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An unforgettable city dating back to Roman times, Barcelona is the dynamic capital of Catalonia and cradle of Catalan culture. From Gaudi's magnificent architectural masterpieces-like Casa Batlló, and the Sagrada Familia Basilica - to the Gothic Quarter, Picasso Museum, and F.C. Barcelona football stadium, Barcelona's rich culture is apparent everywhere you look. Stroll along the famed Las Ramblas to enjoy the ambiance and street entertainers. Take a tram trip up to the top of Tibidabo for panoramic views of the city below. Shop along the Passeig de Gracia at the most well-known boutiques in Barcelona. And be sure to join the locals at the Barri Gotic for a great selection of tapas and wine bars.
Monograms provides traveler’s access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Barcelona and Spain. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Barcelona and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Barcelona insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Hello, my name is Francesca. I have been working as the Monograms Local Host in Barcelona for the past three years. I would like all Monograms visitors to enjoy this amazing city as much as possible; my goal is that they depart loving Barcelona as much as I do.
Housed in the National Palace, the Catalan National Art Museum includes one of the most important Romanesque painting collections in the world.
Enjoy this spectacular show of water, lights, and music held in front of the National Palace every Sunday evening.
If you’re a football (soccer) fan, ask your Local Host for directions to view the stadium of the world-famous team. Maybe even see a match!
For some special family time, there’s plenty to do in Barcelona, including thrills and panoramic views at Tibidabo Amusement Park high above the city.
The Sardana is Catalonia’s emblematic folk dance. See it on Saturdays (6:00-8:00 pm) and Sundays (12:00-2:00 pm) in the Cathedral Square.
The Picasso Museum is the reference center for the formative years (1887-1901) of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. With its complete collection of his early works, see the evolution of the master. Another exciting possibility for art lovers is the Miro Foundation to view the permanent collection of Joan Miro.
Wander through Barcelona’s most popular food market, which dates back to the 12th century.
Sit back with a drink on La Rambla and watch street performers go by. Enjoy musicians, old-style shops, and flower, bird and souvenir stalls—the opportunities are endless on this famous tree-lined promenade.
Formerly one of the seediest sections of Barcelona, the El Born neighborhood with its medieval roots has seen a revival. It is now one of the hottest spots to shop and dine.
Barri Gotic, Barcelona’s Old City, is the perfect place to wind down at the end of the day. This section of town is filled with the best tapas bars.
With great views of the Mediterranean, the Olimpic Port is a lovely place to stroll along the sea promenade, and there are plenty of fine restaurants. Specialties to try while in Barcelona include fish dishes, paella, Spanish omelet, Catalan cream for dessert, Catalan wines, and sparkling Cava.
Barcelona’s coastline is over 4 km. long and offers a wide variety of excellent beaches. Barceloneta beach is the closest to the city center and has many great seafood restaurants.
Located in southern Spain on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Cordoba’s settlements date back to the Bronze Age. It was once the capital of a Roman province as well as the capital of an Arab State. Its architectural gems include the famous Mosque-Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a medieval Islamic mosque converted into a Catholic cathedral. The historical quarter around the Great Mosque is also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to its history and artistic heritage, Cordoba is also known for its gastronomy.
Monograms provides traveler’s access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Cordoba and Spain. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Cordoba and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Cordoba, Spain insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
With its thick defensive walls, has served both as a fortress and a palace since the 14th century, and is a perfect illustration of the development of Cordoban architecture through the ages. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the royal residence of Christian monarchs and one of the first sites of the Inquisition. Its ornate, terraced gardens with fish ponds, fountains, orange trees, flowers and beautiful landscaping are a pleasure to stroll in; and for a birds-eye view, climb one of the towers.
Shop for Cordobanes and Guadamecies, which are leather pieces embossed, modeled and colored with modern or classical designs. Gold and silverwork is a driving force of the city's economy and one of the best known techniques is Cordoban filigree work, which consists of soldering gold or silver threads onto a metal structure to create different shapes. There is a strong tradition of pottery-making in the north of the province using high quality clay that, after baking, is decorated with designs and motifs which originated in Moslem Cordoba.
Cordoban olive oil comes from the Guadalquivir river valley and is an essential ingredient in the local cuisine. Several types of well-known wines also come from this region such as Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Cream, Pedro Ximénez, Blanco Joven (Young White) and organic wines. There is a wide range of liqueurs, including the dry or sweet aniseed liqueurs from Rute, a village in the Subbetica hill region of Cordoba province, which has a long tradition dating back to the 17th century, of distilling this type of liqueur.
While it may not be a Paris, London, or Barcelona, Spain's capital city has a unique quality all its own, with world-class shopping and art galleries, an exceptional nightlife and live music scene, and fine restaurants and tapas bars by the bazillions. Many visitors believe Madrid is the most Spanish of Spain's cities, and there's, naturally, plenty to see and do. Don't miss bustling Puerta del Sol square-the heart of Madrid's historic center and the actual center of the Spanish road system; beautiful Plaza de Espana with its monument to Cervantes; the beloved Cibeles Fountain depicting the goddess of nature; the palatial Prado Museum with its priceless art treasures; and the pond, museum, rose garden, and monuments of splendid El Retiro Park.
Monograms provides traveler’s access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Madrid and Spain. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Madrid and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Madrid insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Maribel has over 20 years' experience as a local guide; she really enjoys being a Local Host as it gives her the opportunity to share her love and knowledge of Madrid and its rich heritage with Monograms guests.
Raquel, an experienced tour guide of Madrid and its surroundings, loves her country's art and history and looks forwards enthusiastically to sharing her knowledge of this great city and Spanish traditions and culture with you.
Ask your Local Host about a walking route to see architecture of the Habsburg Period of Madrid; discover along the way the old convents, churches and narrow lanes of the city that was the capital of a world empire in the 16th century. A stop at a café, a pub, or by an old market turned into gourmet center, makes a charming stroll, finishing maybe by Plaza de Oriente, next to the Royal Palace.
Puerta del Sol is a good starting point to see what the Age of Enlightenment left to Madrid; admire the city’s splendid arches, monuments, and fountains as you stroll in its plazas and boulevards.
Madrid has been the inspiration for some of Spain’s best literature. The literary district is a beautifully preserved 17th century area. Strolling along Huertas’ street recalls writers like Quevedo and Góngora. Cervantes lived in the area, and you can visit the beautifully preserved home of the great Lope de Vega nearby. Then, by streets that bring memories of Echegaray and Moratín and by Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, 1922 Nobel Prize winner for literature, reach Plaza Mayor, which Benito Perez Galdós immortalized in his novels.
For some gentle relaxation, stroll in El Retiro. Dating back to the 1600s, the park features a lake, statues and fountains. Ask your Local Host about the Madrid Green Walk, covering the Retiro, and the Debod temple and gardens, or for families, other suggestions on good places to spend time together.
Built in the 18th century under Philip V, the Royal Palace of Madrid is a truly magnificent example of palatial architecture in Europe. The halls open to the public contain superb fresco paintings, tapestries, furniture, porcelain and all kind of sumptuous objects reviving the past. The Royal Armory and the Royal Pharmacy are also well worth a visit.
A neoclassical masterpiece with the largest dome in Madrid, its walls and ceilings are decorated with superb frescoes.
Picasso’s Guernica admired in its genuine dimension. Founded in 1992 at the old Hospital of San Carlos, built in the 18th century, chronologically the collections start from 1881, birth date of Pablo Picasso. Take a stroll by the vanguards of the 20th century including works by Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Juan Gris, Tapies, Saura, Antonio López…
Historical trip through Western Art, from the 13th century to the present day; see first class works of international art created by two generations of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, including the private collection of Baroness Thyssen.
Madrid is a shopper’s paradise. You can find everything from luxury goods and antiques to religious items. See its exclusive shops, boutiques, and art galleries. Your Local Host can suggest a route to visit specialty shops (some of them more than 100 year’s old), including fan shops, and a wonderful cake store which supplies the Spanish Royal Family, all in the city center.
There is a healthy pastime in Madrid: having your aperitif with a small side order of food, the tapa. This wonderful pursuit is one of the most important chapters in fully understanding and enjoying the pleasures of eating out in Madrid. The best and simplest way to truly enjoy tapas in Madrid is to use your sixth sense, or better still, your sense of smell. Also well worth a try, excellent local wines, Sangria or Spanish lemonade.
The traditional local food in Madrid is Cocido, with its a combination of seven different meats, vegetables and pulses it is not a dish for the faint-hearted!
The oldest restaurant in the world, specializing in lamb and roast pork suckling dishes.
Ask your Local Host for information on shows, opera and Zarzuela (Spanish Operetta).
Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville is Spain's fourth largest city and the capital of Andalucia. Once the only trading port with the Indies, it is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Cathedral, Alcázar, and Archivo de Indias. The Cathedral, founded in 1403, is the largest church in the world and houses Christopher Columbus’ remains. The Alcázar, built in the 10th century as the Moslem governor’s palace, is the Spanish royal family's residence in Seville. The Archivo de Indias was built in 1585 and today holds documents concerning the discovery of the New World.
Monograms provides traveler’s access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Seville and Spain. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Seville and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Seville, Spain insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
A UNESCO World Heritage site and resting place of Christopher Columbus, Seville’s cathedral, also known as Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, stands on the site of the Great Mosque of the 12th century. The mosque was converted into a Christian church when the city was conquered by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1248. Today, the only part which remains of the original structure is the minaret/bell tower, also known as the Giralda.
The Golden Tower, one of Seville's most photographed landmarks, is a legacy of the Almohades, a Moorish dynasty that controlled much of Southern Spain until the re-conquest of the area by the Christians in the 13th century. Designed as a defensive tower to protect the port, it was given its name (“gold tower”) because it was originally covered in golden tiles. Today the restored tower is a naval museum.
Maria Luisa Park is a large public park along the Guadalquivir river, with hundreds of exotic trees lining shady avenues; historic, fairytale buildings, colorful tiled benches; and Moorish fountains and pools. The park is home to many monuments, among the most famous are the Fountain of Lions (Fuente de los Leones) and the Water-lily Pool (Estanque de los Lotos). Located inside Maria Luisa Park, the large Plaza de España complex was built for the Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929 to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits. The plaza is surrounded by a canal, and beautiful bridges decorated with ceramic tiles.
The Casa de Pilatos (Pilate's House) is an Andalusian palace, built between the 15th & 16th centuries, adorned with precious azulejos tiles and well-kept gardens, which serves as the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. The Casa de Lebrija, a 16th century palace, boasts a large collection of Roman mosaics which pave almost the entire ground floor. There is also a great collection of amphoras, ceramics, and sculptures.
The museum is set in a neo-Renaissance style pavilion, Pabellón del Renacimiento, designed by the architect Aníbal González. The visit starts with the Early Palaeolithic period and finishes with Moorish and Mudéjar items from the Middle Ages, and includes interesting intermediate stages such as the Roman world. Items worth noting include the "Carambolo Treasure", from the Tartessian period, with a reproduction of the magnificent gold treasure, and elements relating to its original setting: a shrine dedicated to Phoenician divinities.
Shop for ceramics in the old gypsy quarter of Triana, where the beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles) are made, perhaps even watch the craftsmen at work.
Food is life here, a Sevillano can argue for hours about whether the best jamon serrano (cured ham) comes from Huelva or Aracena. Recommended buys are locally produced sherry, olive oil, marmalade and, of course, ham.
Located in the Costa del Sol region, Torremolinos was first inhabited roughly 150,000 years ago. Today, with its seafront promenade and clean beaches, it is a popular tourist destination. Its bustling pedestrian mall, Calle San Miguel, is also known as “The Street of Europe” due to its popularity. It offers the Open-Air Shopping Center, where locals and visitors congregate. Another popular attraction is the Parque de la Bateria, a 74,000 square kilometer park opened in 2007. Torremolinos is known for its pescaíto (small fried fish), and many beach bars line the promenade.
Monograms provides traveler’s access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Torremolinos and Spain. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Torremolinos and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Torremolinos, Spain insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
La Carihuela, historically a traditional fishing village, is now a cosmopolitan center with innumerable hotel, leisure, and gastronomic establishments. It is precisely the district’s gastronomy that has earned this strip of the Torremolinos coast it’s well deserved fame for the remarkable pescaíto frito (small fried fish) that is served in the area restaurants.
The Torremolinos Botanic Gardens are a delightful oasis in the hustle and bustle of the Costa del Sol. Two water wheels are the center-piece of the gardens which power the two massive stones that still grind wheat to produce flour. The gardens are home to palm trees, tropical fruit trees, woodland trees and flowering shrubs, but the real beauty of these gardens lies in the under-planting. The choice of color and form is inspired and blend together with an understated ease and grace.
Tivoli World is the Costa del Sol's biggest theme park, with two dozen rides to choose from, including those geared towards tiny tots. Sea Life, located at the entrance of Benalmadena Port, is an excellent aquarium with a "touch pool" educational section for young children with crabs and starfish, as well as the possibility to see tiny sharks and rays swimming in their egg cases with the aid of magnifying glasses.
Visit Malaga’s still unfinished Gothic style cathedral, popularly known as La Manquita (the One-Armed One); the Alcazaba an imposing edifice, built between the 11th & 14th centuries, which served as a fortress and palace. Also see Gibralfaro castle located high on the hill overlooking the city and the Roman theater built during the times of Augustus and used until the 3rd century.
Museo Picasso Malaga with donations made by Christine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso for a total of 155 works by Pablo Picasso, have been the cornerstone of the whole of this project. The museum also displays the Phoenician remains found during the renovation of the Palace. Carmen Thyssen Malaga Museum, one of the city’s latest museums opened in 2011, is in a renovated 16th-century palace in the heart of the city’s historic center. The extensive collection concentrates on 19th-century Spanish and Andalusian art and includes paintings by some of the country’s most exceptional painters, including Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Ignacio Zuloaga and Francisco de Zurbarán.
Enjoy the extensive beaches on the Costa del Sol; their diversity and climate have transformed the region into a great holiday destination in the summer and almost all the year round. Two favorites are Playa La Carihuela, and your Monograms hotel overlooks Playa El Bajondillo.
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