Alhambra complex in Granada

Generalife gardens in Alhambra

Generalife gardens in Alhambra

Must see before you die

‘He who has not seen Granada, has not seen anything’ says an old Spanish proverb. Another common saying in Spain puts it quite bluntly: ‘It is a great pity to be blind in Granada.’ Alhambra, which means ‘red castle’ in the Arabic, is a vast palace and castle complex of the Moorish monarchs of Granada.Covering nearly 105,000 square meters, it is beautifully situated on a rocky hill overseeing Granada.

Alhambra comprises of Generalife Gardens and Palace (summer place of the Nasrid Emirs), The Carlos V Palace (Renaissance building constructed in 1527), The Nasrid Palaces, the centrepiece of the Alhambra (complex of palaces from the 13th century renowned for detailed ornamental plasterwork), The Alcazaba (9th century fortress) and a few smaller areas.

Inside the Nasrid Palaces

Inside the Nasrid Palaces

Plan in advance and other tips

As the most busy tourist site in Spain, Alhambra requires that you buy tickets well in advance, usually at least a month before a planned visit is needed. Remember to take with you the debit or credit card that you have used to pay for the tickets. You will need it to collect the entrances when you arrive at the site. Before booking, bear in mind that the morning visit is recommended if you want to avoid the crowds.

Getting to Alhambra is fairly easy as you don’t have to enter the city centre. From the Autopista A-44/E-902, Granada’s ring road, take exit ‘Alhambra/Sierra Nevada’. Follow the signs. When you see the road going into the tunnel, get into the left lane which goes to Alhambra (otherwise you will end up on the road to Sierra Nevada). Then, on the big roundabout take the second turn (the one which goes uphill). This road will lead you directly to Alhambra’s parking.

A visit to Alhambra takes at least 3 hours, but inside you won’t find any restaurants or bars, only several vending machines serving coffee, tea, snacks and sandwiches. Remember to take some proper food with you.

Antequera

City with ancient heritage

Antequera is a fairly inconspicuous city north of Malaga. Because of it’s central position in Andalucia, between Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, it is often called “the heart of Andalucía”. Antequera boasts many interesting places to see, however, it remains unspoilt by massive tourism.

The fortress of Alcazaba stands out as a dominating feature over Antequera. You can visit Alcazaba’s walls and the main tower and enjoy spectacular panoramic views from the top. It is also worth to visit the churches in the centre: Iglesia de San Sebastian and Iglesia de Sanitago.

Those interested in the prehistory should visit the Dolmen of Menga at the city outskirts. It’s an access corridor and an oval-shaped burial chamber from 3000 BC. The tomb most probably served as a grave for the ruling families. Hundreds of people were buried there. If you stand just inside the entrance to this ancient site, you will clearly see Pena de los Enamorados (The Lovers Rock) also known as Montana del Indio (Indian Mountain), because the 880 metre mountain looks like a head of a sleeping Indian.

Another interesting megalithic construction located just outside the city is Dolmen del Romeral. Lastly, there is a megalithic sepulchre of Tholos de El Romeral located 3 kms north of the city. Access to all three archaeological sites is free.

Nature and adventure around Antequera

We also recommend exploring the Antequera region. Whether you are interested in wild animals, climbing, canyoning or hiking, you will surely find something for your liking near Antequera.

Central Andalucia, including the Antequera region, is a real paradise for climbers. The small towns of Villanueva del Rosario, El Chorro, Archidona as well as small villages of Valle de Adaliajis or Pinares de San Anton are very popular climbing destinations. Ten kms south of Antequera there is a Wolf Park (Lobo Park) for those who would like to learn more a about wolves and observe wolves  in an environment that is very close to real nature.

El Torcal Natural Park, located just a couple of kilometers south of Antequera, is a definite must-see. It is famous for weird and bizarre rock formations which are wonderful to look at. Each of these intriguing rocks resembles something different and has some affectionate name, e.g. camel or canary.

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Bird lovers or hikers should not miss Fuente de Piedra lagoon. This beautiful park is located 20 kms north-west of Antequera. It boasts second largest colony of flamingos in Europe.

Iznajar, located around 60 kms north of Antequera, is another interesting place to visit. It’s a classic white village perched on a hill, beside the largest lake in Andalucia. Iznajar boasts spectacular views of the extensive lake and olive hills that surround it from all sides.  The views from Iznajar castle stretch as far as the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.

Malaga

Cathedral in Malaga, Andalusia

The capital of Costa del Sol offers numerous attractions for all kinds of holidaymakers and travellers. Whether you seek a cultural feast or simply want to enjoy the beach and night life, you will be spoilt for choice in dynamic and versatile Malaga.

The numerous historical and cultural landmarks are nicely woven into the growing vibrant modern city centre and in close distance to each other. Alcazaba, the Moorish fortress, is probably the most famous landmark. This well-preserved and impressive fortification overlooks the city and the bay in every direction from its hilltop position. You can get reach it on foot, get their by by bus or even by taking a lift on Calle Guillen Sotelo!

In the very heart of Malaga rises the great Renaissance Cathedral. The building is unbelievably large and for an inattentive tourist it may appear as a series of separate buildings! The cultural and architectural pleasures are plentiful in the ‘Birthplace of Picasso’.

Swelling with nightclubs and beach clubs, Malaga is a great place to indulge in a lavish night-life. The city has no shortage of great shopping centres as well. Malaga’s beaches are quite vast and well taken care of offering good conditions for sunbathing to everyone, all year long.

Depending on what you want from your holiday, bestandalucia.com recommends visiting Malaga in spring, summer or early autumn!

Malaga – nearest destinations: Marbella, Nerja

Malaga Holidays in Spain

Find all the useful information, helpful tips and opinions on holidays in the capital of Costa del Sol, Malaga, Spain. Check out Malaga’s top attractions, recommended places to stay and best things to do. Read about the best places to eat and drink in Malaga, Andalucia. Plan and book your trip today with Best Andalucia guide. Malaga can be a perfect place for cultural and family holidays.

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Almeria

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Sun-soaked Almeria lies on the Costa de Almeria, in the northernmost province in Andalucia bordering Costa del Sol to the south, and Costa Blanca in Murcia to the north. The city is much more than the sun and beaches. Almeria abounds in many interesting places to visit, some of them very unique. La Alcazaba complex with great panoramic views of the city, lovely Iglesia de la Virgen del Mar, Almeria Museum, impressive Cathedral are some of the top attractions in Almeria. Cabo de Gata nature park, Oasys Mini-Hollywood and Sorbas cave complex, all described below, are the most interesting tourist highlights located near Almeria.

Comapred to other summer resorts on the eastern coast of Andalucia, Almeria is still fairly unknown. If what you are looking for is plenty of sun, unspoilt nature, spectacular beaches, and some adventure, this is the right place to visit. Almeria makes for a great romantic summer destination for couples. It’a also one of the best destinations for cheap family beach holidays. The closest airports are Alicante and Almeria. Try to avoid late July and August, the heat in Almeria can be quite intense!

Cabo de Gata, remote piece of heaven

almeria_pod_cabo_gata_630x400Located near Almeria is Cabo de Gata, an ideal place for all those loving nature. It’s a wonderful large nature reserve with stunning rocky 20-miles long coastline. It boasts beautiful unspoilt beaches with hidden coves, transparent water and delightful peacefulness. The superb Playa de los Muertos is probably the best beach there. Cabo de Gata is a one of the best places for long walks, snorkelling, swimming or just winding up on the beach away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation.

Wild West in Spain

almeria_pod_wildwest_630x400The dry province of Ameria shares many similarities with Texas and Arizona. For this reason in the 60’s and 70’s the Desert of Tabernas became a very popular alternative to filming westerns in the USA. Today the two Hollywood-style filming sets are open to tourists. There are three studios opened and the most popular seem to be Oasys Mini Holywood. Running around the wild west set like a real cowboy, or storming into a saloon like a gunfighter and pretending you are shooting the bad guys can be fun! Indiana Jones, The Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, A fistful of Dollars all have been filmed on the desolate and arid lands near the village of Tabernas. The list of celebrities who have visited the place is quite amazing and include Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Bridgette Bardot, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda.

Amazing caves in Sorbas

Only 40km north-east of Almeria lies the beautiful village of Sorbas. Sorbas boasts an incredible network of caves, one of the largest in Europe. In this most singular place, marvelous stalactites, stalagmites, pillars stretch over several kilometres. Pre-book a guided tour and head off the the Caves of Sorbas for a real adventure. If you enjoy a bit of adrenaline, book a 4,5-hour technical guided tour which can be a quite a challenge even for really fit people.

Almeria – nearest destinations: Malaga, Nerja