If you’re planning a bucket list trip to beat them all in the near future, then you could a lot worse than considering Andalusia, Spain. The region is one of great variety, diversity and intrigue, with typical Spanish fiestas and tradition mixed with Moorish architecture and moreish cuisine. All of this adds up to a place which leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. So, here are 5 IDEAL places to visit in the South of Spain.
The largest city in Andalusia, Seville was voted the number one city to visit in 2018 by no less an authority than Lonely Planet magazine. This is a cosy city bisected by the Guadalquivir river, Spain’s only navigable river. On dry land you’ll find attractions such as the Real Alcazar de Sevilla, one of the oldest palaces in all of Europe. Seville’s Cathedral is another must visit piece of architecture, and is Europe’s oldest Gothic cathedral. Because of its relatively small size, Seville is easy to traverse on foot, and as such, a tapas tour of local eateries serving the region’s famous boquerones and cazon en abodo (white anchoves, and fried dog fish), is a must. Catch – or get involved in – a flamenco show to cap off a great day in the city.
The ancient city of Ronda is one of the most visually stunning you’ll find anywhere in the world. The three bridges which link sections of this mountain city appear to have been hewn directly from the rocky surrounds and closely resemble a fantastical vista akin to one found in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones sagas. Simply majestic.
The remains of prehistoric settlements have been unearthed in the region nearby, but the city itself was first occupied by the Celts back in the sixth century BC. Control of Ronda has changed hands many, many times since then, with different civilisations adding distinct layers to the character of this magical city. Take the winding journey to this city above the clouds to enjoy the breath-taking views and fairytale appeal unique to Ronda.
Undoubtedly the most picturesque town on the over-touristed Costa del Sol, Estepona should be included on any trip to the South of Spain. This town, with a population of around 70,000, manages the difficult feat of retaining its traditional Spanish heart whilst at the same time catering for the tens of thousands of tourists who visit every year. Although Estepona can accurately be referred to as a resort town (and does indeed boast many kilometres of beaches) by walking just a few paces away from the coastal road you enter a beautiful white-washed town full of Spanish character and charm. If you plan on visiting one place on the Costa del Sol, then Estepona should be that place.
While the Costa del Sol attracts the majority of foreign visitors to the South of Spain, the Atlantic Costa del Luz has some wonderful attractions of its own. Not least of these is the laid-back town of Tarifa, which has become something of a Mecca for fans of water-sports. Tarifa is located at the southernmost point of continental Europe, and its unique wind conditions have led to its title as the most popular destination in Europe for kite and wind-surfing. After a day on the waves, take a wander through the narrow, cobbled streets to discover bars and restaurants. This charming and chilled out seaside town will refresh body and spirit and prime you for a trek around the famous palaces of our next pick……
Granada is arguably the Spanish city which retains the most architectural influences from its Islamic historical legacy. The most famous of these is of course the Alhambra, a Moorish palace constructed in 1333 from the pre-existing fortress that stood on the same site. This is most definitely the jewel in the crown of Granada, but just make sure to book your tickets online before your visit to avoid disappointment. The city of Granada is also a wonderful place to enjoy at night. Wander around the numerous small bars and cafes and sample some of the free tapas that are served to accompany your drinks, to enjoy a true taste of Andalusia.