Of all Marbella's many assets, one probably stands out above all others: the weather. This enclave of the Costa del Sol originally attracted the world's jet set because of its year-round good…
Each country has its beautiful cities, but in Spain they blend historic appeal, modern vivacity and a distinctly exotic quality like few others. Which can mean that when choosing which city in Spain to visit you’re often forced to cut favourites out of shortlists, such is the depth of the country’s appeal.
Thank goodness, then, for Andalucia. Spain’s southernmost region is packed with some of the country’s most fascinating cities – and here are just a few of our favourites.
Once an earthy Mediterranean port city, Malaga now has it all: culture, history, architecture, shopping, dining, nightlife and sandy Mediterranean beaches. Indeed, this is a place where you can shop, dine, visit museums and lay on the beach all in the same day.
Geographically the city is dominated by the Gibralfaro hill on which stands the Alcazaba, a fortified Moorish palace from the 11th century. A little further up, on the crest of the hill, a 14th-century castle overlooks the city and its bay amidst spectacular panoramic views.
The foot of the Gibralfaro, where a Roman amphitheatre meets the city centre, forms the point at which past and present come together. Cross the street and you enter the old town, a wonderful maze of squares, streets and pedestrian shopping areas lined with elegant buildings. Crowning this area are the cathedral, built in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, and the Picasso Museum, home to the works of Malaga’s most famous son.
A little further along is the Carmen Thyssen Museum, along with the Centre Pompidou at the stylish Muelle Uno portside shopping and entertainment area, just two of many fascinating spots in what is fast becoming one of Europe’s cultural gems. Situated between the centre and the port is a stylish boulevard flanked on both sides by a tree-lined promenade. Here stately buildings alternate with the greenery of botanical gardens, an area that gradually gives way to beaches and the ‘La Malagueta’ suburb.
Another jewel in the Andalucian crown is Granada. Settled within a broad, fertile floodplain known as the Vega, this ancient city is above all known for its association with Moorish Spain, of which the legendary Alhambra palace-fortress remains the most tangible legacy. Surrounded by fragrant gardens, the latter encompasses an entire hilltop complex.
Though most views in Granada are characterised by this hilltop sentinel framed by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada rising up behind it, the Alhambra itself looks out over the Albaicín – a charming maze of streets, squares and houses that still retains much of its medieval feel. Here you find stylish Arab-style baths and spas, Moroccan-inspired tetería tearooms and also houses whose private gardens, courtyards and rooftop terraces recall the days when this was the last Moorish capital of Andalucia.
From the rich ambience of the Albaicín, the city of Granada spreads out into an elegant baroque historic centre full of grand churches, imposing public buildings and beautiful monuments. In many ways a typically lively and impressive southern Spanish city, Granada is also the official birthplace of the tapa. So, expect many an opportunity to enjoy this very social way of dining across the many tapas bars and small restaurants that dot one of Spain’s most visited historic centres.
Straddling a curve on the Guadalquivir River, Cordoba is the embodiment of Andalucia’s glorious past. The city owes its prominent role in Spanish history primarily to its strategic location at the entrance to Andalucia. Famous leaders as diverse as Julius Caesar, Abd al-Rahman III and Ferdinand and Isabella fought to control the city at one time or another, so it’s not surprising that Cordoba has been destroyed and rebuilt more times than any other in Andalucia.
Though founded in pre-Roman times, Cordoba is above all famous for its magnificent Grand Mosque, the monumental structure that has become the symbol of the city. Surrounded by the tightly packed houses of the medieval Judería, or Jewish quarter, the mosque is one of the many architectural wonders within this corner of southern Spain, to which can be added later baroque edifices such as the Reyes Alcazares palace and the 14th-century Torre de Calahorra, which stands guard over the ancient river.
Sevilla, as it’s known locally, is the bustling capital of Andalucia, a sprawling old city full of life and sights. The city, and in particular the old quarter on the east bank of the Guadalquivir river, contains some of the finest buildings and monuments anywhere in Spain. They are the legacy of the centuries during which the riches of Central and South America flowed into Spain through the city, which at the time was not only the country’s main port but also one of the richest cities in Europe.
When you visit Seville you’re in the very heart of Andalucía, for it’s here that quintessentially Andalucian traditions such as bullfighting, flamenco music and vivacious street life come together. Bordered by the Guadalquivir river and guarded by the mighty 13th-century Torre de Oro, one of Seville’s most famous monuments and now a maritime museum, El Arenal used to be the bustling port area of the town, a district of munitions stores, artillery headquarters and shipyards. Today the quarter is dominated by the dazzling white bullring, the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, where bullfights, or corridas, have been held for the past two centuries.
Just beyond here lies one of the largest historic centres in Europe, an area that encompasses not only elegant shopping promenades but also the more tightly woven streets of an older area. Here you find the Moorish-style baths and teahouses, the stunning cathedral and its famous Giralda tower, the Reales Alcazares palatial complex and a host of quaint tapas bars and restaurants that form the heart of a lively Andalucian social scene.
Though newer, a part of Seville not to be missed is the Parque María Luisa, an architectural wonderland designed for the Ibero American World Trade Exposition of 1929. Today its magnificently creative buildings house embassies, museums, military headquarters and cultural and educational institutions. The grand five-star Hotel Alfonso XIII and crescent-shaped Plaza de España are the most striking features, but in summer the terraces of the old exposition pavilions come alive with street performers and live dance music that goes on until the early morning.
At Cadiz we’ve reached the Andalucian shore again – albeit on the Atlantic this time. Situated on a peninsula that juts out into the sea, and attached to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, Cadiz is surrounded by water on three sides. The port is in many ways different from other cities in southern Spain, its pastel-coloured houses flanking a yellow tiled cathedral that actually seems more at home in Cuba than in Spain.
The city’s position, dominating the entrance to the Mediterranean, has made it a place of great strategic importance since classical times. In fact, Cadiz is the oldest living city in Europe and a veritable archaeological treasure house. Its museums contain findings ranging from 2,500 year-old Phoenician sarcophagi to Roman statues and Moorish artefacts.
Favoured by its location, the city was long the port of call for ships returning with riches from the Spanish colonies in the Americas. Developing apace with the maritime commerce of Cadiz were the watchtowers that were built onto the flat roofs of merchants’ houses. Such was the competition among them that they employed teams of watchmen to look out for incoming ships. Numbers peaked at a little over 160 towers, 126 of which remain today. The most famous tower, the Torre de Tavira, became the official watchtower of the city in 1778, and today offers visitors a spectacular view of the entire city and its surroundings from its rooftop and its camera obscura.
From here, Cadiz is a sea of flat roofs strongly reminiscent of a North African city that seems to float in the deep blue water like a giant ship. It adds yet another dimension to the myriad sights and experiences offered up by Andalucian cities rich in history, culture, mystery and above all, life.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 177283 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2021-06-14 14:08:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-06-14 14:08:24 [post_content] => Of all Marbella's many assets, one probably stands out above all others: the weather. This enclave of the Costa del Sol originally attracted the world's jet set because of its year-round good temperatures. During the off-season months it's got its own little microclimate of warm weather. When it’s at its hottest - during July and August - there’s often a light breeze from the Mediterranean to take the edge off… perfect. So, month by month what should you do - and wear - on a trip to Marbella?
JanuaryTemperatures: The deepest darkest winter and perma-grey is what northern Europeans are used to during January. But bright blue skies and moderate temperatures of 17°C highs are the norm down in Marbella. January is the coldest of the months and has an average of 5 days of rainfall, but it definitely beats dark winter days up in northern Europe. What to pack: It’s still winter, so either side of midday there’s a chill. If you’re visiting in January you might be wanting to take in some of the incredible historic sights southern Spain has to offer. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes as a whole day strolling round a fort complex like the Alcazaba in Malaga or the Albaycin area of Granada is punishing on the soles of your feet. Layers are key and a coat is necessary for January visits. Great for… Golfers and culture vultures.
FebruaryTemperatures: Average temperate highs of 18°C and lows of 8°C February can feel cold, certainly during the evening and early morning. When the sun rises, the sheer amount of light and largely blue skies is a tonic in itself. What to pack: Much the same as January. Worth packing waterproof shoes as when it rains it really does rain. Rarely, though, does it rain for days and days in a row. But you might be unlucky enough to experience some rain during a stay in February. Great for... Active travellers. Wind surfing, kite surfing, cyclists, hikers, cavers and even canyoning for those brave enough.
MarchTemperatures: March in Marbella starts to touch on 20°C and high teens are reliable. Spring is in the air with flowers blooming. What to pack: The big blue sky is there and lunch al fresco is possible. But you’re still in trousers and a coat. Great for... Winter sun and those who want to get active. The coast is quieter but doesn't have an out-of-season vibe at all. If you want to hike the many mountainous routes, November to March is a great time to challenge yourself.
AprilTemperatures: There are days in April where it feels almost warm enough to sunbathe. Temperatures can reach 21°C and drop to an average of 11°C. Often April showers do put in an appearance. What to pack: Still pack layers and a mac is ideal for the chillier nights or the occasional rain shower. You'll find yourself pealing off the layers while sitting in the sun during lunch. Great for… Culture. April sees Easter celebrations all around Spain; these huge processions are particularly famous in southern Spain. It's one of the 'Andalucian' experiences.
MayTemperatures: The temperatures certainly reach sunbathing heat, but the sea is still a little chilly – although that doesn’t stop many going for a swim. The mountains haven’t been scorched by the summer sun yet, so they’re lush and green. May is very much like October with temperatures hovering around 24°C. What to pack: Time to wear summer dresses and shorts, but take a cover-up for the evenings. Great for… Culture vultures, early summer birders and botanists. May in Marbella is a riot of colour and a wonderful month to explore Malaga province as a whole. The beaches are quiet and the sights are still not at capacity. May marks the start of the summer season for the beach clubs as their opening parties are held during this month.
JuneTemperatures: Summer is here: June can see temperatures reach above 30°C and hit an average of 28°C. What to pack: Your best beach attire, swimwear and cooler than cool evening dress. It’s summer clothes from now on until October. Great for… Young families and empty-nesters. It’s hot but not too hot, so you’ll still have enough energy to do fun things, too. Pools and the sea can be enjoyed but earlier in the month they'll be chilly. San Juan is celebrated at the end of June with the longest day of the year. Coastal towns such as Marbella have parties on the beach and it’s the official start to the summer.
July & AugustTemperatures: When July and August hits it’s easy to see why the siesta exists. The heat can be punishing and the best place for anyone is in a pool or on the beach. Great for… Total rest and relaxation. If you’re wanting to flop and drop the height of summer is fabulous plus there’s nothing better than the feel of a Spanish town when the sun goes down in the summertime. If FOMO gets the better of you and you want to sight-see or be active, very early mornings are an absolute must.
SeptemberTemperatures: Average highs of 28°C mean that it's still beach and pool weather. The schools in Marbella tend to go back between the first and second week of September, so water parks close around this time but other theme parks stay open into the autumn. What to pack: Summer threads still. It’s hot. Great for… Families with preschool children. After the height of summer the residual heat flows into September and beach days, late nights and general summertime vibes still reign supreme.
OctoberTemperatures: Much like May the temperature drops in October to around 24°C. October often sees a bit of rain - not a lot, but there is rainfall. October is a great month for active tourism. You’d definitely want a villa with a heated pool from now until June. What to pack: Clothes-wise you’re likely to be out of the height of summer attire. Pack shorts and light trousers, as well as layers and a light jacket as the evenings can start to become chilly. Great for… Multi-gen families, golfers, hikers and culture vultures.
November & DecemberTemperatures: November sees average temperatures of 20°C, and December a little lower at 17°C. What to pack: Winter clothes and an umbrella. The sky will likely be blue but until midday it can feel cool. A light-weight jumper can be worn during the day especially if you’re lunching in the sun. The umbrella is just in case. Great for… Golfers, sightseers and northern Europeans who are wanting to escape the perma-grey. Still can't decide which month is perfect for you? Check out our When to Visit Andalucia post for more tips on what to do during each month. If you'd like to look for availability, our Marbella villa pages can help you. [post_title] => Marbella Weather [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => marbella-weather [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-21 17:22:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-21 17:22:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=177283 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 139603 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_content] => Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to see and do for our guide to hidden Andalucia...
If the bird's eye view of the inside of the cathedral looks spectacular, then to cap it off you emerge outside with 360-degree rooftop views of Malaga. [email protected]
Visit Malaga Cathedral's Roof
The top tip of Lindsay Gregory, Director of The Luxury Villa Collection: “Stroll around Malaga historic centre, take a hammam at Mammam Al Andalus and finish with cocktails at a rooftop bar.” https://malaga.hammamalandalus.com/en/
RELAX IN A HAMMAM
A rather lovely town with a Moorish fortress complex and no fewer than 30 churches. Don’t miss having tapas in the impressive Plaza de los Escribanos.
Meander in Antequera
Just outside Antequera, these are some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe. Museosdeandalucia.es
Visit Three 5000-year-old Dolmens
The ruins of a 9th-century church carved out of rock are the highlights of a larger fortified town complex. Anything 9th century and still standing is incredible in our books.
Wonder at a 9TH Century Church – Bobastro
A house with a garden in the Albayzin (the oldest part of Granada city) is known as a Carmen. These Carmens look out towards the Alhambra Palace, often have wooden balconies, plant-filled patios, babbling water features and decorative tiles.
Nose Around the Carmens of Granada's Albayzin
This 17th-century abbey and college comes complete with holy caves/ancient catacombs. The view of Granada alone is worth the walk.
Visit the Abbey of Sacromonte, Granada
This village has stately houses gripping onto the edge of a gorge, cobbled streets and spa credentials. Our top tip is to escape the summer heat in Granada and visit Alhama – it has a unique microclimate where summer nights cool to a comfortable level.
Take a day trip to Alhama de Granada and its Natural Hot Springs
Once part of several fortifications, the castle that sits on this tiny island dates back to the 13th century.
Find Out the Mysteries of the Island of Sancti Petri, San Fernando, Cadiz
This pristine white village, sitting high on a rocky hilltop, really comes into its own at sunrise and dusk. Aside from the dramatic light, there are lovely boutique shops, great restaurants and, during the summer, look out for their candlelight festival.
Experience the Beautiful Light in Vejer de la Frontera
While it's got a great beach with some decent Atlantic surf, it’s the laidback-hip bar vibe in El Palmar that makes it stand out from other stretches of southern Spain's coast.
Surf and Sip in El Palmar
David, chef at De Tako's top tip is, “One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food and an even better way is to enjoy perfectly cooked food is in an incredible setting surrounded by friends". We entirely agree – hire a private chef at your villa for the ultimate in convenience.
HIRE A Private Chef
One of our top hidden foodie treats in Andalucia is delicious Retinto beef from Cadiz. Much is spoken about fried fish, olives and olive oil, jamón ibérico and Sherry but this meaty option is also a real gastro-standout.
Taste Riotinto Beef
Hire a boat and hit the sea - you’ll almost inevitably come across a pod of dolphins in the Mediterranean.
Take to the Sea – Dolphin Watch
This forgotten about 12th-century arched gateway and wall was the main entrance into Seville, and is certainly off the beaten path.
Puerta de Macarena/Walls of Seville
You'll never have experienced a bar like Garlochí, a homage to Easter in Spain. All year round there's incense burning and procession music playing – they call it the cathedral of bars. Don’t miss their signature cocktail: Grenadine, whisky and Cava.
Drink at a Bar Dedicated to Easter in Sevilla
There’s a succession of beautiful waterfalls running over some interesting limestone formations in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Nature Park.
Wild Swimming at Cascadas de Hueznar in Seville Province
Fiona Flores Watson, Telegraph Travel Writer and Seville resident recommends: “The summer outdoor concerts held in the Alcazar Palace… a magical setting for live jazz, flamenco or classical music by moonlight.” Alcazarsevilla.org
SEE LIVE MUSIC IN THE ALCAZAR PALACE
The castle of Castillo de Almodovar del Rio was built in 740. You can join theatrical tours, do some medieval combat training or spooky storytelling. Castillodealmodovar.com
Visit Highgarden, the Tyrell’s House in Game of Thrones
Manni Coe of Toma & Coe Tours' top tip is: “One of the most consistently excellent restaurants I know in Andalucia is located on a little-known street, in the little-known town of Lucena. It's called Tres Culturas and it's also a handy stop off en-route to Cordoba." Tresculturasrestaurante.com
TRAVEL TO EAT AT TRES CULTURAS
In the Sierra de Cazorla natural park this castle was built at the start of the 16th century. A beautiful monument in an even more beautiful part of the world.
Marvel at the Castle of Iruela, Jaen
The colours of autumn over the vast landscape of rural Huelva is the perfect way to disconnect. Local people flock here to experience the change of the season.
Reconnect with Nature and See Autumn in Aracena
This breath-taking beach near the charming village of San Jose feels like another world.
Genoveses beacH in Cabo de Gata, Almeria
A bit of a cheat but do a tour…
Our top 5 are: Most unusual is in Segura de la Sierra in Jaen province: this square bullring is the old courtyard of a castle and was built in the 18th century. Ronda bullring is the second oldest and the biggest. Seville bullring is the oldest; Antequera's is famed for appearing in Madonna’s Take a Bow video; Mijas has spectacular views and is simply charming. Archidona usually erects a bullring inside its eight-sided main square during the summer season. Like this and want to know more about visiting southern Spain? Check out our 50 things to do in Andalucia and our guide to the five best cities to visit in Andalucia [post_title] => Hidden Andalucia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hidden-andalucia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=139603 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) 1
See Andalucia through its Bullrings