Sally has done it again! Sally first shared with us Cruising for Solo-Parents, which was super helpful. Now, she is back to share with us some of the wonders of the South of Spain. I personally want to book a ticket right now and see these places for myself! How about you?
If the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, gorgeous Arab-Andalus art and architecture and Michelin-starred cuisine have always attracted you, you may have already considered making Spain the next country you visit. First-time travelers often head for capital cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. However, those who live in Spain often say that to get to know the heart of this country, a visit to the South is a must. In this post we highlight just a few of the most beautiful places to visit on your journey to the home of flamenco and all thinks Andaluz.
Málaga: This seaside ‘province’, home to a host of coastal cities including Málaga (the capital city) and Marbella (the glitzy town boasting a glamorous port and top-level shopping), is currently making quite a name for itself in a cultural sense. Málaga is home to a wealth of top class museums, including the new Pompidou Centre (the first ‘pop-up’ Pompidou set up by the famous Parisian house of art), the Picasso Museum (built in a 16th century palace and located in the heart of Málaga’s Old Town) and the Carmen Thyssen Museum, specializing in 19th century art.
Málaga is also home to powdery beaches, dotted with seafront restaurants known as ‘chiringuitos’ where, for a small price, you can enjoy everything from sardines on a spit, to ‘catch of the day’ seafood. For a really glamorous soiree, head for Marbella, where you can take your pick from many elegant nightclubs. Take it as fast or slow as you like, enjoying an energetic walk through the mountains or a refreshing dip in the sea, or taking in the sites, which include stunning exponents of ancient Roman architecture. Shop ‘til you drop at Calle Larios, or head for Puerto Banús near Marbella. There are a host of exchange booths if you prefer to pay in cash, though all stores accept standard debit and credit cards as well.
Cazorla: This city is home to the second largest nature reserve in Europe. It is an ideal destination for nature lovers, who can think of nothing more soul soothing than walking beneath the majesty of ancient pines or taking a long, leisurely walk to the source of the winding Borros River. The Cerrada de Elias is one of Cazorla’s most famous walking routes. Follow the gentle curves of the river and walk along a suspended wooden walkway above the waters as they pass through a narrow gorge.
Seville: This city is often referred to as the ‘capital of the South of Spain’, owing to its stunning architectural features, include its Gothic Cathedral, built between 1402 and 1506 and boasting a stunning bell-tower bearing intricate Moorish designs. Seville is also famed for the Alcazar, originally a 10th-century Moorish fortress which was converted into an elaborate palace boasting intricate artwork and elaborate architectural forms. Seville is also the place to visit if flamenco music and dance are your thing. Take in the magic of impromptu guitar sessions or book your seat at an elegant theater show.
Granada: If Moorish art and architecture have always enthralled you, then a visit to Granada’s La Alhambra is a must. This castle was built in the 9th century, though it wasn’t until the arrival of the first king of the Nasrid Dynasty (Mohammed ben Al-Hamar) in the early 13th century, that it officially became the royal residence. Intricate engravings, beautiful sculptures and stunning fountains are just a few of the reasons why La Alhambra is considered to be one of the most romantic destinations in the world.
Córdoba: This beautiful city was once the capital of Al-Andalus, the Muslim-occupied Iberian territories of the 10th and 11th centuries. Córdoba is home the La Mezquita (the first Spanish monument declared a UNESCO Universal Heritage Site), a stunning mosque known for its red-and-white arches and elegant interiors. The Jewish Quarter is the best known part of Córdoba’s historic center, and is testimony to the important role played by the Jewish people in the history of Spain. Under Muslim rule, both Jews and Christians were granted religious freedom and the right of self-governance, making this city a marvelous exponent of the acceptance of differences and of peaceful co-existence.
About the Author, Sally James: Coming from a background in the travel industry, Sally now works as a writer. Prior to this she worked for various cruise lines and also in the hospitality sector, whilst living in the USA. She’s now a single mom and hoping that her children take to travel as much as she did in her teens.