We all know Córdoba, Málaga, Granada and Seville, but there are lots more places to discover in Andalusia. 5 places that captured our hearts!
When we talk about Andalusia, and Spain in general, almost everyone’s mind pops immediately to the image of the Seville fair, flamenco dancing, the gorgeous moorish architecture, the Alhambra of Granada and the flower filled patios of Córdoba. What you might not immediately realize, though, is that Andalusia has much more to see. We’ve got a long list, but here are five places that are sure to make you fall in love with the south of Spain.
Setenil de las Bodegas
Built into the hillside, this little town on the border between Cádiz and Málaga is quite possibly one of the most unique places to visit in Andalusia. The enormous rocks and caves have become part of the local architecture and landscape to the point that many houses and bars are actually cave dwellings. The town of Setenil de las Bodegas dates back to the time of the Roman invasion in the 1st century AD. It was a strategically important town and the castle was built as a kind of a lookout above a sharp bend in the river. Nowadays you can explore the steep, narrow streets and even have tapas underneath one of the huge rocks.
The first thing that comes to mind in Andalusia is often the beach or the big cities, but that would mean overlooking the gorgeous forest and mountains in Jaén. We spent a weekend exploring Cazorla and the small towns in the area including La Iruela. We spent our days hiking, taking gorgeous drives through the countryside and exploring the castles and winding streets of the nearby towns. The views from La Iruela were magical and the local gastronomy is delicious with hearty stews that seemed just right for late fall.
Named one of Andalusia’s most beautiful white towns, we can’t help but agree. For me, Frigiliana’s steep winding streets and white washed homes are what Andalusia is all about. The bright geraniums and painted pots that line the streets make this tiny town tucked into the mountains of Málaga a must see for anyone searching for a small town experience in the South of Spain. Frigiliana is a great example of the moorish style architecture and the best thing to do in town is just walk around and soak it all up. In my case, of course, that means snapping tons of photos and stopping for tapas with a view all the way down to the sea and the town of Nerja.
Playa de los Muertos (Almeria)
We stopped at this beach by chance. Pedro and I had stopped for lunch near this gorgeous cove and the lovely woman running the restaurant where we ate told us that we couldn’t leave without swimming at the Playa de los Muertos. The water was crystal clear and so warm it felt like a Caribbean destination instead of the eastern coast of Spain. Not only that, but because it’s just a little cove, the beach feels really secluded and special. I wished we could have stayed longer! The whole coast of Almeria is filled with little coves like this, each one a little bit different and worth escaping to once in awhile.
When you first arrive in Antequera it looks like a typical medieval Andalusian town. There are lots of churches (30 to be exact) and you can see the walls and towers of the Moorish fortress. But Antequera has something unique. It is home to the Torcal, an impressive example of Karst topography which was formed when Europe and the Middle East were still covered in water. Also in Antequera you can visit the dolmens and enjoy delicious gastronomy. In fact, my favorite breakfast comes from here! A “mollete” is a soft roll that is best eaten with local extra virgin olive oil and fresh tomato. Also try the cold tomato soup “porra.”
It’s easy to fall in love with Andalusia with so many gorgeous holiday destinations (both the well known and the little, off the beaten path towns.) Do you have a favorite spot to visit in the south of Spain? We’re already thinking about a second edition for this post because there are just too many charming towns and cities in Andalusia!