Hippo in Spain & Portugal | 2019

Hey guys!
Welcome back to my travel post!
If you follow me on my Instagram, you're probably like: "we get it, Ivy, you went to Spain." :)
Yeap, I took 2 weeks off from my work to travel to Spain and Portugal with my parents and younger sister back in early October this year.
This time, we traveled with the same tour agent we used to travel with, Golden Tourworld Travel (GTT).
I think this probably our 4th time traveling with GTT group to Europe.
Though we felt quite disappointed with the tour leader during our last trip in Eastern Europe, GTT still our first choice when it comes to the tour arrangement for the accommodation, food and beverages, and also transportation.
The company usually provides 4-5 stars hotels, as well as good tasting of local food and drinks during the trip.
Me and my family are very satisfied and truly enjoyed this trip; our stays at all hotels in Spain and Portugal were excellent, we get to try variety of local cuisines at most of the places, and also the tour leader, Marcus is very knowledgeable, funny, entertaining, and helpful. :)
And now, I'm just a little excited to share about the entire trip with you all! :)
I've no idea how many photos have been taken during the trip, maybe 5,000 or 6,000?! #lol
It's gonna take sometimes to organize and edit the photos before sharing them with you all.
So, in this post, I will be sharing all the places I've been during the trip, and will go deep into each places with you later.
So, do stay tuned ya! #winkwink



We have been traveling to 12 different cities for a 12D10N trip in Spain and Portugal, yet we spent most of our times in Spain, and only the last 2 days in Portugal before we flew back to Malaysia.
To be honest, most of the small towns/cities that we visited during our trip are incredible beautiful and very worthy of visiting.
Our trip itinerary started in Barcelona in the first week of October, and the weather was quite warm, in between 22℃ to 29℃ throughout the trip.
I think October can be a good time to visit Spain if you like sunshine, but if you want to avoid the heat, probably it's better to travel in November onward.
I've never been to Europe in October, normally I will go on my holiday in Europe in November, when the weather is getting fairy chilly.
Well I just don't enjoy so much about the heat and sunshine. :)
As for the food in Spain and Portugal, there are variety of special meals to try out such as seafood paella, tapas menu, suckling pig, Portuguese egg tart and many more.
Most of the Spanish and Portuguese foods are unique and wonderful satisfying. :)


BARCELONA


Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations in Spain to visit.
It's also the city in Europe that I planned to visit for long time, so happy that I finally ticked it off from my travel bucket list in 2019.
My first impression about Barcelona is for its unique arts and architectures, maybe it's because the city is known for the homes of Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect.
Those famous landmarks that designed by Antoni Gaudi, such as La Sagrada Familia Church, Park Gűell are super amazing!


Park Gűell


Montserrat


La Rambla Street


La Sagrada Familia


Gothic Quarter 


VALENCIA

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona.
The city is divided into the old town and modern complex which I think it makes the city stand out from the rest of Spain.

The historic old town gives a pleasant chill vibes of Valencia, while the modern area has a large air space and big buildings where you could have a leisure walk while admiring the surroundings.
Other than the attractions in Valencia, I also tried the Spain's most famous dish, Paella Seafood that originally comes from Valencia, it's so delicious!


The Central Market of Valencia


Valencia Cathedral



La Lonja de la Seda


Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts & Sciences)


CUENCA


Cuenca is beautiful!
It is located in Southern Ecuodor's Arides mountains and this place is very well known for it's Tomebamba River.
The reason I enjoyed this city so much is because the city is surrounded with beautiful mountain scenery, natural treasures, colonial style with red-tiled roofs buildings, pleasant climate and friendly people.
While wandering around the city, I find the city is pretty laid back, where I felt totally relaxed walking around the places.
Well, I also made some good pictures in Cuenca for you to enjoy here. :)


Casas Colgadas (Hanging House)



San Pablo Bridge



Cathedral de Santa Maria la Mayor


MADRID


For the first time visiting Madrid, I find Madrid is very happening and crowded, no matter it is in day time or night time.
There are plenty of historical sites such as monuments and museums to explore, but also vibrant nightlife such as bars, restaurants, clubs to enjoy.
We only spent one and a half day free walking in Madrid, which I think it's impossible to see all Madrid, but only had enough time for a simple city tour to visit the major attractions in the city.
Well, I wish to go back to Plaza Mayor again...



Plaza Mayor


\Museo de Picasso



Plaza de Oriente



Royal Palace of Madrid


Monument of Christopher Columbus



Real Madrid Stadium


TOLEDO


It's just about one and a half hour drive from Madrid to Toledo.
Toledo is known as "the city of three cultures" due to the influence of the Christians, Muslims and Jews over the years, and it also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What I remember most about Toledo city is many of their buildings are made with bricks and stones that made the city has its own unique atmosphere.
There are numerous alleys before reaching the downtown area, and each alleys are packed with great photo sites.
Can't deny that Toledo is absolutely picture-perfect!





Santa Lglesia Cathedral Primada de Toledo


Plaza de Zocodover


CÓRDOBA


Córdoba is an interesting city for me
Though the weather was very warm, about 29℃, and the streets were packed with many people when we  visited in the morning, Córdoba is still a worth for wandering around.
We came here for the Roman Bridge of Córdoba, but at the end, I find the most impressive spot in Córdoba is the streets in the surrounding area of the Mezquita that are packed with many restaurants, bars, cafes and souvenier shops.
I somehow felt like I was in Greece!

 Roman Bridge of Córdoba



 Torre De Calahorra



 Calleja de las Flores


Mezquita -Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba


Patio De Los Naranjos


GRANADA, ALHAMBRA PALACE



Can't believe I'm standing right in front of the Alhambra Palace!
This high spot is also one of the main reasons that I wanted to visit Spain.
If you watched the K-drama, Memories of the Alhambra, starring by Park Shin-hye and Hyun Bin, you sure know about this amazing Alhambra Palace located in Granada.
This is one of the most popular tourist sights in Spain.
The palace was built during the middle of the 13th century, and been well preserved which also declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
The entire complex has an incredible museum, magnificent monuments, stunning garden, and also an unforgettable view over the hill top.
I only spent there in the morning, which is certainly not enough to explore.



Generalife Garden





Lion Fountain


Lush Green Garden


MALAGA


Malaga located in the heart of the Costa Del Sol, where the coast shows a diversity of landscapes such as beaches, cliffs, estuaries, bays and dunes.
When I arrived in Malage, the weather was so hot that gave me a shock, that's because the city has most sunny days in a year, and it's also the warmest winters in Europe.
Other than that, Malaga also has so much to see when walking around the downtown area; from the incredible Roman Amphitheatre, to the Picasso's birthplace in Plaza de la Merced, and stunning Castillo de Gibralfaro to overlook the beautiful city view.
Forget about the hear, it was a great time in Malaga.


Roman Amphitheatre



Picasso's birthplace in Plaza de la Merced



Castillo de Gibralfaro


RONDA


Visited Ronda, a little small town in Spain on the 8th day.
Ronda is situated in a mountainous area, and many tourists come here to see the EI Tajo gorge, which is the most outstanding point of attraction in the city.
Jaw-dropping when I first see the EI Tajo gorge view, it is sooo breathtaking and spectacular that you can't find anywhere else.
Besides, Ronda also very well known for bullfighting.
I was very excited to visit the bull ring for my very first time in my life. :)



Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda



Puente Neuevo


Plaza de Espana


El Tajo Canyon


SEVILLE


Before leaving Spain to Portugal, we visited the fourth largest city in Spain, Seville.
Well, I have to say that Seville city is even more beautiful than I imagined it to be.
We visited only two main attractions in the city; the Plaza de Espanā and Cathedral de Seville due to the limited times we had.
Seville is colourful and bright, and that's why while walking on the streets in the city, it makes me happy. :)
I love Seville so much and really wish to stay a bit longer at here.



Plaza de Espanā


Christopher Columbus Monument


Cathedral de Seville



PORTUGAL


We covered quite a number of attractions in Portugal though we just stayed there for like 2 days.
We visited 2 cities in Portugal, which is Lisbon and Sintra, whereby Sintra is just about 45 minutes drive from Lisbon.
I like Portugal, it's a gorgeous city with beautiful people.
I find the people there are friendly and humorous, and also the local food are delicious too; I especially their sardines. :)
Take a look below at some of the best places to go in Portugal, then you'll know how much I enjoyed this beautiful country. :)


Old Quarter of Sintra



Sintra - Cascais Natural Park


National Sanctuary of Christ the King


Ponte 25 de Abril


Rissio


Lisbon Funicular Tram


Belém Tower


Padrão dos


Jerónimos Monastery


Oceanário de Lisboa



Wow! It's such a long post for today!
Thanks for spending your precious time to read such a long post with me, nonetheless, I hope you all enjoy the pictures and the travel stories I shared in Spain and Portugal.
It was such an amazing trip that I've had in 2019.
I felt so grateful that I had the opportunity to fulfill my wish of traveling to one of my dream countries in this year.
There are so much to explore about all places in Spain and Portugal, and I really hope that I can go back soon again!

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