February 17, 2020
20 Incredible Parador Hotels to Travel to in 2020

20 Incredible Parador Hotels to Travel to in 2020

February 17, 2020
parador hotel sigüenza
I've talked about Parador hotels countless of times on the blog. It's a topic that gets me really excited because I consider it a genius business model. Turning historical landmarks and religious heritage into hotels is one of the best ideas ever!

My husband and I are Paradores biggest fans and whenever we can we eat or stay at one. There are almost 100 Parador hotels in Spain and our aim is to visit every one of them. To share my love for Paradores I've put together a list of 20 incredible Parador hotels to travel to in 2020 which are absolutely bucket-list-worthy.

Here’s a look at 20 Parador hotels you should have your eye on for 2020.
parador hotel sigüenza

20 Incredible Parador Hotels to Travel to in 2020

  1. Parador de Gredos: surrounded by mountains and hiking trails, this hotel is one of the best ways to fill your lungs with fresh air and unwind.
    parador hotel gredos
  2. Parador de Oropesa: this 14th-century castle used to belong to the counts of Oropesa and now you can feel like royalty by staying there.
    parador hotel oropesa
  3. Parador de Almagro: a former convent located in a beautiful village where you can enjoy 16th century open air theater. The summer theater festival is a must.
    parador hotel almagro
  4. Parador de Cuenca: it overlooks the quaint hanging houses, one of the best known sites in Spain.
    parador hotel cuenca
  5. Parador de Fuente De: get lost in the Spanish mountains at this hotel. The views of the mountain range from the room are breathtaking. In the mornings cattle grazes in the area and you will feel like beloved cartoon character Heidi, Girl of the Alps.
    parador fuente de
  6. Parador de los Reyes Catolicos: this hotel in Santiago de Compostela is the only 5-star Parador open at the moment. The other one is in Leon but it's currently closed for renovations.
    parador hotel reyes catolicos santiago compostela
  7. Parador de Hondarribia: located in a charming town near San Sebastian, this hotel makes you feel as if you were back in Medieval times.
    parador hotel hondarribia
  8. Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera: it has one of the most spectacular patios we've seen at a Parador. I recommend visiting in summer so you can dine out al fresco.
    parador hotel jarandilla
  9. Parador de Guadalupe: located on the site of the Royal Monastery of Guadalupe, its lovely interior courtyard filled with lemon and orange trees will make you fall in love with it.
    Parador hotel guadalupe
  10. Parador de La Granja: it is housed in the Casa de los Infantes, built by king Charles III in the 18th century as a home for the infantes Gabriel and Antonio.
    parador hotel granja san ildefonso
  11. Parador de Chinchon: it's located in one of the most beautiful villages in Madrid. It's a must day trip if you are visiting the capital of Spain.
    parador hotel chinchon
  12. Parador de Santillana del Mar: it's located in one of the most beautiful villages in the region of Cantabria. If you like charming cobblestone streets, this is the place to be.
    parador hotel santillana mar gil blas
  13. Parador de Nerja: located in this coastal town near Malaga, this is a great option for your beach holidays in summer. the views from it are jaw-dropping.
    parador nerja hotel
  14. Parador de Ávila: with its spectacular rampart, the small city of Avila is one of the most famous in Spain. This hotel is strategically located and your best option to visit the city.
    parador hotel avila
  15. Parador de Toledo: this hotel is outside of Toledo but thanks to that it offers the best views of this beautiful city.
    parador hotel toledo
  16. Parador de Lerma: located in the region of Burgos, this former Ducal Palace of Lerma is a beautiful example of 17th century architecture.
    parador hotel lerma
  17. Parador de Sigüenza: being able to sleep in a castle is one of the best traveling experiences to add to your bucket list.
    parador hotel sigüenza
  18. Parador Castillo de Monterrei: located on the top of a hill in the region of Galicia, this charming hotel is small and secluded, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
    parador hotel monterrei
  19. Parador de Soria: it's not a historical building like most of these but it still has the essence that makes Paradores so unique.
    parador hotel soria
  20. Parador de Olite: this hotel is located in a wing of the Royal Palace of Olite which was once one of the most impressive castles in Europe.
    parador hotel castle olite
I hope you enjoyed this list of 20 Parador Hotels to travel to this year. If you want to find more Paradores check out their website.

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February 3, 2020
20 Secret Places to Visit in Spain in 2020

20 Secret Places to Visit in Spain in 2020

February 3, 2020
When it comes to planning a trip to visit unique places in Spain, the possibilities are endless. From white washed towns, to quaint villages with cobblestone streets, there are so many options it's hard to choose. To help you out, I've rounded up a list of 20 secret places to visit in Spain. All of these hidden gems are great ideas to add to your travel bucket list.

As you start planning out your trips for spring and summer, take a look at these 20 secret places in Spain to visit in 2020.

20 unique Spanish destinations to visit in 2020

1. Olite
olite castillo castle navarra
2. Ujue
ujue uxue navarra
Great food, a fairy tale castle, cobblestone streets...Olite has all the ingredients to be a dreamy town. Ujue is pretty much the same thing. They are two must-see spots if you are in the region of Navarra. The main city in Navarra is Pamplona, so if you are planning to run with the bulls next July, don't forget about these two beautiful places!
Read all about Olite and Ujue here

3. Potes
potes cantabria flores
4. Comillas
comillas gaudi capricho
There are many reasons why you should visit Cantabria but one of them is the chance to get lost in quaint villages like Potes and Comillas. Comillas has an impressive amount of heritage buildings for such a small place. There's even a palace by architect Antoni Gaudi.
Read all about Potes and Comillas here

5. Patones de Arriba
patones arriba madrid
6. Chinchon
chinchon plaza madrid
Being the capital of Spain, the city of Madrid has plenty to see on its onw. However, the region must not be overlooked as there are many lovely towns to visit nearby such as Chinchon with its unique main square and Patones de arriba with its dreamy houses and cobblestone streets.
Read all about Chichon and Patones

7. Almagro
plaza almagro armaos ciudad real corral comedias
8. Campo de Criptana
campo criptana molinos windmills
Feel like Don Quixote chasing the windmills at Campo the Criptana. Here you will find some of the best preserved traditional Spanish windmills in the whole country. You can find more spectacular ones in Consuegra.
Read all about Almagro and Campo de Criptana here

9. Castrillo de los Polvazares
castrillo polvazares cocido maragato astorga leon
The latest addition to "the most beautiful villages in Spain" list and it was high time! Castrillo is in the region of Leon, at a stone's throw from Astorga. This beautifully preserved village will surely steal your heart.
See more pics of Castrillo here

10. Lerma
lerma burgos
11. Covarrubias
covarrubias burgos
12. Santo Domingo de Silos
monastery santo domingo silos
These three "secret places" are in the region of Burgos, right in the center of Castilla y Leon. Here you will find amazing religious heritage that will take your breath away.
Read all about Lerma, Covarrubias and Silos

13. Medinaceli
medinaceli soria
This lovely place on the top of a mountain has a well-deserved spot in "the most beautiful villages of Spain list." I mean, look at the photo, how cute is that corner?
Read all about Medinaceli here

14. Monastario de Yuste
monasterio yuste extremadura jarandilla
King Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany chose this place to spend his last days. This haven of peace is a must if you are in the region of Extremadura.
Read all about Monastario de Yuste here

15. Monasterio de San Zoilo
monasterio san zoilo palencia
If you love quiet places and delicious food, this monastery is for you. It is also a hotel and restaurant so you can enjoy this monastic experience to the fullest.
Read all about Monasterio de San Zoilo here

16. Luanco
luanco asturias playa beach
The coast by the Mediterranean sea is the most popular in Spain for good reason but we mustn't overlook the northern coast. There are plenty of quaint villages and gorgeous coastal views in Asturias. Last summer we discovered the charming coastal town of Luanco and fell in love with it.

17. Brihuega
brihuega guadalajara lavanda lavender
A sea of lavender fields surrounds Brihuega every summer. It's just one hour away from Madrid and holds a lavender festival in the middle of July that's worth visiting .
Read all about Brihuega here

18. Frigiliana
frigiliana nerja
19. Vejer de la Frontera
vejer frontera cadiz
If you are not a big fan of cobblestone streets and country houses and you prefer Andalusian white washed villages, be sure to check out Vejer and Frigiliana.
Read all about Vejer and Frigiliana

20. Binibequer
binibequer vell menorca
Located in the dreamy isle of Menorca, Binibeca is a white washed village consisting of intricate narrow streets that make you feel as if you were in a maze.
Read all about Binibeca here

20 Secret Places to Visit in Spain in 2020: the map

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quaint villages spain

January 20, 2020
The Best Things to do in Pamplona Besides Running with the Bulls

The Best Things to do in Pamplona Besides Running with the Bulls

January 20, 2020
olite navarra church spain
Pamplona is a city in the region of Navarra, in northern Spain, best known for San Fermin, the festivity that involves the running of the bulls which happens every year on July 7. However, Pamplona is much more than that. Pamplona is worth visiting any time of the year for its history, monuments and nearby quaint towns and villages.

WHAT TO DO IN PAMPLONA

A fun walk around the city is to follow the path that runners do when running with the bulls. It goes through iconic streets like Cuesta de Santo Domingo o Calle Estafeta. There are signs on the streets leading the way to the bullfinghting ring.

Other than that, these are the main spots in Pamplona:
  • Plaza del Castillo: the main square of the city is the epicenter of social life. During Christmas you will find a Christmas market selling local delicacies and products made of leather.
  • Calle Estafeta: the most famous street in Pamplona is a vantage point to see the bulls during San Fermin. In fact, you can rent out a balcony for that.
  • City Hall: probably the most amazing building in the city because of its beautiful architectural design.
  • San Fermin Statue in Cuesta de Santo Domingo: walking down the street you will find a little statue of the patron Saint of the city.
  • Cathedral: an imposing building that is a wonderful architectural example of Neoclassicism.
  • Jardines de la Taconera: the main city gardens are home to a little treasure called "the ditch" where lots of different species live: peacocks, deer, hens, ducks...I've never seen such a wide variety of animals all in one place.
ayuntamiento city hall pamplona navarra spain
pamplona spain
san fermin statue imagen pamplona navarra spain
pamplona running bulls statue
taconera pamplona

WHERE TO EAT IN PAMPLONA

Just like in San Sebastian -which is just one hour away by train-, gastronomy is an important part of this region. You can find pintxos on the two streets that concentrate the vast majority of restaurants: Estafeta and San Nicolas.

We had lunch at Picnic, a little restaurant in San Nicolas street which serves simple dishes made with the best quality ingredients like this tomato with tuna.
picnic restaurant pamplona san nicolas
picnic restaurant pamplona san nicolas

DAY TRIPS FROM PAMPLONA: OLITE

Our headquarters during our trip to Navarra where in Parador de Olite. This Parador hotel is located in a wing of the Royal Palace of Olite which was once one of the most impressive castles in Europe. Built in the 13th century, it was the seat of the court of the Kingdom of Navarre, which ruled by Charles III. It is believed that back in the day it had spectacular gardens and even a zoo. Nowadays you can visit the rest of it (entrance fee 3.5€). The palace consists of different buildings made from pieces coming from different times in history. This variety of architectural styles is what makes it so special.

We were breath taken by this unusual construction which is actually common in Navarra as we could see in the next two day-trip destinations: Ujue and Javier.
olite navarra spain
olite castle castillo navarra spain
merindad olite navarra spain
olite belen navarra
parador olite navarra spain
parador olite navarra spain
Our favorite places to eat in Olite were the restaurant and cafeteria at Parador de Olite and Merindad de Olite restaurant. Both are similar in price, quality and great service. Below you can see veggie burgers from the former and pintxos from the later.
parador olite navarra spain menu
pintxos olite navarra

DAY TRIPS FROM PAMPLONA: UJUE

Ujue (also spelt Uxue) is the only town in Navarra that is included in the "most beautiful villages in Spain" list. The town's highlight is Santa Maria de Ujue which is both a church and a fortress. It was originally built in the 11th century in a Romanesque style, on the site of an ancient temple. It's a wonderful architectural masterpiece and another example of that mixture of styles I mentioned before.

Before exploring this magnificent town, we had lunch at Asador de Uxue, a traditional restaurant with wonderful views of the mountains. They have a delicious menu for 24€ that consists of 3 starters to share, a main dish and dessert.
ujue uxue navarra spain
ujue uxue navarra spain
ujue uxue navarra spain
restaurante asador uxue navarra
restaurante asador uxue navarra menu

DAY TRIPS FROM PAMPLONA: CASTILLO DE JAVIER

The imposing Castle of Javier is another must-see in Navarra. The castle is currently closed for renovations but your can visit the beautiful modern chapel attached to it.
castillo castle javier navarra spain

DAY TRIPS FROM PAMPLONA: MONASTERIO DE LEYRE

Another of the top places to visit in Navarra is Monasterio de Leyre. This monastery was built from the 9th to the 11th century and it comprises a crypt, Gothic vault and Romanesque porch. The monastery is still in use today and therefore is home to a monks. You can hear them do their Gregorian chant, a practice which dates back to the 8th century, in the evenings. Part of the monastery is a hotel and there's also a restaurant. Last but not least, the site is surrounded by beautiful walking paths. This is without a doubt a great place for a spiritual retreat.

If you have time for more, I recommend you check out the following towns Estella, Tudela, Puente la Reina and Sangüesa.
monasterio leyre navarra spain
monasterio leyre navarra spain chapel capilla

DAY TRIPS FROM PAMPLONA: WINE REGION

The vineyards in Navarra can be found from the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains to the Ebro river in Northern Spain, between Madrid and San Sebastian.

Thirsty for more? There's just a two-hour journey to the wine region of La Rioja.
Read all about the spectacular wineries of La Rioja here

DAY TRIPS FROM PAMPLONA: THE MAP

This map includes all the must see places in Pamplona and the day trip destinations you can't miss. I've also added the places where we ate and slept. To take this map with you simply click on the star next to the name and the map will be saved to your Maps in Google.
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pamplona javier olite ujue navarra