Beaches on two different coasts, two vibrant Spanish cities, two picturesque towns set in spectacular landscapes: a 14-day tour that illustrates the fascinating diversity of Andalusia.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Record Go
Vehicle: Nissan Pulsar or similar (CDMR)
Location: Malaga APT (Desk at Airport)
The Spanish coast of the Mediterranean Sea from Tarifa to east of Malaga is known as the Costa del Sol. Although the region enjoys 320 days of sunshine per year, it was not developed as a tourist destination until the 1950s, when a construction boom set in which left the coast dotted with highrise hotels and apartment buildings.
The hastily created tourist destinations were linked by a high-speed motorway. Fortunately, some of the worst excesses were eliminated in the 1990s. Even so, the back country offers a welcome change from the heavily populated coastal areas: the cheerful tranquillity of old Andalusia can still be found among the white mountain villages surrounded by pine forests and olive groves.
Nerja is a very popular destination on the Costa del Sol. Travellers wishing to avoid the crowds will appreciate this hotel situated high up on the cliffs away from the discos and commotion of the town.
The former holiday residence of a British doctor affords incredible sea views from its lofty perch. The various parts of the newly renovated hotel are connected by stairways (no elevators are available) leading to modern, comfortable rooms. The terraced gardens stretching down to the sea are a particular delight. Breakfast is served on the veranda overlooking the sea. A number of good restaurants are a 10-minute walk away.
Granada is the most important city in southern Spain and lies at the edge of a river valley with the mighty snow-covered Sierra Nevada in the background.
The old town covers two hills. One hill is dominated by the Alhambra, a fairy-tale palace like something out of “One Thousand and One Nights.” The northern hill is the location of Albayzín, the Moorish district with its whitewashed houses, terraced gardens and its labyrinthine stairways. Granada played a key role in the history of Spain. The Iberians settled here as early as 500 BC, and the city was later overrun by the Vandals in 500 AD. The Moors captured it 200 years later and made it the capital of a Muslim kingdom. Science, technology, art and tolerance enabled Granada to flourish for centuries. When the Christians defeated the Caliphate of Cordoba in 1236, Granada was the last bastion of Islam in Europe. It fell in 1492 – the year America was discovered.
The country estate is located 20 km outside of Granada between the Sierra del Puzuelo and the Sierra Arana. It originally housed a convent before being converted into a farm in the 19th century.
Today the nearly 10,000 acre estate is particularly suitable for those who seek peace and tranquility. Large courtyards, terraces, olive groves, wheat and sunflower fields – the beauty of Andalucia off the beaten track of mass tourism is apparent wherever you look. The unique bedrooms are individually decorated. A swimming pool is available from May to September. A 2- or 3-course meal can be ordered for dinner. It takes about 35 minutes to get to Granada, partly on dirt roads.
Around 950 AD, Cordoba was the most important city of the Christian Occident and can only be compared with Byzantium and Baghdad.
Its meteoric rise from a Vandal settlement began in 756, when the first Emir ascended the throne and made Córdoba the capital of the Caliphate. He introduced new irrigation methods and previously unknown crops. Science and architecture experienced a climax. At the turn of the first millennium there was street lighting for an estimated 300,000 inhabitants. The Jewish community was a stronghold for Christian-Muslim dialogue. After the conquest and recatholization in 1236, Cordoba fell into oblivion – a stroke of luck to which the preservation of the Moorish building fabric is owed. With Granada and Sevilla, Cordoba belongs to the three big cities of Andalusia, but it is somewhat quieter than its sisters. Major attractions include the Juderia, the Jewish-Moorish district and the Mesquita, once one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and now a Roman Catholic cathedral. Those wishing to escape the throngs of tourists should go just a few streets further into areas frequented by locals.
During the renovation of the old building, great care was taken to preserve the history and architecture of the house.
The result is a charming hotel in the middle of the Jewish quarter of the city. The thermal baths of the caliph from the 10th century are just outside the door, as are the gardens of the Christian monarchs. The furnishing of the rooms is Moorish with elaborately worked patterns and bright fabrics. The facilities also include a large outdoor pool with a sun terrace and a fitness centre. A restaurant is located a few steps from the hotel on the other side of the street.
The capital of Andalusia is one of the hottest cities in Europe. It is therefore not surprising that much of the city life takes place at night.
Don Juan's hometown is an especially exciting place during the Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) and Seville Fair festivals, which involve week-long, lively celebrations. Although Seville has less Moorish architecture than either Cordoba or Granada, the townscape is considered particularly “Andalusian.” Many major and minor sights can be seen along the route from the Real Alcázar, the Royal Palace, to the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a picturesque district with an abundance of small squares and courtyards decorated with flowers. Outside its historical center Seville has many modern suburbs created by the recent economic boom: new neighborhoods have sprung up practically overnight, resulting in a traffic gridlock that is not limited to the rush hours.
The hotel near the cathedral in the vibrant Old Town represents an oasis of tranquility where guests can relax on the rooftop terrace with a pool and lounge chairs, or on one of the cool patios or in the spacious bedrooms.
The service is excellent, as is the Breakfast with a choice of buffet or à la carte orders. The interior is marked by fascinating contrasts: vivid colors, floral scents and a fountain in the courtyard reflect the urban surroundings, while natural materials like stone, clay and slate lend the estate a country touch. Bath robes and natural cosmetics are provided in the bathrooms.
Spain's Atlantic coastline from the Portuguese border to Gibraltar is known as the Costa de la Luz. Although the region is almost always bathed in light (hence the name “Coast of Light”) it is almost never as hot there as inland because of the constant sea breeze.
Endless golden beaches are interrupted by small bays and steep cliffs. Despite its pleasant climate and attractive landscape, the region is not as popular among tourists as the adjoining Costa del Sol to the east.
The building is located on a baroque square among palm trees opposite a tower of the city wall. Some of its foundations date back to the 10th Century.
The new building of the 17th Century-style caliph house was inspired by the Moorish period, when Vejer was an important city of the Islamic empire. A large south facing sun terrace gives uninterrupted views over the Marismas Nature Park & the Sierras de Retin. Through corridors and inner courtyards you are lead to the rooms, which are all individually, comfortably and tastefully furnished. Air conditioning and coffee machine are a standard.
In the mountainous landscape between Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera there are a number of villages and small towns, most of which date back to Phoenician or Roman settlements and were developed by the Moors between the 8th and 15th century.
The White Villages are characterized by narrow alleys and secluded squares lined with whitewashed houses – very similar to Northern Africa. The churches have often been built in places where mosques once stood. The manor houses date back to the centuries after the Reconquista. Their Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture is an interesting contrast to the older Moorish houses. The Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos connects 19 particularly interesting villages. It begins in Arcos de la Frontera.
The 18th century mill stands on a hill outside of Ronda among olive trees. The views of Ronda and the Sierra landscape are unbeatable.
Every room in the small luxury hotel has a private garden or patio, and many have a cosy fireplace. Ronda is just a 10-minute drive away, although guests may be happy to relax in the swimming pool and otherwise keep doing nothing in accordance with the house motto. The restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine from a daily menu featuring feshly prepared dishes.
Location: Malaga APT (Desk at Airport)