The Balearic Islands, a paradise bathed by the Mediterranean Sea

In the midst of all the hype surrounding travelling, travelling and then travelling some to see absolutely everything there is and more, very few people realise that they have seen so much of the world that they’ve forgotten to explore their own neighbourhood, the things nearest to them: their own country. One of those places, unknown to many (even if it’s well known by word of mouth) is the Balearic Archipelago.

Gently rocked by the intensely, beautifully coloured turquoise Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands are the perfect destination for an unforgettable and unbeatable summer holiday. In this region the large island Mallorca rules. Those who choose Mallorca can not only enjoy the magic of beaches like Muro, Ses Covetes and Cala Mondragó, they can also discover the beauty of the Tramuntana mountains.

Mallorca is also a place where you can enjoy tourism in all its forms, whether you travel on your own, as a couple, with friends or with family since the island offers plenty of hotels that are designed for every kind of travel. Hotels that really do offer families everything they can possible ask for, and this at an excellent price to boot.

Smaller, but just as large where spirit is concerned, is the island Menorca. This island (much more natural and authentic than its neighbours) has a certain maritime touch and is ‘little exploited’, which means visitors surrender themselves to its magic at the very first visit. The most famous places to visit? Ciutadella, Mahón and other special places such as Fornells.

Known as the Pityusic Islands, Ibiza and Formentera are a totally different case. Two islands with a common language but a completely different accent and a more natural, unique way of life – more hippie-style. Ibiza might be the perfect place to enjoy an intense nightlife, but Formentera is an ideal destination if you want to fall in love with beaches and intensely blue waters.

Cala Agulla

 

Where to stay on the Balearic Islands?

As we stated previously, out of the four islands Mallorca is the island best suited to those who enjoy travelling as a family. It’s an island where you can enjoy long walks by the sea, dozens of attractions and – of course – guaranteed rest in perfect, family-friendly hotels. Our recommendation? That would be the Green Garden Aparthotel, a hotel surrounded by gardens located on the beautiful beach Cala Agulla.

Part of the innate magic that makes us all fall in love with the Balearic Islands is to be found on the white island, Ibiza, a destination where you can find hotels such as Tropic Garden Aparthotel where you can enjoy a really relaxing holiday.

For those who prefer the maritime spirit of Menorca there’s nothing better than heading towards the area Cala d’en Bosch to stay in a hotel like Marinda Garden Aparthotel. Apart from a perfect breakfast buffet, this family hotel also offers free wifi and mini golf.

A month filled with exhibitions in Madrid

Before anyone asks us the very question, this is our reply: no, museums are not just for winter. In places like Madrid it’s always really interesting to visit the main museums and in winter the number of exhibitions and their quality is even higher. Exhibitions that you can enjoy if you go on a quick getaway with a clear flavour of ‘cultural tourism‘.

Do you like the idea? Do you fancy making the leap and go to the Spanish capital to enjoy world-famous masterpieces? Trips & Hotels will let you know what exhibitions not to miss during your upcoming trip to Madrid. Take note:

The Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Centre

Apart from being one of our favourite museums (the building as well as its contents), this is definitely one of the art centres that start to flourish again during May. With an exhibition schedule that carries on well into the month of October, this museum includes the following must-visit exhibitions:

  • A Place for the Body, on Franz Erhard Walther: an exhibition that will stay in place until the month of September.

  • Art et Liberté. Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938-1948): an exhibition that will close on the 28th of May.

  • Compassion and Terror in Picasso. The Road to Guernica: available until September.

Thyssen Museum

Whether you choose to visit the permanent exhibitions at the Prado National Museum (something we recommend that you do, because of their quality) or not, the Thyssen Museum also provides specific dates and featured exhibitions for the upcoming season. Among the exhibitions to visit we can mention the following:

  • Masterpieces of Budapest. From the Renaissance to the Avent-Garde: active until the 28th of May.

  • Overseas: Fontana, Kuitca, Seeber and Tessi. Can be visited until the 21st of May.

Where to stay in Madrid?

For any kind of cultural visit to this capital city, it’s important to choose a good hotel, not just with regards to service but also with regards to location. A hotel that lets you rest and that has the best extra services available, and, of course, the best food.

This month of May, our recommendation here at the Trips & Hotels blog for cultural trips to Madrid will be three of the most famous hotels belonging to the Petit Palace Hotels chain. Why not enjoy your rest in a beautiful boutique hotel located in the heart of the city? Take note of these: Petit Palace Chueca hotel, Petit Palace Triball hotel and Petit Palace Ópera hotel.

Pirates Village Apartments: a great summer adventure

Summer holidays with children can be difficult to plan, specially if you try to meet everyone’s wishes. But if you present them a really attractive proposal, you will surely get a loud ‘Yes!’ as an answer along with a big smile. Great success for the parents then.

This was probably the idea that managers of Gran Isla Hotels had in mind when they decided to customize one of their hotels in Majorca with a topic that has always been really attractive to children, such a pirates, always a synonymous of action and adventure in exotic places.

At Pirates Village Apartments, every member of the family will immerse into a fun environment whose main purpose is that both parents and children can enjoy their holidays with a wide range of activities conceived to enjoy together or separately which can vary from sports to games of all kind, specially all type of water games.

The pirate experience starts just as you enter the website of the hotel, fully customized and with a modern attractive appearance that comes from the images shown of the animated movie that Gran Isla Hotel created to explain the origin of Pirates Village, The Captain of the Rose, which is shown both at the movie theater of the hotel and its outdoors stage.

Once you arrive at the hotel the trip to the pirates world begins with a fully customized façade which gathers all the elements you may expect on every pirate vessel: cannons to aboard the enemies boat, jewels from the found treasures, a great treasure map and, surely, a great wooden skull wearing a red buccaneer’s bandana.

Customization spreads through all outdoors and indoors areas of the hotel, in which you may find all kind of spaces decorated with pirate topics, whether if it’s a boat or the caves in which they hide their treasures.

And it becomes especially intense in the swimming areas, with the children swimming pool Pirates Bay and the Pirate Tower swimming pool, as well as in the areas specifically meant for children, such as the Pirate Cave Mini Club, a new concept of nursery in which they can enjoy a full range of activities.

The shows programmed by the hotel for its guests, which run almost everyday, have also mostly a pirate atmosphere. The group of buccaneers that is the animation team are in charge of reminding the special place they are in during the day. At night, a wide variety of shows can be enjoyed, including the successful Pirate attack, which runs every Sunday.

With all those events, Gran Isla Hotels, who manages other four hotels in Majorca, presents the perfect solution to the parents that must think where to spend the best holidays with their kids: Pirates Village Apartments, where they can have a break full of fun without the need of thinking everyday how to entertain their children. Let the hotel take care of that.

Customizing this hotel has been a great deal that has received a great welcoming on the audience side. As a matter of fact, many of Pirates Village Apartments’ guest actually repeat their experience the following year and they can keep in touch with this hotel throughout the whole year thanks to their loyalty program GI Club.

Mallorca, the best destination for those who love hiking

There is an extensive list of superb travel destinations in Spain, but Mallorca is one of those destinations that provides an array of possibilities for a traveller looking for “a bit of everything”. Pretty in winter and more lovely than ever during the spring season we’re experiencing right now: the largest of the Balearic Islands is a place that offers more than just the well-known beaches with white sand and turquoise waters, and the popular nightlife… yes, that nightlife that tempts younger travellers more and more as the summer season approaches.

The island of Mallorca is a paradise filled with amazing nature. This is a place where you can lose yourself with no fear among the narrow paths leading up to the Tramuntana mountain range. The mountains award you with exquisite panoramic views filled with that special light that you can’t find anywhere but here, in our beloved Mediterranean archipelago. It’s an exceptional place that is made even more interesting if you’re planning to enjoy a few days  hiking in the best of settings.

The Tramuntana Mountains

Proudly holding the UNESCO award as a World Heritage, the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range is the perfect place to enjoy high-altitude hiking. This is where you can discover gems such as Deià, Valldemossa, Fornalutx and Sóller, and where travellers can enjoy places of extreme beauty that can still (luckily) be referred to as ‘intact, or not too exploited’.

Enjoy the paths running near the well-known Sóller train line, or get lost along the famous route ‘Pedra en Sec’, the Dry Stone Route; those are two of the many ‘musts’ that deserve to be part of the to-do list for any fairly serious hiker who heads over to Mallorca.

The magic of Cura and Randa

Guarding the so-called Mallorcan Plain are Cura and Randa, the base for another two routes that deserve a visit if you come here for hiking. The beautiful monastery Cura (where you can eat, enjoy the views and even spend the night listening to an indescribable silence) awaits at the end of the hike, providing you with a unique view of the Serra de Tramuntana (to the right) and the Llucmajor coastline (to the left).

Hotels on Mallorca

One of the keys to any trip being a success lies in knowing how to choose your hotel with care. How can last-minute surprises be avoided? Go for one of the hotel chains that’s been around forever, such as Sol Hoteles, a group that offers you perfect hotels such as Sol Katmandu Park Resort and Sol Beach House where you can get away from the routine and enjoy a well-earned rest after you’ve been hiking through the more rural parts of the island.

As a couple, on your own, or with friends – an important question when travelling

Although it may seem that the first firm step towards shaping our long-awaited Easter holidays might be to speak to ‘the boss’ to let them know about our future temporary absence, the fact is that the crucial step comes when it’s time to ask yourself the following question: How do I want to travel… as a couple, on my own, or with friends?

Even if travelling alone is an experience that more and more people opt for, there are travellers who feel that nothing compares to a couple of relaxing days with friends. Then, of course, there are the lovebirds who always want to go on holiday as a couple.

But what happens if we reach that point where we can’t decide what option we want to go for? At Trips & Hotels we have selected 3 Spanish destinations for each of these ways of travelling. We don’t expect to have the final say on the subject (since everyone has to make the decision themselves), but we would like to at least help those who are undecided.

A trip to Madrid with friends

Famous throughout the world, the capital of Spain is one of those destinations that always works no matter how you choose to travel, and (of course) with all the various kinds of travellers we are familiar with.

Madrid is a city to visit with friends and what better way to start a conversation than enjoying one of the many musicals or plays on offer? What could be better than having a good time eating a wedge of potato omelette, drinking craft beer?

Given that the city is quite large and the goal is to take advantage of the capital to the max, the best solution is to go for a central accommodation option – such as the hotel Gran Via Madrid – helping you to be mere steps from such highly-recommended places as Puerta del Sol, the Retiro Park, Gran Vía and the Plaza Mayor.

Destination? Tenerife as a couple

At Trips & Hotels we are very much fans of the Atlantic breeze. It’s charming, different, refreshing and highly romantic (yes, even more so than the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean). With waves of intense blue and intense passion, it couldn’t be a more obvious choice: for a couple’s getaway there’s nothing better than opting for the island Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands.

Choose a hotel in southern Tenerife to enjoy your Easter holidays with your partner, to choose relaxation but also that Canarian magic: evenings filled with the scent of the sea and a charming culture that makes us fall in love (at least that’s what it does to us).

A singular destination on the island of Ibiza

If there is one destination in Spain that’s perfect for those who prefer to travel on their own, it’s definitely the island of Ibiza.

A hippie spirit and a mindset that’s completely open appeals to all travellers who dare to travel around the world in the company of their backpack, the white island hides treasure that will make the single traveller feel right at home. The best? Choose a hotel in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza and create your own routes throughout the entire island.

A Holiday in Mallorca with an Irish Flavour

Apart from being a spring month and a precursor to the long-awaited Easter holidays, the month of March in places like Mallorca combines a lot of interesting options and lets you enjoy experiences that go beyond the traditional Easter processions we normally see this time of year.

March is not only the ideal month for spring excursions (that work to well with the ideal climate on the Balearic Islands), it is also a time of year when festivals from other countries have a strong presence on the islands. So much that they form part of their very character. The most prominent one? Without doubt, it’s one with a clear Irish flavour that comes dressed in intense green. Yes, in March Mallorca is the island of St. Patrick, the Irish patron saint.

Even if this Irish festival is celebrated in many corners of the island, it’s the top bars in Palma (such as Shamrock and Three Lions) and their neighbouring venues that bring you the best festival atmosphere, combining music, craft beer, tradition and good fun. That said, if you’re wanting to really go green this day and enjoy it as never before, you should definitely head to Santa Ponça, St. Patrick’s Mallorcan Kingdom.

A fun-filled weekend

As a couple, with friends or family: the St. Patrick Festival comes to Santa Ponça the weekend of March 18 and 19. Two days during which residents dress in shades of green , letting you enjoy proper Irish music as well as craft beer and typical dishes from the emerald island.

Even if any time of day is a good time to enjoy the perks of this festival (a festival that almost counts as a local one), it might be best to choose noon to join the drumming, the parades and live concerts.

Hotels in Santa Ponça

For all those who have chosen to travel to Mallorca during March this is what we recommend: don’t miss the fun of celebrating S:t Patrick in the Mallorcan town Santa Ponça.

It is a lovely coastal village located in the municipality of Calvià – less than 15 minutes from Palma, the Mallorcan capital –  where you can find high-quality hotels such as Pirates Village Apartments (for those travelling as a family) and the Hotel Piscis Adults Only. Two great establishments, guaranteed by the quality seal provided by Gran Isla Hotels.

Dubai, an authentic oasis on the Persian Gulf coast

Open your eyes and dawn in the most cosmopolitan city in the world and one of the most exclusive. Can you imagine that you could do it with a little snap of your fingers? Something like this is what we have proposed this week in the blog Trips & Hotels: to make you travel by the reading to Dubai, one of the jewels of the UAE and one of the unique destinations that we should all visit at least once in our lives. And what’s more, why not land in the emirates land on your next Easter vacations?

While the most reticent will say that it is nothing more than a city close to the great desert, Dubai is certainly a unique place in the world… Something like an oasis on the Persian Gulf coast where you will find places of extreme beauty and where you can have unrepeatable experiences. The most recommended of them? Let us briefly review why it is one of the most incredible cities in the world:

A constantly evolving skyline

A difference from other cities like New York, Paris or Prague,; Dubai has a profile (aka “skyline”) that is constantly evolving and it’s investment in new buildings is so high (and constant) that year after year it’s executive areas are recreated with new skyscrapers that reach shocking heights and impossible forms.

Those who have visited the city and have stayed in a hotel in Bur Dubai (such as the exclusive Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa) will realize that in addition to the executive buildings themselves, there are several 4-star hotels in Dubai that adopted authentic palace forms. Yes, a way of living our thousand and one nights in the heart of the Arabian Desert.

The small Venice of Dubai

Although it is very close to the Arabian Desert, Dubai has an exclusive coastline where corners take shape, like Dubai Creek. A small Venice on the waters of the Persian Gulf where you can enjoy a ride in charming wooden boats. In addition to being located in one of the oldest areas of the capital, the place is unique for its relaxing atmosphere and its heart-stopping panoramic views.

Ski Dubai

One of the many attractions that Dubai offers is skiing. Skiing? Yes skiing, and nothing less than one of the most relevant indoor slopes in the world. With its more than twenty thousand square meters, these facilities offer a unique experience that very few can resist.

A sun that is born magically

Many will say that the dusk of Dubai is incredible, however we – who have been fortunate enough to experience the sunrise and sunset of the king star – realize that there is nothing like the dawn to appreciate that magic that we like so much in the Arab Emirates. Of course, to have the experience you have to be ready to get up early as it comes.

A route through the best markets on the island of Ibiza

Traditional, historical and full of magic, the island of Ibiza is a unique destination in the world for its colorful, many styles and its free spirit and chameleon. A place of retreat for the main celebrities of the world and a temple of those young people who add to the frenetic rhythm of their summer nights, the white island (as it is known for its many pagesas houses) is a place that marked a before and after in the European hippie culture.

Although it was a community that conquered the island (almost in its entirety) back in the 60s and 70s, the truth is that – with a slightly smaller number of hippiesIbiza keeps intact part of this authentic and characteristic story . The most obvious proof? Its hippie markets, traditional events that take place in different points of the island geography and that should be part of every itinerary on the Balearic island.

Las Dalias, much more than a market to use

Although many take shape in Ibiza, no hippie market impresses as much as Las Dalias does. With nearly a hundred stalls of handmade clothing and artisan products, this market is held every Saturday in Sant Carles de Peralta, a small village located less than 5 kilometers from the IBEROSTAR Santa Eulalia hotel, the best hotel in Santa Eulalia. To discover each one of its spots and to speak with the artisans is, at least, a real one hundred percent Ibizan pleasure.

The hippie market of Punta Arabí

All those who have chosen to stay in rooms in Santa Eulalia will be within walking distance of another outstanding hippie market such as the one held in Punta Arabi. This market, where music and fashion go hand in hand, is ideal to give us some whim or to surprise our people with an artisan detail and there are more than 400 places that take shape in this hippie market.

A return to tradition in Sant Rafel de Forca

Every Thursday, the rural area of Sant Rafel de Forca becomes a lively example of the art of Ibiza. A gathering in which hippie dresses and candles coexist in total harmony with pottery vessels and baskets elaborated by the pageses of the island. The best? Its many stalls of ecological products.

The perfect plan for Valentine’s day: a trip to a boutique hotel

Whether you are more or less romantic, once the date February 14th approaches it’s normal to get that urge to surprise your partner with something nice, romantic and original – even if you don’t really know why… Just a small detail that helps show how you feel about the person you share your life with.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so best choose a good gift for the two of you. Our choice this month couldn’t be any clearer: what about gifting a stay in a boutique hotel on a quick trip to one of the destinations in this country that never cease to amaze. This month we opted for three heavyweights: Madrid, Seville and the eternally beautiful Barcelona.

 

 

Sevilla, always authentic and romantic

Few cities in this country are as romantic as Seville, the capital of Andalusia. With its streets and squares full of charm and a culture that is unique of its kind, with a character that makes you fall in love from the first minute, this city is the perfect destination if you want to experience a unique and highly romantic Valentine’s Day.

Out of all the places to visit, the Santa Cruz neighbourhood takes first prize thanks to its beauty and its art. A neighbourhood where we find some of the most romantic boutique hotels in the city, hotels such as the Petit Palace Canalejas.

Madrid for two

Madrid is another destination we recommend for this Valentine’s Day 2017, because of its leisure, history and culture. A city with hotels as beautiful as the Petit Palace Triball where you can enjoy taking unique walks (such as those on offer in the Retiro Park, or along Gran Vía), having romantic dinners in exquisite restaurants, and treating yourself to things you love and other whims.

A Valentine’s Day with a Mediterranean flavour

Walking hand in hand along the beach in Barceloneta, discovering the nooks and crannies of the Barrio Gótico, getting lost in the intricacies of Park Güell and discovering the majestic Montjuïc are some of the things that are always worth doing when you visit Barcelona. A destination that gets even more romantic if you choose a hotel such as the Petit Palace Barcelona.

Fuerteventura, an ideal destination for a holiday in January

It happens to us all, yes don’t we know it. Although we declare (again and again) that we are unconditional fans of winter, the truth is that when the month of January arrives we begin to notice that we have had enough of the low temperatures. Winter is pleasant, that’s true, but it is no less true that we tire of it, in a big way. The solution is simple: how about a beach holiday? Yes, in January and on the beach. Where? That’s easy, in Fuerteventura.

Although they are, together with the summer, the ideal free days to go on holiday  (especially if you want to experience a true “white Christmas”), the truth is that more and more people choose to keep those days off to cross the seas for a few days of holidays in the sun, away from the stress of the city. A holiday that in Fuerteventura becomes a real experience thanks to its 3 main claims. Take note:

A unique climate in our country

While it is obvious, it is worth remembering that the Canary Islands are the only part of our country with temperatures of 23 degrees in the middle of winter. Although they also have windy and intense rainy days (which are few), Fuerteventura is kind to visitors in terms of weather, hence it is the one chosen by the majority of tourists who prefer to choose the Canary Islands in these months.

Much more than gourmet food

They say that the food in the Canary Islands is something worth writing about, because there is such a variety to be recommended. In the archipelago food is cooked as it used to be and that is something that our taste buds notice from the first bite. There is a true range of flavors that you really must try on a trip to Fuerteventura.

Authenticity in the pure state

If something makes the Canary Islands a prominent place in the world is its uniqueness since it is a place faithful to its most ancient traditions and its most authentic customs. A perfect example is the island of Fuerteventura itself, with its typical dishes, its crafts and its picture postcard landscapes.

Hotels in Fuerteventura

Go to Fuerteventura and enjoy a few days of relaxation when you choose a good hotel full of services and with lots of extras such as the hotel IBEROSTAR Playa Fuerteventura Palace, IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas or IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas Park with exclusive locations only a few meters from wonderful beaches such as those to be found on the Jandia peninsula.