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Sevilla is, without any doubt, the best city to visit in April. You could experience all that  this quintessential city has to offer: orange blossoms, the most passionate Holy week, the popular fair and some other spring festivities. We would like to share with you our favourite hotels in Sevilla. Some of them are new to the city and we feel they will do great!  

Alfonso XIII: 5*GL 

This is THE Hotel in Seville. Commissioned by the king Alfonso XIII to play host to international dignitaries during the 1929 Exhibition, this luxury hotel remains an iconic cultural landmark, centrally located in the historic center, next to Reales Alcázares and Seville Cathedral. Following a significant renovation, completed in 2012, the hotel’s distinguished architecture and Moorish detailing have been enriched, showcasing native Andalusian design and heritage to a new generation of travelers. The hotel’s innovative décor, from the lobby to the inner courtyard, continues to reflect Sevillian style.

 

Casa 1800: 4* 

Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla is a mansion-palace from the 19th century, located in the historic center of Seville, only few meters away from the Giralda tower.

This house was built in 1864 following a traditional layout. Its studded solid wood doors allow entry to the palace with a horse-drawn carriage, from which when on-foot could then accesses a central courtyard from all rooms were distributed.

The history of the mansion-palaces of Seville date back to the early nineteenth century, the Golden Age of Seville, with great romantics, the heroes of legend, Don Juan Tenorio, Carmen la Cigarrera, Lord Byron, Bécquer…

 

Gravina 51: 4*

 

A hotel with soul. This property is one of our new discoveries in 2019, an early twentieth-century Sevillian palace, recently refurbished and providing all the home comforts to make your stay in Seville truly memorable.

It is located in the heart of the old town and a stone’s throw from all the major sights. The hotel has spacious rooms with a unique décor that fuses Andalusian tradition with modern-day minimalist styles.

 

 

Legado Alcázar: 4*

 

Another new discovery for Just Explore on our recent hotels inspection in the city oly two weeks ago. Despite its great location at only few meters from the Royal Alcazar, this small boutique hotel (only 18 rooms) is just off the beaten path from the tourists crowds, in a very quiet and peaceful corner.  Built upon important Moorish, late medieval and contemporary archeological remains, visitors will be taken aback by the beauty of the rehabilitated elements such as the wall that borders with the Alcázar, fountains, canalizations, pottery and floors from past centuries. Discover the delights of staying at luxury accommodation whilst reliving centuries of history in the heart of Seville.

 

 

La casa del Poeta: 4*

 

Sevilla has a great offer of small boutique properties and Casa del Poeta has always been one of our favourite since their opening. This luxurious boutique hotel (only 18 rooms) is a large 17th century house beautifully restored and carefully maintaining its original architecture and fine decorative features. A testament to former glories, it retains the traditional style of an authentic Sevillian mansion. This lodging is ideal for visitors seeking a peaceful stay with personalized attention, in a luxurious and unique environment.

 

 

Hospes Casas del Rey de Baeza: 4*

 

Luxury and style in the heart of Seville’s old town, this traditional Sevillian-architecture building used to be a local neighbours’ courtyard in the 18th century. Today, it is an ideal setting for guests to relax and dream. Inside, the contrasts are everywhere and emotions run wild. The colours and the aromas of the central courtyard evoke activity and energy. The stone, clay and chalk used in the building’s construction give it a touch of authenticity and a high architectural and historical value.

Palacio de Pinello: 4* 

 

This is a great choice for a good location, comfort and luxury. This boutique hotel of 24 rooms is located right in central Seville’s Old town, just 200 m from the impressive Gothic Cathedral. Set in a 16th-century palace, Palacio Pinello’s rooms have terra cotta floors and high ceilings, some of which feature ornate woodwork. You will also find some interesting, centuries-old ruins in the building. There is a charming turret and a roof-top terrace where you can enjoy a drink and views of the Giralda. 

 

Casas del Arenal: 4*

If you are searching for a more traditional look to experience the essence and the flavour of a typical Sevilla house, this is your hotel in Sevilla. Casas del Arenal is the fusion of two traditional 18th century homes linked through beautiful courtyards and galleries, creating a unique space of 27 rooms, where refurbishment works have resulted in the splendor of this Andalusian architecture.

 

 

Casas de la Judería: 4*

It is hard to describe as this hotel is not just a place to sleep or to rest while you are exploring the city, it is an experience itself in the heart of the Santa Cruz neighborhood (the old Jewish quarter). Another traditional option if you are searching for authentic and quaint accommodations at a good quality/price range.

This hotel is set within 27 traditional Sevillan houses, connected by passages and courtyards. All rooms at Las Casas de la Judería offer traditional décor and maintain the building’s original features. They have antique furniture, wooden floors and French windows. It offers a rooftop swimming pool, spa, traditional Andalusian patios and classic décor.

 

 

H10 Corregidor: 3*

 

For those travelers with a more limited budget and wanting to stay off the beaten path theH10 Corregidor is a charming Boutique Hotel located in Seville’s historic centre (between the Cathedral and the Alameda de Hércules). The hotel keeps the essence of Seville alive through its arabesque and Andalusian architecture. It offers very comfortable rooms, an Andalusian courtyard featuring a late 19th-century wrought-iron gate and original ceramic tiles from the 1929 Seville World’s Fair.

 

 

Casa Colon: 2*

This is one of our favourite B&B accommodation in Sevilla, at only 2 min walk from the Cathedral main entrance door. The hotel Casa de Colón is located in a historic manor house dating back to the 18th century. It is not a luxurious property but it keeps all the essence and soul of a traditional Sevilla house, beautifully restored and offering comfort and relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Week (locally known as Semana Santa), Easter is probably the most important celebration in Spain and stands out for its epic brotherhoods’ processions and an ancient traditions specific to each region. There are many different ways to experience Eater in Spain. We are sharing some traditions and customs with you so you know what to expect and attend if you ever take a trip to Spain this time of year.

The atmosphere that characterizes the festivities is usually solemn and quite spectacular.  Everything seems fully immersed in passion and emotion.

Andalusia Holy Week

Although each Spanish region has its own customs and practices, Semana Santa celebrations are nowhere else as elaborate and spectacular as they are in Andalusia. Here, this important Catholic holiday is commemorated with a week full of color, art, religious fervor, and extraordinary processions. The festivities start on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and last until Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), with the most dramatic and passionate parades held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

The most spectacular events take place in Malaga and Seville, where the streets are taken over by flamboyant parades (or pasos as we call it in Spain) displaying biblical scenes. A paso is an enormous float adorned with life-size wooden statues of biblical characters. In Seville, they are considered genuine artistic masterpieces, some of them dating back as far as the 16th century. Each movable float belongs to a brotherhood, or cofradia (there are over 50 in Seville), and has its own distinctive decoration, colours and identity. A common feature, however, is the team of costaleros who convey the pasos on their necks or shoulders through the crowded streets.

One of the highlights of the Holy Week in Seville is the night of Maundy Thursday, known as La Madrugá, commemorating the trial, the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

 

As gastronomy is also an important part of our culture, during Easter time we taste some of the most traditional sweets and cakes which are quite common all over Spain. Local restaurants and cake shops serve and sell these delicatessen:

 

  • Buñuelos: Basically a fried doughnut or sweet fritters, made with simple ingredients such as water, milk, egg or yeast.
  • like small doughnuts or sweet fritters
  • Torrijas: Thick pieces of bread soaked in a mixture of milk and egg, then fried with olive oil and served with honey and sugar.
  • Hornazo (the sweet version): typical from Salamanca and Ávila in Northern Spain. A round bread filled with with almonds, sugar and eggs.
  • Pestiños : commonly made in Southern Spain by deep-frying a piece of dough – often flavoured with sesame – in olive oil and then glazing it with honey or sugar.
  • Mona de Pascua: Especially popular in Catalonia and Valencia, this cake is topped with either boiled eggs, or chocolate ones, as well as colourful decorations.
  •  Leche frita: square-shaped small tart made by cooking flour with milk and sugar until it becomes firm. It is then topped off with cinnamon and a sugar glaze

 

 

Just Explore is not only a travel agency, it’s much more than that. We would to inspire you while you are travelling and would like to share our monthly favourites (places, dishes, wines, songs, movies…). Here is our first monthly favourites. Hope you like them all.

 

A MUST VISIT: Valle del Jerte

 

Valle del Jerte is a beautiful valleuy located in the region of Extremadura, where cherry trees grow. During Spring season, the valley is pretty amazing to visit because of the blooming cherry trees. A white landscape on a green grass carpet to walk through for hours…

 

 

 

A MUST DISH: Oxtail stew

 

This traditional Andalusian dish is supposedly inspired in Córdoba. Traditionally made after the bull fights, the dish spread throughout the rest of Spain. Each restaurant has its own special recipe, some using red wine, others opting for PX sweet wine or sherry.

Oxtail needs to be cooked slowly over a low heat because it is extremely bony, fatty, and tough. But once it cooks long enough, it becomes really tender and delicious.

 

 

A MUST WATCH: Marie Kondo on Netflix

 

We suppose that you job, family or other tasks keeps you very busy and with no time to tide things up and keep organize. We quite like Marie Kondo, a brand new series from Netflix. You can learn about her method to keep the harmony and order at home and to create relaxing and peaceful environments

 

 

A MUST SONG: Shallow

 

If there is a trendy song this 2019 it would be Shallow, from the film A star is born by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The song has just won the last Oscars edition and has been performed by the two main characters of the film on the big night. If you haven’t listened to it yet, get ready to hear it everywhere from now on.

 

What happens if you mix tomatoes, bread, garlic and olive oil? The result is a very tasty dish called Salmorejo. Salmorejo is one of the most popular specialties in Southern Spain, (originally from Córdoba). The best way to try it would  be at a local bar in Andalucia  but if you can’t make it, we invite you to try at home with this very easy recipe:

 

So, get your blender ready and your pen and paper to take notes of the ingredients that you need to buy:

 

  • 1 Kg of red sweet tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100 gr of Olive Oil
  • A teaspoon of salt
  • 150 gr of doughy bread

Yes! That’s all you need…

 

It is very common to use small pieces of sliced Iberian ham and boiled eggs as toppings to add some extra flavor to your Salmorejo so do not hesitate to add them just before serving it.

 

Once you have bought all the ingredients, you are ready to start. Keep calm, the recipe is very easy to cook and it will be delicious.

 

  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut them in four pieces. Place the tomatoes in the blender and blend for two minutes (aprx) at a high speed until smooth.
  2. Add the break (previously cut in small pieces) and the garlic and leave them soaking with the tomatoes just for few minutes before start blending the whole mixture.
  3. Add the teaspoon of salt and keep blending until the mixture gets a smooth texture.
  4. Add olive oil slowly and blend at a lower speed. Taste it and add few drops of white wine vinegar, more salt, bread or garlic according to your palate but the result should be a balanced tasty and creamy soup. The truth is that there is not a mathematical recipe. It is quite open to everyone’s palate
  5. Finally, put it in the fridge to keep it cold
  6. Serve it cold with or without the toppings mentioned above (small pieces of Iberian ham and boiled eggs) and enjoy it!

 

TIPS ON WHEN & HOW TO EAT IT

Spring and summer times are the ideal seasons! In the warm and hot weather is just so refreshing and healthy having a home made salmorejo as a starter or aperitif. It is the classical tapa to try at a local bar in Córdoba over lunch time!

 

We would like to challenge you and see your recipes. Please, send us your photos to info@just-explore.com and we will post them on Instagram.

Ronda is one of our favorite destinations due to its versatile landscape which allows every kind of outdoor activities. Also, the town itself is a picturesque gem offering the visitors the most breath-taking views, amazing sunsets and incredible places to see. In Ronda you will be able to create unforgettable memories.

 

As you know, before offering new experiences to our clients, we first try them all to make sure that they are reliable and fulfil the level of quality that we always require.

 

So, here is the exciting news we have been announcing in our social networks: new activities in Ronda for all type of clientele: families with kids and/or teenagers, couples, solo travellers and seniors.

 

Winery visits and tastings

 

We are big fans of Ronda wines and we have been dealing with some local producers and boutique wineries in the area but we are now adding some new ones to our portfolio. One of these new discoveries is a modern and quite avant-garde winery with investors from the Priorat wine region in Catalonia. Its philosophy consists on two main pillars: the cultivation of indigenous grapevines and a meticulous winemaking  process that respects the soil where the grape grows.

 

The other winery we visited is a family owned business producing a very unique author wine. They specialise in the organic and biodynamic viticulture since 1982. Some of their bottles have a limited edition and you can only find them in very specific shops and local bars.

 

We love them both and we will certainly manage to get our clients to try their wines.

 

 

Horseback riding: 

How about exploring the beautiful Mediterranean forest on a horseback? We were offering horseback riding tours in other areas in Andalucia but not in Ronda yet. We love this new company philosophy and their behaviour with the horses they breed. You learn about the animals and their environment before ride them and that’s is crucial enjoy a safe and pleasant experience. These happy horses will create the happiest moments of your vacation.

 

 

Buggy Tour

 

This is a very exciting and fun experience:  you follow the instructions of an expert monitor but you get to drive your own buggy! There are several trails options but we picked the most popular one of aprx 1.5hrs offering incredible views over Ronda and the impressive new bridge , the Tajo gorge, cliffs and the Guadalevin river.

 

 

Cooking experience: 

Gastronomy lovers or just fancy an immersion activity into the Andalusian culture? Ronda offers a great variety of cooking experiences. Our favourite is a hands-on cooking class with an incredible setting in the middle of a vineyard offering the most spectacular  views over the Puente Nuevo (the new bridge). Best time to do it? Sunset time in Spring or summer. Can’t miss this magic setting….

 

Spanish guitar concert

The Spanish guitar is one of the richest heritages that Andalusia has. From now on if you travel to Ronda with us, you can enjoy 1hour concert of pure Spanish guitar. You will be able to listen to 3 different types (romance, classic and flamenco). Fancy a drink while enjoying the concert? Best wines from Ronda are available to taste a glass or two…

 

So, when are coming?

Madrid is the capital of Spain, a city with hidden magical corners and full of historical monuments, buildings and museums. It is a must visit to understand Spain, its culture and its lifestyle.

Madrid´s famed neighborhoods such as Las Letras, Salamanca, Malasaña or Chamberí are the perfect places to stay and enjoy the multiple options that this multicultural city has to offer.

Often, one of the most daunting tasks when traveling is choosing where you are going to stay at. Lucky for you, we have put together list of our 9 favorite hotels in Madrid, to cater to every taste!

 

 Gran Melia Palacio de Los Duques: 5* GL

This hotel opened about a year ago. The location is unbeatable and the views from its terrace are the best in the cityWe particularly like the sophisticated decoration and the stylish common areas. 

 

 

Gran Hotel Inglés: 5* GL

The original Gran Hotel Inglés was built in 1886 and after many decades of multiple uses.  The incredible building has totally been refurbished only twelve months ago to reopen with a new look but with the same halo and sophistication that was back in the golden XIX century. You will find it right in the heart of the Barrio de las Letras. This is without any doubt the most authentic neighborhood of Madrid for being the meeting point of “la crème de la crème” on the literary and artistic scene of Madrid.

 

NH Collection Casa Suecia: 5*

 We love this hotel because it has it all: comfort, style, good restaurant, nice terrace, friendly staff and an unbeatable location. Just around the corner from Gran Via on the edge with the Barrio de las Letras. We don’t mind sharing the secret with you but if you find the Hemingway Bar, please don’t tell anyone…

 

 

Only You Boutique Madrid : 5*

This hotel can be found on Barquillo Street, another key street to explore Madrid. Its smart, cool and chic design makes of this building the perfect boutique hotel for a honeymoon or a city break. You can have breakfast at any time of the day and the same applies to the check-in termswhatever time you arrive, you can be sure that your room will be available! Is it not handy for those early arrivals flights?

 

 

Hospes Puerta de Alcalá: 5

Just in front of the Retiro park and in the heart of the stylish Salamanca neighbourhood  you´ll find the Puerta de AlcaláIts decoration is the perfect balance between contemporary and classic style. It offers  stunning views over the Retiro Park and the Puerta de Alcala gate, one of the icons of the city. This hotel is probably one of our favourite of the Spanish Hospes boutique hotels. It’s difficult for us to choose as we love them all. If you travel with petsthey´ll be welcomed!

 

Icon Wipton: 4*

 Continuing our walk in the Salamanca neighbourhood you will be able to find the Icon Wilton, a luxurious and elegant hotel quite unique in the city of Madrid. We love its large and comfortable rooms and also the breakfast space and the restaurant. There are free Ipads for guests and free rental bikes

 

VP Jardín de Recoletos: 4*

This hotel is a very good option if you are searching for the right balance quality-price. It is located in the Salamanca neighborhood. We particularly like its courtyard, offering a  beautiful garden which creates the feeling of being in an oasis in the middle of the city. The rooms are large and luminous featuring a small kitchenette which might be very practical for those travelers choosing to stay in rather than having dinner out every night.

 

 

Radisson Blu Prado: 4*

 Even though we try to avoid big chains, we love this  Radisson hotel in Madrid. It has a boutique feel with only 60 bedrooms. It’located in a protected building just in front of the Prado Museum. For those art lovers travelers, this spot is definitely the best option! 

 

 

NH Alonso Martinez: 3*

Despite its 3 star category, Alonso Martinez Hotel surpasses our expectationsIt is located in a very stylish building of the residential area of Chamberí,  a very quiet but full of life district. The hotel is only at 15 minutes´ walk from Paseo del Prado and Gran Vía. The rooms are bright, decorated with neutral colors and spacious. Their breakfasts are one of the best in town! And for those who like sleeping in, on Sundays, you can check out until 15:00 pm!

 

 

Fitur is the International Tourism Fair, hosted in Madrid, Spain, every year towards the end of January.

This is our 5th year attending it and we consider that FITUR is an unmissable date on the calendar, a meeting point for professionals where to establish lines of action, strategies and business alliances to energize and promote the tourism industry in Spain.

Spain is a destination to further explore for those buyers that have already our country in their portfolio but a great discovery for those that are not selling it yet. Our task in Fitur is to build a strong relationship with those buyers we are already trading with but also to start dealing with those that are searching for a loyal expert partner who knows every single detail about creating unique experiences throughout Spain.

For 3 consecutive days (23-25 January) the Fair is purely focused on the trade sector. We have been meeting with suppliers and partners from all over Spain to help us growing our database and being able to offer new and exciting experiences for our discerning travelers. This year has been particularly interesting the presence of companies from Ronda where we already have a strong relationship but always willing to increase our expertise in that region which is one of our favourite in Andalucia.

During the weekend, the Fair is free open to the public. People interested in travelling within Spain or abroad are welcome to visit the stands and participate on the several shows that take place for the entire weekend.

Fitur is also a great opportunity to meet with international buyers. That’s why is so important for us to attend the B2B Workshop (business to business meetings), which is organized by Fitur itself. We attended about 15 meetings with TTOO and outbound agencies from USA, Canada, Australia, UK and India, which are our main English speaking markets.

We will be back next year again!

  

What if we imagined a classic Andalusian white town where tradition and avant-garde art coexisted? What if we added to the Arabic layout of its cobblestone streets, to its secluded squares and its colorful balconies adorned with flowers, dozens of works by contemporary artists from all corners of the planet? It turns out that this place exists, it is in the province of Malaga and has its own name: Genalguacil, known as “Pueblo museo”, which during the first half of August will host a new edition of its famous Art Encounters.

These meetings have managed to attract the attention of artists from all five continents, attracted by their exoticness, and even the New York Times saw fit to dedicate an extensive report in 2014. The dynamics are simple: the municipality of the locality provides maintenance and accommodation to the selected artists and in return, the creators leave their works as a legacy in the territory where they were made.

However, it is an event that has acquired a certain prestige, so it is not easy to opt for one of the places that are awarded in each call, which are carefully selected by different personalities from the art world. In fact, for this 2018 call, only ten of the 137 projects submitted from 12 different countries have been selected.

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