The sun-drenched Mediterranean coast of Andalucía in southern Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, attracting millions of chilled northerners every year to its golden beaches. The dramatic landscape inland offers a rich variety of alternatives to the occasionally hectic seaside ambience. The beautiful vistas range from the gentlest of verdant hillsides in Las Alpujarras to the stark and imposing snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Impressive remnants of the area’s Moorish past loom imposingly over the picturesque small villages which dot the hinterland, each with its own particular charm shining through in its local fiestas and processions. Quaint restaurants abound, where dining out can be an adventure in itself; you may be invited into the kitchen to choose your own repast!
The world-renowned city of Granada is dominated by the glorious Moorish palace of the Alhambra, and the old Islamic quarter of Albaicín makes for a fascinating visit. A trip to the ancient and elegant town of Ronda is highly recommended, with its spectacular cliff-top setting astride the 100m deep El Tajo gorge. Its famous bullring was built in 1785, making it one of Spain's oldest and most famous landmarks. Sevilla is home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, with its converted minaret bell-tower, and the fabulous Alcazár palace. Tarifa is the most southerly point in Europe, and is known as the windsurfing capital of Europe, with wide beaches of clean white sand and dramatic seas. The town itself has a distinctly Arabic flavour, which contrasts with the international surf scene.
The Costa del Sol stretches for more than 150km along the Mediterranean, from Cadiz to the province of Granada at Nerja, with beaches for all tastes, from highly-organized resorts to nearly-deserted coves. Marbella, in the province of Málaga, is a lively beach resort, famous for once being a playground for the rich and famous, and now a favourite destination, particularly popular with those who like golf.
The coastal resort of Marbella, in the province of Málaga, is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the Costa del Sol, and has long been the upmarket residence of the rich and famous from all over the world. The Golden Mile (actually four miles) between Marbella and Puerto Banús is lined with luxury hotels and princely palaces, and contains Marbella’s most exclusive beach, Nagüeles Beach. Marbella’s old city centre is a charming maze of winding, narrow streets, with cafés, fine restaurants, and quaint shops tucked away in every corner. The Plaza de los Naranjos is one of the most beautiful plazas on the entire coast, with its 16th century fountain and the air redolent of orange blossoms. Between the old city centre is the Eixemple, a historic area with a delightful botanical garden with a group of sculptures by Dalí.
Marbella’s 27km of coastline has delightful beaches of all kinds, from golden sand to gravel, and boasts seven “Blue Flag” beaches, the most of any coastal area in Andalucía. Most offer a wide of range of seaside activities and sports, restaurants, bars, and exciting nightlife. Alicate Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, and generally not crowded. Hermosa Beach, Real de Zaragoza, and Cabopino Beach are to the east of the city, and you can find some secluded areas. Fontanilla Beach is the main town beach, and can get quite crowded, but has all the amenities you could want. The area around Marbella is also a golfer’s paradise, with 9 and 18-hole courses lining the “Costa de Golf”, including the Marbella Golf and Country Club, considered by many to be one of Europe’s most challenging courses.
Capitulación de Granada
by Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz
La Giralda, Sevilla