- Find out where to find the best scenery in the southern Spain region
- Discover the history and architecture of Andalucía and explore the streets and cities with insider knowledge
- Find out more about the area that includes travel favourites like Seville, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga, and Ronda
by The Passionate Traveller
I’ve been lucky enough to visit many countries in Europe and whenever people ask me which my favourite is, I never hesitate in answering “Spain”. Here are my top five things about this wonderful place and why I will always want to travel there.
1. Easy Street
There is a really relaxed air about pretty much everything in Spain. Some refer to a ‘Mañana’ attitude – in other words, “it can wait until tomorrow”. But it goes far beyond that. Taking part in one of my favourite tourist activities, sitting outside a café with a drink, you will more often find yourself surrounded by locals doing the same thing. Nobody rushes you to finish your drink and vacate your table – just take it easy. Sometimes in life, not doing something is better than doing something!
2. Food, Glorious Food
I make no apologies for the fact that I talk about food so often in these posts – it is one of life’s greatest pleasures and very few places do it as well as Spain. Each region has its own specialities but you will find that they have common themes running through – paprika, garlic, tomatoes, saffron, ham, fresh seafood to name but a few. An all-time favourite of mine is gazpacho, described unhelpfully as cold tomato soup. It is however far more than that – a mouth-watering blend of fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, garlic, bread, olive oil, and just to give it a tangy bite – a splash of sherry. Pull up a seat outside an Andalucían café, watch the world amble by in the afternoon sun and savour this delicious, tasty, fresh bowl of Spain.
3. Moreish Moorish Influences
The Moors invaded Spain in the 8th Century and ruled parts of it for the next 600 years. During that time, they left their mark on the area with what many agree is the world’s finest architecture. Repeated archways, detailed tile work and precisely manicured courtyards are some of the hallmarks of the style. You don’t need to be an Architecture expert to appreciate the unadulterated beauty of the Alhambra in Granada or the Alcazar in Seville. The gardens, so meticulously designed, are a joy to wander around. Sun and shade are carefully considered to give patrons a balance as they enjoy the surroundings. The buildings are opulent and imposing and the detail that goes into the Islamic style decoration is something you need to see first-hand to really enjoy.
4. City Life
Spain does cities well. Very well in fact. Madrid, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao to name a few favourites. One of the reasons they appeal so much is the way they effortlessly modernise without ever letting go of their colourful past. Old city walls, ancient cathedrals and cobbled streets sit side by side with modern shops, reliable transport links and creature comforts. I’d always suggest spending time strolling around a city and making your own discoveries that your guidebook never thought to mention.
5. Room with a View
I can’t talk about Spain without talking about the beautiful scenery. There are miles upon miles of unspoilt coastlines dotted with craggy cliffs, idyllic bays and lined with orange blossom trees. The deep natural valley that divides Ronda is another sight which is sure to have your camera clicking. The gorge gets more impressive the closer you get and the numerous waterfalls start to give a fairy-tale feeling to the whole scene. The Sierra Nevada Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to places such as Granada. Their peaks are capped in snow for many months each year and as you gaze up you could quite easily forget you are in lovely warm Spain. For the ultimate experience, why not get a cold glass of Rioja Blanco and watch the sun set behind the mountains – magical.
The Passionate Traveller
I live to travel and have visited over 50 countries. I love to see the world’s most iconic sights in person, as well as seeking out some quirky finds. I love to share my tips, whether it be about packing, airports or sightseeing!