The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a region located to the south of mainland Portugal having Faro as the administrative capital. The river Guadaiana separates it from the Spanish region of Andalusia. There are two regions Barlovento (the western part), which largest municipality is Faro and Sotavento (the eastern part) having Portimao as its main municipality. The coast of the region is about 155 km long and has open caves in the limestone rock near the town of Lagos. It is a region very appreciated by tourism because there are beautiful beaches and its Mediterranean climate makes it even more attractive and many Europeans own their second home here especially the inhabitants of Great Britain so it is quite common to hear English speak and watch TV and read newspapers in English in hotels or restaurants. Apart from the beaches, there is also a natural bath; Caldas de Monchique. We find ruins and monuments dating from different periods, such as the Roman period or the period of Muslim rule. The region’s gastronomy is rich in seafood and fish, figs and almonds are widely used in pastries and there are vineyards that produce the wine of the region quite appreciated for wine lovers.

Tips

If you want to explore the region, the best time of year is between June and September. Frequent rainfall is between October and February.

Enjoy to taste one of the typical dishes of the region; sardines.

You can rent an apartment or choose a hotel in a touristy city like Albufeiras and from there visit the area.

You can also make excursions to visit vineyards and enjoy tastings.

Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, Spain

Santillana del Mar is a municipality and an autonomous city, on the west coast of Cantabria, Spain. It is one of the most visited tourist villages of the region; much of the city residents live from tourism, especially with hotels, rural accommodation and shops of typical products. The historic center is organized around two main streets that end at the respective places. The first street takes various names (Carrera, Canton, and del Rio) and will give up to the religious square, the first center of the city, which gives access to the Collegiate. It is divided in two: in front of the Collegiate Church, Abad Francisco Navarro Square and on the side is Las Arenas Square. These are cobbled streets. The historic center is composed of homogeneous stone buildings, mainly from the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. To see: the Valdivieso Palace (Altamira hotel today), the Palace of Velarde or Arenas (transition from the construction of Gothic to Renaissance); the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana and its cloister of 42 Romanesque capitals; the Merino Tower (XIV); the Convent of Saint Ildefonso, among others. We also find many houses that have the coats of arms of the families to which they belonged.

Tips

Santillana has a hostel for pilgrims in the center, used in the Way of Saint James of Compostela and a number of hotels including the national Parador Gil Blas. We also find a campground.
Another interesting place to visit is the Zoo and Botanical Gardens apart from animals, it has a butterfly garden, a place with snakes and a space called Quaternary Park where there are replicas of animals that lived in the city in times of Altamira villagers. Altamira Cave, famous worldwide for its prehistoric paintings, unfortunately, is closed to the public.

 

Bath, Somerset, England

Bath is a city in the county of Somerset, south-west England, located 180 km west of London and 25 km southeast of Bristol. The Avon River connects it to the sea. The hills which surround and define the city, reach a maximum altitude of 238 meters and they make the streets are steep and the buildings seem to climb the coasts. It was founded by the Romans in 50 BC (although it is said it existed before) they build thermal baths and a temple in the hills surrounding the city in the valley Avon around hot springs. One of the first activities of the city is tourism. To see: Bath Abbey which is also the largest concert hall in the city (Norman church built on pre-existing foundations), the Museum of Bath, the Royal Theatre, Victoria Art Gallery, the Museum of mode, the Jane Austen Centre, Royal Victoria Park, among others. It is also a cultural city with many activities and festivals. You will also find archaeological sites from the Roman era; around hot springs, we can see the Roman foundations, pillars and bathrooms but the stone above the level of the bath is more recent.

Tips

You can explore the city on foot, with the open top tour buses or by the river channels.
There is a train that connects the city to Paddington Station in London, to Temple Meads Station in Bristol as well as Cardiff, Exeter, Brighton, Southampton, Plymouth, Pensanze, Westbury, Warminster, Portsmouth and Salisbury.
You will also find two campsites.