Travel Guide: a weekend getaway to Andalusia (Spain)

Every year Ries goes, together with his father and brother, on a weekend getaway in Europe. It is a special and beautiful tradition. Sometimes they visit a city, other times they hike through Switzerland. This time they fly to Malaga to explore Andalusia. In this blog, Ries tells about this area, including a visit to Malaga, Antequera and walking the Caminito Del Rey.


Andalusia, specifically the region around Malaga, is a nice base for a weekend getaway. You are a lot closer to the equator, therefore, the temperatures are very pleasant for a large part of the year. One of the most famous cities is Malaga. This city has everything: delicious tapas, shops, museums, and perhaps the best; beaches and the sea to cool off. Malaga, traditionally a port city, is a relatively small town that you can easily see in two days.

We choose not to stay in the centre, but outside the city in a Finca, a traditional country house. This Spanish villa is located just outside the village of Almogia, about 40 minutes drive from Malaga. It is very peaceful here, in the middle of the hills and surrounded by olive groves and winding roads.

Spain: drone malaga 2


Day 1: visiting Malaga

We start the day with a delicious breakfast in Malaga at Cazorla. Next thing on the planning is a wine & tapas bike tour. This tour takes us along the highlights of the city. Among others: the Roman theatre, the bullfighting arena, the graffiti area, and a large indoor market. We visit Bodega Antigua Casa de Guardia, where all different types of wine liqueur are sold. After having tasted a few, we cycle on, but not before the waiter has ringed the bell: the sign that they are our tip. We have lunch in a small traditional village, El Palo, 10 minutes by bike along the promenade by the sea. El Palo has numerous fish restaurants. These are mainly visited by locals who come to enjoy the delicious Spanish cuisine while looking out at sea. Here you can find more information about the bike tour we did.

After the bike tour, we relax on the beach of Malaga (Playa la Malagueta). The beach is great, the only drawback is that there are many brown jellyfish in the sea. This makes swimming very unattractive. At the beginning of the evening, we go to the Castillo de Gibralfaro. This is a Moorish castle on top of the Gibralfaro mountain. A beautiful place to see the sunset. From here you have a good view over the city of Malaga, the port and the coastline. To get here, you have to do a steep hike: in half an hour you walk to the top, via the castle wall or on the outside of it. Of course, it is also possible to just drive up the mountain by taxi or bus.

We end the evening in the centre of Malaga. After a small search, we arrive at restaurant Andino, a typical Spanish restaurant. Highly recommended, the food is good and very special for Spain, there are vegetarian dishes on the menu. Just in time, my father reminds me that I still have to drive … the Spanish wine tastes a little too good and I had almost started my third glass.

Additional tips for Malaga:

  • Eat a great breakfast at La Recova, a shop/restaurant. Be on time because it is always busy here.
  • Are you looking for a nice coffee bar, go to Mia Coffee shop. I really liked the coffee here and it’s cheap.
  • Not a big fan of cycling? It is also possible to do the food tour on foot. This seems a nice alternative.
  • Are you a culture lover, then the museum of Picasso is a must. Malaga is, in fact, the birthplace of this famous painter.


Day 2: Antequera and Caminito Del Rey (the king’s path)

Today we start the day with a strong cup of coffee followed by a breakfast in our beautiful stay. Even though we have got up around 8 o’clock, it feels to all of us, as if we have slept in. Today we will be visiting the city of Antequera and hike the Caminito Del Rey. First stop Antequera is an hour drive from our Finca.

Antequera

Antequera is a medieval city and you can still see much of this era. There are many old churches, so many that apparently, Antequera has the most churches per square meter of Spain. The location of Antequera is spectacular with the highlight being Alcazabe de Antequera, a Moorish castle that towers on a rock above the city. We visit the Moorish castle, which looks beautiful with the backdrop and the mountains of Andalusia in the background. Then we wander quietly through the streets of the centre. After a fantastic lunch at Meson Adarve, we leave for Ardales where at the end of an afternoon we have planned a tour through the El Chorro gorge.

Caminito Del Rey

El Chorro is a gorge through which the El Chorro river flows. At 100 meters above this river, along steep cliffs, a path runs Caminito Del Rey. Caminito Del Rey (translated: the king’s path) was named after King Alfons XIII of Spain because in 1921 he used the path to open the dam over the El Chorro River. Walking the Caminito Del Rey is an activity suitable for every age and believe me, it meets all safety standards (we even had helmets on). The route is 7.7 km long and runs through three beautiful valleys. You can choose to walk the track yourself, which is really fine, or with a guide. The guide will tell you nice facts and stories, making the history of this special route more appealing to the imagination. Keep in mind that this hike is quite popular and that there is a limit to the number of visitors per day. Buy your entrance tickets (€ 10 pp) on time. The same applies to parking spaces, be on time because it can get very busy here. I find the views spectacular during the hike, but I think it’s a pity that it has become such a touristy place. It is so popular that everything is completely over regulated. In the past, this hike was one of the most dangerous in Europe, but now it is a lot less exciting.

In the area of Caminito Del Ray is a large and beautiful lake. The perfect location to cool off. After we are finished with the hike, we relax here and I make some drone shots of the lake and the surroundings. Then we drive back to our residence, where I provide my father and brother with a delicious pasta with a glass of good Spanish wine. More information about Caminito Del Rey can be found here.

Additional tips for the surroundings Antequera and Ardales:

  • On the way from Malaga to Antequera, you will pass the beautiful park Torcal de Antequera. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit this, but if you have more time then this seems to be worth it. It is a large park with special rock formations carved out by wind and sand. There are three routes to hike: one of 1.5 kilometres, one of 2.5 kilometres and one of 4.5 kilometres.
  • The El Chorro village has the same name as the nearby El Chorro gorge. It’s a cute little village with all the white houses on a hill. Only the view from the highway is already beautiful, so definitely worth a visit!

Day 3: enjoying Almogia and visiting the coastal area (Nerja)

After two intensive days, we take it easy today. We spend the morning quietly in our Finca. My father and I go for a run through the hilly landscape of Andalusia while my brother Daan stays at home to read a bit.

Nerja

In the afternoon we go to Nerja, for an extensive lunch. Nerja is a typical seaside resort with several beaches. If you like crowds and activities, then this town is for you. Especially in the evening, it seems to be quite busy here on the boulevard. A typical tourist town. Just outside Nerja, you have much nicer beaches where you will find locals. We decide to go to Cola del Canuela beach. Highly recommended and unlike Malaga, there are no jellyfish in the sea here. From the higher parking lot, you walk to the beach in 20 minutes (1 kilometre). It is also possible to take a special van to the beach. The rest of the afternoon we are relaxing here and end the day with a beautiful sunset.

When it gets dark, we drive back to Almogia. My brother Daan cooks and makes salmon with a fresh salad, followed by chocolate and of course a glass of Rioja wine.


Day 4: relaxing in our Finca and the return flight to Amsterdam.

Today it is already our last day. We will fly back at 14.00 from Malaga to Amsterdam, a nice timeslot to fly. We relax, have breakfast in the sun and then quickly clean the Finca. After we have returned the rental car, we arrive at the airport just in time and can continue to the gate. After these three very nice days it is time to go back to the Netherlands. I am already looking forward to next year’s trip.

Additional tips for Andalusia

We only had three days, but if you have more time, consider also the following places:
Sierra Nevada.
This is a large mountain chain whose name literally means the snowy mountain range. You can go skiing here during the winter. In this area lies the National Park Sierra Nevada where you can make beautiful hikes. Furthermore, the area is also known for the Vuelta, the famous Tour of Spain, which passes through here in September.

Granada
Inland, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains lies the medieval city of Granada. This city is best known for the gigantic palace that is located here: the Alhambra. In this palace, which is one of the most famous monuments in Spain, you will find both Moorish and Catholic elements. In addition, Granada is a real student city, this also makes it a very lively city with many entertainment venues.


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