The south of Spain in July is for those who love scorching hot sun. I adore warmth and sun-kissed brown skin, so spending eight days in the province of Málaga was dreamy. If you love sunbathing, but also enjoy mountain views, exploring small, traditional white-washed villages and, let’s not forget, if you are a food lover, this part of Spain and its Spanish food will enchant you.
While in Málaga, go to the Castle of Gibralfaro, which will provide you with magnificent views overlooking Málaga’s port and the city itself. It’s a bit of a climb, but the views from the top are definitely worth the effort. Built by the Arabs in the 10th century, and later conquered by Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, the castle is a must-go place! Its Arabic architecture, colourful mosaics, and the monumental character is truly amazing.
I have never aimed to provide too much historical detail in my blog posts because first of all, I’m not a historian, and second of all, if you actually go there, you’ll find out yourself.
‘Puente nuevo’ – translated to ‘New Bridge’ – is the main attraction in this traditional Spanish village. While standing on the 19th century bridge you can admire breathtaking views of the gorge.
Ronda, originally of Roman origin, was conquered by Muslims and Islamic reign remained until 1485, influencing the village’s architecture and life.
Mosaics can be seen especially in the gardens of Casa Del Rey Moro, the Water Mine, which is of great importance to the town. It was the only source of water in medieval times and it was where the native inhabitants of Ronda regained power over the Muslims again. In order to go down to the gorge, you need to take a staircase with 231 steps. The tunnel is dark and the steps are slippery, so you definitely need to be fit!
Just strolling around Ronda’s cobbled streets and admiring the views is a pleasant experience. Another attraction is one of the the oldest bullfighting rings in Spain, called Plaza de Toros de Ronda. It was closed at the time I visited Ronda due to COVID-19, but even if it had been open I would never buy a ticket to watch Corrida. I’m obviously against using animals and making them stressed or hurt just for human entertainment.
A traditional Spanish village with white-washed houses, colourful flower pots, artisan hand-made pottery, omnipresent pink flowers and stunning views over the Fuengirola coastline which will steal your heart.
However, there’s one thing in Mijas that actually broke my heart – a donkey taxi. It is a popular tourist attraction in the village due to the fact that it is quite hilly. When you see those poor animals pulling tourists in the scorching heat, the only thing that comes to your mind is to tell those people (excuse my language), move your lazy arse! Use your feet (and brain!) instead of propagating animal cruelty!
A posh seaside resort with lovely beaches, expensive boutiques and a yacht harbour for multimillionaires, Marbella a place for those who like a little bit of luxury. If you prefer to see something a bit more historical, it’s worth going to Marbella’s Old Town to see its narrow, colourful streets and eat in one of the tapas bars.
El Torcal and Antequera
These places are a bit of a longer drive from Málaga and also on a route with lots of curvy corners, so make sure you are driven by the talented driver – fortunately I have one, because I would be too scared to drive on those winding roads myself! We didn’t spend much time in Antequera, so I can’t recommend anything to visit there, but it was on the way to El Torcal, our destination, and it’s really enchanting.
El Torcal is a natural reserve of limestone rocks formed in an original layered way. While walking around, you have this surreal feeling of walking on the moon. It’s a must-see and it’s on the UNESCO heritage list. Remember to take walking shoes with you and some water.
Well, first of all try tapas. This is traditional little portions of snacks to go with a refreshingly cold cerveza (beer) or vino (wine). Cheese, cold cuts, chorizo, marinated fish, whatever you fancy you’ll find in a Spanish tapas bar.
Tortilla – Spanish omelette
Ensalada Rusa – Russian salad (root vegetables with boiled eggs, tuna and mayo)
Paella – with seafood or chicken
Make sure the paella is home-made. We had to wait 30 minutes for ours, but it was a good sign!
Fried aubergines with honey
Orange, lemon and other naturally grown trees.
As a person from the northern part of Europe, I get excited seeing citruses growing in the streets. Do you?
I’m pretty sure that you’ll find whatever suits your holiday preferences in the province of Malaga. If it’s lying on the beach, sightseeing or climbing mountains, this region of Málaga has it all. I hope the pandemic will be over soon and my review has encouraged you to go there!
We were lucky people who managed to go on holiday to Spain just before the quarantine was introduced by the UK government. We felt safe there because people were wearing masks in all indoor spaces and respected social distancing. There were very few tourists, so I can only call myself lucky!