcrops through the Iberian Chain and the Catalonian Coastal Ranges. here are 10 of the most important geological sites in Spain:

 

1. Sobrarbe, Huesca


 

Sobrarbe, in the Aragonese province of Huesca, is home to some of the most striking landscapes in the entire Pyrenees, from the calcareous summits of Treserols to the canyons of Ordesa and Añisclo (pictured), the valleys of Pineta and Escuaín, the Posets massif, the valley of Chistau and the Sierra de Guara mountains. 

 

2. Molina de Aragón and Alto Tajo, Guadalajara


A new Spanish member joined the European Geopark Network in March of this year: the Molina de Aragón and Alto Tajo geopark in Guadalajara province. Its 4,000 square-kilometer area includes the Gallo River Gorge, the fossil forest of Aragoncillo and the pit of Alcorón. The park’s symbol is aragonite, a variety of calcite that crystallizes in hexagonal prisms and was first described thanks to samples found in Molina de Aragón.


3. Cabo de Gata-Níjar, Almería


Dating from 10 million years ago, the formations at Cabo de Gata on the Almería coast are one of the largest magma-derived mountains in Europe. Old lava flows, volcanic domes, craters and fossilized beaches make up a landscape that, despite looking like a semi-desert, is home to a variety of ecosystems, including more than 1,000 endemic plant species and some of Spain’s most beautiful beaches. 


4. Sierra Norte, Seville


Seville’s Sierra Norte mountains stretch from the mine at Cerro del Hierro (Iron Hill) to the spherical granite rocks of El Pedroso and Real de la Jara. In between, visitors can find the Los Covachos cave, the Huéznar River waterfall, the fossilized jellyfish of Peña Escrita, and over 170,000 hectares of cork oak, holm oak and olive trees. 

 

5. Central Catalonia, Barcelona


Around 36 million years ago, Catalonia’s interior was covered by a sea that disappeared as a result of the great folding process that gave birth to the Pyrenees. Among the products of that geological process are the Toll and Salnitre caves, the serrated peaks of Montserrat (pictured) and the Catalan potassium basin.

 

6. Sierras Subbéticas, Córdoba


The collection of limestone massifs extending southeast of Córdoba province, along the border with Jaén and Granada, show the effect of water over the course of eons. This is a chaotic landscape filled with pits and sinkholes, karst formations such as the limestone pavement of Los Lanchares, the Bailón River Canyon and the Bat Cave, near Zuheros. The area is also known for its ammonite fossils – the remains of cephalopods that ruled the seas during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. 

 

 

7. Basque coast, Gipuzkoa


Fossils trapped for over 50 million years in the pastry-puff rock formation – technically known as flysch – along a 13-kilometer stretch of land on the western coast of Gipuzkoa have earned this place a spot in the European Geoparks Networks. Like a book written in stone, each stratum of flysch contains a 60-million-year-old chapter in the history of the Earth, from the Upper Cretaceous period (around 100 million years ago) to the Eocene (40 million years ago). 

 

8. Villuercas-Ibores-Jara, Cáceres


Extremadura conceals unexpected landscapes, such as the one to be found at the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara geopark in Cáceres, where deciduous forests sit alongside olive groves, holm oak and fields of rockroses. It is a rocky place of jagged-peaked mountains that rise above the oak forests like dinosaur backbones. And beneath it lies a striking world of karst formations inside the cave of Castañar de Ibor, which was declared a natural monument in 1997 thanks to its eccentric calcite stalactites, arboreal shapes and delicate aragonite “flowers.” 

 

9. Island of El Hierro, Canary Islands


The eruption of an underwater volcano off the Canary island of El Hierro in 2011 is just the latest chapter of an epic geological journey that began 100 million years ago, when the seabed opened up and released the magma that formed the isle. The smallest and wildest island in the archipelago, its 278 square kilometers contain over 500 volcanic cones and nearly 70 lava-made caves such as Don Justo, whose galleries span over six kilometers. 

 

10. El Maestrazgo, Teruel


From the heights of Gúdar down to the border with Lower Aragón, the Guadalope River crosses a network of mountains, peaks and canyons that were once home to the Sea of Tethys and monsters such as the Elasmosaurus. Its tracks, and those of other dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras, are on display at nearly 70 paleontology sites inside the El Maestrazgo geopark. 



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The European cities with the most hours of sunshine
Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Spring, is the season of light and sun. The favourite of so many... Because who doesn't like sunny days? The warmth of its rays revitalizes us, wakes us up and makes our souls happy.

It's no wonder then that those who are tired of the bleak, dark winter months want to escape to sunny places with long days and warm nights.

So if you are looking for cities where the sun is almost guaranteed. Using data from World Weather Online, Holidu, the travel site has tallied up the average number of hours of sunshine per month and created the ultimate guide to finding your next perfect vacation destination, with the sunniest cities in Europe.


This is the ranking, from 11 to 1:


At 11, Seville


The top 11 is completed by the impressive Seville, the capital of the Andalusian region, in the south of Spain. It is a historic city of dreams for lovers of culture, tradition and tasty tapas. Spring is, without a doubt, one of the ideal times to visit them as its temperature is around 23 degrees and the sun has a special shine.


At 10, Palermo


Palermo, the capital of Sicily, enjoys an average of 340 hours of sunshine per month. Rated as a cultural melting pot, this city offers tourists authentic Sicilian street food, the largest opera house in Italy, and many historic buildings listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


At 9, Granada

The mythical Spanish city of Granada enjoys about 341 sunshine per month. The Andalusian city is full of history, romance, magic and beautiful corners. One of the best plans is to walk through the narrow streets of the Albaicín neighbourhood, which will take you to witness one of the most incredible sunsets in the world in front of the Alhambra.


At 8, Las Palmas

This island of the Canary archipelago offers 341 hours of sunshine per month. It is an ideal place during the months of March to June, or between October and November, as temperatures in Las Palmas reach an average of 21 degrees. Playa de Las Canteras, a 3-kilometre long sandy beach, attracts visitors throughout the year.

 

At 7, Nice


In seventh place, we have Nice, the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department and located on the Côte d'Azur. Nice, with its 342 hours of sunshine per month, offers visitors sandy beaches, excellent bars and restaurants, an abundance of cultural and architectural offerings and, to top it off, fantastic weather.

 

At 6, Valencia


Valencia is the sixth sunniest city in Europe, with an average of 343 hours of sunshine per month. Located on the southeast coast of Spain, it is a true delight for a city break combined with a beach getaway. You can visit the famous museum of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, or stroll through its streets and squares full of tapas bars.

 

At 5, Messina in Sicily.

In fifth place, with an average of 345 hours of sunshine per month, is the Italian city of Messina, the third-largest city on the island of Sicily. This city is a thriving cruise ship tourist destination and offers a wide range of beautiful coastlines to choose from as soon as you dock in the city.

 

At 4, Malaga


This city on the Costa del Sol, with its 345 hours of sunshine per month, is a very popular tourist destination throughout the year, but especially during the hot summer months, for its beaches and its summer leisure activities. In addition, Malaga also has a great cultural offering and the Picasso Museum is a must.


At 3, Murcia


The third place, with 346 hours of sunshine per month, is occupied by Murcia, a city that has a historic centre and wonderful works of architecture, such as Plaza Cardenal Belluga. Nearby, the beaches and coves of the so-called Costa Cálida are an unbeatable sun destination at almost any time of the year.

 

At 2, Catania

Another Italian city makes an appearance in this ranking. Located on the eastern coast of Sicily, it lies at the foot of the famous active volcano, Etna. It boasts 347 hours of sunshine per month, its baroque old town, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and beautiful beaches where you can enjoy the sun and free time.

 

And at Number 1, Alicante

Alicante is the sunniest city in Europe! With an average of 349 hours of sunshine per month, this is the ultimate destination for sun-seeking travellers. The city is known for its stunning Costa Blanca coastline, which offers wide public beaches where you can sunbathe on the sand or jump into the water and try out some water sports. As if the sunny weather wasn't enough, Alicante is a beautiful city, with a colourful old town, an abundance of museums, historic sites, a variety of excellent restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.



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10 Cities to enjoy free Tapas
Tuesday, April 12, 2022

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).

 

Ávila

(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. 

 

Almería


(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. 

 

Badajoz

(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.


Granada

(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.

 

Jaen

(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. 
 

León

(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. 

 

Salamanca

(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. 

 

Segovia

(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.


 

Vigo

(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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10 Hollywood backdrops in Spain
Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Thanks to the magic of cinema there are places in Spain that often become the scene of national and international productions. The amazing monumental wealth held in Spain is a true cinematic dream: Cities, monuments and landscapes that have been immortalised by film, some of them are easily recognisable others not, but they have all become part of the history of film. Here is a list of the Top 10 settings used by the world of cinema  :

 

1. Plaza de España (Sevilla) – “Star Wars Episode II”


2. Playa de Mónsul (Níjar -Almería) – “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”


3. Castillo de Loarre (Huesca) – “Kingdom of Heaven”


4. Ciudad Encantada (Cuenca) – "Conan the Barbarian"


5. Castillo de Molina de Aragón (Guadalajara) – “In The Name of the Rose”


6. Valle de Mirandilla (Burgos) – "The Good,The Bad and the Ugly"


7. Atocha Train Station (Madrid) – “The Bourne Ultimatum”


8. Punta de Teno (Tenerife) – “Fast and Furious”


9.  Playa del Algarrobico (Carboneras / Almería) – “Lawrence de Arabia”

 

10. Plaza Mayor de Salamanca (Salamanca) - "Vantage Point"

 



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Visit Navarra's Most beautiful Villages
Thursday, February 10, 2022

Navarra has some of the most beautiful villages in the country, not often a region that foreigners really think of visiting, but it really must be considered as there is so much to see. Here are 10 of the most beautiful villages worth visiting...

 

1. Olite

The sleek and harmonious silhouette of the Castle-Palace stands out against the skyline of Olite, a small town in the centre of Navarre just 42 kilometres south of Pamplona that was the seat of the Royal Court of the kingdom in the Middle Ages. The thick walls and crenelated towers of the Palace were home to monarchs and princes. Declared a national monument in 1925, it is the best example of civil Gothic architecture in Navarre and one of the most notable in Europe.

A walk through the narrow streets of Olite will take you past noble stone houses with coats or arms on their facades and grandiose wooden eaves, mediaeval galleries and splendid churches, and the Roman wall surrounding the town. Its Mediterranean climate has also made Olite a wine capital. Visit its bodegas (wineries) and try their wines. Let yourself be guided, the town will take you back to an era of tournaments, kings and princesses, wizards and jugglers, falconers and archers; they all return to Olite every August for a Mediaeval Fair.

 

2. Roncesvalles

The collection of the historic buildings in Roncesvalles, located in the westernmost side of the Pyreneen mountain range, are erected on the bottom of the southern slope of the Ibañeta hill and near the wide plain of Auritz- Burguete.

A place for the pilgrims to rest after the rough ascent from the lower Navarre valleys, "The Collegiate church of Santa María de Roncesvalles" is surrounded by some mountains like: Astobiskar (1266 m.) and Ortzanzurieta ( 1570 m), distinguished because they are the oldest territories of Navarra, more than 450 million years old.

 

3. Puente La Reina

Puente la Reina, "the crossroads of the ways", is a medieval town where the two main routes on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela converge. It is one of the enclaves with the greatest affinity with Compostela in Navarre. The constant transit of pilgrims, the scallop shells and the walking sticks all form part of the urban landscape of this town, a magnificent example of a "street-based" town just 24 kilometres south-west of Pamplona.

Walking along the narrow Rúa Mayor is a very pleasant exercise that allows you to discover architectural gems such as the churches of the Crucifix, St. James and St. Peter and beautiful buildings peppered with details of the influence of the Pilgrim's Way. However, there is no doubt that the Romanesque bridge across the river Arga is the most amazing sight of all. It is one of the most beautiful and distinguished examples of Romanesque architecture on the way to Santiago and is what gives its name to this town of barely 2,500 inhabitants.

 

4. Ujué

Lost up on the heights of a plateau with no rivers to refresh it and no trees to shelter it, seemingly intoxicated with its solitude, stands Ujué, a delightful medieval village of narrow streets that climb steeply upwards to reach, at the top, the Sanctuary-Fortress of Santa Maria de Ujué. Located in the Central Zone, Ujué is one of the most important places of worship in Navarre and a spectacular lookout point over the Pyrenees and riverside plains.

The Sanctuary, a national monument, is one of the most important examples of medieval architecture in Navarre, and is at the centre of a beautiful legend. On your journey, lose yourself in the maze-like layout of this tiny village of just 300 inhabitants; stroll slowly along its cobbled streets and don't miss the opportunity to try the delicious migas de pastor ('shepherd's breadcrumbs'). There are very few places that make them like they do in Ujué.

 

5. Elizondo

Elizondo, the capital of the Baztan valley, will amaze you with its numerous mansion houses and palaces. Its most emblematic building is the Baroque palace of Arizkunenea, but there are also other monuments of artistic interest such as the town hall, the Datue Palace, the Viceroy's house and the church of Santiago. Set in idyllic natural surroundings, the hustle and bustle that typify Elizondo have made this locality the valley's inhabitants' favourite place for holding fairs and markets.

One of the most long-standing traditions is the Baztandarren Biltzarra, a festival of colourful dances and processions that brings together all the villages in the valley. On your visit to Elizondo, be sure to try its famous urrakin egina (chocolate with whole hazelnuts). Elizondo lies at the geographical and nerve centre of the Baztan valley . Located in the north of Navarre, the valley encompasses fifteen towns within its municipal boundaries, which are dotted throughout the luxuriant green landscape of the Atlantic Pyrenees.

 

6. Sanguësa

A border post on the Pilgrim's Way and a hospitable and monumental town, Sangüesa is a mixture of the mountains and the plains, a place to see and experience. Located 44 kilometres from Pamplona and with a population of just over 5,000, the most important town in medieval Navarre is well known thanks to the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela and its architectural treasures, particularly the facade of the church of Santa María, a superb example of Romanesque architecture that has been declared a National Monument. Its interesting civil buildings, churches and convents evoke epochs of splendour and reveal a town that is very closely linked to its traditions.

On January 6th every year the Auto Sacramental de los Reyes Magos (allegorical religious play about the Three Wise Men) takes place, one of the five that has been conserved in Spain. Stroll through the old streets of Sangüesa and stop to take a look at every one of its splendid buildings; take part in its medieval traditions and try its famous pochas (succulent white beans). In a land of transition between the first peaks of the Pyrenees and the plains along the river Ebro, Sangüesa stands on the banks of the river Aragón on slightly raised ground in the eastern part of the Central Zone of Navarre, 44 kilometres from Pamplona.

 

7. Artajona

A magnificent medieval fortification crowns the top of the hill on which Artajona stands, a small village 30 kilometres from Pamplona which invites you to close your eyes and step back into a past inhabited by monarchs, noblemen, bishops and popes. This stunning eleventh-century fortress, known as "El Cerco", rises up imposingly over the village that descends down the slopes to the plain in a maze of narrow, cobbled streets, marked along the way by monumental houses and palaces.

On your journey you will discover a town of 1,700 people which, as well as "El Cerco", still preserves other buildings of interest such as eighteenth-century palaces, the Gothic church of St. Peter and, on the outskirts, the basilica of Our Lady of Jerusalem and the chapel of St. Bartholomew. You can also discover why its bells and the "fork and sickle race" are so important. The walls of Artajona, a small town in the Central Zone halfway between Puente la Reina and Tafalla, conceal a wealth of history that will take you back to the Middle Ages, times of territorial conquest and marriages of convenience when the town became the wedding present of King García Ramírez to his wife, Lady Urraca.

 

8. Estella - Lizarra

Half way between Pamplona and Logroño, in an area between the mountains and the plains, lies Estella, a historic city that came into being when pilgrims were travelling along the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela in large number. In the 15th century it was known as "Estella the elegant" and to the present day it continues to live up to this epithet. It is a romantic city that places great value on its palaces, stately homes, churches, convents, bridges and beautiful buildings, which have earned it the nickname of the "Toledo of the North".

The city of 13,000 inhabitants will surprise you with its flourishing commercial life and bustling Thursday market, its passion for music and theatre, as well as its impeccable cuisine. Strolling through the city you will pass pilgrims and visitors eager to explore the old streets of the Franks and the Jews and see proof that the phrase coined by Aymeric Picaud is as true today as it was in the 11th century: "Estella is a city of good bread, excellent wine, much meat and fish and all kinds of pleasures."

 

9. Ochagavia

Ochagavía is the perfect photograph, the one that always looks right; the day or the light conditions do not matter. It is the picture postcard of the Pyrenees of Navarre, with its cobbled streets, its well-kept houses with steep roofs and the river with an old mediaeval bridge crossing it. The stone church, crowned by a robust and elegant tower, is an interesting perspective that breaks up the skyline. A landscape of high mountain peaks and dense forests complete the image, in which the very ancient dances in honour of the Virgin Mary of Muskilda must be present.

The town of Ochagavía is located 764 metres above sea level at the northernmost point of the Pyrenean valley of Salazar, in north-east Navarre. Surrounded by high peaks and beech and Scots pine forests, it is one of the most picturesque places in the Navarrese Pyrenees thanks to the architecture of its caseríos (large houses) and its location at the confluence of the Zatoia and Anduña rivers, which join here to form the river Salazar.

 

10. Amaiur/Maya

A picturesque one-street village that receives the visitor with its peculiar entry arch. The people built their houses along the route of the Pilgrims' Way in the Baztan valley. The lack of alignment and uniformity of the façades avoids monotony and leads to some excellent perspectives. The characteristic reddish colour of the stone from the quarries at Almándoz impregnates, as in the rest of the Baztan valley, its houses.

Noble house architecture has left some magnificent examples in the village, such as Palacio Arretxea or Casa Arriada, where council meetings were held in the 16th century. One of the most emblematic spots in Amaiur/Maya is located at the entry to the village. It is a restored mill that still operates, and where visitors can buy corn or wheat flour or taste recently baked talos, fine corn flour pancakes that are eaten with other products such as cheese, chocolate, or chistorra (spicy sausage).



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Time to get out and discover Spain!
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

I started out wanting to compile a list of Spain's top 5 most magical places but I have to be honest it was impossible to narrow it down to 5 and even harder to order them. So I gave up and decided to create a shortlist as follows. It is not in any particular order. Feel free to leave a comment on any place in the list you have visited or any place you think should have been included!

 

1. Natural Park of Forest Corona (Tenerife)


This predominantly forested area encircles the Teide National Park and is home to some of the best examples of pine and high-altitude vegetation on Tenerife. The heads of a large number of the ravines that form the drainage system of the north and south of Tenerife are located here, meaning that the area plays a vitally important role in capturing water and protecting the land against erosion.

The area boasts a host of geomorphic features, the most impressive being the immense La Orotava and Güímar valleys. Other fascinating and unique geographical structures include the lunar landscape above the town of Vilaflor and Cuevas Negras to the north of Pico Viejo.

A number of threatened species can be found in the high biodiversity of native flora and fauna of the area, as well as many other species protected by national laws and international agreements. It is a magnificent sanctuary for pine forest birds, of which there are a number of native species. Many of the geomorphic features (ravines, vents, recent lava flows, etc.) are representative of the geology of the island. The area is of exceptional beauty and value.

 

2. Ordesa National Park (Huesca)


The National Park is part of the Pyrenees and Monte Perdido National Park which was declared a World Heritage site in 1997 by the UNESCO. Since 1977, a part of the park has also been inside the Ordesa-Viñamala Biosphere Reserve.

It is an incredibly beautiful place with a landscape of towering summits. It has a wide variety of ecosystems with both an Atlantic and Mediterranean influence, which is what gives it such a rich and diverse flora and fauna. The scenery is dominated by the great massif of Monte Perdido (3,355 m), with the peaks of the Tres Sorores branching out into the valleys of Ordesa, Pineta, Añisclo and Escuaín.

 

3. The Alhambra (Granada)

The Alhambra was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. Alhambra's Islamic palaces, as we know them today, were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain and the court of the Nasrid dynasty. After the conquest of Granada by the Reyes Católicos ("Catholic Monarchs") in 1492, some portions were used by Christian rulers

 

4. Pyramids of Güímar (Tenerife)

The Pyramids of Güímar refer to six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures, built from lava stone without the use of mortar. They are located in the district of Chacona, part of the town of Güímar on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain. The structures have been dated to the 19th century AD and their original function may well be explained as a byproduct of contemporary agricultural techniques.

Other pyramids employing the same methods and materials of construction can be found in various sites on Tenerife. In Güímar itself there were nine pyramids, only six of which survive.


5. Médulas (Leon)

The town of Las Médulas is located in the region of El Bierzo, Leon. This small mountain town marks the natural beginning of the ascent towards Las Médulas, a unique cultural landscape that was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO.

The serrated relieve of this landscape, marked by red clayey mountains and covered by chestnut trees, owes its appearance to the Romans, who altered the natural environment in this area when they established a gold mine in the 1st century AD.

For this purpose they came up with an ingenious system called "ruina montium", which used water force to crumble down the soil and expose the gold.

The two centuries that this type of mining went on, caused the formation of the peculiar relieve of Las Médulas. Red-clay erosion gullies, towers, and underground galleries, all surrounded by chestnut trees, make up this cultural landscape. Peaks higher than 100 metres lead to the centre of the gold mine, the Cueva Encantada (Enchanted Cave) and Cuevona (the Huge Cave).

Eight kilometres away from Las Médulas, the viewpoint of Orellán offers one of the best views of the whole place.

 


6. Ucanca Valley, Teide National Park (Tenerife)

The natural boundaries of Teide National Park are marked by a grandiose, spectacular caldera. The Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano formed inside this elliptical depression, which measures 16 x 11 km.

The name Las Cañadas comes from the plains at the foot of the caldera escarpment, which were used as a cattle route (known as "cañada" in Spanish). The biggest plain is called Llano de Ucanca. The water that descends the walls is trapped inside, and so the elements that are dragged along with it settle and accumulate in the base, forming these plains.

The origin of Las Cañadas caldera is a topic of debate, and there are two main hypotheses. The most likely theory is that it has been formed purely by erosion, with a valley that exits on the north face, in the municipality of Icod, which would now appear to be occupied by Teide lava flows. The other hypothesis is that there was a major collapse when a shallow magma chamber spewed out its contents at great speed.


7. Gaztelugatxe (Basque Country)

Gaztelugatxe is an islet on the coast of Biscay belonging to the municipality of Bermeo, Basque Country (Spain). It is connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. On top of the island stands a hermitage (named Gaztelugatxeko Doniene in Basque; San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spanish), dedicated to John the Baptist, that dates from the 10th century, although discoveries indicate that the date might be the 9th century. With another small neighboring island, Aketze, they form a protected biotope that extends from the town of Bakio until Cape Matxitxako, on the Bay of Biscay.

 

8. Irati (Navarra)

The Irati Forest is the second largest and best preserved beech and fir forest in Europe, an immense green mantle of some 17,000 hectares that is still in an almost unspoiled state. Standing among the western Pyrenees of Navarre, the Irati Forest is accessed from the picturesque villages of Ochagavía and Orbaitzeta and is a natural treasure in which you can find the protected areas of Mendilatz and Tristuibartea and the Lizardoia Integral Reserve. 

Sit down in the heart of the forest and enjoy communing with nature; let yourself be enveloped in a silence broken only by the wild rushing of water between beeches and firs. Admire the crystalline currents of the river Irati that turn turquoise in the Irabia reservoir and listen out for the elusive sounds of the fauna and stroll across the soft blanket of grass that covers the Irati Forest. The scent of the woods will impregnate itself in your skin.

 

9. Mosque and Roman bridge in Cordoba

The view over the Mosque-Cathedral, with the river, the Gate of the Bridge and the Roman Bridge of Cordoba itself, is one of the most wonderful sights of Cordoba, especially at dusk, when the last rays of the sun linger on and make the stone surfaces glow a deep golden red. The bridge was first built in the 1st century A.D., but has been rebuilt many times since then, and in its present form dates mainly from the Medieval period, with the latest changes being made in 1876. There are sixteen arches, four of which are pointed and the rest semi-circular. Halfway along the railing on one side is a 16th century statue of San Rafael by Bernabé Gómez del Río. 

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (World Heritage Site since 1984) is arguably the most significant monument in the whole of the western Muslim World and one of the most amazing buildings in the world in its own right. The complete evolution of the Omeyan style in Spain can be seen in its different sections, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of the Christian part.

 

10. Source of the Urederra, Urbasa Andía Natural Park (Navarre)

The burbling of crystalline water, the light filtering among the leaves of the trees, bathing the landscape in a lime green light and the aroma of nature has made this place, listed as a nature reserve since 1987, one of Navarre's most spectacular enclaves.

The Source of the Urederra is located north of Estella-Lizarra. It is the natural outlet of the aquifer lying under the karstic massif of Urbasa. Its first emergence takes place at an altitude of 700 metres, on the southern edge of the plateau, with an impressive 100 metre fall that, over millions of years, has modelled a rocky amphitheatre of breathtaking beauty. 


11. The Walls of Avila

The work was started in 1090 but most of the walls appear to have been rebuilt in the 12th century. The enclosed area is an irregular rectangle of 31 hectares with a perimeter of some 2,516 meters,including 88 semicircular towers. The walls have an average breadth of 3 metres and an average height of 12 metres. The nine gates were completed over several different periods. The Puerta de San Vicente (Gate of St Vincent) and Puerta del Alcazar (Gate of the Fortress) are flanked by twin towers, 20 metres high, linked by a semicircular arch. The apse of the cathedral also forms one of the towers. The fortifications are the most complete in Spain.


12. Bardenas (Navarra)

The Bardenas Reales is a semi-desert natural region, or badlands, of some 42,000 hectares (100,000 acres) in southeast Navarre (Spain). The soils are made up of clay, chalk and sandstone and have been eroded by water and wind creating surprising shapes, canyons, plateaus, tabular structures and isolated hills, called cabezos. Bardenas lacks urban areas, vegetation is scarce and the many streams that cross the territory have a markedly seasonal flow, staying dry most of the year. This Natural Park of wild beauty was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. 


13. Ronda (Málaga)

Despite being Andalucía's fastest-growing town - it overtook Córdoba in the big three Andaluz tourist attractions, behind Sevilla and Granada, in the early 21st century - Ronda retains much of its historic charm, particularly its old town. It is famous worldwide for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevín through its centre. Visitors make a beeline for the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, which straddles the 100m chasm below, for its unparalleled views out over the Serranía de Ronda mountains.

 

14. Gulpiyuri Beach (Asturias)


This is probably the most surprising part of the Asturian coast, declared a natural monument. Shaped as a half circle separated from the sea by the shelvings, it is a place where one can bathe without seeing the sea. Although sometimes referred to as the ‘world’s smallest beach,’ Playa de Gulpiyuri is definitely one of the world’s strangest.

 

15. Albarracín (Aragon)

This sleepy little tourist village lies 3,878 feet above sea level, and is unspoilt by modernization. Driving towards the village perched high on the mountaintop evokes a sense of wonder. The Spanish newspaper, ABC.es, had a poll and Albarracín is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Spain.



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10 Places to Visit in Andalucia in 2022
Tuesday, January 4, 2022

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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Spain's Top 10 Ski Resorts
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

This year most ski slopes have opened all across the country even though they are still closed in other European destinations, so if you fancy getting your skis on, Spain is the place to be!

Take a look at the top 10 resorts on offer:

 



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Discover The Basque Country - 10 Destinations
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The sea and mountain, an internationally recognised cuisine, and an ancestral culture that continues to exist today, all make the Basque Country an attractive destination for all types of people. On each side of the border, we find small, fishing villages and innumerable cliffs that remind us that a short trip is not enough to enjoy this land. At any rate, any trip along the coast must include these essential stops. So if one trip is not enough time for you, returning isn't a bad idea.

 

Sopelana (Bizkaia)

 

As one of the surf meccas and the closest to Bilbao, Sopelana is commonly visited by water sports enthusiasts and also by paragliders thanks to the cliffs that hug its beaches. Apart from enjoying the sun and the beaches, the town is also part of the Iron Belt: a tourist route along which we can explore the remains of military fortifications in the area that have been recently restored.

 

Bermeo (Bizkaia)

A quintessential fishing village that is also the perfect location to explore some of the greatest treasures of the Basque coast which are practically a requirement to visit while in the region: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and the Urdaibai biosphere reserve. It is essential to eat a good marmitako, a traditional tuna pot, in one of the port taverns.
        

Lekeitio (Bizkaia)

We cannot overlook Lekeitio as another noteworthy fishing village since it has the oldest txakoli wine press in the Basque Country. Moreover, this village has one of the most famous, rowboat sports clubs. A spectacular port with a mountainous backdrop.
        

Ondarroa (Bizkaia)

Almost on the border of Gipuzkoa, Ondarroa's outstanding features are its historic medieval centre and its seafaring flavour. In fact, in the port, we can learn about the fishing cycle, from the fishes´ arrival onto the boats to where their trip finishes on our plates. Ondarroa means "mouth of sand" since it is built on the stretch of land formed by the river Artibai. For this reason, the town has multiple bridges in spite of being rather small
        

Zumaia (Gipuzkoa)

 

Apart from having been the setting for one of the largest blockbusters of our cinema, this community will amaze us with its flysch, rocky, sedimentary formations in the sea that create an otherworldly landscape. From here we can visit Getaria, the birthplace of the famous sailor Juan Sebastián Elkano.
        

Pasai Donibane (Gipuzkoa)

As we leave behind Donostia-San Sebastián and before reaching France, we find Pasai Donibane, a town that is unknown to tourists but has hidden treasures such as its main plaza where colourful, traditional Basque buildings seem to crowd together for a picture. A secret: the poet Víctor Hugo spent several days here and we can visit the house where he stayed, which has now been converted into a museum.
        

Hondarribia (Gipuzkoa)

[photo courtesy of Hondarribia Travel Guide http://www.euskoguide.com/places-basque-country/spain/hondarribia-tourism/ ]

The last stop before crossing the border, Hondarribia receives visitors with a very extensive cultural and tourist experience for a rather small town. Perhaps it is because of this that once we visit, we are already planning our return. From water sports to golf to enjoying a reinvented, traditional cuisine.
        

San Juan de Luz (Francia)

A tranquil, crescent-shaped bay where we can find a fine sand beach. It's not strange that this has been one of the summer destinations chosen by many tourists for centuries. Although we are in France, it seems as if we have not left the Basque Country thanks to the vibrantly coloured, traditional Basque houses.  An area which, in the 17th century, drew the attention of pirates.
        

Bayona (Francia)

This town celebrates its festival in full San Fermín style, including the traditional red and white dress. However, this is not the only tradition that it shares with the south of the Pyrenees: the cuisine is so similar to what we find in Gipuzkoa or Biscay that will continue to delight us. And of course, we cannot forget their famous chocolate!
        

Biarritz (Francia)

From international surfers to the most distinguished bourgeoisie of the 19th century, everyone who visits Biarritz falls in love with this small, resort city. As the years go by, all kinds of tourists continue to live here in perfect harmony. And the city caters to all of them. This is why it is perfect to stroll between its mansions and relax while lying out in the sun.



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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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