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images of Nerja and Malaga
images of Nerja on the Costa del Sol

About Andalucía

With strong Islamic roots and a history of unrelenting poverty, Andalucía is perhaps the least European part of Western Europe. But the region's heritage is Spanish as well as Moorish. It gave us Velazquez, Picasso, and Federico García Lorca, and is also a hotbed of flamenco, fiesta and the bloody local sport, bullfighting. The Islamic palaces, picturesque little villages, ragged mountains and endless coastline make it an exotic and stunning place. Happy hours start at midnight and the cities of Seville and Málaga have a kicking nightlife. You can party, hike, sunbathe and sightsee: It's no wonder Andalucía is such a holiday hotspot.

...the Romans' successors, the Visigoths, were ousted in 711 by a Moorish invasion that was to begin four centuries of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula. In their main cities (Córdoba, then Seville, then Granada), the Muslims built beautiful palaces, mosques and gardens, established large markets and founded universities. Al-Andalus, the name given to the Muslim territories, became the most civilised society in medieval Europe. 1482, the Reconquista, led by husband-and-wife team Isabel and Fernando (the Catholic monarchs of Castile and Aragón-Catalunya), launched a crusade on the last Muslim stronghold of Granada, finally conquering the province in 1492.

-Lonely Planet Spain

More information on places to stay and things to do from

Las Alpujarras

When one looks south from Granada across the red towers of the Alhambra one sees a range of mountains known as the Sierra Nevada which have snow on them all the year around. This is the famous view, so endlessly reproduced on picture postcards, which brings the tourists to Andalucia in the Spring. But forget the Alhambra, forget the nightingales, and consider only the mountains. They are high enough to boast of having small glaciers, and if you cross them you will come to a broad, hollow country, very broken and separated from the sea by a coastal range. It is this country, which until quite recently could only be explored on foot or mule-back. This is the Alpujarras.

-Gerald Brenan - South from Granada (1957)

More information Places to stay
  • Rustic Blue (+34 958.76.33.81) offers bookings of holiday homes, hotels, and hostels throughout Andalucía, away from the beaches.
  • Global Spirit (+34 971.32.51.11) does the same, but only for Las Alpujarras
  • For the more adventurous, the Balcon de Pitres (+34 958.76.61.11) is a campsite that also rents cabins, about 10 km from Capileira.


... Granada has plenty to offer the visitor. The Alhambra palace is a must-see. Set against the stunning Sierra Nevada, and surrounded by cypress and elms, it's an escape into Granada's Moorish past. Back in Granada itself is Albayzín, the old Muslim quarter. Islamic ramparts, cisterns, gates, fountains and houses remain, and many of the churches are built on the sites of Islamic buildings. The gothic/Renaissance cathedral has an interesting and roomy interior. Various Catholic monarchs are buried in the adjoining Capilla Real (Royal Chapel). If you fancy shopping, the former Muslim silk exchange, Alcaicería, just southeast of the chapel, is full of temptations...

-Lonely Planet Spain

More information and articles Things to do
  • Reserve an advance ticket (+34 913.46.59.36) and tour the Alhambra
  • Book a relaxing massage or just go and soak at the Hammam (Arabic Baths) (Calle Santa Ana 16, ph: 958.22.95.16).
  • Pay homage to the site of Heidi and Simon's first meeting with a cerveza and tapas at Taberna 22 in the Albaicín
  • Visit the best bar in town, La Brujidera-Casa de Vinos at Monjas del Carmen, n°2

Málaga and the Costa Tropical / Costa del Sol

The mild winter climate and almost-guaranteed summer sunshine have made this razzle-dazzle stretch of Mediterranean shoreline known as the Costa del Sol a year-round attraction. From the harbor city of Algeciras it stretches east to the port city of Almeria. Sandwiched in between is a steep, rugged coastline set against the Sierra Nevada. You'll find poor to fair beaches, sandy coves, whitewashed houses, olive trees, lots of new apartment houses, fishing boats, golf courses, souvenir stands, fast-food outlets, and widely varied populations-both human and vegetable.

-Frommers Spain

...Málaga is a vibrant, Spanish city with a real southern port atmosphere. It's the second largest city in Andalucía and first stop in the region for many. With pretty old streets, leafy boulevards and lush gardens the city is a lovely place to explore.

A walk along the main boulevard, Alameda Principal, will take in the elegant 18th-century Palacio de la Aduana (Customs House), the early 20th-century Antiguo Correos (Old Post Office) and the stunning 20th-century neo-baroque City Hall. For earlier history check out the baroque/Gothic/Renaissance cathedral, built on the site of the former main mosque. It's called La Manquita (the One-Armed), as the southern tower was never completed. Alcazaba was the palace-fortress of Málaga's Muslim governors. With two rings of walls, numerous defensive towers and staggered entrances, it's an impressive sight. You can wander around the parts that have been restored.

Numerous festivals year-round allow Andalucians to indulge their love of colour, crowds, music, historical plays and general showing off. The Feria de Málaga (August 8-18, 2003) is the pinacle of all the summer fairs.

-Lonely Planet Spain

Articles Things to do
  • Try the paella cooked over wood fires at Ayo's on the Playa Burriana in Nerja.
Places to stay
  • Costa Holidays is one of many agencies that books vacation rentals on the Costa del Sol
  • has agency and private owner listings for vacation rentals.