6 Reasons Why You Need To Check Out Spain’s Up & Coming Fashion Scene

Milan, Paris, Tokyo and New York may come to mind when you think about fashionable destinations around the world. But we have a little secret: Spain is that up & coming fashion haven you need to explore. Sure, it’s famous for tapas, wine, bullfighting and siestas, but the fashion scene, which has been growing immensely over the past several years, is now on everyone’s radar. Here’s why:

Fashion Weeks Galore

Spain has several fashion weeks (even in smaller cities like Valencia or the island of Ibiza), the most famous being Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid which occurs twice per year. This particular week has a lineup of talented Spanish designers such as Andrés Sarda, Juana Martin, Roberto Torretta and many more. The EGO portion showcases young and emerging designers — Spain is full of youthful creativity. BCN 080, also a biannual event, is Barcelona’s fashion week, home to the world-famous brand Custo BCN. Make sure to check out the catwalks, as these events are on deck for January and February.

Capes designed by Devota y Lomba and Teresa Helbig walk the Madrid runways. © IFEMA.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Spain is home to some seriously trendy boutiques, especially in Madrid. If you’re hoping to experience a little bit of the city’s special shopping scene, sign up for a Shopping Tour with Insider’s Madrid. You’ll discover items like merino wool, leather goods (even see items made in their workshops), ceramics, gourmet food products and more. Make sure to leave some space in your suitcase!

If you want to go a step further and really get up close and personal with Spain’s impressive textile and fashion industry, sign up for a Corazon Textiles, Food and Fashion Tour, which includes going behind the scenes at famous brand Loewe while also checking out handmade cashmere items made in small villages, seeing locally-made designs at family-run workshops and visiting world-renowned fashion museums.

A glimpse of Madrid’s vintage shopping seen at The 2nd Room. © The 2nd Room

Flamenco is Fashion

Spanish fashion has a variety of unique style influences and one of these is flamenco. Flamenco isn’t just a genre of music or dance, for some, it’s a lifestyle. Seville even houses the We Love Flamenco fashion week, a six-day event dedicated to flamenco and it’s many colors, shapes and styles. This season, which happens to be in January this year, has over 48 different fashion shows, so get ready for ruffles.

Bold and red are two common trends spotted during flamenco fashion shows © We Love Flamenco Facebook page

Famous Designers

The names Adolfo Dominguez, Hannibal Laguna, Roberto Verino, Balenciaga or Jesus Del Pozo may ring a bell. Did you know these are all Spanish fashion designers? It’s true – some of the biggest names in fashion hail from Spain, so make sure to check out their boutiques and designs when visiting.

Roberto Verino floral prints on the Madrid catwalk © Ifema

Blushing Brides

Both Madrid and Barcelona also have Bridal Fashion Weeks, so if you’re planning on tying the knot, you can check out all the dress and accessories trends coming this April. You may spot something ideal for your coming nuptials. In fact, the aforementioned Corazon Textiles, Food and Fashion Tour takes you behind the scenes with wedding dress designer Isabel Zapardiez (whose designs walk the Barcelona Bridal Week catwalks) and even give you a wedding dress fitting.

A wedding dress at the 2017 edition of Barcelona Fashion Week by designer Immculada Garcia. © Barcelona Fashion Week.

Made in Spain

Check out your tag — and if it says ‘Made in China,’ it’s time to head to Spain, because there are plenty of handcrafted goods created right here in Spain. Those summery shoes everyone wears are called espadrilles and are decidedly Spanish. Seseña is a famous brand of capes made here in España — Hilary Clinton is a fan of the brand, and Pablo Picasso was actually buried in one of these capes. Many small boutiques make fascinators, or tocados, which are hair pieces artfully crafted for your most important special occasion. Alicante is famous for its leather industry which makes soft and supple handbags and shoes. Hand-crafted jewelry can be found all over the country too.

Handmade jewelry by Helena Rohner in Spain. © Helena Rohner

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Here’s Why 2018 Is The Year To Visit Madrid, Spain

Madrid has always been an exciting city to explore. Thanks to its nuanced architecture, world-famous art museums, vibrant nightlife scene and a never-ending supply of tapas and vino, it’s always been a top travel destination (and likely always will be). But if you haven’t been yet — or even if you have — 2018 is the year to visit.

Madrid is the heart of Spain. © Luis Garcia/ Wikipedia.

Madrid is the heart of Spain. © Luis Garcia/ Wikipedia.

Intrigued? Read on to find out why now is the time to go:

A Pedestrian-Friendly, Pollution-Free Madrid is in the Works

Madrid’s current mayor Manuela Carmena, has diligently worked to increase the number of bike lanes and trees-planting around the city this past year. By the start of 2018, circulation around the city center by car will be limited, helping to maintain better air quality and encourage people to bike and walk instead. Calle de Gran Vía, one of the Madrid’s most famous streets, will have more lanes accessible to pedestrians and car traffic will be restricted.

Calle Gran Vía will such much less traffic in 2018. © Lori Zaino.

Calle Gran Vía will such much less traffic in 2018. © Lori Zaino.

 

300 Days of Sunshine in 2018

Okay, you’ve got us, this isn’t a new development for 2018. It’s sunny 300 days out of every year in Madrid, making it Europe’s sunniest capital. But why not take advantage and walk the city under the warm rays?

The sun shines down on Madrid's Puerta de Alcalá monument. © Lori Zaino

The sun shines down on Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá monument. © Lori Zaino

Fly to Madrid from Around the World

Arrival to Madrid has never been easier. Madrid’s Barajas Airport is already well-connected to cities around the world such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Dubai, Bangkok, Bogotá, Mexico City and many more. Starting in 2018, though, there will some new routes launched. Air Europa will fly nonstop to Guayaquil, Iberia will operate a nonstop flight to San Francisco from April to September and Ryanair will be flying from Madrid to five new destinations: Bari, Frankfurt, Glasglow, Poznan and Prague, bring the total destination count to 55 different cities from Madrid.

Iberia will soon connect San Francisco directly to Madrid. © Micha Sender / Wikipedia.

Iberia will soon connect San Francisco directly to Madrid. © Micha Sender / Wikipedia.

Sample all Madrid’s Tastiest Tapas

The Spanish capital is having a moment when it comes to food. With an influx of trendy new food markets, international restaurants and an increase in travelers and tourists coming to Madrid specifically to experience cuisine. If you want to eat, 2018 is the year to do it. And did you know Madrid is home to the world’s oldest restaurant, Botín? Why not try one of Insider Madrid’s specialized food tours, like the Botín Experience or the Gourmet Tapas and Wine Tour to hear (and taste) all the hidden secrets about Madrid’s food scene.

Typical Spanish snacks. © Escarabajo Amarillo / Madrid Tourism.

Typical Spanish snacks. © Escarabajo Amarillo / Madrid Tourism.

Enjoy the Arts

In your hoping to experience a more creative side of Madrid, 2018’s cultural offerings come in many forms beyond the golden triangle of museums (the Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza). Musical events such concerts from Bruno Mars and Pearl Jam and Broadways’s Lion King are on the agenda. Special exhibitions like Harry Potter, Manolo Blahnik, Auschwitz and art from Fortuny will pass through the city in 2018.

Besides all of the famous works by Goya, 2018 will bring art, music and other cultural events and festivals to Madrid. © Museo del Prado.

Besides all of the famous works by Goya, 2018 will bring art, music and other cultural events and festivals to Madrid. © Museo del Prado.

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7 Beautiful Cities in Spain You Have To Visit

Picturesque beaches, towering mountains, rolling vineyards and some of the most elaborate architecture in the world. All of these wonders and more can be found in the country of Spain. Here’s a list seven beautiful Spanish destinations you absolutely have to visit at least once in your lifetime.

Madrid

Perhaps we’re biased, but Madrid, often ignored in lieu of cosmopolitan Barcelona, has something for any style of traveler, whether it be tapas, flamenco, nightlife, wine, architecture, history, fashion or major sporting events. With its quaint, cobblestone streets leading to grandiose squares like the Plaza Mayor or the Plaza Cibeles, you’ll be in awe just roaming around. Plus, Madrileños are passionate about all things edible, so foodies can bask in numerous options for international and Spanish cuisine, food markets and food tours. Of course, we recommend doing one (or more) of the many different food experiences and tailored tours by Insider’s Madrid, like the gourmet tapas tour or a paella and sangria class.

Plaza de la Villa in Madrid. © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

San Sebastián

San Sebastián, located in the Basque country is known for its famous seashell-shaped beach, La Concha. Beloved for its fancy pinxtos (these are similar to tapas and can sometimes be found “pinched” with a stick and placed on a baguette slice) dining scene and large number of Michelin-star restaurants, it’s also the last stop on the specialized Textile, Food and Fashion Tour led by Corazón. The city is surrounded by rolling green hills and wild beaches, and the Sagrado Corazon de Jesus statue on top of Monte Urgull keeps watch day and night over the city.

An aerial view of San Sebastian. © Keta / Wikipedia

Bilbao

Also a stop on the  Textile, Food and Fashion Tour tour, the Guggenheim Bilbao is one of the most intriguing art museums in the world. Designed by Frank Gehry, visitors come from around the world to see both the curved stone, glass and titanium exterior overlooking the Nervión River as well as inside of the museum, which features masterpieces by artists such as Willem Kooning, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol and Antoni Tàpies.

The Guggenheim exterior in Bilbao. © VA / Wikipedia

Santiago de Compostela

The final stop on the famous pilgrimage Camino de Santiago, known as the Way of St. James in English, Santiago de Compostela is a welcome site for weary travelers — ones who’ve been trekking for days or even those just getting off a Ryanair flight. The city’s magnificent Romanesque cathedral (which later added on Gothic and Baroque touches), towers above the rest of the city and is said to be the burial place of St. James the Great. The entire historic city center is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site, so grab your camera and spend the day wandering around.

The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. © Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez / Wikipedia.

Ibiza

This island, part of the Balearic archipelago, is best known for its party scene, but what many don’t know is that the island’s many hidden coves known as calas and secret beaches are some of the most stunning in the world. This is an island made for exploring — so rent a car and start your adventure. We recommend Cala Lentrisca, which you’ll have to walk through a small pine forest when the road ends in Urbanizació Es Cubells.

cala in Ibiza. © juantiagues / Flickr

Logroño

The gateway city to Spain’s famous Rioja wine region, this city was made for food and wine aficionados, just a short drive way from hundreds of vineyardsThe city is beautiful in a different way, which stems from its very special manner in which both visitors and locals alike can dine: specialty tapas along the famous Calle Laurel. The long, winding street is lined with tapas bars — small bar-style ‘restaurants’ where you’ll often spot more people standing at the bar or around wooden wine barrels that sitting, chattering over one another while sipping a local Rioja variety or beer and their favorite tapa.

Tapas (or pinxtos) along Calle Laurel. © jynus / Wikipedia

Cádiz

This Andalusian gem is one of Spain’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and its historic architecture mixed with its long stretches of sandy beaches that sparkle beneath the sunshine will ensure you never want to leave. The city boasts a few different cathedrals, an ancient Roman theater and an 18th-century watchtower. You’ll be able to see all these delights and more if you sign up for Corazon’s specialized New Year’s Eve Cádiz Tour.

Cádiz. © Anna & Michal / Flickr

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7 Reasons To Visit Madrid Around The Holidays

Wafts of hand-made candy spill out of Madrid’s pastelerías onto the cobblestone streets. Christmas carols can be heard playing as shoppers frantically search for the perfect gifts — it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year! The Spanish capital is the ideal place to soak in the holiday spirit with non-stop celebrations, decorations, culinary delights and more. Read on to find out all the reasons why you should visit Madrid this Christmas season.

The holidays season lasts forever

Spain typically celebrates the holidays for almost a full month and a half. This year, the holiday season in Madrid starts November 24th — that’s when thousands of sparkling lights and festive decorations will be switched on, illuminating the city of Madrid into a magical holiday paradise.

In between the Christmas and New Year’s festivities, Spain even celebrates its very own version of April Fool’s Day called Día de los Inocentes on December 28th, so beware, practical jokes may ensue. With the decor up in full force and so many different celebrations going on, you can’t help but join in on the holiday spirit all the way through January 6th, the Día de los Reyes Magos (King’s Day)celebrated with presents galore, special desserts and even a parade, but more on that later.

The holiday lights are on in full force. Image by Jose A. / Flickr.

See all the shiny lights

The aforementioned holiday lights are a reason in itself to visit Madrid and many people come from around the world to see these glittering decorations. Some of the most popular spots to see the illuminated holiday decor are Gran Vía street, the Plaza Mayor, the Puerta del Sol and Cibeles. Family travelers should take their kids to Cortylandia which is an interactive holiday playland for the little ones.

If a walking tour seems overwhelming, don’t worry, you can hop on the Naviluz for a ride. This double-decker bus, which actually celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, leaves from the Plaza de Colón and takes visitors on a 40-minute ride circling Madrid to see all the holiday cheer. More information and ticket purchase can be found here.

Here’s all the info you need about the Naviluz bus.

Besides the lights, a big part of Madrid’s Christmas decoration includes Belenes, which are Nativity scenes. Most families will have one of these set up in their homes next to the Christmas tree and there are several larger scenes set up around the city in spots like the Ayuntamiento de Cibeles, the Almudena cathedral, the Puerta del Sol and the Iglesia de San Gines.

Play (and hopefully win) the Spanish lottery

The Christmas lottery is a big deal in Spain and all the locals dream of winning El Gordo, which literally translates to “the fat one” — meaning a grand prize of €4,000,000. The typical way to participate is to go in on a ticket number with co-workers or friends where you’ll each pay €20 for a number and have a chance to snag El Gordo. Prepare to be guilted into purchasing a ticket (or a few) as Madrileños love to explain to you how you’ll feel when they all win and you don’t!

If you happen to spot a very long line of people around the Puerta de Sol, it’s likely to be the line for the Doña Manolita shopfront. This store is forever popular as it has sold the largest amount of winning tickets over the years, so try your luck there if you’re willing to wait in the queue. Make sure to watch local television on December 22nd, as the winning number are announced by enthusiastic pupils from the San Ildefonso school, chosen with the honour of actually singing the winning numbers.

There’s always a queue at Doña Manolita. Image by Barcex / Wikipedia.

Indulge that sweet tooth

The Spanish have a whole range of sweets they love to eat over the holidays, and Madrid is no exception. Marzipan and turrón (a type of nugget) are fan favorites, and polverónes are powdery treats made of ground almonds with a touch of cinnamon. Visitors should definitely try the sugary sweet roscón de reyes which is a special cake eaten to celebrate Three Kings Day. Hopefully you’ll discover the small figurine in your slice which will bring you luck, but not the dried fava bean — finding that means you’ll have to pay for next year’s cake!

Roscón de Reyes. Image by Tamorland / Wikipedia.

Shop til’ you drop

Each year, Black Friday becomes more and more popular in Madrid for shoppers on the hunt for holiday bargains, and this shopping spirit continues well into January. In fact, it’s not unlikely to see locals waiting until after the New Year to shop, because most gifts in Madrid are actually given on January 6th, the Día de los Reyes Magos. The night of the 5th January is when the three Wise Men arrive with presents, though with plenty of international influence, presents also come from Santa on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Rebajas, or the bi-annual sales usually start in early January, some as early as January 2nd, so get ready for bargains. Although Madrid isn’t known for its holiday markets, perusing the nativity scenes, ornaments and prank gifts found at the market in Plaza Mayor underneath the holiday lights is a must-do. There are also some smaller holiday markets in La Latina neighbourhood and the squares; Plaza Jacinto Benavente and Callao.

Lights shine over the Plaza Mayor holiday market. Image by Priit Tammets / Flickr.

Eat grapes on New Year’s Eve for a lucky 2018

New Year’s Eve is a happy occasion celebrated by partygoers gathering in the Puerta del Sol square to eat twelve grapes, one for each chime of the clock as it strikes twelve at midnight. Don’t miss sharing in this tradition as it’s supposed to bring you luck for the year ahead. The celebration has become so large that now the city does a rehearsal called the ‘pre-uvas,‘ or the pre-grapes celebration, usually the day before. It has become which is now just as popular as doing the same thing on December 31st. Keep in mind the underground metro won’t stop at Sol station around midnight on December 30th and 31st, so plan accordingly.

Eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve will bring you luck.

Celebrate the Kings Day with the locals

It’s clear this is an important day in Madrid for presents and cake, but Madrileños take it very seriously. The parade, affectionately known as the Cabalgata, occurs on the January 5th at 18:30 in Nuevos Ministerios, but you may want to head there or along the route earlier to secure the perfect spot. Expect to get a lot of candy tossed off the floats and see many smiling children, and don’t leave before the big fireworks display in Cibeles Plaza.

Enjoy the parade on January 5th in honor of King’s Day. Image by Madrid Tourism Bureau.

If you happen to be in Madrid over the holidays, consider Insider’s Madrid for a private food, shopping or flamenco tour — you’ll surely see many lights and decorations in the city along the way.

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Hidden treasures of Madrid

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