Visiting Spain: Visit the Essentials First

visiting spain

It doesn’t matter what your travelling preferences are, we all love some fiesta, and what better place to have a fiesta than Spain itself? Located in one of the warmest parts of the European continent, Spain does not only offers long sunny days, but also a rich history and culture. This country can cater to anyone’s taste. Partying all night, visiting museums and researching the rich Spanish history or eating their delicious cuisine until your heart pops out. The only thing that you should know is where you’re heading, and this is where we step in. Look at the list below, and try to find the best Spanish ciudad for your holiday, especially if it’s your first time:

Madrid: The heart of Spain and capital of flamenco

It doesn’t do to visit Spain and not see the capital of the country, does it? As any other European capital, Madrid has everything to offer – bars that are open until late at night, great shopping centers and some of the most amazing parks in Europe. One such is the El Parque del Buen Retiro, or simply shortened to El Retiro. It was once a royal ‘’hangout’’, and it staged many concerts and garden plays. Nowadays, it is a great tourist attraction (even though greenery might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Madrid), as people can rent one of the many rowboats and paddle in the huge man made lake in the center of the park. However, Spain is the only place in the world where you can see a live performance of flamenco dances, and Madrid is the best place to do this.

madrid

Barcelona: The diamond of Catalonia

You’ve no doubt heard of Barcelona. There are numerous tourists who hit the road to Spain and decide to visit this place only. And it doesn’t matter how many days you stay, Barcelona is a city which you can never fully explore. If you really want a European holiday of your lifetime, you should find one of the best Barcelona holiday packages that are offered, and see the home of the extremely impressive pieces of Gaudi’s architecture such as the legendary La Sagrada Familia. Moreover, taking a walk-through Las Ramblas and having a cup of coffee in one of its many cafés is definitely something that you should experience at least once in your lifetime.

barcelona

Seville: From bullrings to beautiful barrios

To all the animal rights activists out there – no, we don’t agree with this either, but we must agree that this is one of the symbols of Spain and an inevitable part of Spanish history. Even though bullfighting originated in Ronda, Seville is its spiritual home. So, is it a form of art or simply animal cruelty? Well, it would be best to visit one of Seville’s many bullrings and see for yourself. However, don’t you think for a second that Seville is only good for this. As the heart of Andalusia, this magical city has many other things to offer – such as the Barrio Santa Cruz, one of the most beautiful barrios of Spain, or Alcazar (perhaps better known as Dorne from HBO’s Game of Thrones).

seville

Granada: The place that’s the richest in Spanish history

First and foremost: you’re visiting Spain and you want to try tapas. Since Granada is one of the rare places in Spain where you get tapas for free alongside your drink, it should be on the must-visit list. Moreover, this is a place where you’ll see the most important historical monuments of this country. It is a paradise for every history buff. One of the best things you can see here is the Alhambra fortress – a fortress so huge that you will need a whole day to explore it to the smallest detail. If you want to imagine what it looks like, it’s said that you must imagine the world’s most beautiful gardens, add a fortress and multiply the whole image by ten. Alhambra overlooks the whole city of Granada, offering a most breathtaking view. And it’s also an excellent place to take amazing Instagram photographs! The ticket is around 13 euros, and it’s open from March to October, so make sure to plan your stay there accordingly.

granada

And these are only the essentials. Spain has so many other things to offer, such as the 24/7 Ibiza parties, the spring days in Valencia, visiting the tomb of Christopher Columbus, walking across the world’s scariest bridge, seeing the Museum of Funeral Carriages, eating at the world’s oldest restaurant in Madrid or simply eating a paella. Spain should be your next destination. And maybe even the one after that, because you can go there as many times as you want, and you’ll still have more things on your bucket list.

Turkish Hammam Experience Is One Of A Kind

Turkish Hammam

You’ve likely heard of the Turkish hammam even if you have not traveled to Turkey. Hammam is a unique public bath and has been a part of Turkish social culture for hundreds of years. The concept was largely developed during the Ottoman Empire inspired by Roman baths. There are similar concepts in other cultures such as Finnish saunas, Russian baths or banyas but the Turkish hammam is unique in many ways. In Turkish hammams, the air is steamy. In hammams, you will be washed by washers called tellak who exfoliate, massage and wash you! Tellaks are usually of the same sex as the person being washed. While your tellak is preparing to wash you, you are given a hammam bowl to fill with hot water from marble sinks and pour it over your head to start your bathing experience. You can leave the rest to your tellak!

Turkish Hammam

The architecture of hammams is also very unique. A traditional hammam has three interconnected rooms. The first one is the hot room, then the warm room and finally the cold room. The hot room usually has a large dome with glass windows. There is usually a large heated marble table in the middle of the room and fountains in the corners. In this room, you get exposed to steam and get exfoliated. The warm room is for washing with soap and water after the exfoliation and finally the last room is to relax and perhaps sip a Turkish tea.

Going to a Turkish hammam is not only a unique bathing experience but it is also a social one. People of the same sex get together in Turkish hammams and share intimate stories. It is almost like a therapy session where the bathgoers open up to each other. An environment where people let their guards down and relax like nowhere else! Think about it, you are half naked with a group of strangers in a hot steamy environment wrapped in your Turkish towel also known as the peshtemal. Wouldn’t you let your guard down?

Turkish Hammam

This is a physical and a spiritual awakening. By the end of this experience, your body and your skin are rejuvenated and purified or, at least, that’s how you feel! The exfoliation and the massage are probably stronger than what you experience in North American spas and can sometimes be a bit painful but you can tell your tellak the intensity you prefer.

If you’re planning to visit Turkey anytime soon, you should definitely add the hammam experience on your list of things to do. Istanbul probably has the most gorgeous hammams you will find in Turkey but other cities such as Edirne, Bursa and Eskisehir also have renowned hammams to discover. Cagaloglu and Cemberlitas hammams in Istanbul, Saray hammam in Edirne, historic Eski Kaplica hammam in Bursa, Ferah hammam in Eskisehir are some of the most traditional ones but your hotel might even have a hammam within their facilities!

This blog post was provided by Shopping Blue. They share a passion for travel and  connect the Mediterranean with those who are passionate about this region and its products.

Where You Should Travel for a Really Good Cup of Coffee

Travel for Coffee

Nowadays, coffee has become a part of our modern lifestyle. Whether you drink it in the morning to help you freshen up or in the afternoon while socializing with your friends, you too probably have your favorite type of coffee. After all, with so many different types and ways to brew it, finding a good cup of coffee is not that difficult. However, if you’d like to taste the best coffee in the world, here’s where you should travel.

Coffee in Italy

If you love coffee, you should visit Italy, especially if you’re a fan of espresso. Italians don’t drink coffee in the same way as the rest of the world, so there are a few things you should know about ordering coffee in Italy. For example, if you love cappuccino, make sure to order it before 11 a.m. since some cafés refuse to serve it later due to the milk in it.

Travel for Coffee

Coffee in Colombia

Thanks to a variety of microclimates in Columbia, coffee is successfully produced all year round. If you want, you can witness the process of making it as well. The Columbian countryside is filled with winding roads, and some of the plantations are not so easy to reach. So, if you like adventures, you would surely enjoy Colombia.

Coffee in Jamaica

Jamaican’s Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most sought-after coffees in the world, which is why it’s very expensive. It is known for having a mild flavor and not being bitter, and grows at around 2000 feet above the sea level. The soil on Blue Mountain is rich, and with lots of rain, makes the climate perfect for growing coffee.

Travel for Coffee

Coffee in Australia

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you should travel to the Land Down Under. Australians have many different methods of preparing coffee, and you can try most of them in the comfort of your own home. They also have some amazing specialized coffee pods if regular Nespresso pods can’t satisfy your needs.

Coffee in Costa Rica

Coffee became popular in Costa Rica during the late 1700s, and it’s been important for the country’s economy ever since. There is a movement in Costa Rica to grow organic coffee, so it’s safe to say that Costa Ricans prefer their coffee to be not just delicious but of high quality as well.

Travel for Coffee

Coffee in Cuba

Cubans are known for preparing strong coffee, so if you’re looking for a good kick, you’ve come to the right place. It is usually very sweet but extremely powerful. Cubans guarantee that once you get used to the taste, you won’t be able to get enough of it. Just make sure not to drink it as quickly as you would your usual coffee; you don’t want to underestimate its strength.

Coffee in Ethiopia

If you consider yourself a coffee lover, you should visit its birthplace. Ethiopia is one of the world’s top producers of coffee, and it’s an important part of its culture. Each regions’ coffee tastes a bit different but equally delicious. Here, you can also be a part of a special coffee ceremony that can last for hours and taste coffee like no other in the world.

Travel for Coffee

Coffee in Hawaii

When thinking of Hawaii, most people imagine hot sandy beaches and cold cocktails. However, Hawaii is also home to amazing coffee. Thanks to the volcanic soil, tropical climate, and dedication its inhabitants, the coffee here is of very high quality. There are even guided tours that show you how it is made. So, if you don’t know where to spend your next vacation, Hawaii should be on your list.

You can’t call yourself a true coffee lover if you’ve only tasted one type of coffee. After all, coffee is no longer just a drink; it has become an integral part of our culture. So, don’t stop at one cup – pack your bags, immerse yourself in different cultures, and experience some of the finest cups of coffee in the world.