I only made a quick stop in Aguadulce. It is not a top destination, but... almost.
It is a nice beach, well secluded by the dry mountains, and... hot, hot, hot.
Alhambra is something no one should miss, but Granada is much more that that. The Muslim times are present everywhere in the old city, but all the province has lots of attractive motifs. Some beaches are very good, but you may choose well, because there are many rocky and pebble beach.
One our distant from town, Sierra Nevada is a famous winter destination, and a cool summer spot.
Málaga is a nice town, but I must confess that I always passed there towards the coast and the many and good beaches. Staying in Torremolinos, the visit of Malaga it's easy, and a temptation, but, being with some women, Malaga is only a very commercial city... if you know what I mean!
In my last visit I hadn't developed yet the technique of using "El Corte Inglês" time to visit the city, but I will, next time. Then I will collect the details and build Malaga's page.
I just noticed that, in my Andaluzia page there's no reference to Sevilla. A pure mistake, since Sevilla is my favorite city in Spain, as I confirm in its own page.
Sevilla is... the universal image of Spain.
There are many beaches in Andalucia, some of the very popular, some other less known, but all of them with warm and calm water. Carboneras is not a top destination, as most beaches in Almeria area, but it has all the common conditions of Spanish beaches, without the confusion of the top destinations.
Surrounded by a natural bark, in the most wild and desert area of Spain, it allows calm vacations.
Andalucia, the mos traditional region of Spain is also served by large coast with mild water. Many places suffered heavy construction, with problems of landscape preserving and qualified structures. Torremolinos was one of the first big investments, and it is, today, a large city tourist orientated. Not far from Portuguese border it is one of the top destinations for us, and I've been there several times, since the first one in... 1963. The changes are so big that I always meet a different Torremolinos
Situated in the very east of the province on the coast next to Granada,. It is Andalucia's driest province which gives most of the province a Martian or Lunar feel. In fact there is a dessert here which is one of Almeria's main attractions as this is where many Spaghetti Westerns were filmed. You can go and visit a couple of film sets where they put on a live interactive show for you too. It can be found off the Motorway 340 by Tabernas and costs about 12€ to enter. I have posted the website below too.
If you aren't all that interested in Westerns then you can go to El Cabo de Gata which is a beautiful beach area backed by rocks. You can go exploring and even find your own private beach! Many other of the beaches in the province have been taken over by foreign tourists.
You can go hiking or climbing in the amazing reddish rocks and mountains or go horse riding in the 'bad lands' (this can be arranged through the Western Film Set). Although most people think of Granada when they think of the Alpujarra hills, mountains and villages it also extends into Almeria.
The city of Almeria is far from it's main attractions and from above looks like an orangey pink urban sprawl. Though it will have an historic centre.
If you are looking at dessert then it is more than likely you are looking at plastic if you travel around the countryside by car due to Almeria's agricultural importance. The plastic sheets you see are to protect the crops and to act as a green house. If you fancy coming to Spain to get some seasonal work then you may want to sign up for fruit picking here.
I have a small page on Almeria if you are looking for some more info: Take me to Almeria
Costa del Sol is the Andalucian well-known coast at the Iberian Peninsula southern Spain. it has attracted wealthy people and celebrities. i even heard that the previous Saudi king has got a palace in Marbella! so this area is very touristy, i already warn you;^)
The coast extends up to 160km long, so it offers a wide range of beaches. the weather is the best around the year in the world, and always good for swimming and sunbathing. I only have been to Marbella and for my surprise, i found it topless! i walked by Malaga corniche though but it was more fishing-like and boat-like than a beach for swimming.
although the beaches are perfect for swimming, topless sunbathing, good climate, the only thing i didn't like about them that they are narrow not too wide. i love wide beaches and big spaces but the weather just made forget about this.
resorts and hotels are scattered along the coast, ranging from 3-start to 5.
for more information on climate, population and history, see the link below
or Qasr Al-Hamra (ar), established by the Muslim colonizers when they captured Spain. it means the Palace of the Red (castle) as it looks brownish red. I studied the islamic history in Spain back at school and found it fascinating to see what i studied in concrete and flesh! it was like a dream that came true. i studied what materials used in the buildings, sections allocated for different purposes and other historical facts about this beautiful piece of architecture.
The palace is divided mainly in six sections:
- Generlife Gardens which were established by the Spanish Catholics after they took back Spain from the Muslims. it's a piece of paradise.
- Nasrid palace, the residence of the Muslim caliphs, divided into sections for men and women, private space for the sultan himself, it's a gem of brilliant architecture, well-designed and maintained fountains and drainage systems!
- Alcazaba, the militiray complex
- Medina or city (ar), public baths
- the Palace of Charles V, a spanish king that comprises both of the Catholic and Islamic architecture here.
- Rauda or the spot (ar), the royal cemetery.
audio guide is available at different languages at €3 but you have to leave your passport as a guarantee to return the headset. although i didnt go to Alcazaba. i stayed from 1pm to 5pm but you can finish it in one day tho one visit is never satisfying;^)
booking and time
you can visit any area in Alhambra any time you like up to 10pm but for Nasrid Palace, you must enter it at the time specified in your ticket due to the high number of visitors that go up to 3000 per day. i strongly recommend you to book a week or so in advance, tickets just fly! i wanted to book for my friend on the next day for my visit, the available spaces were gone. also to avoid long queues. if you book online, have your passport and the reference number ready to collect your tickets.
entrance fees: €10
for more pictures, see my travelogue
one more thing, if you are crazy about architecture you must pay a visit to Alhambra
The Telecabina (or 'Teleférico') takes you on an amazing 15-minute journey in a Cable Car that holds 4 people, right up to the highest point in the Malaga Province Monte Calarmorro at an altitude of almost 800 meters above sea level. From this superb vantage point, you not only have the most magnificent views of the Costa del Sol, but also the awesome panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (white with snow in the winter months), The Guadalhorce Valley and on a clear day you can see Gibraltar and the coast of Africa
The cost is Euro 11 with a free donkey ride
the City of the best Flamengo Schools, full of tradition with a vibrant colour.
now the Capital of Andalucia, a beautiful City, not too big or crowded...with a River through which always facinated me. a City with lots to see, lots to do and... hot!!
the place where Operas like Carmen (Bizet), Don Juan (Verdi), Figaros Marriage (Mozart) and Barber of Seville (Rossini) have their setting, Sevilla the backdrop.
if you like have a look at my Sevilla page.
ATV stand for All Terrain Vehicles and is a motorcycle with 4 big tires. Similar to a snowmobile but with wheels.
I went for a 1 1/2 hour ride up in the mountains. The company picked me up at my hotel and we drove 1/2 to the starting point. The machines has automatic gear shift, so all you have to do is gas, break and turn.
The ride is very varied as you drive in mud, on gravle, rocks, grass, forest, concrete roads and it ends too fast. I was lucky to be going out alone with the leader so we drove fast than they normally to when they have more riders. They same company offers many other adventure excursions to.
The ride was a thrill and one of the highlights on the trip
After spending our final night on the Atlantic coast in Tarifa, we headed east again - aiming for Torremolinos where we hoped to find accommodations on this New Year's Eve, 2009. However, we just had to stop for a quick look at world-famous Gibraltar. Even if it is not part of Andalucia, it is surrounded by it!
Present day Gibraltar stems from the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) which was fought by almost all the major powers in Europe to prevent an overly powerful unification of France, Spain and Bavaria. It was during that war, in 1704 that a joint British and Dutch force captured the Rock from its Spanish defenders, with most of the local population fleeing to the mainland as a result. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, near the end of the war, ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity and to this day it remains a self-governing British colony (with 99% of the modern-day population twice voting 'Yes' in recent referendums to retain the status quo).
The fortifications and naval harbour at Gibraltar have long held strategic importance because of the ability to control the flow of all shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar - both into and out of the Mediterranean Sea. This took on even more importance with the opening of the Suez Canal shortcut between Europe and Asia (via the Indian Ocean) in 1869. While we were there, the harbours of both next-door La Linea de la Conception (Spain) and Gibraltar itself were awash with anchored ships. We walked into Gibraltar from La Linea (2nd photo), continuing our stroll beneath and into the defensive fortifications protecting the north end of Gibraltar where it links to Spain. It was quite interesting to enter the Landport Tunnel (3rd photo) leading into the old town itself. This tunnel was first built by the Spaniards in the late 1500s but, after being destroyed during the struggles for control of Gibraltar, the present version was rebuilt by the British in 1729. It has multiple doors and defenses to protect the city from attack
We did not have a lot of time so, after a quick beer at the Lord Nelson Pub we took a couple of bus rides. The first ride took us up to Europa Point where we had nice views down to sea level and then we returned to downtown. It so happened that our drop-off area was directly in front of the very appealing Convent Guard House with its two shining brass cannons (4th photo). The Royal Gibraltar Regiment in their red coats perform regular changing of the guard ceremonies there, as both a tourist attraction and as tradition to ensure that the Governor is properly protected.
From there, we took another bus around to the more rugged side of the Rock, where the impressive cliffs towered almost vertically above our route. As we stood there beside the buildings crowded into the narrow area between the sea and the cliffs, a small troupe of Barbary Macaque's made its way along the rooftops above us (5th photo)! That was great, because they were one of the things we really wanted to see during our short time in Gibraltar. According to Wikipedia: "The Barbary Macaque population in Gibraltar is the last in the whole of the European continent, and, unlike that of North Africa, is thriving. At present there are some 230 animals in five troupes occupying the area of the Upper Rock, though occasional forays into the town may result in damages to personal property. As they are a tailless species, they are also known locally as Barbary Apes or Rock Apes, despite the fact that they are monkeys (Macaca sylvanus)."
That was it for us - a walk back to our car and then onward to Torremolinos, where we did find accommodations!
This is just outside town. Volunteers care for these unfortunate creatures that have been abandoned for many reasons. Some, the owners can no longer afford them or have no need for them anymore and just leave them to fend for themselves. They can't of coarse. We adopted a young donkey named Pinky and the 22 euros per yr it costs is not much when you concider it helps pay for Pinky's food & medical expenses. The sanctuary also has burros, Andalucian Donkeys, horses, pigs, goat, dogs that can be adopted.
Cordoba, another of Andalucia´s special cities steeped with history. Founded by the Romans it later became one of the capitals of Muslim Spain. There is much to see here, the Real Alcazaba, palace of the catholic kings, statues of some of the great figures of the ancient world who came from Cordoba, including Seneca the Roman Senator and advisor to Emperor Nero.
But Cordoba´s greatest treasure that really should not be missed is the Mezquita, the Arab Mosque, later converted to a Cathedral, with its hundreds of pillars supporting a vaulted roof. Painted in alternating red and white, it appears like a stone forest.
Just outside Cordoba is the ruined Arab city of Medina Azahara also well worth a visit.
More information and photos can be found on my Cordoba page.
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