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TOURISM

IN PICS: Madrid to have largest artificial beach in Spain and Europe

Inland Madrid is set to have a new nearby beach complex in 2023 which will feature a huge lagoon, a sailing school, aquatic slides, beach bars and plenty more across a whopping 105,000m2 area.

IN PICS: Madrid to have largest artificial beach in Spain and Europe
A computer-generated render of the huge Alovera Beach complex near Madrid. Photo: Alovera Beach

“¡Vaya, vaya! ¡Aquí no hay playa!” (Well, well! No beach here!) the famous 80s Spanish song by The Refrescos goes, mocking the fact that Madrid is one of Spanish regions furthest from the coast. 

But madrileños may get the last laugh in the end as there are plans underway to build Europe’s largest artificial beach.

It will be just half an hour away from the capital in the municipality of Alovera in Guadalajara province, which is technically in the Castilla-La Mancha region, but Madrid has already claimed Alovera Beach as its own.

Construction is underway on a mega-project which requires more than 15km2 of sand and 25km2 of water.

The whole beach complex will measure 105,000 m2 and will feature a huge lagoon, as well as a surrounding area of sand. 

Alovera Beach is set to be the largest artificial beach in Europe. Photo: Alovera Beach

The sand zone is set to have several beach bars, hammocks for relaxing in, beach volleyball courts and an open-air gym, while the lagoon area is set to have water sports, a sailing school, slides, water chutes, zip lines and smaller pools for kids.  

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The project, created in conjunction with US-based company Crystal Lagoons has been halted on several occasions, in part due to its ginormous size, political debates, and the huge cost of the work, which comes in at an estimated €15.6 million.

The aim is reportedly to create around 350 direct and indirect jobs and welcome between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors a year.

While some of Spain’s political parties – PP, Ciudadanos and Vox – are in favour of the beach, others including PSOE and Unidas Podemos are against it, citing the fact that the lagoon area is going to be filled with the drinking water taken from the local supply.

The terrace area will be filled with restaurants and chiringuitos. Photo: Alovera Beach.

In their defence, the constructors of Alovera Beach have clarified that the volume of water is similar to the annual consumption of a development of 80 homes, but with the difference that the lagoon will only be filled once.

They have also said that it will consume half the amount of water of conventional park irrigation and 40 or 50 times less than the maintenance of a golf course, as well as use 100 times fewer chemicals than normal swimming pools.

The huge lagoon will measure 25km2. Photo: Alovera Beach

To add to their sustainability commitment, Crystal Lagoons and Alovera Beach will also create a large natural park surrounding the complex, in order to encourage biodiversity in the area.

Those in Madrid who can’t wait until 2023 for the project to be complete, should visit the Blue Flag-awarded Virgen de la Nueva beach on the banks of the San Martín de Valdeiglesias reservoir. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Ryanair strike in Spain: 54 flights cancelled and 300 delayed on Thursday

Fifty-four Ryanair flights to and from Spain were cancelled on Thursday and several hundred others delayed during an ongoing strike by the low-cost airline’s cabin staff.

Ryanair strike in Spain: 54 flights cancelled and 300 delayed on Thursday

The strike which took place as European schools were breaking up for the summer was the latest stoppage by European airline staff demanding better conditions.

By 8:00 pm (1800 GMT), 54 flights had been cancelled and more than 300 delayed, with the airports in Barcelona and Malaga worst-hit, the USO union said.

Although Ryanair had said all scheduled flights would be operating, the airline “had not called in the full crew” at certain airports.

“The crew members that were not called in have joined the strike while those that were, went to the airports.. but there were not enough of them to operate the flights,” it said.

The strike by Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, where there are some 1,900 employees, is affecting 10 of the airline bases in the country and is due to run until July 2nd.

Earlier, the airline said flight disruption through the strike was “minimal” and only affected three percent of its Spanish flights.

The employees, who are demanding better working conditions, began an initial three-day strike on June 24 during which 129 Spanish flights were cancelled, the union said.

USO union representative Ernesto Iglesias (C) talks to the press during a Ryanair employees strike at Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport Madrid on June 24, 2022. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Ryanair is the airline that transports the most passengers in the Spanish market, offering more than 650 routes to 27 airports, the company says.

The initial strike in Spain coincided with industrial action by the airline’s staff in Portugal, Belgium, Italy and France demanding respect for labour rights and higher wages.

On Friday, staff with rival low-cost airline EasyJet will also be striking for the first of three weekends in July demanding parity in working conditions in line with other European airlines.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

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