My absolute favourite part of being on holidays is those first few hours of arriving to the new country. Coming out from the airport building, feeling warm air on your face, trying to stuff your jacket in an overfilled backpack (because if you are like me, you’re not giving any extra money to Ryanair), hearing different language, navigating unfamiliar streets, then finding a nice place to sit outside and enjoy a meal you could never be bothered to cook at home. All of your senses are suddenly awakened and being pushed to their limits. If you know what I’m talking about, you will understand the shock to the system when I arrived to the south of Spain in October 2021, this being the first proper holiday since Covid-19 pandemic started.
After picking up the keys to the most bizarre AirBnb ever (think – all your neighbours can see your living room/kitchen), we went for a late dinner. This was the first holiday abroad since I quit booze and ordering lemonade instead of a glass of wine, felt like a betrayal to Spain’s centuries of wine making. We then ordered a bunch of tapas and after tasting a few of them, decided that we weren’t dreaming and we were finally on holiday.
Malaga at night turned out to be a treat to wander around, even though we felt very tired. After admiring beautifully lit Castillo de Gibralfaro and some zigzagging through narrow streets of the old town, we decided to call it a night.
During the day, the city was even more beautiful to walk around, with some stunning pieces of architecture poking out of every corner. However, we didn’t stay there very long and in the afternoon, caught a bus to Granada.
At first, it seemed like any other city – people rushing to places they thought they had to be, busy traffic and noise you’d find anywhere else on the planet. Then slowly, I started noticing little pomegranate bollards scattered all over the city and when we got to the old town – narrow streets, full of life and colours.
Granada was quite touristy, but you could understand why, as it’s such a unique city. The city is well known for its beautiful palace – Alhambra. The palace is a well preserved monument of Islamic architecture, situated on Sabika hill and surrounded by nearby mountains. It is really a stunning place and if you want to visit it, make sure to book your tickets in advance. Otherwise, you will be like me and have to admire the palace from the outside. That didn’t bother me at all, I was happy to roam the little streets in the old town or head out into the hills surrounding the Alhambra. I went for a run one of the mornings and it was definitely the most scenic (and extremely hilly) run I’ve ever done in my life.
I didn’t want to leave Granada, but I was equally very much intrigued about going to my next destination, Seville, which had been on my list of places to visit for a very long time.
Seville instantly had a very different vibe from Granada. It’s a big city with over half a million residents and probably as many tourists. You instantly understand why – the city is like a beautiful piece of art, which you’d happily hang on your own wall and wouldn’t share with anyone else’s eyes.
I have always wanted to visit Plaza de España and when I finally made it there, I was surprised that the place looked even more stunning than in the photos. It is really hard to express the level of detail in the buildings or the feeling of spaciousness in photographs.
I absolutely loved wandering around the old town’s narrow (and very confusing) streets, visiting some of the places several times just to admire then in different light conditions and going for a run in this very unique city.
One of the days we decided to do a day trip from Seville to Cadiz. We hoped on a train and within less than 2 hours we arrived to Cadiz – an old port city, full of history and culture. Again, the city had a very different atmosphere from other places I visited on this trip. The old town was full of beautiful buildings and charming details (as well as an incredible ice cream place – Heladeria Pazza Mina) and the beach was never far if you wanted to have a relaxing stroll or a dip in the sea.
We spent a day exploring Castillo de Santa Catarina, walked out to Castillo de San Sebastian and dipped our toes in the Atlantic Ocean watching some newly made surfers catch the waves. We had a really lovely time in Cadiz and then headed back to Seville to enjoy our last dinner (in the wonderful Bodega Palo Santo) before heading back to rainy Scotland. I know I will move to Spain one day 🙂
4 thoughts on “Exploring the South of Spain”
Great photos and descriptions of marvelous Spanish cities! I love Sevilla and Granada as well. 🙂
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What a great trip – we’ve been to Malaga, Seville and Granada but not all at once. I’ve never been to Cadiz though – looks lovely.
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What a great trip! I spent a month in Seville a few years ago and this city absolutely stole my heart. We also went to Granada for a weekend, which was fantastic, but I didn’t get the chance to explore other cities in the South of Spain. This really inspires me to go for a longer trip there and discover more cities!
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Ohhh I’m so jealous you got to spend a month in Seville! Hope you get to travel around the south of Spain soon, I’d love to go back too 😊