The south of Spain is an area that always has more to give: views, food, and medieval remnants. There’s something new around every mountain and even if that wasn’t the case, who could ever grow tired of cliffy coastlines, sandy beaches, delicious paella, and our favorite star: the sun? Not us, that’s for sure!
Another great thing about this part of Spain is the proximity to both Portugal and Africa – day trip, anyone?! Whether you’re on a road trip or not, have a look at our fave locations – there are villages, cities, and even national parks – and choose one (or several!) to experience for yourself!
Pro Tip: Spain can be hot. Very hot. Bring your sunhats, sunglasses, and SPF – and lots and lots of refreshing water!
Malaga is a delightful concoction of big city vibes, an abundance of sights (without being touristy), and year-round summer temperatures (if you’re used to UK summers, at least). Without having to move a single inch you might spot both intricately detailed Moorish fortresses, a Roman amphitheater, and newer but equally fascinating Spanish architecture – the colorful history is apparent in every corner and alleyway, and much space has been dedicated to art. You’d expect no less from the city that gave us Picasso. Oh, and the air seems to be permanently filled with the mouthwatering aroma of tapas. Bon appetite!
This town has beaches. White, sandy, gorgeous beaches. Are you happy with that, or do you want some more? Okay, then. Prepare for some warm, fun, and/or relaxing beach-time with the salty wind ruffling through your hair, bringing salty ocean scents and almost hypnotizing views of the rolling waves. Is that better? Throw the modernities of a Spanish town with the old town core full of narrow, winding streets and adorable little squares into the mix, and you’ll understand why this has been a regular weekend retreat for us!
Now, Ronda (not to be confused with Rhondda in Wales) is definitely something else. Situated in the mountains, this town prides itself with the most beautiful and fascinating buildings and architecture, from the Roman times to the Middle Ages and onwards. It’s also divided by a deep gorge, meaning that there are bridges: stunning but terrifying bridges made of stone, that you can explore if you want. And who wouldn’t?! You can also admire palaces and baths, but beware; the hills are steep, and they are plenty.
At the very tip of the Iberian Peninsula, you’ll find this fabulous little place. There are red phone boxes, fish and chips, and movies in English – it’s pretty much the UK, but with sun and monkeys! That, and dolphins swimming just off the coast, a plethora of sites with military history significance, and wildlife around every corner! There are also caves. Many, many caves. Some of them have their own lakes, whereas others used to be the home of Neanderthals. Yeah, the real deal. No wonder those caves are on the UNESCO world heritage list!
Guess what: Jerez de la Frontera is also a fantastically beautiful city teeming with culture and history, can you believe it?! Cathedrals, fortresses, and other gorgeous buildings are lining the ridiculously picturesque streets, and this place, despite looking so traditional, is a rather big international player. Why? Because of the sherry, its flamenco heritage, and the horses, of course! You see, this is the home of the world-famous Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art – and also of the original Camera Obscura!
Or Doñana National Park, whichever you prefer. Either way, this is such a stunning place, with dunes, beaches, forests, marshes, scrub woodlands, and lagoons which all contribute to the biodiversity and serenity. Go on tours, explore by yourself, or just hang on the beach – and don’t forget to give the quaint village of El Rocio a visit! Fun fact: this park is the birthplace of the WWF; you know, the panda organization!
A hillside town, with miles of beaches, a port, and the best weather. That’s Motril in a nutshell. It also has many a greeny park, museums (you do want to learn all there is to know about the history of the sugar cane, right?), and other fascinating historical buildings. And food, lots of scrumptious food, From here you can take the ferry to Morocco and get to see the other side of the Moorish influence – why not go back via the Gibraltar Strait!
Another city, another port, another sight for sore or any other kind of eyes. Few places have as rich and complicated a history as Cartagena, though, so taking a tour to learn more about the Roman and Morrish influence, the more recent mine industry and the city’s role in the Civil War might be a smart move! Some of the remnants from Roman settlements are almost 2,000 years old – and you can get a unique insight into how life was back then, which is quite the experience.
Fingers crossed that we will! Southern Spain is one of our favorite areas, and we’d love to share it with you! Do you have your own top spots, or perhaps some places that you didn’t like at all? Please do tell!