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Posts in ‘Things to do in Spain’

Aguamar Water Park, Ibiza

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Aguamar Water Park

Ibiza is blessed with many beautiful sandy beaches and the glorious azure waters of the Western Mediterranean Sea lap its shores. So you have to ask yourself, what earthly reason could there be for spending a rather expensive day at a water park? The answer, for me at least, is that this Ibiza attraction is for the kids and young adults. And it has several conveniences that make for a pleasant (or exciting) day.

The park has a wide variety and levels of water slides and pools that will keep you occupied.  The Aguamar Waterpark has seven series of water slides for older children and adults.  Some are fairly regular in that they are straight and are a relatively gentle ride down. Then there are the water spewing, scream-inducing fast, twisty slides with unexpected corners that have you spinning around with your heart in your mouth.

They even have names for them, which are pretty indicative of what the slide has in store for you.  Judge for yourself – The Kamikazee, The Black Hole, The Spiral, Rio Ventura and Spiro Tubo – and ride. Then there are several gentler, smaller slides for the little ones. Just in case hurtling down a slide on your rear only to end up in a crazy frothy wet splash is not your idea of having fun, then you could just float or stroke around in the swimming pool.

The add-ons that give the Waterpark little edge over beach is the excellent bar and a cafeteria with a fairly interesting menu choice. A great thing (and a money-saver) is that they allow you to bring in your own lunch or snacks.

Another enticement that the park offers is that your ticket is valid for the whole day. That means you can wander off into Ibiza town or walk down to the beach and return later without having to pay admission again.

There is one hidden cost though that is not mentioned anywhere or told to you at the time you buy your ticket or enter the gates. After you have spent a couple of hours in the facility a member of the staff will approach you and charge you €2.50 for every sun bed you have taken! If you have gone with the family then it could seriously lighten the wallet. So be warned.

Taking all this into account, the Aguamar Waterpark is a great place to spend half a day and give the kids a good time.
 

Image credit: shelly-jo

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Things to see at the Alhambra

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Gardens of The Alhambra
The Alhambra is a beautiful collection of buildings and gardens. Its location is one of rare natural beauty that commands a view of the city and plains of Granada. It remains the most perfect example of Moorish art.
 
The Palace is made up of numerous beautiful courtyards, fountains and buildings that served as living quarters for monarchs. The shady tree-lined walks, abundant streams and fountains are blended with extraordinary architecture and embellishments.

Broadly speaking, the Alhambra is composed of three parts:  The Royal Palace, The Gardens of Generalife and the fortress of Alcazaba.

The Royal Palace, the most famous building of the complex, consists of the Mexuar – enclosing the striking Golden Room – where the sultans conducted every day business.  The Serallo, which served as a reception area and its very attractive Patio of Myrtles and its view of the Comares Tower, and the intriguing Lions' Court. The Hall of the Ambassadors is the largest and finest room in the palace, where King Fernando discussed Columbus’ attempt to find the sea route to India. The Palacios Nazaries is the high point of the palace. It has ensured that the entire edifice is one of the finest Islamic architectural compositions in Europe.

The inspiration for The Gardens of Generalife is supposed to be the Koranic description of Paradise. Running water and plenty of shaded areas together with all sorts of plants reminded the rulers of Granada of their past in the hot deserts of Africa. A 700 year old cypress tree shades The Patio of the Cypresses. The Walk of the Cascades consists of a superb piece of hydraulic engineering that has water flowing along a shaded staircase. The ticketed areas are basically the 'garden palace', but huge sections of the garden are free and don't require tickets. The gardens are absolutely gorgeous with all kind of herbs, roses and myriad scented plants and flowers growing. Water is a key theme.

The fortress of Alcazaba (the Citadel) is the oldest part of the Alhambra and consists of the impressive Torre de la Vela (watchtower).

The massive, if out of harmony, Carlos V Palace (Palacio de Carlos V) was built by destroying an original wing of the Alhambra. The building is of the Renaissance style and was built after the Reconquista (reconquest) by the Christians.

Overall this tour is a treat for gardeners: the designs are fantastic; the symmetrical Arab features have been copied around the world.

Tickets:  Are strictly limited, so booking in advance is highly recommended.

Night Visits:  Entry from 20:00 to 21:30 from November to February, 22:00 to 23:30 at all other times. Price: 12€
 

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Top Holiday Destination: Spain

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The website 101holidays.co.uk revealed the  the top 10 of holiday destinations in Britain. Over the next couple of days, we will tell you about the wonderful things you can experience in each of these holiday-destinations. We’ll start at the top and work our way down.

Holiday destination 1: Spain

Madrid
flamenco-dancer-by-flydimeThe capital city Madrid is ideal for a city break.  Book a bike tour in Madrid and explore the city by bike in small groups with a local tour-guide.
If you are a culture-vulture and in Madrid for a couple of days, it might be worth investing in a Madrid card.  Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, it will grand  you one-time entrance to more than 50 museums, unlimited use of a tour bus, free entry to a number guided tours and  attractions like Zoo- Aquarium  and Faunia Theme Park. Museums to visit in Madrid include Prado National Museum, Reina Sofia N Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Spend one night in Madrid enjoying the Spanish twist on dinner and dance:  attend a night of Flamenco dancing at the Florida Park.

monteserratBarcelona
The rugged mountains of Montserrat have inspired stories:  Parsifal is supposed to have found the Holy Grail here and St Peter himself left a statue of the Virgin here. Discover Montserrat by taking an afternoon tour from Barcelona and visit the shrine of the Black Virgin – patron Saint of Catalonia.

antoni-gaudi_barcelona_8160_4Many of the extraordinary buildings in Barcelona were built by Antoni Gaudi, a visionary Modernist architect. Seven of  his buildings have been listed as World Heritage sites. Take a Gaudi tour to discover more about Passeif de Gracia, the Park Guell, Casa Museu Gaudi and Sagrada Familia church. The tour only runs form April to Oct.

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tapas-by-the-foodie-gift-hunterSeville
Tapas (small plates of appetizers) are integrated in the culture of Seville – going on a tapas crawl is how many a night is spend. Seville has hundreds of places to eat tapas: make it easier for yourself by going on a real tapas tour. Your local guide  will introduce you to the best tapas places around.

Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the Seville photography tour. Discover the picturesque side to Seville and take pictures of the architecture and markets with the help of your guide a local photographer.

scooter-ride_mallorca_8043_2Mallorca
The only way to explore Mallorca is by scooter. Drive around, fully insured, in small groups and see Palma Bay, the historic centre of the city and discover the fishing culture by Paseo Maritimo. There are enough refreshments stops along the way – but you do need an international driving license to join!

aguamar-water-park_ibiza_3616_3Ibiza
A perfect alternative way to spend the day on Ibiza: visit Aquamar Water Park. One of the islands top attractions the waterpark has plenty of pools and slides to keep everyone entertained for the day. There is a cafeteria and bars for refreshments or go to the picnic areas if you like to bring your own lunch..
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beluga-whale-by-mike-johnstoneValencia
In Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences: a complex devoted to scientific and cultural dissemination in Europe. The complex itself is worthy of a visit with its many exhibitions and activities and one of the buildings not to miss is the Oceanographic park. An underwater city, where you walk through several habitats of the world, teaches you about biodiversity and the ocean’s eco system. You can see aquatics animals, mammals, birds and fish and even enjoy a dolphin show.

el-diablo-by-sylviane-mossLanzarote
We finish with a dinner offer you can’t refuse: a volcano bbq in Timanfaya National Park. It is the largest volcanic region in the whole of the Canary islands. A guide will lead you via the Lunar route to the famous El Diablo restaurant in Lanzarote.
Take in the gorgeous views while the food is grilled on volcanic heat. The evening is completed by music from local musicians.
A perfect night out in Spain.

Photocredit: Flickr Flamenco dancer -Flydime/ Montesserat- Catedrales e Iglesias/ Tapas- The Foodie Gift Hunter/ Beluga- Mike Johnstone/ BBQ- Sylviane Moss

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Alhambra Palace Tours

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alhambra

Arguably the most impressive landmark in Spain, and perhaps one of the most spectacular in all the world, The Alhambra Palace sits in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains and epitomizes Moorish architectural splendor. Inside the fortress, many have marveled at the palace’s intricate elements, such as its ornate ceilings, impressive stucco work, beautiful mosaics and cupolas. On the palace grounds, even more exquisite offerings await visitors, including marble structures, tranquil pools and fountains, and pavilions that offer stunning views of the mountains that surround the fortress. continue reading

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Alternative Travel in Spain

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Spain’s busiest beaches and exciting cities have been hot tourist spots forever. Independent travellers and those looking for an adventure will revel once in these buzzing centres but will soon crave more unique experiences on the Spanish peninsula. How about a road trip through one or more of Spain’s distinct regions, sampling culture and cuisine and staying in historic Paradores hotels?

continue reading

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Special Easter Offers at Isango.de

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isango!‘s German site isango.de has published two press releases about its special Easter offers. German isango! distributes discount codes, which enable the customers to get 10% off the original price. They simply mention the code in their booking and receive the discount automatically. The offers are an Easter present from the German isango! team.
One Easter bargain is the Alhambra in Granada, which is Spain’s most popular attraction and very popular among the German customers. The discount code CSCRUUJ can be used to book Alhambra tickets (Alhambra Eintrittskarten) for 10% less. The ticket gives visitors access to the Alhambra and includes a 2 ½ hours long guided tour of the Alhambra palace and its beautiful garden.
Alternatively isango.de offers cheap New York helicopter tours (New York Helicopter Touren). Any of the three helicopter tours can be purchased for 10% less with the code CSPBHP7. The flights are the perfect way to discover the Big Apple and guarantee tourists an unforgettable experience in New York.

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Beautiful Barcelona

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We have recently released a page listing the top things to do in Barcelona – the best activities, sights, tours and excursions. Check it out and start planning your trip to Spain’s liveliest city!

The isango! team

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Boredom at the Beach

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Summer is finally here!  This means one thing…its time to hit the beach!  I know a vacation in the sun and sand sounds relaxing, yet this relaxation can soon turn to boredom.  This is why whenever I head to the beach for a break I try to find things to keep me busy.  The typical beach activities are always nice;  reading, swimming, sun bathing, and just simply strolling the beach.  Even with all the classic activities, I sill get jaded by the second day.  This is why I like to spend one day doing something a bit more stimulating.

The white sands of Longboat Key (Flickr by RTC1)

The white sands of Longboat Key (Flickr by RTC1)

Florida Beaches

Having grown up in Florida, heading to the beach for a family vacation was always a yearly tradition.  Every Labor Day my family and I head to Longboat Key on the Gulf of Mexico.  Every year we look forward to lounging about in the sun, however it gets too hot to sunbath for hours on end.  So, one of our favorite things to do is collect seashells.  In Longboat Key there is a sand bar close to shore and every year we snorkel for sand dollars.  One year we found hundreds of dead sand dollars on the sand bar!  I enjoy shelling so much, that one time on a trip to Clearwater we actually took a tour that took us to an island to hunt for seashells.  It was a fun way to mix up the usual humdrum at the beach. continue reading

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Barcelona

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Experience Barcelona

Park Guell (Flickr by MorBCN)

Park Guell (Flickr by MorBCN)

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, which explains the city’s wide array of activities to partake in.  When I was a senior in high school I visited Spain with my Art History class.  Looking back, Barcelona was sadly the city where we had the shortest amount of time and I wish I had a couple more days to experience Barcelona.

As of recent, Barcelona has become one of the most visited cities in Spain because of the vast amount of activities to experience.  Whether you enjoy thrilling tours and experiences, the arts, or learning more about a city’s culture then Barcelona has something to offer. continue reading

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No queuing at the Alhambra palace, Granada

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It was my granddad who booked me on a holiday to Andalucia, including a visit to the Alhambra. I was a disinterested teenager back then, not really keen on spending a week having my granddad chasing me around from palace, to tapas bar and back to the museum with a group of 60plus year olds. Anyways, I agreed to one week of snoring, continental breakfast feasts, unfunny jokes and several attempts of my granddad trying to sell me for less than 15 camels, after all it was for free.

Never, would I have spent a week looking at so many sights. There are many wonderful places in Andalucia, but what has fascinated me most were the Alhambra and the Mezquita in Cordoba. The fusion of Islamic and Christian architecture is so unique and I found both buildings representing the admiration for Islamic inheritance and architecture captivating.  So captivating in fact, that part of my studies later focused on Islamic influences in European culture (thanks granddad!!!). No wonder, I am not the only one and the Alhambra is today the most visited landmark in Spain. Luckily, my granddad is a super organised ex-accountant, the type of man who has guidelines on the first page of his files, of how the file has been organised. So unsurprisingly, he had booked us in for a guided walk, with no need to wait in the endless lines outside the ticket booth.

The Alhambra (Arabic for Red Fortress) is set on the foothills of the Serra Nevada Mountains. On a nice day (as most days in Andalucia) the view is breathtaking, the winter landscape in the back and the valleys and the city of Granada to the South. The Alhambra was built as the residence for Muslim rulers in the 14th history. When the Spanish re-conquered Andalucia at the end of the 15th century, the Alhambra became a royal residence once more and Christian characteristics were added. The perfection and unique synthesis have made the Alhambra one of the world’s top sights and last year over 3 million people visited.

Pretty unwelcoming fact, I find, remembering again the miles of queues. I also recall what my colleague from a Spanish travel agency told me recently. Tickets are fixed to a visiting slot and only a set number of visitors will be allowed entry each day. A fellow blogger argues “On a corner of the Alhambra Museum is a picture which shows tourists fighting outside the entrance before ticket numbers were limited” (http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/25acb1/ ).

2469041-the_alhambra_tickets-granada

Not surprising then, that Alhambra Tickets sell like hot cakes. When buying your tickets beforehand, whether that is at the destination or online, make sure you get a fair price. Alhambra Ticket Trading is in Granada, what Chelsea Tickets sales are in London. So here are the three golden rules for staying safe and paying fair:

1. Always read the small print. Some tours are expensive because they offer little extras. Others are expensive for the sake of it.

2. The vendor should give you supplier details once you have booked. Check that they really do!

3. Read user reviews from travellers who have booked the same tour in teh past.

It may seem like an effort to do it all before, but believe me, it is nothing compared to the stress you would have at the ticket stand. Take your voucher, meet your guide and enjoy, because the Alhambra is really a magnificent site.

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