If you want to take a day trip to Jerez de la Frontera, here are 4 beautiful and interesting places to visit that are not far away from each other.


Very beautiful Islamic-style gardens recreate the ambience of Islamic times, geometric flower beds, fountains and well preserved Arabic Baths. There you can also see the Palacio Villavicencio.

» Prices: excl. camera 5€ / incl. camera 7€

» Calle Alameda Vieja, s/n, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

2. Tio Pepe Bodegas

One of the oldest Bodegas in Jerez. If you want to see it and drink some wine, every hour from 12pm on, there is a Tour through the Bodega. The Tour and wine tasting lasts together about two and a half hour.

  • Prices:
  • Jerez Wine and Brandy Tour + 2 wines = 15.50€
  • Jerez Wine and Brandy Tour + 4 wines = 18.50€
  • Jerez Wine and Brandy Tour + 2 wines and Tapas = 18.50€
  • Jerez Wine and Brandy Tour + 4 wines and Tapas = 21.50€

» 19 Calle Puerto, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain . Alameda Vieja

3. Alameda Vieja

Separating the Alcázar from the Tio Pepe winery is the Alameda Vieja, one of Jerez’s most attractive parks. Its central boulevard runs parallel to the Moorish fortress walls and leads up to a bandstand where live music is performed in the summer.

4. Plaza del Arenal

To beautifully start or end your day, only a few minutes away from all places named above is the old town’s principal square, the Plaza del Arenal. Surrounded by bars and cafés with outside terraces, this is a great spot for breakfast or early-evening drinks. At the plaza’s centre, colourful flowerbeds surround a statue of Miguel Primo de Rivera.

You are thinking of traveling to Spain to learn Spanish or improve your skills? Here are some reasons and tips why it is a great experience studying Spanish directly in Spain:

Staying in Spain can give you a much more intense and interesting time learning Spanish, and having fun while learning it.

1. When surrounded by natives and the spanish language constantly you pick up the language way faster and therefore begin to understand the language better.

2. Of course you should not just run into it and travel to Spain, live in an apartment and wait for the spanish language to come to you. If you really want to learn Spanish in Spain you should consider searching yourself a language school. In Spain there are many official language schools to help you learn Spanish and English, one of them being Spark with it´s classes for Students, Adults and School Groups.

3. In addition to that you can stay with a host family. Through a host family you can dip in into the Spanish Culture, their family lives and finding friends. You are also forced to speak Spanish constantly or at least try, because in a host family communication is key.

4. Lastly, you have to have a look at the regions of Spain, because some are good for learning spanish and some have a really heavy accent or speak their own language and you might not understand a thing.

In these beautiful 5 cities learning Spanish is easy, as the people speak clear and understandable Spanish:

Salamanca –> University city

Madrid –> Capital of Spain, metropolis

León –> Captial of Province León, historical architecture

Córdoba –> Capital of Province Córdoba, was a very important Roman city

Cádiz –> Capital of Province Cádiz, ancient port city and of course our own wonderful spectacular El Puerto de Santa Maria.

These 3 cities might be very beautiful, no doubt, but you should rather avoid them, as they all have their own language and not everyone speaks Castellano ( the Spanish teached in schools):

Barcelona –> preferred language: Catalan

Bilbao –> preferred language: Basque

Valencia –> preferred language: Valencian

If you plan to travel to Spain and want some excitement and party, traveling in time of these three fiestas is perfect for you and your trip.

Some locations of these Fiestas you can even get easily to when staying in Puerto de Santa Maria for an Spanish Course or a Work-Experience.


Carnival is mainly about costumes and masks. It is a celebration of joy, music, dance, processions, banquets and theatre. It is held in February until the beginning of March, dependent on the region.

In Spain they organise the celebrations for the whole peninsula, but the most famous and impressive places for carnival are Sitges, Cádiz and Tenerife.

The most outstanding event of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is for example the Carnival Queen’s Election Gala. To become Queen, the candidates dress in majestic costumes that can weigh between 150 and 200 kilos!

Carnival en Tenerife

Fallas de Valencia:

From the 1st to 19th March, València is overturned by Fallas celebrations, a festivity that combines tradition, satire and art.

From the 1st to 19th there are beautiful fireworks coloring the sky, that explode with really loud noise and are therefore named Mascletà. The best part is the Nit del Foc, a unique firework display celebrated in the early hours of the 18th.

Nit del Foc

Fallas originally were human-looking piles made out of wood, old belongings and rags, but now, the creators spend much time, effort and money into their Fallas. At the 15th and 17th of march the Creators present their work and judges select the most beautiful, which win awards. There are always more than 750 monuments set up in Valencia.

Las fallas end with the Cremà on the 19th March, where all the Fallas must be burned from 10pm to midnight. The sky lightned up by all the fire is very impressing and should be seen once in life.

Las Fallas

La Feria de Abril de Sevilla:

This festival is the spring festival and usually takes place on the first Sunday in the week after Easter. At 12am the festival begins with lighting up the gate. Then about 25,000 light bulbs go on at the entrance of the festival area – the starting signal for a week full of streets with stands, lanterns, horse carriages and about 500,000 visitors.

Las calles de Sevilla en la Feria de Abril

During this time, the city is transformed into a magnificent sea of colours, with music and the joy of living in the foreground.

Una procesión es un desfile religioso que involucra a personas que recorren de un lugar a otro, o bien partiendo de un sitio y volviendo a él, como muestra de su creencia y de su respectiva fe religiosa.  En Semana Santa en España se realizan estas procesiones coincidiendo con la Semana Mayor. En estas procesiones participan distintos colectivos agrupados en cofradías o hermandad religiosa bajo el reconocimiento eclesiástico. Así pues, los cofrades salen a las calles con sus hermandades acompañando a un paso de Cristo o Virgen adscrito a un pasaje de la Pasión. Los integrantes realizan las estaciones ataviados con túnicas: penitentes o nazarenos. Normalmente cada cuidad de España tiene una semana con una o más pasos (procesiones) cada dia. Abajo puedes ver la programación de Semana Santa en El Puerto de Santa Maria.

If you want to see one of the pasos in El Puerto refer to the pasos timetable below, curtesy of Turismo el Puerto . If you want to learn Spanish in Spain don’t hesitate to look at our Spanish Course options.


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Studying with Spark also means living in El Puerto de Santa Maria, a lovely town in the province Cadíz. El Puerto de Santa Maria does not only have a variety of historic features and beautiful beaches to offer but also the harbor Puerto Sherry, where I took two of the students at Spark yesterday as part of my Work-Experience-programme. From Spark the walk takes approximately 50 minutes down to Playa Puntilla and along the coastline heading west on a beautiful walkingpath viewing the bay of Cadíz. Puerto Sherry itself is one of the biggest marinas in Andalusia with more than 800 moorings and a range of other water sports like windsurfing and diving. In history the harbor played an important role in shipping the sherry produced in the sherry triangle Jerez-Sanlúcar-El Puerto de Santa Maria abroad, but today, as we discovered, it is a quiet place to relax and let some time pass while sitting in one of the little cafés to enjoy the view on the marina and Cadíz. After having some typical Spanish coffee and fresh juice we made our way back to Spark and enjoyed the walk talking and practicing our Spanish.

Going on cultural activities with other students provides a great opportunity to not only practise the Spanish learned in class during the mornings but also to explore new places and make friends along the way! If you would love to know more about El Puerto de Santa Maria and the Spanish language, why not join Spark and experience it yourself?




El Puerto de Santa Maria forms part of sherry triangle with nearby Jerez and SanLucar. Indeed the English word “Sherry” is an anglicization of the Spanish city Jerez which last year was the European Wine Capital.  The Ruta del Mosto takes place each year in El Puerto de Santa Maria in November to celebrate the first wine of that year that is ready to drink and usually it is made by smaller bodegas (wineries) which is what this festival focuses on.  Not only is it a great way to learn about culture of wine making in the area but usually each mosto is served with some food so it a great way to enjoy tapas. Click on the image below for more details on the event and where you can get Mosto.  If you are interested in studying Spanish and learning about making of sherry why not considering a Spanish Course with us, especially our Spanish and Feria might be of interest for those with a love of wine and Flamenco and just generally having a great time 🙂


Mosto: el primer vino fermentado, que se empieza a beber a partir del mes de noviembre, con un grado alcohólico aproximado de 12%. En muchas ocasiones este mosto se realiza de manera artesanal en cortijos y viñas, siendo un atractivo culinario.


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Toen ik 12 was begon ik met danslessen. Ik begon met de meest bekende dansen in Nederland, de latin en ballroomdansen. Omdat ik uit een echt Nederlandse familie kom, ben ik niet opgegroeid met dans. De enige dans die mijn familie goed onder de knie heeft is de ‘polonaise’ (bekende dans in Nederland). Maar vanuit een dansers perspectief kan ik het niet echt een dans noemen. Maar hier in Spanje leren de mensen al dansen vanaf hun geboorte. Maar welke dansen zijn nu het meest populair in Spanje? Er zijn verschillende dansen om uit te kiezen, bijvoorbeeld flamenco, paso doble en salsa. Één is populairder dan de ander. Maar het meest belangrijke wat ze met elkaar gemeen hebben is de passie en emotie die de dansers in hun dans stoppen.

Flamenco is heel bekend in Spanje, vooral in het zuiden. Het is een dans van passie en emotie. In het begin luisteren de flamenco dansers naar de gitaar en de andere instrumenten en beginnen dan langzaam te dansen. De dans bestaat uit mooie armbewegingen en gestamp op de vloer.

Paso doble, de dans van de matador en de rode cape. De dans is afgeleid van het stierenvechten. Het is heel sierlijk hoe de vrouw om de man danst, maar tegelijkertijd zijn het hele krachtige bewegingen. Het is een hele mooie dans met veel passie.

En als laatste maar zeker niet de minste; salsa. In het zuiden is het niet de populairste dans, maar er zijn nog steeds veel mensen die het kunnen dansen. Tijdens de dans vertellen de dansers een verhaal met hun bewegingen.  Je moet de muziek goed aanvoelen en één zijn met je dans partner, om zo het gevoel van salsa echt te beleven.

It’s september so the weather is cooling down, but this are still pretty hot in Spark.   On Monday we have welcome drinks. On Tuesday we have a visit to Plaza de Toros where our students will enjoy Tapas and Drinks (More drinks? Yes more drinks, there’s always room for an extra glass of wine while on holiday) On Wednesday we have our conversation class for off and on site students alike. On Thursday we have A Visit to a Castle, which is always an interesting learning experience. To see our full schedule click Here

Congratulations Jerez de la Frontera!

It has just been released that the new Capital of Wine in Europe is the beautiful city of Jerez de la Frontera, which is located just a 10 minute train ride away from El Puerto de Santa María! We would like to dedicate this blog post to congratulate Jerez on this fantastic award! Jerez is a stunning city with so many cultural activities to enjoy there. With its phenomenal buildings and amazing bars and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to taste the wine the city is now renowned for.

Check out this promotion video for Jerez’s Wine industry. It beautifully shows some of the history in Jerez and much much more!

The word “Sherry” is an anglicisation of Xeres (Jerez) and are both derived by Jerez de la Fronteras name in the moorish period; Sherrish. Sherry was previously known as sack, from the Spanish saca, meaning “extraction” from the solera. In Europe, “Sherry” is protected by Spanish law, all wine labelled as “Sherry” must legally come from the Sherry Triangle, an area in the province of Cádiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and us here at Spark in El Puerto de Santa María. Therefore this award is not only a great success for Jerez, but also for El Puerto de Santa Maria!

Jerez is one of main airports that we link with in El Puerto de Santa María. We offer free transfers to and from Jerez airport.

If you found this post interesting and would like to find out more information like this and much much more, sign up to our newsletters using the link below. If you would also like to read more about our Spanish courses or if you would like to go straight to purchasing one of our courses, please click on the corresponding links below.

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La Feria del Vino Fino en El Puerto de Santa Maria!

feria el puerto crop

Typical Feria Dresses

The Spaniards are known for their party spirit, and La Feria is no different! This is a week of dancing ‘Andalucian Style’, drinking beer and eating amazing typical Spanish food! What more could you possibly want?!

Every town in Andalucia has its own feria or fair, and it would be possible, if one had superhuman powers of endurance, to spend the whole summer following them around the region.

The first feria takes place at Seville in April (two weeks after Semana Santa) and the last is at San Pedro de Alcántara in mid October. La Feria in El Puerto de Santa Maria is the next feria to take place after La Feria de Sevilla, usually the week after.


La Portada de La Feria!

The history of La Feria dates back to the middle ages, and was the principal means of interchange of local products within town and cities. This soon developed into an anual party where everyone comes together to enjoy their time together. There are themes for each day of La Feria, one being Ladies night and another dedicated to work socials where you and the people you work with have a day together socialising at the Feria together. It is truly a festival to represent togetherness and fun and relaxation as a family or group of people.

Why not read the experiences of one of our previous Spark Sec’s at her first ever Feria De Vino Fino en El Puerto de Santa Maria to find out first hand what this amazing festival is really like!

If you found this post interesting and would like to find out more information like this and much much more, sign up to our newsletters using the link below. If you would also like to read more about our Spanish courses or if you would like to go straight to purchasing one of our courses, please click on the corresponding links below.

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Puente Fin de Semana – Long Weekend

In all countries we get the enjoyment of having a 3 day long weekend off of work, school and generally have a lovely long weekend. Here in Spain they take it one step further, by having a ‘Puente’.

Andalusia Flag/Region

Andalusia Flag/Region

Puente, also known in English terms as a ‘bridge’ is in fact a 4 day holiday. This is when a public holiday falls on a Thursday or a Monday, which automatically (obviously..!) entitles you to the Friday or Monday off as well (lucky them!). However, in many cases this year, they get the Wednesday off too.. Mental, no?!

Puente falls on the same weekend every year as Andalusia celebrates it’s national holiday, Andalusia Day. ‘Día de Andalucía’ is celebrated on the 28th February, celebrating being an autonomous community in Spain. Schools are usually closed for 3 days in the week Puente (in English, a 5 day weekend..!) and they spend the 2 days they actually are at school doing traditional customs such as the ‘desayuno andaluz’, Andalusian breakfast, which consists of sliced toast, with olive oil and orange juice.

However, for the majority of people in Andalusia, this four day (or five..!) long weekend is spent socialising with family or friends, and making the most of the extra two days off of work! So to everyone near or far, whether you’re working or are in fact lucky enough to have Puente off of work, we at Spark wish you a happy ‘Día de Andalucía’!! It truly is one of the most remarkable regions in Spain, with so much to offer, why not try it out yourself and study Spanish here at Spark!

Here is a blog post of a previous Spark employee who tells us what she got up to at Puente!

If you found this post interesting and would like to find out more information like this and much much more, sign up to our newsletters using the link below. If you would also like to read more about our Spanish courses or if you would like to go straight to purchasing one of our courses, please click on the corresponding links below.

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Learn Spanish Football Vocabulary

Interesting facts on Football in Spain

Football Vocabulary

Here in Spain, everyone is football mad; from the guys to the girls; from the students to the retired. They are all joined together by this sport and are very passionate and loyal to their teams. One of the main questions asked by Spanish people (especially here in Andalusia) is “are you Barça or Madrid?” Which ever team you choose, you will have your lovers and your haters, even if you support other teams.

However, the moment the Spaniards truly come together as one in the football world is when Spain or a Spanish team play another country or a team from another country. Spain generally is one of the best football teams in the world, and the Spanish leagues have 2 of the best football teams in the world as well. So why wouldn’t they get excited about this sport?

Below we have some very necessary “football vocabulary” that will make you come across as a “pro” in Spanish! Why not test them out at the next football game?!

away game partido que se juega fuera de casa
away team equipo visitante
beat derrotar / vencer
bench banquillo
centre circle círculo central
championship campeonato
changing rooms vestuarios
corner kick saque de esquina. corner
cross pase cruzado
crossbar travesaño
defender defensa
draw un empate
dropped ball (when restarting play) balón a tierra
equaliser la igualada
extra time tiempo suplementario
extra-time prórroga
field markings marcación del terreno
field of play terreno de juego
first half primer tiempo
fit en forma / sano
fixture encuentro
fixture list programa de encuentros
flagposts banderines
forward delantero
foul falta
free kick (direct/indirect) tiro libre (directo/indirecto)
friendly game partido amistoso
goal / penalty area /the box área de meta
goal average promedio de goles
goal kick saque de puerta / portería /meta
goal line línea de meta.
goal scorer goleador
goalkeeper portero / guardameta / golero
goalpost poste, palo de la portería
half time interval intervalo del medio tiempo / descanso
halfway line. línea media
handball! ¡mano!
header cabezazo
heads or tails cara o cruz
home en casa
hooligan gamberro
injured player un jugador lesionado
injury time descuento
kick patada
kick dar una patada
kick-off saque de salida
laws of the game reglas de juego
league liga
linesman juez de línea
local derby enfrentamiento de dos equipos vecinos
manager entrenador
match partido
midfield player centrocampista
move jugada
national team (la) selección
opposing team equipo adversario
own goal propia meta
pass pasar
penalty kick tiro penal / penalti
penalty spot punto penal
player jugador
cup-winners cup recopa
red card tarjeta roja
referee árbitro
replay repetición
restart of play reanudación del juego
score a hat trick marcar tres goles (en un partido)
score draw un empate a cero
scoreboard marcador
season temporada
second half seguno tiempo
send a player off expulsar un jugador
shinguard canillera/espinillera
shorts pantalones cortos
side equipo
spanish equivalent of F.A cup copa del rey
spectator espectador
staduim / ground estadio
strip los colores del equipo (uniforme?)
studs tacos
substitute sustituto.
supporter hincha / seguidor
sweeper líbero / barredor
tackle internada
team (international) seleccion
team equipo
terrace grada
the ball balón
the coach el entrenador
the final score el resultado final
the highest goal scorer this season el máximo goleador de esta temporada
the net la red
the pitch el campo
throw-in saque de banda
ticket tout revendedor de entradas
to book a player amonestar un jugador
to keep goal jugar de guardameta / de portero
to score a goal marcar / meter un gol
to shoot at goal tirar a puerta / al arco; disparar
touch line línea de banda
tournament torneo
turnstile torniquete / molinete / puerta
underdog el que tiene menos posibilidades
unsporting behaviour conducta antideportiva
wasting time perdida de tiempo
what was the score? ¿cómo terminó el partido?
what’s the score? ¿cómo van? / ¿cómo va el marcador?
whistle silbato pitido
winger extremo
world cup mundial
yellow card tarjeta amarilla

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