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Expect the Unexpected in Bilbao, Spain

Expect the Unexpected in Bilbao, Spain

Alluring architecture, an unexpected dining culture, and stunning landscapes that surround the city center; Bilbao is one of the marvelous hidden gems of the Basque Country. What once was an industrial city has transformed into a city of art after the unveiling of Frank Gehry’s shimmering titanium-clad Guggenheim museum. Download the Bilbao Travel Guide and Offline Map to get to know this unexpected city of beauty.

1.     Museo Guggenheim Bilbao

It’s hard to imagine a more mesmerizing sight than the shimmering titanium Museo Guggenheim Bilbao. It is definitely one of modern architecture’s most iconic buildings. Frank Gehry’s work helped lift Bilbao out of its post-industrial depression and catapulted it into the 21st century forefront. It sparked the city’s inspired regeneration, stimulated further development, and placed Bilbao in the international art and tourism spotlight.

2.     Bilbao Old Quarter

Bilbao’s atmospheric old quarter, Casco Viejo, may be compact but it is brimming with charming streets, boisterous bars, plenty of quirky and indie shops that will keep you busy for hours. The original seven streets date back to the 1400’s, so expect a lot of photogenic, colorful houses that line the main streets. The 14th-century gothic Catedral de Santiago has a splendid Renaissance portico and pretty little cloister you should not miss visiting.

3.     Basilica de Begoña

Towering over Casco Viejo from atop a nearby hill is this 16th-century basilica. It’s mainly Gothic in look, although there are still touches of Renaissance such as the arched main entrance, crept in during its century-long construction. The austere vaulted interior gleams by a gold altarpiece which contains a statue of the Virgin Begoña, the patron saint of Biscay.

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Exploring Spain One Village at a Time

Exploring Spain One Village at a Time

The best places to visit are the ones that you don't read in guidebooks or see on social media. Lucky for us, Spain is abundant in these beautiful, unexpected little gems. Sprawled all throughout the country are medieval villages that are the stuff of fairy tales. Read on and go ahead and download the Spain Travel Guide and Offline Map to start your journey in the country of surprises.

1.     Pals, Girona

One of our favorite villages are ones that look like they haven't been touched by time. Its narrow stone streets, arched steps, and delicate flowers is certainly a blast from the past. The quaint little town of Pals seems was built in the 14th-15th centuries. Not only is it a beauty to behold, but it is also rich in history. This medieval Catalonian town experienced a peasant revolt that resulted in a civil war against Joan II.

2.      Peñafiel, Valladolid

Europe is mostly famous for its medieval stone towns, but Peñafiel is unique for its wooden buildings. Nestled in the Ribera del Duero is known for its sumptuous cuisine where wine and suckling pigs are the highlights. Make sure to also visit the Peñafiel Castle that overlooks the village and the Plaza del Coso Square its Clock Tower.

3.     Buitrago del Lozoya, Madrid

When in Madrid don't miss Buitrago. It is considered as the best-preserved Arab defense systems in Spain. Stop by the Chruch of Santa María del Castillo a church that’s small in size but otherwise impressive in its interior.  Santa Maria Church definitely adds character to the already charming town. The Buitrago del Lozoya Hospital, which was founded by the Marquis of Santillana in the 15th century is also a must-see.

Spain Travel Guide for iPhone, iPad and AppleWatch

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Prado Museum, the Window the Spanish Soul

Prado Museum, the Window the Spanish Soul

Being in awe when visiting Prado Museum is considered an understatement. Don't take out word for it, go see it yourself! With more than 7,000 paintings in their collections. What was once a grand palace now turned museum, it is a must see when visiting if you ever make your way to Madrid. And how can you not when the city itself is already filled with so much culture and beautiful art in itself. So what are you waiting for? Download the Prado Museum Travel Guide and Offline Map now!

1.     History

The neoclassical Palacio de Villanueva was completed in 1785 and what is now the museum's Western Wing. It was originally born as a house of science and later became a barracks for Napoleon's cavalry troops. The building itself is already beaming with history. In 1814, King Fernando VII decided to use the palace as a museum. Five years later the Museo del Prado opened with 311 Spanish paintings on display.

Visit Prado Museum with eTips Travel Guide

2.      Goya

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes is a staple name in the Prado Museum. His work can be found on all three floors of the Prado. In Room 65, Goya’s El dos de mayo and El tres de mayo rank among Madrid’s most emblematic paintings as they bring to life the 1808 anti-French revolt and subsequent execution of insurgents in Madrid. Alongside, in Rooms 67 and 68, are some of his darkest and most disturbing works, Las pinturas negras with their dark browns and black and distorted animalesque appearance of their characters.

3.     Velázquez

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez is another of the grand masters of Spanish art who brings so much distinction to the Prado. Of all his works, Las meninas (Room 12) is what most people come to see. Completed in 1656, it is more properly known as La família de Felipe IV (The Family of Felipe IV). The rooms surrounding Las meninas contain more fine works by Velázquez with his paintings of various members of royalty--Felipe II, Felipe IV, Margarita de Austria, El Príncipe Baltasar Carlos and Isabel de Francia on horseback.

Meninas, Velazquez. Prado Museum Guide

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3 Reasons to Visit Granada, the Spanish City of Sweeping Views

3 Reasons to Visit Granada, the Spanish City of Sweeping Views

In the foothills of Sierra Nevada lies the revered city of Granada. The historical city southern Spain’s Andalusia region is esteemed for its grand medieval architecture dating back to the 13th-century Moorish occupation. As the last stronghold of the Moors in Western Europe, Granada is home to the famous Alhambra Palace. But beyond the grandiose architecture, you will enjoy a remarkable cuisine distinct from other famous Spanish cities like Barcelona and the neighboring Seville. Find out what makes Granada such an inspiration to celebrated writers and artists by downloading the Granada Travel Guide and Offline Map.

1.      The Alhambra Palace

If Agra has the Taj Mahal and Siem Reap has the Angkor Wat, Granada has the spectacular Alhambra Palace. Standing tall atop the entire hill of La Sabica it offers intricate designs, detailed mosaics, hand-carved cedar wood, and even serene orchards. Samuel Ha-Nagid, the Jewish grand vizier of one of Granada’s 11th-century Zirid sultans, initially built the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Nasrid emirs turned the area into a fortress-palace complex and housed royal families before the Catholic Monarchs took hold during the Reconquista in 1492.

Travel to Granada with eTips Travel Guide for iPhone, iPad and iPod

2.      St. John of God Basilica

The basilica dedicated to John of God, the Portuguese soldier who devoted his life to helping those who were less fortunate, is a glistening jewel of the Baroque period. And when we say glistening it indeed shines with gold and silver. It boasts a beautiful Baroque façade flanked by towers featuring slate capitals. Inside, you will discover opulent decorations that fill every inch of the Latin cross floor plan. The church chapel houses a solid silver urn that holds the relics of Saint John of God. Its interior is richly adorned with sculptures and images. The fresco paintings depict saints, angels, virtues, and episodes from the life of Saint John of God.

Granada Guide for iPhone, iPad and iPod

3.      Junta de los Rios

Granada isn't just about spectacular palaces and grand temples; it also boasts breath taking natural wonders. Nestled in Otivar, Granada is a place of outstanding natural beauty with wonderful river pools and spectacular views. Making Junta de los Rios, which translates to "the joining of the rivers", a great excursion for the more adventurous. Junta de los Rios with there the rivers Rio Verde and Rio Negro converge to form waterfalls and crystal, clear pools where you can take a dip and take a break from the warm Granada weather. Until recently, only a handful of people visited for climbing and canyoneering.

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Barcelona’s Architectural Masterpiece -  Sagrada Familia – Must See!

Barcelona’s Architectural Masterpiece - Sagrada Familia – Must See!

Whether your time in Barcelona revolves around a layover, weekend away or a longer break, the one thing you cannot miss during your time in the Catalan capital is a visit to the Sagrada Familia. One of the most magnificent churches in the world, this amazing creation comes from the mind of the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. The church is still a work in progress even though construction began in 1882 and is expected to finish in 2026--that’s 100 years after Gaudi's death. Tour this magnificent masterpiece with the Sagrada Familia Travel Guide and Offline Map.

1.      The Size, Detail, and Craftsmanship

Towering over its neighboring buildings, the Sagrada Familia is epic in scale. When complete it will have an impressive 18 spires, according to Gaudi's design, and will be the tallest church in the world. Outside the grand facade's intricate designs cover the walls in their entirety, with different styles being embraced in the telling of Christ's birth, life, and death. Visitors pass under the tree of life, with animals and wildlife to be spotted wherever you look and throughout the church areas are dedicated to everything from saints to sins. Inside the columns of the church are designed to look like trees and branches, and the roof so intricately designed you would want to stare at it for hours.

Sagrada Familia Travel Guide for iPhone, iPad & AppleWatch

2.      The Stained Glass Windows

The stained glass brings the building to life, with rainbows of light showering down onto the walls and columns all around you. They really have to be seen to be believed. They are considered an essential feature of the church. Gaudi gave them the same expressive intricacy as the architecture of the carvings. And if you love it enough, you can even pay to have a pane of glass added with your own name on it.

Sagrada Familia Travel Guide. All you need in one place!

3.      The View from the Top

The panoramic view of Barcelona will blow you away. The way the blue ocean from the Barcelona beach from afar contrasted with the orange glow of the church and the cityscape is worth mustering up your courage to defy your fear of heights, if you have one that is. The spectacular view is definitely a must-see for Barcelona first-timers and frequent visitors alike.

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One of the most romantic places on earth, Barcelona

One of the most romantic places on earth, Barcelona

Who will not fall in love with one of the most romantic places on earth, from the various performances in the street, the art and music, wonderful people, laid-back lifestyle, breathtaking architecture and a bunch of activities around- oh man! This is where you can spend the best time of your life. Barcelona is a gigantic destination that offers a lot to tourists. Our eTips travel guide will give you some highlights of this city with near-limitless options!

Restaurant

No Barcelona trip is complete without dining at their restaurants. The ever famous tapas is likely to be found in almost all restaus including paella, esqueixada, escalivada, and canelons- are just some foods you must try.Well known places to eat are in Can Solé, El Atril, Kaiku, Quimet i Quimet and Bracafe are most recommended!

Barcelona most romantics restaurants! Try Paella!
Barcelona most romantics restaurants! Try Paella!

Museum

Plenty of art collections that span the medieval times to the 1990’s are prominent in the city, but if you are on a short vacation you won’t be able to visit all 70!Yes, seriously!Aside from the famous attractions including Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, don’t forget to include Picasso masterpieces, The Renaissance and Baroque Art Collection includes works by Titian, Tintoretto, Cranach, and the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) which are indeed historical. Some famous art modernist collections are Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol, Gaudi, Josep Maria Jujol, Picasso, and Pablo Gargallo.

Park Güell one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona
Park Güell one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona

Market

La Boqueria, a food market like no other, is a tourist landmark in Catalonia that will definitely encourage you to come back in Barcelona! It’s a very busy place and is absolutely crammed with diverse selection of foods such as olives, seafood, fruit, meats, and cheeses. The hustle and bustle around here are things you really wouldn’t want to miss!

Park

Of course, visiting Barcelona won’t be complete without getting a good hotel and to discover the place on foot. You'll want to see all the Parc de la Ciutadella has to offer as well as the Parc de Joan Miró, and the Montjuïc castle. These are widely considered as the most beautiful park destinations in the country.

Ooops there you go! There are more things about Barcelona that you’ll get to know more from people around the central area where transportation is easy. Experience the life of Catalonia and feel like a local. Know more about Barcelona by clicking Barcelona Travel Guide and Offline City Map Support.

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Madrid’s Nightlife

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Madrid’s Nightlife

Famed American novelist and hardcore barfly Ernest Hemingway once said: Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night.And who could argue with the wisdom of a man who has lived his life on the bar stools of Madrid?

Since Hemingway’s time, Madrid has kept its spot as one of Europe’s best places to party. The city’s nightlife -as anyone who has survived it will tell you - is the stuff of legends.

No one in Madrid makes only one plan for the night. Madrileños enjoy socializing and would often make at least three plans on how they’ll spend their evening before hitting the city.

An app like Madrid Travel Guide and Offline City Map which has alerts for the latest events as well as an offline map, can help you decide your route to cover more of the scene.

Before the debauchery – eat.

To survive Madrid’s nightlife, there are only two things you have to remember – it starts late and it goes on all night.

You need your stamina, so make sure to fill up your tank with local favorites such as oreja a la plancha, seared pig’s ear for starters, followed by a healthy serving of huevos rotos which is typically served with bread, fried potatoes, chorizo, and topped off with an over-easy egg, and rounded off with a classic, callos with slices of morcilla.

Try Callos a la madrileña a delightful Madrid tapa
Try Callos a la madrileña a delightful Madrid tapa

In a city where there is one bar for every 192 people, there will be no craving left unsatisfied in Madrid’s gastro scene.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Once you’ve had dinner, choose from which of Madrid’s three distinct nightlife scenes you’d like to start your night in.

Chueca is considered as Madrid’s gay district. Majority of the bars here cater to the gay community. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the nightlife here if you’re not waving the rainbow flag. There’s also a good selection of restaurants, cafes, and art galleries around Plaza de Chueca and Mercado de San Antón to choose from.

Calle Huertas is for those that want a taste of the city’s more traditional nightlife. Music lovers will enjoy the district’s wide assortment of jazz clubs, theater cafes, and bars that offer flamenco music located around Plaza del Ángel, Café Central, and Calle Echegaray.

Malasaña is the center of Madrid’s hipster culture. The neighborhood is filled with shops and boutiques that cater to the city’s younger generation. Because of its selection of quirky-themed bars and restaurants that draw in the eclectic crowd, it has been likened to similar communities like the East Village.

Madrid nightlife with eTips Travel Guides
Madrid nightlife with eTips Travel Guides

Now that you have an idea of Madrid’s unique nightlife, forget about sleep and check out eTips for suggestions on bars, restaurants, and events Spain’s most cosmopolitan city has to offer.