SEVILLE – ‘A doorway to the past’

Ten things you must do while in this historic city

Seville, the capital of Spain’s Andalusia region and renowned the world over for flamenco dancing. With much of the city built during the Moorish ties there is much to see including the 18th-century bullring and the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb. Here we’ve put together 10 places that you must visit while in Seville to really make the most of your stay.


  1. Alcázar

Constructed mainly during the 1300’s – the so-called ‘dark ages’ in Europe – this place is amazing, especially on the inside. It was made a World Heritage Site in 1987 and with fascinating and detailed architecture it’s easy to see why. This is one of the highlights of the city and definitely one not to be missed!

  1. Sevilla de Ópera

Seville is well known in the world of opera, especially as a setting, and these days they try to bring the opera to more people by putting on shows (‘Opera tablao’) in the Arenal market. The Sevilla de Ópera Club, a group of fans, singers and music lovers, puts on the performances and being in Seville makes it seem so much more enjoyable.


  1. Casa de la Memoria

Located in the old stables of the Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija. The cultural centre gives visitors and locals shows that are said to be the most intimate and authentic flamenco shows in the city.

It’s very popular and there are not many seats (just 10) so be sure to book in advance.


  1. Baños Árabes Tetería

Seville’s not especially known for infused teahouses that look exotic, but when it comes to Baňos Árabes in Santa Cruz than an exception can be made as this place is just peace and serenity amongst the beautiful artwork.

  1. Metropol Parasol

This controversial structure has divided opinion in the city and was opened in March 2011 in the Plaza de la Encarnación. It is said to be the largest wooden building and has an undulating honeycombed roof which is supported by five giant pillars that look like mushrooms, hence its local name, Las Setas de la Encarnación (the mushrooms of Plaza de la Encarnación).


  1. Catedral & Giralda

Standing on the original site of the immense 12th-century Almohad mosque and with the mosque’s minaret still standing next to it this huge cathedral is one of the largest Christian churches on the planet and it’s only when you get up close that you see and appreciate its size. Definitely one for the bucket list!


  1. Redhouse Art & Food

Hippy, Bohemian, Contemporary, Retro – many words describe the wonderfully different Redhouse. Odd chairs and modern wall art attract all ages from families to the retired, all sampling some of the wonderful fare on offer. Often they’ll be enjoying on of the many events held such as poetry readings and fashion shows. An experience in Seville that’s unique!


  1. La Brunilda

Andalusia is Spain’s capital for tapas and Seville is the heart of tapas in the province and so you can expect the very best, and latest ideas, in this tucked away little street in the Arenal Quarter. The place is pretty, the staff good-looking, and the drinks refreshing, you cannot leave Seville without sampling the best of tapas from where it belongs!


  1. Parque de María Luisa

escape from the hustle and bustle of the city amongst beautiful flora and fountains and canals. This peaceful setting is also home to wildlife too with duck ponds and birdlife amongst locals taking a siesta. The Parque de María Luisa is the ideal place to relax or stroll in tranquillity in the heart of the city.

  1. Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes

Formerly a hospice for elderly priests the Hospital is now home to arguably Seville’s best and most popular art collections. The 17th-century baroque-style building was refurbished and opened in 2007 by the Focus-Abengoa Foundation wto help revive Seville’s  artistic  culture.


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Take in history and culture in one of Europe’s most famous cities: MADRID

Madrid, Spain’s capital, a city full of impressive boulevards and large aml-kept parks, one good example is the Buen Retiro. Amongst other things the city is famous for its romantic and cosmopolitan ambiance as well as a  wealth of European art, including works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters to be founfd in the Prado Museum. At it’s heart is Hapsburg Madrid, the beautiful portico-lined Plaza Mayor.

The area, known as the Paseo del Arte boasts art and beauty like you will never have seen and all within walking distance of each other! It’s here that you find the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum, and plenty of other places to visit too. Marking the start of the Paseo is one of Madrid’s icons.


The Cibeles Fountain

This impressive creation is located in the middle of the Plaza de Cibeles and, guarded by the wonderful edifices such as the Buenavista Palace (the Army’s  Headquarters), the Linares Palace (Casa de América), the Palace of Communications (which used to be the Post Office headquarters and is these days home to the Mayor of Madrid’s) and the Bank of Spain.

The fountain has been in its current location since 1895, has given its name to one of Madrid’s most famous squares as well as being a very well recognised symbol of the city. The Fountain depicts the Roman goddess Cibele who represents the Earth, agriculture, and fertility.


The Rastro

Having got its name allegedly after the trail left by the carcasses of animals being between the abattoir and the tanneries that were in the area at the time. These days it is the base for over 1,000 vendors every Sundays and on public holidays too from around  9.00am.

Depending on which part of the rastro you are in you will discover all sorts of treasures including crafts, clothes, toys and pretty much anything really – it’s that big!

The area also boasts lots of antique and vintage furniture shops and of course plenty of places for a refreshing drink.


Plaza Mayor

This beautiful portico lined plaza can be found in the heart of the old city of  Hapsburg Madrid, a charming area full of narrow streets, alleyways and passages dating back to medieval times.

The beginnings of what is now the grand Plaza Mayor were

started when the king moved his court to Madrid, where the town held its market, at the end of the 15th century. It was a few years later that it gained its beauty when an architect was brought in to improve the facade – he did a great job as you’ll see! For many years the Plaza was home to many events including, bullfights, coronations and markets.


Puerta del Sol

Always alive a bustling with visitors and locals the Puerta del Sol is probably Madrid’s best known square and it is here you will find buskers, clowns and people just sitting (or standing) around and enjoying the sunshine while listening to the music.

Here you will see the famous clock at Casa de Correos, Madrid’s regional government headquarters.

Every year, on New Year´s Eve, thousands of revellers will get together beneath the clock and eat twelve grapes as the clock strikes midnight. However, it’s a fun place whatever time of the year you go!


Madrid’s Royal Palace

This impressive building, the largest palace in western Europe, was home to Spanish royalty such as, Charles III and Alfonso XIII, and is the official residence of the current royal family.

Although originally chosen as a site for a Moorish fortress the palace finally became hoome to Spanish royalty when the Kings of Castille before becoming a forteress. Carlos 1st made the place a premanent home but in 1734 it caught fire and was destroyed- The palace you see today was built soon after that and is a wonderful exaplme of the architecture of the time.

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MAKING THE MOST OF MALAGA! A great destination for all the family!

Malaga, on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, is famous for its beaches, hotels and resorts but standing guard over all that are the city’s ancient and imposing castles, the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro which is in ruins, both stand as reminders of Malaga’s long and fascinating history.

Malaga enjoys some of the warmest winters in Europe, with average temperatures of 17.2C in winter. It’s location on the Mediterranean and being shielded by the Montes de Malaga, which defend against cooler weather from the north, all help to provide Malaga a wonderful year round climate.

with almost three thousand years of history Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world and was founded in the seventh century by the Phoenicians, who named the place Malaca which comes from the word Malac – to salt.

These days Malaga is a modern and thriving tourist friendly city, take a few days and check it out for yourself. Here’s a few ideas for you.


Catedral de Malaga

Built on the site of a former mosque in the 16th century the impressive cathedral boasts a 40 metre domed ceiling and outside are the best panoramic views of the city.

Inside, the huge colonnaded nave and a very big cedar-wood choir are well worth looking around as  are the aisles which lead to 15 chapels where you’ll find wonderful 18th-century religious art. If you’re feeling energetic why not take on the 200 steps that will take you to the top of the tower for those amazing panoramic views -all the way to the coast. Prices start from 5€ and it is open every day (for visits) except Sunday.


El Balneario de los Baños del Carmen

Built in 1918 to pander to Malaga’s rich and elite this place is experiencing something of a renaissance and has become, once again, a popular place for events and meeting socially. Sitting outside on a warm evening and sampling some of the local cuisine has to be one of those special treats that you give yourself while in Malaga. Inside, the dining room, the former ballroom, still bears reminders and an ambiance of those glorious early days. For entertainment there is always live music on Saturdays and on Sundays an Organic Produce & Craft Market. Something different but unique in this wonderful city. Open every day El Balneario is not expensive either with a main course costing between eight and fifteen euros.


Centre Pompidou Malaga

Again something  little different when visiting Malaga is the Centre Pompidou which opened its doors for the first time in 2015. An extension of the famous Paris Pompidou Centre is located in a contemporary and colourful building and is host to works by modern masters such as Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon and Antoni Tàpies. Not a bad place for the kids either as there are some interactive items including audiovisual displays and talking ‘heads’. Open every day (except Tuesdays) prices start at 7€.



Malaga’s Alcazaba provides a taste of Moorish life with wonderful arches shaped as horseshoes, fountains and cool courtyards. Right next to the entrance is the Roman amphitheatre and there you can amble through lush flora while admiring the history around you. The fragrances are amazing, jasmine, blossom and more and make an idyllic and peaceful setting. One place not to miss is the small, archaeological museum which is housed in the former servants quarters in the Nazari Palace, here you find some fine examples of Moorish pottery. Open from Tuesday to Sunday the Alcabaza is a great family destination and entry prices start at just 2.20€


Malaga for the kids

Interactive Science!

Of course the castle is a wonderful playground for the youngsters with plenty for them to get involved with but how about a bit of interactive science to keep them occupied, and learning, as you explore the Centro de Ciencia Principia. This interactive science museum is an interesting, enjoyable and fun way for kids to discover science. With two separate rooms housing interactive exhibits that explain, in simpler terms, science and technology. There’s also a planetarium and an observatory. It is open from Monday to Friday 9.30am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. Entry prices is just 3€.

Great Beaches

Beaches in Malaga are extremely family friendly, and with lots of clean beaches that are flat and with small waves, they are an ideal place to spend the day with the kids. There’s also lots to do too with kids’ playgrounds, beach chair and pedal boat rentals showers to clean the little ones after and of course restaurants and snack bars. Playa de la Malagueta is the nearest beach to the city.


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5 places you must visit in Barcelona that never sleeps!

One of the most enigmatic and historic cities in Europe, Barcelona has evolved into one of the top tourist destinations on the continent too. Oozing with culture this city pleases young and old, not only with its rich culture; the names leap off of the tongue, Dali, Gaudi, Miro, Picasso…I could go on, but also for its vibrant almost bohemian ambiance that’s as abundant in the daytime as it is when the lights come on in the evening and illuminate the wonderful ‘Rambla’.

Barcelona has established its reputation of being the most cosmopolitan, modern and perhaps unconventional city in Spain, a reputation it likes, which is reflected in the many art galleries and museums lining its historical street´s plus the feast of historical buildings and beautiful architecture that the city is famous for the world over. How much you will get to see depends, of course, on how long you intend staying in Barcelona but here we’ve put a few ideas together of those things you just have to do while staying in this wonderful city.


  1. The Basílica de la Sagrada Família

The Basílica de la Sagrada Família is a huge Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Spain’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudí whose work on the building has become part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction started on this magnificent piece of architecture over 130 years ago in 1882 by architect Francisco Paula de Villar. Gaudí started to get involved in 1883 and transformed it by combining Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Tickets to look around inside (which takes about an hour) start at 15€ and there are discounts for students and seniors, kids under 10 can go in free.


  1. The Gothic Quarter

The beautiful area known as the Gothic Quarter used to be the Roman village and still retains much of that history. Combine that with modern buildings right next door and you have a curious mix of old and new that attracts visitors from all over the world to experience. Try not to get lost though as the narrow, winding streets are quite a maze and the best tip here is to always look up, you’ll be surprised what’s there! The impressive cathedral at its heart and its stunning courtyard are well worth the visit alone!


  1. Casa Batllo

Gaudi began this project in 1904 and created his masterpiece that still has people guessing. It’s rumoured that its turret and roofline represent the sword of St George (patron saint of Catalonia) plunging into the dragon. You will not fail to be amazed by this building from its multi-coloured mosaic frontage to the roof terrace where you’ll find mythical Chimneys and the amazing Stairwell. You’ll also see the beautiful and stunning Entrance Hall and the Main Staircase. Tickets are from 23.00€ and are well worth it. Again there are discounts for students and seniors and kids under 7 can go in free.



  1. The Palau de la Musica Orfeo

Built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català choral society with financial contributions coming from the rich and famous of Barcelona, this beautiful building was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and these days attracts over half a million people a year who go to attend musical recitals and shows at the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (traditional Catalan songs). Once inside you’ll see that in curves dominate and there are few straight lines, with dynamic shapes being preferred to static forms. The decoration uses floral and organic emblems to give the feeling of peace. With discounts for students and seniors, kids under 1 free and adult prices from just 18€ the Palau de la Musica Orfeo is a must see!


  1. The Passeig de Gràcia

The Passeig de Gràcia used to be a small rural lane lined by houses which led from Barcelona to Gràcia, which was then a separate town. The avenue that you see today was a playground for aristocrats to display their horse riding skills and show off their smart horse-drawn carriages. These days it retains that charm and elegance with beautifully designed buildings and some of the best shops in Barcelona to wander in and out of. Once again the advice is, keep looking up!

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Alicante City – For a real taste of the Mediterranean

ALICANTE: Bohemian, friendly, historical and modern – welcome to the Med’!

Over 3 million visitors go to Alicante’s beaches, shopping streets and of course its historical old quarter every year and it’s easy to see why.

Located on the coast of south east Spain, Alicante has risen to become the capital of the Province of the same name and nowadays invites the visitor to ‘come and get it’ with a fun and adventurous way of going about things and with a castle, street life and old quarter all brimming with attitude.

Home to the Volvo ocean race the impressive port is what first brought trade to the city and still does with over seventy cruise ships calling in, bringing with them over 110,000 people  to sample the typical friendly Mediterranean culture that this fabulous place offers. Here we bring you five places that you can visit for free while in this historic city.

Case Carbonell

This beautiful building can be found on the impressive Esplanad de España and is one of the most unique buildings in the city. It was Designed by architect Juan Vidal Ramos between 1922 and 1925, its construction is linked to one of the most famous urban legends in the region. The legend goes that  Industrial Enrique Carbonell, arrived one day at the old Hotel Palace (which was next door) badly dressed and dirty after a trip they would not let him stay, so, angry and full of revenge he promised to construct a building next to it that was more beautiful. He certainly did what he said!

Central Market

The Central Market in Alicante is a famous and curious building with that shows elements of modernist inspiration. It was built between 1911 and 1912 on the site of the old city wall dating from the eighteenth century that surrounded the city. Rectangular, it has a basilica layout with circular appendage in the south-west corner, covered by a dome which is called “la Rotonda”.  With two floors and a basement, due to the slopes of the surrounding streets, the central market is a hive of activity all week. Don’t miss Saturday afternoons when the floral square behind fills with locals!

Ermita de San Roque

Built in 1549 when an outbreak of a ferocious plaque ravaged the city those that were afflicted prayed to San Roque, the patron saint of Alicante and dedicated the chapel at the foot of “the Ereta” to the Saint.

Tradition says that “three bishops were caught in a furious storm at sea and they had to stop in the city. When they disembarked in Alicante they delivered their offerings to San Roque, three crosses are situated inside the sanctuary as a symbol to them and to their faith.

San Nicholas co-cathedral

This building, built in the Herrerian Renaissance style, is found in the city’s old quarter and is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city.

Go inside you’ll see the 15th Century cloister with two baroque doors, the altar, the 18th Century Communion Chapel and the 45-metre high blue dome. Visitors can see the impressive interior  is an example of the illusionistic style from the first half of the 18th Century.

To get to the cathedral just head to the Plaza Abad Penalva, it is open from Monday to Saturday, 8am – 12pm; 5.30pm – 5.45pm and on Sunday’s from, 8.30am – 1.30pm; 5.30pm – 8.30pm., it’s also free admission.

Alicante Town Hall – Gound Zero

Originally constructed in the 18th century Alicante’s impressive town hall sits large and proud at the head of the plaza. The baroque designed building was designed by architect Lorenzo Chápuli and was built on the site of the former city hall. Visitors always note the wonderful barley-sugar columns on the facade and inside is the official measure that marks seal level for the region and also several impressive rooms such as the Blue Room which still carries the design from the era of Spain’s Queen Isabel, the Plenary Hall meeting hall and a chapel in which mass is held.

Also on show are works of art in the various rooms by Padilla, Cabrera, Amoros and local artist Gastón Castelló.

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Marseille is a coastal city located in the south of France.

It is the second most populated city in the country and is the most important commercial port of France and the Mediterranean.

We’ll show you the best places to visit if you go to Marseille.


A nice place that should not be missed while in the city of Marseille. You can take a walk and stop for fresh fish and seafood in one of the bars and restaurants in the area. Although the price can be a bit steep, you will enjoy the beautiful views and the special charm of this port.



This Catholic church was built by the architect Henri Espérandieu and is in a Romanesque-Byzantine style. It is located on a hill in Marseille, from where you can see almost the whole city while enjoying the fresh air and the views of the old port, historic area, nearby islands …

One of the characteristics that distinguishes this church from other French ones is the virgin that rises up to 160 metres in height and holds the baby Jesus in its arms. From below the hill, you just can’t appreciate the grandeur of the virgin, but once you are up there you will be amazed by its size.


Marsella (catedral)

The basilica of Santa Maria is the cathedral of Marseille. Its Romanesque-Byzantine style makes it unique and unusual in the country. It’s located on the outskirts of the city but you can see it from any point in Marseille.

Every August 15th a popular tradition is held consisting of a Marian procession on the day of the feast of the Assumption. They take the Golden Virgin in their arms of the from the cathedral and cross the city and people deliver messages, rosaries, present it to the children who try to touch it with golden handkerchiefs.

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