24 Hours in San Sebastian, Spain

Posted on Friday, December 15, 2017

This destination is a true gem. The city is fairly easy to walk around as it tends to be compact. This means you can see and do a lot in a short period of time. If you are only in San Sebastian for 24 hours here's what you should see, do, eat and drink.


Food And Drink

Here you will find some of the most amazing food in the world. Parte Vieja is filled with a variety of things to eat and drink. It's known for its tapas as well as for its bars. Bar Zeruko and Bar Azkena are very tourist friendly and have an extensive menu to choose from. Many locals would recommend tourists try cidra, which is the local cider. You don't have to be a cider lover to fall in love with this drink. La Fabrica is a great place to go for those looking for quality food without having to spend a lot of money. The atmosphere feels fairly classy with the white tablecloths. It's a great place to enjoy dinner if you can.


Animals

Animal lovers should head over to the Aquarium to see the sharks, jellyfish and other marine life. Visitors should plan on spending at least an hour and a half here. Parque de Cristina Enea is so much more than just a park. It's the most beautiful one in the city. The ornamental plants are gorgeous as well as the peacocks.


Beaches

It's hard not to see a beach when you are in San Sebastian. You might as well make it a point to visit one of the world's best beaches, La Playa de la Concha beach, while you are here. Even if you do not spend a lot of time here while you are in San Sebastian you can still take a few minutes to swim or to just walk around on the sand and take pictures. Another great beach to visit is Playa de Gros. It knowns for its huge waves.


Views

The top of Monte Igueldo will provide an amazing view for any tourist. For a small fee visitors can take the funicular up to the top. It will will provide you with a great view of the coastline. Many tourists will also head over to Parque de Atracciones, which is an interesting little theme park that is located on top of a hill. Rides include roller coasters and carousels.



Why You Dont Need An Itinerary In Madrid

Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It is hard not to fall in love with Madrid. Not many people get to visit Madrid once, let alone multiple times throughout their life. For those that do plan on visiting this city, they probably want to see as much as they can while they are there. This often means that they plan out an itinerary to try many of the sights. In order to see much of the city, you don't necessarily need to make a plan. There are a lot of reasons why you should ditch the itinerary when you are visiting Madrid and just enjoy yourself.


You Don't Want To Miss Out On A Special Event
Throughout various times of the year there are special events that take place in Madrid. For instance, in the summer quite a few festivals occur including Vallekas Water Battle, which is basically an excuse to drench everyone in the streets with water. If you have your entire trip mapped out, you will miss out on a lot of these types of events that you might find out about at the last moment.


It's Cheaper Than Other Areas In Europe
One of the best things about Madrid is that it's fairly inexpensive considering it's a capital city. So what this means is that while you are in the city you might feel the need to splurge on certain experiences since you could end up with more cash than you thought you would. An itinerary could ruin all this. There's no room for adding in activities, even if they are affordable. In the end you might actually see less things with an itinerary than you would if you didn't have one.

 

It's Fun Just To Follow The Architecture
As we all know Madrid has some amazing architecture. It's pretty fun just to wander about checking out building after building. This will allow you to enjoy the tree-lined streets and discover some of the best hole in the wall places. The spontaneity of just wandering about and exploring can be one of the highlights of your trip. You could easily find that you've wandered to the Paseo de Recoletos or the Plaza de Colon. Now, if you are afraid that you will miss some things that you really wanted to see while you are in Madrid, you could always have an itinerary for a day or two and just throw caution to the wind and go wherever you want on a whim during the rest of your trip.

 

All this being said, not all of us are adventurous. For those that prefer at least to get an orientation of a city and then explore on your own, consider a custom trip such as Monograms Vacations where you have your hotels and transfers taken care of, and then you can add a few tours here and there to get a feel for what parts of the city you want to revisit on your own.

Above Granada Sits The Alhambra Palace

Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Perched above Granada sits The Alhambra Palace - the world's last and most famous Moorish palace. This majestic landmark is strategically placed on the hill al-Sabika and overlooks the entire city of Granada and the valley La Vega.

History of Alhambra (Arabic for the read sea) dates all the way back to the ninth century, when civil wars forced military to take refuge in the West. They hid in what was then called the Alcazaba, a fortress that later became the palace it is today.

Repairs and expansion began on the fortress and due to its location it was used as a military base for many centuries. Upon arrival of the Nasrid Dynasty to the region in the 1200s, King Mohammed ben Al-Hamar moved into the Alhambra and continued expansion on his new family estate. Mohammed contributed to the development of the watch tower, the keep, and many other chambers of the palace. His successors followed suit and carried out construction of the public baths and the mosque.

Mohammed V and Yusuf I were responsible for most the most famous construction that visitors today are most familiar with.  The justice gate, the patio of lions, and the hall of boats are just of few of the additions contributed under these kings. Few things remain of any Moorish kings after the fifteenth century.

When Catholic Monarchs took over the region, King Charles V demanded demolition of parts of the palace in order to build his own wing. This reconstruction included new queen's dressing room and king's separate chambers. Catholics were driven out of the region shortly after and left Alhambra completely abandoned for well into the 19th century.

The French dominated the area for a short time in the early 1800s, and during this time blew up part of the palace. After their short reign, restoration construction broke ground to conserve and celebrate the history of this magnificent landmark. Today it is one of Spain's most popular attractions, with beautiful architecture and gardens for visitors to enjoy!

Alhambra is not just one large palace it is made up of many buildings and chambers spread out over 2,000 feet!  Its massive size makes it very difficult to get through in one day. It is advised that visitors map out ahead of time which elements of the palace they wish to see most, coming up with a game plan for the day of the visit! Below is a description of different parts of Alhambra that will help you decide which parts of Alhambra appeal to you most!

The Alcazaba�¢??this is the oldest building on property. The original function of the Alcazaba was as a fortress in the ninth century; a refuge for Muslims.

The Nasrid Palace these are a series of smaller palaces with ornate construction, and were home to the last of the Nasrid rulers of the thirteenth century. They consist of El Mexuar, The Comares or Yusuf I Palace, and The Palace of the Lions, or of Mohammed V.

The Carlos V Palace Upon his visit to Granada, Emperor Carlos V fell in love and decided to make it his residence. He demanded he live in Alhambra, and ordered construction of his own palace on property. His palace's design is very heavily inspired by Arab architecture, and proves the king's awareness of the beauty of the Arab palaces.

RaudaÃ?¢ this wing is the Royal Cemetery.  The gardens of Rauda are the final resting place for many of the Granadine rulers. Located right outside the Nasrid palaces, visitors can easily navigate their way through the gardens to get the most out of the property's facilities.

Generalife Gardens-The picturesque gardens of this incredible property prove the icing on the cake of your Alhambra tour. At the front of the gardens is an amphitheater, which hosts the areas annual Music and Dance Festival.

A trip to the Alhambra palace is essential to your next Spain vacation! Don't miss the chance to see the world's oldest Moorish palace, as Granada's biggest landmark!

Moorish, Modern and Inspirational describes Spain

Posted on Wednesday, November 01, 2017