A Visit To Pasajes (Pasaia Donibane)

If you have the time on the drive between San Sebastián and Hondarribia, pay a visit to the picturesque fishing village of Pasajes de San Juan, also known as Pasaia Donibane in Basque.  You can even reach it by a one-minute ferry ride on the Itxas Zerbi water taxi from Pasajes San Pedro, on the…

Dining Well In Sevilla – Part 1

Gourmet Dining in Sevilla Dining options in Sevilla have certainly changed over the past 15 years when the majority of places only offered the traditional dishes; pescaíto frito (fried fish), jamon, coquinas (little clams, exquisite), gambas al ajillo (prawns sizzled in garlicky chili oil), arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), chipirones a la plancha (grilled…

The Medieval Villages of Catalunya

Two Atmospheric Medieval Villages (Barcelona) While spending a few days relaxing in the tranquil setting of the Parador Vic-Sau, we were able to explore some of the surrounding countryside and came across the charming and virtually isolated stone village of Tavertet.  This small retreat at the end of the road is filled with weekend homes…

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…