Articles Tagged with: senior travel Spain


Seniors Enjoy Bilbao


Bilbao, in northwest Spain, is the sixth-largest city of Spain, pop. 353,000, and the capital of the province of Biscay. It is the heart of a metropolis where more than a million people live spread along the length of the Nervión, a nearby tidal river.

Bilbao is a port city situated close to the coastline and several nearby beaches. It is the largest city in what is called Basque Country (Pais Vasco).  After years of financial uncertainty, Bilbao has once again become a dynamic city, full of amenities, focused on environmental and urban regeneration, and a city that draws throngs of tourists each year, including senior tourists.

Marques de Riscal

Bilboa is the center of the economic-social development and the main factor of the modernization of the Bay of Biscay. The great architectural and infrastructure projects have been the driving force of the urban and economic regeneration of the city.

Guggenheim Museum Draws Senior Visitors

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao with its uniqueness has become a cultural and tourism driving force of this Basque city. This spectacular building (Frank O. Gehry, 1997) is covered in titanium panels and has its own important collection.


Instantly hailed as the most important structure of its time, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has celebrated more than a decade of extraordinary success. With over a hundred exhibitions and more than ten million visitors to its credit, senior travelers won’t want to miss this unique treasure.

The cultural activities in Bilbao are evident, with two of the best art galleries in Spain, six theme museums, contemporary art exhibitions and an ongoing program with shows: opera, symphony orchestras, theater, dance, cinema and light, pop and rock music.

Bilbao is a cultural hub and a gourmet delight. It is known as the “Capital of Cod.” It is also in Bilboa where senior visitors will enjoy the famous pintxos (typical appetizers). The local custom is to call what are known in Spanish as tapas by the Basque name, Pintxos, probably much more elaborated than their Spanish cousins due to the Basque love of gastronomy. Basque cuisine is among the best in Spain, and Bilbao boasts some of the region’s leading restaurants, so welcome senior gourmands.


Best Restaurants in Old Town

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes) rates #1 with tourists.  It is a small museum now gaining international fame for its surprisingly rich collection of Spanish and Basque paintings and sculpture.

My wife and I would first head out to the old historic section of Bilboa and from what I read, we would not be disappointed. The medieval barrio of Bilbao is a zone of ancient buildings, narrow streets and squares in the center of the city and where you will find the best restaurants.

Bilbao is the new modern face of Basque Country. The city has been able to successfully mix traditional Basque culture with a new vision for the future. It is an absolute must for design and culture lovers.  jeb


Seniors Practice Their Spanish in Segovia


Segovia, pop. 60,000,  is the capital of Segovia Province in Spain, a historically significant city northwest of Madrid. Moors, Christians and Jews coexisted for a long time in the medieval city and worked together during the 16th century manufacturing boom.

Segovia is made up of a harmonious ensemble of buildings that date to the Late Middle Ages (11th and 12th centuries) and the Renaissance (16th century), its two periods of prosperity. Segovia is a picturesque old city with twisting alleyways, the highest concentration of Romanesque churches in all of Europe and pedestrian-only streets, all bordered by a medieval wall and two rivers.

On the Plateau of the Old Catile, at the foot of the Sierra Guadarrama, Segovia occupies a steep promontory at the confluence of the Eresma and the Clamores Rivers. This senior learned that gravestones from a Roman necropolis were recycled in the 11th century to build the city walls. The castle, which looks more Bavarian than Castilian, stands at the end of a limestone ridge at the point where the two rivers meet.

Seniors Find Another World Heritage Site


Long before Madrid became the capital of Spain in the 16th century, Segovia was one of the most important cities, as borne out by the Romanesque churches at almost at every turn as one strolls through the narrow streets. In 1985 the old city of Segovia and its Aqueduct were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Within the environment of the old city, stand diversity of historic buildings both civil and religious.

The Aqueduct of Segovia is a Roman construction and one of the most significant and best-preserved ancient monuments that remain on the Iberian Peninsula. I have seen aqueducts in France and Italy, but nothing matches the aqueduct of  Segovia.

The Roman aqueducts of Sevilla, Toledo, and Calahorra in Spain did not survive. This one looks brand new. It passes overhead in the heart of the city. The first section of the aqueduct contains 36 semi-circular arches, rebuilt in the 15th century to restore a portion destroyed by the Moors in 1072.

Alcázar Draws Senior Visitors


Following its restoration, which took place after 1484 on the initiative of the Catholic Kings (Los Reyes Católicos), the aqueduct was  used and well maintained.  Another principal tourist attraction is Alcázar, a royal palace built around the 11th century. The picturesque palace is said to be Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle.

The modern Four-Star Parador Hotel is one of the best places for senior visitors to stay and to savor the city’s most traditional dish: roast suckling pig. Segovia is an excellent starting point to tour the province of Castile and León. Senior travelers, give yourself one day in Segovia.

On our way to Segovia, my wife and I took a trip to Avila and its UNESCO-protected city walls and towers.  Amazing cities, both of them.  Enjoy all the amenities of this wonderful old historic city.  jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Seniors Explore Andalusia

One of the most fascinating and memorable trips my wife and I made to Spain was to the southern region called Andalusia. This senior had made a special point to visit as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible, and there were several.

Andalusia has a rich Moorish heritage, including many fantastic examples of Moorish architecture which were built during the eight centuries when Andalusia was the center of the Arab population in the Iberian peninsula. The Moorish rule effectively ended in 1492 when Christians recaptured Granada. The entire region has a rich and varied history and includes some of Europe’s best wildlife sites.

The area abounds in olives trees, the glorious Mediterranean seacoast, ancient historical cities, wonderful food and superb lodging facilities. I entitled this blog “Explore Andalusia” as that is precisely what senior travelers will want to do.

Head up that road that looks interesting or visit that castle up on the hill. TripAdvisor suggests 1,209 things to see and do. Wow! There seems to be something for every senior in Andalusia.  Stay in a Paradore, the luxury hotel accommodations in Castles, Palaces, Convents, Monasteries, Fortresses and other historic buildings all over Spain.

The Guadalquivir is Andalusia’s most important river and brings life to many areas in its journey across the region. Andalusia offers a range of attractions that range from impressive monuments in large towns to typical small villages, which have provided a constant source of inspiration for all kinds of artists.

 Seniors Find Medieval Ruins, Olive Trees and Hostales

Each of Andalusia’s eight provinces are loaded with unforgettable highlights. Circle all the cities that you won’t want to miss on a map. We suggest that you pick a rental car in Madrid. Then swing northwest to Avila and Salamanca and then head south to Andalusia. On your route back to Madrid a must visit is the city of Toledo.

 Andalusia = the heart of flamenco, lots of medieval remains and fortresses, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Iberian Peninsula, the former capital of an Islamic caliphate in the Middle Ages, the magnificent La Alhambra Palace, a maritime port town with the oldest football club of Spain, the world’s olive oil capital, a harbor city right on the Costa del Sol, and Marbella, a wealthy resort town on the Costa del Sol.

We discovered hostales, a type of lodging found mostly in Spain and Hispanic America. Hostales tend to be less expensive than hotels, comfortable and in most cities and even smaller villages. You can save a lot by lodging in a hostal (not a hostel). Look for a sign that reads Hostal, not Hotel.  We hope that you enjoy Andalusia as much as we did. jeb


Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Senior Food Lovers Search Out San Sebastián

San Sebastián is the capital of the Gipuzko (seniors, can you say that twice?) province, located in the Basque country of North Spain off the coast of the Bay of Biscay. It is called Donostia in the local language and lies just 12 miles from the French border.

Many call the city La Joya del Norte (Jewel of the North) and tourists flock to San Sebastián by the thousands year round. Senior visitors have found this city to be a great discovery for a host of reasons.  

It’s a Food Mecca destination with 150,000 residents. This colorful seaside city is well-loved for its excellent beaches and outstanding culinary tradition. Although it is divided into several districts, San Sebastián is a small, cozy city crammed with restaurants, pintxos bars, designer shops and an enclosed mall.

The Old Town features many historic buildings reconstructed in the 19th century after the city was nearly destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars.

San Sebastián boasts some of the best beaches in Europe with the most popular of these being Playa de la Concha, which offers sunbathing and water activities like swimming, kayaking and water skiing.

Seniors Smile At Tapas

Overlooking the city are two lofty hills, Monte Urgell and Mount Igueldo, which offer hiking, funicular rides, amusement parks, remarkable statues and fantastic views. San Sebastián is widely appreciated in Spain for its pintxos…appetizers (tapas) prepared with a wide variety of fresh vegetables, meats and seafood.

Many of the bars in the city feature buffets displaying a range of these pintxos. The local tradition is to go from one bar to the next, sampling one or two pintxos with a bit of wine or beer.

The Old Quarter’s narrow, winding streets are full of bars and restaurants, and in the modern city, sidewalk cafes are everywhere.

La Concha is one of the best beaches in Europe. Senior visitors can surf, walk along the promenade to find a good restaurant and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The beach is surrounded by steep cliffs and islands. La Playa de la Concha, situated in a huge bay,  is a principal attraction in all of Spain.

By now you have surmised that San Sebastián is a chief town in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa as well as  Spain’s most fashionable bathing resort. So bring along your favorite swimming gear.

This YouTube video features my travel hero Rick Steves who provides us with a nice overview of the city. Hope to see you up there in Basque Country.  jeb


Seniors Visit Wine Country

Yours truly is continually searching for new travel sites to share with seniors readers all over the country.   I read in the news an article about Castilla-La Mancha in Spain and discovered that La Mancha is an ideal area for growing grapes. La Mancha is the largest wine region in the world with around 465,350 hectares of vineyards.

I did not know for sure where it was located but soon discovered that my wife and I had driven through the area a few years back. We found it to be an inspiring concoction of villages, historical tales and friendly locals.

Castilla–La Mancha is very close to Madrid and right in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. Of major interest to senior visitors are the monumental cities and towns of historical importance, like Toledo its capital city, enchanting Cuenca and Albacete, the largest city with over 170,000 citizens. It’s the land of the famous windmills immortalized in Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Seniors Find Cheese, Olives and Mystery

The history of Castilla-La Mancha is a history of sheep-herding, that is the history of Spain. Archeological remains confirm that Bronze Age Spaniards lived on this Meseta (inner plateau) nearly 4,000 years ago.

This is a land famous for its arts and crafts, full of unique monuments in its towns and cities, and the setting for the adventures of the famous literary hero Don Quixote of La Mancha.

Any trip to this area in inland Spain should include a visit to its World Heritage cities, Cuenca with its famous Hanging Houses, and Toledo with its cathedral and Alcázar fortress. The area has the largest number of officially designated nature reserves, nature areas and national parks and acts as a natural buffer between the rich industrialism of northern Spain and Moorish, tourist-driven Andalucia.

 Senior visitors will find a land of craggy cliffs, golden fields and red soil, producing savory Manchego cheese, olives, saffron and more than its share of mystery.

Pass through the Bisagra Gate to experience the walled city of Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site that pays stylistic tribute to the Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures.  If ever a city had the atmosphere of a living museum, it has to be Toledo.

Situated on a hill and more or less surrounded by the river Tajo and the old walls, the old town is totally untouched by modern development, making it crammed with monuments of every age in Spanish history and home to El Greco.

TripAdvisor will add 247 things for you to see and do. It is certain that you will want to spend several days in the area having fun and dining well. We loved visiting Spain and you will too.  Buen Viaje! jeb


Seniors Find That Alicante Has It All

Alicante, a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, has about 340 000 inhabitants and lies directly at the Mediterranean sea.  An historic Mediterranean port and known for its miles of sandy beaches, Alicante is lined with villas, hotels and restaurants.   With many historical buildings throughout the entire city, Alicante offers senior travelers countless sightseeing attractions, from cathedrals to churches and of course a wonderful harbor area.  

So let me fill up your travel basket with things to see and do in Alicante. According to TripAdvisor Rancho La Ofra is #1 with tourists and if you are into horses, you’ll see why. In the heart of the city is Postiguet Beach, illuminated at night by sodium street lights. These give the beach and breaking waves a surreal effect. With a bit of traveling (by bus or tram), you can reach a spacious 7km long San Juan Beach, which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain.

 The Romans loved Lucentum (City of Light)

The Greeks called it Akra Leuka (White Summit). As a crossroads for inland and coastal routes, Alicante has always been known for its luminous skies. It is considered one of the most populous provinces in Spain. The climate is classic Mediterranean and the average temperature is 20ºC. Weather in Alicante region is gorgeous with over 300 days of sunshine per year.

 The Beauty of Alicante is everywhere. What a choice city for a lovely vacation seniors. It is also a booming province, partly due to the surge of tourists over recent years, especially along the coastal areas which have the best climatic conditions in the whole of Spain. Modernity runs alongside tradition and you can still find very traditional villages tucked away in the mountains. You can also find some of the best gastronomy in Spain here.

 Seniors Relax in the Friendliest City in Spain

A visit to the Santa Bárbara Castle is highly recommended. Located atop Mount Benacantil, it is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, with unbeatable views over the Bay of Alicante and on clear days you can see all the way to Tabarca Island.

More than 20 million holiday makers from across Europe head for the region every year because of its warm welcome and tourist attractions. The beaches are the main draw with fine sand, picturesque coves and clear waters attracting sun worshippers, snorkel enthusiasts, divers and senior water sports enthusiasts who find plenty to explore along these shores.

 Alicante’s Old Town, with narrow streets and great nightlife invites the senior nvisitor to get to know the best gastronomy and local entertainment. The Old Town is home to the Cathedral of San Nicholas, and is the true heart of the city. It boasts narrow, winding streets and medieval buildings allowing you to imagine what the city was like before the age of industrialization. Another “tourist bucket list” for the Beckers.  How about you? jeb


Seniors Enjoy Best Climate in the World

The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago located just off the NW coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara.  There are seven different and unique islands, ideal for disconnecting from routine, recharging your senior batteries and going back home with a revitalized body and mind.

Visitors will find all kinds of open-air activities together with a wide range of accommodations and leisure activities that make most visitors wanting to return again and again. The Islands are volcanic and they are very Spanish, so that’s the language there.

Senior visitors can enjoy exciting city life in the island, especially in its capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is said that this city has one of the best climates in the world, a cosmopolitan and dynamic center, where you will find everything you can imagine. And senior visitors will enjoy a certain calm and peaceful atmosphere on the archipelago’s beaches.

Seniors Enjoy Natural Attractions

Climate and important natural attractions, especially Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third tallest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor), make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors each year.

Gran Canaria is large with nearly  850,000 inhabitants. The capital, Las Palmas (375,000+ inhabitants), is the most populous city and shares the status of capital of the Canaries with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The attractive archipelago offers unique landscape with the green hills, wild cliffs, sandy beaches, desert, and lots of palm and olive trees.

Canines? We know what they are. The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning “Island of the Dogs”, a name applied originally only to Gran Canaria. So it has nothing to do with those little yellow birds. Another speculation is that the so-called dogs were actually a species of Monk Seals (canis marinus or “sea dog” was a Latin term for ‘sea.’ So take your pick. I’m always interested in how sites got their names and there are very interesting stories behind most.

 Seniors Enjoy Year-Round Fresh Air

 Among the cities, along the beach, or off the beaten path, senior travelers will find many choices for Canary Island lodging. Grand hotels, luxury resorts, international hotels, charming bungalows, spacious villas, apartment rentals, and bed-and-breakfast inns providing overnight accommodations and island hospitality to visitors from around the world.

For generations, seniors  have flocked to enjoy Canary Island for relaxing vacations. Thanks to the mild year-round climate, fresh air, mineral-rich waters, and abundance of sunshine, the islands are an ideal setting to relax your cares away, no matter what the forecast is at home. And senior hikers, bring along a good pair of boots because walking in the Canaries is about discovering super scenery around every corner.

What’s not to enjoy about the Canaries!  jeb




Seniors Are Back on Spain’s North Shore

Not long ago I wrote a travel blog on Cádiz that lies on Spain’s south shore. Now senior travelers are invited to  northern Spain to check out the town of Santander.

Santander is the capital and largest city in the Cantabria region tucked between the Cantabrian Mountains and the Bay of Biscay in what is commonly known as “Green Spain = España Verde”.

Santander is an elegant city with an historic quarter that includes a group of majestic buildings situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains. Its marine and commercial tradition is linked to a century old history of tourism, which has its main attractions in the well-known El Sardinero Beach, the Promenade and the La Magdalena Peninsula.

Spanish Citizens Flock to Santander

Santander with a population of 180,000 is best known for its natural surroundings, and is renowned for its quality of life and mild year round climate. The city’s cultural life is intensified during the summer months and is a favorite destination for Spanish citizens. Santander has a particular mixture of ingredients in its gastronomy that senior visitors enjoy.

The region of Cantabria has been inhabited since ancient times, as evidenced by cave paintings and prehistoric remains. Santander dates to about the time of the Roman Empire and around 1000 B.C. the Romans first gave Cantabria the name Cantabro.

In 1941 fire destroyed the greater part of the medieval town center and sadly gutted the city’s Romanesque cathedral. Today the #1 attraction in Santander has to be the Playa de Langre,  said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in northern Spain. Twelve beaches attract senior tourists from around the world where they enjoy the enticing combination of beautiful yellow-sand beaches and great tapas bars.

Attention Senior Hikers and Bikers

Ready for a little walk? Wander around the Peninsula de la Magdalena, a picturesque wooded park set around a summer palace built for the Spanish King Alfonso XIII in 1912 (and now part of a university). Would you prefer a bicycle? A good option is to rent a bike and ride along the cycleway around the coast.

Rated highly for tourism are the Santander Cathedral and the nearby Plaza Porticada, a porticoed square surrounded by public buildings; Magdalena Palace (1909) which the city of Santander built as a summer holiday residence for the Spanish royal family; the Gran Casino del Sardinero (1916); the Faro del Cabo Mayor, the majestic lighthouse which presides over the entrance to the Bay of Santander; the ‘Small Palace on the Quay’; the Banco de Santander building.

The cultural wealth of the Cantabrian capital is enriched with the passage of the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela and the neighboring Altamira Caves, both of which have been declared World Heritage Sites. The caves are considered the “Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art” and contain some of the most important cave paintings of Quaternary art.

Adiós y tiene unas buenas vacaciones. jeb




Seniors Enthralled with Old World Charm

Spain is a beautiful country and if senior travelers are looking for a taste of Old World charm, Cádiz is it. A city and port in southwestern Spain with 125,000 inhabitants, Cádiz is a provincal capital in Andalusia. It is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in southwestern Europe. It was founded by Phoenician sailors about 3.000 years ago as a commercial stronghold.

Culture Overflows in Cádiz

The city is well-known for its 10 day Carnival, often cited as the third biggest Carnival celebration in the world. Wow! Senior visitors will enjoy checking out the many squares in the city with all of their cafes. Cádiz is known worldwide for its watchtowers.

The Tavira Tower, considered the official watchtower of Cádiz due to the fact that it is situated in the center of town, is witness to the trade and prosperity which the city experienced in the 18th century. It was also the highest point in the town at 45 meters above the sea level. It’s just plain cool. The Gran Teatro Falla is another site well worth a visit.

Senior Visitors Discover Unique Cádiz

The city is located on a unique site — on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea, just sticking out there like Florida. Old Town is characterized by the antiquity of its various quarters (barrios). In Arabic, the Latin name became Qādis. The Spanish Cádiz derived from this. (The little accent mark á shows that the stress is placed on the first syllable).

Old as it is, Cádiz has also proved to be durable and, ultimately, influential. Spain‘s first liberal constitution was signed in Cádiz in 1812, while the city’s distinctive urban model went on to provide an identikit (look that one up) for fortified Spanish colonial cities in the Americas.

Indeed, the port with its crenellated sea walls and chunky forts is heavily reminiscent of Havana in Cuba or San Juan in Puerto Rico. It’s is a port city with grand avenues, squares and gardens so senior visitors can easily walk around to soak up the atmosphere and get a feel of the city.

Euroresidentes points out that fishing, commerce and tourism provide Cádiz with its main sources of income. Its coastline is part of the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) and features numerous golden sandy beaches, including everything from beaches in urban areas to extensive, practically unspoiled stretches of sand.

And senior gourmets and oenophiles, Cádiz is known for its gastronomy, and particularly for its “pescaíto frito” (perfectly-fried platters of assorted fresh fish) and shellfish. This, of course, is ideally accompanied by the wines to be found on the Wine and Brandy routes in the Marco de Jerez region.

You’ll enjoy your time in Cádiz, especially that good food. jeb




Seniors Visit the City Where Columbus Departed

I’d like to think that I can remember back in highschool prior to 1957 that Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón as he is known in Spain) sailed from a port called Palos with three ships. I bet seniors can still name them. We forget a lot of historical facts, but not that one.

So I just had to look up that famed port in southern Spain to see if seniors might enjoy a visit. The answer was yes.  Wikipedia was a great help as usual with more facts that I could possibly read in a day. Typical Free Encyclopedia but kind of overdone in my opinion.  Anyway, onward to Palos.

If seniors enjoy reading maps, Maplandia is a great site for exploring areas by satellite as well as terrain. Having visited southern Spain with my wife, I did not realize until now how close we were to Palos, just west of Sevilla. Each day I read the historical events that happened that day and on Aug. 3 it reported on Columbus leaving the port headed for America, so I had to visit Palos.

Palos de la Frontera is the small (7,300+), quiet town on the River Tinto just 10km upstream from Huelva City and the sea. This is a very historical town whose city area has been called the “cradle of the discovery”. This travel guide called Costa de la Luz details more on the voyage.

Seniors, We Missed the Drama

The port of Palos de la Frontera has lost some of the drama that it enjoyed 500 years ago, since it is nowadays situated inland, due to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which altered the coastline, and also, more recently, due to the construction of the docks that shelter the port of Huelva.

Everything in this town however recalls that 1492 adventure. Thus, in a small monolith that stands across from the Mudejar doorway of the church of San Jorge, from the 14th century, seniors can see the engraved names of the seventy sailors from Palos who took part in the Discovery.

De la Rabida is a Franciscan monastery in Palos. Christopher Columbus stayed in this monastery before obtaining approval from the Catholic Monarchs for his expedition to the New World. The Statue to Pinzón is located at the main square of Palos. Martin Alonso Pinzón was the ship owner and captain of the Pinta – one of the Columbus’ 3 ships. And what are the other two names?

TripAdvisor provides an overview of Palos:Huelva including photos & videos, a travel forum and things to see and do. If you enjoy eating strawberries like my wife and I, Palos is the place. Acres and acres of fields.

I always enjoy seeing videos on where I want to travel so I conclude with a plethora of them. The first one, “Palos de la Frontera” is a good one to start out with. Enjoy your visit.  jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice, Europe

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