As We Travel » Spain http://www.aswetravel.com Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog Thu, 27 Nov 2014 05:37:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Andalusia Spain to Watch the Hunter and Archer Battle http://www.aswetravel.com/andalusia-spain/ http://www.aswetravel.com/andalusia-spain/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:56:57 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=48707 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Un Chien Andalou “But now the stars, concealing landscapes, reveal the perfect schema of their courses. ” Federico García Lorca The night sky in the autonomous community of Andalusia is among the most vivid in Europe; with the milky way stretching languidly, high above and between the brighter constellations. Thanks to its relative isolation and […]

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Un Chien Andalou

“But now the stars, concealing landscapes,
reveal the perfect schema of their courses. ”
Federico García Lorca

The night sky in the autonomous community of Andalusia is among the most vivid in Europe; with the milky way stretching languidly, high above and between the brighter constellations. Thanks to its relative isolation and subsequent lack of light pollution it is common to see shooting stars arc across this mountainous region; thrilling to watch the Hunter and the Archer battle for supremacy within the all consuming darkness.

Andalusia Spain Mountains

Andalusia Spain Mountains

In his Ode to Salvador Dali, the co-creator of Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), Lorca gives us the briefest glimpse into the landscapes and fiercely independent cultures that inspired both his poetry, Dali’s painting and the passionate relationship that the two shared. At times, imbued with a surrealism worthy of the modern master; where the sliver, white, red and yellow soils daub the mountains of Almeria: and at others, a sense of the solitude and isolation found within the Tabernas Desert and Lorca’s body of work are almost palpable.

Andalusia Home of the Ancients

Spanning the southern coast of Spain from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and sharing a border with Portugal with a southern extreme that reaches across the straights of Gibraltar to North Africa, it is perhaps unsurprising that Andalusia has a rich and vibrant history that gives its major cities a certain modern mythology. Seville, Granada and Cordoba; Malaga, Jerez and Cadiz are all documented within ancient manuscripts and scrolls, spoken within the hushed walls of monasteries and mosques; in Greek, Latin, Arabic and the countless dialects that populate the region.

Ancient harbours that once saw invading Greeks, Phonecians, Romans, Carthaginians and countless other civilisations have now given way to fishing, and then tourism, with each stretch of coast providing something for travellers of any predilection. The brash, high-rise-party-life of Malaga and Marbella give way to the much quieter resorts north of Almeria; a favourite among Spanish tourists and locals. Here, seafood straight off the boat is still found at reasonable prices in many of the seafront restaurants.

Independent and Diverse

“….the whole of the southern lands is too vast and varied to be embraced as a single unit. In reality there are not two, but three Andalusias: the Sierra Morena, the Valley [of the Guadalquivir] and the [Cordillera] Penibética ”
Andalusia Spain
Antonio Domínguez Ortiz

The region is split into eight provinces, each as culturally distinct as the next, however, the essence of Andulausia is dictated as much by its geography as it is by its people. Climb some 1332 meters above sea level to the north and you will reach the peak of the legendary Sierra Morena mountain range; a mass of granite and quartzite that tells tales of banditos and the child raised by wolves. Further south lies the Guadalquivir valley with Spain’s longest river snaking its way through the marshy lowlands to the mediterranean. Futher south still and the Cordillera dominates, with the imposign peak of Mulhaven stretching 3478 metres above the Sierra Nevada.

From the frozen peaks through the burning desert to the breezy coast, the flora and fauna of Andalusia is also surprisingly diverse despite its seemingly barren exterior. For travellers with a penchant for the natural world, and with a soft enough step, Andalusia is home to the Iberian Lynx and Wildcat, the Iberian Wolf alongside countless wild foxes and dogs. Eagles soar high above the peaks and wild boar are in abundance, sharing the peaks and valleys with Ibex, otters, badgers and mongoose that skitter through the cacti, almond and olive trees, citrus plantations and wild thyme.

Fabulous Fiestas and Fantastic Food

During summer, when temperatures across the length and breadth of Andalusia often rise above 40 degrees, the pueblos and provinces explode with colour and light, music, flamenco and food washed down with delicious Andalusian wine. In fact, with more than three thousand fiestas celebrated throughout the year, travellers looking for an authentic slice of Andalusian culture can simply hop from one party to the next. Among the largest fiestas to be held during the summer are the Granada Music Festival, The Moors & Christians Festival, the Cherry Festival and the Jerez Horse Festival although perhaps the most important fiestas for locals are the Grape Harvest and the Bull Fighting Season.
Andalusia Spain
Outside of Spain, the barbarous art of bullfighting has fallen out of favour in recent times, however, a resurgence in the popularity of the beef that remains means at least nothing is left to waste. Formerly, the meat was handed out during fiesta, providing poor villagers with a rare opportunity to eat beef, however, with the advent of intensive farming it was often discarded or cremated. Now, thanks to shifting ecological perspectives and opinion leaning towards traceable meat, this beef has been making its way into gourmet restaurants as an eco-friendly alternative to farmed beef.

Bullfighting, like many “Spanish” customs, actually began in Andalusia and has remained an important and controversial part of life in the community. Much like the wild boar hunt, one reason why the species remains so abundant in the region, has continually provided excellent food for local consumption. The deep red, spicy chorizo is another staple alongside giant paella made to feed entire villages at a time whilst the Jamón de Huelva is protected as a Denominación de Origen, meaning a unique taste and supreme quality is always assured.

Whether you are looking for a beach holiday overflowing with sun-drenched night-owls or the tranquillity of the stars in rural Andalusia, it is a rewarding choice for those who can spend more than a short break. Perhaps if you are short of cash then this company, that provides short term loans, may help you strike out into the rolling hills and gorgeous valleys. Indulge in local custom and taste everything the community has to offer as you travel through its disparate provinces and enjoy the year round sunshine. Finally, don’t forget the wealth of historic sites on offer in and around the many towns and villages as you explore the home of some of the earliest Europeans.

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INFOGRAPHIC 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Barcelona Spain http://www.aswetravel.com/infographic-10-things-about-barcelona-spain/ http://www.aswetravel.com/infographic-10-things-about-barcelona-spain/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 00:42:41 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=48125 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Barcelona Spain is a fabulous destination for the tourist seeking a cosmopolitan experience. Its long history united with the many diverse cultures that shaped its growth make it a fascinating place to explore. Wandering through its ancient, winding streets, it’s easy to speculate that perhaps mythical Hercules really did found the city. Kudos to him if […]

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Barcelona Spain is a fabulous destination for the tourist seeking a cosmopolitan experience. Its long history united with the many diverse cultures that shaped its growth make it a fascinating place to explore. Wandering through its ancient, winding streets, it’s easy to speculate that perhaps mythical Hercules really did found the city. Kudos to him if he did. Barcelona sits on a particularly lovely piece of real estate overlooking the Mediterranean.

Click HERE: Barcelona – 6 Tips for a Non-Guidebook Experience as a Local

INFOGRAPHIC 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Barcelona Spain

Infographic 10 Things About Barcelona Spain

Infographic 10 Things About Barcelona Spain

In every niche, Barcelona Spain skillfully balances the traditional with the cutting edge. You’ll still find the 13 white geese in a cloister at the Barcelona Cathedral, but you can also dance the night away at the Antilla BCN Latin Club. If your salsa and merengue aren’t up to snuff, be sure to hit the Antilla on a night when they’re giving dance lessons.

Barcelona Spain boasts a fabulous Metro underground train system, but it’s a wonderful city for walking too. Perhaps the best walking experiences happen along Las Ramblas. Start at one end at the Plaça Portal de la Pau, which features a monument to Columbus, and make your way to the Plaça de Catalunya, which is widely considered to be the city’s heart. As you ramble, take in the portrait painters, the flower sellers and the fabulous cafes with mouthwatering menus. Eat and drink to your heart’s content. You’ll need the strength to give the shopping in nearby Portal de l’Àngel the attention it deserves.

As you stroll, you’ll see incredible examples of gothic architecture mixed with stunning examples of the modernism movement. Choose between masterworks by three of Barcelona’s most celebrated architects who were locked in bitter rivalry for years. Piled up one after the other, you’ll view all three in the Manzana de la Discordia before casting your vote for which façade is the most impressive. One of the architects, Antoni Gaudi, is usually thought to have won this particular fight.

The battle between innovative architects was not the first nor the last war Barcelona has witnessed. Modern tourists may experience some of the area’s dark history by visiting Refugi 307. In the late 1930s, Franco’s army began a series of air raids against the city. The terrified public rallied to protect themselves, building extensive shelters underground. Refugi 307 is one of these. It’s part of the larger Museu d’Història de Barcelona, a particularly impressive museum that seeks to encapsulate the city’s more than 2,000 year history. It’s easy to spend hours wandering among the archaeological finds and royal palaces on the site. Perhaps no other attraction in the city so beautifully captures Barcelona’s complex past.

Of course, Barcelona Spain is also a wonderful place for relaxation. While historians have said that the city existed for many centuries “with its back to the sea,” that perspective has definitely changed today. A visit to the glorious Harborfront is a highlight for many visitors. Wander the boardwalks and take a dip in the Mediterranean under a faultlessly blue sky. It’s the perfect way to cap off a day in Barcelona. Check out companies such as ApartmentBarcelona.com which offer rentals all over the city, not only near the main sights.

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Barcelona – 6 Tips for a Non-Guidebook Experience as a Local http://www.aswetravel.com/barcelona-6-tips-non-guidebook-experience/ http://www.aswetravel.com/barcelona-6-tips-non-guidebook-experience/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 01:10:53 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=48042 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Las Ramblas, the Nou Camp, the Sagrada Familia… absolute classics in Barcelona, of course, but how many times can you really do them? There comes a time when you just can’t face being hurled and jostled amongst crowds of tourists anymore and when you seek something different, something fresh, something that other camera-clad-Joes don’t know […]

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Las Ramblas, the Nou Camp, the Sagrada Familia… absolute classics in Barcelona, of course, but how many times can you really do them? There comes a time when you just can’t face being hurled and jostled amongst crowds of tourists anymore and when you seek something different, something fresh, something that other camera-clad-Joes don’t know about.

For the curious traveler, the undiscovered side of a city is an exotic lure oozing with possibilities, and Barcelona is certainly a place where these curiosities can be fulfilled. The true essence of Barcelona is far from sangria under the sun. It has a real Catalan core, an undeniable artistic flair and local cuisine that’s simply to die for. So, say so-long to Gaudí, knock the Boqueria on the head, and get to know a Barcelona far from what you may have seen before!

Click HERE: INFOGRAPHIC 10 Things About Barcelona Spain

Las Ramblas Barcelona

1.    A couple of blocks of goodness in Barcelona

First time visitors to Barcelona will more often than not head straight for Las Ramblas and when hunger strikes, to restaurants on said street or on those leading just off it. Those in the know however, wouldn’t dream of it, and instead of heading down from Plaça Catalunya will head directly up from it, into the swanky neighborhood of Eixample. Here you can find a stretch of blocks lined with fabulous cafés and restaurants where locals while away a few hours over a glass of wine, some top notch tapas or a slap up meal! Carrer d’Enriq Granados is one street in particular that’s not to be missed for some great local dishes.

2.      Live like a local in Barcelona

If you’re really looking to immerse yourself in Barcelona’s rich culture then you need to get in amongst its people. And for those who want to live like a local during your stay in Barcelona, then there’s really only one choice for your accommodation: renting an apartment. Hostels are all well and good, but getting a real feel for Barcelona doesn’t have to include sharing a bathroom with 10 other people.

Choose to stay in your own, comfortable, home-from-home and soak up the real-life atmosphere of neighborhoods like Barceloneta, Gràcia and Horta-Guinardó. You can even stay in a 19th century building or simply enjoy the perks of stepping out onto the street and buying ingredients from the local market or taking a wander through reams of Catalan boutiques and quaint bars. Check out companies such as ApartmentBarcelona.com which offer rentals all over the city, not only near the main sights.

Raval Barcelona

3.      For a night of bohemian beverages

When the stars come up, those in search of a night out full of artistic fancy, bo-ho ambience and a crowd of cool cats head to Carrer de Joaquin Costa in the riotous neighborhood of Raval. Love it or hate it, the once red light district of the city has made of lot of effort to spruce itself up lately and is now home to some fantastic bars. Quirky, colorful, unique, and perfect for those who’d rather gossip than boogie, this is the ideal place for a bit of nitty gritty Barcelona.

 4.      City cycling to the ins and outs

There are endless tours available around Barcelona these days, cycling tours being particularly popular at the moment. But how about breaking free from the others and discovering the city by yourself. There are some great companies such as Green Bikes, which offer rentals on an hourly, daily or even weekly basis for very reasonable prices. You can hire yourself a pair of wheels and enjoy a leisurely tour of the Catalan capital’s beautiful neighborhoods, pausing where and when you like and discovering Barcelona off the beaten track. Cycle straight past the others and head into the unknown world of the wonderful, real Catalan capital.

Cycle Barcelona

If you’d rather have a guide to explain the sights, but are still looking for something a little bit different, companies such as Steel Donkey Bike Tours offer some really good trips around the lesser-known attractions of Barcelona. They can tailor a tour to you, and often stop for snacks at some local hangouts, too. This one’s great for a true taste of the real Barcelona.

 5.      Chill out with a coffee in hipster-ville

Gràcia is perhaps Barcelona’s ‘coolest’ area, with an endless supply of vintage and curiosity shops, quirky cafés and snazzy eateries. Think smoothies, think carrot cake, think cute squares surrounded by unique bars and shops selling anything from yoga mats to trinkets and you have Gràcia sussed. Full of young people, this pretty neighborhood has a lively atmosphere and a truly arty, cosmopolitan vibe. Despite its proximity to the city centre however,  Gràcia is generally undiscovered by tourists and has a village-like, local feel to it, ideal for a wander and a wonder!

Gracia Barcelona

6.  Barcelona A view to impress

Tibidabo and Montjuïc mountains are popular attractions with visitors to the Catalan capital thanks to their fantastic views over the city. Few tourists, however, are savvy to the existence El Carmel bunker. This secret remnant of the Spanish Civil War sits on top of one of the highest hills of the city and offers arguably the best (and calmest) views of Barcelona. Forget hoards of tourists queuing for the best photo spot, and think locals with cheese, bread and plastic cups of red wine, watching the sun go down over their beloved home town.

So next time you hit Barcelona, why not walk in the opposite direction to every other visitor? You’ll sure be in for a whole new take on the vibrant capital of Catalonia!

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Chocolate & Churros – Top 4 Places to Satisfy your Sweet Tooth http://www.aswetravel.com/top-4-places-satisfy-sweet-tooth/ http://www.aswetravel.com/top-4-places-satisfy-sweet-tooth/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 16:03:45 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=46239 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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The winter weather certainly leaves you seeking shelter in cafés and craving something warm and toasty! Barcelona’s winter months can be chilly but there’s something you can do about it and Satisfy your Sweet Tooth Find the narrow and curving street Carrer de Petritxol in the Barrio Gótico and let the fun begin. Here you’ll find […]

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The winter weather certainly leaves you seeking shelter in cafés and craving something warm and toasty! Barcelona’s winter months can be chilly but there’s something you can do about it and Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

Find the narrow and curving street Carrer de Petritxol in the Barrio Gótico and let the fun begin. Here you’ll find many signs that read, “Xurros amb Xocolata” which at first is quite difficult to read. In Catalan “X” is pronounced like “Ch”, so you can read chocolate and churros and your day just got better.

Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

What are Chocolate & Churros?

Churros are simply fried dough sprinkled with a heavy hand of white sugar. The hot chocolate is provided for dunking these tasty sweets.

The hot chocolate is served in a mug, but it is not easily drinkable.

It’s not a liquid consistency beverage like you may be used to. Rather it’s a thick chocolate as if they simply melted bars of chocolate into a mug with a splash of milk.

The traditional location of enjoying this afternoon snack is on Carrer de Petritxol in the barrio Gothic. The first 3 recommendations are all located on this small street.

1. Dulcinea: Carrer de Petritxol 2

Dulcinea has been making hot and sugary churros with chocolate since 1941. Dulcinea is named after the Don Quixote’s lover in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel. Here the dunking chocolate could be described as a dark chocolate. It is not overly sweet and closer to a liquid consistency similar to Hershey’s syrup.

2. Granja la Pallaresa: Carrer de Petritxol, 11

Similarly Granja la Pallaresa has been serving customers since 1947. The churros are bend in the shape of raindrops and are drenched in sugar. This dipping chocolate is rather dark as well, but a bit sweeter.

3. Petrixtol-Xocoa: Calle Petritxol, 11

The final chocolate and churro choice on Carrer de Petritxol is called Petritxol. It is new and skillfully creates a modern twist on this timeless classic. Founded in 2010, it’s a cute and cozy shop that bakes cakes and pies as well as the required classics. Other than the cute décor, the chocolate makes this place irresistible.

When the mug of dipping chocolate is delivered to your table you will quickly notice a difference in color and consistency. Here the chocolate is thicker and milkier. This makes it much easier to scoop the chocolate with your churro, it makes less of a mess with dripping as well.

4. Sampaka: Consell de Cent 292

Up in the Eixample neighborhood there’s a world famous chocolatier called Cacao Sampaka who makes a whole new sort of chocolate and churros.

This classy establishment is located just off of Rambla de Catalunya and is often quite crowded. The chocolate they offer is called Aztec chocolate. This is a spicy & runny version of dark dipping chocolate. It has quite a kick, but if you’re willing to be adventurous, try this chili powder specialty.

Choose one to satisfy your sweet tooth, or try them all! Let us know which one you prefer!

(Photo credits: 1 )

 

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Top 5 Road Trips in Malaga, Spain http://www.aswetravel.com/top-5-road-trips-malaga-spain/ http://www.aswetravel.com/top-5-road-trips-malaga-spain/#comments Sat, 19 Oct 2013 16:04:12 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=45364 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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For some fun in the sun, a day trip to the beaches of Costa del Sol may be in order. Whilst in Malaga, Spain you can take a short road trip to the mountainous village of Ronda, divided by the gorge of the Tajo River it has the oldest bull fighting ring in the country. […]

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For some fun in the sun, a day trip to the beaches of Costa del Sol may be in order. Whilst in Malaga, Spain you can take a short road trip to the mountainous village of Ronda, divided by the gorge of the Tajo River it has the oldest bull fighting ring in the country.

Another excellent day trip for those who love ancient architectural handiwork, lovely gardens and magnificent views- Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace.

Exploring is such a big part of travel, why not hire a car in Malaga and go for a visit to Marbella, visit art galleries and quaint bistros, a busy, bustling city that has an amphitheater and many historic buildings. Granada is also a must see for its lovely 9th century palace.

Here’s 5 great road trips you must consider when traveling to Malaga, Spain:

The Beaches of Costa del Sol

Crowded beaches during the summertime do not stop visitors from enjoying a day in the sun. Off season, the beaches aren’t quite as crowded.

Stop at the bay to enjoy a day of fishing and some peace and quiet and enjoy fresh fish or gazpacho for lunch at one of many restaurants to complete your day trip.

Costa del Sol’s Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace

To get to Gibralfaro Castle you’ll have to climb a bit, but once there the views below are gorgeous, especially the night lights.

Take a tour of the Moorish fortress, La Alcazaba Palace, it’s noted for its ancient watch towers, lovely gardens, patios and beautiful architectural design.

Ronda’s Plazada Toros

The village of Ronda is vibrant, with many historical sites such as Plazada Toros, the oldest bull fighting ring in Spain. A day trip nearly 2 hours west of Malaga is well worth the drive, the mountain views are breathtaking.

Visit this bustling village’s museum to learn about the ancient sport of bull fighting, check out the historic landmark, the Town Square, and visit the Church of the Holy Spirit while in Ronda.

Marbella, an Artists Dream

Art galleries and shops lining the streets give Marbella its charm and lovely character. These are just some of the attractions Marbella has to offer.

Take in a show at the amphitheater, have lunch at one of many Spanish bistros, and stop to enjoy the beautiful view of the coast.

Granada, The Alhambra Palace

Tourists and residents alike enjoy a tour of the gorgeous Alhambra Palace. This lovely old palace overlooks the city of Granada.

Walk around the gardens adorned with wild flowers, enjoy relaxing on the patios, and take in the ancient early 9th century architecture of one of the oldest palaces in the country.

(Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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The Best of La Manga, Spain http://www.aswetravel.com/the-best-of-la-malanga-spain/ http://www.aswetravel.com/the-best-of-la-malanga-spain/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:28:37 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44828 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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La Manga is a major sports and leisure resort town on the coast of Murcia, eastern Spain. From golf to go-karting, stuffing yourself with tapas, or simply lounging on the beach, there’s something for everything in this coastal town. Be a Good Sport Sporty types should be sure to check out La Manga Club. Golf, […]

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La Manga is a major sports and leisure resort town on the coast of Murcia, eastern Spain.

From golf to go-karting, stuffing yourself with tapas, or simply lounging on the beach, there’s something for everything in this coastal town.

Be a Good Sport

Sporty types should be sure to check out La Manga Club.

Golf, cricket, football, rugby, and tennis are all popular activities here, and there are classes for adults and children alike.

AsWeTravelLaMangaSports

Golfers will particularly enjoy the club’s three, 18-hole golf courses.

The club also offers extensive spa services – perfect if you’ve overdone it on the field!

 Catch a Wave

Given La Manga’s coastal location and its temperate Mediterranean climate, water sports are extremely popular here, which include sailing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and jet skiing.

AsWeTravelLaMangaWakeboarding

Most resorts offer rentals, as do many companies located along La Manga strip.

La Manga Del Mar Menor, or the Little Sea, is actually a huge saltwater lake that runs along the length of La Manga strip.

Its waters are also reputed to have healing properties, and staying at a nearby resort is the best option for visitors seeking relaxation and recovery.

Go Fish

Divers can enjoy spotting tropical fish, and many dive companies also offer snorkeling and wildlife tours.

Fishing expeditions can also be chartered through your resort or through operators located on the strip.

AsWeTravelLaMangaFishingBoats

With 300 days of sun a year, Murcia is known for its beautiful beaches, and they make for great day trips out from a resort.

Get Festive

Check the calendar to see if there are any holidays or fiestas scheduled – these processions and parades are not to be missed.

Shopping in a local market is a fun way to practice your Spanish, but remember that they are usually only open in the morning.

SONY DSC

There are also several musical festivals throughout the year.

Dine Out

There are many excellent options for dining out in La Manga, and the marina area has a high concentration of restaurants – the short walk out to the marina is usually pleasant and balmy.

AsWeTravelLaMangaRestaurant

Stopping at a cocktail bar before or after dinner and enjoying the fiery sunset over the Mediterranean is highly encouraged.

From sports to spas, La Manga is a great place for kicking back.

(Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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Canary Islands – From the Ocean to the Sky http://www.aswetravel.com/canary-islands-from-the-ocean-to-the-sky/ http://www.aswetravel.com/canary-islands-from-the-ocean-to-the-sky/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 10:22:56 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44616 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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The Canary Islands, sitting just off the coast of Northern Africa, are a fantastic holiday destination. Here are three elements to thinking when planning a trip to the Canaries. Cruise to the Islands Getting there can be half the fun with a cruise departing from the UK or Mediterranean.  Almost every cruise ship has additional Spanish […]

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The Canary Islands, sitting just off the coast of Northern Africa, are a fantastic holiday destination.

Here are three elements to thinking when planning a trip to the Canaries.

Cruise to the Islands

Getting there can be half the fun with a cruise departing from the UK or Mediterranean.  Almost every cruise ship has additional Spanish and Moroccan ports of call before arriving at one of the islands.  You can also fly to the Canaries and cruise from there.

It’s possible to explore new cities and cultures during the day and to return to a spacious stateroom every evening.

From checking out Gaudi’s mind-bending architecture in Barcelona to exploring Casablanca’s Old Medina, a slow voyage out to the Canary Islands provides ample time to explore new cultures and also to relax.

Explore Beautiful Towns and Beaches

Befitting an island chain, one of the biggest attractions here is the coastline:  The black sands and black rock cliffs of La Palma are striking, and the the gulf lagoon on Lanzarote glows an unearthly green due to algae in the water.

Fuerteventura is the perfect island for low-key beach lounging with its endless white sand dunes.  Gran Carina offers plenty of options for water sports and also a vibrant nightlife scene in Las Palmas.

Visitors can enjoy a slower pace of life in Hermigua on La Gomera with its banana plantations and bucolic farming valley.

The fishing village of La Restinga on El Hierro is a great place to eat fresh seafood and to survey the sleepy harbor of an island that was once considered the edge of the known world.

Explore Stunning National Parks

The interiors of the Canary Islands contain fantastic national parks and is another great spot to experience a volcano.

Mount Teide on Tennerife is actually the third tallest volcano in the world if measured from its base on the ocean floor — from sea level, it rises to 12,198 ft, (3,718 m,) and cable cars are the most popular way to reach its summit.

Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote showcases the Montañas del Fuego, or Fire Mountains, and the ground underfoot is still quite hot: a branch put into a hole into the ground will quickly catch fire!

Equally breathtaking are the views from the mountain caldera in Caldera de Taburiente National Park on La Palma.

The faux-crater was home to the last indigenous peoples of the Canary Islands, the Gaunches, who are believed to have settled on the island in 1000 BC, or earlier. They were conquered by the Spanish in the 15th century AD, but their culture lives on in the many archaeological museums of the islands and in the Silbo whistling language, still spoken on La Gomera.

Pictures (1-2-3-4-5)

 

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5 Top Activities in the Canary Islands http://www.aswetravel.com/5-cant-miss-activities-in-the-canary-islands/ http://www.aswetravel.com/5-cant-miss-activities-in-the-canary-islands/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 14:23:42 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44431 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

There is no shortage of things to see and experience on each of the seven sun-drenched Canary Islands. With their varied stunning natural beauty one can see why ancient legend would hold The Canaries as the Lost Islands of Atlantis.” Here are five especially great attractions unique to these beautiful islands. Timanfaya National Park Visitors […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

There is no shortage of things to see and experience on each of the seven sun-drenched Canary Islands.

With their varied stunning natural beauty one can see why ancient legend would hold The Canaries as the Lost Islands of Atlantis.”

Here are five especially great attractions unique to these beautiful islands.

Timanfaya National Park

Visitors to the island of Lanzarote may feel like Lawrence of Arabia while surveying the small but fiery El Jable desert, nestled between Famara and the Montanas del Fuego. The best way to traverse dramatic Timanfaya National Park is on the back of a camel.

At the north end of the island, connecting caves and underground grottos at Jameos del Agua are ripe for exploration – bars and restaurants built into the site provide a place to kick back after the day’s excursions.

Mount Teide

At the center of the island of Tenerife is Mt. Teide, rising 12,198 ft (3,718 m) above sea level. Although some may question the wisdom in summiting an active volcano, many visitors hike or take a cable car to the park’s breathtaking viewing areas.

Climbing the mountain to its summit requires a free permit and a sturdy constitution. After experiencing the mountain’s flora and fauna, it’s time to take in some of Tennerife’s vibrant nightlife or to relax on a black sand beach.  A great way to book a trip to Tenerife is via Holiday Discount Centre.

Carnival

Each island celebrates Carnival in their own fashion, but together they put on the best show this side of Rio de Janeiro. Every year in February, around 250,000 revelers fill the streets of the capital Santa Cruz for days and nights of parades and costumed partying. From the selection of the Carnival Queen to the burning and burial of a giant papier-mâché sardine, Carnival in the Canary Islands means wild celebration.

Loro Parque

Animal lovers will be in heaven at Tenerife’s Parrot Park.

It boasts the world’s largest collection of parrots,”

with 340 different species represented and is also home to several exotic animals such as tigers and dolphins. A subterranean aquarium and an icy “penguinarium” round out the list of animal attractions.

Maspalomas

Gran Canaria has a large tourist area that includes a fantastic water park and posh resorts. It has the best weather of all the islands, and it is a popular winter getaway for sun-starved Northern Europeans.

With its sumptuous sand dunes and emphasis on comfort, the Maspalomas area is the place to go for tourists who are ready to relax.

Photos (1, 2, 3)

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How to Survive the Pamplona Bull Run In Spain http://www.aswetravel.com/how-to-survive-the-pamplona-bull-run/ http://www.aswetravel.com/how-to-survive-the-pamplona-bull-run/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44154 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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A holiday in Spain in July is always a good way of guaranteeing sunshine, but why not make it a little different this year and visit Pamplona during the Bull Run while you’re there as well. You can book it as part of a package – the running of the bulls is an iconic event and […]

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A holiday in Spain in July is always a good way of guaranteeing sunshine, but why not make it a little different this year and visit Pamplona during the Bull Run while you’re there as well.

You can book it as part of a package – the running of the bulls is an iconic event and the town fills up fast – or perhaps you could make a visit to Pamplona as part of a longer break – either way, you can start your holiday with some hassle free parking at Gatwick, so you don’t have to worry what is happening to your car while you are away.

Flights leave for Pamplona or nearby cities regularly from most UK airports, so if you live out of London you could always choose Manchester Airport, for example, as your starting point, or you could opt for Heathrow, parking there being simple and inexpensive.

If you’re planning a visit to Pamplona to watch – or even attend – the bull run, here are some things you should know…

The History of Bull Running

This fascinating ceremony possibly dates from the early 14th century when cattle were being driven to market.

Young men would prove their courage with reckless acts of bravado by jumping about among the stampeding animals. This developed over the centuries into a contest in which men would race the bulls, trying to keep ahead of them.

In fact, leaping with bulls is much older than that in other traditions. The wall paintings at Knossos in Crete show young men somersaulting over bulls in the Minoan period, centuries before the idea of bull-fighting emerged in Spain.

Where and When

The Pamplona bull run is the most famous in the world but it is repeated across Spain and Portugal in different fiesta times, not to mention France, Mexico and Nevada. But if you only ever see one bull run in your life, Pamplona is the one to aim for – as a spectacle it is unrivalled.

Although bull running takes place in other places nowadays, the Pamplona event is the most famous, taking place during the seven day Festival of San Fermin.

Every July this event is broadcast on two Spanish television channels and begins with a sung benediction – ‘We ask San Fermin, our patrol, to guide us through the Run and give us his blessing.’

Various streets in Pamplona are cordoned off with wooden or steel barriers and a rocket is fired to signal the start of the race. Runners have to be 18 years old, sober and must not goad or incite the bulls in any way.

What To Wear

The runners wear the ceremonial dress of the Festival – white shirt and trousers with red sash and neckerchief.

They also carry a rolled newspaper to ‘steer’ the bulls away from them – although how much help a newspaper is against an enraged bull is something that has never been proven..!

What To Expect

Anything between six and twelve bulls are released and the average run lasts for four minutes. Non slip surfaces have recently been introduced which makes the run that much faster and more exciting to watch.

There are man-sized gaps along the route so that a runner who may be in trouble can slip through where a bull cannot follow.

Ernest Hemingway watched the run and wrote about it in two books – The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon and the event has appeared in Hollywood and Bollywood films as recently as 2011.

The Fire Bull Event

A nightly version of the event is the ‘fire bull’  in which runners wearing bull horns with fireworks attached and excited squealing children take the place of the young men and bulls of the day.

In 2008 a quirky copy was held in Pamplona when David Coulthard and Sebastian Bourdais driving Formula One cars ‘chased’ 500 runners along the route of the run.

Have you watched the running with the bulls, or is it something you would want to do?

(photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4)

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5 Best Food Fight Festivals in Spain http://www.aswetravel.com/5-best-food-fight-festivals-spain/ http://www.aswetravel.com/5-best-food-fight-festivals-spain/#comments Thu, 27 Jun 2013 19:00:59 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=41454 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Many people have heard of the world famous La Tomatina festivals in Spain where you throw tomatoes on each other, but few know that it’s far from the only food battle festival in the country. Spain is simply the king of food wars, with celebrations throughout the year using everything from grapes to flour and […]

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Many people have heard of the world famous La Tomatina festivals in Spain where you throw tomatoes on each other, but few know that it’s far from the only food battle festival in the country.

Spain is simply the king of food wars, with celebrations throughout the year using everything from grapes to flour and even eggs in their food battles.

Here are five awesome food fighting festivals in Spain …

5 Best Food Fight Festivals in Spain

Meringue War, Vilanova i La Geltrú

La Merengada, also known as the Candy Fight, is a celebration that simply has to be every kid’s dream (as well as those with a sweet tooth like me).

While other countries and cities celebrate Fat Thursday by eating as much cake and sweets as they can before the fasting period begins, the folks in this little town head to the streets to throw their meringue pies on each other instead!

When the Meringue pies run out, the fun doesn’t end, but continues in candy throwing instead!

One piece of advice for anyone who is planning to hire a car in Spain during any of these festivals (especially sticky ones like this one): park it away from where all the action is so you won’t have to pay for a full cleaning service before handing it back!

When: February 27th 2014

Battle of the Wine, Haro

The Battle of the Wine festival simply sounds too good to be true: participants throw thousands of liters of red wine on each other using whatever containers they have on hand, from buckets to water pistols.

There is only one goal: to soak everyone you pass with wine!

Everyone dresses in white from head to toe with a traditional red handkerchief around your neck, and the rule is simple: there is no such thing as a “spectator” in this festival – anyone can (and will) be a target!

As you can expect there will soon be a purple ocean of people drenched in wine, all heading down from the hill where it begins to the main square of Haro for a procession around the square.

When: June 29th

La Tomatina, Buñol

The most famous food battle in the world, La Tomatina in Buñol, is the mother of all food fighting festivals.

The tomato throwing festival has become so popular that it has inspired other cities across the world to follow in its path, such as Reno in the US.

Every year during the festival the whole town is buried in a red mush of over-ripened tomatoes and people are literally bathing in it.

Approximately 150,000 tomatoes (over 90,000 pounds!) sourced from the four corners of the country are “released” from a fleet of trucks by official instigators and the battle is on!

When: August 28th 2013 (always on the last wednesday of August)

Flour Fight, Ibi

Yes, there is even a food fight for throwing eggs and flour!

Each year in the town of Ibi in eastern Spain a festival called Els Enfarinats is held, staging a massive battle using eggs, flour and firecrackers..!

A group of married men called Els Enfarinats takes control of the village for one day, pronouncing a number of silly and ridiculous laws, fining anyone who infringes them. The other group, La Oposicio, tries to restore order.

By the end of the day the money collected from the fines is donated to charity.

Checkout the slideshow with some amazing photos from the festival earlier this year.

When: 28th December

La Raima Grape Throwing Festival, Pobla del Duc

Dating back to the 1930’s, this annual festival signals the end of the grape harvest by having a huge grape throwing battle!

Up to 90 tons of locally grown Garnacha Tontorera grapes are dumped on the town square in front of hundreds of waiting participants for the huge grape throwing fight.

Expect to look like one happy purple raising once it’s all over!

When: end of August

Which one would you add to your bucket list?

(photo credit: 1 –  2 – 3)

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