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The Seven Canary Islands: Great Holiday Getaways

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Thousands of tourists flock to the seven Canary Islands archipelago every year to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. Here’s what each island has to offer.

Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands with almost guaranteed year round sunshine and a diverse terrain of dramatic mountains and beautiful beaches. Las Cañadas del Teide, a natural crater, is a National Park that lies 2,000m above sea level and north of the crater stands El Pico del Teide, a 3,718m mountain, is the highest peak in Spain. Most families and couples travel to the resort of Playa de las Americas while surfers prefer the resort of El Médano. Flights to Tenerife, including national and international, fly to Tenerife South Airport and Tenerife North, so finding a flight should be a breeze.

Tenerife
Tenerife by POTIER Jean-Louis on Flickr.com

La Palma

Small in size but big on beauty, La Palma is also known as La Isla Bonita or ‘The Pretty Island’At the bottom of the island you will find Fuencaliente, where there are two volcanoes – Volcán San Antonio and Volcán Teneguía. The Fuencaliente Volcano Route offers different options for all levels of walkers. If you’re a wine lover, don’t miss Malvasia, the white dessert wine from the south of La Palma.

Fuerteventura

The three thousand hours of sunshine a year and the endless stretches of untouched beaches of white sand are found on the second smallest Canary Island. Fuerteventura is also well-known as a waterspouts paradise! Surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers come here to glide out on a surf board or windsurf and take advantage of the wind and waters.

- Dunes -Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura by Xavler on Flickr.com

Lanzarote

A holiday favourite, Lanzarote is the fourth largest island of the Canary Islands. Lanzarote has many alluring white beaches such as Papagayo and Playa Blanca. One stunning feature of Lanzarote is Atlantida Tunnel, the longest volcanic tunnel in the world Another tourist attraction is the sculptures and architecture designed by the internationally renowned artist, architect and environmentalist César Manrique. Some of his unique public arts include Jameos del Agua, the César Manrique Foundation, Mirador del Rio and Cactus Garden.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is rich in nature and biodiversity, with the island being awarded the Biosphere Reserve label by UNESCO for its effort in supporting the conservation of the diverse archipelago. The coastline is home to the loggerhead turtle, the bottlenose dolphin and Risso’s dolphin. The fine weather, strong wind and stunning coastline make it an excellent place for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Valley/Valle Agaete Gran Canaria
Valley/Valle Agaete Gran Canaria by Dunas on Flickr.com

El Hierro

Measuring less than 50km from one end to the other, El Hierro is the smallest of the seven Canary Islands. El Hierro has more than 800 volcanoes, making it the Canary Island with the densest concentration of volcanoes! El Hierro also has an outstanding biodiversity, with almost 100km of rugged, cliff-lined coastline and coves and lagoons. Lovers of diving and snorkeling go there for the clear, deep waters.

La Gomera

About 50km south-west of El Hierro is La Gomera, also known to many as the Canary Island’s “magical island”.  The Garajonay National Park, a vast unspoilt rainforest, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. Go within the dense vegetation of laurisilva tree to watch the sea of clouds (horizontal rain!), an atmospheric phenomenon caused by winds blowing in from the sea. The beaches and coves in La Gomera are blessed with black sands and crystal clear water.

El sol llegando a La Gomera - The sun coming to La Gomera
Sunrise in La Gomera by perlaroques on Flickr.com

The seven different and unique Canary Islands are the best places to enjoy an amazing holiday at any time of the year.

 

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Three day trips from Malaga

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Summer trips to Spain inspire ideas of sun and sand, but jet down to Malaga and you will not only be in one of the Costa del Sol’s top resorts, but also in a convenient position to go on some amazing day trips.

Flights from anywhere in Europe are quick and cheap, and when we hopped on a flight to Malaga, we discovered that although Malaga itself is a rather large city with plenty to see and do for an extended period of time, what makes this sunny city such a great destination is how much you can do just outside the city limits, within an easy day trip.

Here are three quick trips recommended during a summer vacation in Malaga.

Spain Beach

Marbella

Spain as a whole has a reputation for being chic, but if you want to take a day trip to somewhere really luxurious and suave, head to Marbella. Situated about an hour’s drive to the west of Malaga, this coastal resort has long been popular among celebrities, like Hollywood actress Eva Longoria, so you could well end up rubbing shoulders with some high-profile names when relaxing on one of Marbella’s golden beaches.

You might be inspired by all the shoulder-rubbing and decide to stroll the Prince Alfonso Hohenlohe Boulevard for a spot of window-shopping, as this main drag is perfect for picking up (or just admiring) designer clothing and gorgeous jewelry.

Church in Marbella
Church in Marbella via Karen Bryan on Flickr

Nerja

For those who like basking in the famous Spanish sunshine, Nerja is a key day trip destination worth checking out. This western Costa del Sol resort lies about an hour away from Malaga and contains a great variety of beaches ideal for laying out, working out or checking out beautiful beach bodies. Among these is Burriana, a lovely 700 m expanse of golden sand, though El Salon, Calahonda and La Torrecilla are also good places to relax.

For those interested in more than relaxation, head to the Nerja cave. Only discovered in 1959, this underground complex features a wide range of ancient rock formations, including stalagmites and stalactites, that have been sculpted over the course of thousands of years.

Nerja
Nerja via Airon Zone on Flickr

Ronda

Admittedly, many of those who visit the Costa del Sol will stick to the region’s coastal towns and resorts, which is why heading inland offers a fairly unique and culturally interesting day or overnight trip. Explore Ronda, a historic town that lies on both sides of the Tajo del Ronda gorge.

A wealth of period architecture can be seen here, including the 13th century Almocabar Gate and the Santa Maria la Mayor. The latter was originally a mosque, though it would later be converted into a church when Ronda fell under Christian rule. This transformation has resulted in the structure containing a blend of architectural styles and features, including a mihrab arch and a Baroque-style interior.

Ronda Bridge
Ronda Bridge via Dean Ayres on Flickr

Between even just these three day trips and explore the city of Malaga, you can easily fill a week of sun, sand and culture without worrying about heading to packed out Barcelona or Valencia in the height of summer season and still feel like you have had a classic Spanish summer experience.

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Why Spain is our go-to destination for a European weekend getaway

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Our hearts go out to our friends and family in the northern hemisphere right now. Snow and below zero temperatures day after day at the end of March? When will this winter ever end and whatever happened to March going out like a lamb?!

It’s even snowing in London, which only ever happened twice in the three years we called the city home. Even so, the long, gray winters took their toll on us back then, which is why we got very good at escaping on short breaks. Sometimes we based our decision on where to go on cheap deals we found with budget airlines. Doing this we flew to Scandinavia, France, Scotland, Germany and Austria, to name a few.

But sometimes we knew exactly what we needed and exactly where to get it. Our favorite European weekend getaway by far was (and is) always Spain. No matter where we went – Madrid, the Costa Brava or Southern Spain – we could find just what we needed to recharge our batteries: bright sun, good food (and wine!) and satisfaction for our inner culture vulture.

Spain plazaThe winter before becoming nomads, for example, an amazing last minute vacation deal in Spain caught my attention and just thirty minutes later I had booked a long Easter weekend getaway to a small town in southern Spain near Malaga. For just 199EUR, the deal included return flights for the two of us and 5 nights in a vacation apartment with terrific ocean views, just five minutes from the beach.

Another time, we escaped a dreary London autumn for a ten-day train in Spain getaway. We flew to Seville, took the train up to Madrid and then over to Barcelona and flew back to London from there. Whether we go for a sun and sand or city break escape, Spain never disappoints. So for those of you who are looking for a spontaneous escape at the moment, read on for why we think Spain is your best bet.

The weather

Even when it is cold and snowy in Northern Europe, Spain benefits from its Mediterranean climate. Even in the coldest months of January and February, southern Spain has average daily temps of 15 C (60 F) and 20-22 days of sun each month.

seville plaza de espana

The prices

Spain has always been an affordable destination, but in recent years the dire economic situation has meant even more deals can be found for hotels and tours looking to fill up in a financial crisis. Traditionally a summer destination for Europeans, Spain has hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms that need to be filled during the months outside of June-September. We easily found rooms at half-price or better – after all, a booked room is always better for a hotel than an empty room.

The food

You can’t go wrong with Spanish cheese, wine and olives, and though omnivores often indulge in Spanish ham and other meats, we love love love Spanish tapas – from green peppers in sea salt to our all-time favorite, Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette). The best thing about tapas – they are cheap and easy to share!

churros con chocolate spain

The people

We find that Spaniards are some of the most welcoming people in all of Europe, though this perception might have been skewed coming from London where no one talks to each other. Either way, in Spain we were always welcomed with smiles and people chatting with us, showing genuine interest in our story and where we are from, and sharing their stories with us as well.

The culture

Spain is one of the most culturally diverse countries in Europe – Barcelona is nothing like Madrid, Oviedo is nothing like Bilbao. Little towns in the countryside couldn’t be more different from the beach side resorts, and no matter where you go, cities are rich with historical buildings, beautiful 15th century churches and region-specific architecture. More than anything we love how many places in Spain combine the all-in-one beach and city escapes we crave like Barcelona, Valencia or Malaga. A weekend in Barcelona can be themed around Gaudi, or you can take in some world-class art galleries in Madrid, or delve into the remains of the mix of Jewish, Muslim and Christian culture in Toledo. Most cities in Spain are small enough to be explored in a day or two and we could live in a self-catering apartment on the beach for weeks at a time.

Barcelona gaudi park guell

The Transportation

Spain’s high-speed AVE train network connects all the dots on the map, both large and small, making it super easy to criss-cross the country and stop off wherever you’d like, easily combining two cities during one visit, like we did – Barcelona and Madrid are within a two hour reach, or you can head down to the coast after a visit to the Moorish Alhambra Palace and a couple of days in Granada. And if you book your train tickets in advance, they are quite inexpensive, as are flights with all the well-known budget airlines that connect major Spanish cities both to each other as well as to cities throughout Europe. For anyone based in Europe, Spain – and all the sun and sand that comes with it – is easily within your reach.

What are your favorite destinations in Spain? What is your favorite European country for a weekend break?

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The Gems of Andalusia

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Andalusia is Spain’s largest region and you could spend months exploring it. But many visitors – particularly those from the USA – tend to focus on the three cultural gems of the interior: Granada, Cordoba and Seville. You can get through all three in a 10-day itinerary, but it will be at high speed. If you can spare two weeks I’d recommend it. Best times to visit are spring and autumn when it’s bright and sunny without the stifling heat of mid-summer and everyone seems to walk with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. Many visitors fly into Madrid and then take the high speed AVE train Cordoba – which takes around 2 hours – and pick up a hire car there.

Sultry Seville’s must-sees
Seville is a quick 90 minutes down the autopista from Cordoba. Base yourself in the bustling streets of the old town and the minute you step outside the door, you’ll be enthralled by its atmosphere. The must see is the Alcazar – this fairytale royal palace is still used by the King today when he’s in town. It’s a feast of rooms and cool courtyards with intricately carved ceilings and walls.

seville plaza & horse drawn carriageClose second comes the vast cathedral which dominates the skyline of the old town. Take a walk up La Giralda – the belltower – for great views over the city. I’d also try and fit in a visit to the Casa de Pilatos or the Casa de la Condesa de Lebrija – two gorgeous private houses both stuffed with interesting artefacts and paintings. Art lovers should make time to visit the excellent Museo de Bellas Artes which is particularly good for the highly romanticised paintings of the Seville school of painters – in particular Murillo. In the evenings make sure to go to at least one flamenco show – my favourite is the paired down, simple and authentic dance and song on offer at the Casa de la Memoria. Real fans should also visit the Flamenco museum which has live evenings too. And for food – it has to be tapas – snacking on small bites stood at the bar with an ice cold beer or a glass of wine alongside is the quintessential Seville experience. Casa Morales and Bar Europa are two of my favourites – both located in the old town.

Cool Cordoba’s key sights
If you start your tour in Seville, you’ll find Cordoba immediately feels smaller and easier to manage. Like Seville its cathedral – the Mezquita – dominates the old town and, like Seville, it’s built on the foundations of the former mosque that existed here when the region was under the control of the Moors. The difference here is that a big chunk of the mosque remains – a forest of horseshoe-shaped red and white striped arches disappears into the gloom as you step inside. Planted like some alien invader in the centre is a huge domed cathedral – a light-filled space that’s in total contrast to the Moorish elements that surround it. There really is no building like it in the world. If budget is not issue then consider doing a night visit – it’s wonderfully atmospheric. Tickets need to be purchased in advance from the ticket booths in the cathedral courtyard.
maimonides
A wander around the narrow lanes of the Jewish quarter (Juderia) is another must-do. History buffs should check out the synagogue here one of just a handful from this era left in Spain. The nearby Casa de Sefarad recounts the history of the Jewish population of the city in more detail too. If you’re in the mood for shopping look for Taller Meryan a wonderful artisan shop selling exquisitely carved leather goods – one the specialities of the area. It’s tucked down a pretty side street called Calle de las Flores.

Granada’s gorgeous royal palace
Granada is another three hours or so from Cordoba by road. Make sure you’ve worked out how to get to your hotel before you arrive as driving around the city is a complex affair. The highlight of a visit to Andalusia awaits here. The amazingly elaborate Alhambra palace is one of Europe’s most exotic and romantic. Be warned though – unsurprisingly, it’s very popular. Book your entry ticket ahead of your arrival using the Ticketmaster website. There’s a night viewing option available here too and again, it’s well worth considering, particularly because you avoid the queues and crowds of daytime. (But you don’t get to see the gardens if you take this option). The palace is a series of exquisitely decorated rooms and courtyards from the era when the Moors ruled this part of Spain. There are stunning golden domed ceilings, peaceful pools reflecting the detailed carvings on the pillars and walls that surround them and courtyards with fountains.

Sunset in Granada, Granada, SpainThe views from some of the corridors out across the city are spectacular too. The gardens are also delightful. A series of playful water features – like streams that flow down the bannisters of stairways – are particularly wonderful. Make time too to wander the old Arab Quarter. Called the Albaicin, it’s a labyrinth of narrow whitewashed housed-streets and tiny squares. Stay at a hotel here to really sample the atmosphere. There’s a real north African vibe to parts of the area in particular Calle Caldereria which is lined with atmospheric little tea shops – perfect for relaxing to the sound of water fountains with a perfumed cup of tea in the heat of the day.

Getting there
You can fly to Madrid from most major UK and US airports. Cordoba has no commercial airport and there are currently no direct flights to Granada either. You can fly direct to Seville from the UK however – from London Gatwick. If you plan to park at Gatwick, check out the official website for the best Gatwick airport parking prices.

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Snack-sized Spain – Tapas for everyone!

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Served hot or cold, snack-size tapas are possibly Spain’s best culinary invention. Although we usually need at least three to really fill up, the endless selection of tapas plates keeps even vegetarians full and happy. Tapas go best with beer or wine, and the best part is that, sometimes, tapas come free with your drink.

Madrid mercado San Miguel Olives

tapas green chilis patatas bravasEach tapas bar tends to have a few veggie items, and the options vary according to city and type of restaurant, so we made sure to eat at least at one tapas bar in every city while touring Spain to maximize the variety of delicious dishes. Here are some of our favorite vegetarian tapas:

goats cheese tapas sevilleWe had this delicious dish of warm goats cheese in a honey sauce in Seville and loved it! One of our all-time favorites is goats cheese baked in phylo dough, and then honey drizzled over it once you take it out of the oven… Honey & goats cheese in any combination, really.

zuccini TapasThinly-sliced zucchini marinated in olive oil laid on a bed of feta cheese, spiced up with paprika.

spinach & chick peas tapasSpinach and chick peas, similar to an Indian dish, was to die for!

mushroom risotto tapasA tapas-size portion of mushroom risotto, baked in this little dish.

papas bravasPatatas Bravas, or spicy potatoes. The quality of this dish seriously varies – our advice is that at a tourist trap, avoid them at all costs. If at a locals joint – go for it!

tortilla espanola & SalsaAn all-time favorite of ours: Tortilla Española – we get a Spanish omelet almost every day when we are in Spain! The one pictured, which we had in Seville, was a particularly good one, with a fabulous tomato salsa on top.

The desserts!

Chocolate desert sevilleThis heavenly chocolate cake was one of the best deserts we’ve ever had!

Yummy almond cake spainThis cake is filled with an almond cream and comes with a caramel sauce. If you go to Madrid, we highly recommend ordering this desert at Cafe Oriente on Plaza Oriente, and enjoy it with views of the Royal Palace.

churros con chocolate spainNot necessarily a tapas desert, but we cannot NOT mention Churros con Chocolate. Comparable to doughnuts, these pieces of fried dough are dipped in a cup of steamy melted chocolate for breakfast, lunch or dinner at a bakery, restaurant or tapas bar.

Have you been to Spain? What are your favorite tapas?

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Street Art in Valencia, Spain

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As passionate street art fans, Valencia is something similar to our Mecca. The Spanish city is teeming with unique graffiti and murals, which makes for fascinating sightseeing throughout local neighborhoods!
valencia street art faceBarrio Carmen in the historic center is a neighborhood filled with quirky bars, shops and restaurants, along with some terrific street art:
valencia street art
valencia street art headless
valencia street artNot only walls are used as a canvas – doors, roller shutters of the shops – any flat service really:
Valencia street art skull
Shop Art valenciaValencia is bursting with talented urban artists, whose paintings are so good they almost look like photographs or computer graphics:
valencia street art parachutes
valencia street art wall
valencia street art cornerWe also spotted pieces a la Banksy, in the form of stencil sketches:
Valencia street art girl
Valencia street art paintingHow about this spot-on Lisa Simpson piece – listen to Lisa and stop eating meat!
valencia street art lisa simpson
valencia street art lisa simpson save animals

Click through our complete Valencia Street Art album for more incredible works of art:

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”Globetrottergirls” id=”72157627389672827″].
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Are you a fan of street art? What’s your favorite city for street art?

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Cities in Europe we could live in

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Our recent flight to Toronto was bittersweet and as Europe disappeared behind us, a feeling of melancholy won out over the rush of excitement we normally feel when stepping into our next major phase of travel. We reminisced about the amazing fourteen weeks we spent in Europe this spring and summer, where we discovered new treasures, re-visited old favorites, reveled in the comfort, beauty and style of European life. It had been awhile since we had been in Europe and we found ourselves wondering – if we were to ever stop traveling, which European city could we see ourselves actually living in? There are so many great cities in Italy, Germany and Spain, we loved spending time in Prague, Oslo and Amsterdam, had a wonderful time in Innsbruck and so many other places, but putting down roots is another prospect entirely. We may have narrowed it down to the following cities in Europe we think we could live in.

Lady in Lisbon, Portugal

London

A wise man once said, “If you tire of London, you tire of life,” and even after three years of life in London before becoming nomads, we never got tired of exploring the city’s neighborhoods. Creative Shoreditch, glamorous Chelsea, the punks of Camden and up-and-coming areas like Dalston, Deptford and Stoke Newington. London is easily the greenest city we have lived in, with massive open spaces in Hyde Park, Greenwich Park and Richmond. London is also a foodie paradise – Borough Market and enough eateries to keep us chowing down all year round. We loved cycling along the Thames or through unknown neighborhoods, finding cute independent shops, pubs and street art.

London Camden High StreetThe accommodation options are endless, too, ranging from cheap hostels to five-star hotels, free couchsurfing options to affordable hotels in London. At times, you could easily feel as if you are in the center of the pop culture universe  – art exhibitions at London’s free museums, blockbuster movie premieres on Leicester Square and the concerts…never in our lives have we been to so many shows as the time we spent in London.

Despite the city’s fascinating cultural diversity, international cuisine and constant stream of new things to discover, there is a major drawback to London life  – a serious vitamin D deficiency. The gloomy winters and frequent rain keep us from laying down permanent roots here for now, but we would definitely spend a summer in London again soon.

London market coffee house

Barcelona

We spent less than a week here, but Barcelona is easy to love – from the fabulous Gaudi buildings to the hip hop dancers on Las Ramblas, the city and its people ooze a kind of creativity that we immediately connected with – passionate, yet practical, anti-establishment but success-driven. In Barcelona, we walked the beach and discovered the former Olympic area, devoured fresh gelato, undertook the task of infinite tapas tasting, discovered retro bars and modern art galleries and never once did we get bored.

Barcelona gaudi park guellWe also both feel very comfortable speaking Spanish and would be excited to learn to converse in Catalan. Whether or not Barcelona could be forever remains to be seen, but we would most certainly attempt an extended stay.

Barcelona beach at sunset

Paris

We love Paris! Before you get to any oh-so-typical eye-rolling, we couldn’t believe it either. After our first few hours in the French capital, however, we were both hooked, and after several subsequent trips over from London to Paris on the Eurostar express train, there just isn’t much about Paris not to love. We pick up a baguette  for under a buck, some gruyere or brie or camembert, a good, cheap bottle of Merlot or Beaujolais and head to Parc de la Villette or Jardin du Luxembourg or along the river Seine for a picnic.

Paris sweetsWe munch  on macaroons, eclairs, croissants as we explore the streets of Le Marais or the Latin Quarter and sneak up to Montmartre, the artists quarter, in the morning before the tourists arrive. We could spend countless afternoons strolling through the extravagant cemeteries like the Pere Lachaise and evenings watching French couples dance tango on the shore of the Seine as the sun sets. For all the flowery fine art, there is just as much angst-inspired contemporary urban work, and there are as many hang-out spots for intellectuals and artists as punks and fashion icons.

Paris Je t'aimeHowever, our French is fairly basic (but we could learn), and Paris can be expensive, so while the dream exists to spend a glorious life in the City of Lights, it might be more logical to consider a month, maybe two, housesitting in a French apartment, eating, drinking and exploring Paris.

Lisbon

It was a risky last-minute, on-the-fly decision to spend nearly the entire month of June in Lisbon. The decision turned out to be the best we’ve made in a long time. Neither of us had ever been to Lisbon, we knew almost nothing about it and when we arrived, it took us a few days to fall for the city.

View over LisbonOnce we got out and explored, however, we discovered narrow city streets filled with tiled houses, countless neighborhood pastelerias (bakeries), seven hills with unbeatable views of the ocean and the Tagus river, nearby golden beaches and the Ponte de 25 April bridge, which looks like an exact replica of the Golden Gate Bridge.  We found the trendy area of Bairro Alto teeming with creative concept bars and countless Indian restaurants. There are galleries, markets, sun and sand, and a cosmopolitan composition rivaled only by London.

Lisboa street art graffiti lisbonBest of all, Lisbon is easily the most affordable capital city in Europe – food, drink, transportation and accommodation are fairly priced and manageable. The people are laid-back, friendly, and we picked up enough Portuguese to get by. Of all the cities in all of Europe, we could not be happier to have discovered Lisbon, and the city is now our top choice to live in Europe.

Lisbon tramWhat European city could you see yourself living in? Let us know in the comments!

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Hotel Tip of the Week: Hotel Hesperia Sevilla | Spain

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Welcome to our weekly Hotel Tip of The Week series. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay at countless hotels along the way. For all the disappointing  digs, there are as many accommodation gems. We post one hotel tip of the week, every week, of places we feel confident recommending after having tried and tested them ourselves.


A few years ago we flew in to Seville for the first part of our Train through Spain vacation and, both enamored by this steamy southern Spanish city; we knew we would be back. When the time came for us to visit again this year, we also knew that we would again book in to the Hesperia Sevilla. The Seville hotel sits right in that sweet spot of location, price, service and room quality that made our decision to stay there again this year easy to make.

After a quick 15-minute ride from the international airport, we found ourselves standing in the cool marble lobby at the Hesperia Sevilla, which oozes Spanish style from its public spaces to the Art-Deco style rooms. Because the hotel is located outside the historic center, the bright rooms here are a spacious, purpose-built 24 square meter size with deep, comfortable beds, making it just as satisfying to spend time in the room as enjoying Sevilla. The bathrooms are equally spacious and bright, towels are perfectly fluffy, and toiletries include everything from the sewing kit to a full-size toothbrush.

The free in-room wi-fi connection worked without a hitch. Simply pick up a password at the front desk and sign-in one time and you are connected for the duration of your stay. The staff at Hesperia Sevilla, though not masters of the English language, is guest-oriented and helpful, while the large leather couches arranged in the lobby are great to sink into meet with friends at night or read the paper in the morning. The on-site parking lot is great for those guests traveling by car. We opted not to eat at the hotel Tapas bar, choosing to dine instead at a couple of ‘cervecerias’ nearby.

We appreciated the location of Hesperia Sevilla, in a bustling neighborhood where locals drink their morning coffee, gossip over late lunches with friends or enjoy tapas late into the night at the many tapas bars. The four-star Seville hotel conveniently sits right on the main Avenida Eduardo Dato so cabs are readily available, but Hesperia is only a 15-minute walk to the center of the Andalusian capital, just up the road from the train station where high-speed AVE trains leave for destinations throughout Spain, and around the corner from good shopping/dining options at the El Corte Ingles shopping mall, a Spanish shopping institution.

Stand-Out Feature: Value For Money

Hesperia Seville offers competitive rates for a four-star Spanish hotel. The hotel works closely with several booking websites and also offers deals and packages on its own website. When a bed in a shared dorm room can cost around $25-35 per person in most European cities, a rate of $70 for two at Hesperia Sevilla is that much more attractive. The hotel is perfect for business travelers (offering business & meeting facilities) but the price and location make it also perfect for families, couples and even large tour groups.

Room for Improvement: The Noise Factor

In a city like Seville, where there are ways to fill your day from morning until the wee hours, most guests spend limited time inside the hotel. If that sounds like how you travel, the paper-thin walls might not bother you in the least. But for loved-up couples or parents with vocal children – your neighbors will hear you and you will hear them.

Overall

We found Hesperia Sevilla to be a bright, stylish mid-range hotel in a great location with all the necessary services and facilities to meet the needs of both business travelers and tourists to Seville.

Location: Avenida Eduardo Dato, 49, Sevilla, Spain
Price: from 50 Euros for a double room
LGBT Friendly: yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: Yes
Amenities: wi-fi, meeting rooms, desks, mini-bar, oversized bathtubs
Website: www.hesperia.com/hesperia/en/hotels/spain/seville/hesperia-sevilla.html

Like this hotel? Book it here.

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Polaroid of the week: The hand-painted street signs of Madrid, Spain

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.polaroid of the week spain madrid street sign calle del rioThe historic center of Madrid has some of the most beautiful street signs we’ve come across on our travels. The signs are usually set together from nine or twelve hand-painted ceramic tiles with pictures related to the name of the street.

These public works of art range from animals like eagles and bulls, important historical townspeople like mayors, carpenters or nuns and the Calle del Rio, or street of the river (above) is illustrated by an idyllic lazy river. This is just one of those little details about Madrid we loved during our recent visit!

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Polaroid of the week: Flamenco musicians in Seville, Spain

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polaroid of the week spain seville flamenco musicians

Last week we returned to Seville, one of our favorite places in Spain. Andalusia is famous for its Flamenco dance and music and no visit to Seville is complete without seeing some live flamenco music. La Carboneria (Calle Levies 18)  is one of the many bars where you can listen to flamenco music every night of the week. Flamenco music is played by a guitar player while a female flamenco dancer shows off her moves. We spotted this live performance one afternoon on the Plaza de España.

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