Road Trip across Andalusia, Spain

Road Trip across Andalusia, Spain

A very Spanish Christmas

Going away for Christmas was always one of those idea’s that had been discussed but never actually came to life until last year. The idea was to find somewhere warmer than the UK (not hard for most), some research following we decided to go on a road trip across Andalusia. Below is our planned route for the 7 days.

southernspainroute

Flying out on Christmas Day – a first for me. I was somewhat underwhelmed expecting all staff, passengers to be in the Christmas spirit of which we’d all join in. It didn’t happen that way – airport was of course quieter than normal but we still had a full flight. Usually not being a fan of early morning flights (7:40 departure) I was excited as we reached Almeria by lunchtime. Flights from Manchester to Malaga airport were £55 (one-way) with Monarch airlines. Car hire picked up, we set off to our first destination, Almeria.

Almeria

Our host, a wonderful Spanish lady who showed us to our rustic s/c apartment. Authentic terracotta buildings with tranquil landscapes. This was definitely a place to unwind and soak up the winter sun. 18 degrees and blue skies isn’t something i’d ever had the pleasure of seeing on Christmas Day, ever. We spend the afternoon walking around the small town, enjoying a leisurely dinner and watching the sunset from our terrace.

IMG_0538

Picturesque: Charro’s Houses, Almeria

San Jose, Monsul Beach

Day two, we set off on a short drive to the coast of Cabo De Gata, getting out at San Jose en route to enjoy the coastal views. The sun high and the reflection on the still water, endless. Heading further south, we parked up off-road by Monsul beach. This was a personal tip from our host of nearby hidden beaches. As we walked up, it didn’t disappoint. With only a handful of people along the whole shoreline, our Boxing Day consisted of skimming pebbles, shell collecting and soaking up the sun. It could have been worse, right?

IMG_5329

Beach feet, Monsul.

Cabo De Gata National Park
Our all day hike – no cars included. 

After demolishing a big Spanish breakfast, we set off around 10:30 from Almeria and followed a fairly coastal route across and down towards San Pedro. Cabo De Gata covers a huge area and boasts some impressive views and the aim was to take in as many of those as we could. All in all, it was exhausting but a great day. The trek itself lasted around 8 hours and we totted up around 146 floors climbed (courtesy of my health app). One of the great things about this route is how varied the landscapes are. Rocky paths, beaches and derelict castles. I do love a good castle. At the end of our route, and absolutely ravenous – we found a local’s restaurant offering the largest red tuna steak I’d ever seen. Pretty good to end to a pretty perfect day. Also the end of our three days in Almeria.

Setting off from Almeria, we made the 2.5 hour drive to Malaga. Different from all I’d imagined and seen referenced on TV about it. A great old town with lots of history. We only stayed here for a couple of hours (lunch) to help break up our day before continuing onto Tarifa.

Tarifa, Tarifa, La La La
Windsurfing, wind in general and a whole lot of beaches!

Tarifa – the windy city. Our sea front guesthouse was waiting. The drive was intense but watching the sunset across the Atlantic ocean was pretty damn special.

IMG_0712

Driving from the Med to Atlantic Ocean under 4 Hours. Hello Tarifa.

Tangier, Morocco

So fifth day, up and early off to the port. A day-return ticket on the ferry cost us around £55 each. Journey times – 1 hour and the ferry was with FRS which runs up-to 7 services a day. Great if you only have a short time available. The ferry stopped off at Tangier (Morocco) where we spent the day wandering the souks, medinas and generally a vast change in culture! Read up about that, here.

Chasing Cadiz?
I go wherever you go, the sun that is. 

Day six and the weather not much better, we set off to Cadiz – which was sort of on the cards anyway. An hours drive out of Tarifa’s storm clouds and we reached blue skies. Pretty amazing. We parked up in the town and walked down to the beach. And beachy it was. Sand stretching out for days (maybe not days). Christmas in the sun was living up to all expectations so far. The afternoon consisted of pottering about the City Walls and eyeing up the Cathedral which ended up having some spectacular views. With the weather still on our side we had a late lunch within the plaza looking up at the old town.

IMG_0736 IMG_0741

How can you complain with that?

Final day and the Angel’s had sung. The sun was out in Tarifa, so making the most of our sea-front guesthouse we enjoyed the sand-dunes just five minutes up the road before setting back along the beach with some Spanish tapas. Definitely a highlight to top off our pretty successful tour of Andalusia.

What are you undiscovered gems of Andalusia? Leave your tips in the comments!

 

Give this post a share, if it took your fancy!

 

 

 

 

Follow:

24 Comments

  1. 18th August 2016 / 9:29 AM

    What a lovely way to spend Christmas. I spent my first Christmas away from home last year in Dubai! It was certainly very different seeing the sun on Christmas Day! Great Post 🙂

    • 18th August 2016 / 10:00 AM

      Thanks. It was surreal not having our usual cosy winter Christmas, but certainly good to get some sun. 🙂

  2. 18th August 2016 / 11:31 AM

    I love your pin button from the photos. They are so original. 🙂 Anyway, I’ve just been recently to Tangier and I loved it. I am very glad that you got there as it is a must see in Morocco.

    • 18th August 2016 / 12:23 PM

      Thankyou! Hoping to make it easier to share content. Amazing, yes it was only a short time there great to be able to visit for the day.

  3. 18th August 2016 / 12:35 PM

    Oh my goodness, these photos are just beautiful! The National Park looked beautiful- I love visiting the ruins of old buildings!

    • 18th August 2016 / 2:22 PM

      Thankyou. We wanted to do something other than the usual Barcelona or Madrid and it’s so beautiful.

  4. 18th August 2016 / 1:47 PM

    Ambitious itinerary! I loved Tarifa. It’s so beautiful. Those sunsets are something else.

  5. Briana
    18th August 2016 / 2:23 PM

    Great itinerary here!! I have traveled in southern spain and loved it. A fantastic region of the world. Great pics too!

  6. 18th August 2016 / 2:46 PM

    Beautiful photos! We road tripped from Switzerland to Madrid, but didn’t visit any national parks. We’ll have to check out Cabo de Gata next time we’re in Spain.

    • 18th August 2016 / 3:01 PM

      It’s on my list to road trip across Europe!

  7. 18th August 2016 / 2:56 PM

    i still haven’t made it to spain. but now i really believe i should go soon!!!!

  8. 18th August 2016 / 4:05 PM

    I absolutely loved reading this! It brought me back to Southern Spain. I lived in one of Cadiz’s white villages for a year and taught English. I spent most of my weekends exploring Andalucia, although I never made it to Almeria. I went to Malaga at least once a month to exchange my rental car and loved that city. Cadiz was beautiful and amazing and I spent many weekends there too, including Carnaval. Granada is an amazing city and if you get the chance to go back, definitely check Granada and the Sierra Nevada ski resort out! Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas are totally underrated tourist destinations with incredible scenery. Gibraltar was a cool pit stop too. And my favorite parts of Andalucia were the super Spanishy, non-touristy little villages where no one spoke English and everything was like 1950’s Spain…Andalucia is AMAZING! So glad you got to experience it!!!

    • 18th August 2016 / 9:36 PM

      Glad it could bring back such memories. I wish we had more time here. Yes I’d love to visit Granada, our itinerary was a little ambitious as we wanted to relax as well. Our little place in Almeria was like that no tourists whatsoever so I guess it was a good time to visit. 🙂

  9. 18th August 2016 / 4:58 PM

    Seems like you had a very fun Christmas! Your photos are amazing. I wanna do a roadtrip in Europe someday, I also really curios about Morocco! So your route seems to be a great idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • 18th August 2016 / 9:37 PM

      Thankyou. Yes if you’re that far south in Spain then the ferry route’s are a common way to get across. Market and souk holders would travel every day with their produce so it’s a mix of cultures!

  10. 18th August 2016 / 5:47 PM

    I love road trips! The scenery on this one looks amazing, I’ve always wanted to visit Spain and Morocco, hope I can someday.

    • 18th August 2016 / 9:38 PM

      Yes, we wanted a varied trip so this gave us plentiful! Hope you get to visit Spain.

  11. 18th August 2016 / 11:07 PM

    OMG, what an incredible experience! I would love to take a road trip in another country. I’m thinking of doing something similar in Croatia. Was it easy for you to rent a car and drop off in another city?

    • 20th August 2016 / 1:07 PM

      Hi Jess, yes it wasn’t too bad. Our arrival and departing airports were different so we just made sure we could drop-off the car hire, it cost a little more with our cheaper single flights it worked out fine! 🙂 I go to Croatia next month, so if you before I’ll be coming to you for tips.

  12. 19th August 2016 / 1:31 AM

    Lovely photos and what a great way to spend Christmas – in a new country! 😉

    • 20th August 2016 / 1:08 PM

      Thank you, it really was an experience. 🙂

Always love feedback, leave your comment below!