Telegraph.co.uk–Our experts’ pick of the top 10 cultural holidays in Spain for 2015, including the Dalí Triangle, the Chopin music festival and the best cultural activities for families, in destinations such as Madrid, Costa Brava, Majorca and Malaga
1. Cantabria’s prehistoric caves
It’s been a huge year for Cantabria’s prehistoric, World Heritage-listed Altamira Cave. For the first time since 2002, the original cavern (rather than the replica) has been opened up to five randomly selected ticket holders each week, making it an exceptionally exciting time to visit. But it pays to dig deeper into Cantabria’s lesser-known caves, which is easily done with the independent Caminos by Casas Cantabricas “Short Break Cantabria” itinerary. Its cave-focused option also covers El Castillo (for the world’s oldest cave art) and the eerie Eastern Caves in Ramales. From £240pp for four nights’ b & b, including car hire, Altamira tickets and app guides to the area. Flights not included (01223 328721; caminos.co.uk). Isabella Noble
Andrew Allen writes for NY Times.com, BAZA, Spain — It was a desire to experience what Danielle Dupeux called a more “primordial” way of living that prompted her and her husband to create a cave house in rural Granada. Primordial it may be, but it is hardly cramped. The house sprawls across more than 800 square meters, about 8,600 square feet, on two levels underground. Ms. Dupeux, an artist and a native of France, and her husband, Andre Malby, an alternative-medicine practitioner, were already living in southern Spain when Mr. Malby convinced his wife that they should look for a cave house.
While such dwellings exist throughout Europe, they are particularly common — and in demand — in Granada Province. A 2007 report by the provincial government, the most recent official tally available, said that in 2002, there were 11,795 such properties in the province and 5,838 of them were occupied.
The majesty of southern Spain is testament to a history peppered with cultural and religious differences. Today, those are celebrated as part of its beauty.
Arwa Aburawa writes for Aquila-Style.com–The story goes that when the ruler of Granada, Muhammad XII of Granada, was forced out of the city in January 1492, he took one last look at the Alhambra and wept. Though nobody will ever know for sure what thoughts were running through his mind as he fled into exile, I’d like to think that he shed tears not only because of his bitter defeat, but also because he couldn’t bear to leave the beauty and charm of Muslim Spain – Al Andalus. After almost 800 years, Muslim rule had left an undeniable mark on the rugged, mountainous and fertile lands of southern Spain, but that was now all over.
Editor’s note: Don’t worry if you don’t read Spanish. This feature is not about text. It’s about Luis Davilla’s marvelous high-res 360º photographs of the Ribera del Duero wine region. Enjoy!
Recorremos esta ruta enoturística por Castilla y León a través de panorámicas en HD, con paradas en localidades como Peñafiel, bodegas firmadas por Norman Foster o monasterios como el de Santa María de Valbuena.
Ocholeguas.com–En esta nueva entrega de imágenes panorámicas, Ocholeguas.com le invita a visitar la Ribera del Duero de principio a fin y, sobre todo, a través de hermosas panorámicas en 360º. Ancestral tierra de vinos, la ruta enoturística amparada bajo la denominación de origen homónima nos muestra bodegas como las de Protos en Peñafiel (Valladolid), diseñada por el arquitecto Richard Rogers; Portia en Gumiel de Izán (Burgos), obra de Norman Foster; la de Rodero en Pedrosa de Duero, también en Burgos, o la subterránea de El Romellón, en Aranda de Duero.
Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart had more titles than any other aristocrat and owned palaces and an extensive property portfolio as well as paintings by Goya and Velazquez. She died at home on Thursday after a short illness. The duchess is survived by her husband of three years, Alfonso Diez, who is 25 years her junior. The Duchess of Alba was the head of one of Spain’s oldest noble families.
BBC.com–Spain’s ‘rebel noble’, by Fiona Govan, Madrid–The frizzy-haired eccentric aristocrat was one of Spain’s most-loved figures whose antics filled the nation’s gossip magazines and gripped the audiences of TV chat shows even during the final months of her long life. Described as the “rebel noble”, she spurned convention to forge her own path in life, following her passion for flamenco and, as a patron of the arts, amassing a private collection of masterpieces said to rival any in Europe. Her exuberant character, complete with squeaky voice and flamboyant dress-sense, enraptured Spaniards who followed the vicissitudes of her 88 years.