España – Andalusian road trip
Spain is fascinating, vast, diverse, friendly and very sunny place on Earth! If you only skip popular resorts and head to less obvious places, Spain uncovers its real charm, very rich culture, unbelievable food and quite handy infrastructure. This was our third Iberian holidays and we were more than satisfied. This is the short description of our holidays from September 2012.
The road trip started in Seville, we drove to Cordoba, Granada, San Jose near Almeria, Carboneras and Mojacar. We flew back to Dublin from the airport close to Murcia.
Definately our favourite city in Spain. The unique mixture of Castilian and Arabic influences is visible in the architecture, food, lifestyle. The main restaurants are open for afternoon lunches and then after 8PM for the evenings. The Old Town will keep you occupied for at least two days. Then, there are number of sites within walking distance from the Old Town (Plaza de Espana) We stayed very close to the Cathedral Santa Maria de la Sede and Alcazar Palace, thanks to our good friend Boni.
In most of the bars there is a possibility to order full dish or half portion, “tapas style”. Picture taken in one of the only few places open all day: Duplex restaurant on Calle Segovia.
One of the most spectacular sites off the Old Town is Plaza de Espana. This set up fabulous, stylish buildings come from 1929 when Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition. The location is so unique that some of the movies were filmed there: Star Wars, The Dictator :
The town is famous for its breathtaking Great Mosque of Córdoba and current cathedral, alongside the Roman bridge and the second largest Old town in Europe. It is definitely worth to see place. The prices are generally cheaper comparing to Seville, the old town is full of small cafés, bars with tables outside. It is old Roman town so from architectural point of view it is extremely interesting. Further influences of Arabic culture, Spanish Reconquista, Renaissance create mosaic of streets, buildings, mosques converted into churches. We stayed in a small, picturesque hotel in Old Town. From our experience if you drive, ask the hotel personnel where you could leave your car, most of the street parking spaces are either paid or excluded from public parking.
The Roman Bride comes from early 1st century BC.It has 16 arcades, and a total length of 247 meters. The width is around 9 meters
Mosque – Cathedral of Cordoba, also known as Mezquita. It is a medieval Islamic mosque that was converted into a Catholic Christian Cathedral
Granada is much more compact comparing to Cordoba. Although very busy and different. We stayed in a hotel in city center, very handy with visiting the town by foot. The main attraction is definitely Alhambra but there is plenty to do apart of that. Loads of small tapas bars, shops, food stores, fountains, parks. The Old town is quite hilly so it is a photographer dream. If we add the mixture of architectural styles, typical for long Andalusian history, we were delighted we chose Granada as the two day trip.
The Alhambra, also called Nasrid, “palace city” This is definitely one of the most breathtaking places we have seen in Spain. It is located on the hill with panoramic view of Granada, it is surrounded by medieval walls. The complex contains the palace, mosque, gardens, residential area. It is really well and thoughtfully designed, beautifully built and up to this day, incredibly well preserved.
We stayed in this picturesque little town for 5 days. We also used it as central base for short trip around Almeria region. This is very small but very pleasant former fishing village that over recent years had transformed into more touristic place. Still, there is this unique Spanish atmosphere with few restaurants, two medium size supermarkets, two sandy beaches and nice apartments to rent. There are no big hotels, massive carparks or anything associated with mass tourist industry. We like!
Carboneras and Mojácar:
Those two tows are very different. Mojácar is very historical picturesque little town on a top of the hill. With very nice views, little twisted roads, loads of stairs, gift shops, restaurants and bars, it has very unique and pleasant atmosphere. Carboneras on the other hand is more like a coastal touristic town with long beach and restaurants facing the sea.