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Our Andalusian Coast mini road trip in September 2021

Our Andalusian Coast mini road trip in September 2021

Old Feb 19th, 2022, 01:58 PM
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Our Andalusian Coast mini road trip in September 2021

As vaccine rates were going up and Covid case going down, I dusted off my frequent flyer miles to plan a trip. With miles, it’s easy enough to cancel without penalty. All the hotels I booked were cancelable with a couple of weeks of reservation. For this trip I was looking for good weather, where we can do most of our exploring outdoors. The plan was to rent a car and go on a mini roadtrip. I booked an open jaw ticket, flew into Jerez (had transfer in Madrid), and out of Malaga (transfer in Lisbon). I pre-arranged parking at all our accommodations. We used google maps for navigation. We brought along a few Covid test, some with eMed services that we could use when it was time to go home.

Day 1 – arrived at Jerez airport. It’s a small airport so fairly easy to get in and out. We rented a car from Alamo. It was a short trip to our hotel, Hotel YIT Casa Grand, in Jerez de la Frontera. It’s right on Plaza de las Angustias. They have a small garage where we parked. They also gave us a free room upgrade. This hotel was perfect, charming, with a friendly staff.

We arrived at siesta time, so the town was pretty quiet, and many of the restaurants were closed. We had lunch at a nearby place, wandered around a bit, then return to our room to rest (after barely sleeping on the plane), and freshen up.

In the evening things liven up. It seemed all the local came out, whether just hanging at on the Plazas, having a drink, or eating a meal. This town seemed very authentic. Not touristy at all. I think we may have been the only Americans visiting at the time.

Outdoor dining is available everywhere. People very compliant with mask wearing, and taking turns entering small shops. We found a place to eat. Across from us was a large group who appeared to be there for an event. It appeared to be a rehearsal dinner in our minds.


Plaza de las Angustias. Hotel YIT is on the corner there.


Day 2 – after a good night’s sleep, we were ready to hit the ground running. We packed up and left our bags with the front desk. We spent the morning visiting the Cathedral (where I climbed the tower for those rooftop views that I love) the tower for those rooftop views that I love) and Alcazar. Both worth the visit, especially the Alcazar.


Alcazar

On our way back to hotel after lunch, we saw, what seemed like, people dressed up for a wedding. We followed them to a square with 2 churches. Sure enough, there were weddings at both churches, and as it turned out, one was the same group we saw the night before, so our speculation was correct!

We returned to the hotel and headed to our next stop, Cadiz. There we rented a studio apartment, No 14 Cadiz, in the old town area. Here we were instructed to park our car in a nearby public lot. The apartment was on a pedestrian street right off the plaza where the garage was. In the apartment were bottle water, wine and some cookies.

Once settle in, we had lunch and walked to La Coleta Beach. Th streets leading to the beach were packed with cafes, restaurants and lined with palm trees. We than wondered back to the apartment. Before dinner, we went to Taberna La Manzanilla to sample some sherry. The owner reminded me of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Not exactly friendly, and if you went to sit somewhere other than where he pointed, he was no happy. We couldn’t stopped laughing, just watching him in action.

Street on the way to the beach



La Coleta Beach



Taberna La Manzanilla


We had not planned ahead as far as a dinner reservation. It was a Saturday night. It seemed like everything was booked. We did make a reservation in one of the places that looked good, Restaurante & Bar Sonámbulo, for the following night. We eventually found a casual tapas place that had a table, so ate there.
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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 03:29 PM
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I’m in the the duration!
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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 03:34 PM
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Me too! Looked up the Casa 14 and the look of it.
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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 05:05 PM
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I’m enjoying this! Looking forward to more!
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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 09:36 PM
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That street in Cadiz….. more please!!
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 02:03 AM
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We do not do rehearsal dinners in Spain, so those people dressed up in Jerez would be doing something else. In fact, we are very surprised when we see that weddings are "rehearsed" in the US !
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 05:10 AM
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Great start, MFNYC, I'm coming along also!
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 08:56 AM
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Thanks...more coming soon. I chronicle my daily walks here at home (NYC), or wherever else I may be on my Instagram (marjfz), so it's a habit to take tons of photos. I more or less am a bit of a street photographer trying to capture the spirit of the neighborhood, always snapping away (primarily with my iPhone).

Here are links to all my photos from this trip in Snapfish:
Jerez
Cadiz
Vejer
Conil/Bolonia/Zahara
Espeponia/Tarifa
Marbella
Malaga
Miscellaneous/People/Design/Etc

This list pretty much is all the locations we stopped in, which I'll get to in later posts. This trip was truly a picture perfect vacation.

Maribel, as far as No 14 Cadiz, there was an issue, but it may have since been taken care of. The A/C dripped water so the owner asked us to empty the container regularly to avoid spilling onto floor. Ironically we have similar issue with our home bedroom A/C so we're used to it. Emptying the container didn't bother us. What did bother us is the noise it made, every 1 - 2 hours,. For a few minutes, I guess when it was kicking in it got a bit loud, and you could hear the water sounding like it was pouring out. Woke me up ever time. Before booking this otherwise very well located, comfortable, clean apartment, confirm that the A/C was taken care of. Also the Nespresso maker didn't seem to work, but since we always had breakfast at the local cafes (there's a few right out the door), this wasn't an issue for us. If A/C still leaking, this is not a good option for a light sleeper.

Oh, and the "rehearsal dinner"...I was using the term lightly, really referring to group dinner night before the wedding...it was pretty funny when the bride and groom walked out of the church, and we immediately recognized the groom. He did the exact same fist pump, we saw him do the night before.

Last edited by MFNYC; Feb 20th, 2022 at 08:59 AM.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 09:34 AM
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Day 3 -I found this list of the 12 must-see attractions in Cadiz, so used it as a guide for a self-walking tour. Cadiz is small, so easy enough to get around on foot.

For dinner we went to Restaurante & Bar Sonámbulo, which was very good.


Plaza de San Juan de Dios


View from Tavira Tower

Walk along the water

Roman Ruins

Genoves Park

Day 4 – on the road again. Made 2 stops on the way to Vejer de la Frontera, Cala de Roche and Playa de las Bateles, where we had lunch. Lunch as at Restaurante Las Corales and was huge, and very good. We then headed to Vejer which is up on a hill. The road leading there is windy and steep, but Vejer is beautiful with all the white buildings. We stayed at La Casa De Califa, which was lovely. They have a garage arrangement nearby. After settling in our room, we just wandered around Vejer, and climbed tower de Mayorrazo, across from the hotel. We had dinner on the Plaza that evening.

Cala de Roche


Play de las Bateles

Vejer

Plaza De Espana, Vejer at night

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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 10:10 AM
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Continuing to enjoy this! We love Vejer and stay too at the Casa del Califa, the last time we tried their new Plaza 18 wing, where we had the 2-story room with a huge roof terrace all to ourselves. I love how the town is so immaculately maintained and the Plaza de España is soooooo pretty.

Thanks for the note about the Casa 14.

One of the weddings that you witnessed in Jerez, I think, might have been the high society, aristocratic wedding of Carlos Cortina and Carla Vega-Peniche. They had quite the "jet set" guest list. Some of the guests stayed at the Casa Palacio María Luisa, across from the two churches. They were married in the Iglesia de Santo Domingo. I read about it in Vanitatis (I'm shallow!) and from the photos of the guests' designer duds, it looked like it was quite the fashion show! Their pre-wedding dinner the night before (la cena pre-boda) was held in the Museo del Enganche of the Royal Equestrian School.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 11:03 AM
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I just googled their wedding, and yes, that was when we were there! The group eating dinner that we saw was at the other church. If I had know these were the rich and famous, I would have tried to get better photos.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 11:18 AM
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Yes, the guests were VERY rich and famous aristocrats!
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 11:43 AM
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Maribel, just want to let you know I have been using your advice on this forum, and your guides for years. We've now been to Spain 5 times. I've referred to your info every single time. That's more than any other country with the exception of Mexico (where we would do beach vacations with our kids when they were young). We try to visit different areas each time we've visited. Our first time was to Madrid with our kids. We've since done Barcelona, Cordoba/Granada/Sevilla/Ronda, Basque country with a little of La Rioja, and this trip. Each of them were spectacular. I did hear that the Pixtos bars are no longer in Basque Country because of Covid, and now they're ordered from a menu. Do you know if that's still the case? My daughter and son-in-law were thinking of going there, but I told them to wait for the Pixtos bars to return. I looked forward to lunch every day, enjoyed just pointing to a variety of "bites", and ordering a sangria to go with them.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 11:51 AM
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Hi MFNYC,
That's such a nice thing to say and I really appreciate it! And I'm loving your report on one of my favorite spots!

The pintxos scene did change somewhat in the Basque Country because of covid, as MikelG can tell you. The bars are open, cold pintxos are kept under glass (or were...), and I believe they still may require you to sit to consume your food/drink and not stand at the bar (or did....) or take your drinks outside, thus the lines to get into the bars in San Sebastián were very long.
We were with MikelG and his lovely partner in September, but we won't return until June, unfortunately.

Now that restrictions are being lifted, it will be interesting to see if the pintxos bars go back to their old ways, as the locals are used to standing at the bar to have their pintxos and zurito or wine and not sitting. MikelG can tell us what the situation is this month and in the future.

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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 02:17 PM
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Day 5 -After an amazing breakfast at the hotel, we did a day trip, 1st to Baelo Claudia. Roman ruins on Bolonia Beach. Another worthwhile stop. The we went to Zahara de los Atunes for lunch. Town was quiet, but the beach seemed very nice.


Breakfast



Baelo Claudia

Bolonia dunes in the distance

Zahara

Back at the hotel, we had cocktails on their roof top, then dinner in their excellent restaurant. We had made reservation in advance. It’s very popular and books up.


Califa roof view

Appetizer

Vejer street at night


Day 6 – We had another wonderful breakfast, then hit the road again. We made 2 stops, Tarifa and Esteponia. Both are great little beach towns with charming old town centers. Had lunch at Las Gitanillas in Esteponia which was delightful. Both these towns would be great overnights if you’re looking for a few quiet days on the beach. I originally wanted to stay in Esteponia, but people talked me out of it. After visiting, those people were wrong. We would have been perfectly happy there.

Tarifa

Tarifa

Esteponia

Esteponia

Esteponia




Our final destination of the day was Marbella. We rented an apartment in the Old Town, Total Marbella Suites. Owner, who is delightful, has a reserved parking spot in nearby garage where we parked. After settling in, we wandered around the old town, beach area, had a drink then went to dinner after a little rest back in the apartment.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 02:40 PM
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Enjoying your TR! Thanks!
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 02:44 PM
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Looks like you had a beautiful day for visiting the ruins at Bolonia! I too like Estepona. Really enjoying your photos!
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 04:50 PM
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Day 7 – Spent the day wandering around Marbella. Again, we had a highlights list, and checked out most of the sights. We even spent a little time on the beach (which we hadn’t done in the other beach areas)


Seafront promemade

Plaza de las Naranjas

La Alameda Park

Marbella

Constitution Park

Beach

Plaza de las Naranjas at night


Day 8 – On the road again. First we drove to Puerto Banus, and just walked around the waterfront a bit. It was worth seeing, but not an area I’d be interested in staying. It has all the high end shops and trendy restaurants. I prefer the Old Town. Then we were off to our final destination, Malaga.


Puerto Banus

Puerto Banus

We returned our car near the train station. It was a bit confusing. No signs to be found. It took asking several people to figure out it was down in the garage, adjacent to the station, in a specific section. From there we took a cab to our hotel, Hotel Bro. This is a fairly new hotel, opened in July 2020. It has a trendy hip vibe, very modern. There’s a small pool and bar on the roof, but not enough lounge chairs on a hot day. It seemed that people left towels on the chairs, so hard to know if they are actually occupied or the people just left them there. Hotel is located a couple a blocks from Plaza Merced and the Old Town. Very convenient. Turned out we were the 1st Americans to stay there!

After settling in the hotel, we walked to the old town for lunch. This was the most touristy area we had seen the entire trip. After lunch, we toured the Roman theater and the Alcazar. After that we wandered around the area near the main square, Plaza de la Constitución. We had dinner at Madeira, off Plaza Merced. Had the Paella special of the day. After dinner we walked around the old town. It was hopping.


Roman Theater

View from Alcazar

Alcazar

Alcazar

Rue De La Judiera

plaza constitucion

Malaga's nightlife

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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 05:15 PM
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Day 9 – This is sadly our last day as tourists. The night before we did our eMed Binax Covid tests. We asked the hotel to print out the negative (thank goodness!) lab report. The hotel breakfast was once again fantastic. It was like our own private buffet at our table. They brought over all kinds of things. I’m thinking, once restrictions are lifted, they’ll probably do a regular buffet, but they opened in the middle of Covid.

We booked a time slot for the Picasso Museum for late in the afternoon. This was our only indoor tourist sight the entire trip. The day before we purchased a combo ticket for both the Alcazar and the Castillo de Gibralfaro. We walked to the Castillo and toured it. Lots of uphill to get to entrance, but worth it. Afterwards we grabbed a cab and took it to the Central Market. Grabbed a quick lunch in the area, checked out the market, then headed to the Picasso Museum. The museum was lovely. We purchased a combo ticket to see the additional Miquel Barcelo Metamorphosis exhibit. This is a very nice museum, and was not crowded at all (I am not a fan of a crowded museum). Both the space and the exhibits were lovely. After the museum we had a drink nearby, then returned to the hotel, to freshen up for our last dinner back in the old town.


View from Castillo De Gibralfaro

Castillo De Gibralfaro

path to Castillo De Gibralfaro

Castillo De Gibralfaro

Central Market

Picasso

Picasso Museum

Malaga at night

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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 05:17 PM
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Love this! And oh, this does make me want to return to Spain sometime. Lovely photos of wonderful places.

Count me another Maribel fan, now planning a trip to Portugal with her guidance and recommendations. We traveled to Spain in 2015 and I carried my Maribel notes throughout that trip, too.
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