How to Plan an Unforgettable Visit to the Gorafe Desert

The province of Granada in Spain has two unique features, the Alhambra, one of the very few Muslim palaces in the world and the Geoparque of Granada, an impressive area that shows the history of earth of the last 2,5 million years, including the Gorafe desert.

The Geoparque is a huge area (more than 4700 km2), but the most interesting town and surrounding area is without any doubt Gorafe. There are three sites that you simply cannot miss when visiting.

How to get to the Gorafe desert?

Whether you are staying in Granada, Malaga or Almeria, the easiest – and fastest! – way to go to Gorafe desert is via the A92; there is a direct exit to the town.

Gorafe desert in Grenada, Spain
Gorafe desert in Grenada, Spain

Places to visit in the Gorafe desert

The first place to visit is The Megalithic Constructions Interpretive Centre, an educational center dedicated to the 240 dolmens in Gorafe and life during the Megalithic period. The center is located in the heart of the village and admission is about 3 euros. You can only visit it at noon or at 5pm in the afternoon. The guided visit takes about 3 hours.

Afterward, you should pay a visit to the dolmens themselves in the Megalithic Park, just outside the village. Admission is free! Gorafe has the highest concentration of burial mounds in the whole of Spain.

Megalithic Park in Gorafe
Megalithic Park in Gorafe

The highest part of the park is located on a road called Mirador del Llano de Olivares. If you keep on following this road, you will eventually arrive at the area commonly known as “the Gorafe desert”. Technically, this is not a desert, but rather an impressive series of badlands, in all shapes, sizes and colors. A must-see! Lots of tourists visit this area via a company that organizes guided tours.

The biggest disadvantage is that these tours can be quite expensive. (100 euros and more). The good news is that you can visit these badlands also on your own.

With a bit of luck, you can see these fellows:

Mirador del Llano de Olivares
Mirador del Llano de Olivares

Keep on following the road; a bit further, you can see Gorafe from a different point of view!

Gorafe in Spain
Gorafe in Spain

You are now very close to the badlands. For the most part, you will be driving on a dirt road which is in a quite good condition. Here and there, there are potholes: just use your common sense and drive slowly.

This is the kind of landscape you will see:

After an hour, you will see a very dramatic landscape. It’s called “Los Coloraos” and can be best compared to a small version of the Grand Canyon:

You could continue on the same road, but we strongly advise against this, mainly because the road becomes quite dangerous. It’s better to turn around and drive back to Gorafe.

More practical information for visiting Gorafe

A visit to the three sites will take at least one day. There are several hotels in Gorafe and some of them are located in caves! Check Booking for more information.

Looking for a meal? Don’t forget that in the province of Granada, tapas are free! If you combine them with a racion (big tapa), a bocadillo (sandwich) or a mixed salad, you have a proper meal. If you insist on a restaurant, go for a “menu diario”(usually 3 courses and 1 drink for 10 euros!). We had lunch in the bar opposite the church of the neighboring village of Villanueva de las Torres (big fresh tapas!). Last but not least, during summer, make sure you have plenty of water with you.

There are plenty of other interesting locations:

  • If you can’t have enough of the badlands, check out the villages of Belerda and Fonelas (about 35 kilometers to the southwest of Gorafe);
  • about 50 kilometers to the east, you will find the Embalse de Negratin, a reservoir with turquoise water surrounded by pinkish badlands;
  • Or you can go to Guadix (30 kilometers to the south) and explore its cathedral and cave houses.

How to Plan for Last Minute Vacations

When we have no idea what travel restrictions are going to be place when, planning your travels in advance has been a bit tricky lately. Which is why we’re seeing an increase in last minute vacations!

Arranging last minute vacations typically means higher budgets and more stress.

This is certainly true for travelers who have no experience exploring last minute vacation deals.

However, with a little bit of foresight, careful planning and the following tips you can greatly reduce your expenditures and spend more time and money enjoying your vacation!

How to plan last minute vacations
How to plan last minute vacations

Preparing for your last minute vacation

1.  Plan your expenditures

Set aside a budget for your vacation. If you are taking the entire family for a vacation, then you need to set aside a budget for every member of the family. This will enable you to avoid impulse expenditure and unnecessary fights.

2. Know your destination

It is important that you learn about your holiday destination prior to travelling. Find out about the local transportation, some popular sites as well as the general climate of the destination. You may want to make some print outs to bring along.

3. Know your destination’s currency conversion rate

Be aware of the exchange rate for the location to which you are traveling. If you can, convert your currency before making the trip. Airports and tourist resorts typically add premiums to their exchange rates that can unnecessarily increase your travel budget.

Discovering Last Minute Vacation Deals

Here some of the tips that can help you to plan your last minute vacations effectively without straining your budget.

1.  Search for deals online

Most hotels and airlines advertise discounts packages on their websites. In addition, you can also find great deals on online travel agencies. If you are looking for on-budget last minute vacations, be sure to search and compare the deals that multiple agencies and airlines offer for various destinations.

2. Register for alerts

You can sign up for price drop alerts from online travel agencies. This is a great strategy because you will get instant alerts in your inbox as soon as airfares or hotel bookings drop below a certain price.

3. Opt for all-inclusive packages

If you are planning a vacation to a place where you will stay at a single accommodation, then all-inclusive vacation packages might be the right deal for you. This is because most travel agencies offer great discounts on all-inclusive vacation packages, taking care of your airfare, accommodation and meals. This is a great way of saving money in the long run. But on the others side you will loose the fun of exploring the destination and trying out different restaurants.

4. Call the airline help desk or travel agent

If you are running out of time, then consider making a direct call to the airline’s help desk in order to discover the best vacation deals. You may also want to book your ticket through an agent who can meet your requirements at a discounted price.

5. Be open to your options

Finally, it is important that you are flexible with your options when planning last minute vacations. It may turn out that you cannot get your favorite seat on the plane, or that your flight may arrive late at night. In such events, you will have no choice but to compromise on your preferences if this will reward you with a good deal on airfare or accommodation. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box to realize the best deals on last minute vacations.

Last minute vacations can be a great option if you are working on a tight budget. These vacation packages are usually abundant towards the end of travel dates when there are several un-booked packages available or when there have been cancelations.

With adequate research, you will certainly find the best deal by holding on until the last minute before making your holiday reservations.

Check out these tips for travel planning:

How to Plan the Perfect Girls Weekend in San Diego

One of the most popular vacation destinations along the West Coast of the United States is San Diego, which has a lot to offer travelers.

Expansive beaches, a vibrant downtown, and world-class zoos and theme parks make America’s finest city a perfect fit for almost everyone, from singles to families alike (but, we’re here to talk about planning the perfect girls weekend in San Diego).

As the saying goes, girls just want to have fun and there is no better place for a fun-filled girls weekend than San Diego!

Trust me, I know – I live here.

There are countless San Diego hotels, spas, nightclubs and restaurants to keep women entertained. From the fresh-out-of-college crowd to seasoned cougars ready to pounce, San Diego has a scene for us all so, leave the boys behind and head to San Diego for a vacation you’ll hardly remember, but never forget!

Here’s how to spend the best girls weekend in San Diego!

Girls weekend in San Diego
San Diego pier

How to Plan the Perfect Girls Weekend in San Diego

Planning the perfect weekend in San Diego includes knowing where to stay and what to plan into your itinerary. We got a few great recommendations for you.

If you’re going to be flying in, check out these California airports.

Book the Ultimate San Diego Resort

The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa encapsulates everything that we love about San Diego. It has a stunning location on Mission Bay putting guests within steps of the water and boardwalk as well as just a few minutes from the Gaslamp Quarter and beaches of Pacific and Mission Beach.

For single women looking for a little vacation romance, this location is ideal. Pacific Beach has a just-out-of-college bar scene with dive bars, nightclubs, and plenty of restaurants along Garnet Avenue whereas the Gaslamp Quarter caters to all ages with lounges, music venues, bars, and dancing.

If you’re looking for a more relaxing vacation in San Diego Hilton Resort and Spa has a full service spa with massages and facials, a beautiful waterfront pool, an onsite restaurant, and offers an array of activities from tennis to sailing.

Book here.

Enjoy a Cocktail with a View

What’s a girls weekend in San Diego without a few cocktails?

Altitude Sky Lounge is a swanky cocktail lounge located on the 22nd floor of the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. Day or night, this location is unforgettable with a birds-eye view of Petco Park, the San Diego Bay, Coronado Bridge and the entire Gaslamp Quarter.

Altitude Sky Lounge is perfect for a happy hour cocktail before a fun night out downtown or a late night stop after dancing it up at the local clubs. Complete with a modern appeal, firepits, flashy decor, and beautiful patrons, it doesn’t get better than Altitude Sky Lounge in San Diego.

Grab a Bite with the Gals

It’s rare to ask a group of young San Diego locals where their favorite place to eat is and hear no mention of Cucina Urbana. This trendy Italian bistro has California flare, reasonable prices, out of this world food, an extensive wine list and over the top hipster decor.

Open for lunch, dinner, and happy hour, Cucina Urbana in Banker’s Hill is a thriving hotspot attracting locals and visitors from all over town. This favorite San Diego restaurant also offers wine tastings on Saturday afternoons.

Shop ’til You Drop

San Diego has every kind of shopping imaginable from boutique shopping and organic farmer’s markets to outlet centers and massive shopping malls. My personal favorite mall is Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego. This outdoor shopping mall has well-known upscale stores, an ice-skating rink during winter and is located next door to the Gaslamp Quarter. I also love the Carlsbad Premium Outlet Center in North County where you can find incredible deals on high-end brand names like BCBG, BEBE, Banana Republic, and Sephora.

Check out Balboa Park

San Diego’s Balboa Park is the United State’s largest urban cultural park. You’ll find numerous affordable and even free things to do in Balboa Park! Check out our guide on free things to do in Balboa Park.

Free things to do in Balboa Park, San Diego
Free things to do in Balboa Park, San Diego

Don’t miss Casa Guadalajara, Old Town San Diego for great Mexican Cuisine

Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. His mission was built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego.

At the base of the hill in 1820’s, a small Mexican community of adobe buildings was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego. In 1846, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and a Marine Lieutenant, raised the American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza. 

Bazaar Del Mundo Shops are what you will see first when you get to the corner of that street. Garish Latin-themed gift stores, operate this Mexican restaurant situated a block away from Old Town State Historic Park. Not only is Casa Guadalajara better than what you’ll find along that area, it’s often less crowded than its counterparts (though having to wait for half an hour or more is not unusual on a Fri & Sat night). Mariachi tunes played by strolling musicians enliven the room nightly, and you can also dine alfresco, in a picturesque courtyard occupied by a 200-year-old pepper tree.

Birdbath-size margaritas start most meals, while dining ranges from simple south-of-the-border fare to more gourmet items like tequila lime shrimp and mango chipotle chicken — but the extensive menu features all the fajita and combo plates most people expect.

Begin with an appetizer or three, especially the nachos supreme done with crispy blue corn, yellow corn and chipotle tortilla chips and the special nacho sauce; the chipotle chicken taquitos and some of the best guacamole dip in town. You can order tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales and chili relleno a la carte, but the combinations served with rice and beans and specialty dishes lure you to Casa Guadalajara. Breakfast is also served on weekends.

This place (like the Bazaar) is touristy, but out-of-towners looking for old California ambience and reliable Mexican food will find it here. First time all week, we had respectably HOT and SPICY chili and so I was pretty happy with the meal! However, Mexican is rather heavy and I doubt that this would be the kind of cuisine I would look for on a regular basis! A nice experience all in all!

Visit the San Diego Beaches: What you Need to Know

In the summer, it seems like the entire world flocks to the San Diego beaches for fun in the sun, so here are a few tips to make your experience a little better.

June Gloom

Most vacationers arrive expecting a bright summer sun at the beach all the time. However, at the beaches in San Diego, that is not always the case. June Gloom is a Southern Californian expression for the low clouds that hand over beach areas in late spring and early summer. June Gloom can carry on well into July and, on occasions, even into August. May Gray, No Sky July, and Fogust are monikers that San Diego residents are very familiar with.  

It can be maddening for those who booked a beach vacation who only see the sun for one day out of their whole trip. To avoid this, as best you can, schedule your trip in mid to late August or early September.

The Stingray Shuffle

If you frequent San Diego’s beaches in the summer months, you will most likely hear someone mention the “Stingray Shuffle”.

Stingrays love to hang out in warm, shallow water and, when stepped on, deliver a painful sting to ankles or feet. Unless you want to spend your day at the lifeguard tower in immense pain with your foot in a bucket of hot water, you need to learn the dance.

Shuffle your feet when entering or exiting the water to alert the rays that there are people near by.

No Alcohol on Beaches

Yes, it’s true. There is a ban on alcohol consumption on the beach in San Diego, punishable by a $250 fine.

More than likely, however, lifeguards will simply force you to empty out any alcoholic beverages the first time they catch you. Also prohibited are smoking, glass containers, littering, and overnight camping.

No matter what kind of girl you are and what kind of vacation you’re looking for, San Diego has it all.

For young women looking for a wild time to moms looking for a break from the kids, San Diego has natural beauty, luxurious hotels, great restaurants and fun nightlife to satisfy even the weariest of travelers.

We hope you enjoy the perfect girls weekend in San Diego!

Looking for more girls weekend trips? Check out these guides: