Three places you shouldn't miss in Andalusia, Spain.
This article was originally published on the City Girl Network website in 2019. I reworked it for this blog in 2023.
Andalusia extends over the Southern coast of Spain and is a truly beautiful area. With its eight provinces and an absolutely stunning landscape, it should be on everyone’s European travel list. Today, I’m introducing three of the most beautiful places of the region (in my personal opinion, of course!).
Before I jump it, it is worth noting that a rental car is a necessity when exploring the most populous autonomous community of Spain. Not only if you’re planning on doing a road trip, but also if you stay in one city and want to explore other surrounding areas.
SIERRA DEL TORCAL
The Torcal mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a stunning view in every direction. The roads leading there are long and winding, so be prepared if you get carsick easily. It’s a completely free experience, and if you go off-season, chances are that not very many people are there.
The limestone rocks from the Jurassic age, around 150 million years old, have a unique pattern, which derives from times in which this site used to be completely under water (yes, really!). There is also a viewing platform with unbelievable views and three different hiking trails with varying length and difficulty.
Even if you’re not much of a hiker, I highly suggest putting your boots on and taking a walk around. A blissful few hours with no phone signal but stunning nature is guaranteed. You might even spot goats, cows or sheep! You can either explore the trails by yourself or via a guided tour, which you have to book in advance.
Whilst there is a restaurant on site, it’s not very big and doesn’t have the most extensive menu, so if you have specific dietary requirements, it’s best to bring your own snacks with you. You can always take a break on one of the beautiful rocks before you continue your walk.
Find out more on their website here.
Antequera, also known as ‘the heart of Andalusia’, is a little village not to be missed. Quaint, cobbled streets, 33 churches and a beautiful fortress on a hill with amazing views over the city centre make this place well worth a visit.
Entry to the Alcazaba of Antequera and its adjacent church, which carries the impressive title Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, is only a few Euros (I paid €7 in 2018), and there’s a free audio guide included. It’s in a rectangular shape and its keep is considered amongst the largest Moorish al-Andalus, only being trumped by the Comares Tower of the Alhambra in Granada.
Antequera is also famous for its Dolmens, another UNESCO World Heritage site. They are internationally recognised as outstanding examples of megalithic architecture and historically immensely important. Admission to the Dolmens is free and they are open almost every day of the year.
Ronda is worth a weekend trip in itself. Famous for its bullring and its bridges with the magnificent views, it’s a beautiful town with a rich history that oozes from every building. As with lots of areas in Andalusia, the Moors’ influence is present in many ways, which is super interesting.
Make sure you don’t miss the Casa Del Rey Moro, hidden away at the end of a cobbled road between shops and bars, with its hanging gardens, peacocks and the water mine. No wonder Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles spent a lot of time there and have written about Ronda’s beauty plenty of times.
Stroll through the old town with its cobbled streets and bustling places where locals and tourists alike come together for a beer, a glass of wine and some tapas and immerse yourself into a truly Spanish feel. Top tip: Before you leave, head into Sabor a España and get the caramel-coated macadamia nuts and the almond pastry filled with almond cream.
Find the Casa Del Rey Moro at Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo, 9.
Sabor a España is located at Calle Virgen de la Paz, 5, not far from the bullring.