ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE: SOUTH OF SPAIN
A visit to Spain’s most Southern region, Andalucía, is a trip filled with dazzling sights, ancient culture and the warmest of welcomes, only topped by the almost guaranteed temperature-topping sunshine.
Andalucía is a region where you can spend your days wandering around ancient holy sites, your afternoon sampling the most exquisite of tapas, and your nights watching flamenco and partying with the most hospitable of locals.
Lying on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the region boasts some of the country’s most glorious beaches, many of which are untouched by the tourist numbers that can be found further East of the country, as well as accessible National Parks, and the bustling cities of Seville, Málaga and Granada. Take a journey through this wondrous region with our travel guide that will tell you the best places to eat, sleep and while away those sun-filled hours.
If the throngs of locals at this famous Seville tapas bar don’t convince you of how good this place is, then trying their unique dishes for yourself certainly will. With its unpretentious attitude and wide selection of local-inspired dishes, this gem of a restaurant is one not to be missed. Favourite dishes include the honey and rosemary glazed pork ribs, as well as the duck fillet in pear sauce and steamed mussels. With balmy nights almost guaranteed in Seville, especially during summer, make like a local and stand outside, sipping on some local wine and enjoying some of the best tapas you will find in the area.
Calle Eslava, 3, 41002 San Lorenzo, Seville
One of the most unique parts of visiting Granada is the tapas scene that thrives amongst locals and visitors alike. For every drink you order, you receive a small tapas at no extra cost, meaning eating out in this historical city is the norm. Tinta Fina is located in the heart of the city and you can enjoy local manchego cheese, tender calamari cooked to perfection or cured jamón, all by ordering a simple glass of the area’s white wine. Other more exotic offerings include octopus with paprika, as well as the local favourite of shrimp in garlic oil.
Calle Ángel Ganivet, 18009 Granada
Mesón Cumbres Mayores
Found in the city of Cádiz, located on the South-Western coast of Andalucía, ‘Mesón Cumbres Mayores’ is one of the city’s oldest and most famous restaurants, bustling with generations of locals enjoying some of the finest seafood and meat produce found in the area. Their set menu makes this waterside establishment perfect for groups, and dishes include sautéed artichokes with ham, suckling pig and freshly caught tuna. Whilst Cádiz sometimes gets overlooked for the bigger cities in the region, this restaurant alone makes the city worth checking out on your trip.
Calle Zorrilla, 4, 11004 Cádiz
El Gallo Negro
Seville’s nightlife happens in its streets, and this is seen nowhere more than its bars that line the streets right by its famous bull ring, Plaza de Toros. Located a hop, skip and a jump from the arena is one of the city’s best gin bars, ‘El Gallo Negro’, roughly translated as ‘The Black Rooster’. Here you can enjoy over 40 different gin varieties from all over Europe, whilst soaking up the effervescent atmosphere with the local crowd. We recommend trying the ‘Monkey 47’ gin, which draws influences from Britain, Germany and India, topped with a cucumber garnish.
C/ Arfe, 7, 41001 Seville
One of Málaga’s oldest and most famous bars is ‘El Pimpi’, overlooking the city’s famous Roman theatre and something of local folklore for the wealth of famous names that have passed through its doors. Having seen the likes of Antonio Banderas and Spanish royalty enjoy a drink at this bar located in one of the city’s oldest mansions, a visit to this unique watering hole is a must. Keeping a local ‘bodega’ feel with a no-frills choice of local wines, ports and beers, the aim of ‘El Pimpi’ is to provide a quality service that keeps to its cultural roots. With almost three-quarters of the wine on their menu coming from the Málaga area, you can be sure of a real, authentic experience.
Calle Granada, 62, 29015 Málaga
El Huerto de Juan Ranas
This rooftop bar in Granada is said to offer one of the most beautiful views of the famous Alhambra in all of the city. Perched on a hillside and above the restaurant of the same name, you can enjoy inventive cocktails, local wines and locally brewed beers whilst watching the sunset over this charming city. Despite its prime location, it manages to retain a traditional Andalusian atmosphere, even having been graced by former US President Bill Clinton. The locally brewed ‘Alhambra Beer 1925’ is a particular stand out on the menu, and is a perfect drink to enjoy while taking in the mountainous view.
Calle Atarazana Vieja, 6, 18010 Granada
The Riad Tarifa
One of Tarifa’s most luxurious hotels, The Riad Tarifa is found in the old part of this beachside town and housed in a 17th century baroque building with a distinctively Moroccan feel. As well as being able to choose from a selection of rooms, with some featuring balconies overlooking the city’s port, there is also the option to include traditional Moroccan treatments and massages in the hotel’s hammam. Located just a few minutes walk from Tarifa Port, as well as the beautiful St. Matthew’s Church and the main city square, you will have everything on your doorstep whilst still feeling like you are a world away in the tranquil surroundings of the hotel.
Comendador, 10, 11380 Tarifa
Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1982, the Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío is infused with culture, heritage and serenity in the ancient city of Córdoba. The hotel is built around four Andalucian courtyards, providing the perfect outside space to sit underneath the fruit trees and enjoy their outside oasis. You can choose from four different types of rooms, ranging from the ‘Dreamer’s Double Room’ to the junior suites, and all of the rooms have original painted murals on their walls. Situated just a ten minute walk from the city’s world-famous ancient Mosque, whose beauty captures travellers from all over the world, this hotel means you easily explore this enchanted city on foot.
Calle Ramírez de las Casas Deza, 10-12, 14001 Córdoba
Eme Catedral Hotel
The Eme Catedral Hotel in Seville fuses urban comfort and modernity with traditional moorish architecture, boasting one of the best locations in the capital city of the region. You can enjoy views of the largest gothic cathedral in the world whilst sipping on a piña colada in its funky rooftop cocktail bar. Cool off from the afternoon heat in their outdoor pool, treat yourself at the in-house spa, or sample food from one of the four restaurants.
Alemanes, 27, Old town, 41004 Seville
Plaza de España
Dating back to 1929 the Plaza de España lies in the heart of Seville and is the perfect place to spend a hazy afternoon, walking through its myriad of fountains, European-inspired bridges and taking in the beautiful tile work of this awe-inspiring building, built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. You can also hire a row boat and glide your way round the impressive structure, which has also been used in various film scenes, most notably Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia. No trip to Seville is complete without a trip to the Plaza which is also located next to the beautiful Parque de María Luisa, a favourite with locals and visitors alike.
Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Seville
Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba
It’s hard to appreciate the grandiose appearance of Córdoba’s Great Mosque, considered one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in the world. The beauty of the building is only beaten by its size, where visitors can spend hours wandering around its lavish interior and taking in the vast history of a time when many faiths lived side-by-side in the city. There are patios filled with orange and palm trees, as well as a bell tower which has glorious views of the city below. You get a sense of the eclectic culture that was thriving in Córdoba when it was the capital city of Moorish Spain over one thousand years ago, and the mesmerising architecture is enough of a reason to visit the city.
Calle Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba
Museo Picasso Málaga
A love letter to Spain’s most famous artist, the Museo Picasso Málaga is a showcase of almost all of Pablo Picasso’s work and is not be missed in the artist’s city of birth. Containing a catalogue of work that was donated by family members, visitors can see over two hundred examples from the revolutionary artist, as well as enjoy the Renaissance building in which the museum is located. It’s hard to underestimate the importance that Picasso had on Western art during the 19th century, and you can spend hours immersing yourself in the collection that ranges in everything from painting to clay and sculptures.
Palacio de Buenavista, Calle San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga
Feature Image via vacayholics.com