Spanish trip for Columbus Day

The best recipe to fight the return to work blues is to start thinking about the next getaway. When will it be? This year we are lucky: on the 12h of October, the day of Pilar and Hispanidad, is on a Wednesday … And that means a bank holiday! So today put all hands to the search to take advantage of end of season offers designed so that you will return to the office refreshed and ready to face the long winter.

We suggest three cities in which you can truly enjoy Columbus Day. Affordable and with a range of ideas and proposals for all ages and all tastes, the best choices we have found for you to spend the break are: Seville, Zaragoza and Valencia. Of course, you’ll have to put up with the crowds because on these days it is usual for cities to be full of visitors… But if you know how to make your own space, we assure you that you will spend it as never before;)

Zaragoza and the Pilarica

Many will say that there is no worse time to visit Zaragoza than during the Fiestas del Pilar. Well, we are of the opposite opinion. It is true that you would have to be mad to be the one who wants to celebrate the exact special day of the Aragonese capital in situ, but it is also true that the city looks never as pretty as at this time, it’s people know how to live the holidays better than anyone and the atmosphere is wonderful. Accommodation prices also do not tend to rise excessively and good AVE connections both by plane or road connecting Zaragoza with the rest of Spain make it a very comfortable and affordable destination any time of year, even during its festivals.

Spending the Fiesta del Pilar in Zaragoza means sleeping little, dancing a lot and laughing more. It is also synonymous with good cuisine as restaurants prepare specialties to honor the patron Saint and always surprise diners, whether regular or occasional visitors. The Plaza del Pilar is a great meeting place though, truth be told, finding yourself there presents difficulty especially in the key hours of the festival program. But when the crowds dissipate, it’s where you can find a high concentration of monuments which typify the capital of Aragon: the Cathedral or Seo, the Cathedral of San Salvador, the Lonja and the Museum of Tapestries.

The best tapas zone in Zaragoza is El Tubo (the tube). It is the most economical and varied although many other places are beginning to overshadow it. Restaurants, bars and taverns in Zaragoza offer all kinds of foods, with special priority given to sausages and meat dishes like baked sausage. We must also try the ‘thistles’ in almond cream, Casa Pedro’s marinated tuna, the bar El Tio’s mini sirloins, Casa Juanico’s extremely famous traditional ham, ham with a hard boiled egg inside and melted cheese oozing out.

Accommodation in Zaragoza at this time is the most difficult to arrange or book in advance since the hotels are full and weeks before put up ‘no vacancies’ signs A good alternative, if you can choose, is a central hotel like the Vincci Zaragoza Zentro, which is just 13 minutes from the Basilica del Pilar, a perfect distance to enjoy some tranquility during the holidays without giving up being a step away from the bustle.

A bank holiday in Seville and olé

A bank holiday in Seville is wonderful especially if the bank holiday is in October and we won’t have to suffer the typical summer heat in the Andalusian capital. Although you can see and learn the essentials of Seville in a couple of days, it is true that it is best to travel with flexibility and to stay at least four days and experience it with the unhurried calm this exciting capital deserves. The approach to the trip is different from if you choose Zaragoza where the activities on the Dia de la Hispanidad are rare but Seville is always a party and there are a thousand different things to do to ensure fun.

If traveling with children, book your passes in advance for Isla Magica and Aquópolis because you are guaranteed a full day of entertainment without complications. If yours is a romantic Sevilla getaway, the tablaos, the walks in the gardens of the Maria Luisa Park, dining on a terrace in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, near the Cathedral of Seville, in the heart of which was the former Jewish district … And for those traveling in groups to celebrate the bank holiday with friends, Seville is a real treat. The tapas and the nightlife of this city never stops and rock and roll is scheduled for just under a full week: 13, 14 and 15 October in the Alameda de Hercules. The 2016 edition of Monkey Week is celebrated with music bands throughout the country, little markets stalls and complementary activities of all kinds.

Not to be missed, especially if it is your first time visiting the city, are the Giralda, the Alcazar, the Maria Luisa Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Santa Cruz district, Maestranza, the Triana and wherever the Seville nights take you … If you want to enjoy all this, it is best to stay in a hotel in the historic center of the city, such as the Vincci La Rabida, the Petit Palace Santa Cruz or, for a more economic option, Hostel One Sevilla Centro.

Valencia is always a sensible choice

It’s a city full of vitality and dynamism, with a long history and beautiful urban landscapes that few capitals in Spain can enjoy. Valencia is always a good choice when, as your host it takes you through the streets to its markets full of typical aromas, flavors and colors. When you are offered paella in the September sun on a terrace surrounded by a lively ambience or next to the seaside. Or when it wins you over with its endless nights of drinks and dancing until dawn.

Valencia is a city where you can enjoy a long weekend of family fun and also a trip with friends. In the first case, children will have their own spots such as the Palace of Sciences area, where also older people can enjoy interesting activities and curious ideas that combine learning, art, research and the fun side. Turia gardens are a safe bet: a picnic and an afternoon of games in the cool shade of its trees is an ideal place to enjoy the best of Valencia with children and in peace.

If you go in a group, there is nothing like heading for the terraces and immersing yourself in the Valencian cuisine: paellas and all kinds of rice are the staple foods used in this capital of the area, dishes that have become internationally famous. But gastronomy in Valencia has gone a step further and is giving its all on cuisine, with many signature restaurants with experimental cuisines and really fascinating dishes from around the world. Tapas are a classic, yes, and it is essential to go out at least once for vermouth and snacks with your whole group of friends. It is perfect after spending the day the area around Carmen, by Ruzafa or by the Marina.

The accommodation can differ depending on whether you are traveling with children or friends, but there are options for all tastes and budgets. For example, to get about comfortably in the center, booking an organized group mini-break of 3-4 days in the center of Valencia is best so you can avoid having to rent cars or use public transport. Some hotels in the suburban neighborhoods are also interesting, especially if traveling with your own car and you want to see something more than the city center. The most highly recommended are Vincci Lys, Hotel Sorolla Centro or NH Valencia Las Ciencias.

The data:

There is a rise in the prices of flights for the Pilar ‘getaway’ whichever airline you choose. So it is better to choose getaways where alternative modes of travel are possible as is the case of the three that have been mentioned which from Madrid, can be reached by car, by train or by plane in less than 2-3 hours.