photos by Monique Heijboer

"This is an amazing, eye-opening walk through the Old Town! Karla's knowledge is seemingly never-ending, fueled by her love of the arts and Spain itself, which she shares with so much love, enthusiasm and humour! Definitely worth a repeat performance for me! Can’t wait for the next one!"

* Monique Heijboer, Cumbre del Sol


"My friend and I spent a great morning walking the streets of Javea Old Town with Karla. I’ve done the walk before but was really excited to do it again. Karla has a great sense of humour and makes you look at the town in a completely different light. I now walk around looking up and the amazing buildings rather then just in the shop windows. She has so much information to tell that you really could do the walk numerous times and still not learn everything about Javea’s old town history. We then topped off the morning with a lovely lunch! All evening my friend kept saying what a great morning she had and Karla really made the walk interesting.

* Lisa Wood, Javea


"I recently attended Karla's tribute to Valencia city's jewels of architecture class. Coming from France where the "outside" is as beautiful as the "inside", I was wary of Spanish "jewels of architecture". But Karla opened my eyes to the extraordinary richness of Spanish heritage - as always combining history and artistic culture. Of course, I always recommend her teaching."

 * Josette jouas


"Going through paintings, statues and polychromes of Isabella was an excellent way of learning about her life and her reign. History, in general, becomes a little bit clearer with the visuals.
As usual, Karla's knowledge of the subject just flows naturally. Of course I recommend her."
* Josette Jouas, Denia


Karla's newest book, Omnibus, for me was ALL very interesting. It is difficult to pick out a favourite essay from the collection. All the stories tell a historical journey and every single chapter is a treasure of extraordinary knowledge, explaining the very impressive history we have here in Xàbia!
Karla's writing style is absolutely gripping, hence the reason I was able to read this book all in one go. She writes with such enthusiasm, just like she does in her lectures.

* Diana Santiago, Xàbia

ORDER FORM * click here


"I recently attended the SpainLifestyle class called 'Understanding Spanish Royal Renaissance Architecture'... Having seen a large number of buildings of this era, 1500s and 1600s, it was enlightening to hear how the styles evolved and why. The explanations of the decoration and design of the buildings by the different architects has given me a better knowledge. The lecture was full of information and a real sense of that time. The lecture has prompted further research into various points mentioned for example... how saints are represented in art. I have said it before... I like Karla's natural everyday language when teaching. It makes the information easier to retain. I most definitely recommend Karla and SpainLifestyle.com to my friends".

 *Wendy Loxley - Javea

THE LURE OF THE LIGHT * Joaquín Sorolla

"In this class, I learned lot about the painter, his life and work. I love his paintings; most of them are so colourful, vibrant, lively - with beautiful scenery. As I lived in Jávea for 14 years I appreciate the places Sorolla loved (me too!!), and painted, almost all of them those close to or by the sea. I concluded by the way he painted and lived that he must have been a happy person! I just love Karla's liveliness, directness, and huge knowledge. I Absolutely recommend her classes!!!"

Angelika Goette, Benitachell


"Not understanding Dali's paintings at all, I learned there was a code; language to understanding the man, therefore his paintings. What an experience! Karla Darocas taught, as usual, in her casual style of speaking, while pouring forth a fountain of information. I have recommended her to many people already"

*Josette Jouas, Denia


"I have been to Karla's lectures on Dali before. He is a complex man, as are his paintings, and as always I learnt even more. The pleasure of being able to appreciate his art is beyond price. Karla Darocas's teaching style is relaxed but so much information and research is shared.
Most certainly I recommend Karla Darocas's teaching and events to others"

* Lizzie Clayton, Benitachell


"Oh, what two wonderful presentations about Dalí. I learned so much about his life, his problems with his father, but - most importantly - his work. When I now look at one of Dalí's paintings my understanding and perception will be totally different than they were before. Great lectures. I always like Karka deep knowledge & her humour. I always recommend her to others!"

* Angelika Goette, Benitachell


"I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Karla's first book on the history and architecture of Jávea. It reads as Karla lectures, with enthusiasm, knowledge and fun. This is a must for anyone interested in knowing more of how Jávea has changed over time. I have ordered more to give as Christmas presents and what a fabulous addition to be put into rental properties. I love the knowledge I have gained from reading this book. A great read."

-  Lizzie Clayton, Benitachell


 "I have been here almost 30 years and was absolutely delighted to have more in depth information on the history of Javea. A great presentation and written in a style very clear and precise! Thank you Karla for such a very interesting book!
Congratulations, loved it!!!"
- Diana Santiago, Javea


"In a recent Field Trip with Karla I learned how beautiful Gandía is, and how many 'treasures' there are - culturally, historically, architecturally. The Gandia Palace was a gem, which I really enjoyed visiting. And Karla, as always, guided us with explanations and comments, pointing out the very precious details. Another trip worth taking with Karla as she is an outstanding teacher!! Her clarity, her passion, her knowledge. I always recommend Karla Darocas to others"

 *Angeika Goette, Benitachell


"Just wanted to thank you again for the very informative guide of Javea yesterday. We both really enjoyed it.

I was telling our friends last night about the architecture of the church and how it came about regarding relations of Queen Isabella. Also, how Isabella had her own architectural style and what the symbols meant around the door of the church.

And, about how there was a convent where the Mercat is now and how it came about and about mother superior Gallart and how she died at the lookout tower.

Also about the “broke” period  and the civic arches, etc...

Ooh I remember lots. It was so interesting."

Kind regards, - Eileen and Donal


"Many of Goya's works are well known, and learning why or in what circumstances he painted them was interesting and informative. But what was most interesting for me was his outlook on life around him, his feelings for the absurdity of events happening at the time like the hypocrisy of religion and superstition, nobility, the inquisition.... And his ability of "showing" what was going on - whether it be everyday scenes for tapestries or more political reactions to the French invaders.
Karla is a treasure chest of anecdotes and details which give added interest to her subject. I truly recommend her lectures."

* Josette Jouas, Denia


"Now I am a LOT more knowledgeable about Goya and the history of his time, his life, his painting style and his feelings. Really got to know the man and his work. Two hours flew by as usual. After learning about the various masters I can go into the Prado Museum in Madrid with more confidence and purpose!
Karla has amazng knowledge and her ability to include humour and fascinating titbites, together with her personality makes for a lively and interesting lecture. I would definitely recommend her."

* Ally, Javea


"I can highly recommend this walk, it was amazing to hear and see all about the history and architecture of this unique town that we call home. Karla has an incredible knowledge and passion, thank you so much."

* Christine Louise Dunn, Javea


Thank you Karla for a very informative lecture on Teruel prior to our departure. Karla is a wealth of information and her presentations are well-detailed and well-explained. Having gone to this lecture prior to our visit enabled us to appreciate the beauty, architecture and history of this wonderful city. It makes a huge difference when visiting some of this unique historical cities/towns in Spain having prior knowledge of their history. Thank you Karla for expanding our knowledge.

*Pat & Dennis


"I learned so much about the social and economic history of this part of Spain and how the architectural styles developed and were implemented using existing buildings over the centuries. Karla brought it all to life. I loved Karla's talks because they are so animated and enthusiastic and full of interesting and amusing anecdotes. I definitely recommend her."

 * Michelle Johnson


"It was a nice and sunny Saturday in March when we set off with Fine Arts Historican Karla Darocas for a field trip to Grandia as a group of adult education students.
As always, Karla thoroughly prepared for this excursion with a lecture on Gandía first.
A group ride share was organised and after picking up several members ‘en route’ we arrived in Gandia, a town in th southern part of the Valencian province, which was buzzing with the preparations for the Falla Fiestas on March 19th.
We visited the Santa Clara museum, where we were the only visitors. We strolled around enjoying the explanations by Karla about the religious works of art roughly from the 15th till the 17th centuries. There was Gregorian music playing in the atmosphere that made the visit extra special. All this heritage had been kept by the nuns of Santa Clara’s Monastery since the 1400's and only shared with the public in 1915 in this museum, which was the medieval hospital.
Needless to say, the famous Spanish Borja family who were patrons of the arts, were presented in paintings and murals as well.
Gandía sits on the shores of the Serpis river, now dry as a bone, but still a grand sight to view from the mirador.
After a quick cafe con leche accompanied by the parade of children, men and women dressed in the traditional Valencian costumes with bands playing the typical music that many of us have heard in these regions when fiestas are celebrated, we went on a pleasant walk to the Palau Ducal dels Borja.
This is where Francisco de Borja, the great grandson of Pope Alexandre VI, was born and raised. Long after his death, he became Saint Francisco de Borja and his great grandson Pascual de Borja brought the beauty of Italian baroque to the palace by building a series of rooms that celebrated in art and design the canonization of Francisco.
Our group lunch was catered by friendly couple at their charming Restaurant called EL GUSTO. It was a great end to an uplifting and educational day. Great stuff!"

*  Trudi van Dorp, Cumbre del Sol