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Spotlight: Barcelona

Image: Damian Corrigan

Thinking of visiting Barcelona? Get the full lowdown here.

Spain Travel Spotlight10

Madrid Zoo's Baby Panda VIDEO

Thursday April 10, 2014

Madrid Zoo's baby panda has been seen in public for the first time.

The seven-month-old 15kg fluffy guy, named Xing Bao, came out at a ceremony for the Chinese Ambassador to Spain.

Madrid's Zoo is in the Casa del Campo, the large park to the west of Madrid.


What's the Most Photographed Sight in Spain?

Sunday April 6, 2014

What do you think is the most popular place in Spain to be snapped by tourists? La Sagrada Familia? Or Las Ramblas? Or maybe it's not in Barcelona - could it be the Alhambra in Granada?

Well, according to Thrillist's Top Ten Most Photographed Places on Earth, it's actually Barcelona's Parc Guell, which came third on the list (New York's Guggenheim museum came first).

Surprised? A lot of the commenters on the article refuse to believe the findings of the article, which uses research conducted by Sightsmap.com. They claim that almost every sight on the list is from a country that has a more photographed sight. Some take particular exception to Times Square, which is constantly being photographed, not appearing higher.

I have a little more faith in the list.

Sightsmap isn't really looking at how many times people press 'click' on their camera. No-one has this data. What they do know is how many photographs people upload to the web. And, despite the feeling we all have that our friends are uploading every photograph they ever take, the truth is that most people take hundreds of photos on a trip but only upload their favourites. So this is a list of the most satisfying sights for snap-happy visitors.

And in this light, I'm not at all surprised that Parc Guell came out on top in Spain. Las Ramblas may be more visited, but one picture of a tree-lined avenue is probably all you're going to want to upload to show your friends. La Sagrada Familia is similar - it has two photo-worthy facades.

But Parc Guell has so many excellent sights. The views, the gingerbread houses, the lizard sculpture, the ceramic bench - all of these things are worth a snap. Don't believe me? Check out my Parc Guell Picture Gallery.


April and May in Spain

Monday March 31, 2014

Spain is warming up and with that comes some of the country's hottest festivals and celebrations.

April is dominated by Semana Santa, or Holy Week, Spain's version of Easter. But there's also the Barcelona Beer Festival, the Festimad music festival in Madrid and Murcia's Spring Festival.

Heading into May, we have the Feria de Sevilla (later than usual due to the late Easter) as well as Madrid's month long San Isidro festival.  Wine drinkers have wine festivals in Jerez and Sanlucar de Barrameda. And for the gastronomically brave there's the Snail Festival in Girona, Catalonia.

AVE Trains: Wifi and Silent Carriage Coming Soon!

Thursday March 27, 2014

RENFE, the Spanish rail company, has announced a series of improvements to their AVE high-speed train service. In the near future, their services from Madrid to Barcelona, Madrid to Seville and other AVE routes in Spain will have the following services:

  • A quiet carriage Cellphones will be banned, there'll be no announcements and the lights will be dimmed on early and late trains. Sweet dreams!
  • A door-to-door baggage service No more lugging your, um, luggage around as RENFE will pick it up for your from your hotel and take it your final destination for you.
  • Wifi You'll finally be able to surf the web while traveling on Spanish trains. It hasn't yet been announced how much it will cost.

Spain's AVE train service is already the quickest and most convenient way to get from city to city in Spain, though from Madrid to Barcelona you also have the Iberia Air Shuttle that is pretty impressive too. These new improvements are just the latest ways RENFE are making getting around Spain's Best Cities easier than ever.

See also: Best Train Journeys in Spain

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