The southern region of Andalusia (derived from the Arabic word Al-Andlaus) is a land of awe-inspiring nature, diverse culture and history, and kind, welcoming, open-hearted people. It is an area of fire, fire from the heat of the sun and fire from the passion of its inhabitants. The region has a rich culture and strong Spanish identity, with many peculiarities coming from the strong Arabic influences of its medieval past.
We started our journey by flying into Málaga, one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Nowadays, Málaga is a blend of beautiful old architecture and a progressive, forward looking mentality.
Modern day Málaga is famous for many things, one of them being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. His many works can be seen in the Museo Picasso Málaga. It is a museum with works donated by Picasso’s family and it is also housed in the marvellous Buenavista Palace (built over the remains of a Nasrid palace).
Málaga today is a sprawling city of tech (centred around the Málaga TechPark), tourism and economic activity. Málaga has handsome beaches and lots of summer activities for all tastes. For lunch we recommend the Casa Lola (in the heart of the old town) for some light tapas and drinks. After lunch, take a walk through the Parque de Málaga towards La Malagueta for beautiful views of the marina.
You can’t leave Malaga without visiting El Pimpi for some drinks and history. This funky looking restaurant showcases local gastronomy and is also a good place for light drinks and conversations.
There is so much more to find in Málaga, we would be more than happy to show you all the best places and activities. We can create a plan for your stay and can also help you with reservations. We even offer a service with constant on-line support while you are on your holiday. Do not hesitate to drop us a message.
Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas
Ronda is a small town built on cliffs, with a large chasm that divides the town in half and allows for the Guadelvín river to flow through unobstructed. The nature and the town itself create a mix of incomprehensible beauty and magnitude. If you head to the Plaza de María Auxiliadora and then take a small walking path down the hill, you are gifted with a view of the two parts of town divided by a wonderful bridge. Take a seat and absorb the views towards the town itself and the pleasant pastures opposite.
Apart from the nature of the area, Ronda also has some wonderful buildings that you should visit. The Plaza del Socorro is the political center of Ronda. The original Andalusian flag and coat of arms were presented here for the first time by Blas Infante.
The Palacio of the Marqués de Salvatierra was originally a 16th century palace which was gifted to the family of Don Vasco Martín de Salvatierra during the redistributions of the Reconquest. It was renovated in the 18th century. Madonna gained a special permit to shoot her video for Take a Bow inside the palace in 1994. Half a day is enough to visit and see most of the town, there are lots of cafes that look out on the other half of town and down onto the river.
We continue our search for small hidden gems in the south of Spain by visiting Setenil de las Bodegas. A town that is built along a river gorge with spectacular protruding cliffs, into which, a lot of houses and restaurants have been built. The cliff itself is used as the back wall of many of these buildings.
The town is famous for its amazing bars and restaurants that use the cliff edge as a natural shade, making them a lot cooler during the warm months. The town is known for its pork (from local pigs) and Chorizo.
We recommend renting a car and visiting both of these places over one day. It is very difficult to get to them without your own car.
Take a weatherproof jacket if visiting outside the summer months.
For lunch, visit the Frasquito restaurant in Setenil.
Cordoba and Granada
If we understand correctly, you want to visit a beautiful medieval city with a Roman bridge leading to the most breathtaking pieces of architecture, surrounded by remnants of some of the most important timelines of Roman, Muslim and Christian rule in the south of Spain. No worries, let us introduce to you the unbelievable city of Córdoba.
Standing proud on the right bank of the river Guadalquivir, this historic city was originally a Roman settlement which was then captured by the Visigoths and then by Muslims in the 8th century. Becoming the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba transformed the city into a powerhouse of learning with notable citizens such as Ibn Hazm and Averroes. Following the Christian conquests in the 13th century, it became part of the Crown of Castille. Now the city is known for having more World Heritage Sites than anywhere else in the world. For us, this city was a deep dive into the history of this region and we felt as if we spent a day in the 10th century.
The Mezquira- Catedral of Córdoba stands as the statement to such a varied and intense history. The mosque was constructed in 785 by Abd ar-Rahman I and was expanded many times. When the city was captured by the Christian forces of Castile, the mosque was converted to a cathedral in 1236. Much later, in the 16th century the cathedral underwent an incredible transformation where a Renaissance nave and transept where added into the heart of the building. The mosque itself is one of the only well-preserved examples of muslim architecture of that era and was highly influential in the development of the Moorish architecture style. The proximity of the two statements from two different religions adheres to the duality of the city, where sharp historical contrasts live peacefully under one roof.
We could talk about numerous other monuments and buildings but we wanted to pay homage to the incredible atmosphere in the city. The best activity we can recommend is just walking around the city, maybe without a destination in mind, taking in all the history and culture. If you want to spice this journey up, join the La Feria de Córdoba (The Fair of Córdoba) at the end of May for a wine, tapas, dance and Córdoban culture filled experience you won’t forget.
Visiting Córdoba in the summer months is not recommended as the temperatures can easily exceed 40 degrees (104F).
The best place to park is in the center of the old city which allows you to visit all the main attractions by foot. (Parking La Mezquita de Córdoba).
Alright, a historic city with breathtaking architecture, special culture, incredible gastronomy and a ski resort that’s 40 minutes away by car?! Ok, that’s a bit more difficult. Granada! You have heard us correctly, all this and some astounding views of nature all live under the roof of this city.
Granada is located near the Sierra Nevada mountains (which give it the ski resort) and at the confluence of four rivers. The city was settled by the Iberians, Romans, and Visigoths. Was the capital of the Muslim Emirate of Granada and was then conquered by the Catholic Monarchs. It was the last Muslim-ruled state on the Iberian Peninsula.
We unfortunately only visited the city for two days and realised what a mistake it was not to stay here for longer. It is a city with so much to do that your head spins when you try planning just one day there (that’s why we can plan it for you). The ancient roads and buildings mixed in with the constant changes in elevation give you experience which words do not explain.
It is a city where the modern part is steps away from the historic area and this allows you to live the history of the area and then pop into a stylish modern bar for some cocktails once you need a change of scenery.
Gastronomy, both classical and modern, sets the standard for taste and experience. It is a home for many artists and traditional artisans. But don’t just take our word for it, give it a visit.
Writing about Sevilla, hard to imagine a more difficult task. How can a simple blog post with a few pictures bring across to its reader the heart that beats within this city and the blood that boils on its streets?
Sevilla, the capital of Andalusia. It is a city with the most positive vibe. The famous orange trees decorate the stylish passersby as the morning calm is cut with the sounds of cafes opening their doors. Undoubtedly it is a very modern city, embellished with marvellous buildings and covered in culture.
As with most of the south of Spain, the city was taken during the Islamic conquest in 711 and was part of the Taifa of Seville after the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Due to being an important port city, Sevilla was the center of the Spanish Empire’s trans-atlantic trade. At one point it was one of the largest cities in Western Europe. Owing to the discovery of the Americas, Sevilla regulated the commerce between Spain and the New World through the Casa de Contratación (House of Trades). The main source of income being the gold and silver brought from the Americas. The city quickly grew around the needs of the maritime and trade industry.
The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See) is the largest gothic church in the world. It is built over the Almohad Mosque and the minaret was turned into a bell tower (Giralda).
The Reales Alcázares de Sevilla (Royal Alcázars of Seville) is the royal palace built for the Christian king Peter of Castile over the Abbadid alcazar (castle) before the Christian conquest. It is one of the most fine examples of the Mudéjar style (an Iberian Chrisitan style built on the foundation of Islamic architecture and ornament). The Spanish royal family still occupy the top floors of the palace and reside there when visiting the city.
Plaza de España (Spain Square) is a wonderful mix of the Baroque, Renaissance and Moorish styles and was built for the 1929 Ibero-American exposition. for government agencies and museums. There are numerous alcoves built out of decorative tiles that represent the provinces of Spain. And there are often live performances of Sevillanas, a type of folk music and dance The Plaza has been used as a filming location in numerous famous films such as Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia and The Dictator.
Sevilla is a paradise for foodies. From small local tapa bars (small snacks and drinks) to established restaurants with chefs experimenting with the boundaries of Spanish food. A great article by Katy Clarke (https://www.untoldmorsels.com/seville-food-experiences/) does a wonderful deep dive into this culture in Sevilla. Give it a read.
Restaurants need to be booked in advance.
Sevilla is famous for its festivals.
We highly recommend getting a private guide (we can organise one for you) to explain the history and significance of this city.