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The Caves of Hercules

The beauty of the place, their archaeological and mythological value make the caves of Hercules an unusual place to visit in Tangier. The mythological comes as it is here where it is said Hercules rested after performing one of his 12 labors, after separating Europe and Africa , and waiting to perform the next task assigned – pick the golden apples from the Garden of the Hesperides .

You get there by a small road , 5 miles from Cape Spartel and 20 minutes from the city of Tangier . Although part of the cave has an artificial origin – rocks for making mill were extracted from here-, its origin is mainly due to the action of strong waves , which has shaped these caves in curious ways. For example , if you see the cave opening to the Atlantic, you will see drawn silhouette of African continenente flipped. Inside the cave , a handful of vendors and artisans offer their ceramic products , souvenirs and postcards with the image of this famous opening .


A place well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.



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A Holiday at Sea – Sighting Killer Whales off Tarifa

From mid-July to mid-September, around 50 killer whales grouped into five families can be sighted in the Strait of Gibraltar off Tarifa. And, if you’re a lover of these giant mammals, what an adventure you can have watching whales, dolphins and killer whales in their natural environment, toying with vessels and swimming to-and-fro through this sheet of water that joins the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean.

CIRCE (Conservation, Information and Research on Cetaceans) estimates that the striped, bottlenose, and common dolphin, and the short-finned pilot whale have their habitat in this Strait separating Europe and Africa. However, in mid-spring there are also sporadic sightings of sperm whales and such stunning mammals as the finback whale, measuring 20 metres long and weighing over 80 tons – one of the largest animals on the planet.

Killer whales are more on show in summer as they chase the tuna fish that head across the Strait of Gibraltar to the Atlantic at that time of year.

Tarifa is the Spot

But, the fun doesn’t stop there. Tarifa has a lot more to offer as it is one of Europe’s most attractive and cosmopolitan towns. It is a meeting point for young people from all over the world, drawn by the spectacular beaches and by the windsurfing and kitesurfing. If to that you add the entertainment provided by nature itself, the fun is guaranteed!

For those of you who prefer to be onterra firma,you can go for other activities you are sure to relish. In Tarifa, you can visit the beaches of Valdevaqueros and Bolonia, with their massive dunes which on clear days afford views of North Africa. Another essential enclave is Baelo Claudia, one of the major archaeological sites on the Peninsula. It is ideal for gauging what a typical Roman settlement would have been like, with its amphitheatre, roads, fish factories and walls. This was an important Roman settlement as it was here that the famous garum sauce was made and exported to Rome. The fish sauce was made of fermented entrails and regarded by Romans as an aphrodisiac.

Another of Tarifa’s emblematic monuments is the Castle of Guzmán El Bueno whose claim to fame is provided by the chilling tale of his preferring to hand over his son to the invaders than surrender the stronghold of Tarifa.

Make sure you don’t leave Tarifa without first trying their fresh fish, either in the bars or the beach stalls known as chiringuitos,or without tasting the delicious pastries with their long, Arab tradition in the town centre’s pastry shops.

Here you will be treated to a host of options, each with their own charm. So, take up your backpack, Vueling and fly to Jerez to enjoy one of southern Europe’s most powerful natural spots.

Text by Amparo Ortega and María del Águila Heras (Patronato Turismo de Cádiz)

Images by Patronato Turismo de Cádiz

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The Eden Project Garden of the Future

When you first stand before the huge structures rising from this unique “Eden”, you would be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into a sci-fi movie from the 50s, 60s or 70s. Here, by the judicious use of special effects, the complex conveys the vision of an unusual future, charged with scientific advances. Nowadays those films may raise more than one smile, peopled as they were by the odd alien, or depicting some disaster that had obliterated mankind from the face of the earth. Lee Tamahori, who directed the James Bond movie, Die Another Day,in 2002, must have had a similar impression when he chose to shoot some of the action-packed scenes from this 007 classic on this site. But, what exactly is the Eden Project and what makes it imperative for you to head to Cornwall to see it?

The Eden Project – Nature and Sustainable Development

Located in Cornwall, two kilometres from St Blazey and five kilometres from St Austell, the Eden Project was the brainchild of Tim Smit. It was designed by the architect, Nicholas Grimshaw, and the engineering firm, Anthony Hunt and Associates, inspired by nature and sustainable development. Unveiled in March 2001, this unique, spectacular garden has two leading lights – its Biomes with their futuristic appearance. A biome is defined as the ecological unit into which the biosphere is divided in terms of a number of climatic and geological factors that determine the types of prevailing fauna and flora. Within each Biome is a specific bioclimatic landscape and its corresponding ecosystem.

One area at the site features a Rainforest Biome, with a hot, humid atmosphere, divided into four rainforest environments – Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America. Another area is dedicated to the Mediterranean Biome with its warm, temperate climate and drier atmosphere, showcasing the typical landscapes of the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. There are also gardens outside the Biomes which reflect the temperate regions of planet Earth.

The goal of this grand project is none other than to educate – the site has an educational centre known as The Core– and to make us aware of the biodiversity that characterises our planet. Children visiting this magnificent site will be enthralled, as will most adults who come here, too. You will be stunned by the sheer size of the vegetation and are sure to discover various aspects of nature you never knew about.

Before visiting the Eden Project, we recommend you first check out What’s On, as another added value of this site – where you get the growing impression of being in an amusement park – is the huge number of activities hosted there, directed at audiences of all ages. One of the events, for instance, which has been held annually since 2002, are the Eden Sessions, a series of concerts at which star performances have been given by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Muse, Lily Allen, Oasis, Pulp, Elton John and a long etcetera of great bands and musicians.

Book your flight to Cardiff and venture into this special garden of Eden in southwest England.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Eden Project


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Orán: la perla oculta del Mediterráneo

Oran is still off the beaten tourist track, which makes it all the more appealing when it comes to planning a trip which avoids scheduled routines and well-worn tourist prototypes. During the French colonial period it was the capital of the Oran Department, and it is currently an important port city and commercial hub and boasts one of the leading universities in North Africa. Sunni Islam is the official State religion, although there are Christian and Jewish minority communities. A visa is required when travelling there.

The Spain Brand in Oran

The capital of western Algeria, Oran occupies a privileged, strategic location in the Mediterranean basin. It is regarded by Spaniards as the most Spanish city in Africa, given the wealth of Spanish vestiges still present right across the region. Indeed, traces of Spain linger in local culture, language and gastronomy. The Oranians eat cocas, a sausage similar to Spanish sobrasada, and claim to have invented the paella, a word derived from the Arabic baiya, consisting of rice and seafood. The city also sports a bullring – now in disuse – which was inaugurated in 1954.

In geographical terms, Oran is the point in Algeria closest to the Iberian peninsula and indeed, on a clear day, the city of Almería can be seen from Oran, or vice versa. Its privileged position has enabled it to build up all manner of land and maritime connections. Its bay opens to the north-east, while the western flank is dominated by the steep Aïdour mountain. The city lies sheltered between the old colonial city and the new developments, which lend it a more modern air. Not to be missed is a stroll down the seafront promenade with its delightful panoramic view of the harbour and the old city. From here you can walk to the interesting Pacha Mosque.

You should not pass over the occasion to visit the famous Santa Cruz Fort. Built atop a mountain adjacent to the city, where it has served as a faithful lookout for over four centuries, this is undoubtedly the masterpiece of Spanish military architecture in the city, and also houses the well-worth-seeing Chapel of the Virgin.

The Place de la Perle (or Plaza de Armas), once the centre of Oran, while the city was under Spanish rule, is another of the prime sightseeing spots. Together with the Spanish Gate, the Casbah, the Porte de Santon, the St Philip Garrison and the Tambour de San José, it is one of the best preserved places from that period, from the 16th to the 18th century. Most striking is this latter monument, due to its important role in the Spanish history of Oran. Radiating from there was a network of underground galleries which ran underneath the old citadel and connected the Qasr el-Bey (Bey Castle) to the Santa Cruz Fort.

Historical District

The old town features an alcazaba (citadel), a fortified urban enclosure built to house the governor’s residence, to defend a specific area and its surroundings and to garrison troops, making up a small military precinct. The cluster of buildings forming this citadel includes an 18th-century mosque.

The district of Sidi El Houari, the patron saint of the city, is the oldest in Oran. There are guided tours of the walls and tunnels dating from the Spanish period, the Spanish Gate, the Madrid Ramp, la Blanca, la Escalera, the Casbah, etc. In this historical district you can also see the old Saint-Louis school, and the Pacha Mosque, built during the 17th century. Before leaving Oran, make sure you visit the marabout or Moorish shrine of the city’s patron saint, Sidi El Houari and make a wish, as tradition dictates.

This district also houses some of the city’s most important museums. The Ahmed Zabana Museum, formerly known as the Demaeght Museum, has archaeological, ethnological and natural history collections from the Maghreb on display, as well as an exhibition area devoted to Oran. In the archaeology section, the Carthaginian and Roman collections take pride of place. The buildings date from 1933, while in 1986 the museum was taken over by the Ministry of Culture and renamed. It comprises seven sections focusing on Oran and its surrounding region – fine art, the Moudjahid, numismatics, pre-history, old Oran, ethnography and natural history. Another prominent museum is the Moudjahid, located in the USTO district, which is dedicated as a memorial to the struggle for independence during the Algerian War.

Discover one of the best kept secrets of the Mediterranean! Check out our prices here.

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Photos by Algerian Embassy

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