Now… it’s not actually that long since I left the sunny shores of Spain. The adrenalin from running with the bulls still lingers in my muscles and I can smell the inviting fresh bread from the bakery that was down the street from my Barcelona based hostel. This might be why I’m already planning a trip back. There is something romantic about Spain, perhaps it’s the Spanish Guitar, friendly locals, history-rich art or stunning landscapes that pull you back like a schoolgirl with her first crush. However, after a bit of research, I decided the southern coast is next on my list.
I’ve hired cars before when traveling and said I would do it again – it’s a wonderful way to see what you want, when you want. It’s an obvious choice, the simple ones are often the best, but picking up a car direct from the airport is without a doubt the easiest way to get you behind the wheel. As I’m looking at the Spanish coast, I’ll collect my motor from Economy Car Hire direct from Malaga airport. Once the seatbelts are fastened, it’s off to sightsee, but I don’t want tourist traps – no Brit-pubs thank you, I get enough of them when I’m at home. I want genuine culture.
Malaga is Spain’s southernmost city and provides a great jumping off point for an adventure filled journey. I’ll ferry myself between the city sights before hitting the road and exploring. My list of must-see city locations includes the Museu Picasso, Malaga is the birthplace of the famed artist. The magnificently preserved Gothic 16th century Cathedra and the Museum of Glass and Crystal - well worth a viewing I hear.
Submerging myself in history, one landmark worthy of a couple hours exploration is the Alcazaba. Overlooking the sea, it was built in the 11th century by Malaga’s visiting Arab rulers and is the most well-preserved Alcazaba in Spain – restoration is being carried out to preserve this gem further. At the foot of the Alcazaba hill is an ancient Roman amphitheatre which dates back to 1BC. Rather whimsically, it was stumbled upon just 62 years ago and wonderfully, parts of the tiered seating, stage and access corridors have survived over the years.
I have been reliably informed some of the best traditional cafes and restaurants sit close to the water’s edge. After a busy day of exploring, I’m quite looking forward to relaxing at a port-front cafe with a coffee so strong your spoon stands up. To top it all off I might even treat myself to some freshly caught sardines by the sea.
Heading out from the city, Granada is only 75 miles north east of Malaga and definitely worth a visit. The city skyline, and history is dominated by the vast, and imagination-capturing Alhambra. Originally constructed in 889, the palace-fortress is one of Spain’s most visited attractions and due to its astounding architecture, stunning decor and leading role in Spanish history, you can see why. When driving from Malago to Granada, I plan on making a pit-stop and camping at the gorgeous Parque Natural Sierras de Tejeda. A lush oasis of green, perfect for looking up at the Spanish sky and remembering what a special country you’re in.
Forever travelling and trotting the globe, Sarah Black has a passion for all things cultural and one day hopes to turn her hobby into a career.