My wife and I have just returned from a spectacular holiday in Andalucía, one of my favourite regions of Spain. Our first week was in the small holiday resort of Almerimar situated just a few miles from the popular Roquetas de Mar, here we spent a relaxing week and re-charged our batteries.
We stayed in a modern self-catering apartment block a few yards from the pleasant marina and minutes from the beach. Travelling in late summer, we spent the last sunny days of September lounging by the pool or on the beach. This area of Spain is famous for its tapas and almost every bar serves a choice of free tapas with every alcoholic drink -not exactly good for the diet! A quaint beach bar or ‘Chiringito’ quickly became the venue for several long lunches and the evenings were spent sampling the local cuisine in a surprising wide choice of restaurants for such a small resort.
The days passed quickly and it soon became time for our adventures to begin, spending an enjoyable morning exploring Almeria followed by a lazy Sunday lunch provided the ideal start to our Spanish odyssey.
We travelled by train departing late afternoon and arriving in the city of Granada a couple of stress-free hours later. With incredibly good timing we arrived in Granada on the 29th September, this is the Feast day of Our Lady of the Angustias the Patron Saint of Granada and cause for great celebration with the people of the city. We spent a great evening marvelling at the parades, enjoying competing marching bands and strolling around the speciality stalls erected for the occasion. Our hotel for the night was the Melia Granada a centrally situated quality hotel.
If I am in a new city the first thing I normally do is book on the local hop-on hop-off city tour and this is what we did in Granada. These tours usually cover all the major attractions and give you ample time to explore any place that takes your fancy. The Alhambra Palace is without doubt the highlight of any visit to Granada but please be aware that tickets generally have to be booked 24 hours in advance.
The next day we caught a cab back to the station and jumped on our RENFE train for the two hour-ish journey to the capital of Andalucía, Seville. I am a real fan of city breaks and have been lucky enough to visit many over the years but I must say from the second I arrived to the sad moment of my departure Seville has shot to the very top of my favourite city destinations.
Its street are clean, it has iconic architecture with a brilliant mixture of ancient and modern. I never once felt intimidated in this university city with its youthful vibe and visitor friendly population. Home to bullfighting, the Spanish guitar, and flamenco, Seville is the real heartbeat of Spain here you can feel the real Spanish culture, not like the plastic version found along much of the Costas.
The city tour took us around the sights, here we explored the gothic Cathedral with the Giralda tower next it, the amazing Real Alcazar and Plaza de Espana and much much more. Away from the organised tours we enjoyed superb flamenco and discovered our own favourite local tapas bars. After 3, all-too-brief nights it was time to leave and catch our train for our final destination Madrid. Alas our Andalucía adventure was over but with a definite promise to return soon!