Crossing paths with the thousands of olive trees strewn on the surrounding hills, it was hard for me to imagine that behind them was the most enchanting city I would encounter in Spain: Granada. It now makes perfect sense as to why Backroads offers an Andalucía bike tour that ends in this magical city.
Island-hoppers on North America's West Coast frequent Hawaii's tropical beaches, while East Coasters look to the Caribbean or Bermuda for their sun-and-sand fix. For Europeans, Spain's Islas Baleares--and Mallorca in particular--are the perfect island escape. Though this is no secret (the island is one of Europe's top holiday destinations), Mallorca's wild topography, remote hill towns and hidden coves invite you to step off the beaten path to discover countless hidden gems. Though I love leading Backroads trips all over the world, as well as in different regions of my home country of Spain, Mallorca always calls me back.
Vincent Soyer, our Pyrenees Regional Expert, was born and raised in the region and has drawn on his passion for Catalonian food, wine and culture - and cycling - to create an insider's look at his beloved home. One of the many highlights is your stay at Torre de Remei, a boutique hotel within a small castle, where we're the only guests.
The Spanish love their ham. I just never realized the profoundness of their devotion until I first stepped into a local cervecería (bar). To say I was astounded by what I found would be an understatement. The sheer volume of pig legs hanging from the walls and ceiling... the bar sported more pork parts than pints!
One warm and lazy afternoon, I found myself meandering about the twisted and narrow pedestrian streets of downtown Seville. As I made my way back toward the main square, I spotted a tiny nun (almost a full head shorter than myself), nearly doubled over with what looked to be an incredibly heavy picnic basket, disappear into a small doorway. Surprised--and more than a little intrigued--I followed in the nun's laborious path to sneak a peak around the door she had left ajar.
Awaken to the smell of mountains–a mix of cold morning air, dew-laden grass and the faint, earthy smell of livestock. Tuck into your slippers and shuffle across the chilled tile floor, opening the shutters to look out onto a valley still encased in early-morning fog.
As a Backroads trip leader, I often get asked what is my favorite city in the world. Many of my peers answer, "Oh, that's tough..." For me, it's not tough at all. It is, without a doubt, Barcelona.
It's not often in life you get an opportunity to see how loved you are. The opportunity to be reminded just how lucky you are. There are birthdays, but then those are almost obligatory. Random moments caught in time when someone tells you how much you mean to them…