Spain Newsletter – October -2023
ICICI Bank introduces VACATIONS – your monthly travel newsletter!
Month’s theme Introduction: Offbeat holiday ideas – Autumn Halloween in Spain
It is getting more and more difficult to find offbeat travel ideas but with ICICI Bank Vacations travel magazine, there is never a lack of amazing holiday ideas for any season. So for this autumn, we have another fantastic vacation idea: How about celebrating Halloween in Spain during the autumn season? It is a unique and exciting way to experience Spanish culture and unique holiday vibes.
In Spain, Halloween is known as ‘Noche de Brujas’ or ‘Noche de Difuntos’ and is celebrated with a twist. Instead of just costumes and candy, it is a time to remember and honour the deceased. Many Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid host special events and processions at cemeteries, creating a solemn yet captivating atmosphere.
But what makes it even more special is the autumn backdrop. Spain's landscapes transform with vibrant fall foliage during Autumn. Imagine strolling through historic streets adorned with colourful leaves and enjoying mild weather.
For a truly immersive experience, head to Galicia in northern Spain. Here, you will find the Celtic-influenced Samhain festival, a unique blend of Halloween and ancient traditions. You can join spooky parades, visit haunted locations and savour delicious local cuisine.
So, if you are seeking an offbeat travel adventure, consider spending Autumn Halloween in Spain. It is a perfect fusion of the strange and enchanting, offering a memorable and culturally rich experience you will never forget.
Soul Trip: Choose the lesser known
Embarking on a journey to lesser known travel destinations can be a soul transforming experience. When you step away from the regular path and explore places that are not on every traveller’s checklist, magic happens.
First, there is the thrill of discovery. These gems are like hidden treasures waiting to be unearthed. You will not find hordes of tourists or endless souvenir shops. Instead, you will find authenticity and a genuine connection to the local culture.
Lesser known destinations offer a sense of tranquility that is hard to find in tourist spots. Imagine strolling through serene villages, untouched by the hustle and bustle of mainstream tourism. It is a chance to escape the chaos of everyday life and reconnect with yourself.
Moreover, these places often have breathtaking natural beauty. From pristine beaches to untouched forests, you will be surrounded by the wonders of the natural world. The sights and sounds of these places can be truly soul stirring. Let us not forget the people you will meet. In lesser known destinations, locals are often more welcoming and eager to share their stories. You will establish connections that go beyond tourism.
So, if you are seeking a soul transforming travel experience, consider venturing away from the preferred destination. Explore the lesser known, and you will discover a world of wonder, serenity and personal growth that will stay with you forever.
Discover Your World
As Autumn descends upon the picturesque landscapes of Spain, a unique combo of colours and traditions unfolds. The breezy air carries a hint of adventure, making it the perfect season for an unforgettable Spanish getaway. In this travelogue, we will take you on a journey through the alluring beauty of Spanish Autumn and the intriguing Halloween festival celebrations that punctuate this enchanting season. The peak season to travel to Spain is in the months of July and August. However, if you want to undergo a laid back and relaxing holiday experience, you can visit the country in October when the tourist spots are not crowded and accommodation is not expensive.
Imagine strolling through quaint Spanish towns adorned with leaves of fiery reds, burnt oranges and golden yellows. The Spanish Autumn is a visual masterpiece, painting the landscapes with most vivid hues of nature.
Must visit destinations in Spain during Autumn:
1. Toledo: Known as the ‘City of Three Cultures’, Toledo's medieval charm is heightened by Autumn's embrace. Explore the winding alleys, visit the Alcázar fortress and be mesmerised by the golden glow of leaves around the ancient city walls.
2. La Rioja: For wine enthusiasts, the vineyards of La Rioja are a must visit. Autumn is the grape harvest season and you can witness the entire region covered in a sea of red and gold as you sample world class wines.
3. Montserrat: Just outside Barcelona, the Montserrat mountain range offers dramatic vistas. The Autumnal colours of the forests contrast beautifully with the imposing Montserrat Monastery, making it a haven for hikers and spiritual seekers alike.
4. Jaen: The San Lucas festival takes place in the city of Jaen, which is one of the world’s biggest olive growing regions. The festival is held in the memory of Saint Lucas. The festivity includes lighting of fireworks, street fairs, sports activities, and bullfighting. It happens around mid-October.
Don’t Miss Spanish Halloween - A Unique Celebration
Spain adds its own flair to Halloween, blending spooky traditions with cultural richness. Known as ‘Noche de Brujas’ or ‘Noche de Difuntos’, it is not about costumes and candy. Here, the celebration revolves around honouring the deceased.
1. All Saints Day: On November 1st, Spanish families visit cemeteries to pay respects to their loved ones. Candles flicker in the evening light, casting an ethereal glow on the tombstones.
2. Catalan Cemeteries: In Catalonia, particularly in places like Poblenou Cemetery in Barcelona, you will find captivating artistic tributes to the departed, including sculptures and intricate floral arrangements.
3. Samhain in Galicia: In the Celtic-influenced region of Galicia, Samhain traditions blend seamlessly with Halloween. Expect strange parades, visits to haunted locations and hearty Galician cuisine that warms your soul.
1. Barcelona: The Poblenou Cemetery with its grand mausoleums and artistic graves provides a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for honouring the departed.
2. Madrid: Visit the San Isidro Cemetery where the atmosphere is contemplative and the monuments are a testament to Madrid's history.
3. Galicia: Experience the unique fusion of Celtic Samhain traditions and Halloween celebrations in this mystical region.
Autumn in Spain is not a visual treat, it is a culinary delight too. As the temperatures drop, Spanish cuisine takes on a heartier character.
1. Mushroom Foraging: Join local experts in Catalonia or the Pyrenees for mushroom foraging. Learn to distinguish between edible and wild mushrooms, then savour your finds in traditional Spanish dishes.
2. Chestnut Roasting: Autumn sees street vendors roasting chestnuts, offering a warm and fragrant treat as you explore the charming streets of Spanish towns.
3. Rioja Wine Tasting: Don't miss the opportunity to savour robust red wines from the La Rioja region, which pair perfectly with hearty Autumn dishes.
As you wander through the blend of Autumn colours, immerse yourself in the rich combo of Spain's Halloween festival traditions. From the solemnity of All Saints Day to the mystical allure of Samhain in Galicia, you will find a captivating blend of the strange and enchanting. While exploring the beauty of Autumn and the allure of Halloween, always savour the rich flavours of Spanish cuisine that make this season a true sensory delight. So, pack your bags, embrace the crisp air and let the magic of Spanish Autumn and Halloween transport you to a world where traditions and natural beauty connect in perfect harmony.
Whether you are a seasoned traveller or a newbie explorer, one thing is crucial: choosing the right luggage. It is like your travel buddy and having the perfect one can make your journey smoother. In this ‘How to Travel Smart’ guide, we will share some tips to help you pick the ideal travel companion.
1. Consider Size and Capacity: The first rule of luggage selection: size matters. Think about what you will need to pack. If you are a light traveller, a carry-on suitcase is all you need. Every airline has a specified dimension and weight limit for carry-on luggage so check that. For longer trips or if you like to bring your entire wardrobe, go for a larger suitcase. But be cautious as some airlines have strict size and weight limits for checked baggage too, so check before you fly.
2. Choose the Right Material: Luggage comes in various materials like hardshell, softshell or hybrid. Hardshell offers more protection but can be heavier. Softshell is flexible and great for fitting into tight spaces. Hybrid combines the best of both worlds. Consider your travel style and destination while choosing the material.
3. Wheels or No wheels?: Wheels make a world of difference especially when you are navigating through airports or busy streets. Opt for luggage with sturdy, multidirectional wheels that can handle different terrains. It will save you from pulling your heavy bag around and provide ease of mobility. But remember, if you have to go up and down through staircase, then wheels won’t help only light luggage will.
4. Check Zippers and Locks: Your luggage needs to keep your belongings safe and secure. Look for bags with durable zippers and built-in locks. TSA-approved locks are essential for hassle-free security checks at airports.
5. Think About Pockets and Compartments: Organisation is the key to smart packing. Luggage with multiple pockets and compartments helps you keep your stuff sorted. You can easily access essentials like passports, chargers or snacks without moving things in your entire bag.
6. Lightweight options: Remember, your luggage itself adds to your overall weight allowance. Choose lightweight options to maximise the space you have for your belongings. It is a simple trick to avoid overweight baggage fees.
7. Consider Durability: Travel can be tough on luggage. Invest in a bag made of sturdy materials that can withstand bumps and jostles during your journey. Quality luggage may cost a bit more initially but can save you money in the long run by lasting longer.
8. Test the Handle: The handle is your lifeline when you are on the move. Check if it extends comfortably and retracts smoothly. It should be strong enough to support your bag without moving from side to side in an unsteady way.
Your choice of luggage can make your travels a breeze or a hassle. So, remember these tips while picking your perfect travel companion. With the right luggage by your side, you will be ready to explore the world in style and comfort. Happy Journey!
Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month
“To get a sample itinerary for Spain, "Click here”
Let us all be responsible travellers
Beware of tourist tropes
When we travel, it is tempting to follow the well-worn tourist tropes like ticking off famous landmarks and eating at chain restaurants. But here is the deal: it is not just about missing out on authentic experiences, it is also not a great option for sustainable travel.
Tourist tropes can lead to overcrowding at popular spots. Think about those long lines and crowded selfie spots. Not exactly the peaceful getaway you were dreaming of, right?
Moreover, these tourist habits can put a strain on local resources. Overpriced souvenirs and imported fast food create a cycle that doesn't benefit the local economy or environment.
So, what's the solution? Be aware of these tourist habits. You will discover hidden gems and contribute positively to the community.
Sustainable travel means leaving a lighter footprint and immersing yourself in the real essence of a place. It is about respecting local cultures, minimising waste and giving back to the destinations you visit.
Next time you travel, consciously stay away from those tourist tropes. You will not only have a richer and more authentic experience but also play a part in making travel more sustainable for future explorers.
‘VACATIONS’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels - a social enterprise that promotes travelling as means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of most authentic travel experiences around the world.
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