August 28, 2016 by: Diana Beach
Andalucian Triple-Jump to Morocco
Researching where to go, what to see and where to stay on your Andalucian adventure? Here we outline a journey and five special places to stay, all managed by their caring owners and taking you to key areas in the Western Mediterranean. Some lodgings are off-the-beaten track, others are in the thick of the action.
Fly to Malaga and head straight for Finca Los Pinos (35 minutes only), a friendly guesthouse set amidst olive and almond groves. Terry and Julie will give you a fine welcome; you will be sipping a glass of something cool in no time at all. They can give you useful information about the area. A two-night stay gives you the opportunity to try two choices from their delicious “Egg Menu”!
Must sees include:
- El Torcal, famous for its impressive limestone rock formations. Orchids galore. Walking routes. Cafe, museum
- the Dolmens of Antequera – 5000 year old megalithic burial chambers, some of best in Europe
- Antequera, a wonderful non-touristy town with ancient roots: Roman, Moorish, fabulous fruit and veg market, lunch at Meson Adarve
- and much more
Next day continue your journey of exploration. Drive past Ronda for now and on to the little pueblo blanco (Andalucian white mountain town) of Cartajima and Hotel Los Castaños. Driving time about an hour. The Alto Genal valley is unknown, undiscovered by tourists – unlike Ronda which is bustling.
After settling in to your luxurious accommodation, you might enjoy a walk through the pristine countryside. John will give you detailed notes tailored for the amount of time you wish to walk. In the evening enjoy one of Di’s delicious dinners which focus on Western Mediterranean cuisine – Spanish and North African mixture.
Next morning after a sustaining breakfast, back on the road to explore Ronda, a busy destination but well worth a day’s meanderings. Di and John will provide you with maps and details of their Ronda walk so you won’t miss any of the important sites. And recommended places to eat. Return to the hotel for dinner or stay in Ronda and sample the gastrotapas!
Must sees while staying near Ronda:
- Hotel Los Castaños will give you a self-guided walk which takes you through the old town. Especially:
- Arab baths. Best preserved in Spain. At the same time book a session at the modern equivalent almost next door.
- the Tajo, the gorge that is the symbol of the town with its dramatic Puente Nuevo
- Whatever you feel about bullfighting the museum attached to the bullring is fascinating
- descend the 231 steps of La Mina to the river below, source of water in Islamic times
- drive to Acinipo, the old Roman town with 1 AD ruins of a theatre, baths and houses
Start day five by driving to Tarifa, the most southerly point of continental Europe. There’s a castle, a busy town with many dining choices, and Dar Cilla where you will stay in one of their charming and stylish self-catering apartments run by the extraordinary Zoe, a fascinating wordly well-travelled woman who will join you for wine on her roof terrace in the evening. The views are truly spectacular across the straits of Gibraltar to Morocco and the other Pillar of Hercules.
Must sees while staying in Tarifa:
- Guzman Castle
- Baelo Claudia, Bolonia. 2nd C AD Roman town. Fascinating.
- migrating storks
- whale watching
- the bustling town of Tarifa with its plethora of interesting little shops and cafes
- play in the huge Atlantic waves at nearby El Palmar
- Dinner at one of Tarifa’s many dining venues. Zoe and Martina will help you choose where to go to suit your tastes.
When you make your 2-night * reservation at Dar Cilla, mention that you would like to go to Tanger for two nights and would like a guide. Martina will make the arrangements for you. Said, their fabulous polyglot guide will meet you in the port at Tanger after the short ferry crossing. Go as pedestrians. Leave the car in Spain: too complicated to take it and unnecessary. Said will show you around Tanger, leave you at the fabulous restaurant Le Saveur du Poisson for lunch where I had perhaps the best meal of my life and escort you around the Medina and Kasbah.
* High season July – mid-September 3-night minimum stay
Must sees in Tanger:
- stroll the Medina and Kasbah
- the weavers’ market
- the English church with the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic
- ride a camel just for the heck of it!
- and so much more to choose from
Your accommodation in Tanger must be La Tangerina where you will be treated to the finest Moroccan hospitality and feel perfectly safe. On your second day, take a trip to Asilah (Riad Tangerina can arrange a taxi for you) just 30 km from Tanger. It’s a small coastal town, friendly, accessible, lovely artists’ colony. No guide necessary. Four or five hours including a lunch stop. Chez Garcia is our recommendation.
Must sees in Asilah:
- The Medina with its many artisans
- City walls and gates (Bab in Arabic)
- The Puerto for lovely views of the Atlantic
- relaxed, no-hassle shopping in the many small shops
- the wall murals are a photographer’s delight
- Return to La Tangerina for the night and back on the ferry to Spain next morning.
8 days of wonderful varied sights, sounds, sensations. A truly Western Mediterranean adventure with the added pleasures of wonderful food all along the way and interesting insights into the culture and history of the area. For best deals, always book directly with the hotel and not an OTA.