If you've been reading my blog and twitter, you might know that I recently went on a road trip around Southern Spain, a region known as Andalucia. The Costa del Sol has a pretty terrible reputation, but Andalucia and Southern Spain in general is far from the 'Chips-with-everything' culture of the package holiday places. It's absolutely beautiful, winding streets, breathtaking scenery and a late eating tapas culture that suited me down to the ground.
Our itinery saw us stay in a different place virtually every night, and I used airbnb for the first time to stay in an amazing place right in the centre of Malaga- a gorgeous historic town that most people only use for the airport! I took a risk booking some unusual places, and it paid off ten fold. We met some great people and stayed in amazing locations for less than a hotel. We rented an incredible BMW convertible from Sixt, who I'd recommend...but if you're doing a roadtrip I'd definitely pay for the peace of mind of zero excess. The beauty of a trip like this is that you really can do it on almost any budget...just vary the quality of your car and accommodation.
Andalucia Road Trip Itinery
Day 1- Took the late night flight after work into Malaga.
Day 2- Spent the day relaxing in the rooftop pool, explored Malaga Cathedral, the Picasso museum, and realised the meaning of the expression 'There's a fine line between genius and insanity'
Day 3- Picked up the car in Malaga and began our journey to Tarifa. We drove via Fuengirola, Estepona, Belimedina and Marbella, where we stopped, got on the beach, and fell asleep for two hours! Tarifa was one of the best places I've ever been to..decievingly hidden behind old town walls, an international surf culture with cobbled streets, hidden bars and the best passion fruit mojitos.
Day 4- Gibraltar- The weirdest place ever, a tiny bit of Bournemouth moved south..pukka pies, pub grub and a weird sing-song accent, half Spanish, half English. The cable car up the mountain to see the monkeys was breathtaking. Stayed back in Tarifa.
Day 5- Cadiz via Bolognia. Bolognia beach is gorgeous! White sand, sweeping sand dunes and a great tapas cafe serving sizzling garlic prawns and salad.
Day 6- Seville. We started with Cadiz Cathedral, which had the most amazing crypts that were probably the cultural highlight of the trip. We then drove to Seville. The Alcazbar is beautiful, the bull ring tour is fascinating, but the best thing is the crazy tapas bars..lots of shouting in Spanish and a total cultural experience.
Day 7- Granada via Grazelema and Ronda. Ronda is probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Sweeping white villages surround a gigantic bridge over a gorge full of turquoise water. Granada is stressful...by day, don't attempt to drive anywhere. By night, wander the streets and join in the free tapas culture and the edginess of the city.
Day 8- Malaga. The morning started at Granada Alcazabar for city sights, followed by a drive back to Malaga for returning the car. Back in Malaga the squares are buzzing after midnight, so we went out, befriended the backpackers, and had a night out with some hostel-stayers. Attempting to order drunk food in Spanish is an experience!
Day 9- Malagueta beach for hungover massages, fresh sardines and sea bass in the sun, and a paddle before the much unwanted trek to Gatwick.
1000 blissful kilometres later and I've got holiday blues. I'm already planning the next one!