Andalusia is scattered with mighty sierras, where jagged mountain peaks can be carpeted in snow or take on an arid desert-scape, depending on the season.
El Gastor is a beautiful whitewashed village that sits high on a hillside at the feet of the magnificent mountain range of the Zahara de la Sierra in the Cadiz region of Andalucía.
If you’ve yet to visit Andalucía’s ‘big three’ cities, you’re certainly in for a treat when you do. By ‘big three’ we mean Granada, Cordoba and Seville, three remarkable Spanish cities, laden in extraordinary Moorish architecture, brimming with zest, traditionalism and vivacity and paradisal for culture vultures, foodies, musicians, shopaholics, historians and more.
Etched in history and culture and brimming with stunning architecture, the city of Seville is a fascinating place to visit for all the family. This beguiling city seems to have a fantastic surprise around every corner, including a beautiful green open space known as the Maria Luisa Park.
The traditional and distinct southern region of Andalucía is brimming in wacky, wonderful and thoroughly unique fairs and fiestas all year round. In fact, you don’t have to travel too far or for too long to come across a memorable festival in Andalucía and party amongst the locals.
The shimmering white-washed town of Ronda, stood high on a hillside overlooking a vista of mountains, meadows, and lakes, is a true sight for sore eyes. This ‘pueblo blanco’ – white village – is one of the most celebrated in Andalucía, with good reason.
Set amongst impressive blue hazy mountain ranges, where olive green trees predominate, the white-washed villages of Andalucía stand out from a distance, shimmering in the hot Spanish sun. They appear timeless and, in fact, many of them have changed little over the years. These charming villages may have one or two roads that you can drive a car down, but typically comprise of wonderful mazes of little alleyways that interweave between one another.
Many artists have one thing in common – they seek places that are doused in inspiring light. Gauguin on the South Sea island of Tahiti, Van Gogh in Arles, the South of France, Monet in Giverny – they all sought the perfect light.
Dominated by the Spanish Muslims, for many centuries Andalucía and the Alpujarras were considered to be the poor man’s part of Spain, owned by absent landlords. Poor farmers had a tough life on the land. In more recent times, however, the Alpujarras’ fortunes have changed and the area is known for its wonderful landscape, likened in parts to the Garden of Eden.
The sun-scorched lands of Andalucía in southern Spain are brimming with secret gems, quirky sites and off-the-beaten-track delights. Vintage Travel explores some of Andalucía’s lesser-known treasures.
You may not fancy living in one, but the cave houses of Andalucía are well worth a visit. You can stand on a hill amongst numerous white chimney pots and realise that beneath your feet are dozens of cosy hobbit style homes. The traditional market town of Guadix, to the east of Granada, has a museum dedicated to cave houses, and one or two friendly locals are only too willing to let you look inside their traditional homes.
Castril and the Caminito Del Rey
The pretty village of Castril has a gorge walk that is not too frightening when you walk on planks set in the cliff face over the water filled chasm. But for the real experience head to the Caminito Del Rey, near Malaga, but only if you have a good head for heights! With a little bravery you will be rewarded with an incredible vista.
The Castle at Calahorra is simply spectacular as it stands proud overseeing the local landscape. Built around 1509 it was one of the first Italian style Renaissance castles built outside of Italy, and is in structurally good condition. Salobrena also has an interesting castle, which crowns a winding road of whitewashed houses and looks over the sea. It’s hardly surprising that Salobrena’s castle is regularly painted by artists.
Head for the stunning Alpujarras, a scenic route that passes through pretty whitewashed villages such as Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira.
The whitewashed hilltop town of Ronda is well known, but could be classed as the best ‘out of the way’ gem. The winding drive to Ronda round hairpin bends that snake across mountains and gorges, is spectacular, and the town is certainly a place not to be missed.
Andalucía is a region that needs to be explored by car to get the most out of your holiday. Book self-catering accommodation and use it as a base to explore different areas and sites these culturally and scenically-inspiring region of Spain is blessed with. Take a look at these two examples of quality self-catering accommodation in Andalucía.
El Tajaral, El Gastor, Ronda
With stunning panoramic vistas, this classy self-catering holiday home has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and sleeps four. Take a look at this stylish villa in El Gastor, Ronda.
Casa Anvife, Órgiva Alpujarras, Granada
Set in the beautiful Alpujarra region, this open plan style cottage is set in extensive grounds, comprising of a lawn, a swimming pool, covered and open terraces and fruit orchard. Casa Anvife has three bedrooms, one bathroom and can sleep up to six guests.