Great part of the city - lots to do. I found some fantastic tapas restaurants. It is unmissable if you are spending any time in Palma. You can find it in the centre near the Palma Cathedral. One restaurant was particularly good, La Boveda, the tastiest olives I have found anywhere before or since. I stayed at the Catalonia Majorica Hotel which had beautiful views.
You can find it in the centre near the Palma Cathedral.
Great food at a great price. No main was more than €10! Wine was about €8-€9 a bottle.
We don't normally go to the same restaurant twice when we are on holiday, but we came here three times when we were here in Madrid in summer 08.
There were queues into the place on some evenings.
Plaza El Ángel 12
28012 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 691 059
A Moorish festival held over the first two weekends of September in Guaro in Malaga province. The streetlights are turned off and the beautiful village is lit by 20,000 candles. It's incredible. The streets are lined with North African inspired stalls selling everything from incense to spices to trinkets. Lots of street-side bars and food stalls stay open until the early hours and there's music as well as other performances.
It's really popular with the Spanish who come from far and wide, but not many tourists seem to know about it. I'd recommend staying in the village to avoid the transport chaos! There are a few English speakers with houses/apartments to rent in the village of Guaro.
I found Malaga airport a bit of a difficult place to come to. Buses weren't signposted, taxis seemed expensive and no one spoke English.
There was also a train but with the works going on you had to walk about half a mile to get to the station.
I recommend hiring a car to see Malaga and the surrounding area, there is so much to see and public transport leaves a lot to be desired.
I suggest a campsite at only 350m from the amazing beach of Sant Pol, on the Costa Brava. They rent lovely wooden bungalows, private and unique, surrounded by flowers, trees and plants. It's very cosy and plenty of facilities for your holidays in wooden cottages.
Street: Doctor Fleming 1, E-17220 Sant Feliu de Guixols. www.campingsantpol.cat, phone +34 972327269, nearest airport is Girona-Costa Brava. GPS 41º 47’ 10’’ N, 3º 2’ 28’’ E
It is a little cascade with a small lake (in Catalan we call it GORGA), in the middle of a lovely forest. It's also known as Gorg Moli dels Murris.
When we went there was noone this was 20 August. Water was beautiful, cool and clear! A paradise.
In Girona province, Garrotxa region, outside the town of Les Planes d'Hostoles.
In an almost unknown corner of Catalonia, away from the busy coastline of Sitges and Barcelona and only 70 kms inland, you can find this unspoiled spot of rural life, with farms and fields, a real place where foreigners are welcome as a rarity. You will be the only one taking a bath here, as I was yesterday afternoon, when I took my bike and rode the 8 kms from Igualdad just to have a bath there, in the clear and clean waters of the small lake sorrounded by caves, only 5 minutes walk from the main rural road.
La Fous is near Sant Marti de Tous, in Igualada, 70 kms from Barcelona.
Swim in the crystal clear cool waters of the Rio Casano near the village of La Molina. The most fabulous reward for a walk through the gorge in the heat of a Spanish afternoon. Plenty of room for a family of five and deep enough for proper swimming! Just beware the friendly goats on the path on the way home.
Village of La Molina, near Cabrales in the Picos Mountains of Northern Spain.
Now Benidorm is not considered a resort where you would expect to find a high end luxury boutique style hostel/pension, but how pleasantly overwhelmed I was to find this little gem in the heart of the old town.
From first impression it looks like any other townhouse offering standard rooms until you climb the stairs to your room and see the vast amount of money which has been spent in the total refurbishment in 2008. I can only say: four-star hotel quality rooms at hostel rates. Air conditioning, huge wardrobes, flat screen TV, double glazing, top of the range power shower with radio!
That would be enough, but you also get a large room fridge, free Wifi and a complimentary continental breakfast of juices, coffee and cheese with local cold meats and fresh fruit.
And here is the other great bonus as a green supporter: the Grapevine is eco-friendly with unlimited hot water supplied from roof top solar panels reducing your carbon footprint!!
The lovely Spanish/British owners take care of you well and offer great value local food too to suit your time and budget. As for price - unbeatable I was given a double room for single use at just 30€ per night in April, amazing.
To sum up if you are on your travels up the Costa Blanca coast and find yourself in slightly tacky Benidom stop a night, head for the old town and search out the Grapevine. Expectations exceeded. Without a doubt, I would happily have paid three times the price.
Carrer Del Condestable Zaragoza 5
Casco Antiguo, Benidorm
Tel +34 965 857 375
La Pulguilla is a tapas bar/restaurant - you get a tapas with every drink in the bar at the front. There is also a very good restaurant in the back and an open terrace in the summer. You can enter from the carpark in los Huertos at the rear. Very friendly staff, service and prices.
Calle Cristo,(Calle Almirante Ferrandez)
La Mariposa is a bodegas and tapas bar serveing very good wines, beers and soft drinks at very very good prices. You are also given a tapas with every drink ordered. It is run by a young friendly couple from Cadiz and the food they serve is from that area of Spain. It gets very busy as it is used by the local population, so there is aways a very friendly family atmosphere.
Calle Almirante Ferrandiz (Cristo),124
29780 Nerja, Malaga.
Tel,:627 504 840
647 982 916
After a fantastic walk through a limestone gorge, the restaurant El Ventorro is situated next to a lake with a great terrace and delicious food cooked on open fires.
Next to the restaurant is their new, Moroccan style spa with swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and plunge pool. You can take the day to walk there, relax in the spa then have a fabulous lunch before heading back to Alhama.
El Ventorro Restaurant
Alhama de Granada
Popular since Roman times, the hot springs in Alhama are a must-see. Adjacent to the spa hotel where you can have a whole range of treatments, there are four natural hot spring pools which you can enjoy for free day or night. Relax under the trees and let the minerals in the waters rejuvenate you. Recommended early in the morning or last thing at night.
18120 Alhama de Granada
Sleeping on the beach all day, great music all night. There really is little more to say about this hugely enjoyable experience - it has the best of a relaxing summer holiday and a good old-fashioned festival, plus it's significantly cheaper than most British festivals. Highly recommended.
Benicassim (near Tarragona)
Nearest airport: Barcelona Reus
Benicassim, a headlining festival in Spain, has some quality names going toe for toe with some of the biggest British festivals around. The main difference, and the reason for the tip, is the heat! The heat regularly in the 30's, dries the ground out to such an extent that mats and sleeping bags offer no comfort. I was there last year and my friend brought a lilo with him and was much better off than me, until he slept during the afternoon with no sheet, waking up in a pool of liquid, and we weren't even in the camp by the beach :) So bring a lilo to sleep and bring a sheet so you make sure the only way you get drenched is by the sea and possibly beer :) Line up looks awesome for 2009!!!
Tickets are sold out for 2009, but i think there are always a few on Gumtree and ebay.
Nowhere is the Burning Man European regional spin-off event, held in the desert in Spain 8-12 July 2009.
Far smaller than Burning Man (approx 400 people), it is the perfect entry to the world of radical self-reliance, participation and radical self-expression, and is far more affordable in these credit-crunch times.
Benicassim is a must for a festival-goer, particularly as you are almost guaranteed great weather, an excellent line-up, access to the nearby beach, and festivities continuing late into the night.
If you aren't lucky enough to book one of the apartments in the local area (they are often booked up months in advance), then the camping areas have blackout awnings set up to protect tents from the early morning sun. My main advice to anyone going would be to get to the campsite early enough to bag a spot under the awning if you don't want to be woken up by the blazing heat shortly after you have headed back to your tent! Remembering to pack an eye mask and some earplugs will help you get some sleep.
Avon's Skin So Soft Dry Oil body spray is also supposed to be one of the best insect and mosquito repellents around, so it could be worth stocking up on this before heading off.
If you're over 25 and like to party hard (festival starts at 8pm, winds up around 5am with the main acts on at 1am) but still value a few good hours shut-eye do yourself a favour and rent an apartment. They're not cheap for what they are - approx 200euros each for a week in Beni for a two twin bed, one lounge apartment with sofa bed and a balcony. However you won't regret it because;
1) day time temperature regularly tops 35/38 degrees. No one can sleep in that, especially under canvas in the sun.
2) In said temperature, a proper and private shower is a wonderful thing (albeit camping showers are remarkably good too).
3) you can chill your beer/water in the fridge/freezer.'Nuff said
4) you can relax in your own personal shade between festival/swims. If you camp, you need to find any bit of shade in town you can - you will see campsite refugees scattered in any bit of shade around parks/beach town.
5) you can make your money go further by cooking at home
If however you do decide to camp, bear in mind the following:
1) Buy a beach umbrella on the first day - approx 10-15 euros on the beach and will be a godsend - it can be errected by your tent for daytime snoozing, or on the beach to prevent sunstroke.
2) Campsite toilets are cleaned frequently and excellent compared with UK festivals
3) Take a couple of decent swimsuits/bikinis - easiest to have a shower in, and you will wear nothing but this in any daylight hours you're awake in
4) ear plugs. Get them free from the festival or bring your own unless you want Surrey's finest students keeping you awake all night
A final word on getting out of Benicassim. You need to fly into Valencia, Barcelona or Alicante and train/bus down. Highly recommend Valencia as closest with best connections. If you can, ensure you have one night in valencia on the way back. The bus (most reliable) is notoriously packed and it can take literally four hours to queue up to get on a bus to make the 40min odd journey. Don't even think about getting the train no matter how early - it's a massive crush, desperately hot and uncomfortable.
What do you want from your festival experience this year? Great music? Chilled vibe? Sunshine? Great food? Better prices? A beach on the doorstep? The best holiday you've been on, with the added bonus of the worlds biggest bands and djs at your disposal every night? I can't recommend Benicassim more highly. The best combination of beach holiday and brilliant festival, with camping thrown in for a ridiculously good price (and lilos available from any shop in the gorgeous little town, to make the tent experience that bit more comfortable.) And all on the beautiful Spanish coast. What more could you ask for? Leave your wellies at home and pack your suncream instead - this is not your usual festival experience!
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