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Every parent will want their kids to have unforgettable family holidays, allowing them to have fun and make superb memories they will treasure forever. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong destination could lead to bored little ones who might spend their days dreaming of home.

If you want to ensure your child has a superb experience from start to finish, you’ll need to find the perfect destination. To do so, here are four holidays your kids will love.

Family Holidays to Remember Binibeca, Spain

Both mums, dads, and children will have an unforgettable getaway in Binibeca, which is a charming coastal village located on the Balearic island of Menorca. When you’re not soaking up the beauty of the white-washed buildings, the kids will have plenty of fun on its many beaches.

Plus, there are many family-friendly restaurants and shops for a leisurely day in a stunning setting. You also could take a trip along to the next bay of Binisafau, which is perfect for a family who loves snorkelling and swimming.

Once the day comes to an end, you can then retire for the night in one of the comfortable villas in Binibeca.

Lapland, Finland

Lapland is a holiday destination your children are unlikely to forget. The kids will have endless fun once they arrive, as they can go skiing, hiking, and snowmobiling, which will ensure they are smiling from ear-to-ear throughout the trip.
If this wasn’t good enough, you could guarantee they’ll be bursting with happiness when they have an opportunity to meet Father Christmas himself, before embarking on fun activities with his elves and riding on a sleigh that will be pulled by reindeers.

Plus, depending on the resort you choose, and when you visit, you could potentially experience the beauty and vibrancy of the Northern Lights.

Orlando, Florida

Almost every child (and adult) will want to visit Orlando at least once in their life. Not only will the kids be able to choose from a variety of fun rollercoaster rides and exceptional entertainment. They will have an opportunity to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as their friends.

Top attractions they won’t want to miss will include:

  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Universal Orlando Resort
  • Magic Kingdom Park
  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Florida is one of those family holidays abroad they will be discussing for many years to come.

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

If, however, you want the kids to enjoy sun, sea, and sand this year, Sunny Beach could be an ideal destination for the whole clan. Here you can take your pick from many mesmerising Blue Flag Beaches, which are perfect for lounging under the sunshine and building sandcastles.

The kids can also choose from a range of fun water sports. There will be an activity to suit almost every age.

There are also many educational day trips for both you and the kids to enjoy. As the whole family will love to explore Nessebar, a UNESCO-listed site, which features historic temples and a medieval basilica.

The post 4 Holidays Your Kids Will Love – Memorable Family Holidays appeared first on Piccavey.

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Bubion is a quiet little village in the Poqueira gorge. Located at 71 kms from Granada (44 miles) With just 302 inhabitants, Bubion is located South of Granada in the Alpujarra region. I recently spent a few days there seeing village life in this part of the world.

Although the most typical villlages of Capileira and Pampaneira are a stone´s throw away, Bubion is much smaller and retains its authentic charm. Most of the village is part of the Sierra Nevada National Park.

History of Bubion

This site has been inhabited even before roman times. Yet the first organized colony was around the year 383 and was initially dedicated to mining. Sat 13,00 metres above sea level, the views from the village are remarkable.

The name Bubion comes from the word bullir to boil… probably from the babbling sound mountain water. There are some many fountains and natural springs all around this village.

In medieval times the Alpujarra was known for its silk production. Bubion was no exception. This golden age lasted until 1609 when the Moors had to leave the region under the rule of the Catholic Kings. However you can still spot mulberry trees dotted around the area today

Later in 19th century Bubion and other villages in the region were inhabited by new settlers from Galicia, León, Asturias and Castilla.

From Bubion you can see the surroundings mountains of Sierra Nevada Natural Park but also down to the sea. Costa Tropical is just 1 hours drive  from the Alpujarra.

Things to Do

With typical Berber architecture the village clings onto the mountainside. Wandering around Bubion spotting quaint corners and enjoying the landscapes of the nearby villages is a particular highlight.

Dotted with little nooks covered in plantpots and babbling fountains.

There is also a public laundry which was built in 1945. Used to wash before each house had a washing machine, some neighbours still use these ocassionally today.

The stone sign on the wall reads

Built in 1945

Prohibited to leave the basins dirty – Fine of 25 pesetas will be applied

The village has 16 fountains of water coming direct from the Sierra Nevada. This one located right at the bottom of the village is called Fuente Hondero.

Festivals in Bubion

Although Bubion only has 300 inhabitants officially registered it still has its fair share of festivals and celebrations throughout the year.

Here are the main events each year celebrated in Bubion.

  • Evening of 5th January – Three Kings Parade
  • Mid January – Festivities San Sebastián and San Antón + Chisco de San Antón
  • 23rd February – Carnaval de Bubión
  • Easter Processions
  • 13th June – Romeria San Antonio de Padua  (Church service & procession)
  • 20th June – Corpus Christi en Bubión
  • Last week in August – Summer Fiestas
  • First weekend in November –  Autumn Festival of the Mauraca (Roast Chesnuts + bonfires)

Visit the Museum

In Bubion the Alpujarra House Museum is a typical home just off the main square. (Plaza de la Iglesia)

Inside there are pieces of furniture from the turn of the century, agricultural implements in the barn and antique ceramcs. This home was lived in until just a few years ago when the town hall opened it up with all the contents so visitors can see a day in the life of the local alpujarra family.

Built in the 16th century and modified over the centuries visiting gives a unique insight into village life centuries ago.

The ground floor was used for stables, granary and shed. The wine barrels and tools were kept here too. On the first floor the kitchen and dining room, and living quarters.

Museo Casa Alpujarreña

  • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Open Daily from 11am to 2pm
  •  Friday, Saturdays and Bank Holidays also open in the afternoon from 5pm to 7pm

Hiking & Biking

As the area is surrounded by nature this location is ideal for Hikers and Biking enthusiasts. On the main road Alpujarra Bikes can set you up with a bike and plenty of information on the area.

Walking routes are varied and good for all levels. Best resource is Wikiloc there are routes from 2.5 miles up to longer 12 mile walks.

One of the best walks is from Bubion up to Capileira as the gradient is gentle.

You can also get detailed Mountain information from the Park service in Capileria at the hut at the entrance of the village.

Local Alpujarra Crafts

As soon as you arrive to the Alpujarra you will notice the eyecatching jarapas sold in many shops. These are often made somewhere else and bought in (Morocco or other factories around Spain)

However if you want to get the real thing, hand made artisan jarapas you need to visit Ana´s shop and workshop in Bubion. Jarapas Hilacar

Jarapas

Here you can find the typical Alpujarra striped curtains for your back door. Good to keep the heat and dust out but let some air in.

There are also jarapas in all shapes and sizes all made by Ana herself on the loom seen above.

Where to Stay

On this trip to the Alpujarra I stayed in Bubion for 3 nights at this beautiful house at the bottom of the village.

The main walking path connecting the three Poqueira villages was literally on the doorstep.

The house built in typical Alpujarra style, with slate and the typical flat roofs and adorable chimney stacks.

This was booked with Rustical Travel who curate stunning properties around Spain. Love this as you really feel like a local when you travel. This house was a true home. With books, candles and a well equipped kitchen, perfect for a 4 days rural break.

The wifi was excellent too. Something I truly didnt expect in such a remote location.

Bubion Where to Eat

In Bubion there are a few tapas bars and cafés on the main road. They also have a small but well stocked supermarket called Coviran too.

This was ideal for our 4 day stay. On Mondays a lot of places close, so it´s wirth booking or phoning ahead if tyou want to eat out on Monday lunchtime.

Lo Nuestro is a cute little place on the main road worth trying for tapas and cold drink.

Restaurante Teide

Situated on the main road, Calle Carretera Bubion.  This restaurante was built in 1936 and has been run by the same family since then.  With a delightful garden patio I enjoyed a typical Alpujarra dish of poor potatoes, eggs and black pudding.

This is a large restaurante with two patios outside and a large dining hall inside too.

They also have a car park at the back too.

Corral del Castaño

In the next village up Capileira I choose a restaurant off the main square. Corral del Castaño.

With outdoor and indoor seating this place is really popular and got really busy. In fact I was lucky to grab one of the last tables.

If you plan to go book ahead.

Food was delicious and they had a selection of pizzas, salds, fish and meat dishes. The portions sizes were enornmous.

It is best to choose one dish to share between two people. We physcially couldnt finish all the food we ordered.despite it being so tasty.

Staying in Bubion

As Bubion is a village on a hillside not all streets can be accessed . By car, you may have to park up a short walk away from your accomodation.

Some streets are stepped or are quite steep. So I would recommend wearing good comfortable shoes when you visit.

As with any rural setting it just add to the chamr.

One of the highlights of our stay was seeing Jupiter and four moons from our rooftop terrace. (with regular binoculars)

As light pollution in this area is so little it was of the small details that may this break so memorable.

Disclaimer: Please note that I was hosted in Bubion on a complimentary stay. However, all the opinions in this article are my own and I would not recommend anything that I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself doing or think it was a great place to visit. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.

The post Bubion – Sleeping in a typical Alpujarra Village South of Granada appeared first on Piccavey.

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After spending some time in Malaga in Summer 2012 I wrote this post A day in Malaga.

This Must see Malaga guide is an update. Two years on I have returned and found that the city has developed and changed over those years.

There are so many things to add.

Must see Malaga Malaga Glass Museum

Or in Spanish ´El Museo de Cristal y Vidrio´ This museum is tricky to find but well worth seeking out. (Look for Calle Ollerias) The collection is far more than just glass. This private house has beautiful Antique furniture and exquisite period paintings.

A remarkable glass collection gathered by three private collectors. They united their pieces together in this perfect setting. More details here: Malaga Glass Museum

They have loving restored stained glass windows from several countries. Collected from churches and escaping destruction. Many decorative glass items from designers across the world are on display and explained to the visitor.

The visit is a guided tour, available in several languages. (French, English, Spanish, Japanese..) The guides really know their stuff and often digress into historical anecdotes, providing an entertaining visit. If you love antiques, furniture, interior design you must visit this place.

The Harbour

Muelle Uno is a wonderful place to wander in the evening.  Watch the boats, have an ice cream or have dinner at one of the restaurants there. Opened in 2011 this is a great addition to the city of Malaga. While I was there I ate at three different places in Muelle Uno. Toro which serves Spanish food. They pride themselves on using plenty of Andalusian produce. The fish I ate as a second course, Sea bass was delicious. The service was excellent.

We also tried the greek restaurant Saloniki one evening. Another day we had the menu del día at Lounge bar Plaza. This was great value for money. Delicious food in a lovely setting for 12 euros per person. (midweek lunchtimes only)

Malaga City Centre

Packed with tapas bars and plenty of gourmet options for foodies. Over the last few years the number of restaurants has tripled from 200 to almost 600. So plenty to choose from. I went to Cerveceria los gatos in Plaza Uncibay.

This noisy tapas bar prides itself on good meat and hearty raciones. We ate Plato de Feria (a mixed plate piled high with egg, chips, steak and chillis) and Lacon a la gallega smothered in red cayenne pepper. All delicious, inexpensive and served with solera. They also serve local crisps Paco José made locally are yummy.

While in Malaga I also had dinner in the smart restaurant Reserva 12 in Calle Bolsa. (Cathedrala area) Elegant dining at a good price. I must not miss out the Refectorium opposite Malaga Cathedral. They offered great tapas in a modern setting. The service was attentive and slick.

For next time I have El Patio de Beatas and Mesón Cervantes left on the list.

El Pimpi on the Calle Granada (close to Roman Theatre) is a typical restaurant with lots of fried fish and tapas. It is busy at all times but a must see place in Malaga. The walls are covered with photos of famous and notable personalities that have visited over the years.

Malaga Museums

Another place that I´m sure could do with more visitors is the Museum of Art  & Popular customs. This small building next to the river is not far from Plaza Constitucion. They have 16 rooms with different aspects of spanish life. My favourite room were the 18th century dresses and theatre accesories from the grand Liceum of Malaga.

Malaga Wine Museum is also an interesting place for foodies and wine enthusiasts.

Read more about this from my recent visit Malaga Wine Museum

If you prefer a more modern museum why not head to the fantastic Car Museum and see cars from different centuries.

The Hop on Hop off Bus – Malaga has a stop there making it handy to get to.

Andalusian charm

In Malaga there is no doubt that you are in the centre of Andalusia. You will see horses and carriages circling the city. On most street corners almond sellers will offer you a taster. But my highlight are the biznaga sellers. These men dress in typical clothes. White shirt, black trousers and red cummerband. They carry the jasmine scented biznagas through the streets leaving the delicate scent on the air as they pass.

Take one home with you for 3 euros.

Ice Cream at Casa Mira

For traditional Malaga Ice cream stop off at Casa Mira on Calle Larios. They have been in business since 1890. The most popular flavour is Almond Turron. If you prefer to sit and watch the world go by head to Lepanto on Calle Larios.

They also serve ice cream, cakes and coffee.

Malaga Cathedral

As soon as you enter Malaga you will notice the Catedral. With one tower finished and the other half built, it stands out from the skyline. We were lucky to see the Corpus Christi celebrations.

The long procession leaves the Cathedral and winds along the main streets. Each street had an altar set up for the passing of the procession. Traditions are still important here.

Alcazaba + Roman theatre

Built at the time of Emperor Augustus and was only discovered in 1951. The Centre of Interpretation is free to visit. Enjoy this view in the evening from a bar across the square.

The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro castle. If you visit Malaga you must visit these monuments. The Gibralfaro Castle  has panoramic views over the city and port. The Alcazaba doesn´t connect with the Gibralfaro (also I appears to as you look upon the city). Take the lift up to the Alcazaba and work downwards for your visit.

While I was in Malaga I went to Cine Albeñiz. This little picture house shows films in different languages. The night I went they had films in french, english and spanish. It was a treat to see a film in english. It was a joy to stumbleupon across this independent cinema showing good films.

Picasso Museum

Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Visit the Picasso Birthplace museum in Plaza del la Merced and the Picasso Museum close to the Roman Theatre. Don´t miss the Modern art museum CAC Malaga which is close to the river. Book Picasso Museum Tickets online ahead of time

Day trips

With such great transport connections in Malaga you have lots of choice. Why not take a day trip to Granada, Cordoba or Ronda. Or you could enjoy a beach day in Benalmadena, Fuengirola or Torremolinos.

With short and medium distance bus services and an excellent train network from Malaga you will be spoilt for choice.

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, why not venture along the Caminito del Rey?

Book a guided walk through this dramatic gorge to ensure that there is availability. Passes are limited due to the narrow corridor through the rock, to ensure safety for the hikers. Hike Caminito del Rey in Malaga – Book now

Shopping Area

Shopping in Malaga is one of my pastimes. Wander along the Calle Larios or visit the large Corte Ingles just past the end of the Alameda. For more ecclectic and unique shops walk around the Thyssen area. Also check out the upcoming Soho area.

If none of these suggestions have convinced you, remember that Malaga has several beaches. Pedregalejo and Malagueta beaches are popular with locals. Some great restaurants and bars are along those stretches of coast.

At Pedralejo beach try La Galerna for fresh salads and healthy food. Or the well known La Moraga by Dani Garcia at La Malagueta.

Is there something you would add to the Must see Malaga guide?

This post Must See Malaga contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.

The post Must See Malaga -A Dozen Reasons to Visit Malaga Spain appeared first on Piccavey.

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Spain is typically associated with Christianity, especially since the vast majority of the population consider themselves Catholic. Prior to its establishment as a Christian country, however, Spain was actually under Muslim rule for several centuries — from 711 to 1492.

Islamic Architecture in Spain

In fact, the name Andalusia, which is now an autonomous region in the southern coast of Spain, actually comes from the Muslim name of this territory: al-Andalus.

Rich Islamic history

Al-Andalus covered most of Iberia, which we now know as Portugal and Spain. It was ruled under the Umayyad Caliphate, the first great Arab kingdom known for consolidating Islamic civilisation. Then it consisted of largely nomadic tribes spread across various areas.

It also established Arabic as its official language.

While Islamic civilisation flourished during this era, the Umayyad caliphs were more lenient about other religious minorities who were under their rule. Jews and Christians, for example, only needed to pay a certain tax in order to be granted protection under the caliphate.

Art and architecture

It is under such diversity that Islamic art and architecture flourished. In fact, the Museum with No Frontiers shows that this diversity is what defined Umayyad art itself. Artists incorporated Byzantine and Sassanian elements into their own artistic style.

Islamic architecture can be characterised by several key features.

  • The first is the minaret, a tall tower built for broadcasting the call to prayer five times a day.
  • Domes are also important: the Dome of the Rock, now found in Jerusalem, was the first building to have such a feature.

Moorish architecture

Meanwhile, Moorish architecture is the subset of Islamic architecture that was most articulated in Spain, Portugal, and North Africa. This building style is characterised by opulence. Horseshoe and multi-foil arches set in stones of alternating colours. Walls often featured ornamental details in deep, rich hues. Colbalt blues, deep reds and golden colours.

The movements of the Islamic people, during this period, have made these distinct architectural details evident in different regions. Not only in neighbouring countries such as Portugal or North Africa, but even in countries as far away as Malaysia.

Islamic Architecture in Malaysia

In fact, you can find Islamic architecture making its mark in key cities across the vast continent. Malaysia is home to what is known as Neo-Moorish architecture, also known as the Mughal style of building. ExpatBets provides insights for travellers looking to explore different parts of Asia, points out that Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country.

Malaysia Itself a melting pot of cultures. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building sits at the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Mosques all over the country feature the signature domes, minarets, and ornamented arches very similar to those found in Spain.

Remnants in Spain

Despite it being centuries since Spain was under Muslim rule, you can still get a feel of this empire’s vast influence through the architecture it left behind Alhambra in Granada, for instance, is a must-see, as visitors can walk through the entire palace. Granada’s Moorish quarters of Albaicín is also a good place to visit, especially if you want to get a view of how such architecture featured in everyday spaces.

There’s more to see beyond Granada. For instance, Cordoba was one of the cultural hotspots of al-Andalus, with three further ideas by TripZilla its clear how the city still retains the grandeur of centuries past.

The Andalusian city of Seville is also very much worth a trip. The Alcazar, in particular, is a site of Muslim and Christian exchange. Christian kings added to this Muslim monument by inscribing praises to their God in Arabic.

What are your favourite Islamic sites in Spain? Let us know in the comments section below!

The post Why Spain is Home to So Many Beautiful Islamic Sites appeared first on Piccavey.

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On World Tapas Day, June 20th I´m sharing my experience at the fifth edition of ´Bocados´ festival.

This gastronomic event in Granada was earlier this month. Located on Paseo del Salon, along the river, it lasted four days.

Celebrated annually in Granada, this year it was also held in Valencia on 14th-16th June.

Accompanied by Jazz music it took place in the Parque Doctor Lluch.

Granada Food Festival

This years Granada edition ran from 30th May until 2nd June 2019 and 8 local chefs competed.

Open to the public from 12h to 4.30pm and 8pm to midnight its a great way to discover new culinary ideas. Discovering the latest ideas from local chefs in Granada.

All eight chefs congregate at this culinary meeting point. As well as the delicious food on offer there are other activities such as showcooking demostrations,  beer tasting workshops, live music and DJ´s.

Opened by Álvaro Arriaga (Restaurante Arriaga) Paco Morales (NOOR) and Celia Jiménez (Restaurante Celia Jiménez) it was a busy day. Attended by local authorities, top chefs and the organisers from Michelin Spain and Mahou San Miguel.

Michelin Bib Gourmand

An important part of the four day foodie event was the presentation of 2019 Bib Gourmand restaurants in Andalucia. Since 1997 Bib Gourmand Red guides by Michelin offer locations where you can dine for under 35 euros.

This years publication recognised 38 restaurants across Andalucia. The chefs were presented with their embroidered chefs jacket in Granada by the director of Michelin Spain. It was great to see that so many places listed in the Southern Spain region.

Restaurants from all Andalusian & Spanish provinces feature in this years red guide

This years ´Buenas Mesas a Menos de 35€´ covers 407 restaurants in Spain and Portugal, also including the 38 Andalucian locations.

The Andalucian listing is as follows:

Great food under €35

Almeria

  • Asador La Chumbera, Agua Amarga
  • Juan Moreno, Vera

Cadiz

  • Casa Bigote, de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
  • El Duque, de Medina-Sidonia
  • La Condesa, Jerez de la Frontera
  • Sopranis,  Cádiz
  • Venta La Duquesa,  Medina Sidonia
  • Casa Paco, Chipiona
  • Arohaz , Zahora

Córdoba

  • La Cuchara de San Lorenzo,  Córdoba
  • La Lonja,  Córdoba
  • La Taberna de Almodóvar, Córdoba
  • El Envero,  Córdoba
  • Casa Pedro, Puente Genil

Jaen

  • Canela en Rama,  Linares
  • Cantina la Estación,  Úbeda
  • Amaranto,  Úbeda
  • Mesón Leandro, de Cazorla
  • Oliva Garden, La Guardia de Jaén
  • Los Sentidos, Linares

Granada

  • El Chaleco, Almuñécar
  • La Cantina de Diego, Monachil

Huelva

  • Aires de Doñana , El Rocío
  • Casa Dirección, Valverde del Camino
  • Arrieros, Linares de la Sierra

Malaga

  • Aderezzo, Marbella
  • BiBo,  Marbella
  • Café de París, Málaga
  • El Palangre,  Estepona
  • Figón de Juan,  Málaga
  • Platero y Co, Gaucín

Sevilla

  • Agustina, Cazalla de la Sierra
  • Az-Zait,  Sevilla
  • Cañabota, Sevilla
  • El Gallinero de Sandra, Sevilla
  • Torres y García,  Sevilla
  • Manolo Mayo,  Los Palacios y Villafranca
  • Deli, de Montellano

Bocados Granada Food Festival

Back to the food festival.

The participating chefs, restaurants and dishes in the Granada 2019 Bocados were:

  • Crunchy Veal Carpaccio from Panema Gastrobar by Iván Serrano
  • Smoked Canelon from 4U Restaurant by José Angel Leyva

  • Gachas + Motril Shrimp ´Quisquilla´ from Tasca La Tarasca by Javier Feixas
  • Nasrid Legacy from La Seda by José Pablo Frias
  • Alpujarra Style Ribs from Gastrobar Qubba by José M Magin
  • A bite of Soup from la Taberna 2.0 by Roberto Parejo
  • Air of the Fair from Las Tinajas by Miguel Angel Rincón
  • Stuffed Red Pepper from Bar Rojo by Carmen Bullejos (shown below)

In this fifth edition the dishes were closely matched and all impeccably presented.

The judges must have had quite the task to decide on the winner.

Bocados Winner 2019

This year the winning entry was Alpujarra Style Ribs. Created by Gastrobar Qubba by Chef José M Magin. (shown above)

Qubba is located on Calle Professor Tierno Galván, Granada. Although this only opened in September 2018 but is already getting a great reputuation for contemporary cuisine. It is in the same building as Hotel Saray, close to Palacio de Congresos and easy for parking too.

After trying all eight entries, my personal selection from the ´bocados´was Nasrid Legacy. The entry from La Seda and chef José Pablo Frias. I actually tasted it four times. It was so delicious. (seen below)

A take on Pastela Moruna (Moroccoan inspired chicken pie with cinnamon) the presentation was just immaculate.

So delicate and perfectly mouth sized. La Seda restaurant on Plaza Bib Rambla offers Organic food. They also do a fabulous kiwi and fresh cheese toast for breakfast.

(more details in Spanish here: Festival Gastronomia Bocados )

Food Pairing with Beer

Organized by Mahou San Miguel there were some great beers on offer to accompany and pair with the tasty dishes. They also did some blind tasting activities or beer pouring competitions over the 4 days.

  • Alhambra Reserva 1925
  • Alhambra Roja
  • Alhambra Vintage
  • Alhambra sin Especial (Alcohol free)
  • San Miguel Magna
  • San Miguel Manila
  • Mahou gluten free
  • Mahou toasted 0,0
  • Mahou Original

There were specialist beers on offer too. Such as barrel aged ones with sherry notes or Baltic porter. The Baltic porter has licorice notes and is a deep brown almost black colour.

  • Alhambra Baltic Porter
  • Alhambra with Pedro Ximenez
  • Alhambra with Amontillado
  • Alhambra with Palo Cortado

Tapas in Granada

Find out more about gastronomy in Southern Spain reading about the difference between Raciones Tapas and Montaditos 

Or discover my post on Tapas Bars in Granada or Restaurant Recommendations for Granada

or you may want to find out more about the Granada de Tapas Festival which is celebrated in March.

The post Michelin Bib Gourmand + Bocados Food Festival in Granada Spain appeared first on Piccavey.

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Spain isn’t the most popular country for foreign students. Bureaucratic procedures don’t make it easy for foreigners to easily get residency permits. But you know what? That’s changing. The country benefits from cultural diversity; and the universities certainly benefit from the money injection they get from foreign students.

Last year, a record number of almost 57,000 foreigners came to study in Spain. With tuition costs at public university from €450-2,000 and from €5,000-18,000 in private universities, can you really blame them?

These prices are way lower than what the UK or U.S. universities would charge per year. For UK students, in particular, Spain is the top choice for students who plan to study abroad.

Why are Spanish Universities great for foreign students?

First of all, this country is awesome. That’s a fact. The people here are kind, funny, and genuine. The food is outstanding, and restaurants offer options for all kinds of diets. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free… nothing is a problem when you eat in Spain.

The cost of living is acceptable, too. The average disposable income per household in Spain is €20,047 which is much less than the global average of €27K. You can easily find cheap flights and visit your family often if you decide to study in Spain.

But you know what? The educational system also rocks. The professors don’t assign as many projects when compared to UK and U.S. universities. They evaluate the realistic potential of their students and don’t get them in the “I have to hire someone to do my math homework for me” situation. Educational practices are all about debates, teamwork, and learning through experience.

But the question is: what program should you choose?

Should you opt for a full year or a shorter language immersion course?

Top 10 Spanish University Programs for Foreign Students
  1. Linguistics, Spanish Language, Gender Studies, and European Studies at the University of Alicante

How about sandy beaches after classes? Alicante is one of the most beautiful Spanish cities, and it has one of the top-ranked universities.

As a foreign student, you’re welcome to apply.

The university’s website is not impressive, so you’ll most likely need to contact them if you want some questions answered.

  1. Advanced Liberal Arts at the Barcelona University

This is a specialized program for foreign students who want to study in Barcelona. It’s geared on Spanish language studies, and all courses come with co-curricular activities and local trips. You want to explore Spain?

This is the program for you!

  1. International Studies, Business & Culture at the Universidad Autonoma De Barcelona

This university has several pre-established programs specifically designed for international students. You can study Spanish, business, entrepreneurship, strategic management, European studies, Art, and more.

  1. International Studies Abroad (ISA) in Barcelona

ISA is an organization that helps students to access foreign universities as easily as possible. Barcelona is part of their program, and you can choose between a few programs, including Legal Studies, Design and Visual Arts, Hispanic Studies, and more.

Study in Spain
  1. Spanish Language and Business Program at the University of Salamanca

The University of Salamanca invites foreigners to learn Spanish in an immersion context. There are also business and teacher training programs if you’re after something different.

  1. The Adelante Abroad Program in Universidad de Sevilla

This program lasts for one semester, and you’ll gain credits that you can transfer. If you want to be a student abroad but you’re not ready to make the full commitment, a semester in Seville is a great idea.

  1. Spanish Courses at Malaga University

Malaga is the university with the most youthful vibe in Spain. It accepts 6,000 foreign students per year. They can choose among various Spanish courses throughout the year. Whether it’s a full-year or two-week program you want, you’ll find it here.

  1. International Summer School at the University of A Coruña

La Coruña in Northern Spain is a truly authentic location to study. Spent a summer close to the beach while making friends with people from all around the world, learning Spanish at the same time?

Go apply!

  1. Spanish Courses and Internships with EUROACE

This program takes place in the beautiful city of Valencia. You’ll stay with a local family and you’ll experience full immersion. The program includes Spanish language classes and various cultural activities.

  1. Business, Sciences and Liberal Arts at the Florida State University, Valencia

Florida State University has a study center in Valencia, Spain. The students of this university can go to Spain to study elective courses and general requirements. It’s an amazing experience that combines learning, traveling, and a complete cultural program.

Spain Welcomes You!

Sun. See. Nice food. Great friends. Uplifting music. People smiling all the time.

That’s the Spanish experience that most students describe.

It’s beautiful, and it’s available to you as well.

You can easily become a full-time student at one of the universities. But if you want just a temporary immersion, you can apply for a shorter program that still gets you there.

With so many opportunities, the choice won’t be easy. But we listed some of the best ones, so your decision should be a bit easier to make. Just choose the type of program you want, narrow down the list, and check out the cities. Go for the one the one you like the most!

Guest post: Throughout his college studies, Michael Turner has visited seven countries from all around the world. The combination of online courses and international programs really works.

If you want to know more about his experiences, follow his Twitter profile.

The post Study in Spain: Top Universities & Colleges Abroad appeared first on Piccavey.

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We all need time to unwind and relax. And a great way to break every day routines is heading outdoors and camping. Enjoy the natural landscapes and the pleasure of camping in Spain.

There are lots of Spanish destinations to choose from. While your itinerary will be determined by your own travel style and where you prefer to visit, however there are a few places you just cannot miss out on.

Although there are legislations that that limit where you can set up for the night.

Campsites in Spain

Here is a look at five of the most enticing locations across the country.

Isla de Ons (Galicia)

The Isla de Ons is a part of the Galicia National Park. The island has spectacular views with a unique coastline. If you climb the El Vurvono lighthouse, you can get a bird´s eye view of the entire island. It is a perfect camping site which will get you faraway from the noise from the city.

Wild camping is only allowed during summer months. From June 1st to September 30th. You have to book before going to the island, and camping is only allowed for a maximum of five days.

Camping Lagos de Somiedo (Asturias)

This camping site is serene, and not as wild as other camping sites. The Camping Lagos de Somiedo is located in the small village of Lagos. With modern equipment such as rustic showers, lavatories, sinks, and showers. The best part is the wildlife around the site that you can observe while staying here. If you want more privacy, then you can access the private river island on this site. UNESCO has recognized Somiedo Natural Park as a Biosphere Reserve.

El Salado, Isla de La Graciosa (Lanzarote)

El Salso Beach is on the smallest island in Lanzarote. Also, it is the only place that you to can camp. It is a slice of Carribean heaven without having to travel so far. However, before going, you will have to apply for a camping permit online. The stays are limited on the campsite to a week.

Also the group size is limited to ten or less, to maintain the charm and nature of the location.

A Curota (Galicia)

A Curota has beautiful landscapes such as the Las Rías Rías de Arousa y Muros-Noia. This unique natural environment has stunning wildlife too. Take note that if you camp in the area, you will need warm sleeping bags and extra blankets as it can be chilly. Sound isolators may also be useful.

El Xorret del Catí (Alicante)

El Xorret del Catí in Alicante province has a free refuge, campsite, and an hotel. Located between la Sierra del Maigmo and la Sierra del Cid, its a great place for hikers. The campground offers a more modern camping experience with has hot showers, lavatories, picnic facilities, and a bar.

The post Camping in Spain – Five Best Spanish Destinations for Campers appeared first on Piccavey.

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Dont miss the Alpujarra villages when you visit Granada

I was reminded by one of my lovely readers that I didn´t have a blog about the Alpujarra. An oversight as it is actually the first place that comes to mind when I have time to venture out for the day.

White Villages

The Alpujarra has an interesting history. This area was populated by the Moors in the 15th century. As Moriscos (praticising Catholics) they maintained their own distinct culture for nearly 150 years after the fall of Granada to the Catholic Kings in 1492. Many people also moved from Galicia and Leon in Northern Spain later in history, this explains why some of the village names are in gallego (galician).

The book The Hand of Fatima by Idlefonso Falcones gives a good account of this time period in the area. If you are interested in the history of Andalusia this is a great read.

There is plenty to write up on the beautiful Alpujarra region.There are so many different villages too, I still haven´t seen every single one of them.

It is an excellent area for walking and a delight for nature enthusiasts. The Alpujarras are all connected by footpaths allowing you to take several different routes.

If you decide to go walking in this area in summertime please be careful. Forest fires sadly burn across the Alpujarra each Summer, especially in season when rainful has been scarce. Back in 2005 a careless British hiker caused a fire that took 8 days to extinguish. This happened just outside the popular Spa town of Lanjaron

Which Alpujarra Villages to see?: Lanjaron
  • As you arrive into the village, you´ll see the black cannon of Lanjaron on your right. If you look to the left, you can see a childrens playground. Just behind this park area is a water fountain. You can drink the famous mineral water from the ceramic fountain. It is usually busy with thirsty travellers and locals filling up bottles.
  • A little further on as you come to Balneario de Lanjaron. The Spa hotel which is directly opposite Lanjaron tourist information.
  • Why not go to have a treatment in the Spa? Local water has been used since 1770 due to its medicinal properties.
  • The Castle of Lanjaron can been viewed from the town. Built between 8th and 9th century when Yusuf I was the ruler of Al Andalus. Now in ruins it remains a curious sight from the main road.
  • Hotel Alcadima is a lovely place to stay in Lanjaron located opposite the Castle, just off the main road. They also have a restaurant open to non residents for lunch and dinner. As they use lots of local produce and vegetables in their dishes its somewhere I´ve been to many times.

Fiesta del Agua
  • Lanjaron celebrates their main festival on 23rd June, the eve of San Juan. Known as the fiesta of Ham & Water. There is a huge water fight that last just for one hour. If you decide to join in the fun, make sure someone is waiting somewhere nearby with a fluffy towel. It gets chilly at night in the Alpujarra when you are completely soaked to the skin. It happened to me
  • Carrera del Agua – To take part you need to buy a bracelet from Tourist Information before the day. This is to control the amount of people in the area. Also as the road is closed off for the celebration if you want to go to Lanjaron that day parking is outside the town.

Fiesta del Agua San Juan en Lanjarón - YouTube

Orgiva
  • The main town where the people from surrounding villages come to do their errands. Orgiva Market is held here on Thursdays.
  • In Orgiva you can buy delicious pastries, chunky rustic bread and traditional cakes from La Tahona De Los Galindos. They are on the main street and have a coffee shop too. (they have a shop on San Anton in Granada city centre) I usually stock up on Pestiños each time I visit.
  • Chris Stewart wrote the book Driving over Lemons lives in the area surrounding Orgiva, his book gives an unique insight into life in the Alpujarra area. 

Pampaneira & Capileira
  • These two villages are the most popular ones with visitors. Located in the Poqueira gorge. they are both on the list of ´Prettiest Villages in Spain´ Look out for the small shops in selling sweet local honey in coloured ceramic urns and local jam made in the mountain villages. Prickly pear, raspberry and plum flavours. You´ll see brightly coloured woven ´jarapa´ rugs or coverings hanging along the walls of the village too. There are never two alike!

Chocolate Factory
  • If you are still unsure what to take home in Pampaneira there is the chocolate factory, Abuela ili where you can buy lovely artisan chocolate or even have an ice cream. They also have 2 shops in Granada city. on Plaza Romanilla and just below El Corte Ingles on Carrera de la Virgen.
  • Find out about Silk in the Alpujarra. See the looms at Taller Textil in Pampaneira or at Jarapas Hilacar in Bubion.
Alpujarra Villages
  • Soportujar The first village you come to on the main road, Slightly less quaint but certainly authentic. At the entrance of the village don´t miss the Witches cave. ¨Cueva de la Bruja¨ Other highlights are the Viewpoint from Las Eras at the top of the village and the main square.
  • Portugos Just before arriving into the village itself you will need to stop on the roadside. There is some space to park on the edge of the road. (Although it can get busy in warmer months) There is a small hermitage on the left and to the right of the road is a picnic area. Follow the steps down past the wooden tables to see the copper coloured waterfall below. This is called the Chorreon.

Pitres
  • In this village you can take snaps of the typical white Alpujarran chimneys or have a drink at Bar La Taha. The village of Pitres has an amusing tale to tell. In the past a politician wanting to gain favour among the people of the village, asked what they wanted for the area. The town folk said they wanted a port, so the men would have more work. He promised to bring to sea up to Pitres so that a port could be built if they voted him in.
  • To remind visitors and villagers of this anecdote, in 2008 a plaque was uncovered at Motril port. It reads ´Port of Pitres´ At the entrance of the village you can see a boat and anchor too.

  • Eat at el Jardin del Mirador which offers delicious sharing plates, vegetarian options and has a sweet little garden. Stay at La Oveja Verde for comfortable apartment style accomodation.  A great base for those enjoying outdoors pursuits in the Alpujarra.  Taste local chocolate at Chocolates Sierra Nevada at the entrance to the village. Dont miss the White chocolate infused with local pomegranates.

Trevelez
  • The altitude of this village is 1476 metres (4,843 ft) above sea level. The fresh mountain air makes it perfect for preserving hams. On the 15th August the locals offer the Ham festival aimed at forasteros (non villagers) Hams from Trevelez are reknown for their quality and flavour. River Trout is a typical dish served here. On Wednesdays there is a market here. On 19 & 20 October they celebrate the livestock fair in the lower part of Trevelez. If you are looking to do hiking or outdoor activities in the area try treks with Spanish Highs a great experience with breathtaking landscapes.

  • Mecina Fondales this small village has an excellent vegetarian restaurant & guesthouse run by a frenchman, which is only open in Summer season and some weekends. Check the website for details L´Atelier . If you like meat make sure you don´t leave the Alpujarra without trying the Plato Alpujarreño a dish with potatoes green peppers, chorizo, egg and black pudding
  • Yegen. This quaint village was the inspiration for the British 1920´s writer Gerard Brenan. The book South of Granada has also been made into a film.

Other Villages to See
  • Valor. See the Arabic bridge and check out the house of Aben Humeya in this remote village. The aromatic Goats cheese from Los Cortijuelos comes from Valor. The village  celebrates the Moors and the Christians festival Mid September. If you want to stay in this area, the Hotel Los Berchules  would be a good base to see all of this area over a few days.
  • Mecina Bombarón celebrates the Fiesta of the Chestnuts on the first days of November. This village is just before Yegen along the same road.
  • In Cadiar wine is produced by the Barranco Oscuro bodega & in Murtas there is another wine producer. Both can be visited with pre booked tours.

Get to La Alpujarra from Granada            
  • Estaimted total journey time is about 80 minutes
  • From Granada take the A44 motorway southbound, direction of Motril.
  • If you have GPS you can use the example address of Calle del Real 1, Pampaneira.
  • From Granada drive along 35 km the motorway until you come to the exit for LANJARON.
  • Follow signs to Lanjaron along the A348 road.Once you arrive in Lanjaron itself you may want to stop. You can get tourist information at the entrance of the village opposite the Balneario.
  • To continue up to the Alpujarra villages follow the signs to Orgiva along the A348 and when you see a left turn to La Alpujarra take that upwards to the other villages of Pampaniera, Capileira, Bubion & Portugos.

Please Note:

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.

The post The Alpujarra – Remote Andalusian Villages South from Granada appeared first on Piccavey.

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With more than 1,000 islands, isles and islets stretching across several thousand kilometers of coastline, Croatia has over the years, become a paradise for diving, sailing, snorkeling, and swimming enthusiasts. From the stunning beauty of the country’s pristine beaches, impressive landscapes, rocky coves, and dramatic cliffs, to its rich history, tradition and culture, Croatia’s got it all.

As the summer travel season draws closer, Croatia beckons you to come on and explore its natura wonders. Planning to book the next flight, Still having second thoughts?

Boating Trip in Croatia

Well, sit down and get yourself strapped in, because we’re about to give you the top 5 reasons why you should go on a boating trip to explore the spectacular scenery and breathtaking beauty of Croatia:

1. Beaches and Islands All to Yourself

You can’t really blame us for talking how beautiful Croatia is, can you? Sailing in a boat around the coast of Dalmatia must be every sailor’s dream. It is the best way to enjoy the picturesque views of the cliffs, seaside towns, hidden cloves, scattered islands, and dark blue waters. With your own boat or yacht, you can visit beaches and islands that are usually not accessible by foot or car.

If you prefer a quiet beach lifestyle, you can look for smaller beaches that aren’t dominated by tourists.
If after a beautiful day in paradise, you desire a night out, there are several beachside bars and clubs where you can visit and have the time of your life. The food and drinks are mostly affordable, and you can meet with other sailors.

2. Freedom to Explore and Discover

When you are sailing on a boat, you can explore the beautiful world around you as much as you want, and as far as you wish to go. Whether you’re on vacation alone or with your family, there are no tour guides, restrictions, or deadlines to hold you down in a resort or hotel. With the open water giving you endless possibilities to explore, you can spend each day discovering new adventures and locations.

You can explore mainland, set sail to hidden bays and beaches, or visit historical towns.
An increasingly popular activity among tourists is to rent a yacht in Croatia, as asas  s the countries bordering waters is perfect for travelling with a yacht and combining them with its natural scenic beauty, this might be a activity you might not want to skip on.

3. Absorb the Scenery Every Day

Which sounds more appealing to you: spending your vacation exploring islands, beaches and coastlines, or dragging your heavy luggage and bags from one stuffed public transport to another hot rental car and having to pack and repack your things every day?
There’s no doubt that Croatia is a beautiful country but visiting a place like the Adriatic coast on a boat will give you a more thrilling experience. From your boat or yacht, every single location you visit will present you with its most beautiful and magnificent form.

Nothing beats travelling on a boat or yacht and looking across the open sea just to admire the stunning sight of your next destination.

4. Enjoy the Rich History and Culture

Every place you look in Croatia has history staring back at you. Croatia has many historic sites and one of the best ways to explore them is on water. Visiting certain islands will allow you to see the country’s culture, architecture, and art that have managed to withstand the test of time. The architectural treasures showcased by these coastal cities and islands are so beautiful and breathtaking that they are only matched by the natural beauty in Croatia’s national parks.

5. Great Experience for a Little Cost

When some people visit croatia and consider a boating trip, the first thing that comes to their mind is “luxury” and “money”. But this is miles away from the truth. Renting a boat or yacht is more affordable in Croatia than you’ll find in other countries.

Add together the priceless experience you’ll get from the clear turquoise-blue Croatian waters and you’ll see why boats are excellent value for money. If you love a relaxing retreat, the country also boasts some of the cleanest waters and best swim spots in the Mediterranean.

With your boat, you can hop from one island to another, and swim along their coasts.

Conclusion

Whether you’re out to enjoy everything the summer has to offer alone, or just hanging out with friends and family, Croatia is the perfect place to be. It’s a beautiful country and what better way to explore it than on a boat.

You’ll get the most beautiful moments of your life with the stunning beaches and crystal-clear sea. There are several coastlines to explore and islands to visit, and you could meet other sailors looking to have an unforgettable vacation.
So, whether you’re in search of uninhabited islands, isolated beaches, or the enchanting history, art and architecture Croatia has to offer, you sure won’t be disappointed.

With all these benefits and more, going on a boating trip in Croatia will truly give you an unforgettable and the most complete summer experience.

The post 5 Reasons Why You Should Go on a Boating Trip in Croatia appeared first on Piccavey.

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Capitulations of Santa Fé

Capitulations of Santa Fé changed the history of Europe and the world.
This location to the west of Granada is famous for its Pionono cakes. Everyone associates the name of Santa Fé with this typical Granada cake. But it is also known historically for the Capitulations of Santa Fé in 1492.

Pionono´s if you aren’t familiar with them are cakes created by Ceferino Isla in Santa Fé at the end of the 19th century. Made with cinnamon. Honey and cinnamon were of course widely used in Muslim cuisine. This has been adopted by the catholics in their dishes too. The Piononos were named after the Pope Pius IX. Pio Nono in Latin. Supposedly the shape of the cake is the same shape as the Pope´s headdress. They are sold in cake shops throughout Granada. (you must try one if you get the opportunity..they are delicious)

Capitulations was the word used for agreements or contracts signed between Royalty and civilians at the time. This statue below (in Granada) captures the moment in 1492.

The Capitulations of Santa Fe between Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs were signed in this location over 500 years ago. The documents actually took over 3 months to prepare. The originals have not been kept, the earliest copy is from 1493. The documents are kept in el Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, in Barcelona and in Seville in the Real del Archivo General de Indias.

You can actually look up this document as Capitulaciones del Almirante don Cristóbal Colón and see it online at Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES).

At this time Santa Fé was an encampment set up by the Catholic kings to prepare the conquest of nearby Granada. This town is just 11 kilometers from Granada.

This document is a key moment in Spanish history as his gave the support to Columbus project which went on to discover the Americas. Christopher Columbus would receive 10% of the riches and goods that he got along the journey.

Medieval Market

The festivities of this historic day are celebrated every April. 17th April is a local holiday. The town is a hive of activity with street parades, dancing, and concerts. There are Medieval market stalls and plenty of children´s activities. This year over 100 stalls will be set up at this market. There will be Falconry exhibitions and medieval dancing.

The stalls are along Calle Real and close to Plaza de España in the town of Santa Fé. Children’s activities will be mainly held on the Plaza Garcilaso. Storytelling, donkey rides and craft working sessions are just a few of the activities for the little ones.

Full  details in Spanish at the Link: Capitulaciones 2013 – Ayto of Santa Fe

This year activities are on 17th April and over the weekend 19th – 21st April when the medieval market is on. (Open 10am – till 11pm)

The post What are the Capitulations of Santa Fe? appeared first on Piccavey.

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