All posts by Jose Maria

Monasterio de Piedra (Stone Monastery), Nuévalos (Zaragoza)

Nowadays, Monasterio de Piedra (Stone Monastery) is one of the best tourist destination in Nuevalos, (Zaragoza Province, Aragón, Spain) for people who like enjoying of the flavour of the traditional cuisine, good wine, natural environments and impressive landscapes. In fact, the medieval Monasterio de Piedra is now an outstanding complex with an excellent hotel and a beautiful natural park well known for its fascinating waterfalls.

Monasterio de Piedra is located on the left bank of the River Piedra, only 27 km from Calatayud, 111 km from Zaragoza-Saragossa and 200 km from Madrid.

Monasterio de Piedra: Buildings

The first buildings of the monastic settlement were built of wood and mud bricks (adobes) by Cistercian monks who had arrived from Poblet Monastery in 1194.

The construction of the Medieval Monastery de Nuestra Señora de Piedra was begun in the year 1203 in a quiet place near Piedra River in Gothic architectual style and in 1218 was the consecration of the abbey church. The buildings were built as many cistercian monateries, a standard layout or a typical design of the cistercian order was repeated with its abbey church beside the cloister and the rooms spread around the cloister. Besides a vegetable garden and a high wall surrounding the monastery. In addition a Renaissance Palace and others Barroque building were built between 15th and 16th centuries.

In 1809 the cistercian monks were expelled from the Monastery and 5 years later the monks returned to the Monastery. In 1820 they were expelled from the Monastery again and they returned to the Monastery in 1823. The monks remained in the Monastery until 1835.

Monasterio de Piedra: Natural Park

In the middle of the 19th century the medieval monastery and the vegetable garden were bought by Pablo Muntadas. The buildings of the monastery were adapted as a first class hotel to provide all services. The vegetable garden was transformed into a space with an exceptional landscape where people can also walk and enjoy the impressive waterfalls, lakes, caves and nature. In addition, if tourists like outdoor activities in natural surroundings such as hiking they will never forget this park.

Monasterio de Piedra: Hotel

The 12th century tower of the tribute gives visitors a cozy welcome before going into the walled Monastery of Piedra Hotel. The buildings of the medieval monastery were transformed into a comfortable hotel, the church of the Monastery which is in ruins is used for events, there are others magnificent buildings which are well preserved. So visitors can see and enjoy the cloister from 13rd century, the chapterhouse, the refectory, the kitchen, the cilla, the dormitories, the library, and so on

If tourists like nature, flora and fauna do not miss the opportunity to visit the Monasterio de Piedra.

More places to visit in Zaragoza Province

Zaragoza city: With almost 700,000 inhabitants, Zaragoza (Saragossa) is one of the biggest cities of Spain. Its strategical location between Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao, and its proximity to The Pyrenees and France, make Zaragoza one of the most important logistic points of Spain.

– Calatayud city.

Tarazona cityTourists visiting Aragón region should not miss the chance to visit Tarazona. In fact, the town really has an impressive ensemble of Mudéjar buildings, as well as an interesting old quarter (casco antiguo) with an exceptional historic and artistic heritage where Jews, Muslims and Christians coexisted for a long time in the medieval times leaving an unmistakable cultural imprint on Tarazona.

Playa de Aro (Platja d’Aro), Costa Brava, Catalonia

Playa de Aro (or Platja d’Aro) is a town with a population of about 20.000 inhabitants in winter and over 100.000 in summer, which is located in the province of Girona (Gerona) in the Catalonia region in the Costa Brava, Mediterranean Sea. It is a tourist destination with beautiful beaches and quiet coves of fine golden sand, clear blue water, breathtaking landscapes and natural surroundings to take a peaceful stroll for lovers of the outdoor activities, golf, watersports, leisure and children activities to 100 km away from Barcelona City.

What to visit in Playa de Aro

Castell d’Aro (Benedormiens Castle) is an interesting castle which dates from 1041 and currently is an art galery and exhibition, one place especially worth visiting for those who are interested in art and Santa María Church’s are in the history center town. Cavall Bernat is a way through the mountains which lets us to find beautiful coves, it is recommended to those who are in search of a different holiday and the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful sceneries. The Poeta Sitja Park is situated in the old town. Aquadiver, a watersport park. The spertacular promenade is the main meeting point of the town, it is in a parallel diretion to Large Beach, in which people can find a great number of bars, cafés, restaurants, hotels and shops and so on, people should spend at least one hour of their free time to stroll by this nice promenade in the evenings to enjoy its outstanding views.

Obviously Playa de Aro is also known for other things apart from its delicious cuisine, excellent wines and traditional gastronomic events, so many tourists will definitely be going back in the next years.

More touristic places to visit in Catalonia / Cataluña

Sitges: Sitges is situated on the Mediterranean Sea coast in the province of Barcelona (Catalonia) in the east of Spain just to 40 km away from Barcelona city.

– Castelldefels: Castelldefels is located on the Mediterranean Sea coast of Catalonia,  just to 18 km away from Barcelona city.

– La Pineda: With only 3,000 inhabitants, La Pineda (Vila-Seca) is a small town located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, at Tarragona Province.

– Salou: Salou is a reference for the holydays of Spring and Summer in Spain.

Visiting Sitges, Barcelona (Gold Coast)

The town of Sitges is situated on the Mediterranean Sea coast in the province of Barcelona (Catalonia) in the east of Spain just to 40 km away from Barcelona city. With a population of about 30.000 inhabitants, its exceptional warm climate during all the year round due to its favorable geographical location and its 4 km of beautiful sandy beaches make Sitges an ideal holiday destination in Spain. Moreover, Sitges also has a lot to offer in the way of culture, gastronomy, sport, water sport activities, festivals, cultural events for people who like enjoying its excellent cuisine, lively atmosphere, activities for children, leisure and outdoor activities. In fact, Sitges attracts a lot of visitors every year from all over the world and never loses its own unique charm.

Sitges is also known for its Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, the Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rallys and its Carnival Celebration amongst others as well as its museums and its old neighborhood are also worth visiting. The “Arroz a la Sitgetana” (Sitges style rice) and Malvasía (wine) are the best products known in Sitges.

Nowadays, hotels, restaurants, cafes, terraces, clubs, pubs, bars, shops have managed to keep their traditional styles and makes Sitges goes on being a tourist destination of the highest quality in Spain where in a modern town as Sitges, which has a vivid nightlife, local people and visitors are usually open-minded. One thing is certain, nobody will never get bored in this town.

Other touristic places to visit in Cataluña

Barcelona city:  La Barceloneta, Ramblas Avenue, La Sagrada Familia

– Castelldefels: Castelldefels is located on the Mediterranean Sea coast of Catalonia,  just to 18 km away from Barcelona city.

La Pineda: With only 3,000 inhabitants, La Pineda (Vila-Seca) is a small town located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, at Tarragona Province.

Salou: Salou is a reference for the holydays of Spring and Summer in Spain.

What to visit in Castelldefels, Barcelona (Gold Coast)

Castelldefels is located on the Mediterranean Sea coast in the province of Barcelona (Cataluña / Catalonia Region) in the east of Spain just to 18 km away from Barcelona city. With a population of about 65 000 inhabitants, Castelldefels is really a famous tourist destination in Spain for people who like enjoying its excellent cuisine, fast service and a quiet atmosphere make it a popular place for business lunches, as well as leisure activities and its 5 km of beaches of fine and golden sand is an attraction for lovers the outdoor activities, surf, windsurf… In fact, it is a favorite destination for families with children and business relations.

On a hill is the Castelldefels Castle which was built before the 16th century on Roman and Iberian remains. Nowadays the castle is equipped for events and meetings with a capacity of more than 350 people. Hotels, restaurants, cafes, terraces, clubs, pubs, bars, shops and its healthy lifestyle and its warm climate make Castelldefels goes on being a tourist destination of the highest quality.

More places to visit in Barcelona and Catalonia (Cataluña)

La Pineda: With only 3,000 inhabitants, La Pineda (Vila-Seca) is a small town located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, at Tarragona Province.

Salou: Salou is a reference for the holydays of Spring and Summer in Spain.

Ramblas Avenue (Barcelona city): La Rambla goes from Catalonia Square to the seaport, and it has a lot of cafes, terraces, pubs and discotheques. In the end of the street, there is the Cristobal Colon monument.

– Columbus Monument: One of the most famous statues of Barcelona city. It was built in 1888 for a Universal Exposition and it represents a statue of Christopher Columbus above a pillar, pointing with his right hand to the sea.

La Sagrada Familia: It is a must for tourists that arrive in Barcelona see its outstanding architecture, design and sculptures.

– La Barceloneta: In summer, you can sunbathe or swim in the beach of La Barceloneta, which is 5 minutes walking from Columbus Monument.

Visiting Palma de Majorca, Balearic Islands (Palma de Mallorca, Islas Baleares)

The coastal city of Palma  (Palma de Mallorca) is situated on the Majorca Island (Islas Baleares) in the Mediterranean Sea and with a population of about 400,000 inhabitants is the capital of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands and also the capital of the Majorca Island. Its beautiful bay and its outstanding old neighborhood among others interesting things along with its Mediterranean climate makes Palma a perfect tourist destination all year round.

Palma city was founded by the Roman about the year 123 BC, after Roman Empire were the Byzantines, afterwards in the early 10th century arrived the Mulims, who called it Medina Mayurqa, James I king of Aragón, also known as James El Conquistador (The Conqueror), conquered Majorca island and entered in Medina Mayurca (Palma) in 1229, founding the kingdom of Majorca which was annexed to the Crown of Aragón in 1230.

Palma, which is renowned for its beautiful bay and its magnificent beaches, is situated in the southwest of the island, on the Mediterranean Sea coast. The tourism business is the main source revenue for the island. Palma has a great atmosphere with shops, bars, cafés full of stylish people and a reputation as a vibrant and lively city, almost as famous for its lively nightlife as for its history.

In the mid 20th century Palma became a perfect tourist destination for people who came to enjoy its lovely beaches and its mild climate, currently Palma is also noteworthy for the quality of its architecture.

Nowadays, Palma not only has one of the most beautiful bays and magnificent beaches but also, gastronomy, sport, festivals, events, nightlife, architecture, nature, culture, parks among other many more things. In fact, Palma is a holiday destination where tourists from all over the world choose to visit the island order to spend their holiday doing outdoor activities, enjoying its beaches, tasting its traditional cuisine (olives and almonds are typical of the Majorcan diet), many area are plenty of restaurants, cafés, terraces, glamorous shops and luxury hotels.

What to visit in Palma (Palma de Mallorca)

One of the most beautiful places to visit is the Cathedral de Palma (Sa Seu), which was built on the site of the old Mayurqa Mosque, it is an imposing building from the 14th century in Gothic style. Among the more interesting buildings are the Almudaina Palace, which was a Muslim palace and its Chapel of Santa Ana in Gothic style nearby the Cathedral, La Lonja (Sa Llotja) one of the civil buildings most beautiful on the island in Gothic style, Arab Public Baths since the 10th century, Santa Eulalia Church since the 13th century, San Francisco Convent dating from the 13th century and the Pueblo Español in the mid 20th century. All they are must-see places.

If you enjoy the castles make sure you include a trip to Bellver Castle which was built by James II in the 14th century, it is 3 km away from center city of Palma, but if tourists are interested in visiting museums these are probably worth mentioning Modern Art (Es Baluard) with works by Cezanne, Gauguin, Picasso, Miró, Magritte and Santiago Rusiñol among other artists, Majorca Museum (prehistoric, Roman, Muslim and medieval) and Pilar i Joan Miró Foundation all are worth visiting.

Sports and Beaches

Although there are a lot of facilities for football, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, the natural surrounding with their beaches and sailing are really of main attractions. In fact, Palma hosted the King’s Cup of Sailing which has become a date of reference on the international calendar.

Palma also has some famous beaches all of them of the highest quality, with fine golden sand, clear waters and excellent facilities. Besides, the beauty of the landscape around the beaches has the additional advantage of being within walking distance of the city center as Platja Palma, Cala Major, Can Pere Antoni, Ciutat Jordi and Can Pastilla. In addition, there are a lot of sport and cultural events on the beaches an ideal tourist destination of the highest quality.

To sum up, the official languages are Catalan and Spanish, however English is also spoken. We suggest enjoying the beaches, the food, the nightlife and do water sport. Visitors can arrive in Palma, by sea and by air. The airport of Palma is one of the busiest in Spain and is used by millions of passengers every year.

More islands and interesting places to visit in the Mediterranean Sea

Balearic Islands (Islas Baleares): Check all our posts about the Balearic Islands: Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera.

Barcelona and Valencia: Two of the main cities witch have beaches in the Mediterranean Sea.

Canary Islands (Islas Canarias): A touristic group of Spanish islands located in the west coast of Africa, at the south of the Iberian Peninsula. They are composed by these seven islands: Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Lanzarote, El Hierro and La Gomera.