Things To Know Before Going To Spain

When people think about going to Spain, they often think about packing their sunglasses, making sure they have a hat, and the number of beaches they’re going to enjoy. But actually, Spain has much more to it than just beaches and balmy evenings. There are several things that you should know before you head to Spain. 

swimming pool mijas

Of course, you want to plan your hot look with gorgeous sunglasses, a beautiful summer dress or some cool linen shorts, but like everything is better when you’re prepared.


Learn some Spanish

Like almost all countries, many people speak some (or fluent) English, however, learning a few key phrases is just proper etiquette. You’re going to want to be able to ask some questions like Donde Esta…? Where is…? And some simple greetings like Buenos Dias or Hola. And yes, you’re going to want to finish with gracias, because it’s just nice

What is important to note, is that Spanish is not the only language; in fact, some regions have a second official language like Catalan, Basque, or Galicia. And while you don’t need to learn these extra languages, as almost everyone will speak Spanish, it wouldn’t hurt either.

Here you can learn some basic Spanish phrases: 67 Essential Spanish Phrases


Many people who visit quite a few European countries still don’t know that you can actually drink the tap water. Big cities like Barcelona and Madrid both have very safe tap water to drink. In fact, in Madrid, it comes fresh from the Guadarrama mountain range – if you like cool facts. So you’ll be much better off bringing a reusable water bottle, then you will keep buying bottles of water in the local stores. It will save you money in the long run.


Spain is famous for its Tapas culture. This means when you order a drink in almost all cases, it’s going to arrive with a small bite to eat. Sometimes it’s potato chips/crisps other times its olives. It may even be ham or cheese, depending on where you are. 

This is a polite gesture and is an indicator of how hospitable Spain can be. This free and tasty snack is simply meant to be enjoyed alongside your drink.

Goodbye Siesta

The siesta was historically common throughout Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, and even in mainland China. That traditional daytime nap has been put to bed. It has been reported in previous years that Spaniards actually work some of the longest hours in Europe, making a siesta something that most of them are not likely to see. 

However, if you’re there on holiday, or have a very generous working schedule, you can feel free to nap. But you’re unlikely to see people taking a siesta. 


When you arrive in Spain, whether it be for a holiday or for a relocation you’re going to notice the Spaniards are pretty snappy dressers. And you can spot a tourist a mile away with flip-flops and jogging bottoms. 

Choose lightweight fabrics and you too can deal with the heat while looking fabulous. 

Midday shopping

It’s not uncommon to find that many shops and businesses will close for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. So ideally try not to plan to have anything done between 1pm – 4pm while you are on holiday; other than enjoying the fact that you are on holiday. 

Many people enjoy long lunch breaks, especially when the midday heat is so hot. In the bigger cities, supermarkets and larger stores are often open, but you can’t guarantee that you’re going to find a smaller shop open in the middle of the day if you live in a village. 

Although you will find the shops do stay open later in the evening. And many people, especially people who enjoy shopping, enjoy the fact that Barcelona and Madrid usually stay open until around 10 pm in the evening.

Ditch the Sangria

Unless you really love Sangria, then it’s quite a tourist drink. Most locals instead enjoy a Tinto de Verano, which is a summer wine. It consists of red wine and lemonade mixer. 

Ideal for those long warm evenings. If you’d rather blend in with the locals than tourists and avoid paying a premium for that overpriced Sangria, go for the Tinto de Verano.

Meat Eaters

If you are a meat-eater, there is something that you simply cannot leave Spain without sampling. You will find it on most menus because it is one of the most beloved foods, called Jamon. Jamon is cured ham, and the most likely one you’ll find is Jamon Iberico. This is the best quality that you can get, and that comes from Blackhoofed Iberian pigs. 

These pigs are quite luxurious and are fed extensively on acorns, which gives them their unique flavor.

Public Transport

Public transport is efficient and fast. The Spanish train system is ideal for getting between major cities, however in the south of Spain and certainly, towards some of the smaller cities, there aren’t always those connections. Here buses are equally fast and efficient and certainly are the best option if you’re going off the beaten path. 

It should be noted that the train can be the most expensive option for public transport.

Eating Time

When the shops are closed, lunch is on. This means you will enjoy a wonderful lunch between 2 and 3:30 pm, but that pushes evening meal hours to much later in the day, typically from 9 pm till 10.30 pm. So you have to plan trips accordingly or take snacks in your bag if you can’t get with the schedule. 

Tipping isn’t required and isn’t expected, it’s really something that you should just do anyway. Outstanding service or service, in general, should always be respected. 

Indulge in the Culture

Many people when they get to Spain want to eat as much paella and drink as much Sangria as possible. And while that’s fun for many, there is a better way to enjoy Spanish culture. You will notice that the Spanish culture is much more about taking your time, enjoying the people in your family that you are spending time with, and the scenery. Relaxing and enjoying life. Go with the flow rather and fall into the tourist traps. 

worst cities in spain

Rest on a Sunday

You are unlikely to find anything that is open on a Sunday, this is a designated day to get lunch with friends, visit family, relax and unwind. So if you’re planning on being in Spain for a Sunday, or you really want to make the most of that Spanish culture while you’re integrating; then plan Sunday as simply to be a day of family, food, and fun. 

Big Cities and Little Villages

Large Spanish cities are busy and modern and filled with people from all over the world. They’re exciting and have a lot to do. It will give you a considerable taste of Spanish culture, but there are many tourist traps to keep an eye out for. 

The smaller villages remain a space for century-old traditions that can still be found to this day. Spain is known as a country of traditions and culture. But to understand all of the different facets of that, try a few days in the city followed by a few days in smaller villages.


Spain is exhilarating and welcoming, with a rich history and the lives of culture. If you like spending time with family and friends and indulging in wonderful food, then it might be just time that you spent a little bit longer in Spain.


Our Family In Spain Traditions: Three Gifts at Christmas

Have you heard about the Three Gifts at Christmas tradition? Do you know where the idea originates from?

If you are looking for a way to enhance yet declutter your festive season, the Three Gifts at Christmas idea may be for you.

I think it is a great way to ensure money is wisely spent on gifts that are both required and desired rather than simply buying for the sake of it, as can sometimes be the case.

Our children are growing up fast and as much as we loved our old festive traditions of Christmas Eve Boxes and fun Family Stockings, I have become increasingly aware of the frivolity of it all and the waste we create. Maybe I am becoming even more Bah Humbug and grumpy in my years … I’ll leave that one for you to decide.

So, what is the origin of the Three Gifts at Christmas idea?

As we have mentioned before, despite the fact that Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Papa Noel (and whatever else you may call him) has been growing in popularity in Spain over the past years, The Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos) are still the most respected and celebrated in this country.

After all, it wasn’t a well sized, jolly, white bearded man in a red outfit that bore gifts to the newborn Jesus was it? Or was that just in the Simpsons or whatever else they told our children… (joke ;-))


However, I don’t want to dwell on that too much as I appreciate we all have our own beliefs and interpretations of events. I am here to share our ideas and interpretations with you. 

The three gifts at Christmas idea appears to have originated from the gifts brought by the three kings, that of: 

  • Gold
  • Frankincense 
  • Myrrh

What is the Meaning of the Three Gifts?


During research for this idea, I googled the three gifts at christmas idea and found many interpretations. I thought that this post on Keeper Of The Home offered a clear explanation of the meanings of the three gifts  


The gift of gold symbolizes something of great value. It’s to be something the child wants – something precious to them. 

You can let your child choose this gift or you can simply buy something you know they really want. This is the one you can really have fun with…but don’t go overboard. I’ve always found great deals on my “gold” items – and most of the time I buy used things. Buy used and save the difference.


The gift of frankincense symbolizes something spiritual. Frankincense was burned in the temple as part of worship. For this gift, we give something that helps with the child’s spiritual walk.

Our interpretation: As we are not religious, something for the mind / educational / learning


Myrrh was a medicinal item back in the day. This gift symbolizes something for the body. I’ve heard it told that the Wise Men brought this gift to Jesus in preparation for when he would die for us. This item can be any number of things: clothing, shoes, cologne, underwear. 

Our Family In Spain Version of Three Gifts at Christmas

So, this year, we are limiting our gifts to three per person. There will be no Christmas Eve box nor family stocking. There will however be lots of homemade decorations and naughty foods. After all, both Nana and Granny are coming to visit so we cannot kill the festive spirit totally … I’m waiting for next year to do that (but  Shhhh for now, that’s a new blog post for in the new year 😉 ) 


Our three gifts will be:

  • Something for the HEART
  • Something for the BODY
  • Something for the MIND

As our children are now older and thankfully, incredibly thoughtful, we will all participate in selecting gifts for each other. We like to keep it interesting!


What will we end up with? Who knows.  And, to be honest, that does not really matter at all. It is the general build up and anticipation that is still exciting. Amusing threats and insinuations have already begun. Imagine what 15 year old Joshua thinks would be good for his dad’s body and his mum’s mind!  Ha ha ha! 


Have you tried the Three Gifts at Christmas idea? What do you think?

Our Family In Spain Top Three Fun Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife

Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife

@FamilyInSpain … Having Fun on The Sun!

Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife: Our Top Three “Want to do” activities …

If you’re planning a family holiday with kids in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, don’t miss our “want to do” Top Three Fun, Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife. We’ve researched the incredible amount of activities and day trips available on the island. We’ve consulted with friends.

After lots of research, these are the Top Three Adventure Activities in Tenerife that we’d like to do, as chosen by our children …

Siam Park

Described as the best water park they have been to, by friends, Siam Water park was also voted as the number one attraction in Tenerife in 2015, by Tripadvisor.

The number of adrenalin rides is what makes this water park  an essential addition to our Family in Spain Top Three List.

Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife

The Adrenalin rides for the crazy family members are:

  • Kinnarree: A 213 metre tunnel slide ending in a tornado wave.
  • Mekong Rapids: Hurtle down the water slide on an inflatable boat. Room for all the family!
  • Dragon: A slide with a totally vertical drop. Yikes!
  • Tower of power: A 28 metre high water slide meaning you can reach speeds as fast as 80km/h. At the end of the ride you pass through a huge aquarium full of sharks and rays.
  • Singha: 240 meters long! The newest at Siam Park! A water roller-coaster with high-speed curves and 14 direction changes which guarantees a real injection of adrenalin and fun. 6 meters per second ascending and 18 meters per second falling. This speed hasn´t ever been seen in a water park before!

I am happy to say that there are several options for the more relaxed family members too 😉

More details:

Forestal Park is Tenerife’s Largest Zipline Thrill Park.

Voted as one of the top things to do in Tenerife, Forestal park gives you the chance to climb up the walls and rope ladders, enjoy high rope obstacles in the treetops, leap off Tarzan Swings and fly down giant ziplines, at the gates of Teide National Park.

Our little monkeys love to fly through the trees … It will be interesting to see how it compares to our regular treetop park, Entre Ramas in Cadiz.

Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife

Fun facts :

  • Number of crossings: 86
  • Ziplines: 11
  • Longest zipline (meters): 230
  • Longest crossing (meters): 20
  • Hours of fun (min.): 120
  • Highest point (meters): 30

For more details:

Canyoning and Snorkelling with Xplore Tenerife

Xplore Tenerife are a small locally owned nature-based outdoor activity company. They promote the observation and appreciation of nature and traditional cultures in natural areas. As they offer exclusive and specialized, small group tours that minimizes the negative impacts upon the natural and socio-cultural environment, we feel that we would maximise our enjoyment of the new areas we discover.

Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerife

Having set up and managed our own snorkelling business in Fuerteventura, we know what marvels the underwater world in the Canary Islands has to offer.

The calm waters of the south of Tenerife provide excellent conditions for a great snorkeling experience. There are a couple of bays that are inhabited by the turtles, so there is a chance to swim up close with these beautiful animals. Swimming with them in their natural habitat is a wonderful experience.

Joshua has recently returned from an activity adventure holiday, with his school. Canyoning is now one of his Kids Adventure Activities in Tenerifefavourite new activities.

Canyoning is a great way to get into the more inaccessible but beautiful places that form part of Tenerife’s stunning landscape.

A canyon is a natural water park, carved into stone and located in the wilderness. Anyone who loves sliding, jumping and playing in water, exploring, abseiling and technical problem solving will love canyoning.  What a great way to discover and explore new places!

More details:

So there you have our Family in Spain “want to do” Top Three Fun, Adventure Activities in Tenerife. We must also add that we are researching the best Jeep Safari as a fun way to visit some of the popular tourist hotspots.

If you have any recommendations, please drop us a line 🙂

Blogs for Planning your Best Holidays in Spain: Insider Tips & Expert Advice

Let us help you plan your best holidays in Spain …

Time is flying. Summer is approaching at an incredible speed. We are excited to have several trips to our beloved Cadiz booked already. What do you have planned?

Today we’d like to share some great blogs and websites to provide you with inspiration for your best holidays in Spain.

These are not all your typical travel websites, promoting what they are paid to promote. These are some of the best blogs for planning your holidays in Spain. Most of the authors are people who live here and are true lovers of each destination.

This is in no way an exhaustive list. We will be adding to it, so make sure you pop back soon.

Don’t forget to visit the blogs about the areas you are planning to visit in Spain and let us know which is your favourite.

TopTip:  Save Money on Your Trip By Setting Up a Flight Price Alert Here!

best Holidays in Spain



Alicante and the Costa Blanca have more than 200 kilometres of beautiful coastline with sandy beaches stretching further than the eye can see. More than 20 million holidaymakers from across Europe head for the region every year because of its warm welcome and tourist attractions. Sarah’s My Destination Guide to Alicante is jam packed full with everything you need to know for having a great holiday in Alicante and the Costa Blanca.

Follow Sarah on Twitter:

Holidays in Spain

Las Carboneras


Almeria is their passion which they would like to share with you by means of writing about it in this Smart Insider Almeria Travel Guide. Although Christina is the webmaster, all family members (including the Spanish ‘abuelos’, brothers in law and sisters in law) are taking it very seriously, checking out every corner of this province for you and hopefully giving you that insider knowledge you won’t find in any traditional Almeria travel guide.

Follow Christina on Twitter

best Holidays in Spain

La Ciutadella


Simon lives and breathes Catalan life in Barcelona. On his website,  not only does he provide more practical information that you thought you needed, but also a real insight into the real city. Simon digs deep below the surface of this wonderful city.

Follow Simon on Twitter:

Jessica is from England and grew up in California, and now lives in beautiful Barcelona. Read about her adventures in Spain, on her blog Barcelona Blonde and discover why this California girl is so obsessed with the Catalan capital.     

Follow Jessica on Twitter

best Holidays in Spain

A typical dehesa


Irene is a Spanish freelance translator and travel content writer based in Oxford (UK) blogging about her home region of Extremadura. – See more at Piggy Traveller.

Follow Irene on Twitter

Holidays in Spain

The castle of Monterrey


Craig shares his knowledge of Galicia on his blog, Journey to a DreamScribbled on those electronic pages you’ll find a little bit about him, something about Galicia; and a whole host of photos – some old and some new.

Note: You can’t follow Craig on Twitter (Get the hint Craig 😉 )

Holidays in Spain

Playa del Ingels


Alex and Lex have managed their informative website online since 1998, Gran Canaria Info . It is the island’s biggest independent guide. It’s packed with great photos, local tips and useful info.

Follow Alex on Twitter

Whether you be a visitor, looking for things to see and do on Gran Canaria both on and beyond the tourist resorts, or an expat who’s relocated to make a new life on our tropical shores, Matthew is here for you. His website Gran Canaria Local  is full of insider hints and tips.

Follow Matthew in Twitter

Holidays in Spain

Marina del Este, La Herradura


Although Molly lives and loves Granada, her blog Piccavey,  shares great insights into many parts of Spain. She shares her own on the ground approach, things as locals see them.  Any hotels or restaurant which she recommends is made sincerely.

Follow Molly on Twiter

GranadaSpain is the essential insider’s website for planning a visit to Granada. Sophie and the creators and contributors are all based in Granada and can offer the local knowledge you need to get the best out of your trip.

Follow Sophie on Twitter

Holidays in Spain

Costa Teguise


Lanzarote Information is run by Julie and Mike who are Brits who have lived on the island for over fourteen years and who get involved in as much of Lanzarote life as they can. Having brought up two children on the island, and run several businesses, they are in a good position to help others with their in depth knowledge about Lanzarote and life here. They believe in making the most of living in paradise, and you’ll find them at events and attractions all over the island, all the time! They are both triathletes and scuba divers, avid readers and they love good food and great company.

Follow Julie on Twitter and Mike

Holidays in Spain

El Retiro


Naked Madrid is a budding blog written in English by a multinational group of passionate Madrid transplants. They started this blog because they think Madrid is one of those cities that can best be enjoyed if a local shows you around. If you don’t know any locals, Naked Madrid bloggers can fill the role! They write about their favourite restaurants, spots to hang out at and nearby, day or overnight trips. 

Follow NakedMadrid on Twitter

Kate writes on Oh Hello Spain. She is a UK editor & travel writer living the expat life in Madrid. She writes and tweets about visiting and living in Spain. Check her blog for Madrid recommendations. 

Follow Kate on Twitter

Holidays in Spain

La Malagueta


Not surprisingly, we are difficult to please when it comes to talking about our beloved province of Malaga. There are so many websites but how many are we happy to recommend?

Although not dedicated solely to Malaga, has over 10,000 pages of useful information  on Andalucia and Southern Spain. is one of the most established websites in Malaga and Andalucia. Visit their Malaga information pages.

Follow on Twitter:

Alicia writes about her adventures in Andalucia on her blog Andalucia InlandShe shares articles, photos and videos about news, people, places, and things to do in inland Andalucia – Alicia en la Andalucia de las Maravillas

Follow Alicia on Twitter

Again, not solely a Malaga website, but we cannot not mention SpainHoliday. John Kramer lives in Malaga and is passionate about the area. You can find many great articles about Malaga on the Spain Holiday website.

Follow John on Twitter:

Joanna’s blog, Joanna Styles, shares information about both Marbella where she used to live and Malaga, her new home. Join her as she discovers what Malaga City has to offer.

Follow Joanna on Twitter

And, of course, don’t forget to check out our Family In Spain Holiday posts in the Holiday Category . One of our most popular posts was about Malaga Capital 😉 

Read why Malaga is not one of the worst cities in Spain

Follow Us on Twitter

holidays in Spain



Debs website is Native Spain is about living and working in Spain and enjoying your time here. It’s more than just a tourist guide, she aims to help you settle and enjoy your new life as a Native in Spain!

Follow Debs on Twitter

Holidays in Spain

Soller tram


Jan eats, drinks and sleeps Mallorca. Her blog, Eat Drink Sleep Mallorca,  brings together some of the things that give her a great deal of pleasure, living on the Balearic island of Mallorca.

Follow Jan on Twitter:

Anna writes about Mallorca, Spain, life and travels. She is also author of five humorous books set in rural Mallorca. Read more about her adventures on  

Follow Anna on Twitter:


Marti is  a writer and cook living in San Sebastián, Spain. Currently, she spends her time photographing, teaching cooking classes and various other culinary endeavours in San Sebastián, and writing about all of it in both print outlets and on her blog Travel Cook Eat.

Follow Marti on Twitter:

Holidays in Spain

Plaza de España


If you are thinking about visiting Seville, a City rich in history and famous for its flamenco, tapas bars and orange trees then you need to check out Fiona’s great website Scribbler in Seville.

Follow Fiona on Twitter

Karen’s Blog, Enjoy Living Abroad,  is full of travel tips and stories you can use to plan your own adventures at home & around the world.

Follow Karen on Twitter

Cat is a Chicago girl who turned down a job in radio and turned up in Seville, Spain. Especially akin to tapas, siestas and frilly flamenco dresses. Her blog, Sunshine and Siestas is her virtual love letter to Southern Spain.

Follow Cat on Twitter

Holidays in Spain

Mijas Pueblo


This is a great summary article from the Guardian, written by the lovely Annie Bennet (Read Here)

Annie spends most of her time mooching around Spain, ostensibly researching articles for national newspapers and magazines, but really just sitting in cafés, reading the paper and drinking wine. Read more of her informative articles on her blog Mooching around Spain 

Follow Annie on Twitter

Andrew’s comprehensive insider’s guide to Andalucia, Andalucia Diary,  began some years ago, as his desire to share his passion for his new adoptive home, southern Spain. He started it with a dedicated focus on Andalucia, but over the years he has extended the travel notes and photos to include Iberia and Morocco.

Follow Andrew on Twitter

El Boqueron Viajero offers a bilingual, bicultural point of view on travel.  A couple from two different cultures telling their travel stories from around the globe. Pedro is originally from Malaga and Abby from Pennsylvania in the USA. They both share their passion for Spain.

Follow them on Twitter

Holidays in Spain


Phew! There you have it. Plenty to read and discover before planning you next trips and holidays. We’ll be adding more websites to this list, so don’t hesitate to send us your suggestions.

Hopefully, we’ve provided you with some inspiration for planning your best holidays in Spain.

¡Vive las Vacaciones!

Don’t forget to  Follow us on Twitter  , Like our Facebook Page and Subscribe to our YouTube channel  to enjoy all our great pictures, fun videos and informative articles. Don’t miss out!


Insider Tips for Canary Islands Holidays: From Locals That Know!

Get more from your Canary Island Holidays by listening to the locals …

If you’ve been following our story, you’ll know that our children were born in the Canary Islands, on the island of Fuerteventura. They are little “Majoreros”.

We keep saying we should organise a trip back to Fuerteventura so the children can discover the place where they were born. So, in preparation, for this still-to-be-planned trip, I decided to give a shout out to the lovely “Canary Island” Facebook friends we have. These are a wide range of people who have lived or are currently living on one of the Canary Islands. We know that travelling is so much more interesting when you get insider advice and travel tips from people that live in the area.

This is what I posted:

“Calling all my Canary Island friends … If you had to recommend 1 place to visit/thing to do on each of the islands, what would you say?”

Needless to say, these very knowledgeable people shared some excellent tips and suggestions with us. Far too many to share on in this post alone. So, we’re going to share some of the best ones with you.

Here are Our Top Tips for Canary Islands Holidays: From Locals That Know  (ie. Not the typical tips you may find in mass produced tourists guides 😉 )

canary island holidays

Stunning scenery on La Palma

Fuerteventura: If you are a beach lover, head South and enjoy an away-from-it-all walk from Cofete beach to El Islote. Don’t forget your sun hat, sun cream, camera and plenty of water!

cofete canary island holidays

Cofete, Fuerteventura by @AlexBramwellGC

La Graciosa: Visit the tiny  island of Graciosa, off Lanzarote. Great for children and walkers as there are very few cars that use the dirt roads all over the island

Lanzarote: Take a Cesar Manrique tour and visit Jameos del Agua, the Mirador del Rio, the Monumento al Campesino, Valley of a Thousand Palms, a Cactus garden and the César Manrique Foundation which was the artist´s home until 1988.

canary island holidays

Fresh Fish from Lanzarote, by @grancanariainfo

La Gomera:  Visit the Hermigua Valley, walk and then eat in Tasca Telemaco.

Tenerife: walk the forests of the Anaga Mountains & visit World Heritage city of La Laguna.

El Hierro: Visit the coastal village of La Restinga, it so peaceful and wonderful and offers deliciously fresh fish.

La Palma: Drive to Roque de las Muchachos and then walk into the Calder, a 5 mile-wide crater, and a national park. You will want a camera! And we had to include an extra one here … Go stargazing with one of the firms that take out small groups with good amateur telescopes. Unforgettable!

Gran Canaria: Drive the GC 200 from Mogan to La Aldea, then cut inland to see the centre.

canary island holidays gc200

The GC 200 in Gran Canaria by @AlexBramwellGC

With each of the islands having such a variety of experiences to offer, island hopping is a great option. There are companies who offer Canary Islands Cruises, an easy way to visit several of the islands in one trip. You can also opt for a self-drive option, although, travelling by car, to all the islands is not an option. However you chose to travel, plan your trip carefully. Don’t let complicated logistics detract from your enjoyment!

We have not yet decided on a date for our trip down memory lane with our children, but when we do, we know it is going to be an unforgettable experience. We’ll keep you posted.

camping in tarifa

Mis pequeños Majoreros, by @familyinspain

Before we go, we’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who shared their ideas with us. If you are planning a trip to the Canary Islands, you may want to get some input from these wonderful Canary Island residents, via Twitter:  @AlexBramwellGC  @grancanariainfo ( @madreislena  @MatthewHirtes   @sheilacrosby403  

6 Tips for a Tasty Trip to Madrid: Must Do’s for Food Lovers

Do you want a taste of what Madrid is really like? Don’t waste time visiting tasteless places. Follow our 6 Tips for a Tasty Trip to Madrid, you’ll be licking your lips and your taste buds will be screaming for “más”!


I recently enjoyed a short visit to Madrid. The last time I visited the city was almost ten years ago. That time I’d arranged a surprise trip for my mum’s 60th birthday. We enjoyed the more touristic side of Madrid. This time, I was visiting with my friend and travel companion, the lovely Annie B from Annie B’s Spanish kitchen. Needless to say, in addition to meeting up with some great people I’d met thanks to social media, it was a food-focused trip!

Trip to Madrid

One of the advantages of having foodie friends is that you get to visit and sample the tastiest parts of a place. No hardship there!


So, here are my 6 Tips for a Tasty Trip to Madrid …

Trip to Madrid

Tip 1. Take a Devour Madrid Food Tour

Seriously, if you want a real insight into the flavours of this majestic city, taking one of Devour Spain’s tours at the start of your visit will enhance your whole experience! Don’t leave it until your last day. If you do, you’ll be kicking yourself!

We were invited by the food-loving and very knowledgeable Lauren and James to take part in one of their Madrid food tours. After lots of deliberation, we decided on the Tapas, Taverns & History Tour.  It’s an unbeatable combination of food and history–  two tours packed into one fantastic evening!

We were guided by the fun loving Joy  who plied us with as much historical information about the City as she did with delicious food and alcoholic beverages.

We visited 5 traditional tapas bars, trying a delicious assortment of homemade tapas including some of Spain’s best acorn-fed Iberian ham, Madrid’s most famous garlic & chilli prawns , and mouth-watering hot-off-the-grill stuffed mushrooms. At each tapas bar our food was paired  with a delicious drink (Spanish wine, draught beer or vermouth).

At the end of the tour, everybody was suitably stuffed, in high spirit and grateful to Joy for a fantastic evening. As an added bonus, every guest receives a Devouring Madrid mini guide, packed with recommendations to keep eating well for the rest of your stay!

For tour details, visit the Devour Spain website:  Follow them on Twitter  @devourSpain

PS: Lauren & James, I’m looking forward to the opening of your Devour Malaga tours!

Tip 2. Visit the Food Markets

Like most places in Spain, food markets are popping up all over the place. From local traditional markets to gourmet foodie places, there are so many to choose from.

Following the guidance of my trusted foodie friend, these are the ones we enjoyed …

Mercado San Anton

Trip to Madrid

This is more a food court than a traditional market, located in the district of Chueca, known for its nightlife and shopping. Its 22 vendors sell everything from fresh produce and meats to cooked regional specialities.

The top floor restaurant has a terrace with views across the city, where we enjoyed a wee glass of cava.

Calle Augusto Figueroa 24. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-3pm.

Mercado de la Paz 

One of Madrid’s oldest markets. Mercado de la Paz was built in 1879 and is located in the smart Salamanca barrio. Despite its location, however, it is a very friendly, local neighbourhood market selling day to day foodstuffs. If you are in this neighbourhood, make sure you pop into Casa Dani for breakfast. If you order tortilla, you won’t be disappointed! Thanks for the tip @theSpainGuy

Calle de Ayala 28. Open Mon-Fri 9am-2.30pm and 5pm-8pm, Sat 9am-2.30pm

Mallorca Market 

Recommended to us by Madrid expert, Annie Bennett, this delicatessen, bakery, restaurant and gourmet market rolled into one was a wonderful find.

This relatively new addition to the almost century-old chain Pastelería Mallorca offers touches of pure decadence. For myself, it was in the form of Turron con Mojito and Turron con Moet et Chandon!

Trip to Madrid

A great spot to pick up some naughty treats or some freshly made snacks.

Calle de Génova 12. Open daily 9am-9pm


Located in Plaza Colón, this was originally the Carlos III cinema. I can only describe it as “spectacular”. There is a food market, a myriad of food counters serving a wide variety of fancy foods, overseen by three Spanish chefs with a total of six Michelin stars between them. If you get the timing right you will also enjoy live music and other forms of entertainment. There was a live DJ playing cool tunes whilst we were there.

Keep an eye out for live music concerts too. A great evening out!

Calle Goya 5-7. Open Sun-Wed noon-12.30am, Thurs-Sat noon-2.30am

Mercado de San Miguel

The historic wrought-iron-and-glass Mercado de San Miguel, just off Plaza Mayor, has become one of the liveliest culinary spots in the city since it reopened in 2009 after a nearly six-year restoration. Alongside stalls selling fresh produce are tapas bars offering a wide variety of treats.

Prices are higher than Madrid’s more traditional markets, but neither the atmosphere nor the food at the market’s 33 stalls disappoints.

Trip to Madrid

The market aims to become a Centre for Culinary Culture, where the product is the key.  A place where people continue to do their daily shopping, as well as participate in activities, sample the products, or simply drop in for a drink and a bite to eat. A traditional market with all of the current-day advantages.

Plaza de San Miguel. Open Sun-Wed 10am-midnight, Thurs-Sat 10am-2am


Tip 3. Take a Cookery Course.

We enjoyed a morning’s cooking with Spanish Masterchef contestant Gonzalo Ribot. De Olla y Sarten offer a wide range of cookery classes, including for children. It was great fun, very good value for money and we enjoyed eating what we cooked!

For more details about the courses and workshops they offer, visit


Tip 4. Eat Mushrooms at El Cisne Azul

Mushrooms, setas, champiñones …. you will find them all here, in various disguises and forms. As this understated shabby looking little establishment, nestled between gourmet bistros and bars,  proudly boasts, they have “Fresh Wild Mushrooms all year round”.

Don’t be surprised if you have to queue either, tables are far and few between. But it will be worth the wait … especially if you like mushrooms, setas, champiñones 😉 Also, be careful not to be drawn to the fancy new restaurant with the same name, further down the street. The original place offers the original experience, for sure!

Calle de Gravina 19,    28004, Madrid      Metro:  Chueca Line    +34 915 21 37 99

Tip 5. Go In Search of The Perfect Tortilla!

Seriously, I was so impressed with the tortillas ( Spanish potato omelette) we ate in Madrid! Like many people, I dislike undercooked runny eggs. However, the consistency of so many of the tortillas we tasted in Madrid was incredible. They are a lot less cooked that the tortilla we usually enjoy in Andalucía. They look runny and undercooked but are not. They are totally delicious.

Trip to Madrid

And the winner of our favourite tortilla in Madrid was served at  …. (drum roll please!!!) Casa Dani in Mercado de la Paz.

If you fancy making your own tortilla, here’s a great recipe.

Tip 6. Enjoy a Gin & Tonic at Sunset, on the Rooftop Terrace at the Círculo de Bellas Artes

Despite being impressed with Madrid, I did have that forever present feeling of slight claustrophobia that I often have in big cities. I had to keep looking up to see the sky and was constantly searching for open spaces. That was until we visited, what I must say was my favourite spot …

Once again, the excellent advice from our incredibly knowledgeable Madrid contacts meant that we saw the city at it’s best, from this wonderful viewpoint … as the sun set over the majestic city of Madrid.

The 4€ charge for taking the lift to the roof terrace is well worth it.

Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes  Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014 Madrid


These are so many delicious things to taste in Madrid. If you only have a weekend, make sure you check out this post A Foodie Weekend in Madrid

School Summer Holidays in Spain: To Enjoy Or To Endure?

12 Weeks Of School Summer Holidays in Spain…

kids in conil

Having fun in the sun!

As I write this post, I still cannot believe it is the last day of the long, school summer holidays in Spain.

Every summer, our children break up for 12 weeks of school summer holidays. Yes, you read that correctly: three months; 12 weeks; eighty days …

In our post, Sure Signs That You’re Adapting to Life As A Mum in Spain, Nº 8 was: “You stop dreading the arrival of the 12 weeks school summer holidays.”

And I confess, I no longer dread the summer holidays, I actively look forward to them and spend months planning all the adventures we could have filling those three months; 12 weeks; eighty days.

Am I mad? Maybe, but it is all about embracing opportunity and making the most of what may initially seem like a difficult situation.

You can listen to where and why we go where we go on holiday in August here:

Screenshot 2014-09-09 16.32.41

Admittedly, it is easier for us than for some families who are unable to avoid work commitments. However, we have carefully adapted our lives in Spain to be able to enjoy rather than endure these situations.  (Click here to read: Why Working From Home In Spain Rocks ) 

Last year, it was more challenging and despite booking a long holiday in Cadiz, my work spoilt what could have been a wonderful holiday. That, of course, has now all changed and I am free to enjoy this time with our children, and enjoy it we have.

(If you haven’t followed our journey so far, read my post: Do what you love. Love what you do!)

In this post, we will share with you how we planned and spent this year’s school summer holidays in Spain. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas how to enjoy rather than endure this time with your children. It’s all about planning…

School Summer Holidays in Spain

Silly string fighting with family & friends in the UK

So, how have we enjoyed our 12 Weeks of school summer holidays in Spain?

Click each of the links below to read the related articles, including information, directions and insider tips we want to share with you.

(NOTE: If the links are not active yet, it means that I haven’t managed to post the article yet … I’m out of practice following our 12 week holidays remember 😉  )

This is how we spent our time …

See how quickly that went! Where did those three months; 12 weeks; eighty days go?

School Summer Holidays in Spain

Beautiful beach days in Conil de la Frontera, Cadiz.

We have had such a wonderful summer and are already thinking about how to enjoy next summer. The only problem now is that I have to get back into work mode. There are only so many times you can tell people that you are “de vacaciones” … Maybe I’ll send them a copy of this post so they will understand. After all, it is one of the many reasons we chose to live and love our Family Life In Spain.

How do you spend your summer? Do you enjoy it or endure it? Send us your stories and ideas.

¡Feliz vuelta al cole!

Don’t forget to download a copy of our printable School Calendar for 2014 / 2015: CLICK HERE!

About Our Family Holidays in Cadiz: Just the beginning …

family holidays in cadiz

Family fun in Conil de la Frontera

For the past three years, we have spent our August family holidays in Cadiz.

Guess what?

It’s so great that we are already planning to go back next year.

Many people ask us what there is to do in Cadiz, apart from enjoying the miles of amazingly, clean, white sand, clear water beaches. (It was actually  Monica from Mum on the Brink that got us thinking!) This year, we’ve decided to share what we discovered with you.

So, what about our 2014 August family holidays in Cadiz? Here we go …

How did we travel to Cadiz?

Cádiz is a province of southern Spain, in the southwestern part of the autonomous community of Andalusia, the southernmost part of continental Western Europe. In the region also referred to as Costa de la Luz.

It is bordered by the Spanish provinces of Huelva, Seville, and Málaga, as well as the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. It has an area of 7,442 square kilometers.

Its capital is the City of Cádiz, which has a population of more than 128,000. The largest city is Jerez de la Frontera with 208,896 inhabitants (as of 2010), and another important city is Algeciras with just over 114,000 inhabitants. The entire province had a population of 1,194,062 (as of 2006), of whom about 600,000 live in the Bay of Cádiz area. Its population density is 160.45 per square kilometer.

(Ref: )

From our home in Mijas, it is only a two and a half hour drive. So, as with our trip to Alicante in June, we packed up our faithful Volkswagen Transporter and drove to Cadiz. Surfboards, boogie boards, bikes and beach toys included, of course 😉

Journey times from local Airports to Cadiz:

  • Malaga airport is approximately 2 1/2 hours
  • Gibraltar airport is approximately 1 1/2 hours (excluding border queues!)
  • Jerez airport is approximately 45 minutes

We strongly recommend you hire a car for your stay to allow you to discover the surrounding towns and villages.

Where did we stay in Cadiz? What did we think about the accommodation?

This year we could not fault our accommodation. It had everything we wanted for a fun, family holiday in Cadiz.

We rented a private villa in the area known as Roche, about 5 minutes from the popular resort of Conil de la Frontera.

Roche is known as one of the most prestigious residential areas of the Costa de la Luz region of Cadiz due to its clean, lush and natural landscape. Its location between pine trees and the sea means it enjoys an ideal year round climate.

Our rented accommodation was a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom detached villa with a lovely lush garden, good sized pool and outdoor barbecue area. It was equipped with everything we needed and was immaculately clean. The fact is was accessed by a shared private driveway within a quiet urbanisation and was totally enclosed meant that it felt totally private and safe for the children. We were able to enjoy family bike rides from the house into the local pine forests …

Our host, Manuel, could not have been more helpful. He was keen to share his knowledge and love of the local area, where he was born and has spent most of his life. 

About the Food and Drink in Cadiz:

Warning: Do not continue if you are hungry! We love simple, tasty, Spanish food. (See some of our children’s favourites in our post Spanish food for children: Our favourites.)

We were spoilt for choice for places to either eat out or take away, within a short distance of our rental house. Food in the Cadiz province is not expensive and is generally, very tasty.

We will tell you more about the local cuisine in the articles about each of the areas we visited. (See links below)

Where did we visit in Cadiz? What did we think of each place?

Get ready for it … Yes, we ventured out this year. We made it further than the amazing local beaches. In fact, due to a little research, we had so much to do that we ran out of time. Hence, our excuse for going back for longer next year (not that an excuse is ever needed for holidays in our house 😉  ).

To break it up for you, we have written articles on each of the places we visited and the places we researched and are yet to visit. This way you can use them to plan your own trips and adventures in Cadiz.

( NOTE: We will add direct links as soon as the articles are ready for you to read … just click on the name of the place you want to read about in the list below)

  • Conil de la Frontera: beaches, great food and surf school.
  • Vejer and El Palmar: a beautiful whitewashed hilltop village, probably our favourite beach and a live beach display by the fire-fighter planes.
  • Cadiz City: An open top bus tour, great fried fish and steeped in history.
  • A trip to Entre Ramos: A treetop adventure park in Roche.
  • Sancti Pectri: A boat trip and a place still to discover.
  • Jerez de la Frontera: Sherry museums, a zoo, karting and museums for children.
  • Chipiona and Sanlúcar de Barrameda: The tallest lighthouse in Spain and horse racing on the beach.

What was our favourite part?

Are we allowed of say “all of it”?

The province of Cadiz is such a great place to visit and to share with friends. This summer it was at least 7 to 10 ºC cooler than the Malaga province in the month of August. The temperature of both the air and the water was ideal.

What was our least favourite memory?

The fact that we only had two weeks to enjoy it all 🙁  Never mind, it will be at least three weeks next August 🙂

Random observations and thoughts:

If you would like more details of any of the places we visited or of the villa we rented, just email us at :

If you are looking for a beach based holiday then traveling to Cadiz is best done from April to October. Outside of those months the beach resorts such as Conil de la Frontera can be like ghost towns. The cities and towns such as Cadiz Capital and Jerez de la Frontera can be visited all year round.

Pssst … As I’m writing this post, we are excited to have just booked a long weekend ( a puente) in October at the villas in Roche. We are checking out the 3 bed house and friends are staying in the 2 bed house next door. More to follow upon our return …

¡Vive las vacaciones!

Our Top 5 Holiday Activities for Kids in Mijas

As you may know, we currently live in the beautiful Andalucian, whitewashed village of Mijas. It is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world. We decided it was about time to share our Top 5 Holiday Activities for Kids in Mijas. Please keep number 5 quiet though, or we will be in trouble with the locals.

So, what are our Top 5 Holiday Activities for Kids in Mijas?

In no particular order ….

1. A visit to the Mayan Monkey Mijas Chocolate Factory

Do you love chocolate? Did you know you can make your own chocolate bar in Spain? Did you know that there is a chocolate factory in Mijas pueblo?

As self-confessed chocoholics, it was obvious that we would be visiting the new chocolate factory in our village, however we had not imagined actually making our own chocolate bars.

The Smallest Chocolate Factory in the World … maybe?

Address: Mayan Monkey Mijas. 524 Plaza de la Constitución. Mijas Pueblo. 29650 Málaga.

Tel: +34 951 052 772

Read more about our visit HERE:  A Visit to the World´s Smallest Chocolate Factory

NOTE: A new and bigger chocolate factory has recently opened. We will visit and report back very soon … eating more chocolate, only if we have to!

Address: Mayan Monkey Mijas. 524 Plaza de la Constitución. Mijas Pueblo. 29650 Málaga.   Tel: +34 951 052 772


2. Mijas Waterpark

Parque Aquatico Mijas is a great day out for children of all ages. Keep your eye out for discount vouchers given out at supermarkets and in hotels in the area. The vouchers can save you around €20 on the entrance fee for a family of four.

The water park offers rides and slides to suit all ages.

The Isla Lagartos (Lizard Island) allows the younger children to swim and play in fountains, slides and water jets.

Holiday Activities for Kids

The Lago Azul (Blue Lake) and Jacuzzi is where you can lie back, relax and let the water refresh you.

Everybody can have fun in the Piscina de Olas (Wave Pool).

For the more adventurous, there is: the 15 metre high Kamikaze; the 300 metre long winding slides of the Laberinto de Toboganes; the 40 metres of water madness of Rio Aventura and the Pistas Blandas where you can set your own challenges as to how to launch yourself in to the water.

Holiday Activities for Kids

Watch out for our next post with lots of crazy photos of water based fun at Parque Aquatico Mijas.

3. The Miniatures Museum: Carromato de Mijas

The Miniature Museum Mijas, Carromato de Mijas, is the first of its kind. It is a must for visitors to Mijas pueblo, no matter what your age.

From the outside, the Miniature Museum Mijas does not look like anything special. It actually looks a bit like a carriage off an old train. However, once you discover its treasures you will be happy you decided to visit.

Holiday Activities for Kids

The collection of miniatures was founded in 1972 by a famous hypnotist Juan Elegido Millán, who went by the stage name of Professor Max. This miniatures museum has pieces from over 50 different countries, many of them utterly remarkable in their attention to detail and microscopic artistry.

Photographs are not normally permitted inside the Miniature Museum Mijas. However, when the local photography competition takes place, all visitors can take pictures. We were in luck when we visited …

Miniatures Museum Mijas

My mum and my children were fascinated.

It is incredible to think that somebody has the patience to paint, using an eyelash, for months, to produce some of these amazing pictures.

There are some other interesting pieces such as: dressed up fleas; the seven wonders of the world painted on a toothpick; a shrunken head from the Jivaros Indians and some stunning Japanese artwork.

Miniatures Museum Mijas

Miniatures Museum Mijas

Dried and dressed fleas.

Miniatures Museum Mijas

Please also be advised that this museum is managed by AFESOL and all monies paid as entrance fees go towards this very needy cause. The Mijas ayuntamiento do not charge any rental fee to AFESOL and contribute to running costs.

AFESOL (Association of Families and Persons with Mental Illness in the Costa del Sol), is a non-profit association formed by families and people with mental illness, together to find solutions to problems that arise with mental illness.

Address: Avenida del Compas, s/n .29650 Mijas Pueblo.

Opening times: every day from 10am.


4. Mijas Donkey-Taxis

Some people may not agree with the use of Donkey Taxis in Mijas Pueblo, however the children tend to love the experience. It is said that in Mijas, in the early 60’s, some workers returning to their homes on their donkeys, were requested, by visitors, to photograph or take a walk.

As with most tourist attractions, the tips paid by the visitors exceeded the worker’s salaries. As a result, the DonkeyTaxis are today an institution in Mijas and one of its main attractions.

Steps have been taken to ensure the well being of the donkeys. To boost the quality of their tourist taxi rides, the famous Mijas donkeys must now be registered with brand new ID plates. This will also aid recognition of individual animals and improve the service. 

Holiday Activities for Kids


Holiday Activities for Kids


Things to Do with Kids in Mijas

5. The Municipal Swimming Pool in Osunillas (summer months only).

This is a beautiful outdoor pool that is free during the week! Shhh … don’t tell too many people though please.

Holiday Activities for Kids

It is located in the area of Osunillas near Mijas Pueblo. It is generally open from the first week in June. For non residents the entry fee is €3 at the weekends. There is plenty of shade beneath the trees if you do not want too much sun and there is a snack bar to purchase drinks and snacks. A plate of paella is only 5 euros!

Location: Carretera de Mijas a Benalmádena, Km 1. 29650 – Mijas.


So, there you have them. Our Top 5 Holiday Activities for Kids in Mijas. What do you think? We’d love to hear your suggestions and to receive your feedback once you’ve done any of these things in Mijas.

NEW IN 2015:  The Tuk Tuks are a new family favourite!!!  Read more about this eco-friendly way to visit out beautiful pueblo:



Read why Malaga is not one of the worst cities in Spain

Write a pretty standard article and add a controversial headline and Bob’s your uncle! You grab the attention of journalists and newspapers. It’s that easy, isn’t it?

Usually not. However, a certain online writer, with a reputation for provoking reactions with his bold, and often totally unfounded statements, seems to have done it again.

This is the article I am referring to: “Málaga y Marbella, las peores ciudades de España para visitar…”

Having un-followed and blocked this individual on Twitter, over a year ago, due to his unrealistic and provocative comments,  I was surprised to see his writing and blog published in a local Spanish newspaper.

Needless to say, like many other people I spoke to, my first reaction was to retaliate and rebuke his lame comments. However, that would be lowering ourselves to his level. We don’t work like that. We had a better idea …

In reply to his invitation … “If you think that after visiting Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Tarifa, Cadiz and Ronda, there is still something Malaga has to offer, share it with my readers. Show them how wrong I am!” …. we decided to invite Pedro Ramirez, one of the two writers of El Boqueron Viajero, to give us his thoughts on the comment made. We also invite you to decide whether you agree, or not, that Malaga is not one of the worst cities in Spain.

boqueron viajeroPedro, please introduce yourself …

My name is Pedro and I’m from Malaga. My wife and I write for the travel blog El Boqueron Viajero, a bilingual travel blog where we share our experiences from around the world, from a personal and emotional point of view. I’m also travel expert writer for Homeaway. I have previously lived in Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona and, for the past year, I have been living in New York. As well as the travel blog, I have my own consultancy offering SEO in New York.

I am a travel lover and I always try to find the best and most positives points about different cities, looking to offer different alternatives in every city, because people are not always looking for the same things. So, I had never written such a negative article and from a subjective and unknown point of view.

What was your first reaction when I showed you the article?

I won’t lie to you, my first reaction was sadness and anger. However, I like to analyze the words of other travel writers, trying to find their point of view. I could have accepted a suggestion for visiting Granada or Seville before Malaga, but if you consider yourself a real traveler, you can never write a top list with “the worst cities in Spain”. Only a person with a certain trauma can enjoy writing these kind of titles.

What did you think/ feel once you had got over your original shock?

When I had the opportunity to read the article more times and analyze it with more calm, I could understand him better in order to argue his points. I don’t like people who catalogue cities, cultures and people with the tag “worst” or “bad”. I think that only an ignorant person can ignore and disregard all the different points that a city can offer to the visitors.

When you start writing a chain of articles just for filling a big website with content, you lose the emotion of the travel writing and abandon the essence of a traveler. I won’t say anything bad about Granada, Seville or Cordoba. I love them with all my heart, these cities. My father is from Seville, my mother is from Granada and my grandparents are from Cordoba, Jaen and Huelva. I’m not going to fall into the same error of the author. I think that Malaga has enough charm and and attractions to be worth visiting.

IMG_1729What would you say in reply to the following statements …

  • “Malaga’s fame stems from just two things – its airport and the fact that Picasso was born here.”

The first mistake is to think that a real defense of Malaga should start with Picasso. Picasso was born in Malaga, but for me, it’s just a small piece of the culture in the city. Our representation is much more extensive: Salvador Rueda or Gloria Fuertes can be some examples.

Furthermore, a tourist will visit a city not only for names that have been born in that city, but also for the museums or the legacy in the city. We have the Museum Thyssen, CAC, the new SoHo area and the most recently bid for theaters, musicals and cinemas.

And if you don’t like any point raised so far, maybe this one will hook you.  Most people (at least all my known friends, family and travelers who asked me before visiting Spain agree): “Málaga enjoys a subtropical–mediterranean climate. It has one of the warmest winters in Europe, with average temperatures of 17 °C “ (Wikipedia). Only a few cities in the world can presume of this weather. And during the summer you can combine any kind of tourism with the beach (sun, a fresh beer, a bath, pescaito frito and fun). Seriously, are you kidding me? Is the author saying that all the travelers who left Malaga loving the city and wanting to come back soon are stupid?

“You can see the best of Malaga in a day – and even then, that day could be better spent elsewhere.”

When you are able to write this affirmation, you don’t know how to write about traveling. You can’t treat your readers as stupid people, looking for the most famous and Lonely Planet featured spots in a city. What is a person looking for in a city? I had the opportunity of showing Malaga to my family-in-law (they are from the US) and they spent the best two weeks in years. There were so many things to see and do that I still have a full itinerary for their next getaway.

If the author didn’t have the opportunity of discovering the real city or he was more obsessed with finding the worst parts than with open his heart, I can understand that he couldn’t spend a good time in Malaga. You can spend one entire day on the beach alone, or discovering all the different cultures that Malaga had in the past.


almejas“Si quiere buenas tapas, visite Sevilla o San Sebastián, para tapas baratas, visite Granada”

I think that this is an old myth to bury. I have spent amazing days in Granada during my time at the university and it’s true, this city is fantastic for tapas. Anyway, Malaga has been known to adapt this concept both because it works and due to the crisis. Nowadays,  it is easy to find several places offering “caña y tapa” for a great price. I invite the author to go to Teatinos or walk calmly around the city center, just maybe you discover new places.

The concept of San Sebastian is very different. First of all, it’s a little bit demagogue the fact of compare a Northern city with a Southern city. They offer totally different things. Are the traditional “pintxos” better in the north? I don’t think that they are better, they are simply originary from there. I could say that the best pescaito frito is from Malaga, so don’t waste your time eating in “any other city”. It would be unfair. I want to say something else: I have eaten the best pintxos of my life in Bar Jero in Valladolid (I have visited every city in Spain, some of them in different times); and this city is also included as the worst cities.

In Malaga, we have also one the best chefs in the world: Dani Garcia. So, I think that Malaga is a wonderful place for having tapas, for eating good food and for enjoying the pleasure of the tasting.

Carmen Thyssen Museum, Malaga  “Para los museos, Madrid debe ser su elección.“

Well, he is not lying here; I have lived in Madrid for years and it is such an amazing city for art and museums. We are talking about one of the most cultural places in the world, so I think that he is using demagogism* again. Are we comparing Madrid with Malaga just for the museums? Are the travelers just looking for museum, museum and museum every single hour of their trips? May it be more fair to talk about the cultural offer in Malaga if a traveler want to do some cultural activities?

Malaga has strongly bid for the art and culture recently. Nowadays, Malaga has the Cinema Festival, one of the two Thyssen Museums in Spain, the SoHo neighborhood specifically dedicated to the art , one of the most importants Contemporary Museums of Art in Spain; apart from different museums and exhibitions. Malaga is not maybe a city for a “Museums Trip”, but please let’s not kid ourselves; almost everybody wants the museums as part of the trip and Malaga has a good cultural offer to complement other aspects of the trip.

And,I have also to talk about the importance of Malaga in the history. Visiting Malaga, you can see the legacy of Phoenicians, Carthaginians,  Muslims or Visigoths.

*(NOTE: the art and practice of gaining power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people. )

I would like to highlight a phrase saying: “This important cultural infrastructure and the rich artistic heritage have culminated in the nomination of Málaga as a candidate for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.”

¡Gracias Pedro!


So there you have Pedro’s responses to some of the comments made in the article. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. It does make me wonder though, how you can claim to be a travel writer and publish such articles …

The author of this piece claims to be “a travel writer and consultant”. Really? Aren’t travel writers and consultants supposed to keep an open mind and let readers decide for themselves? Obviously, we expect them to offer their opinions and provide facts for others to make up their own minds, but blatant slandering of a location?

The author also boldly stated that  “Having a sense of humor is good for you.”

As Pedro said earlier, “Only a person with a certain trauma can enjoy writing this kind of titles.“  Or, maybe we just have a difference of opinion as to what constitutes a “sense of humor”. Do you think that writing negative articles and making scathing comments about a city you hardly know is funny? I’ll let you decide on which side of the fence you sit on that one.

The author stated:  “When I arrived in Spain I was amazed by the variety of the country, the beauty of its architecture and landscape and the passion of its inhabitants. I hope that by reading these pages you too will get a sense of what Spain is like. Hopefully it will inspire you to make the journey yourself.”

Reading the above statement of intent, I kind of feel sorry for the author and believe he may have derailed. He appears to have lost the initial purpose of his writing. His current articles in no way appear to inspire others to visit parts of Spain. Maybe, as Pedro said, “When you start writing a chain of articles just for filling a big website with content, you lose the emotion of the travel writing and abandon the essence of a traveler. “ This, unfortunately, happens to many bloggers/writers. The quantity demanded by the internet, to keep you at the top of rankings, is often detrimental to the quality produced. It shows character to stick to your morals and stay focused. However, when monetary reward prevails …

In order to help you to decide whether you agree, or not, that  Malaga is not one of the worst cities in Spain, I thought you may be interested to read some recent articles about new and future projects in the city.

Malaga Pompidou Centre to be completed within six months:  The underground complex will have 2,000 square metres reserved for showing works of art and will cost 5.1 million euros to complete. 09.05.14″

Read more here …

“Malaga has been announced as one of the six finalists shortlisted to become the first ever European Capital of Innovation with the chance to win €500,000:  An independent panel of experts has agreed upon the six cities that will compete to become the European Capital of Innovation. The European Commission has recognised Malaga’s progress made within the fields of urban regeneration, sustainable mobility and the promotion of entrepreneurial spirit.

Malaga City Council has based its application on three main platforms: the Soho arts area of the city, the Zem2 All electronic car scheme and the technological hub known as Malaga Valley.

Some 58 cities initially applied and now five remain to compete with Malaga: Paris, Barcelona, Espoo (Finland), Grenoble (France) and Groningen (Netherlands).”

Read more here …


Here are just a couple of the many comments made by reputable journalists and others, after their recent visits to Malaga. In hindsight,  maybe Malaga city was not previously considered as a popular and noteworthy destination, however, I do believe opinions are changing and the modest Malagueños are finally realising they have plenty to shout about…

“Despite all this, both city and region have been undersold for decades. Part of the blame lies with years of package tourism that have seen the city of Málaga as the “airport place”. Fernando Rueda

“What I felt above all was the social and emotional value of food – pleasure before pretentiousness – and that even the high-end places had deep connections with traditions, enhanced by the edible riches of the two seas – Mediterranean and Atlantic – and the sun-baked land of the south. This was localism without any banner being waved.” Chris Moss, The Guardian.

Read more here …

 “Ciudad del Paraíso” – the Paradise City. This is how the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Vicente Aleixandre, described Málaga. A city that vibrates with life and fascinates with its mixture of ancient history, folklore and modern culture. And of course, it is easy to imagine paradise in this harbour city with nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and several kilometres of beach right in the centre.


“With its new museums, tapas bars, shops and waterfront development, maybe it’s time people in Málaga stopped apologising for not having the best of anything. It all looked pretty good to me.”  Annie Bennett, Travel writer.

Read more here …

Molly Sears-Piccavey ” Malaga is certainly not the worst city in Spain to visit. I have chosen Malaga city for my family holiday this year for one week. It will be a great base to enjoy Malaga for its great food and climate. Looking forward to enjoying a few evenings along Muelle Uno too. We will also take a few day trips to different areas of Malaga province. Last year I enjoyed a weekend in Malaga and enjoyed the culture side of the city. The Alcazaba, roman theatre and museums.”

Louise Brace “Don’t look at the past, look at the present. If you like art: the world’s best urban artists have chosen Malaga to showcase their work, the CAC features some of the best contemporary artists from around the world and Paris’ own Pompidou centre is coming to town. If you like eating out: the city now combines Michelin star cuisine, with down-to-earth tapas. If you want to relax: the city’s beaches are clean, safe and lined with good bars and chiringuitos; you also have the Hamman for a relaxing treat after shopping in some of the city’s latest independent boutiques. Oh yes and you still have all the old favourites: Picasso, the Alcazaba, the cathedral, etc. Finally, you’ll never be bored in the evening, unless you go to bed at 10pm.”


In case you are still not convinced that Malaga is not one of the worst cities in Spain, go and pour yourself a cup or glass of something and sit back and watch these videos.

This may look like a plug for, as these are videos made by them. However, it isn’t. They have no interest in this post whatsoever. I have chosen to show you these videos as I believe they give a true picture of what Malaga is really like. I also know that John Kramer, the author of these articles, knows the city very well 🙂


Malaga’s new port – Muelle uno and the Palmeral de las Sorpresas

Muelle Uno was opened at the end of 2011. The 14,000m2 shopping and commerce centre is home to restaurants, shops and has underground parking for over 1000 cars. The most exclusive part of the port, it is home to Malaga’s only Michelin-starred restaurant (Jose Carlos Garcia’s) and has a marina for luxurious yachts, known as “Ricardo Gross.”

Despite its exclusivity, there are also numerous other cafés and bars that cater for all tastes and budgets (including an Indian restaurant).

Muelle Dos is home to the beautiful waterfront promenade invitingly named “The Palm Garden of Surprises,” “Palmeral de las Sorpresas” in Spanish.
  Read more here:  

Malaga City Beach Guide:

Being a coastal city, a beach is never far. Nearly all the ones mentioned below are within easy walking distance from the centre of Malaga. These are not your typical tourist beaches. You won’t find row after row of sunbed rentals and the usual bucket and shade crew, in fact, you’ll be hard pressed to hear anything other than Spanish on them. Which just adds to their appeal. Many of them are also home to some reasonably priced and good restaurants. According to the official town hall website, there are 15 beaches within Malaga’s city limits.
Read more here:


And what do recent statistics say about tourism in Malaga?

The city of Malaga is now one of the Spanish tourist destinations that is least affected by seasonality. This has once again been shown in the tourism trends report for the off season. In fact, according to the figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in the months of November, December, January and February, a total of 257,277 tourists stayed in the city’s hotels, 14.07% more than in the previous winter. (27/03/2014)

Turkish Airlines, Europe’s Best Airline*, held a regional road show for travel agents in Qatar with The Andalusia Tourist Board and Malaga-Costa del Sol, announcing increasing flights to Malaga in response to Andalusia’s growing appeal as a holiday destination for tourists from Qatar and the wider Gulf. –

See more at:

The following information is just a taste of what the Tourist Board promotes in Malaga:

Historic Monuments:

worst cities in spain

The Alcazaba: This fortress palace, whose name in Arabic means citadel, is one of the city’s historical monuments and is much visited because of its history and beauty.

Castillo de Gibralfaro: This Castle, built in the 14th. Century to house troops and protect the Alcazaba, is today one of the most visited monuments in Málaga. From its walls, visitors get spectacular views of the city and you can visit the Interpretation Centre to discover the site’s history.

The Cathedral: Its full name is  Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Our Lady of Incarnation) although in Málaga it is simply known as “the Cathedral”. Cathedrals are important in all cities, but here in Málaga it is even more important than usual. It is not only a religious building but a landmark, a national landmark, a milestone along the road and a witness to many events.

El Teatro Romano: Málaga’s Roman Theatre is one of the remaining symbols of Roman Hispania in the city. In addition to the theatre itself, it has a modern interpretation centre where new technologies present the life and customs of the time. The Theatre has also been returned to its original use and different types of shows take place inside.

Read more here:


Churches and Chapels:

worst cities in spain

Read more here:


malaga palace

Read more here:

Just a few more monuments:

malaga monuments

Read more here:


Parks, gardens and natural areas

Málaga’s natural heritage provides opportunities for other types of tourism. Places of extraordinary environmental wealth, such as the Montes de Málaga natural park, the natural setting of the estuary of the Guadalhorce, the Historical-Botanical Garden of La Concepción and Málaga Park or museum spaces such as the Museo Alborania and Ecomuseo Lagar de Torrijos offer a more educational approach to Málaga’s natural resources.

Screenshot 2014-06-17 16.05.18

Read more here:


For details and information about the 17 listed art galleries in Malaga, read here:

To conclude,

We could go on. But you may have got the hint by now.

We love Malaga! (Read our Here are our A to Z Reasons for living in Malaga)

We think the city has been undiscovered by too many for too long. It may not offer as many tapas as San Sebastian, as many museums as Madrid, as many historical monuments as Granada or Cordoba. Its feria may not be as grand as that of Seville. The beaches may not be as white as those in Tarifa and Cadiz. The bull ring not as historical as that of Ronda. But, Malaga is definitely not one of the worst cities in Spain.

Malaga is a place full of beautiful, friendly people, enjoying life at their own pace. It is a town full of character, with history, with passion, that invites outsiders with open arms. Food and drink to suit all pallets. Authentic tapas in tucked away bars, gourmet tapas and fine dining served to the highest standard and not forgetting the fresh fished cooked chargrilled in fishing boats on the many beaches.

Whether you are looking for a cultural discovery, a sunshine getaway or merely a base to discover what Andalucía has to offer, we do not believe you will disappointed if you stay in Malaga.

We’d love to hear what you think …. Please add your comments below and share with your friends 🙂

quiz about spain

CLICK HERE to take our fun Quiz about Spain

Pin It on Pinterest