Sentil de las Bodegas, Spain | Spain & Portugal Vacations

posted in: spain | 0

About its primitive origins, have been found important archeological sites that take us back to the Neolithic period. About the old period we know that in its surroundings there was Laccipo, the Roman colony. However, the primitive urban settlement dates from the late Middle Ages in the same place it currently is. In the denominated place La Villa, there was the old Almohad at the shelter of the walls of its castle around of which started the urban development.

According to the chronicle of Bernáldez, the conquest of the village was fundamental for the crown in its advance towards Granada and the place from 1407 does not provide the desired results. From that moment on, Setenil is considered almost impregnable and the fundamental key for the conquest of the Nasrid Kingdom. Since the times of John II of Castile until the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, there will be seven places, being the last one -21st September 1484- which leads to the victory over the Nasrid kingdom, leaving Granada and several other places under their control. This would end in 1492.

Under Christian domain, Setenil is declared village dependent upon the King and so, it receives from the Monarchs, the Privileges Chart in 1501, where there are a high number of franchises and benefits comparable to those Sevilla had at that moment.

After the first tries of repopulation and the delivery of houses and lands, Setenil begins a new period in which its neighbors, a great number of whom belonged to the noble social class, lived on the grapevine farming, the cereals, the profit of the mountain hill, the cattle and fishing.

During the Modern Age, Setenil progresses and continues enjoying a privileged situation among the villages of the serranía, just altered occasionally due to the presence of tropes that in diverse circumstances take the village, with economic consequences for its inhabitants. The settlers of Setenil have an important church, a hospital and a seminary preserved until the mid 17th century. In this century they will get, after many disputes, to be free from the city of Ronda, through an action in rem signed in 1630.

The beginning of the 19th Century is marked by guerrilla struggles of its neighbors, who united to the fights of other villages of the mountains of Cádiz will face the French invade that occupies the peninsula. The expropriation process does not affect positively to the inhabitants of Setenil and the peasants keep on looking for solutions which palliate the economic difficulties, so they join the social movements that began to spread in the province of Cádiz.

Currently, and once the processes of emigration have been overcome in the second half of our century, Setenil continues being developed according to its traditional ways, which are, fundamentally agricultural and in addition to the tourist profit of our village, as because of its exceptional urban structure, the beauty of its surroundings and the singular festivities, it is one of the most attractive municipalities of the Sierra.

You can include Sentil de las Bodegas on the private itinerary we’ll arrange for your trip to Spain.

Contact us via or teleohone our office in the USA, state of Colorado 001-719-639-4325

Festivals in Spain | Seville Fair

posted in: spain | 0

The Seville Fair (officially and in Spanish: Feria de abril de Sevilla, “Seville April Fair”) is held in Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain. The fair generally begins two weeks after the Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week.



The fair officially begins at midnight on Saturday, and runs seven days, ending on the following Saturday. Each day the fiesta begins with the parade of carriages and riders, at midday, carrying Seville’s leading citizens which make their way to the bullring, La Real Maestranza, where the bullfighters and breeders meet.

For the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). These casetas usually belong to prominent families of Seville, groups of friends, clubs, trade associations and political parties. From around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, there are crowds partying and dancing sevillanas, drinking Sherry, manzanilla or rebujito, and eating tapas. This fair also has an amusement park that comes with it and has lots of games to play along with roller coasters to ride.


Carriage at the Seville’s April Fair


The Fair dates back to 1846 when it was originally organized as a livestock fair by two councilors born in Northern Spain, Basque José María Ybarra and Catalan Narciso Bonaplata. Queen Isabel II agreed to the proposal, and on 18 April 1847 the first fair was held at the Prado de San Sebastian, on the outskirts of the city.

Since 1973, the Feria de Abril takes place at the real de la feria, an area of 24 blocks (450,000 m2) which is located between Los Remedios and Tablada. In 2012 there were 1048 casetas. The streets of the Real are named after famous bullfighters such as Juan Belmonte and Pascual Márquez. Next to the Real is the Calle del Infierno (Hell Road), an amusement park which offers many recreational activities; a circus is usually set furthest from the Real on the back of the Parque de los Príncipes. Construction of the portada (the main gate) starts months in advance, and it takes several weeks to clear the place after the end of the Fair.



Saturday night in the Feria de Abril is referred to as la noche del pescaíto (night of the fish) due to the fact that fish is the traditional dish to have for dinner. Celebrations officially start at midnight between Saturday and Sunday when the lights of the portada are turned on. This event is called the alumbrao. People gather in front of the portada to watch the alumbrao and then go to the casetas to have dinner and spend the whole night at the Real.



La Feria de Abril is accompanied by men and women dressed up in their finery, ideally the traditional “traje corto” (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) for men and the “faralaes” or “trajes de flamenca” (flamenco-style dress) for women. The men traditionally wear hats (or sombreros) called “cordobés”. Nowadays, standard suits have replaced trajes cortos as men’s most common outfit. Source: Wikipedia

What is an Authentic Travel Experience

posted in: spain | 0

Many times were asked this question; What does an Authentic Vacation mean?

Since the late 1990’s we’ve arranged vacations that are tailor-made, which means every trip is created from scratch for every traveler we work with. Authenticity is generally associated with something that is genuine, real, or true.

Authenticity is a pretty complex idea – what one person sees as an authentic experience, another may view as a sham. And if a person believes they are getting an authentic experience, it may not matter whether it’s spontaneous or staged. One can argue that an “authentic tourism experience” is a contradiction in terms. When places or experiences are discovered and populated by tourists, they ultimately change by the demands of tourists themselves and the economic opportunity this presents to providers. The presence of tourism can lead to “Disneyfication” – when a place becomes contrived in order to sell itself to consumers – and can expose local people and cultures to manipulation and exploitation. And so, the tourists’ search for authenticity continues. This is where the following come into play:


The strategy of “co-creation” offers an attractive alternative within the search for authenticity. Under this strategy, value is created as tourists help to construct their own experience by engaging with each other, the tourism provider and also local people. Tourism operators in many countries are now providing different types of tourism products, which co-create an authentic tourism experience. Here, tourists have the opportunity to cook with a local chef using local ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques. This is what we have done from the beginning.

Read more about this way of travel by clicking through to the link below:

Get in touch if you want an authentic vacation, co-created with you to make the trip of a lifetime!

Douro Valley, Castilla y Leon, Aranjuez Palace and Cordoba

Four places not to miss in Portugal and Spain. Include them all into your next vacation!

The #Douro Valley in #Portugal has amazing #wine that is incredibly inexpensive, great views, and very windy roads. Take a river cruise instead of driving! The whole area was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site. Mainly known for port wine production, the region also produced world class red and white table wines. The beauty of the terraced hillsides which seem to reach into the sky, dotted with noble homes called “quintas” makes this landscape something incredible to behold. Pictures don’t do justice !



The hills towns of Castilla y León like #LaAlberca are easy to miss with all the winding #rural roads. But they’re a great treat and just an hour outside #Salamanca, Spain. #summer #spaintravel



This pink #palace in #Aranjuez, Spain was the summer retreat of #Spain’s kings and queens of old. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. It is open to the public as one of several Spanish royal sites in the Community of Madrid . #royal #españa



Why go to Córdoba? Because nearby Medina Azahara has been declared World Heritage Site, making Córdoba the only city in the world with four declarations by the UNESCO. (Arabic: مدينة الزهراءMadīnat az-Zahrā: literal meaning “the shining city”) is the ruins of a vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III (912–961), the first Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba, and located on the western outskirts of Córdoba, Spain. It was a medieval Moorish town and the de facto capital of al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain, as the heart of the administration and government was within its walls. Built beginning in 936-940, the city included ceremonial reception halls, mosques, administrative and government offices and gardens. Water was supplied through aqueducts


#VisitSpain #Córdoba #SpainCulturalHeritage



Spain Day Trip Avila Segovia Toledo

posted in: spain | 0

DAY TRIP – Segovia, Ávila & Toledo from Madrid with professional guide and transportation. Duration:11.5 hours.

When in a Madrid visit in one day three main cities which will transport you five hundreds years through history.

In Avila you’ll be impressed by its medieval defense walls, Segovia will take your breuath away with its amazing fortress and castle and Alcazar and in Toledo will help you understand why they call this the city of three cultures.

Three historic places in Spain, all in one day!


Depart early and head for Segovia’s historic center and stroll through the city’s main square – Plaza Mayor – with monuments such as the Roman aqueduct and the cathedral.


After you’ll leave for Ávila, visit the historic center and discover the legacy and its fascinating history! The route will continue along a stretch of the famous Walls of Ávila; the thick wall surrounds the city’s entire historic center as we head toward the Roman necropolis.

Taking a rest after the walking tour, stop to savour a delicious picnic lunch. After recovering your energy we will visit Toledo, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.



Toledo has a long-standing Christian, Jewish and Muslim tradition. You’ll enter a monastery of cloistered nuns and taste typical Toledan marzipan, followed by entering the Primate Cathedral of Toledo and climbing the stairs to the top of Los Jesuitas Church tower.


What’s included:


We will provide picnic lunch and Artisan Marzipan tasting,


Entrance fees to Segovia’s Alcázar, the Primate Cathedral of Toledo and the top of Los Jeronimos Church Tower.

Private transpirtation

This guided tour will be lead by a professional guide.


Rates start at $350.00 per person. Maximum 6 persons.

Dr. Jose Rizal in Madrid | Traveling to Spain from the Philippines (Filipino Citizens)

posted in: spain | 0

Passport & Visa News

All Filipinos are reminded to regularly check the validity of their passports and have them renewed if they have eight (8) months validity or less. This will ensure that anyone wishing to travel would not encounter last-minute or unexpected problems regarding the validity of his or her passport.

Embassy of Philippines in Madrid

Facebook Pages




Get to Know Dr. Jose Rizxal's Madrid

Dr. Jose Rizal left an indelible mark on Spain during the time living there. For those interested, this walking tour puts you in Dr. Rizals shoes during you exploration of places he lived and walked in Madrid.

José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Realonda (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse riˈsal]; June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896) was a Filipino nationalist and polymath during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal became a writer and a key member of the Filipino Propaganda Movement which advocated political reforms for the colony under Spain.

He was executed by the Spanish colonial government for the crime of rebellion after the Philippine Revolution, inspired in part by his writings, broke out. Though he was not actively involved in its planning or conduct, he ultimately approved of its goals which eventually led to Philippine independence.  (source: Wikipedia)

He is widely considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines and has been recommended to be so honored by an officially empaneled National Heroes Committee. However, no law, executive order or proclamation has been enacted or issued officially proclaiming any Filipino historical figure as a national hero.[8] He was the author of the novels Noli Me Tángere and El filibusterismo, and a number of poems and essays.

The “Rizal’s Madrid” walking tour is available as a booklet and includes a map and itinerary.

(The PDF document is designed to be printed on both sides of landscape A4 paper and folded into an A5 booklet)

Excerpt "THE RIZAL MONUMENT (AVENIDA DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS CORNER C/ SANTANDER)The last place our tour brings us to is at the junction of Avenida de las Islas Filipinas and C/ Santander where the Rizal monument stands. Built in 1996, it is a replica of the Rizal monument at the Luneta in Manila. The original monument was designed by a Swiss sculptor, Richard Kissling, and was one of the major winners in a contest during the American regime in the Philippines.

During the Rizal birth centennial in 1961, some countries honored Rizal with markers and monuments. Heidelberg, Germany where Rizal spent some time in the 1880s, erected a modest but elegant statue in his honor, for making that city famous through his poem entitled “To the Flowers of Heidelberg.”

Mexico City built a replica of the Rizal monument at the Luneta in their famous boulevard called Paseo de la Reforma. At that time, Spain refused to honor the Philippine hero because of the sentiment then that he was a traitor to the mother country, Spain.But times have changed.

In a new spirit of broadened friendship between Spain and the Philippines, as well as a liberal view of why the latter launched a revolution, Rizal’s position has been elevated. He is not only a Filipino patriot; he is an exemplar of the best in the human race.

And Spain itself is honored by Rizal’s presence here, for it is in this country that he developed his sensitivities and his scientific, artistic and literary skills --in Madrid".

copied from the Embassy of the Philippines in Madrid

Spain International Travel Information

posted in: spain | 0

Quick Facts for Traveling to Spain

Print this page before traveling to #Spain


6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your date of departure is required


1 page per stamp


Not required for stays less than 90 days







Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
(34) 91-5872-200
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200
Fax: (34) 91-587-2303

U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona, Spain
(34) 93-280-2227
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200
Fax: (34) 93-280-6175

U.S. Consular Agency Fuengirola (Málaga)
Avenida Juan Gómez "Juanito", 8
Edificio Lucía 1º-C
29640 Fuengirola (Málaga), Spain
(34) 95-247-4891
Fax: (34) 95-246-5189

U.S. Consular Agency Las Palmas
Edificio Arca
Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7
35007 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
(34) 92-827-1259
Fax: (34) 92-822-5863

U.S. Consular Agency Palma de Mallorca
Edificio Reina Constanza
Porto Pi, 8, 9-D
07015 Palma, Islas Baleares, Spain
(34) 97-140-3707
Fax: (34) 97-140-3971

U.S. Consular Agency Seville
Plaza Nueva 8-8 duplicado
2nd Floor, Office E-2 No.4
41101 Sevilla, Spain
(34) 95-421-8751
Fax: (34) 95-422-0791

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
(34) 96-351-6973
Fax: (34) 96-352-9565


Caves and Tunnels: Madrid’s underground restaurants

posted in: spain | 0

When designing an itinerary, the first places that come to mind are usually sun-bathed spots to soak up energizing rays of light, at beaches, of course, or strolling through the amazing parks and gardens all over Spain and Portugal, along the many paths in national parks and natural spaces set aside to preserve the local environment, at sidewalk cafés where you can sip on drinks while people-watching, or at one of Spain and Portugal’s countless outdoor restaurants with views of historical plazas or bustling city streets. Not to mention the usual architectural walks outdoors in Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Santiago, Porto and other lovely towns to be seen on the Iberian Peninsula.

However, on the outskirts of the Spanish capital, you may flee from the sun to discover some of the finest dining in the most unusual and memorable ambiences…by going underground. Dotting the Spanish landscape in some small, unknown villages around Madrid are the kind of restaurants you only come across after years roaming the region in search of new sensations. It turns out the hard, arid soil in many of the hills where towns like El Molar and Titulcia are located was ideal for digging usable caves.

The ultra-charming Bodega Cueva El Espada


The Arabs discovered this during their conquest of Spain between the years of 711 and 1492, when they burrowed in to create granaries and storage spaces for farming and foodstuffs. Later, when the Christians gradually reconquered this territory, they either continued using the caves this way or repurposed them as wine cellars or arsenals, or even cave-dwellers’ homes.

Whatever their former use, enterprising restaurateurs have had the very bright idea of refurbishing some of these unique, labyrinthine caverns to turn them into cozy and romantic yet mysterious eateries, where you can sample Spanish wines while nibbling on the full range of tapas and hearty meats that are typically served in the Spanish countryside.

Bar Las Cuevas in Ontígola near Aranjuez


The star of all cave restaurant locales is the unassuming town of El Molar, just a half-hour’s drive north of Madrid, where a whole street along the hillside boasts at least ten different restaurantesmesones and asadores inside the rock itself. Some consist of one large cavernous space, while others are maze-like, creating private caves with just a table or two each, all lit by candles and torches which produce an amazingly romantic atmosphere despite the lack of a view.

To the south of Madrid, another town with a historical cave is Titulcia, where an anonymous looking restaurant called the Cave of the Moon conceals a centuries-old tunnel allegedly built by the Knights Templar as a hideaway. In Ontígola, a small cave bar also has its own small set of passageways in a hillside near Aranjuez Palace, where you can sample their tapasin an intimate whitewashed cave space. And if you can’t find the time to escape the big city itself, the capital of Madrid also boasts several cave restaurants of its own, including the famous Cuevas de Luis Candelas under the Plaza Mayor, and La Bodega de los Secretos, an old cellar with secret passageways leading under Calle Atocha to reach the Reina Sofía Museum.

La Bodega de los Secretos in Madrid


Whatever the cave may be, you are certain to have a unique lunch or dinner in a space you will never forget, by taking an underground culinary journey to one of these charming caves.



Spain and Portugal Vacations has been designing exclusive tours to Spain and Portugal for more than 20 years. Owned and operated by an American expat who now lives between Portugal, Spain and the United States, our firm has a  team that works with you to design vacations all over the Iberian Peninsula. We are known for creating full itineraries that allow travelers to see these countries in a way that cannot normally be experienced when booking regular tours.

Email us via www.spainandportugalvacations or by calling our telephone number in the United States.

During your private tour to Spain, you may even get the chance to meet the author of this blog, a long-term resident of Madrid who knows the country as well as any native born Spaniard. | 719-639-4325 (USA)

#spain #travel #tours #luxurytravel #luxurytours #madrid

Asturias and Llanes: A lot to sea in one small region …

posted in: spain | 0

Sometimes planning a European journey stirs up that desire to see ten famous cities in two weeks, to check items off the bucket list and come home with a roster of famous place names to tell friends and family about. But what we truly want is a fulfilling yet varied trip that combines bits and pieces of our favorite travel experiences: pleasant historical city strolls, invigorating hikes with breathtaking scenery, time spent in beautiful restaurants eating unforgettable meals…

fabada, Austurias cuisine

We think we need to travel far and wide to find all this, but sometimes just one region, or even a single township, can provide it all. One of those regions is Asturias in northern Spain, and one of those municipalities is lovely Llanes on its eastern seaboard. Because, when you travel to a place like Llanes in Asturias, you end up checking items off your bucket list, but that list continues to grow in equal measure as you discover that there is so much more in the near vicinity!

Llanes, Spain

Asturias is a unique northern region known for its distinct language, Bable, its culture and its foods, including fabada, a delicious white bean stew with several types of sausage, apple cider and cachopo, a thin steak layered with cheese and ham, then breaded and fried.

Perched above the Cantabrian Sea, as the Spaniards call the Bay of Biscay, the “large small town” of Llanes is not only home to a medieval town center with ancient walls and buildings, traditional bakeries, amazing seafood eateries and the longest lawn-covered seaside walkway in all of Europe (home to the “prettiest park bench in the world”), it also boasts a 35-mile coastline filled with over 30 awe-inspiring beaches of all shapes and sizes.

Some are at the end of long, twisty roads, like Playa Ballota, and others are adjacent to “downtown” Llanes and its port, like rock formation-filled Playa Rodó. Playa Gulpiyuri is a bizarre inland beach, with turquoise-colored waters that seep in from the shoreline a mile away, creating a hidden paradise. And perhaps the star of them all is unknown Playa de la Huelga, where you can walk down a long, remote trail to get the shocking view of a natural arch known as the “Castro de las Gaviotas,” or “Fortress of Seagulls.”

Playa Borazu

If the ocean has not yet provided enough spectacular views, you can head to the Bufones de Arenillas, a natural crevasse into which high-pressured water flows produce mysterious moans and shoot up geysers of foam. Not enough variety for you yet within 30 minutes’ driving time? Well, you can head slightly east to the village of Colombres, where some fortunate Spanish emigrants known here as “Indianos” built an amazing manorial home that now houses a Museum of Emigration, packed with memorabilia from the 1800s and 1900s, collected to remember the experiences of locals forced to cross the ocean in search of a better life in Latin America and the United States.

Museum of Emigration

As a nice final touch to a continent-sized journey within such a small space, you might want to head for the parish church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Barro, nestled upon the tidal sands known as the Ensenada de Niembru, its gravestones hanging over shifting wetlands like Mont Saint Michel, an island of peace at high tide, a bizarre resting place overlooking wet mud during low tide, and a mesmerizing sight at sunset.

You will be hard up to choose between staying here to watch the sun go down or driving over to nearby Playa Borizu, to gaze as the sun sets behind the snowy mountains in the Picos de Europa, or heading for one of Asturias’ three main cities, Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés, all worth spending a day or two, and perhaps the next places you will wish to explore after so many days overdosing on seaweed, seacliffs and sidra.

Picos de Europa

















Wines of Spain

Rioja [ˈrjoxa] is a wine region in Spain, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.Ca., "Qualified Designation of Origin"). Rioja wine is made from grapes grown in the autonomous communities of La Rioja and Navarre, and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Oriental and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions, though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines. source: Wikipedia

Learn about Spain

#Regions of Spain

Spain is a diverse country with contrasting regions that have different languages and unique historical, political and cultural traditions. Because of this, Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas), plus two autonomous cities. Some of the autonomous communities—notably the ones which have other official languages alongside Spanish—have been recognised as "historical nationalities" that have a unique historical identity. These include the #Basque Country, #Catalonia, #Galicia, the #Valencian region, #Andalusia, the #Balearic Islands,#Aragon and the #Canary Islands.


Seafood in Spain

Spain and Portugal Food and Wine Tours

Seafood (mariscos): on the coast, fresh seafood is widely available and quite affordable. In the inner regions, frozen (and poor quality) seafood can be frequently encountered outside few highly reputed (and expensive) restaurants. In coastal areas seafood deserves some attention, especially on the north Atlantic coast.

Quality seafood in Spain comes from Spain's northwestern region of Galicia. So restaurants with the words Gallego (Galician) will generally specialize in seafood. If you are feeling adventurous, you might want to try the Galician regional specialty Pulpo a la Gallega, which is boiled octopus served with paprika, rock salt and olive oil. Another adventurous option is Sepia which is cuttlefish, a relative of squid, or the various forms of Calamares (squid) that you can find in most seafood restaurants. If that isn't your style you can always order Gambas Ajillo (garlic shrimp), Pescado Frito (fried fish), Buñuelos de Bacalao (breaded and deep fried cod) or the ever-present Paella dishes.  source:

Visit Portugal and Spain

We know Spain and Portugal

Alhambra in Granada, Spain

There’s always reasons to visit Spain… and Portugal, whether it’s for the glorious sunshine, lazy-day siestas or soaking up those beautiful sights – the whole country is a open book of experiences that are definitely too beautiful to resist.

The best part about visiting Spain is the sheer diversity you can find all across the country – the cultures, food and even languages can change quite dramatically depending on where you find yourself on the Iberian Peninsula.

Despite the diversity, a few rules hold true, no matter where you’re planning on visiting, and it doesn’t matter if this will be your first time or returning, Portugal and Spain always manage to find brilliant ways to surprise and impress you.

Do we know Spain and Portugal?

Yes we do, and we want to make sure that you know Spain and Portugal.

That’s why we work together with you to arrange an exclusive vacation tailor-made to see some of the places that we have visited and just the last two months as shown on the maps on this post.

Visit and start planning your trip to Spain now.

December 2018 may seem early but the further you plan advance the more opportunities we have to develop some special experiences and ensure accommodations that match your style of travel, sophistication and luxury you’re accustomed to.

#PrivateTravel #VIPTravel #Spain #Portugal#LuxuryTravel #SpainVacation#PortugalVacation #travelin2019