Romantic Cities of Andalucia
When deciding where to build my dream project, I took a map of Andalucia and drew an area bang smack in the middle. I have always liked to be in the centre of the action and I wanted my future guests to have access to the main events in this most magnificent part of Europe. Thus, from your base in Cartajima you can explore most of the romantic cities of Andalucia on a day trip.
Your guidebooks and the internet will give you the lowdown on all these places, so I will limit my information to titbits of trivia.
Sevilla – the capital city
Distance from Cartajima: 120 km
Most famous icon is the Giralda, the Moorish minaret which now forms part of the Catholic cathedral, one of the three biggest in the world. Contains a grandiose memorial to Columbus whose bones may or may not be there. It’s a mystery! Sevilla is famous for its sombre Easter celebrations, closely followed by its exuberant Feria. Plethora of interesting historical bits – the Jewish Quarter, the Torre del Oro which at one time was a counting house for all the gold coming in from the New World, and much more. And tapas! Fabulous and fun – a tapa crawl is better than a restaurant for lunch. Sevilla is an expensive destination so, if you get an early start from Cartajima, you will have plenty of time to see the sights and get back home in time for dinner.
Cadiz – the oldest Spanish city
Distance from Cartajima: 120 km
The oldest continuously occupied city in Spain (some say in Europe), founded by the Phoenicians, occupied by Romans, Moors, Visigoths and the place where Drake singed the King of Spain’s beard. Wonderful archaelogical museum, the best fish restaurant I have ever eaten at – El Faro (enter at the bar side rather than the restaurant – much more fun), a maze of beautiful plazas and narrow streets. Globally infamous Carnaval – don’t go without a costume! One of my favourite cities as it is not touristy – everybody heads for nearby Sevilla.
Jerez – home of sherry
Distance from Cartajima: 100 km
A fun city with a well-evolved cafe culture. The usual Andalucian historic monuments dating from Roman, Moorish, etc. Many bodegas to visit where you can learn about, and sample the results of, the solera method for producing the sherry wines. If you are into horses, you must see the dancing horses show.
Malaga – founded by the Phoenicians
Distance from Cartajima: 90 km
A much overlooked city. Even we who live here, dismiss it as a bureaucratic centre and an airport. But it is more than that and has much to offer the discerning traveller. Wikipedia sums it up: “The archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras make the historic center of the city an “open museum”, displaying its rich history of more than 3,000 years.” Quite right. Smart, modern Malaga centres on Calle Larios off which spider alleys with amazing tapa bars – another excellent reason to linger a while. Picasso was born here and now there is a museum to him in a beautiful old building. I’m not into necrotourism, but, the English Cemetary with some famous old bones was built in the 19th century as protestant bodies were not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground but had to buried on the beach at night during low time, upright, and looking at the sea. Apparently.
Cordoba – ornament of the world
Distance from Cartajima: 160 km. Bit far for a daytrip although some intrepids have done it. But don’t miss it when you come to Andalucia.
The brightest star in the Andalucian firmament. The magnificent mosque (some insist that it is a cathedral now) created by the Moors is a must-visit. Cordoba is a poignant reminder that there, for a short while, the three main religions of the book lived in harmony. The Casa de Sefarad, the Jewish museum, tells the other side of the story. The famous flower-filled patios. The Roman bridge and Moorish waterwheels that the Queen said gave her a headache and had them stopped. She had just conquered Spain for the Christians so perhaps it was understandable. Wonderful city. But very hot in summer as my friend, Penny, can attest.
Granada – the Alhambra
Distance from Cartajima: 170 km. Good train service from Ronda giving you time to see the sights and get back home for dinner.
Granada is synonymous with the Alhambra. Not just a palace but magnificent gardens, incredible plasterwork, an amazing statement, and the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain. Don’t miss the beautiful stroll down the Paseo de los Chinos to the Moorish quarter, the Albaicin. And don’t forget that reservations are necessary – can be made online via Ticketmaster.es