Category: Islands (Page 2 of 2)

The Most Tempting Spanish Beaches

spanish citiesSpain is blessed with more than 5000 km of coastline, a great part of which is occupied by wonderful beaches of fine sand revealing breathtaking views.

It is no surprise that tourists love Spain and come in thousands for their holidays every summer. The options for laying on the beach, soaking up the glorious rays of sun the sun and swimming in clear blue water are many, but there are a few beaches that are really special and should be pointed out.

The first one to start with is the beach Es Trenc in Mallorca. This beach is part of the wetland reserve Es Trenc Solobrar and is thus unspoiled and great for sunbathing. It is also favoured by windsurfers because of the breeze that it id found here. There are also dunes behind the beach and a café bar onsite where you can hire umbrellas.

The second beach that deserves mention is Cala Llenya in Ibiza, which is perfect for families with kids. This sandy beach is wide and very safe, and it also has some rocky areas that are ideal for practising snorkelling. The beach is surrounded by pine woods, where barbecues are often organised and features several beach bars to quench your thirst and appetite.

The third beach is in the Costa Del Sol and is called Torremolinos. This lovely beach area is nicely arranged with a promenade and several gardens and trees. It is also a place for various celebrations and boasts several good quality seafood restaurants located along Paseo Maritimo promenade.

The fourth beach called El Cotillo,is located in Fueraeventura, one of the Canary Islands. This beach is south of the fishing village El Cotillo, stretching along the west coast of the island. The beach is great if you want some solitude lying on the sand or if you love a quiet walk in the evening. The area is very beautiful with its cliffs and lagoons.

Another quiet beach is the Genoveses beach in Almeira. It has no bars and no restaurants, so you should take your own food, but the peacefulness is exceptional. The beach is part of the natural park Cabo de Gata Nijar where many flamingos can be seen in late autumn.

If you’re looking for a great time,  Benicassism in Costa Azahar organises annual music festivals with some really good bands participating. Yet another beach, actually one of the best city beaches, is La Concha in San Sebastian. This beach features trendy bars and designer shops nearby. It is ideal for surfers and is always full of people, as it is very close to the French border as well.

The best beach in Spain according to the locals however, is the beach La Barrosa in Cadiz. It has the Blue Flag award, it is clean, with lovely white sand and transparent sea waters and lifeguards. The beach is ideal for basically anyone – from families with kids, to singles, or elderly couples. There is a great promenade with many bars offering fresh seafood tapas.

Among this list of top beaches in Spain is Playa de Mazagon in Huelva, which is characterised with calm seas and white sand, being backed by pine trees and cliffs. This beach is close to National Park Donana; one of the biggest wetland reserves on the European continent.

Also worth a mention is Playa de Illetes . It is set in the small Balearic island of Formentera and is famous for its clear sea and fantastic sand. The place is ideal for walking, biking and sunbathers.

Talking about these fantastic locations, we can’t forget to recommend a visit to the beautiful city of Barcelona. It offers you so much and finding quality apartments in Barcelona is always just one mouse click away.

Have a great time!

The Lesser Known Melilla and Ceuta

ceuta

Photo of Ceuta by Darksein

In the north of Morocco lies two chunks of Spanish soil well known in North Africa but less known by mainland Spaniards or the rest of the world.
Almost like islands, the areas of Melilla and Ceuta sit jutting off into the Mediterranean from North Africa’s coastline awaiting visitors for their historical, hidden, and some might suggest, tax-free gems. Getting to either Melilla or Ceuta from Spain takes two to three hours by ferry. The most common port of departure is from Algeciras in Spain and both fast and standard ferries operate from here.

One of the most renowned companies is FRS, operating year-round, daily departures to Ceuta. Another good company also connecting Algeciras to Ceuta and additionally Malaga to Melilla is Acciona. If you find yourself on the Moroccan side of these autonomous Spanish lands, crossing the border isn’t that tough and walking across is one of the best and quickest ways to cross over into these little slices of Europe.

Located just about one and a half hours from Tangier, Ceuta is a quick trip away.
Journey Beyond Travel, a company offering holidays to Morocco, suggests that travellers can easily hop in a shared taxi (often referred to as a “Grand Taxi”) from Tangier and head eastbound taking them to the border. The border itself isn’t picturesque by any means, but as soon as you walk (or drive) across, a path of palm trees welcomes your entry, as do taxis, restaurants, shops selling their wares, and eventually a ferry port at its outer edge.

Inhabited by people of Spanish, Moorish, Berber, and Arab ancestry, both Ceuta and Melilla are melting pots of culture, diversity, and an amalgamation of language, food, and even rituals. You’ll spot both western-dressed and traditionally dressed Moroccans walking about the beautiful promenade, and simply enjoying the days and evenings.

For a scenic stroll, head out north towards a distant hill called Monte Hecho. From this hillock’s vantage point, you can catch glimpses on a clear day of Gibraltar and the city behind you. Here also stands the Francisco Franco monument; the man turned dictator who started the Spanish Civil War with his command of the Spanish Army of Africa.

Continuing back into town, you’ll happen upon the Plaza de Africa as well as the Our Lady of Africa church. Melilla is a lesser-visited region of Spain in Northern Africa and has some of its own claims to fame. The area is inhabited by both Spaniards and Moroccans and does house a decent amount of soldiers protecting its sovereignty. With an area larger than Ceuta, Melilla has a sizeable port, numerous restaurants and bars, along with streets worthy of a jog.

The main information point for visitors is located in the Plaza de Espana where during opening hours you can grab some tourist brochures on the history and sites of Melilla. The town is divided into the old and new town. The old part of town houses the Museum of Archaeology (housing rare coins collected from the ocean floor of the port) as well as a military history museum displaying titbits of its armed past. Also in this town are some old caves known as the Caves of the Convent where you can meet up with a guide for a quick visit of this former military hideout.

Another interesting stopping point is the GASELEC Foundation which has ancient Egyptian artefacts on display. Both Ceuta and Melilla offer decent nightlife venues. The traditional evening-time dish of tapas and beer or wine are easily accessible and make for a fun way to meet locals from the region. You’ll have a chance to gain an insider’s view regarding what’s good and what could be better. Both regions are worthy of a visit to truly discover and feel the diverse vibe from these lands stuck between Africa and Europe.

 

The Wildlife of Tenerife

 

tenerife lizardWhen you think of wildlife tourism, the old favourites immediately come to mind, the plains of the Serengeti, teeming with majestic creatures seldom found elsewhere in the world, the Masi Mara game reserve in Kenya where you may catch a glimpse of the ‘big five’, or even the Great Barrier Reef, thriving with colourful schools of fish.

While there’s no doubt that these are indeed popular locations for wildlife enthusiasts, it’s true that wherever you go in the world, there are new and unique species of flora and fauna to be discovered, some native to only that area.

Tenerife is no exception, and the fact that our island enjoys year round sunshine means that it’s a melting pot of fascinating animals and beautiful plants. This honour is owed to the diversity of the landscape,. We all know that Tenerife boasts long, sandy beaches, craggy coastlines, modern towns and cities, the Anaga massif in the North Eastern end, and of course, the Tiede National Park in the interior of the island, All this makes for some interesting variation, but the different climactic regions of the island also come into play.

While it’s true that Tenerife generally enjoys year-round great weather, the climate can vary wildly depending on where you are on the island. The South and West generally enjoys the most uninterrupted sunshine (which is why most of the popular tourist resorts are located in the South West corner), while the North and East experience similar temperatures, but more cloud cover and rainfall. The Teide National Park area inland is subject to more extreme weather, and even experiences some snowfall in winter, due to the elevation.

All this makes for an environment in which many different types of wildlife can thrive; here are some of Tenerife’s more interesting native species;

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Watching turtles make the slow, arduous journey up the beach to lay their eggs is one of the most enthralling sites in the natural world. Many assume that they need to jet off somewhere exotic just to experience this phenomenon, but it actually takes places on beaches all over Tenerife.

 

Bottlenose Dolphin

Dolphin’s are consistently cited as must-see creatures by wildlife tourists, and swimming with these gentle, intelligent mammals is high on many a bucket list. Whale and dolphin safaris are operated in the sea surrounding Tenerife, where the Bottlenose variety can frequently be found bobbing up above the waves.

 

Western Canaries Lizard

Lizards are very common creatures in warmer parts of the Mediterranean and the Western Canaries Lizard is one of the most attractive, its body is adorned with an array of vivid colours. It’s generally confident around humans too, often coming close enough to be fed with fruit.

 

El Hierro Giant Lizard

Although various species of small Lizards may be a common sight for holiday makers, larger reptiles are much rarer. The El Hierro Lizard, as its name suggests is native to the tiny island of El Hierro (governed by Tenerife) and grows up to 20cm in length. With just 300-400 left, the species is in serious danger of extinction.

 

Atlantic Canary

Despite popular belief, the Canary Islands were actually named as such due to the wild dogs that inhabited the islands when they were discovered. That’s not to say however that Canaries can’t be found here. In fact the Atlantic Canary with its yellow and green plumage is a favourite with bird-watchers on the island.

 

Emperor Dragon Fly

On the whole, insects are not a welcome addition on holiday; , mosquito bites, ant infestations and wasps can all ruin a perfectly good day in the sun. One insect you may want to pay attention to is the Emperor Dragon Fly with its brilliant blue and jet black body. These are commonly found around wet, marshland areas, perhaps one for the nature tourists rather than casual holidaymakers!.

For a wide range of Spanish holidays, including Tenerife with its wealth of fascinating wildlife, visit Sovereign Luxury Travel.

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