February 25, 2019
Where to Find Spring Flowers in Spain

Where to Find Spring Flowers in Spain

February 25, 2019
beautiful spring springtime flowers cherry blossom bloom europe spain scenery cute spring dress sezaneIn the next few weeks, spring will have sprung in Spain. Longer days, beautiful flowers, warmer weather...springtime is the perfect time to travel. It's also perfect to search for beautiful blooms and blossoms and in Spain you can find plenty. You can see some of the most spectacular flowering trees in Europe. The cherry blossom trees in Valle del Jerte, Extremadura are world famous but there are many more blooms and blossoms such as almond trees, sunflowers, geraniums, camellias... 

On this post I'm going to tell you where you can find spring flowers in Spain and show you some beautiful spring pictures. Shall we take a look?
beautiful spring springtime flowers cherry blossom bloom europe spain scenery quinta molinos madridbeautiful spring springtime flowers cherry blossom bloom europe spain scenery quinta molinos madrid
CHERRY BLOSSOM
VALLE DEL JERTE (EXTREMADURA)
This is the #1 spot to see cherry blossom trees in Spain. This stunning display of nature is a must if you are in Spain this spring. This valley produces half of the cherries in Spain so you can get an idea of the amount of cherry blossom trees you can find there. The beautiful white blossoms last for ten days and usually happen between March and April. Prepare your walking shoes, as there are many trails to walk around.
  • Where to stay
Stay at the Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera. It's 1 h and 19 minutes by car and you can see other amazing places while you are there like Monasterio de Yuste -a stunning building founded by the Hieronymite Order of monks in 1402- or Monfragüe Park -a wonderful place to visit for both ornithology and Mediterranean flora.
  • How to get there
From Madrid (236 km, 3 hours by car) take A-6, AP-51 and N-110. Google Maps

ALMOND TREE
Spain is the second producer of almond in the world - the first being the US-, that means we have plenty of almond trees all over the country.

QUINTA DE LOS MOLINOS (MADRID)
This park in Madrid offers the Spanish equivalent of the cherry blossom festival in Spain. What you will find here is a sea of almond trees which are blossoming at the moment. The blooms only last for a couple of weeks and because of hot temperatures they are going to be ready sooner that other years, so grab your picnic basket and go there this March.

Apart from the 1500 almond trees, in this park you can also find a pond, a windmill, a palazzo, a greenhouse and several fountains.

Read:
What to do in Madrid this spring
  • How to get there
The park is located in calle Alcala, in the east of Madrid. The closest metro stop is Suanzes (line 5) and buses 77 and 104 also stop there. Google Maps
It's open every day from 6:30am to 10:30pm.

SUNFLOWER
BUREBA (BURGOS, CASTILLA Y LEON)
Not many people in Spain know that we have huge sunflower fields. This funny flower that chases the sun is responsible for the most beautiful and romantic scenes. Fun fact: did you know that sunflowers can be up to 3 meters high? Summer is actually the best time to see these beautiful flowers that follow the sun. The best fields are between the towns of Briviesca and Poza de la Sal.
  • How to get there
From Madrid take A-1 north, then CL-632. It takes 3 hours by car (295 km). Google Maps

There are other places in Spain where you can find sunflower fields like Cardejon (Soria), Antequera (Malaga) or Carmona (Seville).

GERANIUM
CORDOBA FLOWER FESTIVAL (ANDALUSIA)
If white washed villages full of bougainvillea weren't enough, Andalusia has even more to offer to flower lovers. Spain's most famous flower festival happens in Cordoba in May. At the beginning of the month, residents open their patios to show their beauty to the world. The local tourism board organizes this event which is actually a contest with judging and prizes awarded.

This year, the festival starts on May 6 and ends on May 19. The patios are open from Sunday to Thursday from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 10pm; and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to midnight.

Read:
48 hours in Cordoba
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
  • Where to stay
When I visited Cordoba, I stayed at Eurostars Conquistador which has an unbeatable location being opposite the world famous mosque-cathedral.
  • How to get there
From Madrid take A-4 south. It takes 4 hours by car (394 km). Google Maps

POPPY
CASTILLO DE MONTALBAN (TOLEDO, CASTILLA LA MANCHA)
Amapola -Spanish for poppy- is very common in Spain. They are in full bloom between April and May. One of the most stunning fields is at Castillo de Montalban in the region of Toledo. Picture a gorgeous poppy field with a castle in the background. So picturesque, right?
  • How to get there
The trip takes 1h and 40 minutes from Madrid (120 km). Google Maps

CAMELLIA 
GALICIA

The characteristics of the soil, wet climate and mild temperatures of Galicia make it the perfect place for camellias to grow. Camelias arrived in Galicia at the end of the 18th century coming from China and Japan. In the west coast of Galicia you can follow La Ruta de las Camelias, a trail that will lead you through several pazos -country manors typical of Galicia- and gardens. 

  • Where to stay

Hostal dos Reis Catolicos is one of the most luxurious Paradores in Spain.

LAVENDER
BRIHUEGA (GUADALAJARA, CASTILLA LA MANCHA)
And last but not least, Brihuega. Save this one for summer though as lavender flowers won't be ready until July.
  • How to get there
You can find Brihuega in the region of Guadalajara, only one hour from Madrid. Take A-2, then CM-2011. Google Maps

Read
beautiful spring springtime flowers cherry blossom bloom europe spain scenery quinta molinos madrid
beautiful spring springtime flowers cherry blossom bloom europe spain scenery cute spring outfit
beautiful spring springtime flowers cherry blossom bloom europe spain scenery quinta molinos madrid
Do you like to search for spring flowers?

WEAR THIS THERE
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February 18, 2019
20 Unique Things to Buy in Spain

20 Unique Things to Buy in Spain

February 18, 2019
craftsmanship shop frigiliana spain pottery ceramics tienda artesania frigiliana ceramica nerja malaga spain españa
I like to buy unique things when I travel, special items that you won't find at a regular souvenir shop. I have an Aboriginal art silk scarf and a hand-painted boomerang from Australia and an embroidered table runner from Santorini. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about. I mean, there's nothing wrong with touristy souvenirs but I like having one of a kind objects.

When you think of things you can buy in Spain, fans and flamenco dresses quickly spring to mind. But, come on, Spain is much more than that! We have amazing craftsmanship, our food is recognized internationally and we produce the best olive oil in the world. This is what I want to talk to you about today. On this post you are going to find a list of the best gifts to buy for those seeking unique things to help you remember your Spanish vacation that no-one else will have.

Without further ado, here are 20 unique things to buy in Spain.
pottery ceramics gredos spain ceramica españa parador
What should I buy in Spain?

Being the capital of Spain, Madrid is the best place for shopping. There's a plethora of gourmet shops, fashion shops and even antiques -you can find a spectacular one in Claudio Coello street- that you can have shipped home. I recommend you do some fashion shopping in Madrid, there are plenty of cool Spanish fashion brands!
Read my shopping guide for Madrid

Speaking of clothes, Spanish espadrilles are world famous. You can find them in ever color, shape and price. From affordable ones you can find in Alpargatería Casa Hernanz, to the luxury ones by Castañer that are all over the internet.
Read about great quality and affordable Spanish fashion brands

Fans (abanicos in Spanish) can be both a tacky souvenir or a hand painted work of art. It all depends on where you buy them. Back home you can display them on your living-room or use them on a hot summer day. How cool would that look? You can find this great fan store in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Oh, and since you are there, I recommend you check out these two amazing high-quality hat stores in Plaza Mayor: La Favorita and Casa Yustas. The latter has the biggest selection of hats I've ever seen and it even has its own workshop.

Spanish embroidered shawls, or mantillas, can be a work of art. They can look amazing worn over a wedding guest dress or to a fancy dinner when you are back home.

If you are a music fan, or you know someone who is, a Spanish guitar is a wonderful gift. Guitarras Ramírez in Madrid is a family business that has been making guitars for generations.

Toledo is one of the must-see places near Madrid and it's famous for its marzipan which we usually eat for Christmas. In the same region you can find Oropesa and Talavera de la Reina both well known for their premium ceramics and embroidery. Fun fact: Gwyneth Paltrow used to come to Talavera to learn Spanish. Another place famous for ceramics and pottery is Sargadelos in Galicia.

Lladro is a Spanish porcelain brand exported all around the world. Buying it in Spain is cheaper and you can find designs that aren't available anywhere else.

In the region of Cadiz, in Andalusia, you can find leather goods in Ubrique and there's a great leather store in the beautiful Andalusian town of Vejer de la Frontera, unfortunately I can't remember the name of that one.

When someone mentions La Rioja, you immediately think of wine, right? This may come as  a surprise to you but one unique thing you can buy in that northern region are blankets. Ezcaray is a small town in La Roija well-known for its high quality blankets made of angora, mohair, cashmere or wool.
perfume store madrid tienda historica arte decoracion exclusive custom fragrance spain españa
perfume store madrid tienda historica arte decoracion exclusive custom fragrance spain españa
For me, the number one thing you must buy in Spain is food. However, make sure you check out the rules and regulations that your country has about food. For example, you won't be able to take jamon Iberico to the USA. Because there's nothing worse than having your gifts thrown away when you reach your homeland...

Depending on where you are going there are different local delicacies like Manchego cheese in La Manchasaffron -the spice that gives paella its distinctive color and taste- both in La Mancha and in Granada, gin in Menorca or quesada (similar to cheesecake) in Cantabria. There are other things that you can find everywhere like jamon, turron, olive oil or wine.

If you can, take some jamon Iberico back home. This Spanish high quality delicacy is made from black pigs who are fed with acorn in the Spanish countryside. Taking an entire leg -and slicing it after- is tricky so opt for a packet of slices instead.

Turron -a.k.a. nougat- is our favorite Christmas treat together with marzipan. The main ingredient for both of them are almonds.
Read how we celebrate the holidays in Spain

Spanish wine and virgin extra olive oil are part of our Mediterranean diet and have unique flavors that you can't find anywhere else. Sherry in Jerez and red wines from the spectacular wineries in La Rioja are a must for wine enthusiasts. As for olive oil, Jaen in Andalusia is the best place to buy it.
Read about the best Spanish wineries

If you have a sweet tooth like me, you must try our pastries. Tip: buy your pastries from convents. Nuns are famous for making scrumptious sweet treats and you can be sure that they use the best ingredients.

Finally, I recommend food markets to try locale delicacies even though you will consume those goods before you go back home.
Read about the best food markets in Madrid and how to order coffee in Spain
food market mercado valencia spain españa fruta fruit
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shop tienda marbella malaga spain
spanish fan abanico buy seville tienda sevilla españa
store shop seville flamenco dress spain
delicatesen delicacy store shop gourmet valencia spain españa
What do you buy when you travel abroad?

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February 11, 2019
What to Wear in Spain: Winter Edition

What to Wear in Spain: Winter Edition

February 11, 2019
what wear spain packing list fashion europe travel outfit women winter non-tourist
Being and organization freak, one of the first things I make when I prepare for a trip is a packing list. When you are going to a destination you've never been before the process of packing can be daunting. On this post I'm giving you, fellow female traveler, ideas on what to wear in Spain in winter. I'm going to cover questions such as: how to look like a local, what are the best shoes to wear in Spain in winter or what clothes won't make you look like a tourist.
what wear spain packing list fashion europe travel outfit women winter non-tourist


what wear spain packing list fashion europe travel outfit women winter non-tourist
How to make your packing list
The process that I follow to plan what I'm wearing when I travel is the following: after I have the itinerary lined up, I check the weather for every day that I'm going to spend in my destination, I get a calendar and write down what I plan to wear every single day from head to toe. That way I don't over-pack and I don't forget anything.

What to consider when traveling to Spain
Weather: many people think that Spain is always warm which is wrong. The weather varies a lot from north to south all year but specially in winter. Temperature can also change a lot from day to night. You'll need lots of layers in the north like what I'm wearing in these photos which were taken in Leon, and if you visit northern regions like Galicia your umbrella will be your best friend. If you go to Andalusia you will still need a coat but you'll probably be able to wear it open or even take it off some winter days. Even though snow is rare, pack a scarf, hat and gloves.
Cobble stone streets: apart from all the walking you are going to do, bear in mind that there are plenty of cobble stone streets in Spain, especially if you are visiting smaller towns.
Look like a local: Spaniards like to dress well in general so, if in doubt, dress up instead of down. If you want to fit in I advice you to keep it on the preppy side. Casual clothes that are comfortable but not sporty: long sleeved button downs, sweaters, cozy knits, jeans, skirts with thick tights...
Dining out: in big cities people wear really nice clothes when dining out at a fancy restaurant, in smaller places you can keep it a bit more casual. If dinning at a cute restaurant is among your plans, add a casual dress and a thick jacket suitable for evening wear to your packing list.

What shoes should you wear in Spain in winter?
I recommend the following types of women's shoes to wear:
  • sneakers
  • boots similar to UGGs
  • lower heel booties
  • oxford shoes

Make sure your shoes are not brand new. I learnt this the hard way. I have plenty of horror stories involving blisters...

Items that can give away you are a tourist
The following items should be avoided if you want to keep your outfits as non-touristy as possible.

  • Swap rain coats for trench. Never wear one of those plastic covers with a hoodie.
  • Socks with sandals are a big no-no in Spain.
  • Tracksuits and trekking clothes should be avoided unless you are going to the mountains

This is related to weather as well: wearing inappropriate clothes for winter will surely make you look out of place. So if you don't want to freeze to death and look like you've never been to Spain, leave your light-weight clothing at home.
what wear spain packing list fashion europe travel outfit women winter non-tourist


what wear spain packing list fashion europe travel outfit women winter non-tourist

I hope you enjoyed these tips and that they will save you a lot of time when packing for Europe.

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February 4, 2019
Instagram Worthy Spots in Spain from North to South

Instagram Worthy Spots in Spain from North to South

February 4, 2019
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable frigiliana nerja malaga pueblos bonitosSpain is full of photographic opportunities. From its monuments to its white washed villages, there's no shortage of Instagram material. On this post I'm going to show you the most Instagrammable places in Spain from north to south. Some are well-known landmarks in big cities, some are hidden gems I'm sure you haven't heard about. Get ready to grab your phone or camera and take the perfect pic.

ANDALUSIA
Frigiliana
This little village situated 7 km north of Nerja (a popular vacation spot near Malaga) has quickly become a favorite among tourists in the area. It's the only town in the region of Malaga included in the Pueblos Mas Bonitos de España (most beautiful villages in Spain) list. Frigiliana's charm lies in its beautiful streets where you can find white houses with colorful doors and bougainvillea, closeness to the beach and its location at the foot of a mountain range. The people who live here take good care of the village, walls seem to be recently painted, streets are immaculate, there are beautiful flower pots everywhere and restaurants look like they've been decorated by professionals.

Things to do in Nerja
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable frigiliana nerja malaga pueblos bonitos
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable frigiliana nerja malaga pueblos bonitos
Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer is one of the most famous pueblos blancos or white washed villages in Andalusia. It's in the region of Cadiz and it also made the Pueblos Mas Bonitos list. Roam around this charming town to see the most beautiful patios with lots of colorful potted plants and mudejar tiles. On the main square you will find this stunning fountain.
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable vejer frontera cadiz pueblos bonitos
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable vejer frontera cadiz pueblos bonitos
Plaza de España
Seville's #1 landmark. This has always been my favorite place in Spain. This beautiful plaza is covered in yellow and blue ceramic details. It's packed during the day so make sure you visit as early in the morning as you can. Apart from avoiding the crowds you will also be able to capture that golden morning glow in your photos.

What to do in Seville
Where to eat in Seville
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable seville plaza españa
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable plaza españa seville
CASTILLA LA MANCHA
Brihuega
If you think that you have to go all the way to the region of Provence in France to see lavender fields, I've got good news for you: you don't. Just one hour from Madrid you can find a little town called Brihuega in the region of Guadalajara. It is surrounded by the most amazing lavender fields and it organizes a Lavender Festival every July.

Read all about Brihuega here
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable lavender festival brihuega
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable brihuega lavender field

Campo de Criptana
There's a region in Spain where you can visit the windmills that Don Quixote chased. In Campo de Criptana and Consuegra you can find the best preserved windmills and you can learn their history and how they work.

Chasing windmills: a road trip through La Mancha
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable windmill campo criptana
Consuegra

In search of Don Quixoje
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable consuegra windmill toledo
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable consuegra windmill castle toledo

MADRID
Crystal Palace
Madrid has a plethora of Instagram worthy spots but one of the most important is the crystal palace in Retiro park. The glass and iron structure is filled with amazing light in the morning.

The most Instagrammable places in Madrid
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable crystal palace madrid
VALENCIA
The City of Arts and Science
This is a futuristic place with modern architectural marvels. The buildings are impressive and offer many leisure options.

48 hours in Valencia
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable valencia city art science
CASTILLA Y LEON
La Granja de San Ildefonso
If Instagram had existed in the 18th century, royalty would have been the most followed influencers of the time. Royal palaces are highly instagrammable and this one is no exception. This beautiful 18th century palace is located 10km from Segovia and one hour drive from Madrid which makes it a perfect day trip from the capital of Spain.

Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable segovia granja ildefonso
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable segovia san ildefonso granja
Castrillo de los Polvazares
This magical place near my hometown Leon consists of stone houses and cobblestone streets. Castrillo was one of the most important places during the Spanish War of Independence, as it was the first village of the area where the Spanish troops rebelled against the French army. The village keeps its original architecture since the 16th century. Every single building is made of stone and the road is paved with stones too.

Read more about Castrillo here
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable castrillo polvazares leon
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable leon castrillo polvazares
GALICIA
Beach of the Cathedrals
Playa de las Catedrales is a magnificent example of nature's power. The Atlantic tides are responsible for creating these unique arches and caves. The beach is located in Galicia, northwest of Spain. If you'd like to visit, bear in mind that you have to go when the tide is low. Otherwise it's all covered by turquoise water. Due to the amount of visitors, local authorities decided to restrict the number of people who can access it in order to protect it. So you have to get a free ticket online in advance.

Plan your trip to Playa de las Catedrales
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable galicia
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable playa catedrales beach cathedral galicia
AUSTURIAS
Ribadesella
This charming coastal town in the north of Spain is famous for its colorful houses along the sea promenade. They were constructed by the so-called Indianos (Spaniards who made a fortune in America) in the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays most of them are hotels.
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable ribadesella asturias
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable ribadesella asturias
CANTABRIA
Potes
This is a small town in the heart of the Picos de Europa. A river runs through the town with a lovely small stone bridge crossing it. Stone houses with flower pots make it a wonderful place for photography enthusiasts.

Potes and other charming towns in the Spanish mountains
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable picos europa potes cantabria
Comillas
There's no doubt that Gaudi's monuments are picture perfect. There are few of his buildings outside of Catalonia one of them being El Capricho located in the beautiful town of Comillas. The amount of heritage in this little town is impressive.

3 reasons to visit Cantabria
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable capricho gaudi comillas cantabria
Santander
Santander is consiered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. It has been a popular summer holiday resort for Spaniards since the 19th century when king Alfonso XIII spent many summers at the impressive Palacio de la Magdalena.

One day in Santander
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable palacio magdalena santander cantabria
BASQUE COUNTRY
Hondarribia
A colorful fishing village that is both rich in architecture as well as in gastronomy. The well-preserved Old Town with its beautiful and colorful houses is a must.

A day in Hondarribia
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable hondarribia
CANARY ISLANDS
Lanzarote: Jameos del Agua
This is a place where nature and mankind come together. Architect and artist Cesar Manrique transformed what used to be debris of a volcanic tube into a unique place.
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable lanzarote jameos
MENORCA
Menorca has many Instagram worthy locations. In fact, every single corner of this Spanish island is highly instagrammeable. Beaches and coves, white villages, turquoise water, beautiful sunsets...

The most instagrammable places in Menorca
5 days in Menorca
Sol Beach House, a highly instagrammable hotel in Menorca
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable menorca cova xoroi
instagram worthy spots places spain instagrammable binibequer menorca
What the most instagrammable place where you live?

I love sharing my beautiful country with the world so if you'd like to see more, follow my Instagram accounts: Memories of the Pacific and Madrid4Foodies.

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frigiliana malaga andalusia beautiful white village