A week in Andalusia: from Cádiz to Malaga, with a stop in Seville
My friends and I had been thinking about organising a touring holiday in the south of Spain for a while. After weighing up various options, we finally made up our minds and decided to book a few months ago. Let's leave aside the small detail of having first booked a plane to Faro and then having to change it for one to Seville, spending more than 100€ difference, and focus on the juiciest things.
We decided to select some of the places that seemed most interesting and beautiful to us, having only a little over a week at our disposal. The choice, therefore, was to start with a tour of the south (let's say the whole area stretching from Cádiz to Tarifa), then head back to Seville and finally to Málaga and its surroundings.
A nice tour of around 1,000km, considering all the stops we made (you can find the complete map at the end of the article or by clicking here).
Before we delve into the post, however, I leave you with a little spoiler of the five places that, of all of them, are really worth visiting.
Playa de la Fuente del Gallo: in Conil, a large beach with golden sand and an imposing cliff that runs the length of it. Maybe it is because it was our first swim, but indeed it looked wonderful to us
Cádiz: it has everything you would expect from an Andalusian town, plus a touch of the urban, incredible sunsets, a crazy vibe and a fantastic view of the ocean
Playa de Bolonia: I won't say anything on this point, I'll refer you to the photos below <3
Alcázar de Sevilla: Seville would obviously deserve a separate post but, of all the things seen, the Real Alcázar was the most beautiful. A rare beauty that is a pleasure for the eyes
Ronda: not easy to include in itineraries because it forces a major diversion, it is an ancient city perched on a gorge about 100 metres deep
COSTA DE LA LUZ: FROM CÀDIZ TO TARIFA
Jerez de la Frontera
First stop on our touring trip was Jerez de la Frontera. Small parenthesis - I wondered where the term Frontera came from several times during the trip and, although it is still not entirely clear, searching on Google I found a probable explanation on this page. According to some, the term once stood for the border between the Kingdom of Granada and the Kingdom of Seville, what later became a point of contact between Christian and Muslim cultures, making it a land of great openness and fusion. Today, it remains a predominantly Christian town, whose first place of worship is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (in photo). Jerez was a perfect stop to break up our road trip from Seville airport to Conil de la Frontera, where we then stayed for a few days.
Conil de la Frontera
Conil was our reference point for the first 4/5 days in Andalusia. To be honest, we chose it quite casually, based on the availability of houses close to the beach in that area. We found a flat on Booking at a very affordable price (despite it being Easter), part of a residential complex set in a pine forest opposite the beach.
We liked Conil from day one, as soon as we arrived at Playa de la Fuente del Gallo. A large beach with golden sand and an imposing cliff that runs the entire length of it. Very popular with surfers and windsurfers, but also for relaxing and drinking a Cerveza in front of the sound of the sea.
I, on the other hand, will remember it for the rest of my days as the beach where I semi-disturbed an ankle that today, a month later, still hurts ☺️
As already mentioned, Conil is a great place to take some surfing lessons! We unfortunately had some very windy days, but we didn't let that put us off and took a lesson all together and had a great time.
Besides the beautiful beaches, Conil also has a wonderful old town, full of typical Andalusian restaurants, quaint alleys and super cute shops (it's the right place if you want to buy boho clothes or handmade necklaces!).
To report important things, however, it must be said that of all the restaurants we tried, one of the ones we liked best was definitely La Fontanilla, where you can taste many typical recipes and also some more refined and little-known dishes.
*Spoiler: elected our fave out of all the places visited*
We decided to spend the second day (Easter) in Cádiz, one of the eight Andalusian provinces. Having prepared a packed lunch, we left late in the morning. As soon as we arrived, we immediately headed for the beach of Santa Maria del Mar to spend the first few hours relaxing between a swim and a cold beer. The beach itself was nothing exceptional, but we immediately got a vibe that we really liked. After lunch, we decided to take a long walk around the town. Starting in the historical centre, we visited the Cathedral and then wandered through the alleys - visiting the Viña, a characteristic barrio of Cádiz, and continuing our walk through small squares and very picturesque views. After walking for a while, we headed for Parque Genovés, a wonderful botanical garden with a great variety of plants and flowers, directly overlooking the ocean. Definitely a place you don't expect to find in such a small town. Our favourite part of the day was definitely the walk from the park to La Caleta, from where we admired one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen.
Playa de Bolonia
*Did I maybe choose the wrong Bologna to live in?*
On Playa de Bolonia, in the direction of Tarifa, to be honest there is not much to say. The most beautiful beach of those visited, not to be missed for any reason in the world. Crystal-clear water, long golden beach that turns into high sand dunes. Absolutely worth it, a swim and also a walk to the top of the dunes to enjoy the incredible scenery.
The same day, immediately after stopping off at Playa Bolonia, we also headed for Tarifa, a somewhat gypsy town, popular with young people and known for its surfing and kitesurfing. The distinguishing feature of Tarifa, however, is that it is located in the southernmost place in the whole of continental Europe, where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, divided only by a very narrow road that connects the Isola de Las Palomas.
Walking along this road, in fact, it is possible to distinguish on one side the calm waters of the Mediterranean, on the other the rougher ocean waves, fully exploited by the surfers in the area (video).
If you want to relax and have a beer in a very chilled place, drop by Tumbao!
Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer de La Frontera is a real gem nestled in the hills between Cádiz and Algeciras. Like Conil, it is a quaint pueblo blanco steeped in Arab history and architecture. Stopping for a couple of hours, we were able to stroll through the atmospheric narrow streets of the historic centre, typical of these beautiful pueblitos. While strolling around, we came across a rather original shop called Ecletica Dec, which we were tremendously fascinated by. If you happen to be in Vejer, don't miss it - it has some quite weird and super interesting goodies!
ANDALUSIAN HINTERLAND: SEVILLE AND RONDA
In the second part of the trip, we headed towards the Andalusian hinterland, to the rejina of all cities in Andalusia, Seville.
Seville would obviously deserve a separate post, and perhaps even a whole week to visit it properly. Unfortunately, we only had two days at our disposal, and we - consequently - had to choose only a few of the thousands of things we could see.
Giralda Tower and the Cathedral
The first thing we wanted to see was Seville Cathedral, with a visit to the Giralda Tower. My friends will hate me for this, but I have to say that the Cathedral did not leave me speechless; what I was incredibly amazed by was the visit to the Tower, which I found unforgettable. The view from the top of Seville is enchanting and absolutely worth the price of the ticket, if only for that. The ascent is a bit; long (there are 34 floors), but all along the way you can admire different glimpses of the city. Strongly recommended to buy tickets ( here ), so as to avoid long and tedious queues.
The Real Alcázar in Seville is another one of those places that absolutely must be visited. Recognised as a World Heritage Site since 1987, it is a beautiful example of how Spanish culture has been contaminated by a past 'crossed' by other peoples and customs. In fact, in it you can discover - among the various styles present - a very successful combination of Islamic art (dating back to the 8th century AD) and Gothic art (added later, around the 16th century AD). Take your time on this visit, we took about two hours, but if we had more time we would definitely have stayed longer. Again, suuuuper recommended tickets ( here ).
Plaza de España
Also an IMPERDIBLE stop. The majestic Plaza de España, despite being relatively young (it was designed and built around the 1920s), is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It covers about 50,000 square metres (thank you Wiki!) and really has a magical atmosphere. It has a semicircular shape, on the edge of which are benches and mosaic ornaments, one for each of Spain's 48 provinces; the canal inside it is crossed by four bridges - representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain (kingdoms of Leon, Castile, Aragon and Navarra).
Immediately after visiting Plaza de España, we headed for the Triana district, on the opposite side of the river. It is quite a quaint neighbourhood, full of places to drink beer and eat tapas and shops selling handmade ceramics. I don't consider it an absolutely necessary stop, but walking along the river - from San Telmo Bridge to Isabel II Bridge - was certainly very exciting.
For our entire stay in Seville, we stayed near the 'lively' area of the city - near the Alameda de Hércules. The flat was not one of the nicest we had ever seen, but it was definitely convenient due to its proximity to the centre and the countless outdoor restaurants in the area.
On the road between Seville and Málaga - in the province of the latter - there is an old town that is definitely worth a visit, Ronda - perched on the El Tajo gorge (about 100 metres deep). What you see in the picture is the Puente Nuevo, the main attraction of this town. Unfortunately, we caught a particularly windy and rainy day, but - despite this - the view was still breathtaking (perhaps even a little eerie).
LAST STOP: MÀLAGA
Last stop, the sea again. We also stayed for two nights in Málaga, which gave us the opportunity to tour the old town and also use the last few days before returning for some relaxation.
Of the things we saw, I will list below the two that, in our opinion, are most worthwhile - especially if you don't have much time.
After a tour of the old town and a quick visit to the cathedral, we headed for the Alcazaba, a Muslim-era fortress located at the foot of the Giblarfaro Castle - as well as connected to it via an internal road. Two different types of tickets can be purchased, one with a single visit to the Alcazaba and the other including a visit to the castle. We, due to time constraints, opted for the first one, which, however, gave us the opportunity to admire Malaga through a beautiful view from above.
I have not seen many botanical gardens, but those who have seen more than me have described it as one of the most beautiful I have ever visited. A somewhat strange destination for an Andalusian seaside town, yet the Jardín Botánico Histórico - La Concepción is well worth a visit if you have time to spare. It is very well maintained and has a myriad of plants (aquatic, palms, cacti, fruit plants, etc.). What we enjoyed most was the world tour through the different varieties of plants. Inside there is a small café where you can taste EXCEPTIONAL home-made cakes.
Speaking of food, however, two places absolutely worth mentioning are: Cañadú, a very good vegetarian restaurant (thank you Jac 🌱) and Lechuga - where we experienced a bit of food from all over the world, in a Spanish reinterpreted version, including a very good cheesecake!
They are always due, especially if you are travelling with a pain in the ass like me. So thanks for the company to Sabri, Ross, Robi and Angi. Albeit with a few technical glitches, we made it.
Thanks also to 📞 Ale 📞, for his super valuable tips on Cádiz and surroundings!