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11 May 16:53

Excursions and day tours in Spain



Excursions and day tours in Spain

alcazar of toledo day


Excursions from Spain´s top destinations

Spain boasts an enormous amount of interesting monuments, natural parks and attractions. Different civilizations left behind their monuments, gastronomy and culture. While most of the important museums and art galleries in Spain are to be found at the largest cities, many of the most interesting sites in Spain are however not located in Spain´s top cities. This is why day excursions and tours are vital to get to know some of Spain´s top sights.

Spain day tours from main cities

Best Day Trips from Barcelona- begur

Best Day Trips from Barcelona

A list of the best day trips you can take if you are staying in Barcelona. The Catalonian capital is amazing, but if you are looking to explore outside the city, you are in the right place. these day trips have been hand-picked by our expert local guides. From Barcelona you will be able to enjoy day tours to Montserrat and its famous Monastery, the wine region of Penedes where cava wines are produced, or even combine 3 countries in 1 day with the possibility to visit both France and Andorra in one day!

Sea and pools in Garachico

Best excursions in Tenerife

Tenerife is not all about relaxation at the beach and great hotels. The island offers many interesting excursions that can be enjoyed from both the north and the south of the island. Probably the most exotic day tour in Tenerife is a day in La Gomera. This small island is a nature´s paradise. But there are many more interesting excursions to enjoy in Tenerife: Canarian villages, whale watching, a visit to El Teide, or to some of the ravines in Tenerife´s natural parks, not to forget wineries and Guajinche´s where local gastronomy is enjoyed at its best.

Day trips from Madrid

Madrid is one of the few cities in the world, if not the only one, that can claim to enjoy so many Unesco heritage sites at less than 1 hour drive from the Capital.

Fascinating medieval villages where local gastronomy remains unspoilt, top palaces and gardens (El Escorial, Aranjuez, La Granja) or one of the world´s most impressive medieval walls in Avila. Add the famous hanging houses of Cuenca, the wines of Ribera del Duero, the windmills of Don Quixote, or the elegance and beauty of Salamanca and you will start to consider Madrid as a perfect base from where to enjoy day after day amazing destinations.

We have left to the end of this list Segovia and Toledo, 2 of the World´s bes preserved medieval cities and, in both cases, ancient capitals of Spain.

Day trips from malaga

Day Trips From Málaga: Gibraltar, Caminito del Rey and more

In this article are local guides go over the best day tours from Málaga. Málaga is an amazing city in Andalucía, surrounded by many amazing attractions which are best visited using tour companies that operate tours that offer great value for money. Amongst the most popular day tours from Malaga you will find Gibraltar, Ronda, white villages like Frigiliana and the famous Caminito del Rey. One of the most popular day tours from Malaga takes you to Morocco! and you will also be able to visit Granada from Malaga as a day tour.

Things to see at less than 1 hour from Madrid

Madrid is one of the few cities in the country that has 6 Unesco heritage sites at less than 1 hour drive. Some of these sites include the famous Spain royal palaces in Aranjuez, La Granja or El Escorial.  All of these incredible sites can be enjoyed with day tours that departure from Madrid, by train, and also by car through high-quality highways. Let´s review 4 of them plus other super interesting villages and sights. We have specific guides to each of these unique places, so in case you want to enjoy an excursion to one of them you will be able to find full details in them. 

Avila and its walls

Avila is located at one hour drive north west of Madrid. The most famous thing about Avila are its medieval walls. The walls of Avila are the best preserved walls in Spain and amongst the best walls in Europe. Fantastic churches, monasteries and traditional gastronomy (Spain´s most famous steak is from Avila) complete Avila´s offering for a great day from Madrid. 

Toledo and the 3 cultures

Toledo is probably the favorite excursion or tour for most visitors to Madrid. If asked, we would recommend to stay overnight in Toledo, though it can be enjoyed with a day tour. Toledo can be accessed easily with high speed train from Atocha station in Madrid. 

The Alcazar fortress, the Catedral Primada, the Alcantara bridge, its jewish quarter or its churches and  synanogues are amongst the top attractions of Toledo

Segovia and its amazing aqueduct

Locals from Madrid have a bad time to decide if they prefer Toledo over Segovia. Less famous than Toledo, Segovia is equally impressive. If you enjoy roman architecture Segovia is a must for you. In our view, local gastronomy is also an area where Segovia is above Toledo since its local gastronomy is one of the top attracions of Segovia. Segovia can also be accessed with hgh speed train (from Chamartin station) and it is at one hour drive from Madrid.  

El Escorial and its imposing Monastery

San Lorenzo del Escorial is a mid-sized town located at a bit more than 30 minutes drive from Madrid. The town grew thanks to the construction of the massive Monastery of el Escorial. Besides being a monastery, El Escorial also boasts a fantastic art museum, one of Spain´s best libraries. an impressive church and it isplace where Spanish kings are buried. 

The mid-sized town of Cuenca in Castilla la Mancha and the palaces and gardens at Aranjuez (30 minutes south of Madrid) also hold Unesco status. But there are many more interesting places to visit like small villages where it seems time stopped centuries ago: PedrazaSepulveda or Chinchon are amongst these amazing places. 

Alcazar de Segovia

Alcazar de Segovia

Alcazar de Segovia in Spain The Alcazar de Segovia is one Segovia´s top attractions. Segovia, 1 hour drive north-west of Madrid, is a mid-sized city which offers amazing heritage and excellent gastronomy. The Alcazar de Segovia is amongst the most visited attractions in Spain. Average customer review Score for Alcazar de

Palace and gardens - La Granja de San Ildefonso

Palace and gardens – La Granja de San Ildefonso- Segovia

The beautiful grounds are perhaps the most attractive feature of La Granja. They were designed in classical French style along the lines of Le Notre’s gardens at Versailles and cover anotal area of some 360 acres surrounded by a fence nearly 4 miles long. The paths and squares were finished

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez and gardens

History of Aranjuez Royal palace In 1560 Philip II commissioned the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo to build an extension to the hunting lodge built by Charles V. After his death the work was continued by Juan de Herrera (El Escorial) . Between 1660-65 the castle was destroyed by fire;

Things to see at less than 1 hour from Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain´s most visited city. Thousands of tourist stroll Las Ramblas street and enjoy La Sagrada Familia. But if you have time you will be able to enjoy some very interesting sights at less than 1 hour from Barcelona.

Sitges and its cool atmosphere

Sitges is located at less than 30 minutes drive from Barcelona. It can also be accessed by train and with some day tours. From being a small fishing village Sitges evolved into a weekend tourist destination for “barceloneses” and a upper-class second home residence. The late XXth century saw it evolved into a famous gay destination and nightlife here could even rival the famous nightclubs in Ibiza!

Montserrat Monastery 

Located 50 kilometers south west of Barcelona, this monastery is located at the Montserrat mountain. Its rounded shapes and pillars shaped by the erosion of wind protected the initial monastery that was built here. This is the most famous day tour from Barcelona and a must visit for pilgrims from around the world.

Salou and Port Aventura 

If you travel with children you may well want to spend a day or two in Port Aventura. Probably number one amongst the theme parks in Spain and one of Europe´s largest parks too. Port Aventura one that combines exciting rides with many activities and areas for smaller children. 

Girona and the land of Dali and 

North of Barcelona the coast becomes prettier and mid-sized resort towns co-exist with smaller ones that have preserved certain character. A bit more than an hour drive from Barcelona you will reach Cadaques, a beautiful village where Dali (one of Spain´s most famous persons) spent his summers. 

Montserrat monastery

Montserrat monastery- Visitors guide

Montserrat monastery – plan your visit and tours Montserrat is with no doubt the best day tour to enjoy from Barcelona. On a normal year more than two and a half million tourists visit Montserrat. The sanctuary is located at a spectacular location inside a natural park. Part of its

Dragon Khan roller coaster at Port Aventura

Port Aventura

Portaventura theme park Port Aventura is one of Spain’s most impressive amusement parks, located within the PortAventura World entertainment resort in Salou and Vila-Seca, Tarragona, on the Costa Daurada in Cataluña, Spain. One of the best things to enjoy in Spain with children!  Port Aventura attracts around 3.5 million visitors


Sitges City Guide

Sitges is a beautiful beach town just south of Barcelona, known for its artsy and laid back vibes and spectacular beaches. Sitges is also very well known for its film festival and for its vibrant LGTB community and the cities pride week which is celebrated every June.

11 May 16:51

El Hierro, Canary islands


Canary islands

El Hierro

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The ultimate guide to el Hierro

The smallest of the islands in the archipelago. El Hierro is just 270 square kilometers. This makes it the smallest of the islands in the Canary Islands. It is also the youngest of the islands, the one located further to the west, and the island with the lowest population per square kilometer.

Think of the soccer or baseball stadium of a mid-sized team. You will probably be able to get all the population of El Hierro inside such a stadium. With not much more than 10,000 inhabitants, el Hierro is also the island that receives fewer tourists in the Canary Islands.

So many “records” are good news for the rare visitor to El Hierro. The island holds also the record of having almost 60% of its surface protected due to its natural value. El Hierro is since 2000 a Unesco biosphere reserve  and the island proudly illustrates the example of a green energy island where fossil fuels are not used. The installation of hybrid wind and a hydro system produces 11,5 megawatts, enough to provide power supply for its population plus a similar number of tourists.

El Hierro guide - Contents

Best of el Hierro in a nutshell

Where is El Hierro?

El Hierro is located to the southwest of both La Palma and La Gomera. For centuries it was considered to be the end of the world. The Greek astronomer Ptolemy marked El Hierro as the cero meridian (where else to put it if this was the end of the world!) and this stayed as such until in 1883 the meridian was moved to Greenwich in the United Kingdom

Things to enjoy in El Hierro

El Hierro is not an island where you will be able to stay at large resorts or enjoy partying till late at night. This is an island where you can breathe fresh air and slow down. The Paseos Reales offer excellent hiking opportunities, diving in clear waters, excellent fishing for those who enjoy fishing, and, as an extension, good local food, and even wines.

Diving in el Hierro. Though El Hierro may not be known as one of Spain´s top diving destinations, its popularity has increased in recent years and you will be able to find diving centers. Both la Restinga and Timijaraque are the main areas to enjoy responsible diving. Waters in La Restinga are part of a natural reservoir and the overall water temperature in El Hierro is higher than in the other islands in the archipelago. This implies you will be able to enjoy some tropical species here not found in the other islands.

Fishing. El Hierro offers fantastic fishing opportunities and locals typically gather in La Restinga, Tamaduste, or Punta Grande.

Hiking. If you enjoy walking you will be pleased with the many walking opportunities offered by El Hierro. Most routes are well maintained and signposted. Since public transportation is not well developed you will however need to rent a car to reach some of the “Caminos”.

Towns and villages in el Hierro

Valverde. This is the capital of El Hierro. It has some 2,000 inhabitants, which makes it the smallest of all capitals in the Canary islands. But it is the capital located at the highest altitude, being some 600 meters above sea level (Valverde is actually also the only capital not located by the sea. It usually gets chilly at night due to its altitude. There is not much to do in Valverde but there is an interesting church (Santa María de la Concepcion) and a museum (Casa de las Quinteras ethnographic museum) and also some good restaurants.

Tamaduste. Locals from Valverde come to Tamaduste to enjoy the sea and eat good fresh fish.

Timijaraque. The Parador Nacional hotel is located here. Clear waters and waves for those that enjoy surf.

Isora. Located at 1,000 meters high, Isora offers a fantastic viewpoint to enjoy views of El Hierro. There is a hike from Isora to the coast (this is a hard hike) The local buses from Valverde to La Restinga stop at Isora.

La Restinga. Most locals from el Hierro will describe La Restinga as their favorite town in El Hierro. La Restinga cannot be considered as a tourist resort, but it is the place where most tourists head to. La Restinga probably offers the best waters to scuba dive in el Hierro. Waters are clear and fresh fish arrives daily to its port. A fish meal is a must in La Restinga and there are many restaurants that specialize in fish. At 20 minutes drive from la Restinga you will discover Caña Tacorón. Great swimming and probably the best snorkeling in El Hierro. Besides, there is a lovely open-air restaurant that overlooks the bay.

Sabinosa. This is probably the most beautiful village in el Hierro and you will be able to enjoy some traditional houses. One of the most famous hikes in El Hierro start from Sabinosa and it leads all the way up to La Ermita de los Reyes (not the easiest walk you can enjoy in El Hierro though).

Quick facts about El Hierro

Despite el Hierro means iron in Spanish, it is commonly accepted that there is no connection between the name of the island and the metal. It seems the name of el Hierro comes from Hero in local language, which means milk, but this is only a theory and the actual origin of the name is a mystery.

The island´s economy depends on agriculture, fishing, livestock farming and tourism. Tourism has the least weight when compared to the other islands in the archipelago.

The top animal highlight in the island is the giant lizard (one of the most fantastic animals in Spain). This species was thought to had disappeared in the 1970s but when it was rediscovered a conservation program was put in place. They can be found in the area known as Fuga de la Gorreta though as they continue to be endangered tourists can best enjoy them at the conservation area of Las Puntas. The giant lizard of el Hierro can measure up to 75 centimeters.

On the side of trees and plants, there are small beech and laurel forests but the juniper tree is the island´s top attraction (besides the Garoe tree – see below in history of the island for more details on the Garoe tree). Juniper trees can be found in the southwest of the island in the Bosque encantado del Sabinar. The trees have strange shapes due to the very strong winds and this provides a flair of mystery to the area.

Brief history of el Hierro

The island was conquered by the Spaniards in 1405 and when they arrived the Bimbaches (the local inhabitants) were described as peaceful. As is the case in the history of the Canary Islands, the origin of those first settlers is not clear.

Probably the most famous story of el Hierro is one of a tree, water, and love. There is no river in El Hierro and water supplies have always been an issue (this is why today the wind and water energy system also takes care of transforming salty water into drinkable water.

The Garoe tree is a tree that collects water from moist that condensed in the area and provided water to nearby wells. This helped the local Bimbaches when it did not rain for long periods of time. The legend says the Spaniards considered leaving the island due to the lack of water but discovered that the bimbaches got the water from the tree. They got to learn of this through Teseida, a descendant of a Guanche king, who shared the location of the tree due to her love with a Spanish soldier. The Spanish invaders ultimately came to control the tree and cut it.

A new tree was planted and it is one of the top tourist attractions in El Hierro.

Juniper tree in El Hierro
Church inValverde-El Hierro
giant lizar el Hierro-
Landscape of El Hierro from Isora

Other islands in the Canary islands

Landscape of La Gomera

La Gomera, Canary islands

La Gomera is the second smalles island in the Canary islands but with no doubt one of the most beautiful islands. The Garajonay national park boasts the most impressive laurel forest in the archipelago. Locals from La Gomera have managed to keep some of its ancient traditions and culture. These include the Silvo, a way to communicate which is unique to La Gomera.

Golden sand and green water in Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura, Canary islands

La Palma, known as “La Isla bonita” as the beautiful island is the second highest island in the Canary islands and a hikers heaven. La Palma offers spectacular star-gazing opportunities and a stress-free destination for nature lovers

alinas de Fuencaliente in La Palma

La Palma, Canary islands

La Palma, known as “La Isla bonita” as the beautiful island is the second highest island in the Canary islands and a hikers heaven. La Palma offers spectacular star-gazing opportunities and a stress-free destination for nature lovers

Road trip in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria offfers a bit of all the best to be found in the Canary islands. Excellent beaches, quaint villages, one of the best historic districts and beautiful natural areas. Discover in this guide all the things Gran Canaria offers and build your perfect holiday in the island!

Lanzarote vineyard landscape

Lanzarote, Canary islands

Lanzarote is an amazing place. Its dark soils and blue waters contrast with white houses and vineyards caved in the ground. Learn more about this magical gift of nature and how to spend a superb holiday riding camels, enjoying art, fantastic hotels and the best waves in the Canary islands

Church in Candelaria, Tenerife

Tenerife, Canary islands

Tenerife is the largest island in the Canary Islands with over 2,0oo square kilometers. km². Tenerife is probably the best-known island in the archipelago, but also the biggest victims of misconceptions. Tenerife offers much more than what the mass-tourist destination portrait suggests.

11 May 14:57

Spanish Animals: The Fauna Of The Iberian Penninsula

by Evan Miranda

Practical Information

Spanish Animals: The Fauna Of The Iberian Penninsula

Spanish animals


Spanish Animals: The Fauna Of The Iberian Penninsula

There is a wide variety of beautiful and interesting Spanish Animals. In this article our local guides break down the most famous or elusive species that make their home on the Iberian peninsula. 

Check out all the coolest animals you can find in Spain. 

Spanish Animals: The Fauna Of The Iberian Penninsula

Top 10 Spanish Animals

To start off this article, let’s go over the most famous animals you can find in Spain:

Spanish animals

Iberian Lynx

The Iberian lynx has to be at the top of the list. This elusive cat, scientifically known as Lynx pardinus, is a species of wild cat that can only be found on the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian Lynx is a very elusive and endangered creature. There just under 700 individuals left in the wild after an years of conservation efforts. During the 1960’s and all the way up to the 2000’s the Iberian Lynx population began to dwindle because of habitat loss and hunting. At one point there were as few as 100 individuals in the wild, concentrated in the south of Spain, when the Lynx had once roamed freely all the way up to Galicia and Northern Portugal.  The species is currently considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

The Iberian lynx is most commonly found in the doñana National Park in Huelva, in areas of Mediterranean woodland. They prefer areas with a combination of dense thicket and pasture. The species prey on the European rabbit and supplements its diet with rodents and partridge. 

Iberian Wolf

The Iberian wolf is almost a mythical creature, typically found in northern Spain. They inhabit the northwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula, including northern Portugal.

Wild populations once roamed across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, but by the end of World War II the species had been eradicated in most of Northern Europe and Central Europe. 

Iberian wolves inhabit forests, mountains, and plains, and in Spain, populations can be found in a large portion of Galicia and Asturias. The Picos de Europa National Park plays host to a number of these creatures. 

Iberian wolf packs hunt boars, red deer, roe deer, rabbits, and ibexes, and also feed on sheep, which has always made them the enemy of farmers in this region. 

Iberian Wolf
cantabrian brown bear

Cantabrian brown bear

The Cantabrian Brown Bear is a subspecies of the European Brown Bear a characteristic inhabitant of mature forests in Europe. This unique type of bear is a rare sight but was once extremely common all across the Iberian peninsula, and in Madrid in particular.

These majestic animals can live up to thirty years. They can grow to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length and adult males average 250 to 300 kg and can reach up to 481 kg (1,058 lb). Their coats can vary greatly, making them look almost like different sub-species: they can go from very dark brown to light gold and different shades of gray. 

They have poor eyesight in comparison to their other senses, although they can see in color at night. They detect objects more easily if they are in movement. Their hearing, however, is extremely acute and developed, as is their sense of smell, which is their most developed sense and the one that helps them the most in their daily lives. 

Their diet consists of a bit of everything they can find. They graze off the vegetation they find in the Cantabrian mountain range and in the Pyrenees, they gobble down insects and small prey and have been seen hinting wild ungulates and livestock as well.

Spanish Ibex

The Spanish ibex or the Iberian ibex is a species of ibex that has four subspecies. Unfortunately, two of these subspecies are now extinct, while the two remaining subspecies are endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish Ibex lives in rocky habitats and prefer cliffs with scrub, deciduous trees, or coniferous trees.

This species is equally active during the day than at night, although its maximum hours of activity are during the morning and at the end of the afternoon, near twilight. 

They are sociable animals, but they often change herds. They inhabit both forests and grasslands, in mountainous heights between 500 and 2500 meters above sea level, rising in summer even above 3000 m. Their conservation has caused them to be distributed to previously totally unthinkable areas such as coastal areas of Malaga, Granada or Almería, where they can occasionally be seen on the seashore.

Iberian Ibex
iberian pig

Iberian Pig

The Iberian pig is one of the most famous animals from the Iberian Peninsula. These amazing creatures are responsible for producing the ultra-famous and ultra-delicious Iberian Ham.

The black pigs are an ancient species that are more closely related to wild boars than modern domestic pigs. The species currently live in clustered herds in Spain, as well as southern and central parts of Portugal. They prefer sparse oak forests and their diet famously is heavy in holm oak acorns, and the species produces highly commercialized ham due to its superior taste.

Pyrenean Chamois

The Pyrenean chamois is a type of goat-antelope known in Spain as gamuza or rebeco. This unique species is most commonly found in the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains. During summer, the Pyrenean chamois ascends the snowline, while in winter it descends to wooded regions.

Both sexes have hook-shaped horns, the male’s horns being thicker and with more closed hook shape. Their coats are light-colored in the head and throat and a dark spot covering the eyes like a mask. The color of the body is uniform, with a dark line that runs longitudinally on the back. The males are usually somewhat heavier than the females.

Its diet consists of flowers and herbs during summer, and lichens, and shoots during winter. 

Pyrenean chamois
Tarifa orcas

Orcas or Killer Whales 

These beautiful black and white creatures are more commonly associated with the North-Western coast of the United States and Canada, but they have inhabited the waters surrounding Spain for thousands of years. 

They can easily be spotted off the coast of the Canary Islands, but their most famous appearances at the straight of Gibraltar. These whales show up in large numbers while chasing their favorite prey, tuna, as they make their way into the warm Mediterranean sea. The Andalusian city of Tarifa is a well-known spot where you can witness this daring chase. 

Common Genet

The common genet is a medium-sized mammal that is native to Africa but has since been introduced to the Balearic Islands and Southwestern Europe. There is a subspecies that can only be found in Ibiza which is considered to be at risk.

They usually live in trees or bushes, places that provide shelter and food, although sometimes they do so in open spaces, and even in rivers. They are solitary animals except in their breeding season, the female usually having two litters a year with between one and four young each.

They feed mainly on rodents, small reptiles, and rabbits, and insects, occasionally feeding on birds. They are hunted by raptors, owls, and foxes

Comon Genet
European Mink

European Mink

These beautiful little animals are linked to aquatic environments such as rivers, streams, lagoons, marshy areas, channels, marshes and coastal areas.

Its preferred habitat is middle and lower river courses, with slow currents, dense vegetation on the banks, and good water quality. In Spain it inhabits mainly oceanic rivers, such as the Ebro river. Mediterranean rivers are unsuitable due to the lack of water in summer and the lack of vegetation on the banks due to the strong variations in flow. Their consist of fish, small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and crustaceans.

They are most active at twilight and at night. They are also a solitary and territorial species. The territory of adult males includes 2-3 females.

In Spain the mink can be found in Navarra, La Rioja and the Basque Country. After a very rapid population decline in recent years, it is currently in critical condition.

Spanish Bull or Toro de Lidia

And last but not least, perhaps the most famous animal from spain: the bull. The Lidia bull to be more specific. These bulls are descendants of the aurochs bull type, from the subspecies Bos primigenius primigenius, ancestor of the current Bos primigenius taurus, a large species of cattle that in its time was hunted throughout Central and Northern Europe.

These bull became the preferred bulls for bullfighting and there is documentation detailing their use in bullfights all the way back to in the year 1215 in Cuéllar (Segovia).

During the reign of the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand these bull became famous, and the tradition of selecting the “toro bravo” or “brave bull” appear during the 15th and 16th centuries in the province of Valladolid. 

During the 19th century, cattle ranches began to develop in other parts of Spain. Andalusia took the lead in the breeding of bulls, although those that were raised on the banks of the Jarama, the so-called Jijones de Villarrubia de los Ojos, the Navarrese, and the Aragonese were all coveted breeds 

Thus, the current Spanish bull can be considered the result of selection and work that has been carried out since the beginning of the 18th century. 

Spanish bull

Fauna of Spain by Region

Northern Spain

The North of Spain looks very different than what you might think. The North of Spain is lush and green with sheer mountains with a harsh coastline that hides and protects some of the most amazing beaches in the country.

When we talk of “northern Spain” we are referring to the region that comprises the Autonomous Communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabrian, La Rioja, the Basque Country, Aragon, Zaragoza, and Northern Catalonia, and Northern Castilla y Leon. Here temperatures are cooler and precipitation is greater. Here we can find everything from glaciers, green valleys, rich pasture lands and orchards, and even arid plains of the central lowlands. Another huge influence on this area wildlife is the Ebro River, Spain’s largest by volume that runs west-east across the entire region.


Northern Spain is a haven for some of Europe’s most spectacular birds, including a wide variety of raptors (including imperial eagles), Bearded Vultures, Wallcreepers, Egyptian Vultures, Black Woodpeckers, Urogallos, or Capercaillies, and White-winged Snowfinches. You can also find more elusive species like the Great and Little Bustards, the very rare and elusive Dupont’s Lark, and Common Cranes flock to the plains during the autumn and winter. 

This region is also home to some of the more impressive mammals on the peninsula including the Pyrenean Chamois, fallow deer, the Alpine Marmot, Spanish Brown Bears, Iberian Wolves, and the Iberian Wild Cat. 

During the summer months, this region also plays host to one of the highest diversities of butterflies in Europe. In particular, the Pyrenees mountain range is home to a wide variety of butterflies and moths including the Apollo, the Clouded Apollo, the Spanish Moon, and Giant Peacock Moths.

Best sites to visit 

The most obvious awnsers are the 4 enclaves that are part of Spain’s national park system that we can find in this region: The Islas Cies, the Picos de Europa, Ordesa y Monte Perdidro, and Aiguaestores y el Estany de Sant Maurici. Other sites you can check out are the Laguna de Gallocanta, El Planeron Ornithological Reserve (near Zaragoza), Los Monegros desert, Irati forest, Hoces de Lumbier y Arbayún, Bardenas Reales Natural Park.

Best time of year to visit

It depends on what critters you are looking to find. late February is the best period of the year for bird watchers. during this time al sorts of species make their way north during their migration over the Pyrenees to their breeding grounds in Northern Europe.  The best time for butterflies and flowers in the Pyrenees is from mid-June to the end of July. As for the mammals aim for spring. 

Central Spain

central spain

The central portion of Spain is often overlooked in regards to its natural value. But, in this general region, we find some of the most spectacular and thriving natural habitats in the country. 

The Sistema Central, or Central Range is a mountain chain that spans the western border of the Community of Madrid. Within this beautiful bit of country, we find the Guadarrama National Park, home to a wide variety of species including the iconic Iberian Imperia Eagle. Just south of Madrid, in the Province of Toledo, is the Cabañeros National Park that is known for playing host to many Spanish big game species including Spanish Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, and Wild Boar, as well as their predators.

Las Tablas de Daimiel is another national park you can find in this region located in Ciudad Real. Las Tablas is a breathtaking wetland, surrounded by the arid countryside of Castilla la Mancha. This national park is home to a wide variety of waterfowl and amphibians, and many water-dwelling mammals like otters and weasels.     

Extremadura, located in the western portion of this region is arid and unforgiving. However, it is arguably the best place in Western Europe to see raptors and bustards. This is because it is home to the Monfragüe National Park, a prime destination for migratory birds traveling north from Africa. You can find all kinds of eagles, hawks, and kites as well as will find White and Black Storks, Ibis, Egyptian Buzzards, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoos, and Roller. 

Best sites to visit 

Guadarrama National Park, Cabañeros National Park, La Albufera in Valencia, Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park, Monfragüe national park and Caceres Plains (northeast of Caceres), the Serena Steppes (southeast of Trujillo), and the Sierra de Gredos in Madrid.

Best time of year to visit

Mid-March to mid-April and early June are the best times if you are looking to spot rare birds. 

Southern Spain

southern spain

The portion of Southern Spain that is not bathed by water, in general, enjoys a semi-arid climate. However, those sections near sources of water, almost magically, seem to burst into life and attack an amazing number and variety of animals. The Mediterranean coast of Southern Spain is filled with life and famously attacks many dolphins and whales.  Particularly famous are the aforementioned killer whales that pass by Tarifa while chasing schools of tuna headed deep into the Mediterranean sea. 

The riverbanks of the large rivers of Andalucia are magnets for migratory birds, but the Guadalquivir River, the largest southern river, is the main attraction. The Guadalquivir’s estuary is the site of one of the most important National Parks in Europe: the Doñana National Park. This amazing area is home to 127 bird species including White Storks, Griffon, and Egyptian Vultures, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Honey Buzzard and Montagu’s Harrier, and Northern Bald Ibis – one of the rarest birds on the planet.

Another incredibly rare animal that can be found in Doñana is the Iberian Lynx. doñana is one of the last places were wild Iberian Lynxes can be seen. Other mammals such as Spanish Ibex, Wild Boar, Red Deer, and Egyptian Mongoose also live in this area of Spain. 

Best sites to visit

Doñana National Park, Tarifa, the Sierra de Andujar Natural Park, La Laguna de Fuentedepiedra, Sierra de Aracena Natural Park, Laguna de Medina, Chipiona, La Janda, and Ronda.

Best time of year to visit

Early September is one of the best times to visit Southern Spain. this is normally the time when the greatest numbers and variety of storks and raptors migrate over the Straits of Gibraltar.

If you are interested in seeing Killer Whales try mid-August to early September.

If you are trying to spot Iberian Lynx the best time is late September to March. 

The peak of the spring migration of birds through Southern Spain happens mid-April and early May when the Doñana is arguably at its best.

Fauna of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands

canary islands and balearic islands

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are located off the eastern coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea. The largest islands of the archipelago are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Each of the islands enjoys its own unique environment.

The fauna that inhabits the Balearic Islands is typically Mediterranean. Where there is more diversity, is clearly in the marine environment. Of the coast of the Balearic Islands, there are over 400 species of fish, a hundred crustaceans, 8 cetaceans, and some 400 species of mollusks, as well as a wide variety of seabirds (gulls, sea crows, and shearwaters, among others).

The Balearic vertebrate fauna, most are mostly non-native: green toads, martens, weasels, genets, hedgehogs, snakes, rats, and mice. Only the “ferreret” toad (Alytes muletensis) and the Balearic lizards survive from the prehuman endemic fauna.

But the insects of the islands are the big highlight. There are over 1,700 species of coleopterans, about 600 of lepidoptera, about 400 of hymenoptera. Some of them are endemic to the Balearic Islands and many are beneficial as natural controllers of pests or pollinators. 

ferrete balear
11 May 14:54

Spanish culture



Spanish culture

Andalusian horse as part of Spanish culture


Spanish culture and traditions

If the culture of a given country is defined, as it is often the case, as the group of elements that are shared by a particular group of people, it would soon strike us that Spanish culture is diverse. Beyond the most obvious stereotypes of siesta, bullfighters and flamenco dancer, lies a deeper way in which live is understood. Spanish culture is complex, dynamic and rich. As in many countries in the world, globalisation has introduced many changes to daily routines and even to what people believe is right or wrong. Nevertheless, there are many things which are clearly “Spanish” As in many other places in the world, Spanish culture is today best enjoyed and perceived away from the larger cities. It is in small towns in Spain and villages where shared behaviours shape routine, where culture is made more obvious and best enjoyed.

In this section we have compiled a group of in-depth articles that cover different dimensions of the so called Spanish culture. They range from gastronomy to famous people, from sports to arts, traditions, religion and party.

Articles on Spanich culture

A brief look at history to grasp the culture of Spain

The Spanish culture is best understood through the events and different cultures that spent time in the peninsula. From the Phoenicians, Spaniards learnt about the use of money, trading and even mining. From the Romans they learnt to grow wines, olive trees and build beautiful and delicate pieces of art. But the Romans also influenced on war and Spanish soldiers became very important for the Roman legions. Spain provided important writers to the Roman empire with Seneca, Cordoba´s most famous person, as the most obvious example. But Spain also provided Emperors: Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius and Theodosius were all from Hispania.

When the Romans withdrew Spain was a Christian country, and this was what the Visigoths found when they followed the Romans. The visigoths were Arrianos but in 589, with King Recadero, Spain became Catholic, and a common belief was shared amongst the Goths kings. But this did not prevent fights, something which was well used by the Muslims who, within just twenty miles of water from Spain, perceived they could enjoy Africa without the heat up north. By 711 they crossed the strait of Gibraltar and in just 2 years they conquered most of Southern Spain. Spain and its culture profited. Tribal antipathies did not prevent the Moors to establish the Caliphate of Cordoba, which rivalled with Baghdad and where culture and arts thrived. At that time the city of Cordoba was Europe´s second largest city only behind Constantinople. The Moors thought people the techniques of irrigation, and they brought a sort of sybaritic fancy, best understood at the Alhmabra palace, and this vision which could have infused into local culture. The Reconquista started in 718 but took more than 7 centuries to get finalised. Through this long process, the Christian cross went up in Mosques and when the processes ended, Spain sent ships to America. The Spaniards may have thought themselves invincible at the time. That could have left certain traits of local culture, as well as also the new products that arrived from America, that developed local gastronomy, and merged with the scents of Moorish recipes.

As all empires through history, the Spanish Empire collapsed and out of many losses, the one of Cuba in 1898 left a proud country poor, an imperial attitude but not empire…

The XX century brought the darkest episode of Spanish history with its civil war, but if one thing is to be retained is that the country came out of it as a democracy, galloping down with great people in the highroad of history.

What to buy in Spain: A Complete Guide

A curated list of the best and most authentic gifts to buy in Spain in each region of of the country.

what spain is famous fro

What is Spain famous for

Spain is an amazing country filled with excellent things to see and do. But what is Spain famous for? Here is a list of the top things Spain is famous for

Famous Spanish People

Top 15 Famous Spanish people

Discover some of the most famous people the country of Spain has produced. Our top 15 famous Spanish people list covers some of the most influential people from this amazing Mediterranean paradise.

Top 10 Best Spanish Basketball Players

Top 10 Best Spanish Basketball Players

The ultimate guide to making traditional, Valencian Paella, which is probably a lot different than what you expect. Check out the proper way to cook an authentic Valencian paella.

Top tourist attractions in Santiago de Compostela

The most beautiful cathedrals in Spain

There are many reasons to visit Santiago in addition to it being the final destination of the pilgrimage. Besides its main tourist attractions of monuments and museums, the city has an incessant cultural agenda with arts, entertainment and leisure time activities offered throughout the year such as music, lectures, theater, cinema, concerts, exhibitions and festivals.

Andalusian horse as part of Spanish culture

Spanish culture

Spain has a rich culture defined by its gastronomy, its dances and music. The Spanish culture has been shaped through centuries by the different influences lived through centuries: phoenicians, romans, visigoths, moors, or by important events like the Reconquista, the discovery of America or by the dark episode of its civil war

spanish flag

History of the Spanish Flag

Spain has a rich culture defined by its gastronomy, its dances and music. The Spanish culture has been shaped through centuries by the different influences lived through centuries: phoenicians, romans, visigoths, moors, or by important events like the Reconquista, the discovery of America or by the dark episode of its civil war

Jews in Spain

History of Jews in Spain

Jews have been one of the most influential cultures in the history of Spain, and in this article, we go over the history of the Jewish community in the Iberian Penninsula

gifts from spain damasquina

Gifts from Spain: the ultimate guide

A curated list of the best gifts from Spain, the perfect guide to authentic Spanish presents.

Flamenco dance

Flamenco: music and dance

Spain is an amazing country filled with excellent things to see and do. But what is Spain famous for? Here is a list of the top things Spain is famous for

FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona – The incredible history of Barcelona’s team

FC Barcelona is one of the most popular football clubs in the world. The teams popularity is thanks to many factors, but success on the pitch is the main reason. FC Barcelona or Barça for short is one of the winningest teams in Spain and in Europe with many league and European titles to their name. Let’s take a look back at the history of this storied football club.

Famous Wine Regions on Spain: Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero in central Spain is one of the country’s most important wine-producing regions. 2 hours north by car from Madrid on the way to Burgos

Best movies filmed in Spain

Spain was and continues to be a popular filming destination for Hollywood movies thanks to its beautiful landscapes, architectural gems, sunny weather and also low costs. Many movies filmed in Spain date back to the 50s and 60s. Spain was a filming hotspot location for many 1950-60 Western classics and many of the countries fantastic attractions do continue to be selected by many directors and producers due to their beauty

Cocido is the typical stew from Madrid

10 regional differences to understand Spanish diet

Spain is an amazing country filled with excellent things to see and do. But what is Spain famous for? Here is a list of the top things Spain is famous for