Collected by mark wrabel
Estrada de Monserrate, 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
While the tourist hordes in beautiful Sintra, Portugal, are flocking to Pena Palace, head instead to Monserrate. The gardens here are massive and have been recently restored. We wandered here for hours without hardly seeing another person. The...
Calle Alfolí, 11, 28280 El Escorial, Madrid, Spain
Tapas in Madrid are usually eaten before lunch, at “vermut” or “aperitivo” time. This can be done before lunch or after work. Apart from eating the Madrid tapas and drinking sangria or beer, these bars are a good place to watch football games and...
Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24B, 28004 Madrid, Spain
Madrid's multi-level Mercado San Anton is a sight to be seen. Rows of gorgeous produce, local specialties, Italian deli favorites, briny seafood and locally-farmed meats line the perimeter of each floor, each stall more enticing than the one...
Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014 Madrid, Spain
When in Madrid, I highly recommend to visit Circulo de Bellas Artes. The views from the rooftop of the Fine Arts Circle is breath taking. Buy a ticket at the reception, speed up to the roof and stand by the feet of Goddess Minerva. Highly...
Apt 23, 29380 Cortes de la Frontera, Málaga, Spain
Each of these solar-powered yurts is set on its own private acre amidolive groves and cork oak forests in southern Spain. Guests choose among five styles of yurt, ranging from a traditional Mongolian structure to an Afghani yurt framed with willow...
Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery, also known as the Hieronymites Monastery, or Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portuguese, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon. This stunning building took 100 years to build and it's no wonder once you experience the level of...
Camí de Binissaida, 108, 07720 Es Castell, Illes Balears, Spain
To really get to know the Spanish island of Minorca, be prepared to sit atop a saddle. The island has a love affair with a breed of horse: the graceful, strong, coal-black Minorcan. While donkeys traditionally worked the fields, the Minorcan was...
Plaza Monteolivete, 4, 46006 Valencia, Spain
Even if you can't be in Valencia for its fiery Les Falles festival, you can view the popular ninots (figures and effigies) at the Fallero Museum. Some ninots are chosen to be spared from the flames by popular vote—and then end up on display at the...
Praza do Obradoiro, s/n, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
After mysterious lights led a 9th-century hermit to St. James’s remains, King Alfonso II ordered that a chapel be built on the site. Since the Middle Ages, the magnificent cathedral has been the destination of pilgrims walking the Camino de...
Calle Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba, Spain
The landmark cathedral in Cordoba, Spain is the Mosque of Córdoba. You might be amazed by the bell tower, the stone path, and the orange trees. However, the moment you stepped into the prayer hall, it will take your breath away.
São Miguel Island, Portugal
Santa Bárbara beach, on the north coast of São Miguel Island, is known by the local surfers as one of the best spots to surf – mainly because of the waves and perfect surfing conditions. Also known as Areais, it is an excellent beach break with...
Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain
A visit to Granada, Spain isn't complete without a stop at the Alhambra. The Moorish architecture, robust gardens, and stunning views of Granada combine to make a truly memorable experience. Start your day with a tour of the Generalife Gardens....
Bairro Alto, 1200-223 Lisbon, Portugal
If you want to get a good impression of the historical city of Lisbon, and also see how small the city is, a must do attraction in Lisbon is to take the #28 tram, ‘elétrico 28′. This legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself. It goes all...
Praça Dom Pedro IV 6, 1100-200 Lisboa, Portugal
There is a fado song proclaiming that all artists and fado singers come to A Tendinha, here in one of the oldest areas in Lisbon, founded in 1840. At Rossio, between the old cafes like Suiça and Nicola and on the other side of the D. Maria II...
R. do Diário de Notícias 39, 1200-141 Lisboa, Portugal
This place is mandatory, especially if you want to hear some fado. Here you can listen to Fado Vadio (sung by nonprofessionals) on Mondays and Wednesdays, hear consecrated artists and potential stars, or hear a regular who just feels like singing...
Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa, Portugal
In 1755, Lisbon was all but devoured by an earthquake so strong that it still ranks as one of the most destructive in recorded history. One of the few structures to survive somewhat intact was the Carmo Convent—an impressive feat,...
Plaça del Roser, 1, 17531 Gombrèn, Girona, Spain
Michelin-star chef, and virtually self-taught man, Francesc Rovira's cafe and restaurant in sleepy Gombrèn is not centrally located for gastronomy enthusiasts to find. Far from Barcelona, but not too far to drive for a day, nestled in the Pyrenees...
Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
It’s one of the most recognizable facades on Passeig de Gràcia: a modernist fantasy of undulating stone, brightly colored mosaics, and stained glass—one that could only come from the mind of famed Catalan architect Antoni...
Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
The mysterious rooftop of Casa Mila both charms and haunts visitors. The glorious October sky above frames the organic forms, each sculpted face watching as I creep up and down the rolling ramps. Children can't resist playing here, and fortunately...
Santa Korda Kalea, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
At La Cuchara de San Telmo, on the corner of the plaza Valle Lersundi in San Sebastian, the specialties were hot pintxos, quickly prepared to order--from the menu or the specials board, or by pointing to what your neighbor was eating. This was one...
Igeldo Ibilbidea, 187, 20008 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
It was raining when we arrived in Donostia-San Sebastian, but the skies cleared on our second day, and we rode the funicular railway up Mount Igueldo to take in the view back on the city, La Concha Bay, and the empty beach. The "low" travel season...
Zurríola Hiribidea, 24, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
San Sebastián, for many, is a surf town. Pukas is your one-stop shop for everything from surf lessons, bikinis, gear, and cool souvenirs with a local twist, like their trademark 'Surfing the Basque Country' t-shirts.
Euskal Herria Kalea, 7, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
January 20. The favorite day of residents of San Sebastián. A day that nearly always portends cold, rain, and discomfort. It's the Day of San Sebastián, also known as the Tamborrada. Imagine an entire town turning up at the main square at...
Mount Ulia, 20013, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Most visitors never cross the river from the Old Part, and the vast majority overlook what has to be one of the most beautiful hikes from here to California. At the edge of Gros, a trail heads up some stairs (at the end of Calle San Francisco) and...
Plaza Zuloaga, 1, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Museo San Telmo is a must-see for any art or culture-phile during a visit to San Sebastián. The newly renovated museum's architecture alone makes for fascinating viewing, and there are sections on Basque anthropology as well as revolving...
Kalea Isla de Santa Clara, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
From May to August, a ferry runs from the port of San Sebastián to the island that sits serenely in the middle of the Concha Bay. The island is quiet, isolated, and empty. There is a café on the island with a mysterious timetable, and a lighthouse...
Bretxa Plaza, 3, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
La Bretxa shopping center houses the usual trappings of a modern-day shopping mall, but below ground one can find the city's largest and best market for the fruits of the sea. Cold, wet and crowded, this is the spot where you will find both...
Calle de Nagusia, 96, 20115 Astigarraga, Guipúzcoa, Spain
December to May is cider season in the Basque Country. Basque cider is quite different (drier, more bitter) than its American and English counterparts. The real magic in Basque cider, however, happens when it is consumed. Groups of friends head in...
Zabaleta Kalea, 6, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
La Gintonería, in the less-traversed neighborhood of Gros, could very well be the best gin-tonic in San Sebastián. With two shelves laden with premium and hard-to-find gins, it's a gintonaholic's dream. They have a selection of premium tonics and...
Malkorbe Kalea, 5, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Arriving to Getaria can be done by bus, but one of the most unforgettable parts of visiting this village is approaching (or exiting) it by the sidewalk that winds along the sea. Depending on the time of year, you will have endless views of a calm...
Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
2520 Peniche, Portugal, Portugal
Hire a boat out of Peniche, Portugal, when available, and travel six miles offshore to the pristine Berlenga Islands. Then hike, kayak, snorkel, and swim the day away. Pack a picnic lunch and feast on the beach. The perfect day in paradise.
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