Tag Archives: Spain

Spain: Estepona, Fuengirola, Marbella and San Pedro

TIGERS AND GORILLAS

One day we visited Fuengirola and its zoo (Biopark Fuengirola).

J entering the zoo

Fuengirola is a town on the Spanish Golden Coast, 24 kilometers west from Malaga international airport, and about 30 kilometers east from Marbella. The sandy beach is 8 kilometers long and has been awarded the Blue Flag disctinction by the EU. The seaside promenade Paseo Maritimo is very popular and quite crowded with hotels.

In addition to the nightlife Fuengirola offers golf clubs, mini-golf, horse drawn carriages, watersports, nautical cruises, tourist restaurants, bars and many fashion boutiques.

Mangustit 2
The zoo was renovated in 1999. The old animal cages were destroyed and the animals were given more natural homes. There are about 90 species in this zoo, including mammals, birds and reptiles. The mongoose and the tiger especially caught my eye. You can also see parrots, a leopard, bats, gorillas and crocodiles. If you want you can join a free guided tour.

zoo leopard


SAN PEDRO ALCANTARA

We asked the personnel at our hotel to recommend a restaurant for us. First they listed a few ones in Estepona, but they were expensive restaurants for tourists. We wanted to experience something local and traditional. To sit with local people and eat good Spanish food. We got a tip of a nice place in San Pedro Alcantara, just 5 kilometers from the hotel. The small town is full of great restaurants. They do not always speak a lot of English at the local restaurants, but that did not bother us. We got a table even though we did not have a reservation. The place got packed quite quickly after it opened at 8 p.m. The food was fabulous. We ate grilled prawns with garlic and herbs, grilled fish, boquerones fritos, tasty clams and mussels. And tasted some very good wine.

Boq Fritos


MARBELLA

Most people have heard of Marbella, the beautiful city on the Spanish Golden Coast, where the rich and famous like to hang around. Also golfers like to visit Marbella and its golf clubs. The population is about 120 000. We visited Marbella one very sunny day. Already in April Marbella was warmer than most of the summer days in Finland. The boutiques were nice but expensive, the selection of restaurants and pubs is wide, the old town is beautiful, the seaside promenade offers a fantastic view towards the sparkling sea and the city itself and the beach is crowded during the summer months.

Johanna Marbella

The harbour is crowded with fabulous luxury boats. Puerto Banús harbour is very popular. Around 5 million people visit it every year. The restaurants around the harbour are expensive due to tourism. If you like luxury, harbours and crowds, this is the city for you.

Ile Marbella


ESTEPONA

Estepona is a town about 34 kilometers west from Marbella and 83 kilometers from Malaga international airport. The area is known for fertile valleys crossed by small streams and a mountainous areas dominated by the Sierra Bermeja, which reaches an elevation of 1,449 m at the peak of Los Reales.

Estepona has many beaches, which stretch along some 21 km of coastline. It is a popular holiday destination. The most popular beach might be the Rada Beach, which is over 2 kilometers long and has golden sand.

Estepona beach
You can enjoy different kinds of sports, museums, the marina, the many tapas bars and restaurants as well as the shops in the town. Selwo Aventura is an interesting park (north of Estepona), where you can see birds, mammals and reptiles (kudus, Asian elephants, white rhinoceros, giraffes, African rock pythons, green iguanas and the brightly coloured scarlet ibis). There are also a wide variety of plants. The park offers adventure days and exhibitions.


FLAMENCO, TAPAS AND CREMA CATALANA

I recommend to visit Spain. The Spanish Golden Coast is just one of the many places worth a visit or two. In the middle of the Spain you find the capital Madrid, with a population of 3 million (in the metropolitan area almost 6 million). Madrid is known for the nightlife, the flamenco, Picasso, great restaurants and for many interesting museums and beautiful churches.

La Sagrada Familia
On the east coast you find the city of Barcelona, known for the artist Joan Miró ,
La Sagrada Familia (which will perhaps never be finished though the work started in 1882), the long beaches, La Rambla (a very long park road), the nightlife, great restaurants, the many museums and green parks as well as for football and the Futbol Club Barcelona (Barca).

The northern parts have many nice cities and towns. Maybe the most known of them is Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia and the destination of a Catholic pilgrimage route.

The Spanish Cuisine is very good. The tapas, the paella (Spanish rice dish), fried fish, the chorizo (sausage) and Jamon Iberico (Iberian ham), clams and mussels, garlic prawns, tortilla espanola (Spanish Omelet) and the olive oil are all tasty and delicious. Just like the red wine.

Paella
For dessert you can choose fresh fruit, Manchego cheese or Crema Catalana, which is the Catalan name and version of the French dessert, crème brulée. Or try a Churro (Xurro) and you won’t be hungry for hours. It is a sweet Spanish doughnut, a fried pastry. Do like the Spanish do – dip it into hot chocolate!

Spain: Gibraltar, Ronda, El Tajo and Puente Nuevo

HOTEL DIANA PARK

My husband had visited Spain and Costa Del Sol many times as his parents had a house in Torremolinos. I myself had only visited Mallorca and the Canary Islands, so the mainland was still on my wish list. This was the reason we chose Spain as our spring break target some years ago.

We flew to Malaga and rented a car. Driving late at night is always an experience, as you can see all the city lights glimmering in the dark. We drove to Estepona, which is about 70 kilometers west from the Malaga airport.

We passed Churriana, Benalmadena, Mijas, Fuengirola, Marbella and San Pedro. They are all cities worth seeing, depending on what you are looking for during your holiday.

Hotelli Diana Park_Espanja

Hotel Diana Park was our choice during this trip, as it situated very close to the A-7. We would drive around every day, so being close to a major highway was preferable. The hotel was actually quite nice though it had only three stars. This neat budget hotel, with an awesome pool, is situated at Carretera De Cadiz Km 168, Estepona, Spain.


GIBRALTAR

It was Easter weekend and the weather was great. After Finland’s cold and snowy winter, Spain’s 16-24 C was awesome weather for us. The sun was shining every day, though not every hour. The day we drove to Ronda, it was partly cloudy and some light rain occurred for one hour, but that did not matter at all.

We decided to visit Gibraltar and drove towards La Linea (de la Conception). It has a history of being the place where many illegal immigrants enter Spain. La Línea is a major supplier of fruit and vegetables to Gibraltar; other industries include the manufacture of cork, liquor, and fish paste. It also had an important military garrison with substantial fortifications and a port. La Línea has 14 kilometers of beaches, named La Alcaidesa, Santa Barbara, El Burgo Sobrevela, Portichuelos and Torrenueva. Some have been are awarded each year a blue flag by the Coastal European Authorities.

La Línea made headlines under Araujo’s Socialist predecessors in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was dubbed a “ciudad sin ley” or lawless city. At the time, drug dealers, smugglers and other criminals made their living in the Andalusian border town.

La Linea

Gibraltar is seen from far away. But it is such a small place – only 6,8 square kilometers and a population of around 30 000. Half of the area is protected area.

Gibraltar is known for the Rock of Gibraltar, which is 426 meters high. The World War II tunnels, the Cable Cars, the Gibraltar Botanic Museum and the Gibraltar Museum are some interesting places to visit during your days in Gibraltar. The subtropical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers attracts tourists from all over the world. If museums are not what you look for, you can spend the day shopping and visiting different cafeterias, bars and restaurants.

La Linea 2

The Official Gibraltar Tourist Board Website tells you in detail what to do and enjoy while staying in Gibraltar.

Gibraltarin torilla


RONDA, EL TAJO AND PUENTE NUEVO

It took us about one hour to drive up the mountains from our hotel to Ronda. Huge green hills surrounded us during the drive and the views were fabulous. When we arrived in Ronda, I thought “what a marvellous town”. The town is situated 750 meters above the sea level.

Ronda city
Ronda is the biggest of the Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia. These “white towns” are small towns from Malaga and Sevilla to Algeciras which are characterised by whitewashed walls and red tiled roofs.

Ronda P Nuevo

El Tajo canyon in Ronda is so amazing. Ronda was heavily affected by the Spanish Civil War. Chapter 10 of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, describing the 1936 execution of Fascist sympathisers in a fictional village who are thrown off a cliff, is considered to be modeled on actual events at the time in Ronda. It is also said that modern bullfighting started in Ronda.

bullfighting

We visited the restaurant of the  Don Miguel Hotel. I can warmly recommend Don Miguel. Excellent food, kind service and awesome view towards El Tajo canyon. The prices are not as high as one would think. Soups start at 5.40€, fish at 12,50€ and the meat dishes at 11,50€.

Three bridges, Puente Romano, Puente Viejo and Puente Nuevo span the canyon. The 120 meter deep canyon split Ronda in two. Therefore the architect José Martin de Aldehuda and the construction manager Juan Antonio Diaz Machuca decided to build a beautiful and strong bridge. The building of Puente Nuevo, the tallest of these three bridges, commenced in 1751. It took 42 years to complete. 50 workers died building the bridge. Beauty has its price.

Ronda