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Exploring Spain

Spain is a mix of old and new, of modern and traditional. For the tourist, Spain means bullfights, massive cathedrals, world-class art, Muslim palaces, whitewashed villages, and bright sunshine. Moving to Rota, you’ll find all those things and will be able to immerse yourself in the culture. The country’s charm especially lies in its people and their unique lifestyle. From the stirring sardana dance in Barcelona to the sizzling rat-a-tat-tat of flamenco in Sevilla, this country is vibrant and beautiful. Living in Rota you are in the perfect location to see the rest of this amazing country!

Rota is on the Atlantic coast of Spain, directly across the Bay of Cádiz from Cádiz, the oldest city in Western Europe, in the province of Cádiz. Rota had its start as a small fishing village and has grown into a town that is now an international destination for northern Europeans looking for some sun. It is full of charming and delicious restaurants, historic and beautiful churches, and winding alleys tempting you to wander within their flower-lined twists and turns. One of its most significant buildings is Luna Castle (13th century), currently home to the Town Hall and the local tourist board. Also worth mentioning are the Baroque Caridad or San Juan Bautista Church, and San Roque Church, home to the statue of the town’s patron saint. There is a golf course and the town has two beaches: La Costilla, alongside the old town, and Rompidillo, as well as other, unspoiled beaches further away from the center.

Spain.info/en Rota
Military Family Blog – Survive and Thrive, Rota Spain

El Puerto de Santa Maria
When you’re surrounded by such cultural luminaries as Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, and Seville, it’s easy to overlook the small print and such is the fate of El Puerto de Santa María, despite its collection of well-known icons. Luckily, the Naval base is right between Rota and this gem of a location. Osborne sherry, with its famous bull logo (a highly recognizable symbol of Spain), was founded and retains its headquarters here, as do half a dozen other sherry bodegas. With its abundance of sandy blonde beaches, tempting cuisine, sherry wineries, and smattering of architectural heirlooms, El Puerto can seem like southern Andalucía in a microcosm. And it’s just 15 minutes away from Rota.

Lonely Planet – El Puerto de Santa Maria

You could write several weighty tomes about Cádiz and still fall short of nailing its essence. Cádiz is generally considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, founded as Gadir by the Phoenicians in about 1100 BC. Now well into its fourth millennium, the ancient center, surrounded almost entirely by water, is a romantic jumble of streets where Atlantic waves crash against eroded sea walls, cheerful taverns fry up fresh fish, and salty beaches teem with sun-worshippers. Access to Cádiz is as easy as a short ferry ride from Rota.

Wikitravel – Cádiz
Lonely Planet – Cádiz

Granada seems to specialize in evocative history and good living. Settle down in the old center and explore monuments of the Moorish civilization and its conquest. Taste the treats of a North African-flavored culture that survives here today. This city has much to see, yet it reveals itself in unpredictable ways. Peer through the intricate lattice of a Moorish window. Hear water burbling unseen among the labyrinthine hedges of the Generalife Gardens. Listen to a flute trilling deep in the swirl of alleys around the cathedral. Open all your senses in Granada.

Rick Steves’ – Granada
Lonely Planet – Granada

Barcelona bubbles with life in its narrow Barri Gòtic alleys, along the pedestrian boulevard called the Ramblas, in the funky bohemian quarter of El Born and throughout the chic, grid-planned part of town called the Eixample. Barcelona’s Old City is made for seeing on foot, full of winding lanes that emerge into secluded squares dotted with palm trees and ringed with cafés and boutiques. The waterfront bristles with life, overlooked by the parklike setting of Montjuïc. Throughout the city, the architecture is colorful, playful, and unique. Locals still join hands and dance the sardana in front of the cathedral every weekend. Neighborhood festivals fill the events calendar. The cafés are busy by day, and people crowd the streets at night, pausing to fortify themselves with a perfectly composed bite of seafood and a drink at a tapas bar. Every hidden back lane provides shelter for an array of inviting shops. Visit Barcelona and you’ll find out just how charming a city can be.

Rick Steves’ – Barcelona
Lonely Planet – Barcelona

Staggering architecture, a venerable dining scene, and stunning landscapes just outside the city center: Bilbao is one of the great treasures of the Basque Country.

Lonely Planet – Bilbao

Straddling a sharp bend of the Guadalquivir River, Córdoba has a glorious Roman and Moorish past, once serving as a regional capital for both empires. It’s home to Europe’s best Islamic sight after Granada’s Alhambra: the Mezquita, a splendid and remarkably well-preserved mosque that dates from A.D. 784. Beyond the magnificent Mezquita, the city of Córdoba has two sides: the touristy maze of streets immediately surrounding the giant main attraction, lined with trinket shops, hotels, and restaurants; and the workaday, real-life part of town. In between are the side lanes of the Jewish Quarter, humming with history.

Rick Steves’ – Córdoba
Lonely Planet – Córdoba

Dive headlong into the grandeur and intimate charm of Madrid. Feel the vibe in Puerta del Sol, the pulsing heart of modern Madrid and of Spain itself. The lavish Royal Palace rivals Versailles, the Prado has Europe’s top collection of paintings, and nearby hangs Picasso’s chilling masterpiece, Guernica. Retiro Park invites you to take a shady siesta and hopscotch through a mosaic of lovers, families, pets walking their masters, and expert bench-sitters. Save time for Madrid’s elegant shops and people-friendly pedestrian zones. On Sundays, cheer for the bull at a bullfight or bargain like mad at a mega-size flea market. After dark, join the Madrileños who pack the streets for an evening paseo that can continue past midnight. Lively Madrid has enough street-singing, bar-hopping and people-watching vitality to give any visitor a boost of youth.

Rick Steves’ – Madrid
Lonely Planet – Madrid

An hour and half north of Rota you’ll find flamboyant Sevilla thrumming with flamenco music, sizzling in the summer heat, and pulsing with the passion of Don Juan and Carmen. It’s a place where bullfighting is still politically correct and little girls still dream of growing up to become flamenco dancers. It’s a wonderful-to-be-alive-in kind of place. Spain’s fourth-largest city is Andalucía’s leading destination, buzzing with festivals, color, guitars, castanets, and street life, and enveloped in the fragrances of orange trees, jacaranda, and myrtle. Sevilla also has its share of impressive sights, but the real magic is the city itself, with its tangled former Jewish Quarter, riveting flamenco shows, thriving bars, and evening paseo (leisurely stroll).

Rick Steves’ – Sevilla
Lonely Planet – Sevilla Province

Spain’s third-largest city is a magnificent place, content for Madrid and Barcelona to grab the headlines while it gets on with being a wonderfully livable city with thriving cultural, eating, and nightlife scenes. Never afraid to innovate, Valencia diverted its flood-prone river to the outskirts and converted the former riverbed into a glorious green ribbon of park winding right through the city. On it are the strikingly futuristic buildings of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, designed by the local Santiago Calatrava. Other brilliant contemporary buildings grace the city, which also has fabulous Modernista buildings, great museums, a long stretch of beach and a large, characterful old quarter. Valencia, surrounded by its huerta, a fertile zone of market gardens, is famous as the home of rice dishes such as paella, but its buzzy dining scene offers plenty more. It’s a superb spot for eating.

Lonely Planet – Valencia

Costa del Sol Beaches
If you want a place to stay and play in the sun, visit Nerja, the most appealing resort town on the coast. Nearby is a quirky bit of jolly olde England: Gibraltar, which offers a unique cultural mix that makes it far more interesting than the anonymous resorts that line the coast. Beyond “The Rock,” the whitewashed port of Tarifa, the least-developed piece of Spain’s generally overdeveloped southern coast, is a workaday town with a historic center, broad beaches, and good hotels and restaurants (and is the perfect springboard for a quick trip to Tangier, Morocco).

Rick Steves’ – Costa del Sol
Lonely Planet – Costa del Sol

An hour south of Madrid by car, Toledo teems with tourists, souvenirs, and great art by day, and delicious dinners, echoes of El Greco, and medieval magic by night. Incredibly well-preserved and full of cultural wonder, the entire city has been declared a national monument. Enthroned in its history, this stony wonderland remains the historic, artistic, and spiritual center of Spain.

Rick Steves’ – Toledo
Lonely Planet – Toledo

The region of Spain where Rota is located is known as Andalucia. Just as the American image of Germany is Bavaria, the Yankee dream of Spain is Andalucía. This is the home of bullfights, flamenco, gazpacho, sun-baked hill towns, three exciting cities (Granada, Sevilla, and Córdoba), and glamorous resorts along the Costa del Sol.

Rick Steves’ – Andalucia
Lonely Planet – Andalucia

For more information about travel in Spain, visit:
Tourist Attractions
Events in Spain

Travel Assistance

Rota MWR Tickets and Travel

The Rota MWR Tickets and Travel office assists with travel planning to destinations in Spain and around Europe. An MWR specialty is the cultural and historic tour to nearby Jerez de La Frontera and El Puerto de Santa Maria, which feature Flamenco dance shows, the Andalucian horse shows, and tours of the world-famous sherry wine bodegas. If this isn’t enough, then more of Andalucia’s greatness and history awaits you with tours to the wondrous cities of Cordoba, Granada, Ronda, or Sevilla. Gibraltar and Portugal are popular destinations as well!

Bldg #48
Phone: 956-82-3101
DSN: 727-3101

Monday – Friday: 10:00a.m. – 6:00p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Navy MWR, Rota

Goverment Lodging

The following accommodations are available in Spain:
DoD Lodging Spain

Navy Lodge Rota
Naval Station
PSC 819, Box 17
FPO, AE 09645-0003
Reservations: 1-800-628-9466
DSN: 727-2643

Air Force Inn Moron
Moron AB, Spain
Hotel Frontera
Moron, Spain APO AE 09643
Reservations: 888-235-6343
DSN: 722-8098

Navy Gateway Inns & Suites Rota
Rota NS
PSC 819 Box #5
FPO AE 09645-1200
Reservations: 1-877-NAVYBED (628-9233)

Additional Government Lodging can be found in the following countries: Belgium, England, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Turkey. More information can be found by visiting: DoD Lodging Europe

Helpful Links

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