Category: Spain

How Lanzarote Became The Island It Is Today

Lanzarote JardinDeCactusVisitors to Lanzarote, the second biggest of the main Canary Islands, may be forgiven for thinking that the island has been a holiday destination for many years, but the reality is very different. Until as recently as 1980 the island was relatively unknown to international travellers. The geographic history of the island is of course dominated by volcanic activity, which caused the creation of the island in the first place.

The island, which has been part of Spain since the fifteenth century, owes its location off the North African coast to most of the significant events in its history. It has been subjected to many attacks and invasions over the years, primarily from seafaring pirates who came across the island during their voyages from the coasts of Africa.

The now extinct indigenous population of the island, known as the Guanches, were cave dwellers who lived and isolated existence, whose civilisation was far removed and delayed compared to that of many mainland population groups. Lanzarote was one of the first island of the Canary Islands group to succumb to the Spanish invasion early in the fifteenth century, but it took almost 100 years before the final island, Tenerife, was finally occupied.

The origin of the name Lanzarote is still not known for sure with various theories proposed including a derivation of a visiting Italian seafarer called Lancelloto or Lancilloto, a variation of the Latin word for rubber (the Tabaiba tree, common on the island, produces a thick resin like sap) and also after the original Spanish invader, Bethencourt, who is supposed to have broken (rota) a lance (lanza) during the original battles for the island.

Volcanic activity had featured frequently over the years of the island’s history including a six year period in the eighteenth century when 25 volcanoes erupted together turning a once fertile area into a barren landscape of black lava, which is now known as the Timanfaya National Park. The volcanic activity has brought some benefits however particularly to agriculture and the island now growing onions, potatoes, spinach and pineapples for export.

Lanzarote Luc ViatourPicon, the black volcanic rock that covers much of the island, is very good at absorbing moisture and thus makes farm a little easier on this warm sunny island.

But the biggest impact on Lanzarote has been the huge growth in tourism to island over the past 30 years. The authorities on the island have tried very hard to reduce the visual impact by enforcing strict rules on developments meaning that there are no high rise buildings, every building must be painted white and doors, windows and shutters may only be painted in one of two approved colours of green.

In terms of tourism, Lanzarote only really became known during the 1970’s and during the years between 1970 and 1975 visitor figures tripled to 80,000 per year. Figures doubled again over the next five years and during the same period financial investment from Germany arrived due to the Strauss Law which provided tax benefits for German company investing in Spain.

Lanzarote PlayaBlancaGrowth continued during the 1980’s and 1990’s until visitor figures reached their peak in 2003 when almost 2 million people came to the island for a holiday. British people make up the majority of the island’s visitors, the make up of which is very influenced by the local currency. An impact of the introduction of the Euro has been the rapid decline in the number of German tourists, who now find holidays on the island to be more expensive. It remains to be seen if the weakness of the British pound will have a similar long term effect on the number of British holidaymakers but initial indications already show that in December 2007 numbers of British visitors were down by twenty five per cent.

One factor that could influence matters is the weakening of property prices on the island with suggestions that values now stand at only 60 per cent of their peak. That is unlikely to attract new British home buyers due to the currency situation but it could be a factor in tempting German buyers to return.

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Benidorm – The Jewel of the Costa Blanca

BenidormBy Irena Bodnarec

Benidorm is the top European holiday destination for Brits – and it´s not hard to understand why.  Its success is based on two main attractions – long stretches of white sandy beaches and a micro climate that guarantees almost year round sunshine.

The ITV Benidorm series has certainly bought the resort to the forefront of peoples minds, but has perhaps left them with a slightly distorted image of what it is really like. Many people that have a negative impression of the resort, base their opinions solely on watching the series – which is a tongue in cheek poke at stereotypical working class people taking their annual holiday. They imagine the resort over run with drunken Brits and Stag & Hen parties, as it has become synonymous as a destination of cheap booze and all day English fry ups – but that is just one tiny area, probably no more than half a square kilometer. Benidorm is seeped in history, culture and tradition and non more apparent then during fiesta time!

Venture up to the Old Town and it´s like stepping back in time – full of narrow cobbled streets adorned with white washed houses and an abundance of boutiques, bars and restaurants on every corner. Head towards the distinctive blue doomed roof of the San Jaime church and you will arrive at the ´Mirador´- where you will have a breathtaking view of both bays. The Old Town is where you will find Tapas Alley, which as the name suggests is a street full of tapas bars. If you want a gastronomic experience of real Spanish food then head to Calle Domingo – it´s like eating a work of art.

Benidorm BeachesTop of the list why people choose Benidorm for their holidays is the miles of golden sandy beaches – and Benidorm is blessed not with one but three! Each has its own individual character; Levante – vibrant, loud, full of life and popular with young party going Brits; Poniente – which includes Mal Pas, sedate and tranquil and popular with the Spanish and lastly La Cala – a sheltered sandy cove and particularly popular with families. There are also several hidden secluded coves dotted around such as Almadrava and Tio Ximo.

If you are a bargain hunter then you have certainly come to the right place. One of the things that remain unchanged in Spain are the weekly street markets, which remain popular and virtually every town and village has one. There are a great deal along the Costa Blanca, but one of the biggest has to be in Benidorm, which is held twice a week due to its popularity – every Sunday and Wednesday. You will find everything there from fresh locally grown fruit and veg to bags, nik naks, jewelry and counterfeit designer goods…. But the golden rule is barter – especially with the ´look alike products´!

Benidorm GolfDuring the day you are spoilt for choice activity wise – Benidorm has a staggering 5 theme parks to choose from. Aqualandia is the biggest waterpark in Spain and Mundomar, a marine animal park, are located in the Rincon de Loix end of the resort and next door to each other.  Terra Mitica theme park, with its exciting rides and shows is suitable for the entire family and not far away you will find Terra Natura, a wildlife park and Aqua Natura, a smaller waterpark more suited for younger children.  For any golfers, the magnificent Villaitana golf course offers two 18 hole courses with a magnificent view of the Benidorm skyline.

The nightlife is just as exciting. For a first class night out you cannot beat Benidorm Palace – voted Europe´s best cabaret theatre and nightclub, even beating the likes of Moulin Rounge in Paris! A spectacular show incorporating a troup of dancers with the most amazing costumes you are ever likely to see – an unforgettable experience and well worth seeing. The Rincon, or New Town is where you will find all the cabaret bars and nightclubs, which are open well into the early hours. Most offer free entertainment and you can hear and watch a huge variety of singers, tribute groups and comedians catering to all tastes.

Benidorm CarnivalsThere are some wonderful fiestas throughout the year – culture and traditions are very important to the Spaniards and it is wonderful to be able to join in the party atmosphere and witness such events – there really isn´t anything comparable in the UK. A summary of the main ones by month are

February – Carnival, March  – The Burning of the Fallas, June – San Juan, September – Moors & Christians, November – fiesta time. 

The Moors and Christians parade is probably the most spectacular visually, with a simply stunning and elaborate array of costumes and certainly worth trying to see.

There is something for everyone in Benidorm – and the best bit is that it´s only a few hours flight away from the UK.

For more information on what´s going on in and around Benidorm go to http://www.BenidormAllYearRound.com

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Alicante Airport Guide

Alicante AirportAlicante Airport is nine kilometers southwest of Alicante on the east coast of Spain. It is the entrance gateway to Costa Blanca, an important tourist destination. The airport processes a majority of international flights. In 2004, 8.5 million passengers traveled through Alicante Airport.

The airport was recently opened, it was opened in 1967, still then under the name ‘El Altet’. The new airport replaced the old airport ‘La Rabassa’. Since the opening the airport has been regularly expanded, the last large renovation was in 1996.

Local Transport

Train

Alicante Airport has no train connection.

Car and bus

From Alicante, the airport is accessible via the highway (Autovia) Alicante-Murcia, the N-332 also goes to the airport. From Benidorm you take highway (Autopista) A-7. The exit to the airport is clearly indicated on each road.

You see many buses at Alicante Airport, but nearly all of them are rented buses. The only bus line (C-6) to Alicante has a stop in front of the Arrivals Hall and leaves every 40 minutes, at least according to the schedule. A bus ride to the center of Alicante takes 40 minutes and costs €1.00. There are also bus services to Benidorm and Murcia at the same bus stop, but these leave less frequently.

Taxi

Taxis go much faster to Alicante (15-20 minutes).

Car Rental

There are many car rental companies operating at Alicante Airport: Avis, Atesa, Auriga, Centauro, Europcar, Europa Car, Hertz, Sol-Mar and Record Rent-a-Car.

Airport Parking

Parking is possible opposite the terminal, there are garages in the surrounding area of the airport, that are a cheaper option, most of these garages offer a free shuttle service to the airport.

Services

Shops and Restaurants

Costa Blanca Plaza is the shopping and hospitality area of the airport. You can find eight cafes and four restaurants. There are also three Duty Free shops and a few very nice gift shops.

Baggage

Check your baggage thoroughly when it comes from the baggage band, the baggage handlers at Alicante Airport are not always benevolent. You can make complaints at the counter by the baggage belts. That is also the counter where you can claim misplaced baggage. You cannot store baggage at the airport.

Information

There is a general information counter by the check-in counters. There is also a counter in the Arrivals Hall, but this is only open when it is very busy. Tourist information is available at the Valencia Tourism Bureau on the ground floor.

Business

Alicante Airport has no conference facilities, for this you should go to Holiday Inn Alicante-Playa de San Juan, six kilometers from Alicante. There is an Ifach VIP-Lounge on the first level of the Departures Hall with telephone, fax and internet facilities, this lounge is only accessible for Business Class passengers.

Disabled Facilities

Disabled passengers can be dropped off right in front of the entrance of the terminal. Special parking places are also right by the entrance, and the airport has wheelchair ramps, adapted elevators, restrooms and exits. Wheelchairs are also available.

Other Services

You can find a pharmacy on the ground floor of the terminal, but the pharmacy is only open from 10:00–12:00 and from 16:00–20:00. There is a 24 hour First Aid post. There is a money exchange office on both the ground floor and the first level, there are also ATM’s. The airport police is available at.

Contact

Address

Alicante Airport
03071 Alicante
Spain

Telephone, Fax, Email

Telephone: +34(0)96 691 9000 of 9100
Fax: +34(0)96 691 9354
Email: alc.calidad@aena.es

Airport Codes

IATA airport code: ALC
ICAO airport code: LEAL

Websites

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Frequently Asked Questions about Ibiza

Ibiza Old Town Are you curious about this popular holiday destination? Here are all the things you ever might have wanted to know about Ibiza:

Where is it?

Ibiza is located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Valencia in Spain. It is within an autonomous community of Spain known as the Balearic Islands.

How big is the island?

Tiny! It’s only about 15 miles wide.This is a great advantage to travellers because it means that you can easily explore the whole island within a short holiday. All the main attractions are situated within a 10-15 minute drive from San Antonio and Ibiza Town.

How many people live there?

Ibiza has an official population of 132, 637 people, but of course these numbers swell during the high point of tourist season, with the influx of visitors to its shores.

San AntonioWhat is the climate like?

Hot, hot, hot! People choose Ibiza villas for rent if they want a holiday with plenty of sunshine. This is because the average temperature in the summer months is between 20-25 degrees Celsius and there are over 2,700 hours of sunshine per year!

What kind of accommodation is there?

There are many different types of accommodation, from hostels to hotels to Ibiza villas for rent. There are scaled-down, no frills accommodations for the budget traveller, and also luxurious Ibiza villas for rent with private pools.

I’ve heard there is a lively nightlife scene?

You’ve heard correctly! Ibiza is considered the party capital of Europe, if not the world. The island’s capital of Ibiza Town and the town of Saint Antonio is the epicentre of the all-night-long dance parties that this island is famous for. During the summer months, top DJs perform at the clubs and live music festivals bring big-name bands such as the Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, The Prodigy, and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Sunset across Port des Torrent, San Antonio BayIs Ibiza only for young party-goers?

No! This beautiful and peaceful island has plenty of family friendly beaches and activities to entertain mom, dad and the kids. If you are seeking a romantic getaway, Ibiza has that as well with fine dining, romantic secluded coves, sailing trips and private Ibiza villas for rent.

Will I need to rent a car?

If you are planning on exploring the entirety of the island, hiring a car might be necessary. However, if you are simply enjoying the nightlight and the tourist beaches, you will be fine relying on public transport and taxis.

Ibiza is a beautiful place to spend a holiday in the sunshine. Why not explore this gorgeous island for yourself?

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Beach Holiday Destinations in Europe

Countries in Europe are very popular holiday destinations. Either winter or summer holidays, Europe has much to offer. It has great beaches, temperate climates and good selection of resorts that cater to any kind of holidays you want. There are a lot of famous beaches all over Europe that are very ideal to a wonderful beach vacation. Here are some places in Europe with famous beach vacation destinations:

SpainSpain

There are several beach vacation resorts in Spain located mainly along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. You may also choose to go to some islands in Spain located at Majorca. They are very popular and you will have a great beach vacation at a reasonable price here.

If you don t want too much crowd during your beach vacation, you may choose to go to Cadiz. This golden sandy beach at Cadiz has a serene and rustic quality. You may also tour around the city of Cadiz and see its ancient quality from its local historical attractions, architectures and designs.

France

FranceThe Biarritz Beach at the Basque coast of France is sunny and has a mild weather which is perfect all year round for those who want to take a beach vacation. Biarritz has a Spanish influence so expect a great cuisine and design in the place. There are also several attractions near Biarritz Beach that you can visit and local shopping places to buy for souvenirs.

Another popular beach vacation destination in France is the beach at St. Tropez. This beautiful beach has a tropical weather that makes it a great destination for a beach vacation. There are also chic clubs for you to visit and enjoy at night that will erase the thought of boredom in your stay at St.Tropez.

Monaco

The Larvotto Beach has a beautiful and sunny weather. This beach caters mostly to the wealthy and glamourous, making it ideal for a luxurious beach vacation. You can enjoy eating in its fine restaurants and have a great time at its classy clubs.

CroatiaCroatia

Most tourists that visit Croatia go to coasts especially along the Adriatic Sea. It has an extraordinary coastline and the popular beaches at Croatia are those atSibenik, Dubrovnik, Trogir, Zadar, the National Park Brijuni Islands and the National Park Kornati . You can enjoy the beauty of the beach or go scuba diving. If you are yet to learn scuba diving, there are a number of beaches that has qualified instructors to teach you.

 

Greece

GreeceThe small island of Mykonos in Greece has varied atmospheres that makes it good for any kind of vacation family, friends, or romantic getaways. You can enjoy some water activities here or just have a relaxing time under the sun. The local restaurants here will give you the taste of the classic Greek cuisine that you will totally enjoy.

These places are just some of the most popular ones for the beach bums. They should be on your list if you are planning to take a beach vacation to Europe.

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