The Capital of Andorra, Andorra La Velle
Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
- The Iberian Peninsula is comprised of three countries, Portugal, Spain, and tiny Andorra. Bordering France and separated by the Pyranees mountains, the Iberian Peninsula was originally settled by the Basque people, and over the years has taken influences from Germanic tribes, the Roman Empire, the Arabic Moors, and Christians.
- Andorra, a tiny principality nestled between France and Spain, is known for its shopping and skiing. Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra, literally translates to “old” and is the only town in the tiny country. Andorra is a shopping haven with plenty of duty-free goods, and features cosmetic, footwear, apparel, music, and electronics shops, plus many more.
- Andorra is popular for its ski resorts, which bring in a majority of the 9 million visitors each year. The different resorts have joined together in recent years to create two different skiing areas, Vallnord and Grandvalira. One ski pass for each area will cover the entirety of the area, regardless of which resort you stay at.
- Portugal, one of the first to explore “new worlds” in the 15th and 16th centuries, has a unique culture, due in part to its isolation from its neighbors. Portugal boasts a wide variety of landscapes, from beaches, deserts, vine-covered forests, and rocky mountains, and all can be seen in a single day! The climate of Portugal is one of the warmest in Europe, with yearly temperatures averaging 15℃-18℃ (55℉-64℉). This warm temperature also makes Portugal one of Europe’s most popular golfing destinations.
- Portugal is abundant in beautiful monuments and towns practically frozen in history. Monsanto, a village that rises above the surrounding plains, features crumbling castles such as Castelo, and beautiful hiking trails. Another village, Évora, is not only a university town, but is also home to Medieval cathedrals and cloisters, as well as Roman baths and columns. Filled with Medieval remnants and Baroque architectures stacked one on top of the other, Porto looks almost unreal with its quirky mix of building styles and colors.
- Famous for its beaches, nightlife, and historical cities, Spain is the last stop on the tour of the Iberian Peninsula. Historically a key player in new trade routes between European empires and their colonies, Spain enjoys its title as the nation with the most UNESCO World Heritage Cities in the world. With the remains of glorious empires, from Roman to Islamic, and their influences still alive today, the architecture in any of Spain’s cities will leave you breathless and awestruck.
- Passionate about their cuisine, the culinary delights of Spain are meticulous and balanced by both professional chefs and home cooks alike. They do not rely on many spices, but rather the quality of the ingredients themselves to lend fresh flavor to the dish. In Barcelona, the Mercat de la Boqueria is famous for its abundance of fresh produce, cheeses, and meats and vendors you can order meals from. Built on the former St. Joseph monastery from Traditional Spanish dishes to be found in the market include bacallà salat (salted cod), chargols (snails), or percebes (goose-necked barnacles). Percebes are very popular across Spain and look like “witch’s fingers”, and are enjoyed with garlic and parsley sauce.