Top Attractions in Spain

Top 12 Attractions in Spain

1 The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 14: La Sagrada Familia - the impressive cathedral designed by Gaudi, which is being build since 19 March 1882 and is not finished yet December 14, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.
La Sagrada Familia – the impressive basilica designed by Gaudi, which was begun on the 19 March 1882 in Barcelona, Spain and is shown nearing completion date.

The spectacular Basílica de la Sagrada Família designed by Antonio Gaudi in the city of Barcelona is one the most popular attractions not just of Spain but of the world.

The unfinished Basilica is a stunning mixture of Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism or Art Nouveau architecture and has become an iconic and somewhat surreal monument of Barcelona with it’s rainbow hued stained glass windows and it’s much anticipated completion date some 135 years after construction was started by Gaudi’s who lived there in splendid isolation for many years and whose imaginative and colourful architectural creations can also be seen at Parc Guell, La Pedrera and several other locations or UNESCO world heritage sites in Barcelona.

Holiday Homes in Spain – Barcelona, Catalonia

2 Alhambra Palace Granada

The Alhambra palace Granada Spain.
The Alhambra palace and fortress complex in Granada Spain.

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex used by the Moorish monarchs of Granada between 1238 and 1492 when the Moors were expelled and it was partially rebuilt in Renaissance style and used as the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella the first Queen of Spain.  It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Emirate of Granada and was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Sultan of Granada.

The Alhambra Palace is an immense and beautiful complex with wonderful views over the beautiful city of Granada. Moorish poets described the Alhambra as “a pearl set in emeralds”, referring to the colour of the buildings and the surrounding woods. Attractions inside the Alhambra include the Royal Complex, the Alcazaba (Citadel) and the Court of the Lions and fountain ( Described by the Poet Zamrak: “Such a translucent basin, sculpted pearl! Argentic ripples are added on it by the quiet dew”). As a world heritage site the Alhambra attracts millions of visitors each year.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain, Granada, Andalusia

3 The Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace in Madrid
Beautiful view of famous Royal Palace in Madrid the capital of Spain

The Royal Palace in Madrid was built in the 18th century and is considered to be one of the finest royal pаlасеѕ іn Eurоре and one of the top tourist attractions in Madrid.

The palace was completed in 1764 on the site of the old Alcázar fortress. Although it is the official residence of the Royal Family it is now used mainly fоr ѕtаtе vіѕіtѕ аnd оthеr important сеrеmоnіеѕ. The rest of the time it is open to the public and palace contain paintings by many  artists such as Caravaggio, Goya, and Velázquez, The palace contains 3,418 rooms and 135,000 square meters of floor space making it one of the largest Palaces.

A visit to Madrid would not be complete without a trip to the Plaza Mayor that includes some fine restaurants and architecture. Also not to be missed is The Prado Museum in central Madrid that is home to a fine collection of European art.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Madrid

4 Historic Seville

Spanish Square canal with boat
Tourists float on a boat on the Spanish Square (Plaza de Espana) canal, Spain

Seville is situated in southern region of Spain on the River Guadalquivir and is the capital city of the region of Andalucia. Seville is one of the most popular, breathtaking and charming cities in Spain offering visitors historic sites, culture, art, great food, fun and festivities.

Lord Byron wrote: “Seville” – “a pleasant city, Famous for oranges and women, – he who has not seen it will be much to pity,  – and I quite agree; Of all the Spanish towns is none more pretty”.

Seville is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and home to some of the finest monuments and sites in Spain. The rambling Alcazar palace complex and gardens, La Giralda bell tower and impressive Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral used as the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. The Metropol Parasol that is the world’s largest wooden structure and contains a market and panoramic terraces. The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), on the banks of the Guadalquivir River,  the Almohad walls of Seville and the famous La Maestranza bullring.

Santa Cruz, is the primary tourist neighborhood of Seville and offers an abundance of bars, theaters and flamenco performances. Some of the events and festivals around Easter attract over a million visitors a year. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy some of the things we missed this year in the years to come a.c.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Seville, Andalusia

5 Valencia

Pope Luna's Castle. Valencia, Spain.
Beautiful view of the sea and the Bay from Pope Luna’s Castle. Valencia, Spain. Peniscola. Castellon. The medieval castle of the Knights Templar overlooking the beach.

Valencia is a thriving port and the third largest city in Spain, it is well located beside the sea and has many long sandy beaches along it’s  coastline that includes Albufera Natural Park where Paella was invented. Valencia is well known for it’s gastronomic culture that can be experienced at the Mercado Central a large Art Nouveau style market that is one of the largest in Europe.

Valencia is one of the oldest cities in Spain and was founded in Roman times in c.138 BC. There is a large Gothic style cathedral in the medieval centre of the old city that may fulfill your quest to find the revered Holy Grail said to be the actual cup that the disciples drank from at the last supper. The city hosts a number of traditional religous festivities and colourful Holy Week celebrations and Las Fallas a week long festival of pageants, music, flowers and displays of figures in March.

La Tomatina said to be the worlds biggest food or over ripe tomato fight is held in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region in August.

The city of Valencia has many museums including the Museum of Fine Arts with work by El Greco and Goya.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Valencia

6 San Sebastian Resort – La Concha

San Sebastian is a city the Basque Country, a region in Spain
San Sebastian and Isla de Santa Clara in Concha Bay in the Basque Country region in Spain

The attractive seaside resort of San Sebastian is on the Bay of Biscay in the Northern Basque region of Spain and is surrounded by green hills, rivers, mountains, beaches and the Bay that opens up to the Atlantic Ocean and popular surfing areas like Playa de Zurriola.

The picturesque Concha Beach in the beautiful shell shaped Concha Bay is centrally located in San Sebastian and probably one of the best urban beaches in Europe. This stylish resort city is deservedly called the Pearl of the North and was joint European City of Culture in 2016.

San Sebastian is popular with Gastronomy fans and has the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants in one city and visitors will find it to be the beating heart of the Spanish cuisine scene and a food lovers dream.

Other places to see are Monte Orgull, the fortress-topped mountain overlooking the city’s harbour and the old town, called Parte Vieja to sample some pintxos said to be the best in the Basque Country.

Holiday Homes in Spain – San Sebastian, Basque Country

7 Roman Aqueduct in Segovia

Segovia Aqueduct
The ancient Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

Segovia is a beautiful historic city full of interesting sights, incredible food and home to one of the finest Roman aqueducts in the world, Built around 50 AD it is an enduring symbol of Segovia,  A UNESCO World Heritage Site the Segovia Aqueduct with 167 arches is made from granite blocks and is one of the largest remaining Roman structures in Spain.

Other attractions in Segovia include the Alcázar with it’s with it’s disney like turrets and the Late Gothic cathedral built between 1525 and 1593 in the Plaza Mayor in the Old Town with views over the city.

The city centre of Segovia was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1985 and is a popular destination for day trippers from Madrid in recent years but tourists come from near and far for the many attractions of the central regions of Spain.

There are many holiday homes, villas, apartments and other accommodation options in the central regions of Spain in and around Segovia.

Holiday Homes in Central Spain – Segovia, Castile and León.

8 San Lorenzo of El Escorial

Royal Monastery El Escorial in San Lorenzo
Royal Monastery El Escorial in San Lorenzo

The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was conceived by King Philip II to serve as a royal burial place for his father, Holy Roman emperor Charles V; a Hieronymite monastery; and a royal palace. It is situated about 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid.

Today, the Escorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain’s most visited landmarks.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – San Lorenzo de El Escorial

9 The Alcazar of Segovia

The Alcazar of Segovia
The Alcazar of Segovia or the Castle of Segovia is a stone fortress in the old city of Segovia, Spain.

The Alcázar of Segovia is one of the most distinctive castles in Spain with it’s with it’s disney like turrets and unique shape like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was built as a fortress around the 12th century on the site of an old Roman fort by the Berber dynasty on a craggy hilltop overlooking the city and has been used as a Royal Palace and military academy. It is currently a museum and military archive.

Other attraction in Segovia include the Late Gothic Cathedral built o the highest point of the old town between 1525 and 1593 in the Plaza Mayor  with views over the city and surrounding Sierra de Guadarrama foothills. The cathedral contains an archive with hundreds of antique books including the first book printed in Spain the Sinodal de Aguilafuente. The surrounding square offers visitors many cafés and a maze of medieval streets.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Segovia, Castile y León.

 

10 Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral marks the end of the legendary 790 km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is located in the region of Galicia in the northwest of Spain. It is the reputed burial place of Saint James the apostle of Jesus Christ. It has enormous significance in the region as it marks the historical end of the famous Camino de Santiago trails used by many thousands of pilgrims each year. The Camino trails have also spawned thousands of titles, books and life changing stories and films.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Santiago de Compostela

11 The Great Mosque of Cordoba

La Mezquita Cordoba
La Mezquita Arab Palace in Cordoba showing the forest of columns and dual-coloured arches.

La Mezquita Arab Palace is located in the heart of the charming city of Cordoba in Andalusia. The Arab Mosque dates back to 784 A.D and one of the oldest, and largest Islamic monuments standing in the West, it became a World Heritage site in 1984. It is believed to have been built on the site of an old Roman Temple that was converted into a church around 572 before being converted into a Mosque and rebuilt to reflect the ancient grandeur of Damascus in Cordoba.

Since 1236 the mosque has served as the Cathedral of “Our Lady of the Assumption” and is one of the most beautiful and unique architectural heritage sites in the world and one of the top tourist attractions in Cordoba and Spain.

Apart from the Great Mosque the city of Cordoba has many other tourist attractions such as the Judería or old Jewish quarter,  the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos or Castle of the Christian Monarchs, The Festival of Los Patios, Palacio de Viana, the Guadalquivir River, the Roman Bridge and many delicious local Tapas bars and places to eat.

Holiday Homes and Villas in Spain – Cordoba, Andalusia

12 Parc Guell Barcelona

Park Guell in Barcelona.
Park Guell in Barcelona was commissioned by Eusebi Güell and designed by Antonio Gaudí.

Parc Guell in the Northern part of Barcelona was commissioned by Eusebi Guell and designed by Antonio Gaudi, The park is one of Gaudi’s most celebrated, creative and interesting social spaces and built on a hill that offers visitors spectacular views over the city and the sea.

Park Guell is a picturesque park full of colourful mosaics, tiling, the famous Salamander sculpture and other structures in a leafy and magical park that can stimulate and inspire your senses.

Casa Mila otherwise known as La Pedrera ( The Stone Quarry ) built between 1906 and 1912 is another creation designed by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona.

Las Ramblas is one of the most popular boulevards in Barcelona and is lined with bars, restaurants, the amazing Boquería Market, street entertainment and runs from Placa Catalunya in central Barcelona to the port and beach. The boulevard is between the interesting Ravel and Gothic Quarter  of the city and is another place that should not be missed when visiting Barcelona.

Holiday homes, villas and other private accommodation can easily be found in Spain and Barcelona but please check for any travel restrictions before booking.

Holiday Homes in Spain –  Barcelona, Catalonia

 

Top 20 Attractions in Washington State

Top 20 Tourist Destinations and Attractions in Washington State

1. Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest.
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington is an area of exceptional scenic beauty that extends 140 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade mountain Range from the Canada–US border to the northern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park, it also includes two large landmark volcanoes, Mount Baker and Glacier Peak which tower over the adjacent ridges.

mt-baker-washington
Mount Baker snow capped mountain, Washington State

Mount Baker is the most significant landmark of the region as it is visible from all the waters and islands of Puget Sound and from the South Eastern part of the region. Mount Baker is a hikers paradise and includes attractions such as Nooksack Falls, Artist Point, Eleven Glaciers and the Mount Baker Ski area.

If you wish to visit or stay and explore the area then you will find plenty of private, self-catering, fully equipped cabins, cottages, condos, chalets and Mount Baker Lodgings and vacation rental accommodation at the gateway to Mount Baker in places like Glacier Springs, Mt Baker Hwy, Mt Baker Rim, Silver Lake, Snowater or Snowline where you can enjoy all the local amenities or just put your feet up after a long day hiking, mountain biking, mountain climbing, backpacking, fishing, canoeing, hunting, exploring, nature trailing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding or enjoying some of the other attractions of staying in the state of Washington near Mount Baker.

Snoqualmie Falls- Washington
Snoqualmie Falls Waterfall on the Snoqualmie river, Washington

2 Snoqualmie Falls
The Snoqualmie Falls
is a 268 ft waterfall with a power station on the Snoqualmie River. It is one of Washington’s most scenic attractions and is famous for its appearance in the cult television series Twin Peaks.
The mists rising from the base of the the Snoqualmie waterfall are said to connect Heaven and Earth and where prayers are carried up to the Creator by the great mists that rise from the base of the waterfall.

olympic-mountains-washington-800x331
Olympic Park Mountains, Washington

3. Olympic National Park Mountain Range
The Olympic National Park contains a vast and diverse wilderness with snow and glacier-capped mountains, scenic routes. old temperate rain forests and over 70 miles of coastline.

4.The Hoh rainforest is one of the finest examples of temperate rainforests in the United States and is one of the park’s most popular destinations. The high levels of rain in the forest during winter adds to the lush green covering of trees, mosses and ferns along trails and adds another dimension to the enchantment of the rainforest. You can also explore over 70 miles of wild coastlin or take a boat trip around the islands..

Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park

5. San Juan Islands
San Juan Islands is an archipelago in the northwest of Washington State. It offers whale watching with dedicated orca-whale lookouts or boat trips, it also offers kayaking, biking, hiking, dining experiences and cozy lodgings.There are four main islands  San Juan Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island and Orcas Island  that is home to Moran State Park’s old-growth forest and Mt. Constitution.

San Juan Islands lighthouse with Mount Baker in the background
One of the San Juan Islands with Mount Baker in the background
Mount Ranier snow capped mountain when flowers are in bloom
Mount Ranier snow capped mountain when flowers are in bloom

6. Mount Rainier National Park
One of the most popular or visited national parks in Washington. Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level Mount Rainier is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range. It’s also one of the oldest national parks. Wildflower meadows ring the icy glacier covered volcano while ancient foresst cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. 

7. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it reduced the peak by 1,300 feet and leveled much of the surrounding area. A cloud of ash rose 13 miles into the air, almost 150 square miles of forest were destroyed, causing fatal destruction to local communities. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument has since been set aside for both research and recreational purposes.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Climbing and hiking opportunities are available, and it is even possible to climb Mount St. Helens, though permits are required. Visitor centers along Spirit Lake Highway provide insight into the disaster.

Seattle City Center with view towards mountains
Seattle City Center with Space Needle and view towards mountain range

7. Seattle
Seattle  
is the largest city in Washington, and is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and famed coffee houses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. Innovative glass art is displayed at Chihuly Garden & Glass.

Pike Place Market is the standard draw for tourists, but the historic buildings and venerable institutions add diversity. Visitors will likely wish to catch an underground tour near Pioneer Square, or a performance at Benaroya Hall. And back on the waterfront, a sea-level exploration takes you from the Olympic Sculpture Park in the north to the Seattle Aquarium and ferry terminal further south.

Museum of Pop Culture MoPOP
Museum of Pop Culture, MoPOP

8. Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP (Formerly known as the EMP Museum or Experience Music Project ) is a museum dedicated to contemporary pop culture. It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Famous musicians from Seattle include Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Pearl Jam. MoPOP now spans music, science fiction, fantasy, horror, fashion, sports, and video games, MoPOP reflects our vision for curating, exploring and supporting the creative works that shape and inspire our lives.

Museum of Flight Seattle
Museum of Flight Seattle

9. The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight is one of Seattles premier attractions with over 160 air and spacecraft on display along with the original Boeing Aircraft factory flight simulators and dozens of fun, interactive exhibits and family activities. From the world’s oldest fighter plane to the supersonic Concorde, the only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you’ll see the flying machines and experience the stories of those who flew them. The unique, 3-acre Aviation Pavillion shows the dramatic development of aircrafts in an open-air gallery with a cafe and children’s play area.A patio area and spectacular views of Mt. Rainer.- 9404 E. Marginal Way South,Seattle, WA 98108.

washington state capitol building
Washington state capitol building

10. Washington State Capitol Building
At the south end of Puget Sound, The State Capitol building in Olympia with its grand white dome rising 287 feet above the tree-lined street. The bulding was opened in 1928 at a cost of around seven million dollars. Free, guided public tours give the highlights of the building, including the five-ton Tiffany chandelier and permanent sculptures.

Glass Bridge Tacoma
Chihuly Bridge of Glass decorated with glass sculptures

11. Tacoma and Museums
Tacoma is the 3rd largest city in Washington and sits on the banks of Puget Sound, south of Seattle. It’s known for its many museums including the Museum of Glass that includes works by Dale Chihuly who was born nearby and the Chihuly Bridge of Glass decorated with glass sculptures. The Washington State History Museum, a vast model railroad, The Tacoma Art Museum, Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, the Tacoma Dome and if you like cars there is the LeMay – America’s Car Museum.

Port Angeles, Washington State
Port Angeles, Washington State

12. Port Angeles
The town of Port Angeles lies along the northern shores of the Olympic Peninsula, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The region is known for the huge number of things to do outdoors, such as hiking, biking, golfing, boating, kayaking, fishing, birding, and more. It’s also an access point to Olympic National Park via the road to Hurricane Ridge.

Hurricane Ridge Washington
Long and winding winding scenic road to Hurrican Ridge in Olympic National Park

At this high alpine recreation area, hiking trails fan out from the visitor center leading to wildflower meadows in spring.
Back at sea level in Port Angeles, the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center features changing Northwest exhibits in the semi-circular hilltop gallery. On the extensive grounds, visitors will find a museum without walls featuring more than 100 sculptures along rustic trails. The local Clallam County Museum introduces the area through historical exhibits. Port Angeles is also where ferries depart for Victoria, Canada.

Leavenworth
Leavensworth in winter

13. The Town Of Leavenworth
The town of Leavenworth proudly calls itself the Bavarian Village, celebrating its heritage throughout the year. It’s common to see local residents wearing lederhosen or blowing a morning serenade on an alphorn. The entire town is decorated in an adapted German architectural style, down to the Gothic scripts on the signposts. There are a number of annual festivals, including a holiday lights celebration in December. Ski hills, hiking trails, and rivers in the surrounding area also provide outdoor recreation. To the east, the Wenatchee Valley is famed for its apples and hosts the annual Washington State Apple Blossom Festival.

14. The Coulee Corridor
The Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway lies in the desert region of Washington State. It’s main feature is the Grand Coulee Dam, the “largest hydropower generating facility” in the USA and provides 75% of the Pacific Northwest’s power. The area has stunning scenery, with opportunities to explore areas like the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.

Cascades
Cascade National Park Mountains

15. North Cascades National Park and Highway
The North Cascades are one of the most unspoiled tracts of country in the USA. Anglers, hikers, and nature lovers are all well catered for in the national park, A drive through the park is rewarded with fantastic views. Anyone wanting to experience highlights like Ross Lake at close quarters, however, be prepared to don their walking boots.

Mount Shuksan Washington

Mount Shuksan
 is one of the most picturesque mountains in the  North Cascades National Park, near Mount Baker and the Mount Baker Ski Area.

The highway bisects North Cascades National Park and provides one of the most scenic routes in the country . The tree-lined drive starts out near Marblemount and winds up through the old town of Newhalem, passes gushing waterfalls like Gorge Creek Falls, and threads past dams and the reservoirs of Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. The route allows visitors to admire the natural beauty as well as man made attractions like the immense, electricity-producing dams. Tourists can stop at Washington Pass to photograph the jagged peaks of Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires, among others. Note that some routes through the mountain are closed in winter months but the road to the Mount Baker Ski Resort is kept open for longer. At the southern tip of North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is home to one of the deepest lakes in the United States.

16. Spokane
One of Washington’s largest state parks, Mount Spokane has miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians to enjoy views of Kit Carson, Day Mountain, Mount Spokane or views across the Spokane Valley, the Idaho panhandle or Canada. Look out for giant moose ambling across the trail.

East of the Cascade Mountains, much of Washington State is less populated farmland. The weather is sunnier on this side of the mountains, but the tourist draws are also fewer and farther between. Spokane lies on the border with Idaho, and this major Washington city is a hub of attractions (parks especially) and amenities. A variety of gardens, including the Nishinomiya Japanese Garden, attract visitors to Spokane’s Manito Park.

Manito Park and Botanical Gardens
Manito Park and Botanical Gardens, Spokane

The flowerbeds are particularly vibrant during summer. Spokane’s venue for the 1974 World’s Fair, Riverfront Park, now boasts a Ferris wheel, a hand-carved carousel made in 1909, and other amusement rides. And for the adventurous, there is skiing on Mount Spokane.

Palouse Falls
Palouse Falls

17. Palouse Falls
All visitors to the region should try and see Palouse Falls State waterfall. The Palouse River runs through a narrow cataract and drops 200 feet into a churning bowl and joins a swiftly moving current winding through gorges of basalt, to its southern end at the mighty Snake River.

18. The town of Winthrop
Located on the North Cascades Scenic Byway in Washington’s magnificent Methow Valley, Winthrop is a an old wild west town with wood boardwalks and western charm. Winthrop is home to the oldest legal saloon in Washington state. If you are l;ooking for a weekend away then you can stay in a romantic cabin, a charming cottage or an elegant resort.

19. Whatcom Falls Park
Whatcom Falls Park is a 241-acre park in Bellingham, Washington, United States. The falls are on Whatcom Creek, which leads from Lake Whatcom to Bellingham Bay. The park has four sets of waterfalls and several miles of well maintained walking trails.

Skagit Valley farm tulip festival in Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Washington
Skagit Valley farm tulip festival in Mount Vernon, Washington

20. Bellingham
It’s a departure point for Mount Baker, but the university city of Bellingham is also a draw in its own right. For a quick introduction to this corner of the Pacific Northwest, stroll through Fairhaven Historic District and duck into local art galleries or catch some sun on a restaurant patio. Out of downtown, Western Washington University has amassed an excellent Outdoor Sculpture Collection, its campus dotted with works small and large. Another outdoor attraction is Whatcom Falls Park, with its four sets of falls and numerous walking trails. In the surrounding area, visitors can take scenic drives through the mass fields of Skagit Valley tulips in spring, or follow the twisting, narrow route of Chuckanut Drive year-round.

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest with terrain spanning the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to forested islands in Puget Sound. Its largest city, Seattle, is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and famed coffeehouses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. Innovative glass art is displayed at Chihuly Garden & Glass.

From the Cascade Mountains westward, Western Washington has a mostly marine west coast climate, with mild temperatures and wet winters, autumns and springs, and relatively dry summers. The Cascade Range has several volcanoes, which reach altitudes significantly higher than the rest of the mountains. From north to south, these major volcanoes are Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. All are active volcanoes. Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the state, is 50 miles south of the city of Seattle, from which it is prominently visible.

If you are looking for Vacation Rental Accommodation in Washington a Mount Baker vacation rental cabin makes the ideal base to explore Washington and all the attractions that the region has to offer.

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Villa Holidays in Italy

Vacations and villas in Italy

Self catering holiday rental homes and villas in Italy offer the visitor the ideal chance to enjoy the real Italy.  A history and culture lover’s paradise with 1000’s of museums, churches and  archeological sites dating back to ancient Roman times. Italy also offers beautiful scenery, rolling hills, lakes, fine food, wine, sunshine and beautiful coastlines.

Coast of Italy
Scenic view of Italian coast

Rome
Holiday villa rentals in Rome the capital of Italy offers visitors the chance to enjoy one the most important tourist destinations in the world.

Rome
Rome

The city of Rome offers an abundance of historical, artistic and archaeological treasures such as the ancient Roman Colloseum and surrounding areas with beautiful views, parks, architecture and museums such as Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museum, Galleria Borghese and many ancient and modern art exhibitions and events that can be enjoyed at your leisure when staying at a holiday rental in Rome.

Venice
Elegant Venetian buildings, villas and palaces abound over the ancient maze of narrow streets, bridges and labyrinth of canals that make up the unique city of Venice.
Venice
Venice

Tourists naturally flock to Venice to experience the charm, romance and history of Venice. A holiday home or vacation rental in Venice allows you to experience all that this city has to offer at your leisure.

Florence
The principal Tuscan city of Florence (Firenze) nestles below the wooded foothills of the Apennine hills, along the banks of the Arno River.

The city of Florence is famous as birthplace of renaissance art and artists that have contributed to the magnificent art, architecture and life of the city such as the work of Botticelli, Michelangelo, Bruneschelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Boccaccio, Alberti, Masaccio, Donatello, Vasari and Fra Angelico.

Florence

The city has become an inspiration to countless visitors from around the world and it is also the home to many stylish citizens who have added their own inimitable style and flair to the scenery and cobbled streets  and piazzas of Florence.  If you are looking for information on holiday homes and villas to rent in Tuscany to explore Florence and surrounding regions then you have come to the right place.

Villa Holidays in Italy
Italy is a beautiful country for a luxurious holiday home or villa rental where you can enjoy all the sensory pleasures available from art, architecture, history, culture, fashion, design, fast cars, slow food, mountains, lakes, countryside, beaches, hot Mediterranean sun and vibrant lifestyles, Italy has it all.
A holiday rental in Rome, Venice or Florence makes an ideal place to find out what has inspired visitors for centuries.
From the Alps and the beautiful lakes in the North through the Tuscan hills down to the smouldering volcano in Sicily Italy is a land that every traveller must visit at least once.

The Island of Sicily
There is a wide variety of holiday rental accommodation in Sicily to choose from that will allow you to tour Sicily and discover one of the oldest wine regions in the Europe. A tour to Sicily is incomplete without savouring an appetizing Sicilian drink! It is fairly difficult to put the beauty of Sicily into words. Spending holidays in Sicily gets much is now much better with world class holiday rental accommodation now available.

The city of Modica on the southern coast has been named a UNESCO Heritage site together with its surroundings. Modica claims to have Italy’s ideal chocolate having been introduced by the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500’s.

 On the 23rd of March the city of Vittoria, situated near the southwestern coast presents the Feast of the Foundation, an exhibition of nearby wines.

Click here to view further info and discover vacation rental accommodation and  villa holidays in Italy.

Staying in Greece and the Greek Islands

Staying in popular regions of Greece and the Greek Islands, Crete, Rhodes, Aegean islands, Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Evia, Corfu, Kos, Santorini, Kefalonia and the Halkidiki penisula.

There are more Islands in Greece than one would ever have time to visit but the largest Island is Crete and there are at least 200 other inhabited islands scattered around the mainland that offer accommodation or holiday homes to let in Greece. The Islands of Greece are grouped into various groups of islands: The Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens, the Cyclades, the North Aegean islands off the west coast of Turkey, the Dodecanese between Crete and Turkey, the Sporades off the coast of Euboea, and the Ionian Islands, to the West in the Ionian Sea, the Peloponnese Peninsula and part of the Attica region that is still considered part of the Ionian Islands.


Peloponnese

The Peloponnese, is a large peninsula, located in southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth. Originally a peninsula connected to the rest of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth, it is now cut off from the mainland by the narrow Corinth Canal, spanned by bridges connecting the Peloponnese to mainland Greece.

The Peloponnese possesses many important archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages. Among the most notable are the ancient city of Corinth where St Paul lived and taught, Epidaurus, an ancient religious and healing centre), now a picturesque seaside village, with one of the most famous of ancient theatres which still stages plays. Monemvasia is a medieval fortress-town, Greece’s Gibraltar. Mycenae is a fortress-town dating from the mycenean period with amazing views across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulfs.  Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games and home to a sacred sanctuary dedicated to Zeus.

The town of Kalamata is famous for its olives but is also a pleasant city with an attractive seafront and stylish new marina. Nafplio is a beautiful seaport town and a good base to explore the surrounding area, such as Epidaurus and Mycenae.

Evia
The island of Evia, second largest of the Greek islands is located off the eastern coast of Central Greece. With stunning landscapes and scenery, bringing together mountains, beautiful ravines and forests and the beautiful blue crystal waters of the Aegean Sea, it provides an exciting and interesting holiday villa and vacation rental destinations.

There are many beautiful villages and towns scattered all across this charming island, each offering visitors an insight into both the past and present traditions of this unique and picturesque island. There are many different activities that visitors can enjoy, such as hiking, water sports, horse riding, climbing, mountain biking and many others. For those who simply enjoy the beach and the sea, Evia has some wonderful beaches all around the island. For a day trip, Athens is in easy proximity.

Corfu
The island of Corfu, known also as Kerkyra, is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands. It is located off the far northwest coast of Greece, east of Italy and southwest of Albania.

Historically Corfu has been controlled by many foreign powers, notably the Venetians and their legacy is visible in the form of castles in strategic locations across the island. Two of these castles enclose its capital, also called Corfu, which is the only city in Greece to be surrounded in such a way. There is much Italianate style architecture with multi-storied buildings on narrow lanes. Corfu Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. There was a short period of British rule following the Napoleonic Wars, the legacy of which is cricket and ginger beer.
The north of the island is wider and more mountainous. The coastal areas are well developed with good pebbly beaches. The south of the island is less wide (only a few miles across from west to east) and tends to have sandier beaches.

The Achilleion is a palace about ten kilometres to the south of Corfu town. It was built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The palace was designed with the mythical hero Achilles as its central theme. Benitses is well worth visiting, it is a very old, traditional fishing village, 12 km south of Corfu Town. The mild climate and the natural beauty of Benitses village has made it very popular with visitors. Messonghi beach has a gentle current, clean water with sand and pebbles and plenty of little fish, it is ideal for children and families.

For the more adventurous, there are day trips to Sarande in Albania which can be combined with an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint.

Kefalonia or Cephalonia
The island of Kefalonia or Cephalonia as it is also known, is now perhaps best known as the setting for the book and the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, it is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. It is renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery with lush forests, breathtaking mountains and high cliffs dropping down to an azure sea. Renting a boat and spending the day visiting secluded beaches reachable only in this way is a popular holiday activity. Horse-riding into the mountains, through ruined villages and ancient vineyards, is another. In the remote western corner of the island there are small villages and private beaches where a centuries old monastery can be found. There are also fascinating geological phenomena, vast underground water networks, subterranean lakes and stalactite encrusted caverns.

Kos
Kos, one of the islands of the Dodecanese group, is located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea and is just 3 miles from the coast of Turkey. It is famous for its rich vegetation and its temperate climate. The ancient physician Hippocrates is thought to have been born on Kos, and in the centre of the town is the Plane Tree of Hippocrates where the physician is traditionally supposed to have taught. A short distance from Kos Town, at the slopes of a low mount with a view of Turkey, is the ancient complex of Asclepius (known as the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek religion).

The castle of the Knights of Saint John is situated at the entrance of Kos harbour on what used to be an island in antiquity. There are at least two excellent beaches – Tigaki  a sandy beach of the northern coast backed by a verdant valley with crystal clear waters and Agios Theologos with beautiful creeks and rocky coves is ideal for sunbathing and windsurfing. Delicious meals of fresh fish can be had at the local tavernas.

Santorini
The island of Santorini in the southern Aegean Sea is about 200 km southeast from the Greek mainland. It is the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands. Santorini is the remnant of a volcanic caldera with a giant central lagoon surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The town is a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes.

Santorini is famous for dramatic views and stunning sunsets and you can find many holiday rental homes and villas in Oia with beautiful views across the bay. There are also many fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, maybe the best beach in Santorini, and the black pebble beach of Kamari. Outside of the towns can be found beautiful countryside where tradition still survives, cave houses, gardens, vineyards, small family business, and tiny churches. The walk along the caldera from Fira to Oia is spectacular and highly recommended.

Halkidiki
Halkidiki is a peninsula in northern Greece, part of the region of Macedonia. The peninsula has three prongs. Kassandra, the westernmost prong of Halkidiki, is the most popular and populated. The easternmost prong is the autonomous Mount Athos region, the spiritual centre of the Greek Orthodox and a living monument to Byzantine culture but which is restricted to visitors.

Halkididki has rolling hills with lush vegetation, white beaches and a sandy, rocky coastline fringed by pine forests. It is wonderful for those who love mountains and pure air. Paths for mountain biking and walking cut their way through the forests of pine, oak, fir and chestnut trees, with many springs rushing from the mountain sides. There are some unique archaeological sites, including Olynthus Stágeira, the birthplace of Aristotle, Doric sanctuary of Zeus near Kallithea and the small chapel of Agios Panteleimon with very fine murals.

The town of Kallithea, a very cosmopolitan resort with great beaches is 90 km from Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek Macedonia. Ideally situated on the Kassandra peninsula, Kallithea is great base for day trips throughout the entire Halkidiki peninsula.

For more information about visiting or booking a vacation rental in Greece or any of these areas please contact us or browse through our growing list of holiday homes and villas in Greece.

The Island of Crete
The largest island in Greece it provides some spectacular locations for holiday homes and villas in Crete as the climate makes it an ideal place for renting a holiday home at almost any time of the year. Located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea it is the most populous of the Greek islands. It provides a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece but retains its own local cultural traits such as its own poetry, and music. It has an exquisite 1,000 kilometer-long coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays and peninsulas that offer splendid vistas to drive along especially on the West Coast at sunset and a multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the beautifully blue Mediterranean Sea including the spectacular island of Elafonisos in the South East that one can walk or wade across the pink sand to get to see a truly unique ecological treasure of an island. There are also many beautiful historic towns to see while following the rugged twists and turns of the awe inspiring old roads that traverse it’s mountainous interior or lead you along old road from Kissamos to Elafonisos and up along the high coastal roads to view the sunset dipping down over the bays. It is a place of extreme contrasts going from fertile coastal plains covered in olive groves to snow capped mountains and from busy metropolitan cities to very peaceful hillside homes. Crete is a quite distinct place which is full of vitality, warmth and hospitality. Holiday Home Lets can even offer you a villa rental in Crete with it’s own wine cellar and distillery and open air restaurant for a true taste of authentic Cretian hospitality and cuisine from a local owner and or a villa with pool with panoramic views of the Sea or on a beach side resort.

A holiday home or villa rental in Crete with it’s rich landscape and snow peaked white mountains makes a truly wonderful place to visit both for a Mediterranean beach holiday and as a place to explore the rich history, culture and hospitality on offer.

Crete has a rich mythology mostly connected with the ancient Greek gods but also connected with the Minoan civilization. On mount Ida can be found the birthplace of the god Zeus.  Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The ruins of this civilization can be found in the reconstructed palace at Knossos, whose labyrinth is the location where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus.

Crete has a good infrastructure so travelling around the island is relatively easy. This allows for visits to a variety of landscapes in relatively short distances. The island has a number of gorges, such as the famous gorge of Samaria, an amazing but long six hour hike through one of the most impressive places in Europe. In contrast, the southern coast of Rethimnon has beautiful beaches, many accessible only on foot. Ierapetra has the distinction of being the southernmost town facing the African coast and enjoys the best weather in Europe, with a temperature that rarely drops below 12 C all year long. Also well worth a visit is Chania, a delightful port town on the north west coast, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. The old town is centered around the harbour and it’s many restaurants where you can enjoy the beautiful light rippling around the bay or wander around the surrounding maze of alleys and houses that have been standing for many hundreds of years with details from all the different epochs including the Turkish Mosque that dominates the Venetian harbour of Chania. Throughout Crete you can clearly see remnants of Roman and Turkish aqueducts and architecture from long ago occupations.

Crete is famous for its tasty and healthy cuisine. It was the subject of a study that revealed its great health benefits and nutritional value. The population has a low incidence of heart attacks and cancers. This cuisine can be found in most traditional Cretan cafes where traditional music is also likely to be found along with large quantities of tsikoudia or raki, the predominant alcoholic beverage produced and consumed by the locals. But be careful it can be up to 45% proof and will often be given by the host at the end of a meal.

Crete, with a population of approximately 650,000, is not just sun, sea and sand; and of course an excellent infrastructure. Crete is well known for its seas and beaches but it has a very contrasting landscape. No doubt Ierapetra, “the bride of the Libyan sea”, is the sunniest holiday resort in Europe.
Internet Villa Holidays has hundreds of unpublished listings of holiday homes and villas in Crete and Greece so please contact us directly with details about what you are looking for, and where, and we will send you further information.

For more info on staying in Greece click:  Holiday homes and villas in Crete and Greece

Holidays in Thailand

Thailand Holiday and Travel Info


Thailand
is an enchanting country featuring Buddhist temples, exotic fauna and flora, Thai elephants and many beautiful islands and beaches. It has a fascinating history with unique Buddhist culture. Thai food and restaurants are now renowned throughout the world. The people are friendly and welcoming and epitomize Thailand as the ‘land of smiles’.  Thailand offers a great variety of attractions. These include diving sites, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, varied night-life, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, exceptional flora and bird life, palaces, a huge amount of Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites. During your stay you can follow courses popular classes in Thai cooking, Buddhism and even traditional Thai massage.Thailand holiday homes and Villas offer visitors the perfect base to explore all that Thailand in a self catering holiday rental accommodation in most sought after areas.Anyone going to Thailand is likely to first visit Bangkok with its many historical, natural and cultural sights. However it is well worth making the effort to also visit the southern beaches and islands and the north of Thailand which is the main region for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic minority groups and forested mountains.Bangkok is a tropical metropolis that is also one of the most traveller friendly cities in Asia. It is renowned for its main shopping malls, offering an astounding variety of international and local brands. “Chatuchak Weekend Market” is possibly the largest market in the world, selling everything from household items to live animals. The “Pratunam Market” specializes in fabrics and clothing. The night markets sell items such as T-shirts, handicrafts, counterfeit watches and sunglasses. In the vicinity of Bangkok one can find several visually stunning floating markets. There are exotic orchids and delicious fruit everywhere with bougainvillea and frangipani blooming all over the city. The justifiably famous Thai cuisine is varied and affordable.Most of Bangkok’s sights are concentrated in the “Old City”. There are hundreds of temples, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun being the best known. The Wat Phra Kaew houses the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha image of Thailand.Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins of temples and palaces. Its proximity to Bangkok make it a popular day-trip destination. Ayutthaya was one of Southeast Asia’s (and probably the world’s) most prosperous cities in the 17th Century and beyond. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kanchanaburi is of interest as the sight of the bridge over the River Kwai, the start of the infamous World War II ‘death railway’ to Burma.

Pattaya is a seaside resort on the eastern coast of Thailand, about 150 km southeast of Bangkok. It is mostly known for its go-go bars, but efforts have been made to provide more family-friendly attractions and activities.

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island 862 kilometres south of Bangkok. It is in the on the west facing the Andaman Sea. At one time the island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China. In recent times, tourism has transformed the island into Thailand’s wealthiest province. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, yachting, jet-skiing and para-sailing are the most popular activities on the island. Other activities include free-diving, windsurfing, kite surfing, wake boarding and deep sea fishing.

Koh Samui is an island of great natural beauty and variety. The palm fringed shoreline and coconut and fruit cultivation of the coastal lowlands rise to a central granite massive, the slopes of which are cloaked in virgin rain forest.

Chiang Mai, the northern capital of Thailand, is located more than 700km northwest of Bangkok.  Surrounded by mountains with legendary, mystical attributes, it is a quaint, moated and walled city with more than 300 temples making  the old city centre visually striking. As well as being culturally rich and diverse, Chiang Mai has fantastic handicraft shopping, delicious food and proximity to many natural treasures.

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