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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.

1.Alcázar

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.

Hola, today, as your personal travel guide, I will tell you a few things about Cadiz and what you need to see!

Before I start – I want to mention that as part of the cultural activities Spark offers a visit to Cadiz – and the more who join in, the better.Cádiz 1

“What makes Cadiz so beautiful?”

For me, it’s the old parts of Cadiz that make it so beautiful! Just walking through the City is…wonderful

The old houses.. streets.. Cadiz is basically the definition of antiquity!

“What can I do in Cadiz ?”

1.) I would definitely recommend going for a Meal at a Spanish restaurant –

Try the fish in Spain – you will taste the difference!

2.) Go for a Walk through the Barrios like Barrio the Santa Maria –

it will blow your mind!

3.) Who doesn’t like shopping? In Cadiz are many small clothing stores –

with clothes which you wouldn’t easily find in your country!

Cheap prices and good quality – sounds more than perfect, doesn’t it?

4.) Hot day? Why not going to the beach and get a tan?

…last but not least…

5.) Cadiz Cathedral, Torre Tavira, Castle of Santa Catalina.. so many sights which need to be seen!

You will fall in love with Cadiz!

– ¡Ven a Cadiz!

And don’t forget a great way to combine visiting Cadiz is to also study Spanish in Spark 🙂

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Hola, today I will tell you a few reasons why staying with a Spanish Host family is a good decision!

First of all, during your time in Spain, you’re a part of this family so you will definitely notice the different way of living and get to know the culture in a much more personal way!

“What are the benefits of living with a Host family?”

  1. You’re never alone! You always have somebody around you and maybe you get a Host sister or Host brother at your age who would love to do something with you!
  2. Your Host family will show you many places in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz or Sevilla just as mine did – and it was wonderful!
  3. You always have the opportunity of practising your spanish skills – and not only that – you will learn words and phrases which are only known in Spain
  4. Just as I said you will get to know the Spanish way of living for example eating habits! Spanish people eat a little bit late but the Spanish cuisine will make you always Hungry – Tapas, Paella.. ¿Tienes hambre?


….Last but not least..

5. You will have a really close relationship with your host family that will  hopefully            stay for years – and let’s be honest – it’s really nice to know someone or a family                  from an other Country!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Blog entry and hopefully you will love your host family just as I do!

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El Puerto de Santa María is a beautiful coastal town and if you are a beach lover, you probably will never get tired of this city! However, you might an explorer who likes to go places or might have spent an entire week crossing paths in the city centre already.

If you are thinking about somewhere else to visit or looking for a change in atmosphere, you have arrived at the right blog post. Here are six places we are sure you will love, which are only a short travelling distance from El Puerto and suitable for both day trips and weekend breaks. And if you are taking Spanish courses at Spark, you have the whole afternoon and evening free (and weekends of course) so plenty of time to explore the region of Andalucia!

 

1. Cádiz

Cádiz is a port city sticking out to the sea in the south of Spain. It’s a city that is surrounded by water in all four directions (yes – like an island but it’s connected to the land). At this point I am sure you can imagine what it is like to look at the sea from the shore in Cádiz – it is breathtaking. Definitely, go up the cathedral in Cádiz to see the whole city, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

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How to get to Cádiz: There are both buses and ferries from El Puerto to Cádiz. Ferry fare is around €2-3 each way, with daily frequency of every half an hour and each ferry trip takes 25-30 minutes. The earliest ferry runs from around 7 AM until midnight from El Puerto and also from Cádiz. See ferry timetable here.

Buses from El Puerto have a frequency of every 2-3 per hour and each way’s duration is around 40 minutes. The bus station in El Puerto and Cádiz are located in front of each respective train stations. Check bus timetable here.

 

2. Seville

Seville is a beautiful city and a popular tourist destination with many things to do that you might want to spend the whole weekend exploring the city.

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How to get to Seville: Train from El Puerto takes 1h10’ and costs €26 approximately for both ways. Bus from El Puerto takes 1h35’ and costs around €22 for both ways. When arriving at Seville, you should get off at Seville San Bernando station, which is the closest to the city centre (cathedral, castle, shops and restaurants). Myself and a few other students went to visit Seville as a day trip on one Saturday and we wish we actually spent the whole weekend there! As we arrived at Seville, we went on a free walking tour for 2-3 hours (the most time saving way to see all the main sights) and spent time enjoying sangria! If you have time, definitely watch flamenco shows or go on a tapas tour!

 

3. Sanlúcar

Sanlúcar is also a coastal town located just half an hour away from El Puerto by car. The coastline is long and there are many apartments for rent if you want to spend the weekend there. There is not much to do at the city centre but the beach was spectacular. It is not too filled up with people, which make it so attractive because you won’t feel too much of a tourist! Besides spending time at the beach, go up to the café on level 11 of Hotel Guadalquivir (probably the highest building in Sanlúcar) to get a view of the whole city!

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4. Jerez de la Frontera

If you take the train from Jerez airport to El Puerto, you will go past Jerez. It is the largest city in the province of Cádiz and the birthplace of flamenco! The culture associated with Jerez is viticulture so definitely pay a visit to the vineyards.

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How to get to Jerez: Train from El Puerto takes less than 10 minutes and you can just buy a ticket as you show up at the train station. A bus takes about 1-15 minutes and it is an inexpensive journey of around €5 each way.

5. Rota

Rota is on the west side of El Puerto, and it is a naval base that has a large American presence. Most restaurant staff speaks English! It is definitely worthwhile to visit the Town Hall and they also offer an English tour.

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How to get to Rota: Bus from El Puerto (from Plaza de Toros – the bull ring) takes half an hour, which would drop you 2 km from the beach and the old town of Rota.

 

6. Gibraltar

Gibraltar was a British colony and this town is sometimes called ‘Mini England’ because of the English presence here. You can find many English brands including Morrison’s and Mark and Spencer! Arriving in Gibraltar you are required a passport to cross the border as you are technically leaving Spain. Top things to do here include going underground and visit the rock cave, see the mosque at Europa Point or monument spotting!

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How to get to Gibraltar: Bus takes 2h30’ approximately so the best way to get here is to drive (it’s only an hour and 20 minute drive from El Puerto)

 

Leave in the comments below if you have more destinations for a day trip or a weekend. Let’s immerse in the Spanish culture together and while you are at it, why not have a look at our Spanish course page? Maybe you can combine some studying in the morning and travel in the afternoon/ evenings. Speaking the language is one step closer to understanding life as a Spaniard!

Spark´s location in El Puerto de Santa Maria in the Province Cadiz is great during the summer for going to the beach and doing watersports like windsurfing and kiting when the days are hot and long. But what to do when the days “get colder” during fall and the nights are not made for long party nights at the beach anymore? For one who loves being on the road like me there is only answer: Travelling! And who is not curious to see the beautiful and with history stuffed cities and little towns of Andalucía?

In my 8 weeks with Spark I study Spanish every day during the week and work during the afternoons for my Work-Experience-Programme but my free weekends I love to use for getting to know new places and the Andalusian history and using my new learned Spanish in real life.

The towns in the Province of Cádiz are all easily reached and seen during a day trip and especially the cities Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz are in a 20-min reach of El Puerto de Santa Maria and a must-to-see for everyone studying Spanish here, no matter the length of the stay. Most of the other towns of the province we visited during the cultural events like San Fernando, Sanlúcar and Vejer de la Frontera and were organized by Spark.

But of course, Andalucía has even more to offer than the beautiful region around El Puerto and so my first weekend trip took me to Córdoba in the north of Andalucía, the second most important city. With its small alleys and yards, white painted houses and lovely little patios has the old town a lot to offer. The most famous monument is the Mezquita once built as the main mosque of the Islam and today used as a cathedral it´s the most important foundation of Moorish-religious building in Spain.

My second destination was Seville, the capital of Andalucía, where I went with a group of Au-Pair girls also studying at Spark to a night experiencing not only monuments but also real Spanish night life. Seville is only an 1h 20 train ride from El Puerto de Santa Maria away and therefore a relaxed weekend destination when going with a group. We visited the Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, the third biggest church in the world and the Real Alcázar, a king´s palace with beautiful yards, halls and Arabic gardens where (eyes open, all GoT-Fans!) in the moment the new season of Game of Thrones is filmed. On our way to a touristic Flamenco show at night we met a group of Spanish teenagers who were on their way to a Flamenco show themselves. Luckily we chose to accompany them because what we got to see then, in the streets of Seville, was them dancing and singing Flamenco themselves. This continued in one of the local bars and gave us definitely the “real” Flamenco experience.

Together with two friends our next trip was to Granada a week ago. Granada is located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada and famous for the Alhambra, the most visited monument in Spain. It´s definitely recommended to buy tickets for a visit in advance but since our trip was rather spontaneous and we didn`t want to miss out a visit we got into the line at the entrance at 6:30 in the morning and waited for two hours to get in. Our will and patience was honored because the palace of the Nasrid’s was simply breathtaking and the view across the city and the Sierra Nevada in the rising sun matchless. Also the Generalife, the fascinating park of the kings of Granada next to the Alhambra invites to go for a relaxed walk after the visit. The Muslim quarter  of the city, Albaicín offers a great view on the Alhambra and has a magic flair itself with small alleys and Arabic stores and restaurants.

Andalucía has a lot more to offer, but this should give you a little view on how great El Puerto is not only to study Spanish but also as a basis for travelling here. So why don´t join Spark and experience it yourself?!

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Anna

On Saturday we went with a group of Spark students on a daytrip to the wonderful city Cádiz. Spark organizes cultural events for students to experience the Spanish lifestyle here in the Cádiz region, which give Spark students a total package of learning Spanish. Since Cádiz is not only the capital of the province Cádiz but also the oldest city of Europe, it is a must-to-see during your stay in El Puerto de Santa Maria. We took the boat at 12.50 pm across the Bay of Cádiz and because of the sunny weather we enjoyed a nice boattrip and a beautiful view. Read More

The places I have seen as a Spark student and intern learning Spanish

I am in the south of Spain for 16 days now and I have already seen some amazing places. Andalusia is such a beautiful region and especially the province of Cádiz is the hidden gem. The best part is that it is not flooded with international tourists! As a Spanish language student in El Puerto de Santa Maria it is perfect. It is good for practicing my Spanish language skills, therefore I recommend everybody to learn Spanish in the Cadiz province. Read More

Andalusia is generally considered the most beautiful “comunidad” (region) in Spain which is why it receives more tourists than any other area. It is generally the Malaga coastline, the famous “Costa del Sol”, which is the most well known and also the spectacular cities of Sevilla and Granada too.  However the real hidden gem of the comunidad in our opinion is the province of Cadiz which whilst well known with Spanish tourism is not yet flooded with international tourism of other areas.  Its undeveloped beaches, sparking white sand, sherry heritage and white villages make it a gem to discover with so many things to do.  Also the small numbers of international tourists and authentic Spanish culture make it an excellent place to learn Spanish. If you dont trust us, check out the video below and also we have more videos of Cadiz province and El Puerto De Santa Maria.  Come and discover a beautiful neck of the woods.

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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.

Spanish Course in Cadiz

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Fiestas de Carnaval de Cádiz – Carnival Festivities in Cadiz

It is a known fact that Spain loves to party, and that they don’t need an excuse either. Over the next couple of weeks the city of Cadiz will be immersed in colour and music from all corners of the city. People spend months preparing for this spectacular event that lasts for 11 days! Many traditions and festivities will come to life all around Spain over the next couple of weeks as one of the most cultural events in Spain takes place.

Carnaval

Carnaval

The traditions of Carnival in Cadiz range from everyone dressing up to the nines, to eating sea urchins, to singing and dancing in the streets. This festival has something for everyone and is known as one of the biggest Carnivals in the world! Carnival is celebrated in many places in Spain, however nothing like in Cadiz.

Here are some facts you may not have known about Carnival:

  • Celebrations traditionally start in the middle of January (about 3 weeks before the official start date of the festival) as an official farewell to Christmas. This involves people gathering in the Plaza de San Francisco and the Peña Los Dedócratas (a club) give you free pestiño, a delicious Spanish Christmas dessert made of flour, yeast, salt, sherry wine, olive oil and sesame, served with anisette.
  • The day after this celebration, the real preparation for the carnival starts! Each year a competition takes place to choose the best Carnival choirs that will sing in the “Gran Teatro Falla” during the Carnival celebrations. This carries on until the start of the official Carnival (around 20 days!) and more than 100 groups participate in this competition. Along with this competition are two unmissable events; The “Erizada” and the “Ostionada”.
  • The “Erizada” is where the Peña el Erizo club offers “erizos”, sea urchin, that are best eaten raw with a spoon, you just need to be careful you don’t get stung by the needles!
  • The “Ostionada” is where people gather to taste “ostion”, a seashell very similar to oyster, with a more intense flavor, eaten raw with a spring of lemon juice and usually accompanied by beer or muscatel wine, and the fine carnival music of gaditanos.

But the part of Carnival that people know best and enjoy the most is the carnival parade, everyone dressed in amazing fancy dress and the firework display on the beach. All of these aspects attract people from near and far to this amazing festivity. Everyone in the city goes “all out” with their costumes and the atmosphere of fun and laughter is apparent all over the city.

Carnival is not the only amazing event to happen in Spain. Spain is full of amazing cultural events and festivities like Carnival and you can never tirer of being part of. If you would like to read about a previous Spark employees experience of “Carnaval” click here and see what she thought of her experience of Spanish culture!

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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