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Spain Travel Tips

Spain travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.

The nightlife in Madrid is unique
Submitted by M20774
The nightlife in Madrid is unique - there is nothing like it anywhere in the world. There are always places where you can go out, to dance, laugh, talk, or flirt. In Madrid, going out at night is a source of culture. There is something for everybody: from the most minimalist chill-out bars to the most enticing clubs and Goth bars, from the questionable dives to the wildest afterhour’s clubs and nostalgic dance-halls. Some favorites of mine are:
- Distinguished: Cock (De la Reina St. #16) A secret place since it ... view more opened in the 1920´s, decorated in sporting British style. It’s the perfect place to chat and enjoy the pleasant music and drinks. The irreverent Coen brothers visited the place and rated it as a truly elegant spot in town.
- Classic: Del Diego(De la Reina St. #16). You will never be disappointed here. Visit the new and fashionable places open continuously in town and, at the end, you will be back to this Mad Man style pub. The waiters are a real sight: elegant and impeccable in their tuxedos. This venue offers one of the longest cocktail menus in Madrid.
- Stylish: Glass Bar in Hotel Urban (Carrera De San Jeronimo #34). A cozy and refined atmosphere for the coolest people. Surrounded by glass panels, with an impressive chandelier imported from Morocco in the spotlight and transparent 'Ghost' chairs designed by French Philippe Starck, this is the ideal space for feeling special, for seeing and being seen while distractedly watching a classic movie.
- Decadent: Toni 2 (Almirante St. #9) When the night starts to fade out, around 3 am, it is the time to land on this Piano Bar. Here you will find all kind of people crammed around a Yamaha grand piano, which, like a demiurge full of magnetism, makes things happen around him. A lot of fun.

Shopping Time
Submitted by M20774
If you looping for sonthing really original , unique, handmade craf made in Madrid, this are "mis favoritos". Hernanz Shop - This shop is certainly the most known of all the factories of espadrilles in Spain. Everything has been handmade since its beginning over 160 years ago and it is owned by the same family for five generations. Observe the long wooden counter that dates back to the 19th century. The espadrilles were traditional footwear for peasants, but in 1960 Yves Saint Laurent’s top models wore ... view more them at a fashion show. Since that make them high fashion. Experience the "unique service" no credit cards accepted!

La Violeta Shop (Canalejas Sq.) This shop sells sweets made with violet essence (the flavour of Madrid). It was a success from the very beginning. We do not know why King Alfonso XIII decided to make this special kind of sweets but probably because there are many violets in the mountains located at the north of Madrid. Legend said that King Alfonso XIII usually bought violets for his "official" wife, Queen Victoria Eugenia and also for his "second" wife. At least in this type of arrangement it is was an easy way not to mix up the presents.
Loewe (7, Gran Via St.) Luxury Madrilenian brand specialized in high quality leather goods and accessories since 1846 this is the most elegant leather store in town.

Seseña (23, Cruz St.)- Since the XVI century the Spanish cape has been always the garment of choice for those who like to dress with distinction so, symbolizes classical fashion. In fact Dior introduce the Capes in the 2012 Winter Haute Couture Collection.

Casual places before or after shopping
Submitted by M20774
Casual places where the natives go:
Chocolateria San Ginés (5, Pasadizo de San Gines). The fried strip doughs with a hot thick chocolate cream ("Chocolate con Churros") is a Madrilian specialty, and this is the place to try it. They are eaten for breakfast, at mid-afternoon, or before going to bed after a nigh out; the place closes at 4am! Cafeteria Magerit (2 Plaza Mayor). Here you can taste the calamari or squid sandwich ("bocadillo de calamares" in Spanish). This is likely the most popular ... view more food in the establishments that ring Plaza Mayor. To prepare the sandwich the squid is sliced, battered, deep fried in olive oil, placed between two slices of baguette bread, and then served. To eat a calamari sandwich like the locals, order a glass of beer and enjoyit standing at the bar.
My favorite places for eat in Madrid
Submitted by M20774
According to traditions Madrid is the place to taste Hot Chocolate with Fried "Churros", small beers with the calamari or squid sandwich and Tapas indeed! But we have more surprises for you:

Casa Botin (17,Cuchilleros). This is the place for a classical castellan cuisine According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the oldest restaurant in the world, founded in 1725. It has four floors including the cellaring its vaults give it a very peculiar style. Artist Goya supposedly worked here before ... view more becoming a painter. Hemingway was a frequent visitor and pronounced it one of his favorite restaurants.

San Miguel Building Marketplace (1, Plaza San Miguel) is a people's marketplace serving residents and travellers alike. Beautiful and pleasant atmosphere. Restaurants and cafés serve cuisine representing the quality and cultural diversity of Spain best chefs.

Estado Puro (4, Canovas Del Castillo Sq.) For contemporary Tapas -Small Plates of finguer food- or Pintxos - bite sizes food with tooth pickes eaten- this one´s are inspired by the food and flavors of Spain, featuring different regional specialties and wines. A Spanish tapas bar is a place where friends and family gather to eat and drink while standing, sitting or moving about to catch up with others for those last bites.

Ada Hotel’s Terrace (2, Gran Vía). It is located at the roof top dinning of the building. It is the ideal spot for soaking up the sun and enjoying a quiet drink and a light fare while admiring breathtaking views of Madrid.

Terraza del Casino (15,Alcalá Street). If you're looking for a special dinner this 2 Michelin Stars restaurant is a special "experience". This establishment, opened in 1836, in a gorgeous rooftop location, offers an opportunity to experience cuisine in the famous Chef Ferran Adria style without vacuuming out your pockets If you are a true foodie you will find this place an absolute joy.

Carnival in Spain
Submitted by M20618
There some regions in Spain where Carnival is a very popular festivity and runs in February offering lots of fun, humor, parodies and rejoicing invade the streets of Spain’s cities and villages. For their originality, beauty and spectacle, do not miss the carnivals in Cadiz (Andalusia), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands) both declared of International Tourist Interest and their world fame is well deserved. Also is very popular in Catalonia the Carnival of Sitges, (located only 25 minutes from Barcelona city) ... view more and very well-known village for its international films festival and its gay-themed events.
The arrival of summer in Spain
Submitted by M20618
Many regions on this country is celebrating on the 23rd June the arrival of summer with the Bonfires of San Juan. In an atmosphere of music, color, fireworks and extravagance, thousands of people throng the streets to experience this fiesta which pays tribute to fire.

Sant Joan festivity – in Pyrenees is: in ISIL (Pallars Sobirà – Sort, Lleida); This festival, which coincides with summer solstice is held on St. Johns' day (San Joan), on June 23rd in the little town of Isil, in Pallars Sobirà. Ritual ... view more dances are the main star of this spectacular show, however the night actually begins high up on the mountain, with the lighting of torches in the dark night. The night finishes with the orchestra playing songs and all kinds of dancing until early in the morning.

The Falles of Isil was declared a Traditional Festival of National Interest by the Spanish government Sant Joan Festivity in Valencia community: To celebrate the arrival of summer, the people of Alicante would traditionally flock to the countryside on 23 June for a festive dinner: they feasted on typical products, and at midnight they would light bonfires and dance around them, set off fireworks and go swimming in the sea. This custom endured over the years, and in 1928 the fiestas of the Bonfires of San Juan were formally constituted. For several days, Alicante celebrates this great homage to fire, a relation of the "Fallas" in Valencia, where the main characters are genuine works of impermanent art: the bonfires and the enormous cardboard and wooden figures which go up in flames on the night of San Juan.

The queen of the fiesta, known as the "Beauty of Fire", is chosen in May from among the candidates presented by a committee in each neighborhood. The festivities officially begin on 20 June with the building of enormous bonfires with their tongue-in-cheek cardboard figures which fill the streets of Alicante with wit and good humor.

Spring time in Pyrenees – Sort / Noguera Pallaresa
Submitted by M20618
The river Noguera Pallaresa is without doubt the largest river in Pyrenees and of great interest to paddlers. It has an extensive river basin of wide valleys and is dominated b high mountain peaks so the river is fed by both rainfall and snow melt water. However in contrast to most Spanish rivers the thaw lasts for nearly two months. Also, a large dam downstream from Esterri d’Aneu releases water so this means that you can paddle and have activity practically until end of October. In Spring time the river, flows ... view more up to class IV+ and on the upper side you can paddle class V sections. Rest of the season the river is between II and III river rapids. Most of this region is protected a nature reserve, with the National Park of Aigues Tortes and Sant Maurici lake, a Natural Park with the high Pyrenees. The highest peak is located also in this area, Pica d'Estats with a 3143 meters high, and we will find also here the largest lake of the Pyrenees, called Certascan. Located only 3 hours drive from the city of Barcelona, or 4 hour drive from Costa Brava. And 1 hour away from Andorra the biggest shopping country free of tax in Pyrenees.
Tips to set up your walking poles
Submitted by M16078
How to set up your walking poles/sticks:

The height of your pole is very important so as not to strain your back or your elbows: while standing tall and holding your walking pole, the inside angle of your elbow should be at 90 degrees.

When walking uphill, you will need to shorten your poles to obtain that same comfortable height. And when walking downhill, you will need to lengthen your poles to obtain that same comfortable height.

Use your straps instead of holding firmly your walking sticks: put your ... view more hand through the strap and adjust it so that while holding lightly the handle, the heal of your hand rests comfortably onto the strap (that's why it's important to buy walking poles with ergonomically designed straps). While walking, apply pressure onto the straps instead of gripping the handle. This way, your hands and wrist don't get tired.

Walking with one or two walking poles?

Well, the general consensus seems to be that it is much better to walk with 2 walking poles for a good walking rhythm, balance and general workout. However, the main thing is your being comfortable. If it feels weird walking with 2 poles, I would use just the one. You won't get the full aerobic benefits but it will still give you some support to relieve your knees, hips, legs and back.

5 Top Tips to Buy Walking Poles
Submitted by M16078
My 5 top tips for buying walking poles:

1. Despite people saying the one piece poles are more secure and durable, I find telescopic walking poles more comfortable for walking on mixed terrain as is the case here in the Serrania de Ronda. You can then adjust them depending on the terrain (see how to set them up for more info on walking poles adjustment).

2. Choose poles with a comfortable handle. I prefer soft textured handles that feel smooth to the touch. Plastic ones can be a bit rough after a while and a ... view more bit slippery with sweat on hot days.

3. Choose poles with comfortable straps designed to support your wrists.

4. An added comfort is the shock absorbing features that some poles have. Some says this feature adds some weight to the poles, but it cushions impacts on your wrists when walking on hard ground or on rocky slopes.

5. Light weight poles are indeed a must in my opinion.

Are walking poles good for you?
Submitted by M16078
Walking with walking poles/stick is good for you because:

- It helps with your balance (ideal also when crossing rivers or on slippery terrain).

- It supports your body weight and thus reduces stress on your feet, legs, knees, hips and your back (especially when going downhill). So if you have any problems with any of these body parts, the walking sticks will be a great help. And if you haven't got any, they will lessen the normal "wear and tear" associated with walking.

- It helps when ... view more going uphill by giving you that extra push.

- It gives you a better posture and enables you to breathe more efficiently.

- It is very good for working out the upper body such as the arms, shoulders, upper chest, neck and the upper back, while helping to loosen any tensions that normally accumulate in the neck and the shoulder area due to stress, working at a desk/computer, etc.

- It increases your heart rate without your feeling it (easier cardio workout).

- You burn a lot more calories.

10 Things to Do in Granada (not in guidebook!)
Submitted by M05958
1. Go for tapas at a hole in the wall called “Bar Arco Iris.” It’s located just inside the Elvira gate at the bottom of the Cuesta de Abarqueros. No phone.
2. Each fondue at a place called El Aguas. Located on Aljibe de Trillo in the Albaicin neighborhood.
3. Go see a concert in the Alhambra Palace or else the Manuel de Falla concert hall. You can get tickets by going to the Corral de Carbon near the Plaza Nueva.
4. Take a night walk through the grounds of the Alhambra. Open for free Thursdays 10-12 p.m.
... view more
5. Meander the Moorish shuk on the Calderería Vieja Street, just half a minute from the Plaza Nueva.
6. Visit the Casa-Museo Federico García Lorca.
7. Go see a flamenco show in an actual gypsy cave! Your best bet is Cuevas Los Tarantos, located in the Sacromonte. Phone is: 958-224-525.
8. This recommendation is in all of the guidebooks, because it is a MUST! Walk through the Albaicin (old Moorish Quarter) up to the Plaza de San Nicolas and take in the view of the Alhambra Palace and the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas in the distance.
9. Eat an ice cream in the Plaza Bibarrambla, located just a few steps from the cathedral.
10. Read Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra before you go.

What to bring on a hiking tour in Andalusia, spain
Submitted by M16078
Essential items for all seasons:
- Worn in light walking boots. If you have to wear new walking boots, bring ‘second skin’ plasters to avoid being affected by blisters.
- Walking socks (light breathable ones for summer and warm ones for winter).
- Water bottle.
- Light weight day pack.
- Walking stick if you normally use one.
- Lightweight trousers for comfortable walking in all terrain.

Spring to early autumn:
- Warm clothes for cooler evenings.
- Lightweight waterproof jacket.
- Hat, Sunscreen, ... view more Swimwear.
- Sun glasses for sensitive eyes.
- Sandals for “after walking”.

Late autumn and winter:
- Warm clothes (i.e. fleece), which you can superpose on top of breathable T-shirts.
- Warm hat, Waterproof jacket, Waterproof trousers, Gloves.

Travel essentials:
- Valid passport.
- Travel insurance policy which should also include hill walking.
- Make sure you keep any medication you need in your hand luggage and not in your suitcase during flights in case your suitcase is lost.

If you suffer from any medical condition or you have any dietary requirements (i.e. vegetarian, gluten free diet) let your guide know:
- Dietary wise, it normally isn’t a problem in Andalusia as there is a great choice of food in the restaurants.
- Spanish Chemists are very knowledgeable and can normally find Spanish equivalents to foreign medicines.

Activities with kids in Barcelona
Submitted by M15393
Walks & Sights:
- A walk down la Rambla enjoying the birds market and the mimes is always a safe bet!
- Play hide-and-seek in the cypress tree maze of the Park del Laberint d’Horta (Subway: line 3, “Mundet”).
- Enjoy a boat ride in the port or along the city seafront with the classic Golondrinas, departing from the Columbus Statue (end of la Rambla).

- Go cycling! Rent a bike.
- Go ice-skating! In the famous Football Club Barcelona facilities.
- Row the boats in the Ciutadella Park ... view more (Subway: line 4 “Barceloneta” or line 1 “Arc de Triomf”).

- Discover the local amusement park at the top of the Tibidabo hill. Remember to take the Blue Tramway and then the Funicular to get there!
- Or take a day trip to Port Aventura, a theme park owned by Universal Studios!
- Have fun with the wax people at the Wax Museum.
- Have a delicious time at the Museum of Chocolate.

- Be a scientist at the Cosmocaixa Science Museum.
- Feel like a pirate at the Maritime Museum.
- Discover the brand new Museum of the Music, at the Auditori building.

- Say hi to the sharks at the Aquarium.
- Learn from the animal world at the Barcelona Zoo.

Good ideas for great presents
Submitted by M15393
The Food:

- Wines and liquors. Red wine from La Rioja or Ribera del Duero, white wine from Penedès, pure virgin oil (in elegant glass bottles), Aromes de Montserrat (nuts digestive), Melodys (Catalan cream liquor), Ratafia (nuts liquor).

- Sweets. Turrón (Christmas nougat) de Jijona, de Alicante or de crema, carquinyolis (Catalan dry almond cookies served with desert or coffee), chocolates (find those that copy the design of the Passeig de Gracia tiles), thick hot chocolate powder.

-Meat. Jamón de ... view more jabugo (the highest quality of Spanish cured ham,; if vacuum-packed you won’t have problems at the airport), other pork sausages (salchichón, langoniza, fuet, butifarra…).

- Other. Saffron, seasoned olives, olivada (olives paté), local nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts).

Kitchen Housewares (In department stores or hardware stores): iron and clay dishes for Catalan Cream cooking, tomba-truites (special flat dish to flip omelets), olive and vinegar sets, local design houseware from Vinçon’s.

Accessories: hand-painted silk fans, stationary designed by Jordi Lavanda, Gaudí inspired jewels, women accessories by Tous, modernist Masriera jewels.

Clothing: Designer Custo BCN fashion, Kukuxumusu and Paramita good quality and fun souvenir T-shirts, Zara, Mango and Desigual casual wear, Camper shoes, espardenyes (traditional spadrilles).

If you come to Barcelona in Winter
Submitted by M15393
- December, until Christmas Eve. The Christmas lights are lit at the beginning of the month, and it is a joy to walk around the shopping streets and the Old Town in the evening. Join the locals in the every-year discussion about the appropriateness (or lack of) of their contemporary designs against the traditional ones. And don’t forget to check out the Christmas market in front of the Cathedral.

- First week of January, until the 5th (included). Your kids will have so much fun watching the toys fair in Gran ... view more Via de les Corts Catalanes. In Spain children are given their presents by the Three Wise Men, who arrive on the night of the 5th of January. Parents desperate to find their kids favorite toy will have time until past midnight to find it in this fair. And you can also find decoration items and other presents for those that are not kids anymore.

- Carnival. February, the dates may vary might vary depending on the Catholic calendar. Although it is not easy to find now carnival celebrations open to everybody, in most markets the sellers do dress up to cheer up their customers. You can also have a walk around the Ciutadella Park on the Sunday of Carnival (many children will come dressed up as well) or have a wild night in the town of Sitges during their Carnival Parades.

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