What not to miss in southern Spain

Jun 8th, 2013, 01:52 AM
  #1  
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What not to miss in southern Spain

We are flying into Malaga and have one week at the end of Sept. Planning on renting a car to travel around but would like help with itinery. What are your favorite experiences or places in this part of Spain. Is there anything we "must do". We love quaint little towns, great scenery, beautiful beaches and amazing food. Any suggestions?????
barbloves2travel is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 02:25 AM
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A lot depends on whether you have one base for your week or whether you want to move around. You'll find difficulty in coming across "quaint" as this part of the world is well travelled and geared up for tourists. Unless you're prepared to journey inland that is, well beyond the normal tourist routes of the White Villages etc.

The Costa del Sol is very touristy to the west of Malaga and a little less so to the east. Maybe Nerja will be a good area for you.

If you've already booked your flights and only now want to find the items on your list, maybe that's the wrong way round.
Rubicund is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 04:07 AM
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For spectacular scenery and a wonderful town well off the tourist track, go to Antequera just some 30-40 mins driving north of Málaga.

Known as "the heart of Andalucía" or "the crossroads of Andalucía". Almost right in the middle of the Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga rectangle. Here you'll find dolmens (some 5000 years old burial chambers), Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains and Baroque bell towers. Antequera was the first of the Granada emirate towns to fall to the Christians in 1410.
http://www.andaluciacoastandcountry....era-spain.html

I love the terrace in the corner of the peaceful square in front of the Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, the first partly Renaissance-style church in Spain (built 1514-1550). Up here it's totally peace and quiet. Next to the recently excavated Roman baths beneath and looking up on the 13th century Moorish alcazaba/fortress. Great views over unique landscapes (the spectacular Torcal limestone mountain etc.). http://www.wild-about-travel.com/201...ing-antequera/

Close by Torcal limestone rock formations. You can drive up here and do several walks, and on a clear day you can see to Morocco:
http://www.andalucia.com/antequera/torcal/home.htm

A tapas tour of Antequera:
http://www.andaluciacoastandcountry.com/tapaspain.html

When in the area, perhaps do the Camino del Rey! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmDhRvvs5Xw

And you have of course close to magical cities like Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga and Cádiz. Thousands of years of Phoenician, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Moslem and Gitano culture and history living very well together with today's cutting edge and modern Spain.

The best beaches are in the Cádiz region. Nice beaches just east of Málaga in Pedregalejo. Great seafront restaurants also, and both the beaches and the restaurants are very popular with locals.

I also have a soft spot for Nerja a bit further to the west. Has got everything that makes it popular with tourists, but it has also retained much of its small town Andalucían charm. Nine beaches in town among the cliffs. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2622/...de6a8146_o.jpg

Málaga itself is a wonderful city, genuine and laid-back atmosphere. Great tapas bars, cafés, terraces, restaurants, nightlife and 3000 years of history. Within 300 meters in the city centre you'll find the newly excavated Roman theater just beyond the 8-11 century Moorish Alcazaba, the 16th century cathedral, Picassos birth place, the Picasso museum and the new Carmen Thyssen museum etc etc.

Be sure to stay close to the city centre. A couple of recent articles about one of my favourite cities in the country: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalis...pleasures.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...el?INTCMP=SRCH

Fabulous food, not least the sea-food and the world's best jamón/cured ham, in the area. Go where the locals go. But be absolutely sure to taste Conchas finas when down here. First and foremost a Málaga speciality served in any decent marisquería in the region, tastes pure sea. Have them raw with a sprinkle of lemon. http://www.google.no/search?q=Concha...w=1600&bih=775

Andalucía is history, culture, landscapes, villages, cities, food and twists and turns for a lifetime. Enjoy!
kimhe is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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If you only have a week I'd keep it simple and spend 4 nights in Sevilla w/a daytrip to Cordoba and 2 nights in Granada. For the additional night if your flight home is in the morning I'd spend a final night in Malaga. I wouldn't rent a car as you just have enough time to really visit Sevilla, Granada and cordoba andnwon't need a car for these places. You could spend weeks exploring Andalucia but with only one week these would be the don't misses.
CathyM is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Cathy's advice is spot on so I won't repeat it.
Egbert is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Agree with CathyM and Egbert that at least one "big city" would be a good idea. Both Málaga, Sevilla, Córdoba and Granada are full of the history and culture that makes this region so special.

But I very much like your idea of seeking "quaint little towns" while down here. You would then most likely experience more "real" Andalucía this way than walking the well beaten tourist tracks of the "must go" cities. I mentioned Antequera as an alternative. Spent perhaps my most memorable days ever in Spain there in September 2007. But you could also go a bit further east to even smaller Archidona or the old SPA town Alhama de Granada with its spectacular scenery.

Archidona: http://www.andalucia.com/province/ma...idona/home.htm

Alhama de Granada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suk_-RNXfJM
"A small gem hidden in secret Spain": http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2006...vercashsection
kimhe is offline  
Jun 9th, 2013, 05:02 AM
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If you want to stay in a quaint little town I recommend Torrox (pueblo, not costa) which is about an hour east of Malaga. It is 2km inland which takes you right out of the tourist area. You can walk from one end of the town to the other in about 15 minutes. There are some nice self-catering apts there, we like to stay at one in a restored 16th century house when we visit. There are some very nice fish and tapas places there, everything very fresh, glasses of local wine for 1 euro and tapas for 50 cents a plate. If you stay in Torrox you will want to park in the city car park because the streets are super narrow.

Nerja is about 10-15 minutes east from Torrox and there is a fantastic paella restaurant right on the beach there called AYO, it is all you can eat paella (!) for around 6 euro and pitchers of sangria for around 5 euro. And the paella is delicious, some of the best we've had in Spain.

My husband and I like villages more than cities and Torrox is a great place for our 'base camp' while visiting the region.
yodababe is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 10:28 AM
  #8  
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Thank you kimhe for all the wonderful info. If you are ever coming to Western Canada make sure to post me and I will make sure to give you the local knowledge. Thank you also yodababe. So far I have booked an apartment in an old granary in Arcos de frontera for 3 nights. I have found what looks like a nice place in Malaga but questioning if too big a town. We want a base that we can walk to restaurants or Cafes. After touring for the day we want to be able to park and chill. Not worry about designated drivers for dinner. Or have the ability to cook in and eat out on a nice terrace. We are flying out of Malaga so looking for somewhere close for 4 nights. Any suggestions?
barbloves2travel is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 11:55 AM
  #9  
 
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Just glad to help.

Málaga city is one of my favourites in all of the country, and the city center is very compact and gives the feel of a fairly small town. Genuine and laid-back Andalucian atmosphere. The article "Málaga, Spain - Secret Spanish pleasures" gives you an idea:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalis...pleasures.html

Within two-three hundred meters around the main and pedestrianized Calle Marqués de Larios, you'll find dozens of laid-back cafés, bars, terrazes and great restaurants, the wonderful Atarazanas food market, the quite recently excavated Roman theater, the 8-11 century Moorish Alcazaba, the 16th century Cathedral, Picasso's birth house, the Picasso museum and the new Carmen Thyssen museum.

Some tips in the very center of Málaga:

Casa Aranda is one of my favourite cafés in all of Spain after some 25 years of intensive travelling in the country.
http://www.casa-aranda.net/

The Atarazanas food market is next door: http://www.sarahmelamed.com/2012/11/...overed-market/

La Campana, a couple of hundred meters away on the bustling Calle Granada, for the best seafood tapas and great atmosphere: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Andalucia.html

I also love rustic El Cortijo de Pepe, just where Calle Granada meets large Plaza Merced: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Andalucia.html

The new Carmen Thyssen Museum, just off nice and very central Plaza de la Constitución: http://www.carmenthyssenmalaga.org/en

And when in Málaga, be sure to taste the local and fabulous Conchas Finas, a mix of pure heaven and pure sea: https://www.google.no/search?q=conch...iw=935&bih=486

I recommend to stay in the center, and the location doesn't get much better than great value Don Curro: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/hoteldoncurro.en.html

And, if you happen to be interested, here's an almost day to day guide to serious flamenco events in Málaga that is always updated: http://www.flamenka.com/html/agenda/...da%202013.html

For example on Sunday 29 September there is traditional flamenco/verdiales music and dance in waterfront Parque de Málaga at 12h/noon.
kimhe is offline  
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