The 12 Days of Christmas in Catalunya

El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos The weather in the Catalan Pyrenees is not always the best for skiing in late December/early January, but even without the snow it doesn’t dampen the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas as celebrated throughout the region.  The festivities begin on December 24th, Christmas Eve, with the…

A taste of the Algarve

Dining in the Algarve You’ll find a number of excellent options for enjoying a taste of the Algarve’s cuisine, which is essentially centered around fresh grilled seafood; Atun (Tuna), Dourade (Sea Bream), Sea Bass (Robalo), Sardinhas (Sardines), Espadarte (Swordfish), Tamboril (Monkfish), Raia (Rays) Pregado (Turbot), Linguado (Flounder), Imperador (Alfonsino) as well as shellfish; lagosta e…

The Algarve, West To East

From Sagres to the Spanish border The Algarve, with its year around mild climate, attracts visitors from around the world, especially those from northern Europe who come year after year seeking the sun, surf and seafood the region has become famous for.  The former fishing village of Albufeira, lying 30 km west of Faro as…

Monuments in the Belém District

Plan on spending a half-day, from 10:00 am 3:00 pm if you want to see them all, but not on a Monday when monuments shut tight.  And don’t leave Lisbon without the Belém tour with its spectacular sights from Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery.   To reach Belém you can take the modern tram 15…

Portugal’s Coastal Capital

Lisbon’s Top Attractions Discovering Portugal’s coastal capital can be an invorgating experience, from the imposing 11th-century Moorish castle of São Jorge overlooking the city and its bay, to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, high atop the Bairro Alto, one of the city’s seven  hills, to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia with its views over the Alfama….

Exploring Alfama

Wearing a comfortable pair of shoes, take a self-guided tour through the historic and picturesque heart of Lisbon, as you wander the steep, and at times, narrow, maze-like cobblestone streets of the Alfama.  The walk, about 2 km or 1.24 miles, can be done in less than two hours with stops along the way to…

The Spanish Basque Country

Planning your trip to the País Vasco The capitals of the three Basque Provinces of Spain are San Sebastián-Donostia in Gipuzkoa, Bilbao-Bilbo in Bizkaia and Vitoria-Gasteiz in Álava.  Euskadi is the politically correct term for the Basque Country, but some prefer the more historically inclusive Euskal Herria, which means the Basque Lands or home of…

Exploring Cap-Ferret

Lunch at La Canfouine-au-Canon, Lège-Cap-Ferret After a morning touring Cap-Ferret, we enjoyed a typical feast overlooking the bay at La Canfouine-au-Canon.  The day was warm and sunny, the oysters and shrimp perfect, and the bottle of Le Canon De Cote Montpezat Rose chilled! Contact Iberian Traveler – Maribel’s Guides to request a custom itinerary to explore the…

Pintxos Hopping in Bilbao

Pintxos in the Old Quarter, the Casco Viejo   Plaza Nueva On Sundays you can see three generations of a family making their way through the neighborhood bars drinking Rioja in sips and feasting on pintxos.  In the “Siete Calles” section, those seven parallel, narrow, pedestrian streets running south of the cathedral.  Note that Bilbaínos…

An Excursion Into The Basque Highlands

A short drive from San Sebastián, south on the A-1, will take you into the Goierri, the Basque Highlands, a region surrounded by the Aralar Mountains.  Continue on the road to the attractive, and very Basque, tiny village of Zerain, a postcard perfect setting, which lies midway between Donostia and Vitoria.  On the way you’ll…