Barcelona & Spain

spagnaThis page is in english unionjack and italian, you will find news about Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Granada and Malaga – Questa pagina è anche in versione  italiana italy Troverai informazioni su Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Siviglia, Malaga e Granada

General budget tips about Spain:

-Always prefer blablacar rather than a bus or a train. A ride with blablacar will save you money (often it’s half the price of a train ticket, or more!) and time (a car doesn’t make stops), plus it’s a funny experience to meet local and nice people. Try it!

-Every destination in Spain has a pictoresque city-market where you can find veggies, fruit, meat and fresh fish. Main supermarket chains are Mercadona, Dia, Supersol, they offer good prices and deals while El corte ingles is more expensive. Be careful with tapas bar, they might show low prices but what you get is only a small portion

valencia pinchos Beer (cerveza) is served in small glass, called caña, I rather prefer to order a small bottle (bottellin) as the draft beer quality is, usually, poor and I have the impression that it’s mixed with water …

-Ready to have ‘fiesta‘?! Spanishs are great party animals and the spanish nightlife satisfies everyone. Start your long night by buying beer, alcool and soft drinks at the supermarket, then bring your bag and friends in an open space (park, big square, river, seaside). There is where everyone starts the night. It’s called bottellòn and you are going to love it! Clubs will be empty before 1am

-When searching for a hostel, always contact them directly or simply ‘walk in’ asking for a discount. They will be happy to apply a 5-10% discount on a price shown on hostelword or similar websites (they pay a commision that both of you can save-10% may seem a small amount, but basically means you get a free night every 10 …!). During summertime and in peak-season it’s reccomended to contact the hostel before your arrival and book your bed in advance

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2013-10-15 17.03.48Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and it has everything you are willing to see in an  European city: old historical centre, outdoor markets, modern art, fashion shops and restaurants, museums and churches, sea and hills and much more. Main districts are: Ciutat Vella Barcelona’s old town with medieval area (Barrio Gotico), the famous avenues ‘las Ramblas’; Eixample, a Modernist quarter and its art nouveau buildings; Gràcia with narrow streets, a cosmopolitan and young atmosphere with not too many tourists; Sants-Montjuïc with museums, monuments and festivals. April and June and between late September-November are the best periods to visit the city.

italy Barcellona è la seconda città più grande della Spagna. Questa bellissima città ha tutto ciò che ci si aspetta da una bella città europa, vecchio centro storico, l’arte moderna, mercati all’aperto, ristoranti, negozi di moda, musei e chiese, mare e colline e molto altro ancora. Distretti principali sono: centro storico Ciutat Vella di Barcellona, ​​zona medievale (Barrio Gotico), i viali famosi ‘Las Ramblas’, Eixample quartiere modernista e dei suoi edifici in stile liberty, Gràcia con strade strette, un ambiente cosmopolita e giovane, con pochi turisti , Sants-Montjuïc, con musei, monumenti e festival. Tra aprile e giugno e tra la fine di settembre-novembre sono i momenti migliori per visitare la città.

 

Budgeteuro…tips

P1070322Low-cost companies, like Ryanair, use the airports in Girona and Reus (both 100 km far from Barcelona) connected to the city by: Barcelona Bus service (to/from Girona) – one way ticket costs €12 and a return ticket costs €21; by Hispano Igualadina from the Barcelona Sants bus station to Reus airport – one way ticket costs €13 and a return ticket costs €24; by train from Barcelona Sants station to Reus and then the local bus no. 50 to the airport. The train costs €7.25 and then the bus costs €2.1 More info about how to get in Barcelona.

In August you’ll find cheap accommodation and a much quieter city as a vast majority of Spaniards go on vacation in August. My favorite hostel is Hola Hostel, in Eixample area, close to Sagrada familia, supermarkets, shops and bars.

Take an English-speaking tips-based Barcelona Free Tour with a local and knowledgeable guide. Runner Bean Tours organises two different walking tours: an Old City Free Walking Tour of the Gothic Quarter and a Gaudí Free Tour of the architect’s most famous buildings. Both tours start from Plaça Reial at 11am and, from April until October, also at 4:30pm and last for approximately 2 and a half hours.

Walk around the narrow streets, hidden squares, fountains and palaces in the Barrio Gòtic (Ciutat Vella), to get around by public transportation a 10 rides ticket card (combining Metro and buses) is available for a good price of 9,80€ (while a single ticket costs 2€)

P1070337Enjoy Gaudi architecture includes the Parc Güell in Gràcia, the still unfinished (as of 2011) Sagrada Família in Eixample and the houses La Pedrera/Casa Milà and La Casa Batlló both in Eixample. All can be seen from the outside for free.

Rent a bike or join a Biketour and get to see the highlights of the city in a different way. Ride from the magic beaches of the Mediterranean, to Gaudí’s modernist buildings through the medieval atmosphere of the Old Quarter

The most spectacular sights in the night are: Musical fountains, in Plaça d’Espanya. From Th-Su, May to October, 9:00PM. Each session lasts 30 minutes, with the last one starting at 11PM; Casa Batlló; Torre Agbar office tower, highlighted F-Su 7-11PM; City views from Montjuic hill

Check the list of free events in Barcelona!

Connect Club Discount Card offers significant discounts and special privileges for nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. It costs only €18 and is valid for a whole year. If you are thinking of visiting several museums, an “articket” will save you some money. It is a combined ticket costing €30 and covering admission to seven museums.

boqueriaThe golden rule of smart traveller applies well in Barcelona; to save money and get better food, look for places off the beaten tourist track and seek out cafes and restaurants (often called cerveceria) where the locals go. A good idea is to avoid restaurants with touts outside; During the week, some smart restaurants offer lunch specials from 2PM to 4PM. The savvy traveller will try the hip places for a fraction of the price during the day; Barceloneta is a popular quarter for locals, where you can try dishes based on fish, such as Paella or Arròs negre (Black Rice because it is made using squid ink). For budget eating you may choose “menu del dia” in small bars on the Avinguda del Parallel for €9-€11 per person. Be aware that sometimes the menu is only in Spanish. Buying food at the beautiful boqueria (famous city market at Rambla) will be a perfect mix of sightseeing and grocery shopping

In several supermarkets you can find a great selection of ready-to-eat dishes. You can get a two-course lunch for less than €5; There are many stands in t, offering the city with tasty kebap, Gyros, falafel for vegetarian, moreover there are several bio independent restaurant and buffet.

Barcelona is Europe’s pickpocketing capital. Never keep your wallet, cash or important documents in trouser pockets or in bag pockets: a money belt is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent being robbed. As always, be alert in crowded places, such as public transport, train and bus stations, La Rambla and Raval. More info about tourist scams.

 

P1070243-Compagnie low-cost, come Ryanair, utilizzano gli aeroporti di Girona e Reus (entrambe a 100 Km da Barcellona) che sono collegate con la città tramite: (da / per Girona) Barcelona Bus il costo di un biglietto di sola andata € 12 e un biglietto di ritorno costa € 21; da / per Reus) Hispano Igualadina dalla stazione degli autobus di Barcellona Sants all’aeroporto di Reus, un biglietto costa 13 € solo andata, con ritorno costa € 24; con il treno dalla stazione di Barcellona Sants alla stazione di Reus e poi l’autobus locale n. 50 per l’aeroporto. Il treno costa 7,25 € e poi i costi degli autobus 2,1 €  Maggiori informazioni su come arrivare a Barcellona.
-Nel mese di agosto potrai trovare un alloggio a buon mercato e una città molto più tranquilla visto che la stragrande maggioranza degli spagnoli va in vacanza nel mese di agosto. Il mio ostello preferito è Hostel box, si può scegliere di stare al Gaudì hostel, vicino al bellissimo parc Guell oppure al Port hostel.
-Le attrazioni più spettacolari di notte sono: le fontane musicali, in Plaça d’Espanya (Gio-Dom-da maggio a ottobre, alle 21) ogni seduta dura 30 minuti, con l’ultima a partire da 11:00; Casa Batlló; Torre Agbar; Vista della città dalla collina di Montjuic
Passeggia per le stradine tortuose le piazze nascoste, fontane e palazzi nel Barrio Gòtico (Ciutat Vella). Se si ha bisogno di usare i mezzi pubblici è meglio prendere il biglietto da 10 viaggi (combinati tra Metro e bus), costa 9,80€ mentre un singolo biglietto costerebbe 2€
-Goditi l’architettura di Gaudì, il Parc Güell a Gràcia, l’incompiuta Sagrada Família in Eixample, La Pedrera, la Casa Milà e La Casa Batlló, sempre a Eixample. Tutto può essere visto dall’esterno, gratuitamente.
-Se pensi di visitare i diversi musei, un “Articket” ti farà risparmiare qualche €. Si tratta di un biglietto cumulativo del costo di € 30 e che copre l’ammissione a sette musei.
-Noleggia una bici o partecipare a un Biketour per vedere le luci della città in un modo diverso. Fai un tour dalle spiagge aglii edifici modernisti di Gaudí attraverso l’atmosfera medievale della città vecchia
P1070418-Hai voglia di vedere Barcelona raccontata da un giovane del posto? Il Tour a piedi di Barcelona, gratuito, Barcelona Free Tour con una guida locale e competente prevede una semplice mancia finale e ti da un’esperienza ottima. Runner Bean Tours organizza due diversi tour a piedi: uno della vecchia città del quartiere gotico e un Tour Gaudí gratuito degli edifici più famosi dell’architetto. Entrambi i tour partono da Plaça Reial alle 11 e, da aprile a ottobre, anche alle 16:30 e durano circa 2 ore e mezza.
-La regola d’oro del buon viaggiatore si applica bene anche per mangiare a Barcelona, ​​per risparmiare e mangiare meglio, cerca i luoghi fuori dai sentieri battuti dai turisti e cerca caffè e ristoranti dove va la gente del posto. Una buona idea è quella di evitare ristoranti con ‘buttadento’
-Durante la settimana, alcuni ristoranti offrono prezzi speciali a pranzo 14:00-16:00; Barceloneta è un quartiere molto popolare, dove si possono gustare piatti a base di pesce, come la paella o Arròs negre (Riso Nero), fatto con inchiostro di calamari. Per mangiare a buon prezzo si può scegliere “menu del dia” in piccoli bar sulla Avinguda del Parallel per € 9 – € 11 a persona
-In diversi supermercati è possibile trovare un ampio box con una grande selezione di cibi e piatti pronti per il consumo. È possibile ottenere un pranzo a due portate per meno di € 5; Ci sono numerosi fast-food che hanno kebap, Gyro, falafel, inoltre ci sono diversi ristoranti bio indipendenti e con servizio a buffet.
-La tessera Club Connect offre sconti significativi e privilegi speciali per locali notturni, bar e ristoranti. Il costo è di solo € 18 ed è valida per un anno intero
-Barcelona è la capitale del borseggio in Europa. Mai tenere il portafoglio, denaro o documenti importanti nelle tasche dei pantaloni o in borsa con tasche, fare attenzione nei luoghi affollati, come i trasporti pubblici, treni e degli autobus, La Rambla e Raval.

 

Act like a local

P1070276When you walk ‘las ramblas’ avoid the groups of people supposedly betting on games played in the streets, that’s a tourist scam! Explore some of the side streets for an authentic, cheaper and more locale experience of Barcelona.

Walk in Born, a very popular area in Ciutat Vella and Gracia. Both are great places to escape the crowds, to have a few drinks and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and meet ‘off beaten track’ travellers and local non-tourist-industries, especially in the evenings

Barcelona is known also for its famed football team. Try to be a lucky one that watched a football match at ‘Camp Nou’ but be aware that it’s not cheap at all

At the Barceloneta beach, the city beach not only you can get tanned, swimm and relax, there are several gym tools available for free to keep yu fit during your travel

 

-Quando si cammina a ‘Las Ramblas‘ evita i gruppi di persone che fanno scommesse su qualcosa di simile al gioco delle ‘tre carte’ in strada, questo è una truffa per turisti! Prova ad addentrarti in alcune delle strade laterali per una esperienza più economica, più locale, e autentica di Barcellona.
-La spiaggia di Barceloneta e’ attrezzata non solo per godersi un bagno o il sole, ci sono diverse aree con attrezzi da palestra gratuiti, tieniti in forma mentre viaggi
-Passeggia a Born, a Ciutat Vella, e Gracia, sono zone molto popolari per avere un paio di drink e per sfuggire alla folla, dove godere di un’atmosfera rilassata e soddisfare i viaggiatori che amano le zone non turistiche e stare tra gente del posto, soprattutto la sera

-Barcelona è nota anche per la sua famosa squadra di calcio. Cercate di essere uno dei fortunati che ha guardato una partita di calcio al ‘Camp Nou’ …

Festivals and events

concert

  • Sónar. A annual three-day music festival in the third week of June.
  • Monegros Desert Festival is the most famous and biggest one day/night electronic music festivals in Spain. More than 40 000 people gather every July to celebrate the electronic music with the best DJs, in desert of Fraga 200km from Barcelona.
  • Festes de la Mercè. Barcelona’s main annual festival around the 24th of September, encompassing many events such as which group of ‘castellers’ can form the highest human tower, live music events, firework displays and processions involving wooden giants. All of this is accompanied by a heavy consumption of Cava, the national drink of Catalonia.
  • Festes de Gràcia. around the 15th of August to commemorate the Assumption. During the week of festivities that mark one of Barcelona’s most important fiestas, the city of Gracia explodes with fun, excitement, color and fireworks. Many streets are decorated by the neighbours, live music, food in the street, and the parties continue all night.
  • Festes de Sants. Similar to Gracia’s event, but smaller and later on in August.
  • Sant Jordi. 23rd of April. Considered to be like Valentine’s Day. People give roses and books around the streets. Traditionally men give women roses and women give men books. It is one of the most popular and interesting celebrations in Catalonia.
  • Corpus. Late in May (Corpus Christi day).
  • Fira de Santa Llúcia. From December 2nd/3rd to December 23rd, to commemorate Sta. Llúcia (December 13th). During this time, in front of the Cathedral, Christmas objects are sold. Some places sell Christmas trees, but most of them sell elements for making the pessebres (Nativity scenes). These include small sculptures, wooden pieces and moss used to simulate grass.
  • December 13th is the feast day of Santa Llucia, patron saint of fashion designers and blind people, who gather at the Santa Llucia chapel in the cathedral to pay their respects.
  • Revetlla de Sant Joan. This is the midsummer solstice celebration. It is celebrated on 23rd June every year and is signified by the fireworks (note that there are frequent and loud amateur fireworks all night long, which may make it hard to sleep) that are permanently on display during this time.

Barcellona ospita una serie di feste annuali, molti dei quali sono unici per la Catalogna e offrono uno spaccato nella sua cultura

  • Sónar. Una tre giorni di festival di musica. Il festival si svolge per tre giorni e tre notti, di solito la terza settimana di giugno.
  • Monegros Desert festival di musica elettronica in Spagna è nel deserto di Fraga 200 km da Barcellona. Più di 40 000 persone si riuniscono ogni anno a luglio per celebrare la musica elettronica con i migliori DJ che rappresentano stili di House, Electro, Minimal, Techno, al drum & bass, dubstep e hiphop. 20 ore non stop, un’esperienza nel deserto unica.
  • Festes de Gràcia, è una festa catalana, che si tiene intorno al 15 di agosto di ogni anno per commemorare l’Assunzione. Durante la settimana di festeggiamenti che segnano una delle feste più importanti di Barcellona, ​​la città di Gracia esplode con divertimento, emozione, colore e fuochi d’artificio. Molte strade sono decorate dai vicini, musica dal vivo, il cibo per la strada, per tutta la notte.
  • Festes de Sants. Simile all’evento Gracia, ma più piccolo e più tardi nel mese di agosto. Se non è possibile andare in Gracia, provate ad andare a questo festival, invece.Festes de la Mercè Intorno al 24 settembre, comprende molti eventi, come la  torre umana, eventi musicali dal vivo, fuochi d’artificio e processioni che coinvolgono giganti di legno. Tutto questo è accompagnato da un forte consumo di Cava, la bevanda nazionale della Catalogna.
  • Sant Jordi. 23 aprile. Considerato come San Valentino. La gente dà rose e libri per le strade. Tradizionalmente gli uomini danno rose donne e le donne danno i libri degli uomini. Si tratta di una delle feste più popolari e interessanti in Catalogna.
  • Corpus. Verso la fine di maggio (Corpus Domini).
  • Fira de Santa Llúcia. (13 dicembre). Durante questo periodo, di fronte alla Cattedrale, oggetti natalizi vengono venduti. Alcuni luoghi vendono alberi di Natale, ma la maggior parte di loro vendono elementi per fare i presepi.
  • Revetlla de Sant Joan. Questa è la festa solstizio d’estate. Si celebra il 23 giugno di ogni anno ed è caratterizzata dai fuochi d’artificio (notare che ci sono i fuochi d’artificio amatoriali frequenti e forti per tutta la notte, che possono rendere difficile dormire)

Day trips

  • Figueres – Home of the most impressive Salvador Dalí museum.
  • Montserrat – Visit the monastery nestled high in the mountains to see the Black Madonna or hike to the peak to earn a fantastic view of the surroundings. 30 miles from Barcelona.
  • Sitges – A traditional beach side destination for the locals. Full of fashion shops open on Sundays.
  • Girona, with low-cost airport, ancient Jewish section, narrow streets, cafes…
  • Pyrenees, around 150 km north from the city.
  • Sant Cugat del Valles – Has one of the most interesting Romanesque cloisters in Catalunya, with many interesting carvings. The town itself is full of expensive vilas.
  • Montseny – UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 40 km northeast of Barcelona. Go there by car or bus/train

 

Escursioni giornaliere

Figueres -Museo Salvador Dalí.
Montserrat – Visita del monastero situato in alta montagna per vedere la Madonna Nera o escursione alla vetta per una fantastica vista sui dintorni. 30 miglia da Barcellona.
Girona – Una città tranquilla con una sezione ebraica antica, vicoli, mura imponenti e un sacco di caffè.
Pirenei – a circa 150 km a nord dalla città.
Sant Cugat del Valles – Ha uno dei chiostri romanici più interessanti della Catalogna, con molte interessanti sculture.
Montseny – UNESCO Riserva della Biosfera 40 km a nord est di Barcellona.

 

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madridMadrid is the spanish capital and biggest city, it boasts some of the liveliest nightlife in Europe.The citizens of Madrid, who refer to themselves as Madrileños or “gatos” (cats). Due to the typically midday heat during summer, a “siesta” can be still observed during which some citizens take a break to cool off. 

Madrid has a very modernized and elaborate transportation network of buses and Metro (the second biggest in Europe and 6th in the whole world). From airport the cheapest connection is by Cercanias commuter train (line C-1, from 05:30 to 23:30, €2.40).

The hostel posada de huertas is in a great location, if you like to party hard in madrid this is your place!

Enjoy a complete tour of the city with the free walking tour they organize pub crawls tour too. Prado’s museum has a free entry Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 8pm, and Sundays and holidays from 5pm to 7pm. Reina Sofia is free Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sundays 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

madrid1A cheap snacks and drinks (beer for 1€!!) can be grabbed at Museo del Jamon (it has several locations) and at Cerveceria 100 Montaditos (local word for small sandwich), on sunday and wednesday it offers all drinks and food at 1€, don’t miss the local ‘boccadillo calamari’ at La Campana, nearby the royal square. Drink tap water, is considered the best spanish drinkable water. Visit Toledo A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval walled city and former capital of Spain, by bus is something like 1 hour journey.  Also Alcalà de Henares, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was the world’s first planned university city. It was the original model for the Civitas Dei (City of God), the ideal urban community. This city has a lot of interesting places to visit like its university founded in 1499 which became famous as a centre of learning during the Renaissance. One of the most important features of Alcalá de Henares is that it is the city where the famous writer of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, was born where you can visit his natal house.

 

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13 Sevilla is the capital of the region Andalucia and the biggest city in South of Spain. The symbols of the city are: the river Guadalquivir, where Sevilla monopolized the new trade with the Americas; the ‘catedral’ the biggest church in the world; the Flamenco, a dance that identify Spain all over the world.

Other point of interests are: The Real Alcázar, a beautiful palace in arabic style, Barrio Santa Cruz a former jewish neighborhood.  

Sevilla has the 3rd largest old centre in Europe where you will find many tapas bars, restaurants, souvenir shops etc.

If you wonder what is the meaning of the word “NO8DO” that is all around the city,  it’s the official motto of Seville. According to the legend it is the shorted form of “No me ha dejado”, meaning “It [Seville] has not abandoned me”, a sentence by King Alfonso X, who asked ‘hospitality’ in the city after been forced to leave his castle and power, in Granada.

2 Where to sleep? Sevilla Inn Backpackers has a wonderful location, very close to the cathedral. A chill-out terrace where you can enjoy sangria and paella organized by the hostel.

What to eat? Easy answer: Tapas!!! It’s full of tapas bar spread in the whole city, especially in the area of Alfalfa and Alameda square. For tight budget travellers my advise is to prepare your meals at the hostel. There are several city markets in different areas of the city, where you can buy veggies, fruits, meat and fresh fish. Supermarkets (Mercadona, Dia, Supersol, while ‘el corte ingles‘ is a bit more expensive) are also available in a good number

One of the oldest bar in town is called ‘El Rinconcillo‘, Calle Gerona. A budget option is a tapas bar called ‘Gitana Loca‘, Calle Alfalfa, they serve beer Estrella del sur in bottle for 0,50€…

For nightlife you should visit again Alfalfa and Alameda, this is a huge square where locals meet and drink their own ‘home-made’ cocktail brought from home or prepared at the moment by mixing liquors with soft drinks, a very common activity for young spanish, called botellon. My favorite bars were ‘red house’, Calle Amor de Dios and ‘la bicicleteria‘, Calle Feria, an alternative small bar

10Best way to discover the city, as usual, is the free walking tour, starting every day at 10.30 from Puerta Jerez.

Fancy a bit of relax? Stroll, sunbathe, drink a beer, read a book, seat at the canal bank

Fancy a bit of outdor activity? walk fast, run and jogging at the canal bank

On the other side of the canal there is the Triana neighbourhood, a former gypsy area, where flamenco became famous and still now a days is played in many bars.

On wednesday (bar at calle huelva 27)and on Friday there are Couchsurfing meeting where you can find locals and travellers gathered to chat and drink a beer

 

plazaespana One of the best landmark in Sevilla is defenetly Plaza Espana, in a sunny day is a pearl of beauty

 

 

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alhambraserranevadaGranada is one of the most beautiful and interesting city in Spain, with a mix of arabic and mediterranean culture, history and sights.

Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain in Spain (not considering the Teide vulcan in Tenerife island), the view, from view points – mirador – in the upper part of the city, of the snow on the Sierra Nevada at the back of Alhambra is something you will never forget.

‘La Alhambra‘ (a fortress/palace in arabic style) is certainly one of the city symbol (during peak season it’s better to book your ticket if you want to visit this wonderful place).

Best way to discover Granada is to join the daily free walking tour

 

17The city has many interesting sights that can be visited for free, especially in Albayzín (UNESCO site), the ancient Muslim neighborhood, nowadays very popular with visitors for: 

Old palaces and houses with typicall spanish/arabic patio

Hamman El Bañuelo, ruins of perhaps the most well-preserved Arabic bath house in Spain

Carrera del Darro,a cobblestone street with a small river and old bridges

Sacromonte, a former gypsy (Roma) district situated east of the Albazin, it’s noted for its many caves where now artists and alternative people live (there is a free walking tour visiting this area in the afternoon, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The district is also famous for its flamenco shows popular with tourists and the amazing views of the Alhambra.

10When you visit Granada enjoy the only city in Spain where you can get a free ‘tapas‘ for each drink you have. The famous Tapas street is Calle Elvira, most common bars are: “Babel World Fusion” for their outstanding tapas and prices, “El pescador” if you like free seafood, and “la Castañeda” for the typical Spanish bar feel. Same for the night-life, go to Calle Elvira, you will find many clubs and bars (my favorite was the club ‘Pata Palo’).

Where to sleep? Granada Inn Backpackers is a very good hostel in the city centre. Helpfull staff, nice rooms and good prices are garanteed

Drink tap water, probably the best in spain, coming from the nearest mountains of Sierra Nevada

 

 

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valencia1Valencia is the third biggest spanish city, known for being the birthplace of paella, for hosting the “2007 & 2010 America’s Cup”, and for the massive architectural area called The City of Arts and Sciences. The city has a ‘river’, Turia, ran through the center of the city, however it was redirected a while back and replaced by a beautiful park. This is a very nice place to spend any free time you have in the city on a sunny day.

There are several city beaches, well organized and with many services (bar restaurants, sport and outdoor activities, WC and first aid facilities). A lot of Bodegas and Tapas bars where you can get typical Spanish fast dinner for quite good prices. When you arrive at about 8PM they are usually having special offers like “Tercio y Tapa” for about €1. Valencia water is a very famous mixed alcholic drink, while orxata is a refreshing drink.

Where to sleep? Pension Universal is nearby Plaza de toros, clean and well kept, not for party people!

My favorite bar was the ‘library and cultural’ Ubik cafè , a bit artistic and hipster, interesting anyway

Tips on paella:

To recognize “real” local paella from tourist junk, avoid any places with large paella pictures on the door step. This is a sure sign for frozen/microwaved paella.
NO paella that deserves this name contains sausage, ham or meat broth, for instance). If you want to eat an authentic Paella, try it at the Malvarrosa beach area, when possible, make reservations or arrive early (no later than 2PM), especially on Sunday, because these restaurants fill up quite quickly on the weekend.
Paella is typically eaten at mid-day (between 2-5PM), so many restaurants do not serve it at dinner. Be careful of those that do as this is not the custom here and the quality of the paella may be poor.
The paella pan is of a size that almost all restaurants require a minimum of two servings for an order. Restaurants that allow ordering one order are likely serving frozen paella.

valenciaRenting a bike is an increasingly popular way for visitors to explore this essentially flat city. Since 2010 the city offers public bicycle rentals at over 250 locations around the city (and growing). This service is called Valenbisi. 

The most important event is the Fallas, an incredible fest where local areas build big papier maché models. They are mostly of a satirical nature, the fallas take a whole year of planning and construction to complete. Each neighborhood has a falla. It is best to arrive by 16 March, as all of the fallas are required to be finished or they face disqualification. Another feature of Fallas is the fireworks. It’s like the city’s a war zone for a week!
La Tomatina, hosted by nearby village Buñol on the last Wednesday of August. A festival that involves thousands of participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other. Make sure you wear clothes that you can throw out after wards, as it gets very messy.

 

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10390433_398546596954696_2302584678507108513_n Malaga

Despite being packed by tourists and travellers (especially during summer) the city is well organized, safe and nice to visit. There aren’t many sights, compared to other andalusian and spanish cities, and historically is not that interesting, however the pleasent weather, a city beach at walking distance from the centre and a big number of bars, restaurants and shops, make the time spent here as enjoyable.

Malaga is the birthplace of the famous painter and artist, Pablo Picasso. Museum and other attractions are related to him.

-Where to stay? Oasis Hostel is the house of all party animals gathered in Malaga! Centrally located, all bars and clubs are very close, not far from the beach. Several activities available to have fun and socialize with other travellers

10371743_398546660288023_5731066714115225368_n-When you arrive at the airport, the cheapest and fastest option is to catch a metro train to the centre-Alameda (it’s the last stop). It costs 1,70€ (keep the ticket until you get out the station) and the ride takes only 10 minutes, while the city bus would cost 3€

-Roman theatre and Alcazaba are free on sunday

-Free walking tour

-If you want to save some money during your stay, my advise is to prepare your meals at the hostel. There is a nice and picturesque city market where you can buy veggies, fruits, meat and fresh fish. Supermarkets (Dia, Supersol, while ‘el corte ingles’ is a bit more expensive) are also available in a good number. There are many bakery shops that offer special deals. Also, due to the high number of restaurants and bars, it’s very possible to find special prices for meals. Avoid tourist traps!

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