August 29, 2023
Altea, everything you need to know about the Spanish Santorini

Altea, everything you need to know about the Spanish Santorini

August 29, 2023

altea sculpture beach letters sign

Altea is a coastal town bathed by the Mediterranean sea in the region of Alicante, Spain. A gorgeous white washed old town and warm turquoise waters make it the perfect summer destination. So much so that people have started calling it "the Spanish Santorini".

Perched over a hill, Altea is a balcony to the Mediterranean with white houses and a prominent blue dome from the church. These picturesque features make it one of the most beautiful towns in Alicante and Spain.

altea sierra view bird's eye mirador

If you have traveled to Alicante, you have probably heard of Benidorm, the #1 coastal town in Spain. Altea is just a stone's throw from Benidorm and much less crowded.

altea spain old town

Let's take a closer look at everything Altea has to offer.

What to do in Altea

Altea has served as inspiration to many artists. As soon as you reach the old town you can understand why. The narrow streets, the clobblestones, the perfectly preserved architecture make Altea the most charming town.

The church of Nuestra Señora del Consuelo is located at the top and can be seen from anywhere in town thanks to its white and blue domes. Needless to say, you have the most spectacular views of the bay and the sea from this spot.

Altea's sea promenade is the perfect place for a relaxing walk and do some retail therapy. Don't forget to get an ice-cream, they are typical of Alicante and, trust me, they are not your average ice-cream, the quality is amazing!

A trip to the Mediterranean is not complete until you go for a swim! In Altea there are several beaches: playa de la Olla, playa de Roda and playa Cap Blanc. A little bit further is Cap Negret, more secluded and with mountain range views.

Tip: visiting Altea with kids

Altea's old town is the highest spot in the village. The cobblestone steps to reach it make it almost impossible to get there with a stroller. If you are visiting Altea with a baby, be sure to bring a carrier.

altea old town shop

altea old town sea turquoise

altea church nuestra señora consuelo

Where to eat in Altea

There are many dining options in Altea. We had lunch at La Capella, a beautiful rustic restaurant with an ample terrace that offers gorgeous views of the town. They serve excellent quality Mediterranean food and classic rice dishes so popular in the are such as paella.

altea restaurant food capella

What to see near Altea

Right next to Altea you can find a spectacular Orthodox church made of wood. St Michael's Russian Orthodox Church was built in 2007 to be a copy of a 17th-century church in Russia. Its materials were imported from the Ural Mountains and put together by Russian craftsmen. The church is located about half way between the towns of Altea and Calpe and is open to the public. Entry is 3€.

altea saint michael russian orthodox church

North and South of Altea you can find other interesting coastal towns such as:

  • Benidorm with its unbelievable skyscrapers
  • Calpe and Peñon de Ifach, an impressive rock that you can climb
  • Villajoyosa and its colorful highly instagrammable houses

I hope you enjoyed this quick guide about Altea. If you have any questions, leave them on the comment section below.

Looking into other Mediterranean destinations, check out these blog posts:

5 best things to do in Castellon

5 day Costa Brava Itinerary

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altea landmark old town beach

June 7, 2023
Belmond La Residencia Photo tour

Belmond La Residencia Photo tour

June 7, 2023

belmond residencia mallorca mountain view birdseye
Belmond La Residencia is a luxury hotel located in the charming town of Deia, Mallorca. It's without question the most spectacular accommodation in the Spanish island. The property, located in Sierra de Tramuntana, is surrounded by mountains with breathtaking views everywhere you look.

During my Mallorca vacation last summer I had the oportunity of visiting the beautiful Belmond La Residencia hotel and couldn't stop taking pictures at every step. So today I'd like to share with you a photo diary of this stunning place. Are you ready to see all the hidden gems this 5-star hotel has to offer?belmond residencia mallorca garden manor

The vibrant photos are full of pastel hues with pink flowers, stone buildings, tiles and amazing views. Does the Mediterranean vibe appeal to you? Then, take a peek into Deia's most famous luxury hotel!

Some history first... the two main buildings are manors dating from around the 16th century. During the 18th century Deia was practically owned by Cistercian monks. The monks acquired one of the twin manor houses that form the core of the hotel. They directed a source of water to it, to irrigate the estate that surrounds the property. Thanks to the water supply olive oil production became the principal source of income. But by the mid-20th century the estate was no longer as profitable. Axel Ball bought the property and turned it into a hotel in 1984. In 1987, British business magnate Richard Branson partnered with Axel Ball, and in 2002 it was sold to Orient-Express Hotels. Finally, in 2014 Orient-Express changed its name to Belmond Ltd. At that time the hotel was renamed Belmond La Residencia and that's how we know it today.

Belmond La Residencia Photos: Manor Houses & Suites

The hotel has 70 rooms and suites. They are decorated in the style of a classic Mallorcan country house. What does that look like? There are lots of antiques, terracotta tiles and beamed ceilings. Color is added by flowers and the most colorful original paintings.belmond residencia mallorca manor reception desk inside

belmond residencia mallorca manor room suite

belmond residencia mallorca manor room suite

Belmond La Residencia Photos: Dining options 

El Olivo Restaurant

El Olivo restaurant is one of the most instagrammable spots in Mallorca. This outdoor dining experience is a must while you are in the island. You can eat there even if you are not staying in the hotel. However, be sure to book well in advance. Tables are limited and demand is high. The name was chosen because the restaurant is located in the old olive press.

belmond residencia mallorca olivo restaurant

belmond residencia mallorca olivo restaurant

Cafe Miro

If you can't get a table at El Olivo, you can try Cafe Miro, their indoor cafeteria and restaurant. They offer an afternoon tea that you can enjoy surrounded by some of Joan Miro's original paintings, 33 in total.

belmond residencia mallorca cafe miro afternoon tea

belmond residencia mallorca cafe miro afternoon tea

Belmond La Residencia Photos: The Pool

One of the best places to relax in the hotel is their amazing pool. There's nothing like taking a swim surrounded by spectacular mountains.

belmond residencia mallorca deia pool mountains view

Belmond La Residencia Photos: The Gardens

The well-kept paths and gardens are a joy to walk around. Get your phone camera ready because you will be taking pictures non-stop. Your Instagram will be on fire! Every step of the way is social media worthy.
belmond residencia mallorca deia pool outdoor flowers garden

belmond residencia mallorca deia pool garden sunbathing

belmond residencia mallorca deia art gallery

belmond residencia mallorca deia garden suite

Belmond La Residencia Photos: art works 

The 5-star hotel is also an art gallery with a collection of over 800 works, plus 33 originals by Joan Miro -which you can find at the cafe dedicated to the artist- plus its very own gallery.
belmond residencia mallorca deia art antiques

belmond residencia mallorca deia art antiques room
I hope you enjoyed this photo tour of Mallorca's most famous hotel. Which part did you like best?

Are you planning a trip to Mallorca soon? Check out the following posts 

Need some help planning your trip? Leave a question on the comments below. I'll be happy to help you!

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belmond residencia deia mallorca 360 tour

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April 17, 2023
How Many Days Do You Need in Cuenca, Spain?

How Many Days Do You Need in Cuenca, Spain?

April 17, 2023

portrait hanging houses cuenca spainThere's a magical city, just 2 hours away from Madrid -or Valencia- with houses literally hanging from a cliff. The city of Cuenca is a lovely hidden gem impossible not to fall in love with. There are plenty of incredible things to do for such a small city. 

This unique UNESCO World Heritage Site deserves at least 48 hours in your travel schedule around Spain. It's located in the region of Castilla-la-Mancha, famous for being the setting of the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. In this post we are going to take a look at the best things to do to make the most of two days in Cuenca. 

parador cuenca monastery view

Fisrt of all: is Cuenca worth visiting?

The scenic landspaces, marvellous architecture and rich history make Cuenca a must-see destination while you are in Spain.

So how many days do you need to see Cuenca?

Two days are more than enough to see the city. If you have an extra day, I recommend exploring Ciudad Encantada -Enchanted City- a natural site that contains curious rocky formations that look like humans, objects and animals.

Visting Cuenca: Day 1

The best place you can stay at during your 2 days in Cuenca is the Parador hotel. The Parador is a former monastery with an enviable location atop the river Huecar Gorge opposite the magical Hanging Houses.

cuenca spain hanging houses

During the summer months you can take a swim at the hotel's unique swimming pool surrounded by mountains.

cuenca parador piscina swimming pool facilities

From the Parador you only have to walk across the San Pablo bridge to get to the old town. The good thing about Cuenca is that everything is walking distance. The old town is all about narrow and steep alleys so be sure to wear comfy shoes. 

Once you get to the old town you can't miss the gothic Cathedral. The facade is unique, without the typical towers of this type of architecture, it looks as if it wasn't finished. The entrance ticket is 5.5€. 

cuenca cathedral choir inside tour

After dinner be sure to go out and take a walk around the hanging houses. They look magical once the lights are on during blue hour.

parador cuenca spain night restaurant

Visting Cuenca: Day 2

Start your day with a hearty breakfast, we are going to burn some calories! A great option is this humongous cheese omelette. It was as unforgettable as many of the sights we saw.

cuenca parador breakfast
cuenca cerro socorro hike

Next, get your cardio workout of the day by going on a hike to Cerro del Socorro for the most spectacular views of Cuenca. If you are staying at the Parador, change into your swim clothes and go for a swim before lunch. The hotel offers a great tasting menu to try the region's traditional dishes of shepherds, muleteers and hunters, such as zarajos de cordero (lamb intestines), migas (fried breadcrumbs), ajo arriero, morteruelo (pork liver stew) and mellow alajú (traditional dessert). If you prefer modern cuisine, Cuena also houses a Michelin-star restaurant.
cuenca parador menu degustacion tasting manchego
cuenca parador food patio cenaparador cuenca dessert

Read a book, play a board game or simply chill out in one of the Parador's common rooms. Feeling sporty? You can also use the tennis court or workout at the gym!

parador cuenca facilities common room

Spend the second half of the day exploring the rest of the city. Here are some of the sites you can't miss:

  • Torre de Mangana, a tower built during the 16th century.
  • Enjoy the stunning view from Mirador Barrio del Castillo.
  • Visit one of the citie's museums: you can choose between Paleontology Museum, Museum of Spanish Abstract Art -which is inside the hanging houses- or the Science Museum.

cuenca spain old town

cuenca spain old town

cuenca spain old town

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So, as you can see, Cuenca is absolutely worth a couple of days on your itinerary if you are in Madrid or Valencia. It's actually midway between the two, so it can also be a stop on the way. This incredible and picturesque town will leave you speechless.

Apart from Cuenca, this Spanish region has so much more to offer. Here are other spots in Castilla-la-Mancha worth visiting:

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cuenca spain collage pinterest image