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 Places we have visited in Spain

Albacete


We visited Albacete in December 2011 on a return trip from Madrid. We didn't find a good hotel, but if you ever stop there try a restaurant called La Taperia, C/Gaona 9, Telephone 967 216 966. The food was amazing, service and atmosphere great. Typical Spanish food from the area. Albacete is quite a nice place to see and spend an evening. Albacete is famous for knife making, hence the sculpture below

                                     

Albarracin

Only three and a half hours drive north from Javea/Denia, about 30k west from Teruel, classified by UNESCO as an artistic monument of world interest. Amazingly beautiful medieval town, hidden within the walls. The pink colour of the houses stands out against the landscape. They were built with pink plaster that contains tiny flecks of iron, which rust when it rains giving the walls their unique colour. The tiny narrow streets are a joy to explore - lovely place to spend a weekend. We stayed at the Hotel Albarracin, in 2006 located right in the middle of the old town , ate well there and were very comfortable. However, hotel is now (2012) distinctly tatty , though it is clean. Food  nothing to write home about.Loads of restaurants in the town to chose from if you are there for more than one night. Can particularly recommend Bar Restaurante "Alcazaba" . This restaurant had just opened when we were in Albarracin, great food, great service and lovely atmosphere. Great meal for three people at 50. More details to follow.One of the prettiest towns we have visited in Spain.

Click on picture for more views of Albarracin

Visited 2012

 


Aranjuez 
A must stop just to go and see the interior of the Royal Palace, absolutely stunning. We stayed at the Hotel Principe de La Paz, central, , good view of the palace, parking and comfortable. We ate in a fabulous tapas place called Bonavia in  Calle de Postas



2013

Astorga




We came to Astorga to see Gaudi's Palace, and it was well worth it..absolutely stunning building, inside and out. Astorga too is interesting to see. We stayed in Hotel Cuidad de Astorga...comfortable, but rather sterile after some of the other places we stayed in. However very central and has parking too. Found a great place to eat...traditional local food, typically Spanish, linen tablecloths and waiters in black...brilliant food and service... La Peseta
About an hour west of Astorga, a must visit, go see the Roman Gold Workings.. Las Medulas...phenomenal sight, best place to see it from is the Mirador de Orellan...bit of a steep walk after the car park, but worth it



2013

 

Avila

Palacio de los Velada 

This is a wonderful city to stop in...we had two nights here and needed the time to see this fantastic walled city. We stayed in a brilliant hotel Hotel Palacio de los Velada...right in the middle of the city, with parking. stunning interior to the hotel, comfortable too. The best place we ate in was Meson del Rastro, Plaza del Rastro 1. Really good local food, very Spanish

 

2013

 

 

Barcelona

 

Barcelona is a must visit for anyone. Beautiful city, very crowded with tourists though. Recommend a two day pass on the open top bus, cost 26€ per person in 2008. Never found a really satisfactory place to stay. Best bet is looking like an apartment if you can find a good one. Last visit found two really good places to eat... Los Caracoles, C/.Escudellers 14, just off the Ramblas near the bottom. Expensive and you really need to book, but worth the experience. Secondly try Nou Mino Restaurante, C/ Del Carme 19, Tel 933011005. A small Argentine Restaurant  just off the Ramblas on the right hand side coming down from Pza Cataluna...excellent food and not expensive.

Try the Panther Trike in Barcelona...This looks like an interesting and different way of seeing the city Tel; 933006418 or 619668881 or e-mail

We haven't tried this but it was recommended

2009/2010 

 


Bilbao



Cafe Iruna

We took the opportunity to visit Bilbao on a trip back from UK..ferry from Portsmouth. Stayed 2 nights in the
Hotel Ibis Centro, very comfortable, inexpensive, parking underneath and easy walking distance to everywhere in Bilbao. The old town of Bilbao is great with loads of places to eat... one of the places we really enjoyed was
Cafe Iruna in front of the  Jardines Albia. The highlight of our visit was the Guggenheim Museum. Absolutely stunning building and we were lucky enough to catch a David Hockney exhibition on our visit. You can book online for the Guggenheim which will save queuing.


 

Burgos

 

 

 

We visited Burgos for a night on the way up into France...were very pleasantly surprised by this lovely old city. Can thoroughly recommend the Hotel Cordon, Calle La Puebla 6, Tel 947265000. Comfortable, and great position for the old city. Just enjoy the old streets...don't forget to see the magnificent statue of El Cid, and don't miss the cathedral. We ate in the restaurante El 24 de Paloma,C/de la Paloma 24, Tel 947208608....food was really good, though I think there are better places to get suckling lamb...unless all suckling lamb is a bit tasteless. Wish we had stuck to the Tapas bars...they really are tremendous.

                                                                             

Click here for more pictures of Burgos

2008

 

Cardona

 

Very Spanish medieval village with a salt mine!! Partly restored, wonderful atmosphere, the town I mean. Try and stay on a Saturday night - excellent market on Sunday morning. We stayed in the Bremon Hotel which is right in the middle of the old town. Excellent hotel and we had one of the best meals, in the restaurant, that we have ever had in Spain. Lovely old castle overlooking the town, which unfortunately has been turned into a Parador.

Click on Picture for more views of Cardona

 

 

2006

 

Cordoba

 

Cordoba is also a very beautiful city, particularly the Juderia, the old Jewish quarter of the city where we stayed in the Hotel Lola - a charming small hotel about three minutes walk from the Mezquita, the former mosque with a Christian cathedral built in the middle of it - quite bizarre. The hotel will find you somewhere to park, the service, rooms and breakfast were faultless. We were amazed by the Mezquita but found the cathedral very gaudy in comparison. We ate in the hotel's restaurant which is next door, Casa Pepe de la Juderia - excellent dinner, including acorn ice cream - that was a first!!

Click on picture for views of Cordoba

See also "The story of the Arabs in Al Andalus"

2006


Cuenca


 A must place to visit just for this view and a walk across this bridge and a quick look at the old town. The photographs are taken virtually alongside the Parador, where you can get a good cup of coffee and free wifi.

                                                

El  Escorial 

The Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial is here, between Aranjuez and Avila just to the East of Madrid. Stunning building. We didn't go inside because the queues were long and we didn't have a lot of time due to difficult parking in August. El Escorial is a really nice little town with lots to see, an lots of restaurants too. Definitely on our list for a revisit and to spend a night to see the place properly 



2013

Figueres

 

 Easy to get to from Girona and Barcelona. A must place to visit to see the Salvador Dali Museum

Click on picture for more views

 

Gerona / Girona

 

 

 

Gerona / Girona is a lovely city to visit....a lovely old town, river running through the middle, loads of history and lots of great places to eat including:

La Penyora Restaurant,  c/ Nou del Teatre, 3  Tel 972 21 89 48

 

2007

 

Granada

 

A must place for anyone to visit. The Alhambra is absolutely stunning, even in temperatures of 40 degrees! Leave yourself  most of a day to go and see it. Wise to book in advance - tickets can be obtained from branches of BBVA Bank. We stayed in the Albaicin, the old Arabic quarter of the town ,down by the river in a lovely hotel, Hotel Zaguan del Darro, with a view of the Alhambra on top of the hill. Recommend that you take a walk to the Mirador at the top of the Albaicin, before it gets dark - fabulous views across the valley to the Alhambra and Granada. There are some really good restaurants near the Mirador, Las Tomasas we really liked, overlooking the Alhambra where you can eat, watch the sun go down and then see the Alhambra lit up - just amazing!!

Click on picture for more views of Granada

2006

Hervas Granadilla Caceres

 

 

 

We wanted a break between cities and found this place between Toledo and Salamanca ..El Manantial del Fresno...we rented a very comfortable bungalow for three nights here..friendly people, very quiet and peaceful, Hervas was a lovely little town with an old Jewish quarter....suggest a visit to the deserted village at Granadilla...beautiful drives all around...particularly try and see Candelario...got to be one of the prettiest places in Spain.

 

Click here for more pictures of Granadilla

2008


Madrid


Los Gatos


Terra mundi


Refra


Faragullas


Asador Casa Juan

We finally got to visit Madrid in November 2010...the weather was beautiful and we managed to visit the Museo del Prado, the
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Centro de Arte de Reina Sofia. The Art work was astonishing...if you are going to see all three, there is a combined ticket available that will save a few Euros. We stayed in Hostal Barrera...C/Atocha 96. Tel 915275381. This was five minutes walk (uphill) from Atocha station and very central and virtually within walking distance of everything. The rooms aren't big (apparently room 214 is the biggest), particularly bathrooms, but very comfortable, clean, quiet and above all very friendly and helpful and we paid 55 per night for a double room..very reasonable for Madrid. Lots of Tapas bars and good restaurants within easy walking distance. We found that a lot of bars gave free tapas with a drink, something we don't find too often in  Javea/Denia area. We also enjoyed the open top bus ride, though it got a bit snarled up with traffic. Got off at the Palacio Real and walked the rest.

Cerveceria Los Gatos, C/Jesus,2..Tel 914293067...Fantastic atmosphere..Tapas or sit down(advise reserving)..five minutes walk from Barrera


Terra Mundi C/Lope de Vega, 32, Tel: 914295280...Great atmosphere, fabulous food...advise booking ...five minutes walk from Barrera




Restaurante Refra..C/Santiago, 4..Tel:915595410...
We had a menu del dia here...Stunning food for 9...open evenings too, but a la carte. ..Two minute walk from Plaza Mayor








Bar Restaurante Faragullas,
C/Fucar,14, .Tel 914294160...great free tapas with your drinks, two minutes walk from Barrera










Asador Casa Juan..
.C. Infanta de La Mercedes 111.. Tel 914490380... A little way out of the centre, taxi ride, but well worth it. Fabulous food, Spanish, and lots of it. Try their 40 menu, we were almost defeated by it. Great service and ambience

Morella 





Hotel Del Pastor

Beautiful hillside town north of Teruel...well worth a visit...lovely old town, great places to eat. We stayed in The Hotel del Pastor, very comfortable, great welcome and very reasonably priced. Tel 964 161 016...more details, click here




Between here and Albaracin is a beautiful little town called La Iglesuela del Cid






Pedraza



Pedraza





Sepulveda
Had two nights in Pedraza. Beautiful village set on top of a hill, around150 k north of Madrid, beautiful country side all around.



We rented an apartment very cheaply here for 4 people.There are numerous good places to eat as well. This village is well worth seeing. Take a ride up into the Sierra Guadarrama
and visit Sepulveda too which is nearby. We enjoyed food at  El Corral de Joaquina.
2013





Picos de Europa


Pajares Pass


Ponga


El Capricho de Gaudi, Comillas

If you are in the North of Spain, this area between Bilbao and Santiago is a must place to see. We stayed in the mountains in a tiny village called Cotariella, near Torazu. We had a wonderful hotel with spectacular views...Amada Carlota...friendly, very comfortable and fabulous food. Carlos and Yolanda,our hosts, could not have been more helpful, Food was stunning...gastronomic menu the first night, then we were asked what we wanted to eat on the other two nights, and Carlos shopped and Yolanda cooked for us. Very peaceful and idyllic position. This was the view from our room:


Using Amada Carlota as a base we visited Camillas to see El Capricho de Gaudi, fantastic building designed by Gaudi, one of the very few outside Catalonia; The Ponga National Park which is stunning. We also visited Oviedo on the way to Santiago and also the Playa de Gulpiyuri which has to be seen to be believed.

2013

 

Salamanca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We loved Salamanca...so much to see and do. We stayed in the Tryp Salamanca, C/Alava 8, Tel 923261111...parking, comfortable and 60€ a night...three minutes walk from Plaza Mayor. Found a wonderful restaurant too...though dont have the suckling pig...just gorge on their Solomillo de  Buey...fantastic ox steak....Casa Paca, Pl del Peso 10, Tel 923218993. The Plaza Mayor is out of this world as are all the buildings in Salamanca ....not so well known, and well worth a visit if you like Art Deco is Art Deco and Art Nouveau Museum Casa Lis....not just for the contents but a phenomenal building too.

                                                                                   

Click here for more pictures of Salamanca

Watery Monday...one of the more bizarre festivals in Salamanca:

The history of Lunes de Aguas is a rather curious story, to say the least. Back in the day, along with a prestigious university, Salamanca also had prostitutes who practiced with the university students, hoping to eventually make it to the royal courts. In the 16th century, King Felipe II, who was known as a very serious and devout Catholic, was disgusted with the  activities taking place in the prominent academic and religious hub of Spain and banned all the prostitutes from the city for the 40-day duration of Lent. On the Monday following Easter, the prostitutes were given the green light to cross back over the river and return to the city. The students began to arrange huge parties on the river's shore to welcome the prostitutes back to the city and even helped them cross back over the river on boats they decorated with flowers. The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, and celebrating along the river- the part of the celebration that continues today.

2008

San Martin de la Solana

Casa de San Martin

 

Wonderful place to stay in the Pyrenees - idyllic position and one of the best hotels (see directions on their website) we have stayed in - everything absolutely perfect, ambience, service, room, and food. Surrounding countryside is beautiful. The hotel Casa de San Martin is five kilometres up a forest track and is a converted monastery. Fabulous walking country, try and visit the deserted village of Janovas ( Janovas was expropriated in 1951 to build a dam and flood the valley - the inhabitants were moved out in the early 60's. Today no dam has been built!) while you are there and also Ainsa

Click on Picture for more views of Casa de San Martin and Janovas.

 

2006 and 2007


Santiago de Compostela




We weren't amazingly impressed by Santiago...too touristy and commercial, despite it being a place of pilgrimage. Saying that there is some stunning architecture to see and it is a vibrant city. We found an excellent hotel in the middle of the old City, about 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral...Hotel Plaza de San Miguel...Very comfortable, fabulous decor and private garden and excellent food. One of the best hotels we have stayed at in Spain. We also found another great place to eat...Restaurante San Jaime...the buey there was to die for.


2013

 

Segovia

 

 

Another of Spain's stunning cities...The Aqueduct and the Alcazar are amazing to see as is the rest of the city...tiny streets wonderful mix of architecture. We stayed  in a hotel called La Casa Mudejar, Isabel La Catolica 8, Tel 921466250...very central, 30 metres from Plaza Mayor and very comfortable....valet parking also available. While in Segovia you must try the suckling pig....there are loads of restaurants with it on the menu, but suggest you try  Casa Duque, C/Cervantes 12, Tel 921462486...fantastic food, you wont be disappointed.

                                                                                                

Click here for more pictures of  Segovia

2008

 

Segura de la Sierra

 

 

We found the tiny village of  Segura de la Sierra on the way home from Cordoba. Idyllic position on a hilltop overlooked by a massive castle, off the N322 about 40k north of Ubeda. If you want peace and quiet, this is a very sleepy pueblo with stunning views, good walks and a communal pool for use in the summer. We stayed at La Mesa Segurena, beautiful apartment with two bedrooms, only 85€ for the night including breakfast (for four of us!). They have a terrace restaurant overlooking the valley with great food.

 

A little further north on a trip in 2008 we found this stunning get away from it all hotel situated about 12k south of Riopar...wonderful place to stay if you want peace and quiet...Cueva Ahumada, Tel 967434205..see picture left

 

 

Whilst staying at Cueva Ahumada...take the opportunity to visit the falls on the left...this picture was taken in  August, they are supposed to be quite stunning in the winter months..Nacimiento del Rio Mundo

 

Click here for more pictures

2006 and 2008

 

Seville, Sevilla

 

 

Seville, Sevilla was our favourite city out of Granada, Cordoba and Seville. Would recommend staying in  the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of the city. We stayed in the Santa Cruz Apartamentos, wouldn't recommend it, lovely position, but all a bit tired inside. There are lots of other hotels/apartments in the barrio. Huge selection of restaurants - we weren't there long enough to recommend anywhere particular, but we didn't have a bad meal anywhere.If you have the energy walk up La Giralda, fantastic views over the city, well worth the effort. Visit too the Real Alcazar,  - the moorish architecture and the gardens are amazing. We enjoyed some flamenco in the barrio, Los Gallos, not a place where you have to get up and make a fool of yourself! Apparently to hear the 'real' thing it's best to go to the barrio de Triana - next time! We are planning a return to Sevilla in the autumn, so we'll keep you posted.

Click on picture for views of Seville

2008

Teruel

 

 

 

This was a handy place to stop...around seven hours from South of France, and two and a half from Denia. Stayed in the Hotel Oriente. Small hotel, comfortable and inexpensive and an easy 10 minute stroll into the centre of the town. We were pleasantly surprised by Teruel...lots to see, very pretty little old town and good places to eat. We ate at Meson El Ovalo, Paseo del Ovalo Tel: 978 618 235...lovely menu, great service and local recipes.

2009

 

Toledo

 

We were not very fond of Toledo as a city...perhaps we visited at the wrong time...too many tourists and really tat shops selling really tatty Toledo Steel. However, don't be put off by our thoughts and if you do visit, we can recommend the Hotel Abad, Tel 925283500 on the wall of the old city(the gate on the left was taken from our room's window)...small, not expensive and very comfortable with parking just up the road. We did find a wonderful place to eat... La Abadia Restaurant, Plaza de San Nicolas 3, Tel 925250746

For more pictures of Toledo click here

2008

Tramacastilla

 

 

A very small town about 15 minutes from the frontier with France. Between Huesca and the frontier. We have found this the prettiest pass across the Pyrenees, via the Col de Portalet(Valencia, Teruel, Zaragoza, Huesca, France...and motorway virtually all the way with no tolls after Valencia!!). Five and a half hours drive from Pedreguer, a very pretty little mountain town...fabulous scenery and views. We stayed in the Hotel Privilegio, expensive, but very comfortable if you want something special. We had an excellent dinner at Casa Patro... local cuisine, reasonably priced too

2009

Ubeda and Baeza

 

 

Both little towns are worth a visit, might seem a little tame if you have visited the main cities in Andalucia. We didn't stay in either town, just had a wander around. Lovely old historical buildings in both towns which are just off the N322 , Cordoba to Albacete road.

Click on picture for views of Ubeda and Baeza

2006


Valle de los Caidos


This, The Valley of the Fallen, is one of the creepiest places I have visited, the burial place of Franco, supposedly to commemorate the Dead from the Civil War. Very questionable? Set in magnificent country side in  the Sierra del Guadarrama, just North of Madrid. We spent a couple of hours here before moving on to Avila



2013

 

Velez Blanca

 

Great place to stop for lunch if you are driving from our region down to Andalucia. A little village high up in the hills in the Almeria province. It has a 16th century castle which was sold in 1904 to an American millionaire who proceeded to tear out the interior, ship it to the USA where it has since been reconstructed inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Despite this, the exterior is well worth the visit and the village itself is wonderful with spectacular views, one or two tapas bars and two or three restaurants.

Click on picture for more views of Velez Blanca

2006

 

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Valeria
and
Alarcon



Alarcon
We wanted somewhere to stay near Cuenca and found this place. Probably the  quirkiest place we have ever stayed in, as you can see from the photographs. Casa Rural la Quinta de Malu....wonderful!! Telephone 655 027 223. Fantastic welcome, amazing dinner with local recipes and the company of Javier, our host. Valeria also has Roman remains, but we were cultured out by the time we reached here and ventured only as far as plaza mayor which had an extraordinarily friendly bar!

                        



If you have the opportunity try and visit Alarcon , not far away, a beautiful medieval village, set on the rocky surroundings of the River Jucar




La Romieu, France

Restaurant Le Cardinal

 

 

La Coquille

Hotel Les Voyageurs 

If you are ever in the South West of France in The Agen area...find this little village, and eat at Restaurant Le Cardinal...Tel 05 62 68 42 75. One of the best meals we have eaten in France...menu du jour around €20...well worth it for great service and good food in the surroundings of a very pretty village.

 

Hotel Les Voyageurs, La Coquille (on the N21 between Perigueux and Limoges). Tel 065 53 52 80 13. Fantastic French food at very reasonable prices. Click here for more details

 

 

 


Bath, England

The Barn Loft
South Wraxall

A luxury Bed & Breakfast in a great location. Beautiful accommodation offered to you in the heart of a small village. A generous studio loft with ensuite facilities and living area. Situated six miles from the beautiful City of Bath and 2 miles from Bradford on Avon. Tel Claire and Kevin Giles on +44 (0) 1225 309066 or see their website
www.thebarnloft.co.uk

Marrakesh, Morocco


Ryad Noura






We stayed here in April 2013. It's about 20 minute stroll from here to the Jemaa_el-Fnaa, the main square. If you are looking for somewhere to stay which will give you the atmosphere and ambiance of Marrakesh, this is the place. Very comfortable, and Youseff your host could not be more welcoming and helpful. He will organise anything for you, and really help to bring the place alive for you. Transport to here from the airport is available...advise you to use it, not expensive, otherwise you may have difficulty finding the Ryad. Yuseff will also offer to show you the way into the centre. Take him up on this offer, then you won't get lost. A lovely quiet place to stay, and not expensive...Ryad Noura