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Nick Wharton By
Posted 24 Jun, 2016 | 9 Comments
Posted in: Spain, Travel Blogs

Now that summer has arrived in Europe, many people are trying to decide where they’ll go for their next Euro trip. While the north end of the continent is still seeing lows of 12°C, the southern parts are enjoying a balmy 30°C throughout the day.

After our recent trip through Eastern & Central Europe in the winter, we know that this warm weather is a welcome relief to the region and it makes us think back to our time in the South of Spain.

In this article I’m going to explain how we spent our 6 days in the south, so you can follow in our footsteps (or hoof prints) and have an equally awesome vacation.

First, Getting There

Coming from North America, it’s not so cheap to get to Spain. From the US it’s typically around $850 at this time of year for a return trip from the east coast (particularly New York).

New York Spain Flight

While from the west coast of Canada it’s around $1,100 USD return.

Van to Spain Flight

Of course, us in the far west are never as lucky as our European friends who can typically fly to Madrid for the weekend for a little over $100 with Ryan Air. London to Madrid

None of these flights are overly expensive, especially considering the fact that Spain offers some real value for money. A single traveller can afford hotels, food and entertainment in this part of the world for less than $75 / day.

This means that a six-day holiday here – including flights – doesn’t have to cost more than $1,330 when coming from New York, $1,565 from Vancouver, or a steal of a deal at $567 from London.

Where To Stay

There are many options for accommodation in Spain, from affordable but comfortable hostels to luxury resorts, guest houses and apartments. I highly recommend staying in Malaga because it’s the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the beautiful area around southern Spain.

Hostel Malaga City

Hostel Malaga City is a lovely hostel set right in the heart of Malaga. With double rooms getting as low as $55 / night, it’s a bargain for the price. From here you can easily walk to the main sights of the city and you can easily get out of town and visit the surrounding areas.

Hostel Malaga City

Hotel Sur

The rooms here are a little bit more dated but you really can’t beat the location of this hotel and it gets great reviews on Booking.com. You also get a few more luxuries here than at the hostels, like satellite TV and private bathrooms.

Hotel

Apartamentos Nono

The highest rated apartments in Malaga, these modern flats are right in the heart of the action and while the nightly rate is higher than the other ones listed in this post (around $125 / night), you’ll save some money by cooking meals for yourself in the full kitchen.

Apartment Nono

Getting Around

When we were in Malaga and the surrounding areas in 2012, we got around by bus. The cities are well-connected and wait times aren’t too long. Alternatively, you can rent a car for around $21 / day and have a lot more freedom to see the places we’ll list in this post.

Driving in the south of Spain is straight forward, the highways are superb and the towns and major sights are well sign posted.

Where To Go & What To See

Finally we get into the fun stuff. The south of Spain is one of Europe’s most scenic destinations and you’ll fall in love with the food, the coastline and the architecture. I’m going to list a few of our favourite towns that you can easily see in a 6 day trip, as well as some major things not to miss in each.

Malaga

Seeing as you’re based in this town, you’d be crazy not to explore it. The capital of the province with the same name, Malaga is the second most populous city in Andalusia and the 6th largest city center in Spain (over 500,000 people).

Image via WikiCommons

The city itself has a history that spans over 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. A center of culture and arts for centuries, this is the birth place of the internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, famous Hollywood actor Antonio Banderas and Hebrew poet and Jewish philosopher Solomon Ibn Gabirol.

Alcazaba is a Moorish castle from the 11th century and it commands a hill right in the center of town. From the ramparts of the fort, you’ll find superb views of the city and the lush gardens around the property. This is one of the best-preserved castles of its kind in Spain, so don’t miss it. Entrance is €2.10 but free on Sundays.

Picasso Museum should be another place that’s set firmly on your Malaga itinerary. Seeing as the man was born here, it’s no surprise that you find Spain’s best exclusive paintings and exhibitions here. Entrance is €9.

The Roman Theater is situated right under Alcazaba and is open anytime.  Entrance here is free and you can enter the attached building and watch a short film and check out some artifacts as well.

Estepona

Probably our favourite city in the area, Estepona is absolutely stunning. Spend some time exploring the narrow alleyways and stopping in at one of the many restaurants for some tapas and wine. There’s not a ton of stuff to do here, but you can make a stop here as part of a visit to the next town as well.

 

estepona spain

The Orchid House is at the center of some beautiful botanical gardens which were recently developed right in the middle of Estepona. The centerpiece of the garden is a huge glass dome which is home to the Orchid House itself. The entire area is a great place to walk around and enjoy nature complete with a mini lake and waterfalls.

The Paseo is another great place for a walk, but this one is along the sea and caters well for families, couples and solo travellers alike. There are a few climbing areas on the beach, floating play areas, giant chess sets, and pedal boats available in the Summer.

Ronda

Probably the most dramatic looking town in Andalucia, Ronda is set on a massive gorge, overlooking a cliff and the Andalusian countryside. The gorge makes for an excellent walk, but check the river height before committing to going all the way down to the bottom as it can smell of sewage during dry seasons.

ronda, spain

Puente Nuevo is the large bridge that crosses the gorge and you really can’t miss it. It’s pretty much the jewel of this photogenic town. When you’re on the bridge, check out the small museum and don’t forget to look down, it’s 100 meters to the gorge floor below!

Plaza de Toros is the oldest and one of the most famous bull rings in Spain. In a country with over 100 of these stadiums, that says a lot. You can visit inside of the ring for €6.

Plaza de toros de Ronda
The oldest bullfighting ring in Spain, the Plaza de toros de Ronda.

Banos Arabes is one of the best preserved Roman-style baths in Spain and it’s a place of “purification” for travellers entering the city.  These baths are arguably a bigger claim to Ronda’s fame than Puente Nuevo or Plaza de Toros and definitely shouldn’t be missed by visitors. The name means “Arab Baths” as the Moors of Spain were Muslim and there used to be a mosque next to Banos Arabes.

Granada

No not the Caribbean Grenada where we spend half of the year, this Granada is a city at the base of the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains and has been inhabited for over 2500 years. While the mountains themselves are home to Spain’s best ski resort in winter, during the summer this area is a mecca for hiking, rock climbing and adventure.

Alhambra is the most famous attraction here. A fortress complex that housed the Moorish Palace for the emirs when the city was under Islamic rule.

Image via WikiCommons

The Muslim neighbourhood is a great area to walk around and explore numerous cathedrals and castles. Don’t miss the many tapas bars and flamenco shows which are some of the tastiest and most entertaining in the region.

Make It Happen

With affordable flights, beautiful accommodation and rental cars for a little over $20 / day, you can make a trip to the south of Spain happen without breaking the bank. Enjoy a little sand, sea, mountain, culture and cuisine in this famed region of Europe.

We loved the south of Spain but we definitely didn’t see it all. Let us know what you would add to this list if you were to spend a week in the south of Spain.

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How To Spend 6 Days in The South of Spain

 

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Nick Wharton

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Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. Nick’s advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes.

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9 thoughts on “How To Spend 6 Days in The South of Spain

  1. I’m about to spend a month in Spain and two weeks in the South. I’m most excited for Sevilla, Jerez, Cádiz, and Córdoba – but Granada looks amazing as well, and I’ve heard the tapas scene there is the best in all of Spain!

  2. Looks like such a beautiful 5 day trip and one that i wouldn’t mind taking a stroll through the streets and enjoy some tequilla and tapas 😀 lovely read

  3. We recently spent a week at a food festival in Zahara de los Atunes, just South of Sevilla: http://rutadelatun.com.

    The weather in Zahara was great, not too hot, even for us, though the sea was quite cold and rough. Joe went swimming a couple of times but the water wasn’t really warm enough for me, though the beach was fabulous, as were the 39 restaurants. The Ruta di Tuna started just after we arrived: for €3.50 we could get a glass of our preferred poison and a tapa: there was tuna in all its guises, mostly rare to raw – some of them very haut cuisine, some a step up from a beach side grill. Tuna has been caught here since Phoenician times by the ‘Almadraba’ method. After 3 days I was “tuna’d out” and begged for beef, chicken, pork – anything but tuna! So we had the local Retinto beef that was so delicious we’d love to back for the matching food festival in September. It would certainly be ‘vaut le voyage’ as the old Michelin guides used to say.

    A friend had told us that The Green Whale served the best Gin ‘n Tonic so we duly made our way just before sunset. “Nessun Dorma” was playing on the beachside sound system and everyone was standing to look to the West. As the music came to a crescendo the sun danced down Cape Trafalgar! I’ve never seen anything like it!

    Another highlight for me was a visit to the Jerez Equitation School: My family is steeped in horses and I’d seen both the Cadre Noir and the Viennese School perform but it was a privilege to watch the tutors and students in action.

    Our last 2 nights were spent in Sevilla, where we toured the city and spent some hours in the Cathedral. I was glad we’d gone there at the end of our holiday because, lovely as it was, I didn’t mind going home – whereas, I would have found it very difficult to leave Zahara and to straight to the office!

  4. Been there last year and I just loved it. I mostly enjoyed Seville and Granada. Cordoba was nice too. Next time I must explore other towns specially Ronda it does look dramatic.

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