Spain prepares to celebrate Xacobeo 2021, the first Compostela Holy Year in 11 years

The Compostela Holy Year or Jacobean Year is a year in which the 25th of July falls on a Sunday allowing for the celebration of the martyrdom of St. James. In these years, believers can obtain a plenary indulgence, leaving them completely absolved of all their sins, the highlight of everything the Camino de Santiago represents. Jacobean Years only occur 14 times a century and date back to the Middle Ages with Xacobeo 2021 having been declared an event of exceptional public interest.

To celebrate Xacobeo 2021, the Spanish Ministry of Culture has created a dedicated website to help those who wish to partake in the Holy Year and their own Camino de Santiago on this very rare occurrence. The site features a full programme of cultural events and activities to make the celebrations as comprehensive and diverse as possible including concerts, exhibitions, lectures and much more. The portal also provides information on how visitors can contribute to the celebrations and even provides downloadable artwork and resources to help them on their own Camino de Santiago.

Burgos Cathedral celebrates its 800th anniversary

The 20 July 2021 will mark 800 years since the laying of the first stone of the impressive Burgos Cathedral. The cathedral, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, has become emblematic of Castilla y Leon with its impressive French gothic architecture and characteristic spires of the main façade. Now 800 years on, the Cathedral VIII Centenary Foundation Burgos 2021 has created a commemorative programme of cultural events taking place through 2021 and into 2022. The cultural activities will include exhibitions, concerts and conferences, with the aim of celebrating Burgos Cathedral’s eight centuries of history.

Castilla y León commemorate Miguel Delibes on the centenary of his birthday

The Miguel Delibes Foundation has created a series of activities focused on promoting the life’s work of the late, great Spanish author and journalist. Delibes was a member of the Royal Spanish Academy and is recognised as one of the leading figures of post- Civil War Spanish literature. October 17, 2020, marked 100 years since the birth of Delibes and now the ‘Centenario Delibes’ has been declared an event of special public interest. The programme of events created by the Miguel Delibes Foundation will extend into 2021 including special exhibitions such as the ‘Delibes Exhibition’ at the Spanish National Library.

Toledo to ‘captain’ programme of activities in celebration of 800 years since the birth of Alfonso X the Wise

November 23, 2021 will mark 800 years since the birth of Alfonso X the Wise with the Toledo Council announcing they will create a full programme of activities to celebrate such a landmark event. Alfonso X was the king of Castilla, Leon and Galicia and is remembered for having fostered the development of a cosmopolitan court that encouraged learning and where Jews, Muslims and Christians all had prominent roles. During his reign, the translation of works from Arabic and Latin into the vernacular of Castile was encouraged and thus marked the beginning of Castellano as a primary language of higher learning, science, and law. The eighth centenary of Alfonso X will have international projection with Toledo ‘captaining’ more than 20 cities where the king is an important figure. The events will begin in November 2021 and carry through until November 2022.

Valencia prepares for its title of World Design Capital 2022

Valencia has been named the World Design Capital for 2022 by the World Design Organisation (WDO) for its longstanding design legacy, which has made it a leading example of a city’s effective and strategic use of design. Valencia’s strategic positioning on the Spanish coast, as well as its well-established design expertise means it promises to deliver a programme that reflects its aspirations and commitment at local, regional, national, and international levels. Valencia has impressive urban infrastructures that are directed towards coexisting with the natural and built environment. World Design Capital is a biennial designation celebrating cities that use design to improve economic, social and cultural life. The designation is also a unique opportunity to improve sustainable design approaches at regional and local levels. / 

Murcia holds its title as 2021 Spanish Capital of Gastronomy

Murcia has retained its title as the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy for 2021 having been previously given the title for 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Murcia from hosting many of the events that were scheduled to take place in celebration of its designation. Murcia has programmed 1,001 activities, including a travelling Vegetable museum, gastronomic routes through the region and gastronomic festivals. The region intends to start some of its activities in the last quarter of 2020 and continue through to 2021.

Catalunya tourism to introduce the ‘Grand Tour of Catalonia’

The Catalunya tourism board will introduce the ‘Grand Tour of Catalonia’ in late 2020, a circular tourist route that allows visitors to the region to experience the best of its art, history, gastronomy, landscapes, people and traditions. The route takes tourists to learn more about Gaudí and Dalí, taste pa amb tomàquet (Catalan Tomato Bread) and Michelin-starred meals, visit rural villages and Barcelona, one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Activities along the way include the adrenaline rush of a parachute jump, peaceful walks along isolated shorelines and tasting sessions of local Catalan wines. The new tourism route is set to launch in late 2020, ready for the 2021 season, and has been designed to provide a wholesome itinerary to see all the highlights of Catalonia.

Galicia creates social and cultural project to celebrate Xacobeo 2021

Next year will see the celebration of Xacobeo 2021 making it the first Holy Year since 2010. The opening of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral’s Puerta Santa (Holy Door) on 31 December will mark the beginning of the Compostela Holy Year and, with it, the beginning of the Xacobeo 2021 cultural and social project that will see Galicia host countless activities related to the Camino de Santiago including concerts, seminars, exhibitions, promotional days and more. All activities featured on the programme will include the relevant safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Walking the Camino de Santiago in a Holy Year is a true bucket list item and the Galician regional government has invested resources to ensure that visitors making the pilgrimage have an unforgettable experience.

Madrid’s The Reina Sofía Museum celebrate 30th anniversary with new exhibition

The Reina Sofía Museum opened its doors on 31 October 1990 and has since become a leading contemporary art institution recognised around the world. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the Reina Sofía has inaugurated a new major exhibition titled ‘Mondrian and De Stijl’, focusing on Dutch painter and theoretician and the in the influential artistic movement and magazine that he created with Theo van Doesburg, Bart Van der Leck and Vilmos Huszár. The exhibition opens on 11 November running until 1 March, and will show around 100 works, more than a third of them made by Piet Mondrian. The Reina Sofía is the eighth most visited museum in Europe with 4,426,000 visitors in 2019 (TEA-AECOM Museum index) and in its 30-year history has organised more than 700 temporary exhibitions.

Menorca: Opening of a prehistoric cave for visitors offering guided tours in English

The Balearic island of Menorca will welcome a new cultural space for visitors to enjoy, enhancing its already broad culture heritage offering ahead of the 2021 season. “Cova de S’Aigu”, located in Cala Blanca-Ciutadella, is a burial cave that dates back to prehistoric times and a place where archaeologists have found remains from a variety of historical eras including some inscriptions from the 18th century, the time of the British occupation of Menorca. Guided tours in English will be available from March 2021 where visitors can admire the different geological formations as well as a large lake with crystal clear waters among a host of other interesting sites.

Infinite Cantabria project sees ‘Okuda’ give the Faro de Ajo colourful revamp

The Faro de Ajo, a lighthouse near the Cantabrian town of Ajo which has stood for almost a century, has been given a colourful new redesign from internationally acclaimed Cantabrian artist, Óscar San Miguel, commonly known as ‘Okuda’. The project dubbed ‘Infinite Cantabria’ has seen the lighthouse transformed into a cultural instalment designed to attract visitors to one of the lesser-known areas of the region while also allowing the lighthouse to still serve its navigational function. The design draws inspiration from Cantabrian wildlife such as wolves and bears as well as indigenous Cantabrian cultures. The artistic installation drew 11,200 people on its opening weekend in August 2020 and will remain in place for eight years.

Balearic Islands: The Balearic Islands to ban single-use plastic in 2021

The Balearic Islands will ban the sale of all single-use consumer plastics such as plastic cups, plates and cutlery, straws, disposable razors, lighters and coffee machine capsules by March 2021 in a bid to better protect the environment. The Balearic Islands have been working intensively over the last few years to be at the forefront of sustainable tourism; and this measure will help move towards the overall goal of being a sustainable destination.

Mallorca: The city of Palma to become a smart tourism destination

Palma Tourist Board unveils an ambitious project for 2021 named “Plan Impulso Palma”, aiming to transform the capital of the Balearic Islands into a smart and sustainable destination to help drive the recovery of the tourism industry following the impact of COVID-19. The smart tourism model will be based around four key pillars: implementation of technological solutions to interact with tourists, boosting the city’s digitalisation, creating new sustainability and quality control accreditations and implementing safety and hygiene programs and protocols. The total investment for this project is €975,000.

Valencia: The perfect destination for the eco-conscious traveller in 2021 as it becomes the first city in the world to verify its carbon emissions from tourist activity

Valencia is a city making huge strides to tackle the global climate emergency and create a destination that travellers can visit with a clean conscience. The city has become the first in the world to verify its carbon emissions from tourist activity, the first step in a commitment to become a carbon-neutral destination by 2025. The city already boasts two million square metre of gardens, notably the Turia Gardens and the Viveros, which act as the green lungs of the city absorbing carbon emissions; not to mention the 20 kilometres of European Blue Flag status beaches. Travellers are also able to explore the city in an environmentally friendly manner by making use of close to 150 kilometres of cycle paths and 40 ciclocalles (cycle-priority streets). For visitors who are interested in finding out more about Valencia’s sustainable development plans, the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences provides an eye-opening insight into what is capable at the cutting-edge of new technology and innovation.

Tenerife launches the Route 0.4.0 trail with the highest elevation gain in Spain

In October 2020, Tenerife tourism unveiled a new advanced hiking route with the highest elevation gain of any trail in Spain. The trail has been created for hikers and trail runners and starts on El Socorro Beach, traversing rural areas to reach the top of Spain’s highest peak, the summit of Mount Teide. The ascent is over 27.7km meaning the round trip is around 56km which can be completed in roughly 12 hours for hikers and four to six for trail runners. The Open Trail Races app has created the GPX of the route which means users get certification for having covered the route, showing the time taken and their overall rating and category rating among a community of hikers. To reach the summit, active tourists will need to request a permit in advance from the national park’s website.  /

Galería Canalejas: Madrid welcomes new luxury shopping centre

Madid has welcomed a new luxury shopping centre, located in the heart of the Spanish capital at the former Palacio de la Equitativa. The three-storey shopping centre will be home to more than 40 boutiques selling high-end fashion, accessories, perfumes, jewellery and watched by the most prestigious luxury brands in the world having already welcomed Hermès in the first phase of opening in October 2020. More shops will gradually open over the first half of 2021. The shopping centre will also offer a unique culinary experience in its underground level with the Galería Canalejas Food Hall which will feature more than 15 restaurants offering different specialities and cuisines as proposed by various renowned international chefs, some holding Michelin stars. The shopping centre comes as part of the Centro Canalejas Madrid (CCM) project, promoted by OHL Desarrollos and Mohari Hospitality, which brings together within a single complex seven historic buildings in the city centre.


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