Category: Mainland (Page 1 of 4)

Hotel Alternatives in Spain

Whether you’re planning a vacation to Spain for you and your significant other, you want to take the whole family along, or you’re gearing up for an adventure in Spain with friends, you’ll want to make sure the trip is as enjoyable and affordable as possible.

There are a number of lodging options besides hotels when it comes to your Spain vacation. Choosing a hotel alternative can allow you to prolong your trip and enjoy additional activities. This is because hotel alternatives allow you to save a considerable amount of money and experience the country from a more authentic point of view. Here are a few options to consider.

Apartment and Villa Rentals

Renting a villa or apartment for your vacation can make you feel more at home while you’re exploring the attractions of Spain. You’ll have more room for your family and possessions; most people are very comfortable in this type of setting. Online resources such as Home Away, Owners Direct or TripAdvisor can be used to locate a space you’re interested in. You will be provided with contact information so you can get in touch with the property owners and vacation arrangements can be planned.

A range of options are available for different locations in Spain. For instance, if you’re travelling to Andalusia, you’ll find there are a number of apartments for rent in the area that are one or two bedrooms, or you may see a three-bedroom villa that would be ideal. There are also larger homes listed on the website that have five or up to seven bedrooms.

The websites show pictures of the properties so you can see the spacious patios and living areas that each listing has to offer. You can also see how the property was rated by other holiday makers – this can be very helpful in making a final choice. You should keep in mind that in most cases you’ll have to book the property for a minimum amount of nights.

Hotel Alternative in Spain

Renting an apartment in the Spanish city where you’re visiting makes it easy to see all the area’s attractions.


Beach Rentals

If you want to stay near the beach, there are various hotel alternative options that will accommodate you. In the Balearic Islands, you can find a spacious apartment in Alcudia that sleeps up to four people that will cost you about $80 per day, which is considerably less than you would spend per night to stay in a quality hotel in the area. The apartment offers attractive amenities like Wi-Fi, a terrace and balcony for you to enjoy, and a beautiful garden that makes the beachside scenery even more picturesque.

Of course, there are plenty of beaches to enjoy in the area, but you’ll also be close to attractions like fascinating caves such as the Cuevas dels Hams in Porto Cristo, where you’ll see one-of-a-kind rock formations that are accented with artistic lighting. There are lakes inside the caves – this makes it possible for you to explore these wonders of nature from the safety of a small boat and the benefit of a guide. The show “Magical Mozart” is performed daily in the caves, which means you can enjoy beautiful classical music during your exploration as well.

Hotel Alternatives in Spain 2

Taking in a beautiful Spanish beach from where you’re lodging will likely be one of the highlights of your vacation.

Home Swaps in Spain

If you’re looking for a family to stay in your home while you vacation in Spain and you’re willing to lodge in that family’s home during your Spanish vacation, a home swap is the best option. This is one of the most economic ways to visit Spain, as house swap options usually require little or no exchange of funds. In the end, the cost of your accommodations could end up being very low. Resources like Love Home Swap will provide you with the information you need to start the home swap process.

You’ll need to provide high-quality photos of your own home to get started. This makes it possible for interested Spanish vacationers to contact you. Home swap websites provide listings that can be browsed to find homes suitable for a family, homes that are ideal for a group of adults vacationing together, and properties that are perfect for a couple visiting Spain.

Listings include homes in the center of Barcelona, so you’ll only be minutes from attractions like La Rambla, the most famous street in the city. The street features the beautiful Font de Canaletes, a fountain that symbolizes the fact that La Rambla was actually a stream that flowed outside of the walls of the city before it became an attraction for both locals and tourists.

There are several sections of La Rambla, including Rambla de Santa Monica, which was named for a convent but is now an art museum. Or, you can head over to Rambla del Mar, which features a large aquarium, an IMAX theater, and a number of places to shop.

Renting a villa, apartment or home in Spain allows you to take in the sights of the city, enjoy a cozy bed, have access to a kitchen where you can prepare the meals of your choice, and even take in a movie in the family room, free of charge. Be sure to get all the necessary details about the person or family you’re renting from or swapping with to verify identity. To make sure your time in Spain is especially memorable this process should be started a few months before you’re ready to vacation.

Immerse Yourself In Andalucia

Head to the south of Spain and experience this colourful country in a region that will hypnotize you with its deep-rooted customs, scenic landscapes, and culinary delights. Andalucía epitomizes most traveller’s idea of Spain.

Bullfights, Flamenco dancing, pristine white sandy beaches, and architecture that draws from Spain’s historic ties with the East.
For every stereotypical Spanish note that Andalucía hits, there are two more surprises around every corner you turn. Commonly referred to as the ‘real’ side of Spain, Andalucía offers visitors both the simple and extraordinary in every cobblestone step.

 

The gorgeous Nerja Beach In Andalucía.

The gorgeous Nerja Beach In Andalucía.

Andalucía is culture.
Nowhere in Spain will you find a region oozing with as much culture as Andalucía. Over 3,000 festivals are celebrated in the region every year, ranging from religious processions to elaborate carnivals. Music and dancing are a huge part of the Andalucía culture, evident in the Flamenco Tablaos visitors can watch throughout the summer months.

Bullfighting, Spain’s national sport, traces its origins to Andalucía, and the oldest bullring in Spain can be found in the small Andalucía city of Ronda. There are also an endless array of museums to visit, ranging from the Thyssen Museum in Málaga which features famed Spanish artist Pablo Picasso to Pre-historic archaeology exhibits at the Museo de Almería. You can’t mention the culture of Andalucía without mentioning the friendly locals who call the region home.

Andalucíans are known for their energetic spirits, zest for life, and welcoming nature. They are a people who love food, music, and fun, and accept strangers as family from day one. The people of Andalucía make the region very special, indeed.

Andalucía is history.
The known history of Andalucía goes back 50,000 years, so it is no surprise that the area is full of historic wonders and ancient surprises. There are an incredible six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Andalucía, five of which are of historical and cultural significance.

If you want to brush up on your Spanish history, head to the ancient streets of the historic city centre of Cordoba where you can walk in the footsteps of the Romans, Moorish conquerors, and Spanish Kings. Or head further South and explore the medieval palace and fortress of Alhambra, located in the city of Granda in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

 

Mezquita Cordoba

Mezquita Cordoba, Spain- UNESCO World Heritage Site

Andalucía is a party for the senses.
If you love gastronomy, you need to book your flight to Andalucía as soon as possible. The region boasts a UNESCO World Heritage mention for its Mediterranean food alone. Food is a major part of life in Andalucía, and you will love sampling the world famous tapas found throughout Spain’s southern cities.

Locals have been growing wine in the region for over 3,000 years and you can see the process first-hand at wineries across Andalucía. The Gonzalez Byass Winery Tour in Jerez is a firm favourite and attracts over 100,000 visitors a year to sample the famous sherry. There are also dozens of smaller, local producers that welcome visitors to their vineyards for a tour and tasting.

When you have had your fill of food and drinks, head to the coast for a scenic boat tour and experience the magic of the breathtaking Andalucían coastline. Nothing can quite prepare you for the sun-drenched beaches, hidden coves, and beachside cafes boasting the best and freshest sea food in all of Spain.

 

A foodies dream: Andalucían Gazpacho and Jaman Ibarico.

A foodies dream: Andalucían Gazpacho and Jaman Ibarico.

Andalucía offers visitors an authentic Spanish experience, from the food to the entertainment to the architecture. The reputation of Spain’s southernmost region is one that speaks of beauty and unparalleled friendliness. Your visit is guaranteed to be the first of many, for every visitor falls head over heels in love with the spirit of Andalucía.

 

Top 5 Travel Tips for Spain

Whether you want to marvel at the architecture of Gaudí in the Sagrada Família, Barcelona or soak up the sun on the beaches of Costa del Sol, Andalucía, no matter what kind of trip you are planning to undertake, there are just a few tips that can see you through, making sure you get the most out of your holiday in the wonderful country of Spain.

 

Spain

 

Enjoying Spanish Cuisine

Eating together and enjoying food is a fundamental part of Spanish culture. If you are not staying in a hotel and plan to seek out the best ‘tapas’ and brasseries in the area for a good taste of Spanish cuisine, then be sure to take note. The Spanish eat very late in the evening, and in suburban parts of the country, local restaurants may not open until as late as 9pm. Similarly, smaller restaurants will take their siesta and close for a couple of hours at noon. Tapas are enjoyed widely throughout the country, however ‘menú del día’ are also available consisting of a beverage, starter, main course and dessert. Credit cards are accepted throughout the country but it is common courtesy to leave a 10% tip in change for the waiter to collect.
Getting around and about

Most parts of Spain are fairly accessible with trains and buses running frequently and being very reliable. Families are better off booking car hire for freedom to roam the country and get about. Chain car-rental companies have branches across the country but it usually tends to be cheaper to book in advance before your trip to ensure the best deals. When you book, double check that air-conditioning is fitted or you will find yourself enduring some very uncomfortable care journeys! If you don’t plan to travel much and just want the odd day for sightseeing then buses are a quick and economical way of getting around. Fares are much lower than trains and services run regularly throughout the day.

Visit when the time is right

The climate in Spain is fairly warm all year round with temperatures sometimes hitting as high as 38°C. The optimal time to visit is between May and October for a warm comfortable temperature. If you are after a Winter Holiday, The Pyrenees are best for skiing from December to March. Try to avoid beach resorts in July and August, as these attract not only a mass of tourists but also Spaniards taking their summer holiday. If you want to travel in this time, instead make the most of the empty cities. Places such as Madrid and Seville won’t be heaving giving you more time to enjoy the wonderful sights such as Real Madrid FC and Seville Cathedral.

Don’t lose out on Euros

The official currency in Spain is the Euro. Understandably, with that long pre-holiday checklist, buying your travel money is something we don’t really consider and sometimes even forget entirely! Try not to leave it last minute as Airport Bureaus are renowned for poor exchange rates; likewise, High Street Banks are no more favourable. Make your life a little easier and buy your travel money in advance; sites such as MyTravelMoney allow you to compare the cheapest deals on currency and will even deliver it straight to your door the next day! A very useful tip is to benchmark the sell rate you are offered with a currency converter then you’ll get the ‘real’ mid market exchange rate.

Learn some basic Spanish

¿Hablas español? As with any travel destination, it is courteuous and civilised to attempt at least a please and thank you in the local language. That’s ‘por favor’ and ‘gracias’ to you in Español. With an abundance of tourist attractions and famous landmarks to visit, you don’t want to spend half your time staring at a map trying to navigate your way round on your own. Spaniards will be more than happy to help and give you directions so it generally helps to be able to differentiate left from right before you ask. Not only will you be able to get around quicker but the Spanish really appreciate tourists that make an effort.

Hopefully these tips have set you up for an enjoyable trip to Spain, even sparing a few Euros here and there. ¡Buen Viaje!

 

Sofia is the Web Editor & Community Manager at MyTravelMoney – an award winning UK travel money comparison website.

 

Why Madrid Is A Great Place To Be After Dark

Madrid is known for its rich culture and delicious savoury fare. While there are a number of museums and breathtaking architecture, the city is also a great place to enjoy nightlife during your vacation. Here are some descriptions of attractive locations in Madrid that are ideal if you want a night or two on the town.

Main shopping street in Madrid at night.

Main shopping street in Madrid at night.

Puerto del Sol

Puerto del Sol is the central square in Madrid and is a short walking distance from Plaza Mayor, where there are a number of quality hotels and tapas bars where you can enjoy exquisite wine and appetizers. It’s common to start a tasca crawl in Puerto del Sol, which is the Spanish equivalent to bar-hopping. If you’re visiting the area with a Spanish native, you’ll learn all about the greatest bars in area so you can sample the best cocktails and take in the scene before moving to another bar.

Statue Of Charles III In The Puerta Del Sol, Madrid.

Statue Of Charles III In The Puerta Del Sol, Madrid.

The Real Casa de Correos is another popular feature of Puerto del Sol. The building was originally constructed during the 18th century as part of the city’s post office, but is now the headquarters for the Autonomous Community for the president of Madrid.

If you’re visiting Madrid during the New Year season, you’ll want to be near the clock in Puerto del Sol before it strikes midnight. And have some grapes handy because it’s customary for Spaniards to eat a grape for each of the twelve chimes at midnight.

There are a number of breathtaking statues in the city square as well. Perhaps the most well-known is the Oso & Madroño, which is the official symbol of Madrid and was created by Antonio Navarro Sante Fe. A reproduction of the Mirablanca statue is also featured in Puerto del Sol, which is believed to be Diana the Hunter of the goddess Venus.

Argüelles/ Moncloa

This area of Madrid is where a number of college students live and socialize, making it an affordable nightlife attraction for many young adults who are travelling abroad. There are several fast-food restaurants and ale houses within walking distance in Moncloa and Argüelles, along with several dance clubs to choose from. Paseo del Pintor Rosales is one of the premier locations in this part of town, and is an elegant collection of restaurants and shops that run parallel to Calle Princesa. In the spring and summer months, the outdoor terraces of bars are adorned to attract young patrons who want to enjoy the beautiful scenery while indulging in gourmet dishes and cocktails.

 

Going to a dance club in Madrid is an experience you won't want to pass up.

Going to a dance club in Madrid is an experience you won’t want to pass up.

 

Casa Patas

Casa Patas is a flamenco club in Madrid, and is located in the Lavapies quarter of the city. There’s a bar and dining area where you can enjoy traditional Spanish fare like oxtail stew (rabo de toro) as well as cured ham from free-range Iberian pigs. In addition, the restaurant and club has an ample stage for Flamenco dancers to perform. The Café Cantante is part of Casa Patas; private events can be held in this area. The owners of the establishment invite some of Spain’s dancers to perform there, and there is a new lineup every two weeks.

The walls of Casa Patas are adorned with the photos of dancers who have performed at the venue, including Estrella Morente, Antonio Canales and Remedios Amaya. Casa Patas has worked with the flamenco community to organize the Fundacion Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Platas in 2000. The foundation is dedicated to educating the public about the history of Flamenco and to provide more information on the music and the dance that embodies Flamenco culture.

These are just some of the attractive features that make Madrid a wonderful place to vacation. You’ll likely create memories that will last a lifetime and learn more about Spanish culture in a fun and engaging way.

A Unique Way To Experience Spain: Study Abroad, Live, Learn, And Enjoy!

From magnificent Moorish castles to delectable regional cuisine and stunning Mediterranean beaches, Spain is an unforgettable destination for more than 57 million people every year. For students studying abroad, this vibrant country offers an exceptional environment in which to soak up sun, culture and infinite educational opportunities.

Exceptional Academic Standards
Because of its multicultural student population, Spain is an extremely popular destination for international students from throughout Europe and the United States. The country is extremely welcoming to foreign students, with a focus on providing a positive environment, in addition to numerous accommodation options. Most academic host universities offer helpful administrative support with everything from obtaining visas to providing supplementary activities to smooth the integration process.

Of the many options for international study, Spain tops the list for thousands of students every year.

Of the many options for international study, Spain tops the list for thousands of students every year.

Spain’s internationally renowned educational system offers students of all academic levels the rare chance to participate in a near-infinite variety of coursework all while taking advantage of unparalleled opportunities to study Spanish as a foreign language. A total of 18 Spanish universities were included in the 2012/2013 “QS World University Rankings,” including 14 in the top 500. The bulk of these are located in Spain’s capital city of Madrid, as well as Barcelona–which contains Spain’s two top ranked higher ed institutions, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and Universitat de Barcelona.

Culture Abounds
Because of its prime southern European location, Spain has typically served as a connector between many cultures–ranging from Europe to Africa to the East. The result is a dynamic setting comprising people from across the globe who have co-mingled to create Spain’s unique cultural legacy.

The official language of 21 countries, Spanish is spoken by approximately 495 million people across the globe, and is the world’s second most popular spoken language. There is no more phenomenal place to learn this valuable language than in Spain itself, at one of the country’s high quality educational institutions. Students of Spanish can participate in a number of different course options, from summer intensives to business courses.

Spain holds a prominent position in history, from its prehistoric sites to bustling modern cities. Whether you’re interested in history and architecture or the breathtaking natural landscape, Spain offers something for everyone. Students of fine arts, in particular, can revel in Spain’s rich and unparalleled tradition of innovation and advancement. Many of the great masters–from Goya and Picasso to Cervantes and Almodóvar–share Spain’s bold culture and rich heritage. Throw in fabled monuments and grand museums, and Spain offers endless cultural exposure at every turn.

Foodies will also delight in Spain’s amazing offerings. Not only is the country a hub of European gastronomy, but it is also famous for its healthy offerings, thanks to its focus on the beneficial Mediterranean diet. From the world’s best olive oil to delectable paella, international students will enjoy eating their way through Spanish culture.

Spain's many culinary delights include olives.

Spain’s many culinary delights include olives.

Four Seasons of Paradise Within Your Reach
Located in the southern region of Europe, Spain experiences all four seasons, but typically exhibits a pleasant, temperate climate. One of Europe’s warmest countries, Spain’s winter weather is typically mild with even the coldest days known for their magnificent sunshine. Spain’s glorious weather is set against a rich backdrop of scenery, including everything from amazing mountain vistas to serene natural beaches.

Spain is a great starting point for travelers, who can easily visit countless destinations, such as major cities like Madrid, the seat of Spain’s government, as well as historic sites like the medina bazaar of Tetuan. Many locations are just an easy day trip via bus. International students can also benefit from Spain’s terrific public transportation system–generally regarded as safe, convenient and affordable. This is a particularly inexpensive option for scholars, who can take advantage of a student discount.

But At What Cost?
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about studying in Spain is that–despite the country’s many extraordinary offerings–it remains one of Europe’s cheapest places to live and study, significantly less than tuition fees and the cost of living in countries like France, the U.K. and the United States.

All in all, there’s no better way to learn about the geography, culture, art, history, and literature of a country than to immerse yourself in it. For many delighted students, Spain continues to provide a life changing opportunity to do exactly that.

 

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