A good value, friendly hotel. Convenient location with only a short walk to bars, restaurants or public transport, including the Alhambra bus that you will be catching early, if you forgot to buy tickets in advance!
The hotel is calm and quiet and has a nice central courtyard with a fountain (everywhere in Granada seems to have some sort of flowing water and it is surprisingly soothing I think).
It is possible to reserve parking space in a private carpark. It was unusually cold whilst we stayed there and we were glad of the tea-making facilities and bath, though neither felt like a very spanish touch to the room!
A great tapas bar/store on the edge of Elvira (so it is convenient for late nights). A deli by day, you can sample local wines by the glass, each with free tapas- carefully made by the young team.
Order a tabla mixta and you won't need to eat any more, all night! If you want foodie souvenirs they also sell a wide range of local specialities, fresh and dried as well as wines and liqueurs. It is a surprisingly buzzy and friendly place and very popular with locals.
Calle Elvira 150
Tel: 958 270 245
After an energy-sapping morning soaking up the rays on Valdevaqueros beach - one of the best along the Costa de la Luz - try lunching at the minute hotel perched on the dunes behind a surf school and shop. Enjoy the typically Tarifan hippy-chic vibe, sitting at oversized wooden tables under generous shady bamboo cover and their delicious array of hearty, green salads and fresh fruit juices make a welcome break after a night of tapas indulgence.
A Spanish Cordoban house from the 12th century al-Andalus period. This house that represents all the subtleties of the period has been turned into a museum. It's designed to bring out the influence of the Muslim al-Andulus throughout European civilization, and includes inventions from the Muslim era and objects from their daily articles are also on display.
Museo de Salma en la Calle Judíos de la Judería de Córdoba
Directora- Salma Garaudy
Calle Judíos, 12, 14004, Córdoba.
Telf. y Fax- 957 29 06 42, llamadas nacionales, o 34,57 29 06 42, llamadas internacionales.
Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla? Of course. But try Almeria, a city with friendly people, wide avenues, an impressive alcazaba, a fortified cathedral and a long beach.
And, if you don't know where to stay or eat, look no further than the Plaza de las Flores, a Torreluz hegemony. In this tiny square (no flowers I'm afraid) Torreluz gives its name to a four-star hotel, a two-star hotel (which we thought very good value for money, but try and get a room overlooking the square), a separate block of apartments, an upmarket restaurant, a very acceptable modern cafeteria where guests of the two-star hotel take their breakfasts (which were very good) and, best of all, a traditional bodega full of atmosphere and people, who spilled out onto the square, serving good value and good quality dishes. All you want in one square right in the centre of town.
Plaza de las Torres, near Puerta de Purchena, the main square, Almeria. Torreluz enterprises etc
Cádiz is famous for its historical watchtowers, the tallest of which, at 45 metres above sea level, is the Torre Tavira, right in the centre of town near the market. Today it houses an attraction unique in Spain, a Camera Obscura. This projects a brilliant 360 degrees moving picture of the town and port onto a large circular table-screen around which visitors sit whilst a guide points out all the main buildings, squares, streets, beaches and docks. Moe fascinating, and fun, is to see the ordinary life of the town in extraordinary detail - people shopping, washing hanging out in gardens, bathers in the sea, even seagulls perched on chimneys. The 15 minute show is really quite remarkable.
Torre Tavira, calle Marques de Real Tesoro 10, Cadiz.
tel. 956 21 29 10
A 40 minute boat trip across the bay from Cadiz is the pretty town of El Puerto de Santa Maria. Tucked away in a side street amongst imposing old mansions and sherry bodegas is the typical Andalucian town house where Rafael Alberti was born. It is now a bright, modern museum dedicated to the life and works of this poet, playwright, painter and statesman.
In the light, attractive galleries you can see much of his colourful work, including his vividly illustrated poetry, look at interesting old newspaper cuttings and photos and read much of his correspondence, a great deal of which concerns his long exile from Sapin under Franco, his triumphant return in 1977 and the many prizes and honours he gained thereafter. This permanent exposition is a fabulous record of the life of one of the most important and fascinating figures in modern Spanish history.
Fundacion Rafael Alberti, calle Santa Domingo 25, El Puerto de Santa María
tel. 956 85 07 11
This restored Arabian bathhouse down a tiny alley in the Santa Cruz district is the perfect escape from the baking afternoon heat. It's mixed, and you can bring your own bathers. After cold mint tea in the relaxation room you are invited to dip into each of the three pools (warm, hot and then cold), steam yourself in the hammam, relax in the whirpool and then float gently in the salt pool.
A soothing, indulgent atmosphere is created by the glistening white of the marble, and the illuminated blue water that plays patterns across the dark red plaster walls, faded wooden ceilings and archways. Your journey through the baths is guided by shimmering scented candles and Arabic lamps. Visits last for 90 minutes but you must book ahead, as they limit numbers due to its popularity. It is open until midnight, if you fancy a late dip.
Aire de Sevilla, Calle Aire 15
A quiet and friendly hotel despite its central location (it literally is about 50m from the cathedral and main street). There are only 12 rooms in this old building, which have been renovated in a modern style with dark wood and white furnishing, and very sleek bathrooms. If you get a superior room you may be lucky to get one of the two rooms on the top floor, which have outdoor patios giving stunning views of the cathedral. The staff here are genuinely friendly and helpful, and it's a great place to stay.
Restaurant & tapas bar serving delicious local food in traditional patio. Exquisite 'salmorejo' (thick gazpacho), 'Flamenquin' (special rolled sausage), melt in the mouth bull's tail stew (rabo de toro), shellfish salad (Salpicon de mariscos) etc. Really friendly owner (3rd generation at La Fragua) and staff and all for around 22E per head.
Restaurante La Fragua
Calleja del Arco, s/n, 14003
Traditional Córdobese food at good prices.
Tel: 00 34 957 484 572
This site will tell you all you need to know about Semana Santa in the major cities of Andalucia.
I've been looking at the guide to Malaga and it is great. You can see animated maps of the brotherhood routes by day and times and excellent descriptions of where they go and what happens. One of the best travel sites I've seen.
Don't follow the crowds. Come instead to idyllic Isla Canela on the Portuguese border, 90km from Seville. 7km of uncrowded golden sands, terrific range of bars and restaurants, attractive marina. An exclusive resort set amongst natural spaces and in easy distance of delightful Andalucian villages, chief of which is the little Andalucian pueblo of Ayamonte, with palm fringed squares, cobbled streets, tapas bars and historic buildings. An hour from Donana National Park, teeming with indigenous wildlife. Less than 40 minute drive to 6 top-flight golf courses.
Excellent modern Spanish restaurant near Santa Catalina. The menu is interesting (and there's a helpful English translation behind the bar if you ask). The food is very tasty and well prepared. The special house red is amazing and I'm gutted to have forgetten the name already. Child-friendly. Excellent and non-prententious service. Very reasonably priced. I would go back!
Dona Maria Coronel, 17
Seville: 954 215 804
A fantastic tapas bar on (surprise-surprise) Alfalfa. Great Italian-style tapas, great wine, great service, laid-back and good music. Amazingly good value for money.
Also appears to have a slightly unusual resident transvestite.
Don't go for pudding at Tuereg over the road - it's dreadful!
Calle Alfalfa, 6
Ocana is a bar/restaurant/ bocadilleria/pizzeria. It's an interesting place with friendly staff, and away from the main tourist areas.
The thing that made it special when we visited (about 5 years ago) was that it was still serving tapas in the traditional way - with every beer, you get a free snack, each one different. The chef was a bit perplexed when we got up to our ninth beer one night!
Parts of the building are pretty old, and the staff were proud to show us around the areas that weren't in use at the time when they saw we were interested.
The patron is a great supporter of local musicians, and eagerly told us (despite very limited English) about a recital of flamenco guitar and singing that was taking place nearby.
If you don't speak Spanish, take a phrase book and be prepared to use it!
Plaza del Realejo, 1
Tel: 958 25 64 70
Wander around the narrow streets - impossible to get really lost as it's surrounded by the sea. Take lunch at Flores - sharpen your elbows and watch out for the old people, they take no prisoners when it comes to getting a table! Mixed fried fish/seafood is what they do and they do it really well. Relax on the city's beach and then check out the cathedral. Don't worry if you can't understand the locals - even the Spanish find the accent tough.
Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona is located on the Costa del Sol (also known as the sunny coast of Andalusia) and despite what you may think about this particular area, this holiday proved to be one of the most enjoyable spa breaks I’ve had.
The hotel has everything a frequent spa-goer wants including a Medico resort plus a Wellness and Beauty Centre. The resort is also set within huge acres of gardens and with views of Malaga, Gibraltar and the African Coastline this is almost another treatment in itself!
The spa destination is just 2kms from Estepona and 18km from Marbella so as well as enjoying all the treatments that were part of my holiday package, you can venture out from the hotel and explore the surrounding area.
This is definitely a place I would revisit when in need of that extra boost of sun and spa indulgence and I also recently discovered the hotel is situated within the famous Costa del Golf with 40 golf courses nearby. This is great news and will definitely make the boyfriend happy when I drag him along next time!
I also want to recommend the website www.specificspas.com if you’re looking to book a similar holiday like this. This is how I initially found out about Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona and specificspas.com is great for booking a whole host of luxury spa holidays throughout Europe with just a few clicks. They tell you everything you want to know about your chosen destination and you can book everything including flights, accommodation and your desired spa packages straight away.
Spa holidays like this are definitely the way forward!
See www.specificspas.com for full details and address.
Nearest airport Malaga with frequent flights from British Airways, Easy Jet, Monarch etc
The Alcazaba which is undoubtedly, the most important military fortification remaining from the Hispanic-Arabic period. This malaguenian fortress of Bobastro was built on the hillside of the Gibralfaro mountain (Yabal-Faruk, meaning mountain of the lighthouse) from where it is possible to watch the African coast. The Arabic historian Maqqari, assured that Badis el Ziri, king of Grenada, ordered its construction between the years 1057 and 1063, being the inside palaces remade by the following Nazaries kings copying the style of the Grenada Alhambra.
The smart alternative to Tarifa! Isla Canela is at the far western end of the Costa de la Luz, and hasn't been hyped as much as Tarifa et al.
But it's on the Atlantic coast, so has good dependable winds and great beaches, making it the perfect spot for the expert and the novice alike. There are schools during the peak months, but the winter months attract the experienced who find this a good year-round venue. Lots of windsurfing and sailing opportunities as well, and superb golf courses if you fancy a change!
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org