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Spain & Portugal Travel Articles

Travel notes and articles for Spain and Portugal. Articles posted must be approved by the Admin before they are published.
El Puerto de Santa Maria is located on the coast in southern Spain, in the Andalusia region. It is in the Cadiz province, on the Guadalete River mouth, on the Cadiz Bay. A short ferry ride or commuter train journey from the city of Cadiz is El Puerto. It is one of the points of the sherry triangle. The other two points are Sanlucar de Barrameda and Jerez de la Frontera. Visitors are able to sample all varieties of sherry at any number of bodegas in El Puerto. Osbourne is the largest in the...
Braga Braga (population 160,000) has an historic center with many 18th century houses covered in colorful decorative tile. It was settled in Roman times and in the 12th century was the country's religious capital. Many religious festivals are still held here. An elegant cafe, Cafe Brasileira, is in the city center. Location: Portugal - Minho - Braga Website: Portugal Tourism - Visit Portugal The famous church Bom Jesus do Monte, built in the late 18th century, sits on a hillside above...
The Martins Sarmento Museum (Museu Martins Sarmento) contains Celtic and Roman archaeological items found in local Iron Age settlements, including Citânia de Briteiros. This is a very interesting collection and is nicely displayed in a former convent in the center of Guimarães. Location: Portugal - Minho - Guimarães Hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday. Guided Tours of the Exhibits: Our group of three was assigned a Portuguese speaking guide. He spoke some English and our group spoke some...
Citânia de Briteiros was an Iron Age settlement first inhabited more than 2000 years ago. The settlement was protected by four ramparts, enclosing neighborhoods, public areas, livestock areas, paved roads, and two bath structures. The archaeological site has a total area of 24 hectares, and seven hectares of uncovered ruins are open to the public. Location: Portugal - Minho - São Salvador de Briteiros Located in northern Portugal, the Minho region, north of Guimarães. Take #101 north to...
Over the last six years, my husband and I have had several extended stays in Barcelona. During the winters of 2017 and 2018, we rented an apartment for six weeks or more during the period of January through early March. There are many well-known sites in Barcelona and I will not focus on them, instead, I will try to share a few of my favorite restaurants, shops, resources for finding lesser-known fun and interesting things to do, and other tips on “living” in Barcelona. We have always stayed...
Imagine staying in the oldest hotel in the world, an ancient castle, a Moorish fortress, a sixteenth century palace, or even an old jail. Then, imagine staying inside one of these historical sites for a very affordable price, so affordable that it is easy to indulge in a fine dinner of local specialties and an after-dinner snifter or three of good Spanish brandy. Paradores de Turismo de Espana In Spain, imagination can become reality. The Paradores de Turismo de Espana are a network of...
If you are going to be visiting Spain, and if you love to eat and drink, you are going to be very happy. Spain is one of the top food and wine destinations in the world, and for good reason. You can start eating early in the day and continue to eat into the wee hours of the morning. You can eat and drink in all price ranges, from practically free in some tapas bars to a small fortune in Michelin starred restaurants. When to Eat The Spanish start their day with desayuno (breakfast) of...
El Capricho de Gaudi, Comillas, Cantabria - An early example of Gaudi's architechural vision. Antoni Gaudi is best known for his architectural wonders in Catalonia. However, he did accept and complete commissions in other parts of Spain. Some are the Bishop's Palace in Astorga, the Casa de los Botines in Leon and El Capricho in Comillas. The house and grounds are an early work. It was built between 1883 and 1885 as a summer home for Maximo Diaz de Quijano, a merchant and music lover. Gaudi...
Albarracin, Teruel Province, Aragon - one of Spain's most beautiful villages. Location: about 40 kms. West of the City of Teruel Albarracin is always included in travel columns' “top 10” lists. Its designation stems from its location, harmonious architecture and historical significance. We visited in Spring and the cherry blossoms in the plazas around town enhanced the beauty of the place. Also it was early enough in the season that there were no crowds during the weekdays. Also early...
Belchite Viejo, Aragon - the ruins a a town ravaged by the Spanish Civil War. Location: about 50 Kms south from Zaragoza in Aragon; 41o18'04.74''N 0o44'55.24''W While traveling from Cardona to Albarracin we stopped at Belchite, near Zaragoza. Belchite is a sleepy rural town. However, we came to visit Belchite Viejo, a town left in ruins by the Spanish Civil War. In an effort to halt Nationalist force's advance Republican forces attacked and occupied Belchite in 1937. Members of the...
Explore an important trading centre of ancient Rome. Location: The entrance to the ruins is approximately 100 Kms south from Cadiz; 200 Kms west of Malaga and 75 Kms west of Gibraltar. The nearest town Is Bolonia. 36o5'23.32''N 5o46'16.25''W. The Site Baelo Claudia was an important trading centre in the Roman Empire. Its chief exports were garum, a fermented fish sauce, and salted tuna. The city flourished between the 1st and 3rd centuries C.E. In the 3rd century earthquakes and pirate...
Conimbriga, Portugal's best preserved Roman Ruins. Location: Conimbriga is located approximately 15 Kms south of Coimbra at 40o05'54.32''N 8o29'25.90''W. It is in the municipality of Condeixa-a-Nova. If one is interested in Roman ruins then a stop at Conimbriga is a must. On a road trip between Porto and Lisbon it is only a short detour off the A1. The modest museum exhibits artifacts unearthed at the site and tells the story of life in a Roman colonial city. The site itself was...
Tomar, a small town in Central Portugal that hosts 2 remarkable festivals and a Templar building. Location: Tomar is located about 150 kms north of Lisbon; 30 kms south east of Fatima at 39o36'13.21''N 8o25'03.08''W. In an otherwise unremarkable country town, there is a remarkable massive fortified convent/monastery the Convento do Cristo. Each Spring (usually in April) the town hosts the Templar Tuna Festival. University musical societies compete serenading their “loved” ones. Free...
This is a "first course" for beginners, a brief description of some of the most common tapas that visitors can expect to find in typical tapas bar in Andalucia, southern Spain. What are Tapas? Tapas are a variety of small savoury Spanish dishes, often served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. "Tapear", going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas, is an essential part of the social culture of Spain, especially in the south. Because tapas are informal, and the bars are...
Seville (Sevilla in Spanish, pronounced se-VEE-ya) is the fourth largest city in Spain. It is the capital city and cultural and financial center of the Andalusia region in southern Spain. Founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, Seville boasts one of the largest preserved old city centers in Europe, where you can see the traces of its long history in its many architectural styles, from the Arabic period through late medieval, renaissance, and baroque. The population of Seville is...
The Genal Valley of the Serranía de Ronda in Málaga, Andalusia, Southern Spain The quiet and restful Genal Valley has a history that goes back hundreds of years. It is located in La Serranía de Ronda (the Ronda Mountains) just to the south of the bustling white village of Ronda, near the Mediterranean coast in southern Spain. The Genal Valley is sandwiched happily between two national parks, La Sierra de las Nieves and Grazalema, and it is commonly acknowledged as the greenest part of...

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