All posts by julia

Visiting Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

santa cruz de tenerife

The coastal cosmopolitan Santa Cruz de Tenerife city is the capital and the largest city in Tenerife Island, which is one of the seven Spanish Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the north-east of Tenerife Island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife just has one of the most important ports of Spanish that has become a favourite and traditional port of call for luxury cruises and modern ships from North and South America, Asia and Europe. In fact, Santa Cruz de Tenerife really attracts more than 4,000.000 visitors a year, although the city only has a population of about 250,000.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is not only popular with the tourists because its sunny beaches, exceptional climate, good gastronomy but also its culture, nature, architecture, shops, entertainment, renowned festivals, cheap and upmarket hotels, nightlife, and so on. Anyway, people can just have a lot of fun at Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s festivals or parties and come across enjoyable things.


What to visit in Santa Cruz de Tenerife city

Strolling leisurely along the streets and squares of Santa Cruz de Tenerife city is the best way to enjoy the city. So we suggest starting in the large Plaza de España (Spain Square), one of the main meeting points of Santa Cruz de Tenerife next to the port. The Spain Square has an artificial shallow seawater lake in the middle of the square with a geyser, many ever-trees, benches, important buildings and open-air terraces.

tenerife 2After having a good look around the impressive Spain Square, it will take about 15 minutes on foot to arrive at imposing Auditorium of Tenerife Adán Martín one of the most remarkable buildings in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Auditorium was built between 1997 and 2003 and designed by the world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava Valls (who was born in 1951 in Valencia). Located on the Atlantic Ocean coast in the south of the city, the Auditorium is used for performances, opera, dance, concerts, from rock, classical, pop, jazz to flamenco among other events. Moreover, the Tenerife Auditorium has an innovative organ which is considered to be unique in the world. Therefore, tourists should not miss out on this building which can be visited on Monday to Saturday at half past twelve in the afternoon in guided visit.

The Castillo de San Juan Bautista (Saint John Castle) popularly known as the Black Castle was built in 1644. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast next to the Auditorium, the castle is worth a visit.

The Parque Marítimo César Manrique (César Manrique Martime Park) with more than 20,000 square meters has a few seawater swimming pools and a good range of first-class facilities for all family, it is among the Saint John Castle, the Palmetum and the Atlantic Ocean. It takes 22 minutes on foot from the Spain Square or 7 minutes from the Auditorium. By the way, the Palmetum is a botanical garden park with a lot of palm trees on the Atlantic Ocean coast. It is a must-see place).

It will only take 5 minutes on foot from Spain Square to the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (the Conception Church) dating from 17th century with a beautiful tower in Canary Colonial style that is one of the symbols of the city. The church is located in the historic neighborhood of the Concepción, famous for its excellent restaurants and cafés, which server delicious traditional cuisine and good local wine. Moreover, in February the neighborhood has a lot of fun during the Carnival Festival. Besides, the fascinating Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Nature and Humankind Museum) is opposite the Concepción Church, crossing the Barranco de Santos bridge. It is worth a visit.

la recovaThe Teatro de Güimerá (Güimerá Theatre) dating from 19th century in classical style is one of the most emblematic buildings in Tenerife Island. It is located in the Madeira Square near other interesting buildings. It takes 5 minutes on foot from Spain Square or from Concepción Church.

Next to Spain Square at its west is the lively Plaza la Candelaria (Candelaria Square) where the Carnival Festivals are celebrated by citizens and tourists dancing or listening to live music. If visitors go through the Candelaria Square they will get the Castillo Street one of the main shopping streets of the city.

The Parque García Sanabria (García Sanabria Park), which covers an area of more than 60,000 square metres, is just a beautiful botanical garden where people can relax and enjoy its plants, flowers, trees, fountains and modern sculptures. It is the perfect place to spend the day with the family. It takes about 15 minutes on foot from the Spain Square. Tourists should not leave the city without visiting this park, they will come across of enjoyable things.


Other interesting places near Santa Cruz de Tenerife city

Beaches and gastronomy in Tenerife: Find here where to go and what to eat in Tenerife Island.

– San Cristobal de la Laguna city (commonly known as La Laguna): A historic city that was founded in 1497 by Alonso Fernández de Lugo (1456 -1525). Situated in the north of Tenerife Island (one of the seven Spanish Canary Islands), La Laguna has a population of about 170,000 and is twelve kilometres away from Santa Cruz de Tenerife city. Moreover, La Laguna was declared a World Heritage site in 1999 by UNESCO.

The Canary islands: All our posts about the Canary Islands (Spain).

San Sebastián / Donostia: What to visit in San Sebastian city

san sebastian

Situated in the north of Spain on the Bay of Biscay coast, washed by the Cantabrian Sea, San Sebastian (or Donostia)  also known as Perla del Cantábrico (the Cantabrian Sea Pearl) is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty. Being one of the most elegant cities of Spain with about 200,000 inhabitants, Donostia – San Sebatian and the Polish city of Wroclaw will have the honor of being the Cultural Capitals of Europe in 2016.

mapa san sebastian spainBeing one of the main tourist destination of quality in Spain, Donostia (in Basque or Euskera language), or San Sebastian (in Spanish Language) is the capital of Gipuzkoa province (in The Basque Country region) and both the capital and the region really have a lot of to offer citizens and visitors in the way of the gastronomy, culture, architecture, water sports, comfortable lifestyle, entertainment, beaches, leisure activities, festivals, among other things.


The Concha, Ondarreta and Zurriola beaches

playaTaking a stroll along its coastal promenade, the starting point might be at the Peine del Viento (the Wind Comb) the famous sculpture by the architect Luis Peña and the world renowned sculptor Eduardo Chillida. At Igeldo Mountain by the sea, visitors can feast their eyes on the beautiful Bahía de la Concha (the Shell Bay) (so called because the Bahía de la Concha is shaped like a shell) where are the Ondarreta Beach and La Concha Beach, which are some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. In front of both beaches in the heart of the bay is Santa Clara island the symbol of the city with a small beach.

Following the enjoyable stroll walkers will find a large garden, the impressive Miramar Palace and its park and interesting buildings on the right, and the Ondarreta Beach and the Concha Beach on the left. After 30 minutes on foot they will arrive at the Hall City an imposing building on the right and at the end the Concha Beach on the left. By the way, both beaches have the best facilities people can go windsurfing, kayaking, canoing and others. Visitors must not leave the city without walking along this romantic and elegant area.

If visitors go on walking they will arrive at the Zurriola Beach the largest Beach of San Sebastian where people go surfing, swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, so on. It takes about 20 minutes on foot from Hall City to the Zurriola Beach, walking through the pedestrian Zumardia Boulevard, crossing the Kursaal Bridge over the Urumea River, in the Gros Neighborhood. It is a pleasant and unbelievable stroll.


Tasting the gastronomy of Donostia San Sebastián

tapas mercado de san miguelIt is said that one of the main tourist attractions in Donostia- San Sebastian is its gourmet food because Gipuzkoa is known all over the world for its excellent restaurants, a famous chefs and traditional cuisine. Local people, who are easy going and friendly, are used to enjoying good food and fine wine at home and out with friends and visitors.

Wandering through the lively Old Neighborhood (La Parte Vieja) from Zurmardia Boulevard to Urgull mountain, tourists can find traditional bars, cafés, restaurants full of people eating pintxos (tapas) and drinking txakoli (a special white wine) or sidra (cider) creating a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere while enjoying the delicious and tasty pintxos.

There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés in the Gros and the Center neighborhood which also serve great variety of excellent pintxos and traditional wine. Moreover, visitors will come across stylish restaurants, bars and cafés which offer a rich variety of local specialty.

The three neighborhoods come alive at night when people are attracted by music, dance, food and drink. Donostia – San Sebastian is probability the best city to enjoy a pleasurable lifestyle and a lively nightlife. In fact, most tourists come back again in order to have a lot of fun at its parties.


Monuments, buildings and other interesting places

Probablyyou should visit The Mota Castle on the hill of Urgull mountain dates from 12th century, with a breathtaking view of the Concha Bay. It takes about 10 minutes on foot from Hall City. It is worth a visit.

The Gothic San Vicente Church dates from 16th century, the Baroque Santa Maria Basilica from 18 th century, and the historic Constitución Square, which is the main meeting point of the city, are located in the Old Neighborhood.

Nearby the luxury Maria Cristina Hotel, the outstanding Victoria Eugenia Theater by the Urumea River, and other interesting buildings can be seen walking around the center neighborhood. Moreover, walkers will come across amazing sculptures and buildings as they stroll along the streets such as the neogothic Buen Pastor Cathedral which was built in 19th century, one of the most emblematic buildings of the city it is located in the center neighborhood where visitors can stare other magnificent buildings. Do not miss out on this spellbinding church.


Parks, gardens and fun

San Sebastian has many large parks and lovely gardens where people can do sport, play football or tennis, spend the free time. Moreover, the city has plenty of green areas, and a theme park for children and multiples activities for all family. Besides, the Palacio del Mar (the Sea Palace) is one of the most modern aquarium in Europe with more than 5,000 living species.

In conclusion, San Sebastian can offer people luxury hotels, fine restaurants; a good theater; clean and sandy beaches with clear and blue water; unique festivals, Cinema, Gastronomy, Fashion, Music, Regattas, Surfing, fascinating museums, high class shops and so on. In fact, San Sebastian is a very glamorous holiday destination.

San Sebastian is situated to 30 km. from France, 80 Km. from Pamplona; 100 km. from Bilbao, and 450 km. from Madrid.



Other cities and regions to visit near San Sebastián / Donostia

Bilbao: In Bilbao you can visit The Guggenheim Art Center, Gexto town and beaches and many more interesting places.

The Basque Country: Check here all our posts about the Basque Country.

Asturias: Asturias region is placed close to the Basque country. In there you will discover Gijón and Oviedo cities and a lot nature.

La Seo del Salvador / Salvador Cathedral (Zaragoza)

la_seo plaza del pilar zaragoza

In December 2001, Salvador Cathedral (popularly, La Seo), in Zaragoza was declared a World of Heritage site by UNESCO as one of the most representative Mudéjar architecture of Aragón. Besides, this remarkable Cathedral has more than enough artworks to be a must-see place. Therefore, La Seo del Salvador welcomes visitors from all over of the world who want to explore its interesting Cathedral.

Salvador Cathedral in Saragossa (Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza) commonly called La Seo, was built on the site of the great mosque aljama of Saraqusta (Saragossa) between 12th and 16th centuries. Being rebuilt, reformed, improved and widened during these centuries, the present Cathedral has Romanesque, Mudéjar, Gothic, Baroque architectural styles which can really be seen outside the Cathedral, although its most important treasures are inside La Seo del Salvador.


La Seo: History of its construction

la seoOn the 18th December 1118, Alfonso I of Aragón known as The Batallador (1073-1134 ) conquered Saragossa and the Mezquita Blanca ( White Mosque) of Saraqusta (Saragossa), which had been built in the 8th century by the Muslims, was converted into the first Cathedral in Saragossa. During the 12th century a new Romanesque building of three naves was constructed on part of the mosque, and the minaret of the mosque was converted into the bell tower of Salvador Cathedral. However, only two beautiful Romanesque apses remain as a symbol of that temple currently.

In 1318 the diocese of Saragossa became archdiocese and Don Pedro López de Luna who was the first archbishop of Saragossa ordered to built the new Mudéjar Cathedral on part of the old mosque and of the dark Romanesque building, In fact, some interesting remains of this building can be seen in La Seo, By the way, it is said that the minaret of the mosque is covered by the current baroque bell tower and the west facade of the Mudéjar building is behind of the present baroque facade.

Don Lope Fernandez de Luna archbishop of Saragossa, who was a significant benefactor of the Aragonese Mudéjar art, ordered to build the first dome of the Cathedral and the San Miguel Chapel also known as the Parroquieta in Mudéjar style. Situating next to La Seo and of its apses the Parroquieta was built between 1374 and 1381, and its outstanding north wall was decorated with rajolas (bricks), aljez (gypsum), colorful glassed ceramic tiles and colorful aliceres (tiny pieces of tiles) in its finer Mudéjar art . Inside the chapel is the beautiful tomb of Don Lope Fernandez de Luna, its unbelievable wooden techumbre (ceiling), its original arrimadero (ceramic tiles on its walls) and its crypt. It is worth a visit.

Don Pedro Martinez de Luna, Benedico XIII also known as el Papa Luna (Pope Benedict XIII) (1328- 1423) was other great benefactor of the Mudéjar art in the Cathedral and ordered Mahoma Rami, a renown architect and prestigious maestro, to built the second dome in La Seo because the first one had been knocked down. Unfortunately this second dome was also knocked down and the current dome was built in 16th century in Mudéjar style in a way very similar to the second one.

torre de la seoDon Alonso de Aragón, archbishop of Saragossa (1470-1520) ( son of king Fernando II of Aragón 1452-1516) was other great benefactor of the Cathedral, he added two naves to La Seo among other many things.

Don Hernando de Aragón archbishop of Saragossa (1498-1575) (son of Alonso de Aragón and grandson of King Fernando II) ,who was other significant benefactor of La Seo Cathedral, ordered to built the impressive San Bernardo chapel between 1550 and 1557 a masterpiece where are the tombs of Don Hernando and his mother. Do not leave La Seo without staring this chapel carefully.


Visiting La Seo Cathedral (Zaragoza)

Nowadays, inside La Seo visitors will be spellbound when they can see in the main nave the magnificent Gothic altarpiece, a masterpiece of alabaster that is considered to be the best of Europe. Its sculptural artwork was begun about 1434 and took about 50 years to made it. Visitors can not miss out on this chance.

Visitors should not leave La Seo without seeing the choir stalls, the organ, Saint Bruno and Virgen Blanca chapels among other things. On the other hand, La Seo has been witnessed of many important events in the life of Aragón. Besides, La Seo was the coronation Cathedral since 12th to 16th centuries, and has been the final resting place for many archbishops and special people for years.

muro de la seoTaking a stroll along Saint Bruno square bordering La Seo, walkers can enjoy the stunning Mudéjar wall and apses, besides, they can also see and discover the interesting Dean arch and other interesting buildings.

People interested in culture should visit the Tapestries museum (Museo de Tapices) which is considered to be unique in the world, the tapestries date between 14th and 17th centuries. In La Seo Square is also the Diocesano museum a interesting way to know the religious art. Both museums are worth a visit. Perhaps, people would like to visit the Foro museum in the same square, it is about history and Roman ancient time in Saragossa.

By the way, La Seo is located in the Cathedrals square or in La Seo Square (the Seo square and the Pilar square both of them are joined together, so it is also called the Cathedrals square) is the first Cathedral of Saragossa with five naves because the Pilar Cathedral of three naves is the second Cathedral of Saragossa.

To add, the tickets to visit La Seo are very cheap.



More touristic places to visit in Zaragoza

Pilar Square and Pilar Cathedral: The Pilar Cathedral (Basilica del Pilar) is the most famous icon of Zaragoza. This cathedral is placed in the centre of the city, near the Ebro river and in the same square than “La Seo” Cathedral.

La Aljafería (The Aljafería Palace): A must for all tourists that arrive in Saragossa is to visit the stunning Aljaferia Palace, which is really the most visited historic site in Saragossa. This medieval Islamic palace was built by Muslims on the banks of the river Ebro in the 11th century.

The Expo 2008 Zone In summer 2008, Saragossa received the international exposition Expo Zaragoza 2008, which was placed aside the shore of the Ebro River. Currently, the Expo Zone is open to all the visitors who want to see the area and enjoy its activities.

Parque Grande: It has more than 15 fountains, a botanic garden, balconies, many terraces, paths and statues, a swimming pool and many more activities to do.

Paseo Independencia (Independence Avenue): The main street of Zaragoza. Beginning at the end of Gran Via, the avenue runs from Plaza Paraiso all the way to Plaza España.

Read also Two-days tour in Zaragozathe most visited places in Zaragoza and the best destinations of Spain.

Catedral de Santa María y La Giralda / Santa Maria Cathedral and The Giralda (Seville)

catedral de sevilla

Santa Maria of the Sede Cathedral, Seville (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede in Sevilla)

Situated in the heart of Seville, catedral y giraldanear Guadaquivil river, the Gothic Santa María Cathedral in Seville is the largest Cathedral in Spain, and the largest Gothic Christian Cathedral in the world. In fact, the imposing Cathedral measures 116 metres in length and 76 metres in width, being together with the Zaragoza and the Toledo Cathedrals the three unique Gothic Cathedrals with five naves in Spain.

This outstanding cathedral sevilleCathedral was built between 1433 and 1519 on the site of the Great Mosque aljama demolished when the Almohad Mosque aljama (dating in 12th century) started being in ruins, but fortunately, the minaret (currently known as the Giralda), El Patio de los Naranjos (the Orange trees Courtyard), and the Puerta del Perdón (the Pardon Door) were not demolished and have remained in the place for more than eight centuries.

Being one of the buildings more visited by tourists in Spain, the Cathedral has more than enough interesting thing to spend several hours seeing its 138 Gothic stained glass windows, its unbelievable sculptures, its beautiful paintings by Murillo, Zurbarán, Valdés, Goya and others. Moreover, visitors can see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Its artworks can be stared inside and outside the Cathedral. Therefore, it is said that 99 per cent of tourists who arrive in Seville do not miss out on the Cathedral.

la giralda


The Giralda (La Giralda de Sevilla)

Next to cathedralgiralda seville is its bell tower, the world renowned Giralda with its 24 bells is one of the most remarkable towers in Seville, it measures 13,61 m in width and the same in length (square) and 94,70 metres in height without the Giraldillo (the statue on its top).

It was constructed in two stages:

– The first stage was between 1184 and 1198 of Almohad architecture and was the minaret of the Great Mosque aljama of Isbiliya until 1248 when the king Fernando III of Castilla (1199-1252) conquered Sevilla and the Great Mosque and its minaret were converted into The Cathedral of Sevilla.

– The second stage was added from the bells to the Giraldillo between 1557 and 1568.

Do not leave without going up the Giralda there is a breathtaking view of Guadalquivir river, Santa Cruz neighbourhood, Patio de los Naranjos and the city.

To add, the Cathedral and its bell tower the Giralda together with The Alcazar, and Archive of Indias were declared World of Heritage sites by UNESCO in 1987.



More places to visit in Seville

Plaza de España: Plaza de España is located in the middle of Maria Luisa Park, in the city center. The square has a fountain in the middle, rounded for a small lake and a building behind it that gives a traditional style to all the place.

Torre del Oro: This ancient tower is by the river, near to San Telmo Bridge. The first part of its structure was constructed in the 13th century when the Muslims lived in Andalusia, one century later it was improved and finished by Pedro I.

Plaza de toros de la Maestranza.

Metropol Parasol: Metropol Parasol is the official name of this construction placed in Plaza de la Encarnación, near the city centre of Sevilla. Popularly, the structure is known as “Setas de la Encarnación” because of its similarity to a big-scale mushrooms.

The Mudejar Towers of Teruel / Torres Mudéjares de Teruel

mudejar towers teruel

Situated in the south of Aragón region, Teruel (35.000 inhabitants) is an ideal city to live and enjoy its interesting museums, unique architecture, traditional festivals, delicious gastronomy, among other things. Therefore, Teruel attracts visitors from all over the world in order to see its beautiful Mudéjar Towers of Santa Maria, San Pedro, Salvador and San Martín , which were declared World of Heritage sites in 1986 by UNESCO.

One option to know Teruel’s Mudéjar towers is to take a stroll around its streets , above all, distances are very short and are counted in minutes from Torico square to the Mudéjar towers.


San Pedro Tower

The San Pedro Tower was built in 1238 and is the most old Mudéjar building of Teruel city, its construction with rajolas (bricks) and green and manganese colour (dark purple) glazed ceramic tiles is very similar to Santa María Tower in the shape and decoration of its facades. Do not forget to go up to the tower from where one can see a scenic view of the city and surroundings.

Tourists should not leave this place without seeing the stunning San Pedro church which was built in 1319 and admiring the famous mausoleum of The Lovers of Teruel, all of them are worth a visit.


Tower of the Cathedral of Santa María

tower teruel 2The Mudéjar Tower of Santa María de Mediavilla Cathedral was constructed between 1257 and 1258 with rajolas (bricks) of green and manganese colours (dark purple) glazed ceramic tiles in the decoration of its facades. Moreover, the Cathedral an interesting 13th century building is worth visiting. In fact, its wooden techumbre (roof / ceiling ) has unique Mudéjar paintings. Being the most beautiful Mudéjar wooden techumbre ( ceiling /roof ) in Spain.

These paintings were also declared a World Heritage site in 1986 by UNESCO, dating in the 13th century.


San Martín and Salvador Towers

The San Martin Tower was built between 1315 and 1316 in Mudéjar style, being very similar to tower’s Salvador in its construction and decoration with rajolas (bricks ) and green and white glazed ceramic tiles in its facades. Actually, it is one of the most beautiful tower of the Mudéjar aragones art.

tower teruel 1The Mudéjar Salvador tower, which is said that is the twins of San Martin Tower, was constructed in the 14th century with rajolas (bricks) and green and white glazed ceramic tiles in its fine decoration.

In addition, if visitors watch one tower when the rays of sun cover its facades, they can understand why the tower seems as if it is moving while the bright sunlight changes the colourway and the shadows of its decoration. It is said that the towers Mudéjares should be stared in different days to be able to enjoy its artwork.

Teruel is between Zaragoza ( 173 km.), Valencia( 140 km. ), Madrid (300 km. ) and Barcelona (409 km.). Teruel has about 36000 inhabitants. It takes about one day to visit this city on foot.


More places to visit near Teruel

Plaza del Torico: The Torico square is the most famous landmark of Teruel. The city is not only popular with the tourists because its restaurants and surroundings but also its festivals, its typical porches, the beautiful buildings, its architecture, its museums, its gastronomy and so on.

Aragón: Read here more about this region, placed in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula and in the south of France.

What to see in Santiago de Compostela / Ciudad Vieja de Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is the Capital of Galicia region and is well known all over of the world as a lively city. Santiago it is not only popular with the tourist because its cafes and surroundings but also its architecture, museums, gastronomy, and of course El Camino de Santiago (The Way of S. James). Visitors interested in culture should not miss out the Ciudad de la Cultura de Galicia.

The Old City of Santiago de Compostela is a monumental and well preserved medieval city and its ancient buildings were constructed around the tomb of Apostle Santiago. In fact, in 818 Alfonso II king of Asturias, known as the Casto ( 760-842), ordered to build a church in the same site where the hermit Pelayo had found the tomb of the Apostle in 814. Although the city was destroyed by Almanzor in 997 it was rebuilt in the 11th and 12 th centuries. Moreover in the following centuries emblematic buildings were constructed in this city which was declared a World of Heritage site in 1985.

mapa santiago spainSantiago de Compostela is situated in the north-west of Spain and has about 96.000 inhabitants. It takes about two days to visit Santiago of Compostela city. You can arrive in Santiago by car, by bus, by train, by air, and of course, on foot because the most people make a pilgrimage to the Way of Saint James.


Route: The Old City of Santiago de Compostela

Actually there are so many interesting buildings in this baroque city that the best option is to stroll along its pedestrian streets and squares admiring its architecture, such as Obradoiro Square which is the most famous site of the city, here tourists can see: the Cathedral, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, Colegio de San Xerone and Palacio de Raxio all them worth a visit. Surrounding the Cathedral visitors will find other three squares and several streets all are must-see places.

Bordering the Cathedral visitors will find other three squares: The Inmaculada Square with the Monastery of San Martiño Pinario in baroque style. The north facade of the Cathedral features baroque and neoclassical elements, it is a perfect place to take a rest. The Quintana Square with the Monastery de San Paio of Antealtares, the Cathedral’s Clock Tower which has one of the most big bell in the world that can be heard from 20 kilometres around, and the baroque Holy Door facade in the east of the Cathedral. Finally, Platerias Square is bordering the Clock Tower. In the Romanesque south facade of the Cathedral, it’s located La Casa del Dean (the Pilgrims Office), and in the middle of the square is the Fountain of the Horses.

Following the walk through its medieval streets and squares visitors will enjoy baroque, romanesque, renaissance and neoclassical buildings in Rua do Vilar, Rua Nova, Rua Tras Salome and Rua Franco which is well known by its traditional restaurants, taverns and bars where people can have a drink or try their traditional tapas. Before going to Cathedral visitors should visit Colegio de Fonseca where they can stare a breathtaking cloister. By the way, most tourists will like to experience the pilgrim mass and watch the botafumerio in action, so they should know that it is at 12 midday in the Cathedral.

It takes 3 hours to visit the old city on foot, however, if people want to attend the pilgrim pass it will take about 5 hours.

Tourists will enjoy the city more if they have free time to take a rest or have a drink and eat some tapas in the taverns and bars before entering the Cathedral.


What to visit in Santiago de Compostela

– The Cathedral of Santiago of Compostela is the largest Romanesque church in Spain it was constructed between 11th and 18th centuries, (in Romanesque, Gothic, renaissance and baroque style) its great beauty, design, splendor let us imagine its history. Therefore, a must for people who arrive in Santiago is the Cathedral and its spectacular facades: the Obradorio in the west and Holy Door in the east are baroque style , the Platerias in the south is Romanesque style, and Inmaculada in the north is neoclassical style, to add the four squares around the cathedral which have interesting buildings.The inside of the Cathedral is spectacular and although you have heard a lot of tourists talk about the outstanding Cathedral until you see it yourself it is impossible to imagine.

Do not leave the Cathedral without seeing its museum, cripta (crypt) and claustro (cloister). If you have free time do not miss out going up the rooftops of Cathedral you will like the breathtaking view of the city and surroundings. By the way, if you want to attend the pilgrim mass it is at 12 midday. Do not forget it is the destination The Way of S. James’ pilgrims.


– Mercados de Abastos (Food Market):  is the most visited market in Santiago by citizens and tourists who can buy the best fresh seafood and market’s bar will cook it while shoppers look around and wait for their lunch. In a friendly way tourist will enjoy the traditional market where people can taste the delicious fruit, fish, cheese, honey wine and so on. It is placed in the Old City.

– The Alameda Park, which is near the old city, has a lot of facilities for tourists, citizens and children, being an ideal place for all family with its drinking fountains, picnic area , benches for resting is the most visited park in Santiago for the walks and leisure, Moreover this park has the best points to taking beautiful photographs of the cathedral above all at sunset.

– Way of St James. Pilgrimage routes:  Most visitors to Santiago are here to experience the Way of S. James. Because it is the final destination of the pilgrims. It was declared a World Heritage site in 1993 by UNESCO

Read also our post with the best cities and monuments to visit in Spain.

Palacio Real / The Royal Palace (Madrid)

KODAK FUN SAVER Digital Camera

Nowadays, the Royal Palace (Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the king of Spain Juan Carlos I, who uses it for important events because usually the King lives in a small palace called The Zarzuela.


History of The Royal Palace of Madrid

palacio realThe palace was built between 1738 and 1755, and the king Felipe V (1683-1746) ordered its construction. Being one of the most emblematic buildings of Madrid, this large palace might remind some French tourist of the Luvre Palace.

To add, this outstanding palace was the home of the Kings of Spain from Charles III (1716-1788), son of Philip V, to Alfonso XIII (1886-1941) who abdicated in 1931 (grandfather of the currently King Juan Carlos).


Visiting The Palace

Visitors should stare its Royal Chapel, The Royal Armory which is one of the most important of Europe, The Throne Hall and Royal Chemist’s all of them are worth a visit. Moreover the palace has an luxury art gallery with stunning paintings.

It takes about one hour to visit this palace. However,it can take three hours if tourists go for a walk or have a drink while enjoying the visit and resting in its quiet gardens.



More places to visit near Palacio Real (Madrid)

– Catedral de La Almudena (Almudena’s Cathedral): This is the main cathedral of Madrid. It is placed in front of Palacio Real.

– Jardines de oriente (Oriente Gardens): A square with a beautiful gardens and two rows of statues on this sides. They are placed beside Palacio Real.

– Jardines de Sabatini (Sabatini Gardens): These gardens are placed by Real Palace, and also close to El Senado building.

– Mercado de San Miguel (San Miguel Market): Inside of this famous market you will find an incredibly variety of food: juices, “tapas”, “croquetas”, hamburgers, fruit, fish… all of this of the highest quality.

Plaza Mayor (Main Square): The Main Square was built around 400 years ago. It is surrounded by charming three-storey buildings, painted mostly in red, with beautiful windows.

Puerta del Sol (Sun Square): Puerta del Sol (which means “Sun Gate”) is the name of the most famous square in Madrid.

Gran via Avenue: Gran Via is one of the most famous streets of Spanish capital. It is situated in the center of Madrid and was built 100 years ago. The idea of the street was to join and improve the communication between the districts of the capital city.

Plaza de España: There you can find the first skyscrapers built in Spain, and a beautiful fountain in the middle of the square with a statue of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.

Read also our post about What to see in Madrid in one week.

La Alhambra / The Alhambra complex of buildings and palaces (Granada)

la alhambra

It is said that “There is nothing sadder in the world than being blind in Granada,” because one blind cannot see the wonderful sunset staring at the Alhambra from the Albaicín, and enjoy its extraordinary architecture, therefore, a must for tourists who visit Spain is to spend several days in Granada and visit The Alhambra which is one of the most visited monuments in Spain.

The Alhambra palaciois situated on the top of the Sabika hill in a strategic site, where there was a Roman city before the Arabs began constructing new buildings in the 9th century, and added more buildings in the followings centuries. However, the most beautiful buildings were constructed between the 13th and the 15th centuries by the Muslims. This historical and Muslim monument was a fortified town with many towers, a some incredible palaces, and of course, a lot of beautiful gardens. Moreover, the king Charles I of Spain and V of Germany (1500-1558) ordered to build other palace inside of the Alhambra in the 16th century. The Alhambra was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984.

One of the most amazing palace in the Alhambra is the Lions Palace built between 1362 and 1391 ( nasrid art), where visitors will be impressed by the great richness and variety of its decoration, such as, the Hall of the Two Sisters whose spellbinding vault is worth a visit, the Courtyard of the Lions with its famous fountain rounded by 12 lions, it is a noteworthy symbol of the Alhambra, the Hall of the Abencerrajes other stunning vault of nasrid art, the Hall of the Kings an interesting place to admire the finest nasrid architecture, among others.

The Palace de Comares, fuenteother palace in the Alhambra, which has the most beautiful Myrtles o Comares courtyard with its clear water mirror, the Room of the Ship, the Hall the Comares, and the Golden Room, whose woodwork ceiling is a splendid artwork, all theses places are must-see.

People interested in renaissance architecture and nasrid art should not leave without visiting the Palace of Charles V in the Alhambra and the National Museum of Spanish-Moorish Art which is on the ground floor of this palace.

If you like new challenges, there are some poems written in impressive calligraphy on the walls of Generalife, Ambrassadors, Comares Gate, in the Hall of the Two Sister, and some more.

panoramica alhambra

Do not leave without going to the Alcazaba a medieval fortress in la Alhambra. Granada has about 240,000 inhabitants. It takes more than three hours to visit the Alhambra. You can arrive at the Alhambra by car, by bus or on foot.

The queues are very long, so tourists should book the ticket in advance to avoid the wait.


Other interesting places to visit in Granada

– Generalife was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984, this medieval palace was built in 1319 by the muslims, and has many breathtaking gardens and a lot of stunning fountains, therefore, it is worth a visit, above all in spring when the flowers are in bloom.

– Albaicín, you must not miss the medieval Muslim Albaicín neighbourhood which is placed on other hill in front of the Alhambra, you will be absolutely spellbound when you see the spectacular sight of the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada at the sunset from the Albaicín, Besides, if you like flamenco show you will find traditional dance, tapas and drink in the Albaicín neighbourhood. UNESCO declared Albaicín a World Heritage site in 1994.

– Sacromonte neighbourhood is placed on other hill. However, citizens and tourists can be seen together enjoying the neighbourhood life. Obviously, this is the most popular place for tourists in Granada. When you visit Sacromonte neighbourhood don’t miss out its fork dance and you do not hesitate to join them for a dance. Moreover, you will like a drink and taste the delightful tapas while watching the famous zambras gitanas and pure flamenco (folk dance and folk song) it is an experience unique at the Sacromonte neighbourhood.


– If you like skiing, Sierra Nevada is one of the most popular ski resort in Spain with its powerful new Snow Park for freestyle skiers. By the way, it is only 27 km from Granada city.

– Other place worth a visit is the Royal Chapel of Granada (next to the Cathedral ) where are the mausoleums of Isabel of Castilla ( 1451-1504) and Fernando of Aragon (1452-1516) ( the Catholic Monarchs) who ordered its construction, and where their graves remain. In addition, Granada was conquered on 2nd January 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs and the muslims were definitely expelled from Spain.