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5 Hidden Gems That Can Only Be Found In Spain

 

 

If you know me, you’ll know that the beautiful country of Spain has a special place in my heart, and that it is my go-to place for a beach holiday, city break, adventure trip or just about any kind of getaway you can think of. As someone who has visited Spain 15+ times over the past 20 years I can say with certainty that is my favourite country in the world, and I love finding things off the beaten track that aren’t in the tourist brochures or the travel guidebooks. So when tour operator Holiday Gems challenged me to put together a list of top hidden gems from my favourite country, how could I say no?!

 

 

Mount Teide, Tenerife

 

The magnificent Mount Teide

 

If you’re a bit of an adventure seeker and would like to swap a day by the pool for a day hiking a mountain, the magnificent Mount Teide is definitely the place to be! Teide can be climbed, hiked, or walked around slowly if time is no issue, and it is the third highest active volcano in the world. As expected, Tenerife is warm all year round which makes it difficult to hike the mountain, so there is the option to take a cable car up to the summit which is a welcome alternative. I hiked around the base of the mountain on my visit last summer, but I heard the views from the top of the cable car were absolutely STUNNING so next time I would definitely choose this option instead. Whilst at Teide, I would also recommend making a pit stop at the nearby Los Roques de Garcia, a UNESCO world heritage site with rock formations that are over 170,000 years old. The rocky landscapes were incredible and made for the most amazing, Instagrammable photos – the whole place looked like something out of an ancient western movie and we instantly felt transported back in time!

 

Cova d’en Xoroi, Menorca

 

The quirky Cova D’en Xoroi

 

Is there anything cooler than a bar built into a cave? I think not! The fabulous Cova D’en Xoroi is listed as one of the best bars in the world, with a fantastic selection of food and drink to choose from, and plenty of seating areas dotted all over the cave. The most magnificent sea views can be found from the front of the cave, and guests are encourage to arrive at dusk, just in time to watch the sun go down as it sets over the sparkling ocean below. After dark, the bar turns into a nightclub with DJ playing an eclectic choice of music for adults to let their hair down and dance until the early hours. If the idea of a bar in a cave wasn’t impressive enough, the myth behind the building is truly magical and gives an added sense of historic mystery to this epic place. Legend has it that a man named Xoroi survived a shipwreck and washed up into the cave where he took refuge from the dangerous seas. At the same time, a local girl from the village went missing and was never to be seen again. Months and years passed by, until she was eventually found alive and well in the cave, with Xoroi and three children, the fruit of their love. Finding himself cornered by the people who found him, Xoroi threw himself into the sea where his eldest son followed him. Both men were lost under the waves and their bodies were never found. Devastated, the girl and her two children were taken to another nearby village where they started to rebuild their lives without their family. A trip to Cova D‘en Xoroi is an absolute must when visiting Menorca and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something different to do on their holiday.

 

 

Old Town, Ibiza

 

Ibiza Old Town

 

A visit to the White Isle usually consists of sun, sea, sand, alcohol and lots of partying until the early hours. Thousands of tourists flock to the biggest clubs, the best beaches and the busiest bars for a week of dancing, drinking and tonnes of fun. However, I discovered a totally different side to the island during my most recent visit a few years ago when I stayed at the quiet resort of Es Cana and took a day trip to the Old Town. Brimming with history, the cobbled streets, ancient walls and natural beauty of the Old Town can be found in abundance and is one of the most visited areas in Ibiza.  Why not spend some time walking along the city walls and finding the old war cannons? Or wander down by the sea front and watch as the sun glistens on to the sparkling turquoise waters. A trip to the Old Town is an absolute must when visiting Ibiza, and you won’t be short of things to see and do here.

 

The Pine Walk, Mallorca

 

Puerto Pollensa’s Pine Walk

 

I stumbled across this place whilst on a family holiday to Majorca a few years ago, where I was staying in the vibrant resort of Puerto Pollensa. The Pine Walk is the busiest part of the resort and is where the nightlife really comes alive, with loads of cosmopolitan cocktail bars, traditional Spanish restaurants and pretty little shops. It is quite a large entertainment district with many pubs and lots of places to eat and drink, and typically there are lots of tourists here but it is fun, it is lively and it offers lots of things to see and do. You’ll find street performers, sand sculptures, caricature artists and pretty much every kind of entertainer or performer you can think of. Set back slightly from the beach, and just away from the main road, the Pine Walk enjoys the perfect position just from which to allow visitors to enjoy a different area of Puerto Pollensa.

 

St Joseph La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

 

Barcelona’s famous food market

 

Located right on Las Ramblas, in the heart of the city, St Joseph’s Market is one of the hidden gems of Barcelona and is a hit with locals and tourists alike. Stocked with a colourful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of meats, fish and cheeses, as well as sweet treats like cakes, smoothies, ice creams and much much more, this undercover market offers plenty of things to buy. Why not wander around Las Ramblas with one of their enormous ice creams, or grab a bargain and take some local produce back for your loved ones at home? There are also a variety of souvenirs and Barcelona merchandise on offer too. Whatever you decide to purchase, you can guarantee you’ll pick up a local, authentic token from the Catalonian capital.

 

So as you can see, these are just a few of the less known landmarks that can be found across sunny Spain, but there are hundreds more just waiting to be discovered! If you’re looking for a cheap, last minute getaway to this beautiful country, why not browse the Holiday Gems website to see if you can grab a bargain; I challenge you to see if you’ve found a much cheaper holiday? Have you been to Spain before, and if so where was your favourite city? Get in touch with all your Spanish stories as I would LOVE to hear them!

Love Jess x

NB. This was a sponsored post in partnership with Holiday Gems but, as always, all thoughts, words and photos are of course my own.

 

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Ten Things to do in Tenerife

 

 

Tenerife is a sun worshippers haven. Situated in southern Spain, just across the sea from North Africa, Tenerife enjoys temperatures as high as 35  degrees during summer, 25 degrees during winter, and is hot all year round. There’s more to this Canary island than sunbathing and beaches though, as I discovered when I spent a week here with my sisters on a girly holiday back in June. With its mountainous scenery, rugged coastline and vibrant atmosphere, here are my top ten things to see and do in sunny Tenerife…

 

1. Hike Mount Teide

 

Just one more 📸 of the amazing mount teide cos I just love it 🗻 #teide #teidelover #tenerife #canaries #traveltuesday

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If you’re an adventure seeker and want to keep active whist you’re on holiday, Mount Teide is the place to be! The third highest active volcano in the world, this mountain can be climbed, hiked, or reached by cable car all year round. My sisters and I booked an all day excursion to Teide whilst we were on the island, and it was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday. Rather than riding the cable car to the summit, we opted to hike around the base of the mountain and admire the views from down below instead. If I were to visit again I’d love to go to the top though as I’m sure the panoramic scenes from up there were even better! Whilst at Teide, we also visited Los Roques de Garcia, a UNESCO world heritage site with rock formations that are over 170,000 years old – it looked like something out of an ancient movie and the landscapes were breathtakingly beautiful.

 

2. Create waves at Siam Park

 

#SiamPark #MaiThaiRiver #chilling #waterfall #Tenerife @travelblogneverseenbefore

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Voted the best water park in the world, this Thai themed adventure island boasts some of the biggest, most daring rides you’ll ever see. I’m a huge water park fan but sadly didn’t have time to visit this place during our time in Tenerife as we were very limited on days (and euros!). The park attracts over 850,000 visitors a year and is home to a lazy river, crazy rapids, a sealion island and it even has its own beach! Located in the family friendly resort of Costa Adeje, this place is amazing for a fun filled day out for all the family, no matter what your age, and is definitely one of the most visited attractions on the whole island – I am 100% checking this out next time I return!

 

3. Wander down Las Americas

 

Casting shadows 🌗🌴 #Tenerife

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We stayed at one of the Parque Santiago resorts, right in the heart of Las Americas, in front of the beach and on the main strip itself. Las Americas is a thriving resort brimming with bars, cafe’s, shops and restaurants and offers plenty of things to see and do. Tribute acts fill the bars and pubs every night, whilst water sports take over the beach and live music plays from the restaurants during the day. There’s always something going on in Las Americas, and that’s one of the main reasons I loved the resort so much. Everything is so close by, and you never have to walk more than 10 minutes in either direction to find what it is that you need. I’d definitely recommend Las Americas to anyone looking for a lively, fun-filled, stress-free holiday in the heart of Tenerife.

 

4. Have drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe

 

Bright lights, big city ✨ #Tenerife #lasamericas

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One of the most extravagant hotels in the whole of Las Americas, and one of the newest, The Hard Rock Cafe is arguably a tourist attraction in it’s own right, and for good reason! I love this brand and always try to visit whenever I’m exploring a new city, but the Tenerife chain is definitely one of the best I’ve ever seen. With a 5* hotel, enormous swimming pool, trendy restaurant, music hall and glamorous rooftop bar, the Hard Rock has it all. We found that this place was great for having a few cocktails before hitting the rest of the strip, but it was quite pricey so we had to limit ourselves!

 

5. Watch the fountain show at the Safari shopping mall

 

Magical fountain shows are my favourite ✨✨✨ #Tenerife

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I wasn’t even aware this place existed until I wandered past one night and heard my favourite song booming from the speakers… When I heard Elvis – Can’t Help Falling In Love playing, I turned to see where it was coming from and was greeted with the most amazing sight! A beautiful sparkly fountain show right in the centre of Las Americas, that was set to music and attracted more and more people to the crowd as they stopped and stared just as I had done. The show lasts for around 10-15 minutes and a number of classic songs are played as the fountains do their thing. The show ends with the iconic New York, New York by Frank Sinatra and the fountains look even more beautiful lit up as they come to a sparkly end! You can catch the show every night at the Safari Shopping Mall, right on the Las Americas strip.

 

6. Explore Loro Parque

 

According to the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums’ “Bottlenose Dolphin Fact Sheet”: Bottlenose dolphins are found in temperate and tropical waters around the world (cosmopolitan species). They can inhabit a variety of marine and coastal ecosystems of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea (Ridgway and Harrison, 1999). Bottlenose dolphins in the western North Atlantic are found from Nova Scotia to Patagonia and from Norway to the tip of South Africa. They are the most abundant dolphin species along the United States coast from Cape Cod through the Gulf of Mexico (Reeves et al., 2002). Other types of bottlenose dolphins are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as far north as the southern Okhotsk Sea, the Kuril Islands and central California. They are found as far south as Australia and New Zealand. Dolphins everywhere depend on healthy oceans for their survival. They depend on us! Protect and conserve #OurWorldOceans #AMMPA #welovedolphinseveryday Según la ficha informativa sobre los delfines mulares de la Alianza de Parques y Acuarios con Mamíferos Marinos: Los delfines mulares se hallan en aguas tropicales y templadas alrededor del mundo (especies cosmopolitas). Pueden habitar en una gran variedad de ecosistemas marinos y costeros en los océanos Pacífico, Atlántico e Índico, así como en el Mar Mediterráneo (Rigway y Harrison, 1999). Los delfines mulares del Atlántico Norte occidental se reparten desde Nueva Escocia hasta la Patagonia, y desde Noruega hasta el extremo de Sudáfrica. Son la especie de delfín más abundante a lo largo de la costa de los Estados Unidos, desde el Cabo Cod hasta el Golfo de México (Reeves et al., 2002). Otros tipos de delfines mulares pueden encontrarse en los océanos Pacífico e Índico, así como tan al norte como al sur del Mar de Ojotsk, las islas Kuriles y California Central; y tan al sur como en Australia y Nueva Zelanda. Los delfines alrededor del mundo dependen de océanos sanos para sobrevivir. ¡Dependen de nosotros! Protege y conserva nuestros océanos. #OurWorldOceans #AMMPA #welovedolphinseveryday

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Loro Parque is one of the most popular excursions on the whole island and is situated in the pretty Puerto de la Cruz area, a bus ride away from Las Americas. Awarded the title of best zoo in Europe, Loro Parque offers an unforgettable day out for all the family and is home to over 4000 species of animal across its 33 acre gardens. As well as having numerous exhibits for visitors to wander around, the zoo hosts dolphin, sealion, orca and parrot shows daily too. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to tick this place off my Tenerife bucket list, but I will definitely be checking it out next time I’m on the island!

 

7. Sunbathe on Las Vistas beach

 

Pick a sunbed any sunbed ☀️ #Tenerife #beach #lasamericas

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One of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen, Las Vistas is the perfect place to take time out and relax during your holiday to Tenerife. We spent many hours there sunbathing, swimming in the sea and watching the world go by. The beach was right behind our Parque Santiago hotel, so gave us direct access, and it was a stones throw from many of the cafe’s, bars and restaurants that are dotted along the sea front. The beach also offers a multitude of watersports for the thrill seekers out there who prefer keeping active to lounging around on the sand – I didn’t take part in these as was far too busy sunbathing – but it looked like so much fun!

 

8. Take a boat trip from Puerto Colon

 

Vitamin Sea 🌊🐬 #Tenerife

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Despite suffering from horrendous sea sickness, boat trips are totally my thing and I always try to do one when I’m on holiday! I think boats are a brilliant way of seeing places from different perspectives, and I adore marine life so take any chance I get to spot dolphins, fish and even whales whilst I’m out on the open sea. Sadly I was feeling absolutely AWFUL during the entire trip and spent most of the three hours at sea with my head in a sick bag!! Despite my sickness though I still managed to see dolphins AND whales swimming next to our catamaran and that alone was worth every minute of how I felt that day. Maybe next time I’ll just go on a bigger boat so I don’t feel the waves as much… I’ve suffered with travel/motion sickness for as long as I can remember and would love to know how I can overcome it… Suggestions on a postcard please?!

 

9. Go clubbing on the Veronica’s strip

 

🍾🍑

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This is something we only did a couple of nights during our trip; we much prefer bars to clubs so spent most of our time on the main strip in Las Americas, rather than wandering over to the Veronicas despite it being in the same resort. This strip is a ten minute walk from the centre of Americas and is filled with more bars and even more clubs offering cheap drinks deals, DJ’s and dance floors; think Zante/Ayia Napa/Kavos and you get the picture. I’m now 24 and this isn’t really my scene anymore (I’m so old!!) but it was fun to spend a few hours there and just a short stroll away from the lively resort centre so easily reachable on foot.

 

10. Watch the sunset from the sea front

 

Not a bad place to watch the sunset 🌅🌅 #tenerife #lasamericas #friyay

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Anyone that knows me will know how much I love my sunsets! Every time I’m away I always try and catch a sun set at least once during my trip, and luckily we were able to see a couple during our week in Tenerife. Plonking ourselves in a pretty restaurant on the sea front we sat and watched the sun go down over the Atlantic sea whilst we drank cocktails and stuffed our faces with yummy meals. I think we did this on our first night and it was really special – my sister captured a timelapse of the sunset and it looked totally magical! Would def recommend having dinner in front of the sun set during your time in Tenerife if you get the chance.

 

So those are just some of the many reasons why you should visit Tenerife this summer, or in fact at any time of year. There’s so much to see and do, the weather is fantastic all year round, and the lively atmosphere makes the island a hit with families, groups and couples alike. To be in the heart of the action, stay in Las Americas and take advantage of the proximity of the beach, bars, restaurants and lively nightlife. If however you’re looking for a more relaxed holiday, the smaller resorts of Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos are probably more your thing. I absolutely loved my holiday to Tenerife this summer and couldn’t have asked for a better location from which to unwind and enjoy some much needed sunshine. The scenery was beautiful, the temperatures were just right and there was so much to do we didn’t once get bored. Have you ever been to Tenerife? What resort did you visit? Would love to know what you thought of the island!

Love Jess x

 

I think I'm a little bit in love with #Tenerife 😍🌊

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How to survive your first group press trip

 

Ready for the opening party of #MustSeeMenorca with @traverseevents @spain @turismomenorca @portbluehotels ☀️⛴

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Press trips. The holy grail of the blogging world, and they’re so sought after that bloggers literally compete with each other in a bid to get picked by brands and companies. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend one before, but if you’ve followed my blog lately you’ll know that I was recently invited on my first EVER group press trip, and what a trip it was! Along with 59 other bloggers, Instagrammers and Youtubers, I was invited to explore the beautiful Spanish island of Menorca as part of  the #MustSeeMenorca campaign with Jet2, Traverse, Turismo Menorca and Spain. As this was my first ever group press trip I was totally unaware of what to expect, and was a little nervous to begin with, but once I embraced everything and felt more confident, I found myself having one of the best week’s of travel I’ve ever had! If you’re about to jet off on your first group press trip and aren’t sure what to expect, these top tips might help you get through it…

 

Understand the brief before you go

 

 

This is single-handedly the most important thing you should do before accepting an invitation to attend a press trip. Check the brief that the company have sent you, go through it with a fine toothed comb and make sure you can deliver what they have asked of you before you go on the trip, and before you start to create content. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to tell them that you can’t deliver on a certain aspect of the brief, as they may be able to work around you so that you can come up with a compromise together. If a company have asked for daily Instagram posts whilst you’re away but all you’ve done is one tweet every other day, it’ll just reflect badly on you and look as if you haven’t checked the brief at all. Also, check that you know the right brand accounts to tag if you’re posting on social, and know what relevant links you need to include in your content. It’s something so simple, but it’ll really help to make sure you don’t miss anything and that you stick to creating the content that both you and the brand want and need.

 

Interact with fellow attendees online 

 

 

This is something I swear by, and I do it every time I’m going on a group trip or event, not just a press trip or a work related activity. I think there’s something about making friends with people online that helps you to feel less nervous about meeting them face to face, as it takes away that feeling of being total strangers and meeting for the first time. I always search the hashtag of the event/trip before attending so that I can see who else is, and say hi that way.

 

 

Before attending Traverse16 for the first time I searched the hashtag on Twitter, found a lovely girl called Lucy who was also going for the first time, chatted online with her for a bit and she then invited me to stay at hers so we could attend the conference together. Fast forward a year and Lucy and I have attended many other blogger events at the same time, become firm friends and have even taken a little holiday together! That’s the power of social media, it brings people together who have similar interests and opens up new opportunities – and sometimes it’s definitely who you know, not what you know, that can make all the difference.

 

Don’t be afraid to be a little nervous

 

Cave parties in #menorca are my favourite🍾 #MustSeeMenorca #igersmenorca

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Press trips are naturally very daunting, and often a little scary. Most of the time you’ll be going on trips with bloggers who have been doing this for YEARS and are total pro’s at the whole networking thing. At the other end of the scale though, there are always people like me who will be on their first ever press trip and that’s totally OK – we’ve all gotta start somewhere! Don’t be afraid to show that you’re a little nervous, it makes you human, and your fellow bloggers will admire you for being so honest.

 

 

Before the #MustSeeMenorca trip I posted in the Facebook group just to introduce myself and said that I was feeling nervous as my blog is so small compared to some of the other big bloggers that were attending, but I received lovely comments and messages from other attendees saying that there was no need for me to nervous, or that they were feeling the same too, and that they were really looking forward to meeting me. Little things like that make the world of difference and my nerves soon turned into excitement as my confidence was increased in no time!

 

Document everything as you go along

 

 

Make notes, take photos, record videos. Do everything you can to capture as much content as possible whilst you’re on the move. Even if you’re not required to post anything whilst you’re away, keep things for yourself so that you have a database of notes and images to work from when the time comes for your content to be created. If the deadline is a week or two after the trip has ended, chances are you’ll have forgotten some of the most important aspects that you wanted to write about, so by keeping that database you can keep your memory fresh, and your content will be as accurate as possible. Don’t forget to keep your phone location switched to ON so that you can record destinations as you go along without even realizing it – super handy when you come to post a photo on Instagram two weeks later and can’t remember the name of the location!

 

 

Be honest and open with your group at all times

 

 

Luckily, I’m a terrible liar and am pretty transparent. I’m always open and honest with people, and I know they find it easy to tell when I’m upset, or when I’m not well. On one of the days of the #MustSeeMenorca trip I felt really poorly, had a banging headache and could barely open my eyes. One of the girls quickly noticed I wasn’t quite right and nodded to one of our group leaders for help. I was taken out of the sun and offered a bit of respite for half an hour where I had something to eat and had a sugary drink to make myself feel better. Within half an hour I was fine and was able to re-join the group, but it made the world of difference knowing that I could take that time out without feeling bad about letting anyone down, and could focus on getting myself better for the rest of the day.

Coincidentally, I think some people from our group thought that I might just have been drunk/hungover on that day as we had just left the gin distillery, which probably didn’t help! When I re-joined the group for dinner a couple of people had asked why I had been poorly, and I mentioned that I suffer with headaches on a daily basis, although some days are worse than others. It was at this point that I decided to open up to a small number of my new friends in the group and I started talking to them about my medical condition, and how it affects me in day to day life, as well as when I’m travelling. After a few minutes they were really supportive and I think they really respected that I had opened up to them. It made them understand why I had taken time out of the trip that day, not that I needed to have a reason to justify myself, but I’m a very honest person and I think they appreciated that too, just like I would have done if someone else had been in my position that day! If you’re feeling down, you’re feeling poorly or you’re just feeling not quite right – TELL someone, and don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone.

 

 

Special thanks to the lovely Nicola, Pete, Pedro, Nienke, Steve, Eileen and Georgie who listened to me rambling on that lunch time 😉 It really meant the world to know I could open up to you about something so personal to me. <3

 

Most importantly… just be yourself

 

 

This goes without saying. You do you. Just be yourself. Don’t try to act like someone else to fit in with the crowd – this isn’t high school! Get to know as many people on the trip as possible, say YES to as many activities as you can, embrace new experiences, make new friends and push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you can do all of these things whilst staying true to yourself then you’re on to a winner and will get the best possible experience from your first group press trip.

 

 

These steps really helped me to have the best time away during my first group press trip, although I know people work in different ways and no two press trips are ever the same. I feel very fortunate that #MustSeeMenorca actually felt more like a holiday than a press trip, and it allowed me to make new friends, grow in confidence and enjoy exploring the island. It didn’t feel like work one bit, but I know many trips have strict itineraries, deadlines and a set amount of required content, so by following the steps above you can prepare yourself to get as much out of the trip as you possibly can.

 

 

I hope these tips have been helpful! Have you ever been on a group press trip before, or are you planning on attending one in the near future? Let me know your thoughts as I’d love to hear from you! My next group press trip will be to the gorgeous Swiss resort of Nendaz in July and I’ll be working with the Travelopo team and 4 other fabulous bloggers to bring you some exciting content – watch this space!

Love Jess x

NB. All photos are my own, unless the embedded Twitter posts say otherwise. Thanks also to Spain for the featured image! A big thank you again to the wonderful teams at Spain, Turismo Menorca, Jet2 and Traverse for hosting my first group press trip, and for making it so special!

 

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Highlights from #MustSeeMenorca: My Favourite Spanish Island

So #Menorca's harbours look pretty special in the sunshine ⛴⛴ #mustseemenorca #spain #visitspain #igersmenorca

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Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be selected to go on my first ever group press trip and I had the most amazing time! Along with the brilliant teams at Jet2, Traverse Events, Turismo Menorca and Spain I headed off with 59 other bloggers, Youtubers and Instagrammers to explore the beautiful island of Menorca. Although this place is the smallest of the Balearic islands (excluding Formentera), it’s right up there with its sisters Majorca and Ibiza and is brimming with gorgeous white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and so many things to see and do. This was my fourth visit to the island but my first as an adult and it made me appreciate it’s beauty, culture and charm so much more! Here are my highlights from my trip and why I think you #MustSeeMenorca too…

Watching the sunset from Illa Lazareto

 

 

On our first night in Menorca we took a short boat ride from the pretty port of Es Castell over to Illa Lazaretto, an old quarantined island which has remained largely untouched since it was used to house terminally ill patients of various diseases. We wandered around the former grounds of the hospital wings, the communal gardens and the old chapel and the whole island felt very eerie, almost haunted, and I could just sense the history that was there. We had the privilege of watching the most glorious sunset over the harbour and across Es Castell, but it was a sight in itself to see 60 bloggers snapping away furiously with their Go-Pro’s, iPhone’s and DSLR cameras all trying to get the perfect Instagram shot!

 

Partying in Cova D’en Xoroi

 

 

This was probably my favourite part of the entire trip; partying in a bar in a cave on the sea – could it get any better than that?! Our closing party took us to the amazing Cova D’en Xoroi, a place I went to when I was 7 years old but could barely remember, so I was super excited to be attending again, and this time I could have a drink or three 😉 We had a wonderful time dancing to music, drinking cava, and watching the most glorious sunset over the Mediterranean sea. This place is an absolute MUST when visiting Menorca and it’s not hard to see why!

 

Exploring the white washed village of Binibeca

 

 

Another part of Menorca I had visited when I was a little girl, but didn’t realise until I got home and showed my mum this photo! Binibeca was a real hidden gem, and probably the most beautiful village I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. With its black lampposts, tall trees and white washed buildings, Binibeca makes the most picture perfect shots. You’ll also find a couple of small shops, restaurants and a doctors surgery on site whilst it’s location at the edge of the sea offers the most stunning views of the turquoise waters below.

 

Walking around the old capital, Ciutadella

 

 

The capital of the island  until 1722, the gothic city of Ciutadella is definitely worth a visit during your time in Menorca. The city is home to cobbled streets, local markets, a pretty harbour and the most stunning cathedral. Ciutadella is considered the most religious capital of the island, compared to Mahon, the new capital, and is visited by large numbers of tourists year after year. Why not taste some of the Spanish delicacies at one of the many food markets before wandering around the harbour or people watching along the side streets? There’s so much to see in Ciutadella – we spent our last day there and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful week!

 

And exploring the new capital, Mahon

 

 

Known for it’s striking architecture, it’s bustling streets and it’s busy port, Mahon is the proud capital of Menorca and boasts that it’s the birthplace of Mayonnaise, or ‘Ma-hon-aise’ as it’s supposedly pronounced! Mahon also has the one of the largest natural harbours in the world, stretching 900m wide with gorgeous clear waters. Getting around on foot is definitely the best way to see the city, and exploring the little side streets, with their wonderful array of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, makes for the most delightful afternoon. My favourite part was walking along the harbour and taking a boat trip from the port, but don’t miss the stunning Church of Santa Maria too, with history dating back to the 1200s!

 

Kayaking in Cala Galdana

 

 

I was super nervous about kayaking for the first time… water sports are not my strong point despite having jet-skied, boat-tripped and para-sailed in the past! Let me tell you now though that kayaking was one of the hardest physical things I have ever done, but definitely one of the most rewarding. Luckily, I partnered up with the lovely Paco from the Spanish Tourist Board and he was amazing, doing most of the work whilst my poor arms couldn’t cope with the tremendous amount of rowing that was required. Sorry Paco – I’m useless and have no upper body strength! Our time on the water saw us speeding across the open sea, entering dark caves, cruising into little coves and we even stopped for a swim and a snorkel whilst enjoying crisps and drinks on the rocks. Kayaking definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it was hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I got to do it with all of my wonderful Menorca buddies!

 

Visiting the highest point of the island, El Toro

 

 

El Toro is an absolute must see when visiting Menorca, and for very good reason. Drive (or hike, if you’re feeling brave enough) up to the top of the highest point of the island for the most spectacular panoramic views below. You’ll get to see the rest of the island from every angle, and you’ll also get to visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Toro, a stunning 15th century baroque-style church. To the front of the site you’ll see the iconic statue of Jesus of the Sacred Heart with his arms stretched wide, said to be blessing the Menorcans who died in the Spanish Moroccan wars of the 20th century. This place felt truly special, and the views were completely stunning.

 

Tapas eating in every kind of Menorcan restaurant

 

 

We all know that food is a big part of any trip abroad, but even more so when you’re visiting Spain; the home of Tapas, Paella, Gazpacho and many more iconic dishes. As you’d expect, meal times were one of the focus points of our press trip and I think we were all desperate to enjoy a true taste of Spain during our time in Menorca. My favourite restaurant was La Minerva in Mahon, a floating restaurant in the middle of the harbour that served up the most amazing Tapas, seafood and more. I’m not the most adventurous person when it comes to food, I try as many new things as I can, but I’m happy just to stick to plain foods as 9 times out of 10 I get sick when I start eating things that are rich, or that my stomach isn’t used to! Luckily I pushed myself a little on this trip and managed to try new things that I never would have picked if I was travelling alone – cuttlefish and squid being two of my new feats, although Tapas will always remain a firm favourite of mine!

 

Other important parts of our trip

During our time in Menorca we stayed in the stunning Hotel San Luis PortBlue in the peaceful resort of S’Algar, just a few minutes walk from the waterfront where you’ll find a small selection of restaurants and shops. The resort itself was super quiet and I normally prefer staying somewhere more lively with more places to go and more things to see and do, but as we had jam packed itineraries for the entire week, it made a nice change to have a sleepy resort to be based from! We each had spacious and modern double rooms with en-suites, desks, LCD TVs and the most amazing sea views across S’Algar… I’m definitely missing waking up to those every morning!

 

 

Obviously, the main reason we were all visiting Menorca in the first place was to attend the two day conference held at the luxurious Barcelo Hamilton Hotel in Mahon. Our hosts put on a fantastic event with inspiring talks from speakers, enjoyable group challenges and plenty of time for everyone to get to know each other a little better. We were also treated to a fantastic display of foodie treats throughout the two days and admired the gorgeous sea views from our central location. My favourite part was our mini closing party on site, where we spent time drinking cava from the rooftop terrace complete with bar, hot tubs and the most amazing views across the harbour below!

 

Rooftop views and cava to end day 2 of the #mustseemenorca conference at the beautiful @barcelohamilton 🍾🍾 #menorca #Spain

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So there we are, the highlights from my #MustSeeMenorca trip – an unforgettable week with so many memories, and there were so many more I could have picked! I posted tonnes of photos on my Instagram  whilst I was away and received so many comments from lots of you saying that you wanted to hop on a plane and join me out in Menorca! I hope you all get to visit one day, and I just want to say a huge thank you again to the fantastic teams at Jet2, Traverse, Turismo Menorca and Spain for hosting our trip and making it so wonderful – our week in the sun definitely felt like a holiday and not a press trip! Have you ever been to Menorca? What were your favourite parts? I’d love to hear your Spanish stories!

Love Jess x

 

May Newsletter

 

 

Hi everyone,

It’s the last day of May and it’s been one hell of a month for me over the past few weeks! I’m quite impressed I’ve been able to get this newsletter out on time, given that I’ve barely been in the country this month and have been here there and everywhere! As you’d expect, this newsletter is almost completely travel related because of my recent trips and here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks…

I took a spontaneous city break to Sofia

 

Had the best time exploring the beautiful city of #Sofia with my wonderful friend of 10 years 💖

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This was super spontaneous, very unplanned and it almost didn’t happen as we very nearly missed our flights!! My lovely friend Toni and I wanted to do a last minute city break to an underrated European city and, after frantically scrolling through Skyscanner, we found return flights to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia for a bargain £30! How could we say no?! We only had 2 nights to explore but quickly fell in love with Sofia’s history, charm and beauty. We took a walking tour, ticked off all the big landmarks, enjoyed some of the local cuisine and drove into the mountains for spectacular panoramic views. I’ll be posting my travel guide to Sofia over the coming weeks so watch this space!

I went on my first group press trip to Menorca

 

So this was totally unexpected and even more last minute than my Sofia trip but I was completely shocked and delighted to have been selected to attend my first ever group press trip with the teams at Jet2, Spain, Traverse and Turismo Menorca. I spent a whole week exploring this beautiful island, taking part in all the fantastic activities that had been put together for us and learning so many new skills at the 2 day conference. The best thing about this trip though was all the new friends I made, and for that alone I feel so so lucky to have been selected to attend this trip. Thanks to everyone who made my week in Menorca so amazing, can’t wait for a reunion in June!!

 

It was time to celebrate my sisters 22nd birthday

 

family

 

The middle of the month brought my sister Hannah’s 22nd birthday and we had a big family meal to look forward to as my nan, grandad and great aunty all from Liverpool came down to stay with us for a few days. We hadn’t seen each other since January so it was really nice to catch up and spend some quality time with people who mean such a lot to me. We went for a lovely meal out to celebrate Han’s 22nd and picked a little pub in the Cotswold town of Burford to spend the evening. Family time is so important and it was so lovely to take a little break from work, I just wish mine didn’t live so far from me!

 

I’m still in shock after the Manchester Terror Attack

 

Waking up to the news from #Manchester this morning hit me really hard. Maybe because it's just closer to home, or maybe because it's the real loss of innocent, young, beautiful life that has been so cruelly snatched away. And for what? How can it be that you can take your kids to a concert and not return? This world is beautiful but this world is also evil- we must not let that take over and shadow everything that is good. I'm not sure what to think or say, but I found a little bit of peace sat in this spot in #menorca this afternoon just watching the waves crash against the rocks and trying to blur out everything that has happened over the past 24 hours. But we must not forget, and we must still keep the people of #manchester in our thoughts 💔

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

I still can’t believe this has happened and I still don’t really know what to say about it. I was in Menorca when I found out and it still doesn’t feel real. I went to bed that night after seeing a Sky News alert on my phone that simply just read ‘incident in Manchester’. I didn’t really know what had happened, and didn’t think too much of it at first so I switched my phone off and tried to get to sleep, but there was something that was bugging me and keeping me awake. I can’t explain what it was but I felt this sickness in the pit of my stomach and I laid awake in bed for hours trying to dismiss it. When I woke up the next morning and read the news headlines I instantly burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it, I had really hoped and prayed that the word ‘incident’ I’d seen before bed wouldn’t have turned into the word ‘terror attack’ the next morning. But it had. And it was horrendous. I have no words for this appalling, senseless attack on 22 of our own beautiful men, women and children, all of whom were attending a concert and all of whom didn’t return. My heart is still breaking and I have thought of those innocent, wonderful people every second of every day since that fateful day. <3

I celebrated three years of blogging

 

Onto a happier note now, and one of my biggest personal achievements. If you read my most recent blog post you’ll know that I recently celebrated my 3 year blogiversary which was kind of a big deal for me! Three years is actually quite a long time, and I could never have imagined three years ago that my little blog would be where it is now. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities, friends and new found love for travel that my blog has brought me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, and for Journeys with Jessica. As always, thank you so much for your continued support, it really does mean the absolute world! 🌏

I won tickets to visit The Shard

 


So this was rather exciting and, again, totally unexpected! There’s a bit of a theme running with this months newsletter, can you tell?! I entered a competition during #Traverse17 to try and win tickets to The Shard in London – it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visited but sadly never been able to! I thought I’d chance my arm and enter the competition, and little did I know that I’d been named as the winner and received my VIP tickets through the post! I’ll be taking my sister with me later on in the summer and we both can’t wait to visit – a big thank you to Circular Cruises and Thames River Services for sending my prize, and congrats to the lovely Nicola who also won tickets – it was fate that we met each other on the Menorca trip too, don’t you think?!

And I’m currently en route to Tenerife!

 

tenerife

As if this month hasn’t been crazy enough I’m just about to leave for the airport to head off on my final trip for May. I’m going on a girly holiday to Tenerife with my sisters and am so excited just to chill out on the beach, lay by the pool and soak up some sunshine. The last few trips have been a bit hectic and I’ve taken my work away with me both times, so this week I’m looking forward to completely switching off and taking some time out. Hitting ‘out of office’ on your emails is the best feeling ever, right?! We’re staying right at the heart of the action in Playa de Las Americas so send your tips, tricks and blog posts my way please!

So there we have it, just a short update on the places I’ve visited this month! Given that all I’ve done is travel I haven’t got much other news to report but I’ll be in Tenerife for the next week and am then hoping for a quiet month in June to give me chance to catch up with everything and get my blog content back on track – please do bear with me as I have travel guides to Vienna, Sofia and Menorca to post and want to get them published as soon as physically possible. I’ll be back from Tenerife soon, but in the meantime you can follow my adventures over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Was your month of May as busy as mine? What did you get up to? See y’all soon!

Love Jess X