If you are travelling from Algeciras to Morocco then buy your ticket directly at the harbour and not from the travel agents.
They are all very freindly, but many do not know what they are talking about.
Several agents were selling tickets to a ferry that had mecanical problems and therefor didn't run, when i was there.
FRS ferry company offers a tour that is the same price as the ferry ride to Tangiers. What they don't tell you is that your tour guide will take you to varioius places within Cazbah where they do very, very high pressure sales. We were the only people on the tour and I didn't think we were going to be about to leave a carpet "factory" that they took us to. Once again proves that there is no free lunch!
The real typical Spain as you can see in many postcards you only can see it in the Andalucia province.
If you are looking for that atmosphere that you can see in tourist publicity, you must go to south, just to Andalucia (Sevilla region). If you are going to other regions you will never find that typical Spain. You can find lots of lovely places all over the country, as Barcelona, Galicia, the Islands, and many other places! anyway don't be trapped for some international travel agencies, the TYPICAL SPAIN is only in the southern part, just in Andalucia province.
Being on a peninsula with thousands of kilometres of sun-blessed coasts, Spain was an easy prey to speculators and the kind of tourism promoted for decades has, in the long run, brought more havoc than profits. Millions of Europeans could not care less for other places' cultures, but do need their annual fix of UV rays. Therefore, such places as Lloret or S'Arenal do have to exist, even if they represent a brutal exposure of the ugliest face of our society.
For decades, mass tourism has boomed in Spain and many coast resorts have mushroomed with little regard to planning. To make things worst, many of these tourists have decided to settle more or less permanently in the place where they have spent their enjoyable holidays. This has brought along not so desired collateral effects such as overpopulation, lack of water, waste disposal problems... in a few words: a brutal attack on the fragile coastal ecosystems and an overdevelopment of these areas at the cost of neglecting the inner country. Only now that this formula is showing sings of stagnation due to the concurrence of cheaper destinations, things are slowly starting to move with the times in other directions.
Unique Suggestions: The Spanish coasts and islands have had such a (justified) bad press that any savvy tourist would run away from any of the coast stretches tackily denominated under Costa del Whatever. However, one does not need to travel very far from the seedy Costa del Hell to discover that, in general, Spanish Costas are utterly underrated, particularly by vane world travellers. Yes, there are beachfront promenades with British pubs and German Biergärten galore and the view is often blocked by endless apartment complexes. But the hinterland is often pretty and unspoiled, and even many coastal towns have now become chic destinations packed with boutique hotels and luxury villas. The beaches are still among the best in Europe, with warm clear waters and golden sand, and even if the booze and party crowds have been partly scared away by the rising prices, there's no better place yet to dance the night away.
It's full of Brits abroad, English shops, food and culture. It's a replication of Britain in the sun. It is not Spanish any more. It is built for English holiday makers and that's it.
Great for a beach holiday and very beautiful, but it's not really a good taste of Spain.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to go to sunny Spain and the Costa del Sol, then my advice is to travel around Andalucia and see what Spain and the Spanish really have to offer.
Go to Cordoba, Granada, Vejer, Ronda, Cádiz or Sevilla for example. Though some of these places are being over run by tourists too. The least touristy has to be Cadiz capital.
Fun Alternatives: For a beach holiday try the Costa de la Luz (Cadiz, Andalucia). The beaches there are stunning and they aren't built up like in the Costa del Sol. They are also Spanish holiday destinations so you'll get a better taste of Spanish culture.
If you aren't just interested in a beach holiday but would like a beach try Galicia, though this is situated in the North of Spain which can get rainy and cold especially in winter. San Sebastian is also another great place in the North of Spain that does have a wonderful beach too.
On arrival in Madrid,first thing,some money,first stop,Cambio money exchange
That is fine but you should check for counterfiet notes. I was given some and nearly arrested for dealing in false currency.The only thing that saved me is i had just flown in from Heathrow and maybe being Australian helped.Almost every shop will check your hand/over currency until you get to smaller towns,where you can quit it.t
Unique Suggestions: Learn SOME Spanish and be friendly,it helps
they pretend not to know the note size youve given them and try to short change you be very careful they all do it, i too am a taxi driver so would not have a go if it was not deserved. the police try to rob you aswell if you dont give them they attack you full force in broad daylight, its an absolute disgrace.
Unique Suggestions: ask the taxi drivers if they can change the size of note you are about to give him/her so they know that you know
Fun Alternatives: leave spain and go to portugal instead iam told it is far better.
Please note that this tip is written from a male perspective, you will understand that I lack the knowledge of what goes on in the other side...
Toilets in Spain are a trap for the unwary. In particular, lighting is an issue. Usually, you haev to grope around on the OUTSIDE of the toilet to find the hidden lightswitch, although it can also be located inside cunningly disguised as a loose bit of derelict wiring.
Having sucessfully located the lightswitch, your troubles are not yet over, as many lights are on a timer that can vary between 10 seconds and infinity. And you can guarantee that those on short timers are located out of arms reach from the "shooting position".
It gets worse: some toilets are on motion sensor lights. So, having groped around for half an hour to find there is no lightswitch, you enter the toilet and start performing, only for the lights to go off because you are standing too still. Hence the sight of men lined up at urinals all waving their legs to ensure the lights remain on. No wonder there is spillage.
Finally, you may be confronted in older bars with a squat plate. This is fine for "number ones" but can make "number twos" dicey after a few beers when the balance is gone.
Unique Suggestions: Forewarned is fore-armed!
Fun Alternatives: Do it in the street seems to be the local solution! Even the ladies during fiesta.
Wait service in Spain is crap, every where I went the service was horrible and terribly slow.
Basically don't expect a lot and bring your patience you will need it.
Many do not speak english (in case you assumed) so be prepared.
Unique Suggestions: Just be patient and firm.
Fun Alternatives: There is none, other wise get take out :)
Bring Traveller's Cheques and cash them all in for cash. ATM's are hard to come by and with foreign bank cards you may find that you have trouble. Many friends had trouble getting $. Plus, there aren't many places to cash Traveller's cheques.
Sangria is very expensive in Spain--something like 6 euros a glass.
Fun Alternatives: Instead, order the Tinto de Verano--it's delicious, and only 1 euro in most bars/restaurants. Sure, it comes pre-made out of a jar, but it's really good! And cheap!
We went to a local restaurant at the main square and ordered a Tapas sampler, which was very good. Imagine our surprise however when the bill came to over $70US! Usually tapas are $5-10US.
Unique Suggestions: Check the price before you order one of these "Hello, I'm a tourist" meals.
By and large, tourist traps are uncommon in Spain. The most popular destinations such as Sevilla, Barcelona, Ibiza ect, are the places where you are most likely to encounter inflated prices and low quality psuedo-spanish events and products.
There are 2 things you can do to help avoid being "trapped":
1. Travel during the low (bajo) season will help eliminate the chances of encountering tourist related problems and price-gouging.
2. Going to culturally rich, out of the way places will ensure you have a more authentic experience. Smaller cities that don't see a lot of tourists will be more welcoming and prices will be more affordable.
Unique Suggestions: Obviously, there are some tourist places that you have to see while you are in Spain, such as the large museums, a flamenco show, bullfight, etc. But instead of making the big city your homebase, stay nearby in a smaller town, or limit your time there to a day or two.
Roman bridges. Spaniards tend to think that any old bridge comes from the Roman times, so they call it 'puente romano'. In fact, only a few of them are truly Roman, but most of them were built or reconstructed in the Middle Ages.
Unique Suggestions: If you insist in finding a true Roman bridge, then my suggestion is that you go to the small Extremadurean village of Alcantara, where there is still a very well preserved one.
This picture, however, shows a Medieval bridge in Camprodon (Catalonia).
While in Spain I am sure you want to have at least one Pallea (Spanish Rice Dish)
While walking through the streets, you will find many places offering Pallea, showing the sort of Photo-menue outside the place.
These Palleas are pre-cooked, frozen ones, cheap, but not what you want to try even they are mostly tasty. They advertise them like ice-cream, big boards.
Unique Suggestions: Try going for Pallea at least starting with smoeone. Most places don't do real Pallea for just one. And if you stay at a town for more than one day, find a restaurant and make a reservation for the next day.
You will have a great, tasty experience!!
This is a beautiful property with a modern, luxurious feel. For those of you who want a more...more
With most four-star hotels in Madrid (and throughout Western Europe) charging US$400 or more, the...more
C/ Retamas 1, San Agustin, 35100, Spain
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