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  • The Alhambra Palace, Granada

    The Alhambra Palace, Granada

 Andalusia in five days

Andalusia is an essential destination for holidays in Spain. You really have to visit the south, because it’s home to some of the world’s most famous historic sites, a really delicious culinary tradition, unique Arab heritage, picture postcard villages of whitewashed houses, a wealth of shops selling artisan products, and a bustling street life with a cheerful atmosphere you won't find anywhere else.

Andalusia is the second largest region of Spain. It measures 500 kilometres from end to end, so if you have just five days and you want to explore the region as an independent traveller, your best bet is to hire a car and concentrate on a few of its most famous cities.

Day 1: Málaga

We suggest beginning your journey in Malaga, a lively city and beach resort on the Costa del Sol which makes an ideal starting point. As well as seeing the city, if you plan to spend more time there, you can always spend at least a day soaking up the sun on one of its 16 beaches, such as La Malagueta.

Alcazaba fortress in Malaga
Alcazaba fortress in Malaga

The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle

You could start the day in the old town centre, setting off from Plaza de la Constitución. A pleasant walk takes you to the Cathedral, built on the site of the mosque in the former Arab city. The locals call it “La Manquita” (the amputee) because the southern tower is missing. After that, you could visit the area around the Roman Theatre and the Alcazaba, which was the fortress and palace of the Muslim rulers.
Next, however little time you have, the must-see landmark in Malaga is Gibralfaro Castle on its hilltop, with spectacular views of the city and the coast. If you aren’t driving, the easiest way to get there is to take the 35 bus from Paseo del Parque.
Andalusian gazpacho
Andalusian gazpacho

An afternoon of museums and shopping on Calle Larios

After lunch - we suggest local dishes like gazpacho or tiny fried fish - you could spend the afternoon in one of Malaga’s famous museums (the Carmen Thyssen Museum, the Picasso Museum… Did you know the famous painter Pablo Picasso was born here?). Another option is a visit to the famous shopping street Calle Larios.

Views from Muelle Uno
Views from Muelle Uno

On the way to the port

Before it gets dark, this is a good time to visit the harbour area and La Farola (a 200-year-old lighthouse), a symbol of the city, which fabulous views from the top. The Centre Pompidou is close by, as is Muelle Uno, a shopping area where you can make any last-minute purchases. As night falls, what could be better than dinner in one of the restaurants by the sea?