A 30.000 pies por viajeros para viajeros


Tenerife: a paradise for outdoor sports

Hiking, cycling, surfing, mountain biking, kayaking... on this Canary island you can practise all the sports you want.

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Bilbao BBK – the Northern Spain Festival

Bilbao BBK has been with us for twelve years now – that’s quite a feat. A well consolidated festival which manages to compete with some all-powerful musical events in Barcelona and Madrid within a similar timeframe. The reason for its success is simple – its lineup of artists has been steadily growing in prestige and popular appeal. BBK, which is held this year from 6 to 8 July 2017, features some awesome names. The lineup of markedly varied musical styles is headed by Depeche Mode, Phoenix, Fleet Foxes, Die Antwoord, The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club, Justice, The Avalanches and Brian Wilson, among others. If you want to attend the concerts, there are still available some 3-Day Tickets and room in the campsite, should you prefer to steer clear of hotels and instead be more adventurous.

One of the hallmarks of this festival is the grounds it is set in. Monte Kobetas (also known as Kobetamendi), is one of the city’s iconic playgrounds. This elevated, forested area affords spectacular views of Bilbao, apart from acting as one of its lungs and a spot where Bilbaines do sport and go for picnics. However, the precinct is off limits to the general public for the duration of BBK, when it is repurposed solely to music. Access to Kobetamendi is a simple matter; in fact, a couple of free bus lines are laid on for the event by the organisers, facilitating access to the festival precinct for all attendees.

Over and above the musical offerings, BBK provides the perfect excuse for getting to know other places in Bilbao, too. Here are a few proposals for early risers eager to explore the city on foot.

The Best “Pintxos”

It’s a cliché, but it’s actually true – if you visit Bilbao, you simply have to eat pintxos more than once. It is an unwritten norm. And, Bilbao happens to have some of the best bars serving up this culinary speciality. To score a bull’s-eye with your pintxos, the best thing is to head for the city’s historic centre, an area crammed with restaurants of tried and tested quality. Four of them we can highly recommend are Gure Toki,Txiriboga,Motrikes and Askao Berri.

A Touch of Art

As luck would have it, BBK coincides with one of the pictorial exhibition highlights of the year, which is still on in the Guggenheim Bilbao, namely Paris, Fin de Siècle, an exhibition showcasing the work of the most prominent late-19th-century French and European painters. It would be unthinkable not to dive into the museum to see paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac and Redo, among others, before going up to the Kobetamendi precinct to soak up the festival. Oh, and while you’re about it, make sure you don’t miss the museum’s permanent collection, featuring works by the likes of Robert Motherwell, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, James Rosenquist, Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter.

Power Records – Bilbao’s Temple of Vinyl

When in Bilbao, dropping in on Power Records is almost as important as eating pintxos if you’re a music aficionado.This legendary store has over twenty-five years’ history behind it. Located on Calle Villarías, near the Old Town and the Nervión estuary, this establishment has a mind-blowing selection of vinyls, both second-hand and imported. This is a veritable sanctuary for music lovers hunting for rare records by their favourite groups. Apart from second-hand albums, Power Records is also dedicated to CDs, reissues and the latest releases. So, if that seven-single by Depeche Mode, or a vinyl of “Pet Sounds” by Brian Wilson has been eluding you, you’re probably going to find it here.

Book your Vueling to Bilbao and let yourself be swept away by the music waves of one of the standout festivals in Spain.

Text by Xavi Sánchez Pons


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Winter Holiday at the Foot of Mont Blanc

Chamonix, the rakish star of the French Alps, is the perfect spot for a winter getaway where you can get the most out of the snow in every possible way and with splendid views of the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc. Situated just 16 kilometres from Switzerland and 11 kilometres from Italy, this destination draws snow sport devotees from everywhere, as well as those eager to go on outings in the superb natural surroundings, relax in a spa and even do a spot of shopping in the town of Chamonix.

The Best Black Pistes in France

Snow sport enthusiasts will find a veritable paradise in Chamonix as they ski against the spectacular backdrops, either of Mont Blanc or the valley where Chamonix is located. The 115 kilometres of ski runs – 12 for beginners, 26 blue, 20 red and 12 black – are a delight for any skiing or snowboarding devotee. While it is acclaimed for its large number of pistes with a high difficulty rating, suitable only for the most intrepid skiers, it also has areas where young children or learners can enjoy snow sports.

The Aiguille du Midi, at an altitude of 3,842 metres, is the objective of choice for those less fearful of heights, as well as others seeking out the most precipitous down slopes which only specialists can handle safely. It is well worth going up in the cable car and overcoming one’s fear of heights, if only for the superb panoramic views of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps to be had from here. The Brévent-Flégère pistes are more accessible and also afford magnificent views of Mont Blanc.

Heady Scenery

Those less inclined to do sport can rest assured that you don’t need to ski in order to enjoy the views, which can be reached by going up the comfortable cable cars. Mont Blanc, at a stunning altitude of 4,810 metres and famed for being the cradle of mountaineering, is the main focus of attention for visitors to the area. As mentioned earlier, both Aiguille du Midi and the peak of Le Brévent are perfect vantage points for viewing the scenery. Other panoramas worth considering here are provided by the glaciers. A standout example is Mer de Glace, located on the north face of Mont Blanc, which is 7 kilometres long by 200 metres deep, making it the longest glacier in France.

De Luxe Après Ski

Unlike other Alpine ski resorts, which feature only a few villages with limited aprés ski facilities, after a long, hard day of skiing or scoping the area in search of sensations, Chamonix boasts a whole town full of amenities for rounding off your day. You can go shopping, have a drink while listening to live music, or replenish your strength by trying some culinary classics of the region of Savoy, like raclette or fondue. What more could you want?

Book your Vueling to Geneva, which lies just 88 kilometres from Chamonix, and indulge in a surfeit of snow at the foot of the highest peak in Europe.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Christian Bertram

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Asturias – Your Ski Destination This Season

Two ski stations – Fuentes de Invierno and Valgrande-Pajares – promise exciting days of skiing, as well as good food in a cosy, family environment. They are ideal for families, and for those who want to get away from it all, eager to seek out tranquil, more relaxing destinations.

Fuentes de Invierno – The Last Glacier in the Cordillera

Located in the municipality of Aller, Fuentes de Invierno boasts the most up-to-date ski lifts of all stations in the Cordillera Cantábrica. It is the ideal resort for enjoying the white sport in tip-top conditions. The rugged mountain terrain, combined with small clusters of forest and cabins dotted across the lower reaches of the resort, make this diminutive skiable tract (8.7 km) one of the most picturesque spots in the Principality of Asturias.

The beginner slopes, halfway up the resort (1,650 m), and the areas of La Llomba and Entresierras for the more seasoned enthusiasts, will appeal to all skiers, whatever their level. At the end of the day, make sure you stop off at one of the villages near the resort, such as Felechosa or El Pino, where a large number of restaurants offer the finest Asturian cuisine (pote, fabada, picadillo, carnes roxas), as well as succulent dishes typical of Aller. You are certain to find game on the menu – plentiful in this part of the Montaña Central – in addition to such confectionery delicacies as cuayá or panchón.

Valgrande-Pajares, the Oldest of the Cantabrian Resorts

Inaugurated in 1954, the Lena resort of Valgrande-Pajares has had skiers on its pistes for over 60 years. It is considered one of the benchmark ski stations in the Cordillera Cantábrica. With a skiable tract of 21.5 km, it is strategically located at just over half an hour from several major cities (Oviedo, Gijón and León), and is equipped with snowmaking systems to guarantee hassle-free skiing throughout the season. The ski lifts that connect the whole resort start out from the base station (1,350 m), where all the main facilities are located.

At its highest point (1,870 m), towered over by the Cuitu Nigru,Cellón and Tres Marías peaks, you can see out across the landscape of the Cordillera Cantábrica range, and even catch a glimpse of the sea on clear days. Depending on your level of expertise, from this point you can access the beginner’s area, traverse the main axis of the resort – the Valle del Sol – or get to the crown jewel – El Tubo – the only officially sanctioned competition piste in Asturias.

Whether you’re reluctant to try out skiing, or have skied your heart out and need to regain your strength, make sure you head for the Cuitu Negro café and indulge in a veritable culinary tribute. Their tripe and the meat stew are some of the hallmarks of the house.

The ski resort’s ease of access and its accommodation capacity of 150 at the foot of the ski slopes make Pajares the perfect destination for those eager to do sport as well as spend time visiting the main cities and towns in the vicinity to enjoy other activities – cultural tours, shopping, cinema, concerts, theatre…

In short, both Valgrande-Pajares and Fuentes de Invierno are ski resorts with charm. Their friendly service and family atmosphere are paramount, and you can enjoy skiing starting at €24 – peerless prices for a winter getaway.

Here, then, is our advice, if you are undecided about where to head this winter. Check out our flights here.


Text and images by Turismo Asturias


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