Andalucia (rural) - 41
Galicia - 22
Seville is the capital of Andalucia and is well worth visiting to see the many historical buildings and magnificent churches. Visit the Gothic Cathedral and climb to the top of the Minaret for a spectacular view of the city. Don't miss the Mudéjar palace of the Alcázar or the ruins of the ancient city of Italica. Make a day trip to the beautiful city of Granada and the famous Alhambra Palace.
Ronda is an ancient mountain town, filled not only with the history of bull fighting and the Plaza de Toros, but also beautiful buildings and the spectacular El Tajo gorge. If you stand on the Puente Nuevo bridge, there are amazing views down into the gorge and out to the Serrania de Ronola mountains. Don't miss a visit to the nearby ancient city of Ancinipo, which dates back to the first century AD. See the fascinating medieval fortress in the white washed village of Casares. Gaucin is another spectacular mountain city with views to Gibraltar and the African coast. Visit the Castillodel Aguila (Eagle Castle) that dates from the period of Roman settlement. View the work of the thriving community of local artists or enrol in one of the art course on offer and try to capture the beauty of this mountain village yourself.
There are so many things to do on your Andalucia villa vacation. Take advantage of the perfect climate and view the splendour of rural Andalucia from a hot air balloon. Don't miss the national sport of bull fighting. This ancient sport began as entertainment in the village squares, until the first bullring was built in the city of Ronda in the late 18th century. Andalucia is home to around 70 bullrings, the most important of which is the Real Maestranza de Seville, which seats 10,000 people. Watch a performance of the passionate Flamenco dancing in a traditional bodega or peña flamenco or in one of the many Flamenco tablaos in the larger cities. Explore Andalucia on motorbikes or mountain bikes. There are many established trails. The region also provides the perfect conditions for paragliding and microlight (ultralight) flights. Given the importance of the horse to the people of rural Andalucia, it very easy to find horse riding facilities for all levels of ability. There are also plenty of opportunities for those interested in golf, polo, skiing, surfing or landscape painting. The region has several nature parks, all with excellent visitor facilities.
Each year Andalucia hosts over 300 fiestas, including carnivals, grape harvests, processions, holy week festivities and music festivals. The region's Catholic heritage has led to a tradition of wonderful carnival celebrations around Shrove Tuesday, before the 40 days of Lent commence. In Seville, the carnival celebrations take place throughout most of February.
The cuisine of rural Andalucia centres around pork and game dishes. Try the pork fillet in orange sherry sauce. Don't miss the cured ham made from the Iberico pigs and served raw, in thin slices on bread. Experiment with the tasty tapas options accompanied by a glass of cold sherry. Try the chilled Gazpacho soup, omelettes, Cola de Toro (ox tail), Morcilla Rondeña (blood sausage) and the excellent coffee, which is generally served black, espresso-style. Chestnuts are grown locally and form an important part of the local cuisine, whether roasted and sold on street corners or in sweet dishes such as Chestnut cake or chestnut stuffing in game. Spain has a long tradition of wine making, both red and white varieties, as well as Sherry. Locally brewed beer is also a popular drink. Try the San Miguel or the Cruzcampo.
Festivals and Events in Andalucia
Ronda - Fiesta de la Virgen de al Paz (January)
Seville - Seville Spring Fair (March)
Granada - International Tango Festival (March)
Andalucia region - Semana Santa Holy Week Easter processions (March)
Gaucin - Running of the Bulls (March)
Ronda - Feria de la Reconquista (May)
Granada - Festival of the May Crosses (May)
Granada - Granada Festival of Music and Dance at the Alhambra (June-July)
Seville - Carnival (February)
Ronda - Goyesque Fair (September)
Granada - International Jazz Festival (November)
Make sure you include a visit to the historic port city of Alicante in you Costa Blanca villa vacation. See the castle, Castillo de Santa Barbera, relax on the beaches and explore the harbour and port area of the city, which is alive with restaurants and clubs. Alicante is known for its lively nightlife, particularly around the Playa de San Juan in the summer months.
Javea is a beautiful city about 80kms north of Alicante. It has an old village, with buildings dating from the 12th century, as well as a harbour and beach area, with plenty of shops and restaurants. Climb to the top of the Cabo de Nao San Martin and see the spectacular views. Your Javea villa gives you easy access to facilities for scuba diving, sailing, golf and trekking on established routes through several Nature Parks. It is also a convenient location from which to make day trips to other beaches and resorts, such a Denia, Gandia and Altea. If you are travelling with children, it is not far to visit the theme parks in Benidorm. Benidorm is also well known for is magnificent beaches and lively nightlife.
Just south of Javea is the picturesque village of Moraira. Once a quaint fishing village, a Moraira villa now offers an attractive and quieter beachside experience for tourists. Chill out on the golden sands of the Platja del Portet, watch the fish being auctioned at the fish markets, hire a jet ski and get a great view of the coastline, or enjoy the possibilities for snorkelling and diving at Platgetes or Cala Punta Estrella.
The city of Calpe is known for its huge rock, called the Penon de Ifach. Fishing, yachting, surfing and swimming are all catered for in a Calpe villa holiday. Wander through the streets of the old town and buy fresh produce a the street markets or stroll along the Paseo Infanta Christina that joins Playa la Fossa and dance the night away in one of the many nightclubs.
Rice based dishes are a popular part of the local cuisine of the Costa Blanca. They can be flavoured with meat or some of the fine local seafood. Try the paella or the fideus a la cassola, which is made with noodles. Finish you meal with one of the sweets made with locally produced almonds, such as turrón, guirlache or almendras garrapiñadas.
Festivals and Events on the Costa Blanca
Alicante - Three Kings Procession (January)
Denia - Mounted procession of the Three Wise Men (January)
Alicante - Alicante Carnival (January-February)
Benidorm - Carnival (February)
Alicante - Carnival (February)
Alicante - Moors and Christians Festival (March)
Gandia - Fiesta of Las Fallas (March)
Alicante - Santa Faz Pilgrimage (April)
Denia – Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (May)
Benidorm - Fiesta de Carmen (July)
Benidorm – Aqualandia Water Park (May until October)
Alicante – St John's Bonfires (June)
Javea – Fogueres de San Juan Fiesta (June)
Alicante – Medieval Market (June)
Denia – Harbourfront Bull run - Bous a la Mer (July)
Elche - Misterio de Elche (Elche Mystery Play) (August)
Denia – Moros y Cristianos Festival (August)
Calpe – Festival of La Virgen de las Nieves (August)
Alicante – International Festival of Contemporary Music (September)
Calpe – Beer Festival (October)
Benidorm - Fiesta de Asturias and Fiesta de "la Vendimia" (September)
Denia – Tots Sants Fair (October)
Alicante – Festititeres Puppet Festival (November-December)
There is plenty of history to explore on your Costa Brava villa holiday. See the Greek and Roman ruins at Empúries. Visit Tossa de Mar and its the lovely old quarter, 'Villa Vella', with its towers and defensive walls. Travel inland to the capital city of the region, Girona. Here you will find the picturesque old Jewish Quarter, a 13th century cathedral and an exhibition of the famous surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. A Costa Brava villa is a great base for day trips to nearby Barcelona, Monserrat or Andorra.
The Medes Islands, off the coast from Begur, form Spain's first marine nature reserve. Go scuba diving or take a trip in a glass bottom boat to appreciate the amazing marine fauna and flora. There are plenty of amusements for children near your Costa Brava villa. Once they have had enough of the beach or the pool, there are the two Botanical gardens in Blanes, Marineland adventure park, the Water World Water Park near Lloret de Mar or the Porta Aventura Theme park near Tarragon.
The Costa Brava is known for its fresh seafood. Don't miss the fish suquets, cuttlefish and prawns. Fritters and black rice are also regional specialties, along with trinxat (cabbage and potato omelettes, served with pork).
Festivals and Events on the Costa Brava
Platja d'Aro - Parade of the Three Kings (January)
Santa Pau - La Fesolada food festival (January)
Pals - Carnival (January-February)
L'Escala - Grand Carnival Parade (February)
Besalú - Els Dolors Procession (March)
Girona - Diada de Sant Jordi (April)
Palafrugell - Spring Festival (May-June)
Tossa De Mar - Corpus Christi Floral Carpets celebration (June)
Tossa de Mar - Summer Festival of Sant Pere (June)
Lloret - Fiesta de Santa Cristina (July)
Blanes - Costa Brava International Fireworks Competition (July)
Besalú - Medieval Besalú (August - September)
Lloret - Sant Romà celebrations (November)
Pals - Living Nativity Scene (December)
Calonge - Display of the Cribs (Late December-January)
With an average of three hundred days of sunshine per year, your Costa del Sol villa vacation can mean hours spent on one of the many beautiful beaches. Try the beaches at Torremolinos, Benalmádena and Fuengirola or visit the quieter Estepona. All this good weather means lots of excellent outdoor activities such as hiking, polo, tennis, horse riding and scuba diving. There are dolphin and whale spotting safaris in the Straits of Gibraltar. There are over fifty golf courses available to enthusiasts, many around Marbella, and due to the popularity of this sport in the region, facilities are high quality and continually developing.
Your Costa del Sol villa is not far from the inland cities of Granada, Cordoba and Seville and these cities would make perfect day trips. You can also take a 15km trip across the Straits of Gibraltar to visit Tangiers in Morocco.
A Costa del Sol villa vacation also caters for families looking for fun activities to amuse the children. The Tivoli World Amusement Park is located not far from Benalmádena and offers rides and performances as well as a special area for younger children. Nearby is the Benalmádena cable car, travelling up Monte Calamorro and the Benalmádena Sea Life Aquarium. The amazing Aqualand Water park is located in Torremolinos and near Estepona is the Selwo Adventure Park, combining all the features of a zoo safari with rides and activities.
Its proximity to the sea means there is plenty of fresh seafood on the Costa del Sol. Try the fried fish, the pescado a la sal, the prawns and the mackerel. The cold vegetable soup, gazpacho, is perfect in the hot weather.
Festivals and Events on the Costa Del Sol
Málaga - Parade of the Three Wise Men (January)
Málaga - Carnival (Late January - early February)
Málaga - Semana Santa celebrations (April)
Marbella - Feria de Marbella (June)
Málaga - Feast of St John (June)
Torremolinos - Fried Fish Feast (June)
Marbella - Feria de San Bernabé (June)
Marbella - Fiesta de Cármen (July)
Málaga - Virgen del Carmen Festival (July)
Málaga - Feria de Malaga (August)
Torremolinos - Tourist Day Parade and celebrations (September)
If dance parties and clubbing into the early hours is not your scene, there are plenty of other things to be doing on your Ibiza villa holiday. Stretch out on a towel and soak up the sun on one of the many sandy beaches, such as those at Talamanca, Santa Eulalia or Es Cana. Hire a moped in Playa den Bossa or take the scenic tour train (Ibtren) from San Antonio for a two-hour tour of the island. Shop for fresh produce at the covered market in Santa Eulalia or browse for souvenirs and resort couture at the Hippy markets in Es Cana.
The beautiful beaches and the predominance of good weather mean that there are many outdoor and water-based activities available for those holidaying in an Ibiza villa. There are facilities for water skiing, windsurfing, diving, parasailing and banana rides. There are many companies renting boats and catamarans and there are several water parks and the Cap Blanc natural cave Aquarium in St Antonio for the kids. There are also gyms, tennis courts and horse riding facilities.
An Ibiza villa vacation is filled with spectacular vistas. Parts of the Island have been declared UN World Heritage Sites and there is some incredible natural beauty to observe. At the southern most tip of the island are the Las Salinas Salt Flats. Here the water evaporates during the warmer months, to leave a layer of salt that has been farmed here for hundreds of years. This is a photographer's paradise. See if you can catch the sun sparkling off the salt crystals as the sun sets.
Take a trek to Sa Talaia, the highest point of the island at 475 meters above sea level, from the town of Sant Josép. Watch the sun set from the Cafe Del Mar. Visit the nearby Island of Formentera or visit the pretty island villages, such as San Carlos, San Rafael and Santa Ines. There are also buildings of historical interest to visit, such as the Ses Portes Tower and the Sa Sal Rosa Tower, that were built to protect the island from invaders.
Taste the finest Spanish and international cuisine at the many restaurants, cafes, bars and eateries in the resorts or opt for the more traditional tapas and hearty local fare at one of the many country inns and restaurants. The traditional dishes are hearty stews of chicken, rabbit or lamb or dishes made from the plentiful fresh seafood.
Festivals and Events in Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Ibiza - Fiesta San Antonio Abad (January)
San Antonio - San Antonio Fiesta Patronal (January)
Santa Eulalia - Santa Eulalia Fiesta Patronal (March)
Ibiza - Santa Eulalia Fiesta (May)
San Miguel - Ibizan Folk Dancing demonstrations (various dates May-October)
Ibiza - Fuegos de San Juan fireworks display (June)
Ibiza - La Virgen del Carmen Procession (July)
Ibiza - Fiesta of Nuestra Senora de las Nieves (August)
Ibiza - Folklore festival (August)
Ibiza - San Ciriacois Day Festival (August)