From the misty green inlets of the north-west to the dusty south, via the rolling plains of the centre, Spain is nothing if not incredibly varied in terrain and temperature. Which is precisely what…
Planning a trip to Spain’s southernmost region and wondering what to see and do? From Huelva in the west to Almeria in the east, via the Golden Triangle of Seville, Cordoba and Granada in between, we’ve picked out just a few things that you absolutely can’t miss.
You don’t become the most visited sight in Spain for no reason. And Granada’s Alhambra Palace and its adjoining summer palace and gardens, the Generalife, are magnificent from inside and out. The history is fascinating, the architecture is astounding and the situation stunning.
It can be hard to put into words what makes this UNESCO-protected neighbourhood quite so special. Its warren of narrow streets and quiet, shady plazas are home to houses seemingly built one on top of another like an Escher sketch, keyhole doors, trickling fountains and cascading bougainvillea… it’s mystical and magnificent in equal measure.
Skiing in the Sierra Nevada
Skiing in southern Spain might seem like quite a novelty, but it’s possible from December to late April. The Sierra Nevada ski resort is only 20 minutes from Granada city centre. Once there, take the gondola up to Borreguiles, and enjoy the sun from the 124 pistes.
Plaza de España, Seville
Anibal Gonzalez’s Art Deco meets Neo-Mudejar masterpiece was the architectural highlight of Seville’s 1929 Iberian-American Expo. More recently, it’s also played a starring role as the location in many a Hollywood movie, popping up most famously in Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars: Episode III.
Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville
Seville’s oldest neighbourhood is quite simply one of the most beautiful urban areas to be found anywhere in the world. Expect vibrant coloured houses, picture-perfect squares, narrow cobbled streets and an astonishing Moorish palace, the Alcazar, sitting at the heart of it.
The Watchtowers of Cadiz
The skyline of the ancient port city of Cadiz is dotted with watchtowers. Used by merchants and traders to watch as their boats came in after long and risky Atlantic crossings, there are 126 in total that come in five different shapes. The city is also a real foodie hotspot – just ask Rick Stein – so dining out after a day of trying to spot them all is a delight.
La Caleta Beach, Cadiz
Move over Barcelona and step aside Valencia, there’s a city beach to give you a run for your money. On the Atlantic, but shielded from the wind and with crystal clear water, it’s La Caleta beach. Eat your way around this city by night and relax on its pristine sands during the day. Oh, and the sunsets are absolutely mindblowing here, too.
Vejer de la Frontera
A splash of dazzling white against a brilliant blue sky, Vejer de la Frontera in Cadiz province is one of the most picturesque towns in the whole of Spain. The light is spectacular, the dining scene is excellent, the nearby beaches are wonderfully unspoilt and the views are… astounding. (See our full pick of white villages.)
Kite Surfing in Tarifa
With the wind rolling in from the Atlantic, Tarifa is a kite-surfing mecca. After a day out on the waves, the lovely old town is laidback with a wonderfully romantic feel – slightly lonely, detached and wind-beaten – while it’s a great place to get some top-class seafood.
Beaches of the Costa de la Luz
When it comes to beaches, the Costa de la Luz’s are pretty hard to beat. Golden sand, clear sea, hip beach bars and, for much of the year, very little in the way of other people to have to share them with, they’re the best to be found anywhere in Spain.
There’s far more to Sherry than merely drinking the stuff. Visiting the bodegas of El Puerto de Santa Maria, Sanlucar de Barrameda or Jerez de la Frontera is a must-do for any wine-lover.
Setenil de Las Bodegas
There’s no two ways about it, Setenil is one peculiar place. Its defining feature is a street of typically whitewashed Andaluz-style houses that, built in the narrow cave underneath a rocky outcrop, looks for all the world as if the earth is trying to swallow it up.
Malaga has more than 30 museums, with heavyweight art galleries such as the Thyssen and Pompidou rubbing shoulders with quirky little places like the Museum of Glass. Throw in some superb dining and a vibrant nightlife, and it’s the stuff that dream city breaks are made of. (See our pick of the best art in Malaga.)
Whether you come at it from above or below, Ronda’s gorge is one of Andalucia’s most iconic sights. It’s spanned by the 18th-century Puente Nuevo, which took more than three decades to build and has a small prison cell at its heart.
Ronda Bull Ring
Love it or loathe it, bullfighting is an important part of Andalucia’s past, present and, for the time being at least, its immediate future. Questions of ethics aside, Ronda’s sweeping, double-colonnaded bullring is one of the most impressive buildings in the region. (See our guide to what to do in Ronda.)
Golf on the Costa del Sol
With over 70 courses, not for nothing is Malaga’s sun-soaked coast often referred to as the ‘Costa del Golf’. Quantity is more than matched by quality, too, with the likes of La Zagaleta, La Quinta, Finca Cortesin, Sotogrande’s Real Club de Golf and Valderrama all sitting somewhere between world-class and competition standard. (See our pick of the Costa del Sol’s best golf courses.)
Caminito del Rey, Ardales
For many years, in an advanced state of disrepair and clinging to the sides of a high gorge, this walkway was known as the ‘Most Dangerous Path in the World’. Since it was repaired and opened to the public back in 2015, the danger factor may have gone but the beauty of the surrounding scenery certainly hasn’t.
Caves of Nerja
These vast caverns on the eastern Costa del Sol are well worth a visit for their fascinating stalactites and stalagmites and intriguing prehistoric findings. In the summer, they make for a dramatic backdrop for the ballet, classical and flamenco concerts that are held here.
From perfectly preserved citadels in the towns and cities to lonely piles of crumbling rocks in the middle of nowhere, southern Spain isn’t short of a Moorish castle or two. Almeria’s 11th-century Alcazaba, though, is the biggest of the bunch and, rising above the city in a series of impressive battlements and towers, one of the very best.
Almeria’s ‘Mini-Hollywood’ has been the location of countless films, chief amongst which were the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone. It now makes for the perfect setting for small (and not so small) members of the family to play out their Clint Eastwood-style gun-slinging fantasies.
From the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada to Europe’s only desert, Andalucia is nothing if not geographically varied. A nature reserve spread out across nearly 300 square kilometers of harsh, arid land, Tabernas is one of the region’s most striking corners.
Doñana National Park
Covering a whopping 530-odd kilometers, this UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the largest nature reserve in Europe – is one of Spain’s great wildernesses. Mostly made up of marshland, it’s a top destination for birdwatchers, particularly, who come for the +300 species that can be spotted here.
Patios of Cordoba
Nothing better represents Andalucia than a plant-filled central patio. Every year in May, Cordoba has a Patios Festival where the doors are thrown open to some of its most beautiful examples.
Cordoba – By Night
There are few more romantic sights anywhere in southern Spain than Cordoba lit up at night. Standing on the far side of the river your eyes pass along the wonderful Roman bridge, and over the sparkling water of the River Guadalquivir before settling, finally, on the burnished majesty of the Mezquita. Stunning.
The least visited of Andalucia’s provinces, Jaen is the land of olives. Driving through its mile after rolling mile of dusty groves, hazy in the heat of the summer sun, is one of those quintessentially Andalucian experiences.
Across the Region
Andalucia’s greatest art form is not to be missed. But to see the real deal can be a challenge. Leaving aside the big cities’ tourist traps, you can pay to see one of the greats in a theatre and, without a doubt, you’ll see technically excellent flamenco music and dance. Authentic flamenco is more, though… it’s local, soulful, passionate and of the moment. (See our guide to where to find great flamenco.)
Eat Like a Local
Eating and drinking are not so much a pastime as a way of life in Andalucia. Stopping off in a tapas bar for, say, a slice of two of Jamón Ibérico and a glass of Sherry is as important for getting under the skin of the place as visiting any historic monument.
Inspired by our pick of the best things to see and do in Andalucia? Check out our guide to when to visit the region.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64306 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-07-23 20:56:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-23 20:56:14 [post_content] => From the misty green inlets of the north-west to the dusty south, via the rolling plains of the centre, Spain is nothing if not incredibly varied in terrain and temperature. Which is precisely what makes the range of Spanish wines produced so diverse, lively and interesting. Here’s our 101 guide to some of the top Spanish wine regions to help you explore this fabulous country through one of its very finest assets: its grapes.
Spanish Red Wines
RiojaRioja is without a doubt, Spain’s best known red. Stretching away across three valleys – the Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental – to the south of the Cantabrian Mountains, it’s a relatively small area that nevertheless packs quite a punch when it comes to global wine production. Some numbers, then: it’s Spain’s oldest wine (with written records dating back to the 9th century); there are more than 600 wineries and nearly 15,000 grape growers spread across 65,000 hectares of vineyards. Made from a variety of grapes it comes in three age classifications: Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. All are full-bodied and generally best served with food. One thing to look out for is whether the Rioja was aged in American oak, French oak or a mixture of both barrels, with each having their distinct tastes. A Rioja winery you must visit: Bodegas López de Heredia - in the town of Haro, it's one of the older wineries in La Rioja. By appointment only. More information: Lopezdeheredia.com.
Ribera del DueroThe ‘other’ great Spanish wine beginning with R. Only the best Tempranillo grapes are used to make polished Ribera del Duero wines, and there are many in Spain (and outside) who prefer the, frequently, softer more delicate taste, than that of their cousins from Rioja. Wines from Ribera del Duero are usually 100% Tempranillo and are mostly aged in French oak; they have the same age classification as Rioja (Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva). A Ribera del Duero winery you must visit: Matarromera - in the town of Valbuena del Duero, a trip to this winery can also include a visit to their museum, the EMINA Wine Museum. More information: Matarromera.es.
PrioratPriorat is probably Spanish wine’s greatest secret. With a wine growing history dating back to the 12th century, this southern Catalonian region these days produces some of the finest and fullest bodied reds in Spain… of which most people outside of Spain have never even heard. The terrain here is tough (even by Spanish wine region standards), so the vines are forced to search for water in the soil, making yield low - and prices high. The most common grape varieties used are: Garnacha, Cariñena with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. A Priorat winery you must visit: Alvaro Palacios - the name that practically singlehandedly spearheaded Priorat's ascent to the summit of Spanish wines back in the 1980s is still one of the leading wineries in the region. More information: Aseuniv.com.
Spanish White Wines
Rias BaixasOn the border of Portugal in the north-west of Spain, the Rias Baixas region of Galicia is cool, green and crisp – not unlike its white wine. The crowning glory of this wine-growing region is Albariño, which is clean, with occasional floral notes, and is absolutely ideal paired with the sublime local seafood. A Rias Baixas winery you must visit: Far from the largest, it's the setting of this family business - in the grand, fortified country house of Finca La Moreira - that makes it one the more atmospheric wineries in Spain. More information: Marquesdevizhoja.com.
CavaFrom the northeast of Spain above Barcelona, Cava is Spain’s most famous sparkling wine. Labelled with brut (dry) or semi-seco (semi sweet), Cavas can be white or rosé, and are usually made from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes. A Cava winery you must visit: Dating back to the Middle Ages, this Empordà winery certainly doesn't lack for provenance - and it's got the grand castellated headquarters to prove it. More information: Perelada.com.
SherrySherry is made from grapes grown within Cadiz's ‘Sherry Triangle’ between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa Maria in Andalucia. It comes in sweet and dry varieties. Dry Sherries like Fino or Manzanilla are crisp and acidic, and make for the perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood; Oloroso is caramel-like and nutty and goes well with meat, while medium-dry Amontillado is perfectly paired with chicken or game birds. A Sherry bodega you must visit: Bodegas Tradición is not the oldest bodega in the Sherry Triangle by a long chalk (that honour goes to Domecq), but it is one of the most insistent on traditional techniques. More information: Bodegastradicion.es.
RiojaWhite Rioja is made with Viura; sometimes on its own, other times blending with Chardonnay or Garnacha Blanca amongst others. Most white Riojas are young but are still full-bodied to taste.
Malaga WineMalaga has a long and distinguished wine-making history, with wines having been made in the region since the Phoenicians were in southern Spain, before the Romans picked up the baton. British wine merchants were sending Malaga wines back to sweet-toothed Victorians in the 19th-century. These days, made from Moscatel or Pedro Ximenez grapes, vinos de Malaga are fortified and naturally sweet. Coming in both red and white, they’re at their best served with a ripe local goats’ cheese. A Malaga winery you must visit: Bodega F. Schatz - it's entirely in keeping with the international past of the Spanish wine industry that one of the best wineries in Malaga should have been founded by a German. More information: F-schatz.com.
RuedaThe most commonly drunk white wine in Spain can be just a little disappointing to a new world white wine drinker. The Rueda region is in Castilla y Leon and its wines are usually made with Verdejo grapes. It produces very aromatic wines, often with tropical fruit and fresh grass hints, that’s fresh with just a hint of bitterness.
Things to Look Out For with Spanish WineThere are several wine classifications in Spain, each holding specific criteria. The ones to look out for are Denominacion de Origen (DO), Denominacion de Origen Calificada (DOCa, DOC or DOQ) and DO Pago (only for single winery estates). On the bottle you’ll see the words Joven, Crianza (aged at least 2 years and 12 months in oak barrels), Reserva (aged at least three years with at least 12 months in oak barrels), or Gran Reserva (aged for a minimum of two years in oak barrels, and more than three years bottled before they’re sold). Like the sound of these wine regions in Spain and want to experience some of the very best wines they produce? Stay with The Luxury Villa Collection and you can order the finest Spanish wines direct to your villa, or arrange a tasting or tour through our concierge. [post_title] => A Brief Introduction to Spanish Wines [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => spanish-wine-regions-guide [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-07-24 05:40:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-24 05:40:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=64306 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 42015 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-04-11 15:08:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-11 15:08:18 [post_content] => Sun and sand: the two things for which Nerja is most famous. And many visitors to the area don't get beyond them. Which is a shame, really, as there's much more to the area than just a great flop and drop break. From wonderful walks to fabulous fiestas and, yes, some of the most beautiful beaches around, we've picked out just a few of the very best things to do in Nerja. Happy exploring.
1. Laze on the BeachThere's a pretty solid chance that if you're after tips for what to do in in the vicinity of Nerja, then a beach day is going to be fairly high on your checklist. Thankfully, there are no fewer than 12 beaches to choose from in and around Nerja. Three of our favourites in town are Playa de Calahonda, Playa de Burriana and Playa El Chorrillo.
2. catch the sunset from the Balcon de EuropaAfter a long, lazy afternoon on the beach, there's only one place to head: the Balcon de Europa. Grab an ice-cream, saunter down to the end of the promenade and watch the sun slowly melt into the Mediterranean. Altogether now... WOW.
3. Be amazed by the caves of NerjaFunnily enough, the sun doesn't even shine in Nerja's biggest attraction. But that doesn't make it any less spectacular. The Caves of Nerja is a 5km complex of caverns that includes the largest stalagtite in the world, some Bronze Age remains and, it's thought, mankind's oldest artwork - which dates back some 42,000 years. Remarkable. (Carretera de Bajada a Playa de Maro, s/n, 29787 Nerja, open 0930/1000-1530.)
4. Go Snorkelling from One Cove to AnotherJust a mile or two to the east of Nerja the sparkling coves of the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural park stretch away. Snorkeling, sea kayaking or paddle boarding (see below) trips set off from Playa Burriana or Playa Carabeo for you to enjoy the crystal-clear sea teeming with sea life.
5. explore the coast by paddle BoardThe beaches of Nerja itself are urban, which comes with the distinct plus side of there being plenty of bars and restaurants on hand to choose from. But running away to the east is a stunningly wild, cove-lined coast that's great for exploring via paddle board. Rental and guided tours are available from Playa Burriana and Playa de Maro.
6. get out to a nearby villageVenture from Nerja and the idyllic whitewashed mountain villages of the Axarquia are within easy reach. Competa, Maro and the lovely Frigiliana (pictured) are some of the most inviting.
7. Eat Fresh Fish Cooked on a BBQ on the BeachEspetos de sardinas - sardines skewered and cooked on a BBQ until they're deliciously tender - are a local delicacy. One of the best spots to try them in Nerja is at the far westernmost end of town in Chiringuito Mauri (Playo Playazo, 29780 Nerja). Best washed down with an icy beer or two, of course.
8. walk the rio chillarEven by southern Spanish standards Nerja is surrounded by some pretty top-notch walking. Soaring above the town are the jagged peaks of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Mountains. For something just a little less adventurous, the most famous walk around Nerja is up the Rio Chillar. You follow a beautiful, ankle-cooling river as it babbles its way down from the hills, discovering narrow ravines, waterfalls and rock pools along the way.
9. Devour Baby squid at El PulguillaOK, so you don’t have to have baby squid - although we highly recommend you do - but you definitely should grab a quick tapas and a beer/wine in this stalwart of a restaurant in Nerja. Elegant fine dining it ain't, but it is a great way to experience a typical Malaga fish restaurant. (Calle Almte. Ferrándiz, 26, 29780 Nerja; 952 52 13 84)
10. View the AqueductThis 19th century aqueduct was built to supply the surrounding sugar cane factories with water. During the summer it's a sweaty 10-minute walk from the centre of Nerja, but (as you can see in the image above) it makes for a spectacular photo opportunity when you get there.
11. Pause for Thought in Ermita de las AngustiasBuilt in 1790 this church is the home of Nerja’s patron saint, Our Lady of Anguish (Plaza de la Ermita, 11, 29780 Nerja). It might not be the grandest of churches, but it is a lovely, cool little spot to catch your breath in for five minutes or so on a hot summer's afternoon.
12. Plan a Trip Around a FiestaNerja is in Andalucia. Which means, inevitably, it's a place that's serious about letting its hair down every once in a while. The five festivals that Nerja goes for in a big way are Easter, Carnival (February), San Isidro (May), Virgen del Carmen (July 16th) and the Epiphany (5th January). Nominally religious they may be, but trust us, they're also really just a good excuse to P-A-R-T-Y.
13. See Authentic FlamencoNearby Velez-Malaga has one of the most vibrant flamenco scenes in Malaga province, thanks to the efforts of local flamenco-cultural initiative, Flamenco Abierto (Flamencoabierto.com). So if you want to catch some real flamenco, as opposed to the tourist nonsense that's so often served up, the Peña Flamenca Niño de Vélez on a Friday evening is the place to head.
14. Eat at SollunBefore opening this lovely little restaurant in Nerja chef Juan Quintanilla helped put Skina in Marbella on the Michelin-starred map. As soon as you sit down, though, it's clear that Sollun is an even more personal project. If you choose to work from the short menu, the chef himself will come out of the kitchen and recommend what's particularly good that day. The tasting menu is a thing of beauty: it features a selection of dishes with a heavy local focus, each paired with a suitable wine. (Calle Pintada, 9, 29780 Nerja; 653 68 94 52) Like our pick of things to do in Nerja and looking for more recommendations on the Costa del Sol? Have a browse through a few of our favourite Marbella day trips. Alternatively, if you're after a beautiful country villa nearby, check out our Axarquia luxury villas collection, here. [post_title] => Things to Do in Nerja that You Just Can't Miss [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-to-do-in-nerja [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-01 08:13:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-01 08:13:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=42015 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) 1