Ultra stylish newly built hotel - offers top quality accomodation at very reasonable prices probably because it is a few miles from city centre.
Fantastic reception team who really wanted to help.
Another great gay hostel in Madrid - this cool modernist building is in the Chueca area - great for gay nightlife and parties.
The staff are extremely welcoming and will give out any advice on things to see, gay/lesbian advice, free vouchers for clubs, saunas etc...
The rooms have ensuite and have great facilities - tvs, free internet, safety deposit boxes, linen and towels.
Calle Pizarro 14 -1,Madrid, Spain, 28004
This is a great gay hostel with really friendly staff - who are always willing to offer you advice on where to go and what to see - they even hand out free club passes!
The rooms are more like a hotel than a hostel, with TVs, comfortable beds and balconies overlooking Puerta del Sol square. There's also free internet and a free breakfast of freshly baked buns.
The location is excellent, you are right in the center of town, so we could walk everywhere.
Puerta del Sol Square, Madrid
Great selection of over 80 Gay and Lesbian Spanish and International films that are shown in cinemas across the city. The films celebrate diversity in all its many forms and the public can vote for their favourite - well worth a visit!
29th Oct - 8th Nov
This is a great value Italian restaurant and pizzeria in the uptown part of Barcelona. The staff are very friendly and the food is authentic.
It's a cosy trattoria and if you want to try an authentic Italian risotto, this is a place to choose.
Av. República Argentina
Tel 93 417 7772
Nearest metro station: Vallcarca (L3 Green) or Tibidabo (FGCC)
Bus stops:17, 22,
Here you definitely get the best views of this bustling capital. This Art Deco arts centre in the heart of the city near Sol has an enormous rooftop from which you can enjoy incredible vistas from all sides and angles. Get your 2€ ticket from the reception and hop the lift to the top. You can sometimes get to see a live jazz bank at night which gives you a totally different impression. It's a MUST but the rooftop viewing is only available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 to 14 hours and 16.30 to 20.00 hours.
c/ Alcalá 42. Nearest metro Banco de España
Really Discover offers short (2.5 hrs) tours of Seville. The walking tour is limited to 10 people so you are never so far from the guide that you can't hear what is being said.
We chose to start our first full day in Seville with the walking tour in order to get our bearings and plan our week better. Our guide, Luis, really knew his city and obviously loves it as well. They have a basic plan but are flexible so that they can skip over places you've already been if you wish.
We were met by David, a Brit who moved to Seville, and Luis our guide who spoke very good English. Both were friendly and helpful. A later call to David helped us sort out a taxi back to the station very early in the morning.
They are also happy to recommend their favourite places to eat or visit. Luis recommended a restaurant called Taberna del Alabardero which we visited twice for their Menu del Dia.
Luis also took us to the Archivo General de Indias which was a treat that we would probably have skipped had it not been for the tour. This place is particularly interesting for US visitors interested in their own history.
As we were travelling with our young child, the apartment was very practical and the company provided us with a travel cot for free. Other companies we enquired with wanted to charge us €30 a night for this!
Thank you Apartime for your helpfulness and great service, little Layla had a fantastic time.
This is not the sort of place you will come upon by accident - unless you get lost. Run by German born Arnold and his English wife Helen, this is a tiny, relatively new winery in the Xalon Valley in the Alicante region of Spain.
Although grapes have been grown in the region since Roman times, the Bodega del Garroferal was only set up in 2002 when the pair relocated to Spain from South Africa. They offer a small range of delicious wines - three reds, three whites and one rose. Try Rhapsody, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend mix with depth and complexity. The grapes are grown just across the road from the bodega and, after handpicking, are fermented in open topped tanks.
Helen offers a sumptuous range of tapas to complement an arranged wine tasting and then you can play with the family cats and chickens.
It is an ancient castle with attached vineyards owned by the Torres winemakers. The tours are very good, and the staff knowledgeable - also it is the only place you can acquire Mirador de Milmanda - a lovely crisp and slightly unusual white wine. The pretty local town has an interesting monastery, and you are within the Cava making region for more wine based wandering...
Famous for Cava and Rose, Castillo de Perelada on the Costa Brava produces wonderful, high quality wine. Even I liked it and I don't drink wine very often. The sweetness of some of the wine was like nectar.
While you're around that area, though, you really must go to the Butterfly Park near Empuriabrava, actually full of beautiful birds as well as butterflies. Perhaps if you're holidaying with kids, it'll make up for not being able to drink any wine:-) The park is like a miniature Eden Project so be prepared to be hot!
Huerta de Albalá is a newly established vineyard near to Arcos de la Frontera, Andalucía. Founded by Vicente Taberner on land where sunflowers once grew, he believed that a top quality red wine could be produced in an area long regarded by the wine world as being much too hot. The first vintage in 2005 was tasted by wine gurus Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker and sent both into raptures (the latter scoring it 95 points). The bodega can be visited and its wines can be purchased on site.
Perhaps the most renowned winery (bodega) in the golden triangle of Sherry production (Jerez, Sanlucar and Puerto). Home of the famous black bull, that nowadays seems to represent the entire country.
The aromas from the Fino and Manzanilla sherries can be smelt from streets away in this traditional and charming coastal town. The House of Osborne offers guided tours around its historic premises, finishing up with tastings and tapas. The town is filled with many historical sights and traditional tapas bars, specialising in amazing local seafood.
Bodega Osborne, c/Fernan Caballero, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz, Spain. 0034 956 855211.
My few days in La Rioja, one of the richest gastronomic regions of Spain, was a feast of the senses and has deepened my love of all things Spanish. We didn't expect the concierge of a five-star hotel to recommend an eatery situated in a petrol station – “There are bright green neon signs outside and it looks a bit like a brothel, but don’t worry,” she said, quite seriously.
So we arrived: petrol station, inside a room full of men and the room went silent. We shared a salad of pigs’ trotters stuffed with foie gras (yes, it really was a petrol station). The waitress seemed fascinated by the fact that we were there and was delighted to recommend her favourites on the menu and described passionately how we must eat each dish: with the lamb we were to “take a mouthful of the lettuce with every bite”.
It was fabulous. My roast leg of lamb was perfection. And bless them: rather than the delicious looking chips all the other diners (a lone woman arrived just after us) were eating, they served our main courses with ‘proper’ potatoes and vegetables. But much more importantly, my lamb came with a wonderful crisp green salad.
The simplicity of this showed an element of sophistication I’ve learnt not to expect from some of the best restaurants, let alone a roadside petrol station. The other main course of Magret of Duck was equally sensational: simply seared and perfectly pink, it was served with chestnuts, warm ‘marmalade’ and a cranberry sauce.
To finish we shared a cheese flan and feeling very full we were careful not to say we were sharing in case, as she had with the starter, brought not one to share, but one each. But to no avail: sure enough, she came proudly out of the kitchen carrying two full-size portions. And, I’m ashamed to say, we both polished off the lot – it was just, just wonderful.
Av de San Raimundo,
outside of Baristeri,
The Liébana area of the Picos de Europa is one of western Europe's last natural Edens and refuge of the wolf and Cantabrian brown bear. Cork oak forest and vines make clear a Mediterranean climate, but the cable car at from Fuente Dé takes you 800 metres up to spectacular Alpine scenery and great hiking.
Afterwards, on the way back to Potes from Fuente Dé, hungry walkers can satisfy body and soul at the Restaurante del Oso in Coslaya. The portions are huge and the local beef and vegetable stew ("cocido lebaniego") is simply wonderful.
Fuente Dé is reached from Potes, the toruism hub for the Picos de Europa in Cantabria.
More information and guide to the area:
One of the best self-guided trekking areas in Spain. A place of extinguished volcanoes amongst thick forests, unusually green all year round despite the Mediterranean sun. After exploring Vall d'en Bas valley, eat one of the best meals of your life in Restaurant Arnau, Granollers de Rocacorba, and swim in the pool afterwards.
Half an hour north-west from Girona. Read about Girona town and province:
An old mountain world impervious to (or unaware of) the heady modern culture that characterizes the rest of Spain. Well-kept whitewashed villages stuck to the mountainside. Wholesome food, peace and quiet, fabulous for walking holidays, free tapas, good rental cottages, friendly and easy-going.
By hire car or bus from Granada or Malaga Airport. Most popular villages: Capileira, Bubión. Introductory guide to La Alpujarra in www.rusticaltravel.com
For nearly 20 years, Paco the painter from Madrid has been patiently daubing faithful images of the quaint villages and mountain scenes of the high Alpujarra in Granada. The long-haired maestro emerges from a cloud of smoke in his studio to welcome you with a grand smile to his shop and art gallery in Capileira. It is filled with oil paintings and watercolours by him and other artist residents of this special mountain community.
Between two bars with terraces on the main square, Capileira, Granada. More on this area with picture of the village at: www.rusticaltravel.com/index.php/Alpujarras-Guide.html
Free, yes completely free, WOMAD festival Thurs-Sunday usually 2nd weekend in May.
Set in the beautiful old town of Caceres (it was built with gold plundered from the Incas).
Just about the most civilised festival I've been to - young and old enjoying great music among the cobbled streets and plazas. No queues - you can wander into bars and restaurants - just a lovely few days very different to UK fests. No security, blokes riding around on quadbikes etc etc
Caceres is in Extemadura
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