Seville is the capital of Andalusia and is the stereotypical Spain with flamencos, bullfights, Moorish palaces and gorgeous hilltop villages. Other than Seville, the two other principal centres include Granada and Cordoba.
Seville is a great city with its colour and is as alive at night as it is during the day (but what Spanish city isn’t?). There are plenty of beds in hostels and hotels to base yourself to see the sights. Seville contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. It is also the only river port in Spain and lies in the fertile valley of the Guadalquivir River.
Other not to miss attractions include the Plaza de Espana and the nearby parks offer a romantic setting for an evening stroll. Behind the Cathedral is the picturesque old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz.
Barcelona is one of Spain’s most versatile tourist destinations: one minute you can be touring architectural masterpieces and the next lying on a beach and topping up your tan. There are obvious choices when it comes to what to see and do whilst in Barcelona, but why not explore the area in a bit more depth and seek out some hidden gems? You’re likely to discover a new and exciting side to this Catalan city.
To really get a taste of Barcelonan life, take a leaf out of the mature residents of the Gothic Barrio’s book. Come two o’clock, when most locals are settling down for a siesta, don’t follow the other tourists returning to their Barcelona hotels. Instead, take a trip to Fira Nautumismo and browse the wide range of collectables on offer in the street market set up by the elderly residents. You can get anything from stamps and coins to crafts and jewellery here and will discover some real gems that cannot be found on the main shopping strip.
If you want to hang out with the coolest Barcelonans then head to the (not so) secret bar, El Mariachi. Tucked away in the Barrio Gotico and identifiable only by the painting of a snake-entwined woman sitting below the legend of El Mariachi on the ‘shop front’, this bar is the most popular hangout for musicians such as Manu Chao. Take in the mismatched furniture whilst supping on a random array of spirits and beers. If you dare to venture into this muso den, you should make sure you sample the interesting cocktails on offer, such as the Mariachi – made with Pacharan, or hydro-miel – the house speciality liqueur blended with honey.
Whether you’re looking for an ideal souvenir for your stay in Barcelona or wanting to feast your eyes on some local art, then take a walk from the Ramblas to Escudellers. Here you will find Art Escudellers, a pottery shop selling pieces from all over Spain. Navigating the shop is easy as the products are divided by their region of origin. Expect prices to increase as you head downstairs and if you do find yourself making an extortionate purchase, ease your soul with a swig from the fabulous wine cellar in the basement.
It’s also worth heading out on foot and making the most of the beautiful landscape surrounding Barcelona. Pack your own picnic and watch the world go by on a trip to the Botanical Gardens at Montjuïc Mountain, situated near the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium. These beautiful gardens showcase the Mediterranean’s most extraordinary plant and wildlife and are a great place to relax and spend an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and beaches.
Colombia probably has more inspiring highlights than Ipiales but this town found close to the border with Ecuador certainly has a prize not to be missed if arriving from Ecuador.
The magnificent, neo-gothic cathedral of Santuario de Las Lajas is located 7km from the town centre and was built early to mid last century. It was built in a deep river gorge and incorporates a bridge spanning the river, making it quite a spectacular travel destination.
Each year Las Lajas attracts pilgrims from all over Colombia and from abroad. Thanksgiving plaques and mementos are left along the pathway to the fairy-tale like cathedral.
The town of Kilkenny is in County Kilkenny in the south/east region of Ireland. It’s most well known for three historic landmarks. The 13th century Cathedral of St Canice, the Round Tower both of which the town orginated around and the third landmark, the dominating and beautiful Kilkenny Castle.
Kilkenny has managed to retain much of its medieval flavour. Strict redevelopment guidelines, ensuring the shop and business facade’s are not modernised to the point that they lose their original, historic charm. Kilkenny is also considered the art and craft capital of Ireland with a rich array of arts and crafts available in many of the town’s shops.
This is an excellent and much reviewed Guide Book should you be planning a trip to Ireland.