Wednesday, 31. January 2018
Andalusia Sights - The surrounding area of the A-Frame Surf camp
Andalusia offers more than first class waves and great beaches. Join us on a journey to explore dreamy cities, marvel at Moroccan architecture, hike in breathtaking natural scenery and enjoy delicious local food. Let us tell you all about the best sights in Andalusia...
Andalusia is chock-full of travel hot-spots. While our guests are mainly with us for a surf holiday or a yoga trip Andalusia also offers much more than world-class waves and yoga retreats. Here in southern Spain there are hundreds of sights, countless interesting places and beautiful nature all around. The 300 sunny days a year and proximity to Africa give Andalusia a very special and individual charm.
Discover Andalusia sights like the cities of Conil de la Frontera, Cadiz, Malaga or Seville. Stroll through the ancient winding streets of Vejer and enjoy Moroccan-influenced cuisine or an afternoon at a hammam.
For nature lovers Andalusia offers just as many possibilities as for culture vultures: hiking along the clifftop coast of the Costa de la Luz, kitesurfing at Tarifa, bird watching in the Doñana National Park, climbing in San Bartolo... In the Sierra Nevada you can even ski ;-) You see, in Andalusia you are spoilt for choice. There is something for everyone.
And, if you're looking for something a little more unusual: How about a popping across the straits for a day in Morocco or going to see to the wild monkeys in British Gibraltar? Whether close to El Palmar or a day trip away, check out these top Andalusia sights and some insider tips from our surf camp crew:
Besides the beautiful natural surroundings, the pretty villages, towns and cities are among the top Andalusian sights. Here are our favorite cities in Andalusia:
Cadiz is considered the oldest city in Europe and is only 45 minutes by car from El Palmar. Cadiz is the capital of the province of the same name and is an old seafaring town. Here you will find a harbour, ships, small bars, restaurants, a beach along one whole side, and plenty of colourful characters - everything you would expect from a city by the sea. Cadiz's twin city is Cuba's capital Havana - and the resemblance between the two cities is striking. So much so that the James Bond movie "Die Another Day" (partly set in Cuba) was shot in Cadiz instead of Havana. Cool, right?
Tip: IF you plan your Andalusia holiday in February, you mustn't miss the famous Cadiz Carnival. During this time, the city is one big out of control party with a madness only surpassed by Rio de Janero and Trinidad!
Conil is only five minutes away by car from El Palmar, and also situated directly on the sea. Those who like to walk can take a stroll from El Palmar to the beaches of Conil (approx. 45 minutes). In former times Conil was a fishing village but has since grown into something of a tourist town that still retains its attractive charm. Here you will find small boutiques (also surf shops), ice-cream cafés, tapas bars and cool restaurants. Especially pretty are the famous whitewashed houses that tumble down the hill to the sea and the centrally-located old church, Paroqueria de Sta. Catalina. From this square you can see not only the classic building but the palm trees that surround it and a view to the sea. For more tips about Conil we recommend our blog post about Conil de la Frontera.
Tip from A-Frame Camp fairy Ana and head surf coach Daniel: The patisserie Canela & Miel Conil, is the best place for homemade cakes and tarts in Conil, maybe the world!
Those who love the traditional white houses, narrow alleys and Moroccan food should put Vejer de la Frontera top of their To Do list for their Spain holiday. Vejer welcomes you with its shining white facades, a cubist cascade of buildings perched on a hilltop. Vejer is the quintessential Andalusian pueblo blanco (white village) with an old city wall, flower-filled courtyards and photogenic scenes around every corner. No wonder Vejer de la Frontera was voted the second most beautiful Spanish village. Standing proud and mysterious on its peak, the intimate old-town is just waiting to be explored. You can lose yourself all day in its pretty streets - if a door is open, risk a polite look. The courtyards are often overflowing with plants and covered with coloured tiles. Further highlights are sights like the Iglesia del Divino Salvador, the chapel Nuestra Señora de la Oliva and the Castillo de Vejer. Delicious Moroccan food is available in El Jardin de La Califa where you can sit outside in a traditional inner courtyard and feel transported to Morocco without leaving your seat. There is an outdoor barbecue grill for carnivores but also great options for vegetarians. The hardest thing is choosing what to have first.
Tip: You can read even more tips about Vejer in the blog post about Vejer de la Frontera.
Insider tip from the A-Frame Camp owners, Katrin and Arne: Food that makes you happy: In the Restaurante Patria only fresh, seasonal and regional products are served. This rural restaurant has been run for ten years by a Danish couple from Copenhagen. The food is lovingly prepared and the choice of drinks is also excellent with local wines and homemade lemonades. From the terrace you have a wonderful view over the surrounding countryside all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, it's always a dreamy afternoon here. The gigantic weekend lunch buffet is particularly popular, with guests coming from as far as Seville or Malaga to eat here. You can find the weekly-changing menu here.
You may arrive in Jerez de la Frontera by plane but this small city offers more than just an airport. Jerez is famous for its historic Moorish fortress, sherry, flamenco music and dancing and Andalusian horse breeding. The Royal Andalusian Riding School even offers horse shows and carriage rides. Sherry lovers can get a taste of this regional and surprisingly varied wine at one of the many sherry bodegas that offer tours and tastings.
This is where our surf instructors go to chill out: Relax body and soul and help your muscles recover from all that surfing in the Jerez hammam.
Tarifa is especially popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers because there are great spots with enough wind all year round. In Tarifa you can also stroll through the alleys of the old town or browse the numerous surf and boutique shops. Tarifa is the southernmost point of Europe with Africa only 14 kilometres away as the crow flies. On clear days you can see the mountains in Morocco from Tarifa.
Fancy a trip to Morocco? Ferries cross over to Tangier several times a day. In only 40 minutes you can go from Europe to Africa. In addition, numerous whale watching tours depart from Tarifa (from 23 March to the beginning of November). All year round there are dolphins, pilot whales and fin whales in the Strait of Gibraltar. In spring and autumn there are also sperm whales and in July/August you might spot an orca. At Firmm there is even a 10 % discount for A-Frame guests. The best way to make a reservation is to call (0034) 956 627 008. All employees speak German, English and Spanish. Check out further Tarifa tips in our blog post about Tarifa.
Tip from our team: Café El Tumbao is located in Tarifa, directly on the beach. The best tapas can be found in the Bar El Frances. Free parking is available in Calle Turriano Gracil.
Seville is the elegant capital of Andalusia and lies inland. It is especially popular with young people because besides the many historical sights, the nightlife really pulses in this university city. Those who prefer culture should definitely have a look at the famous Plaza de España. This impressive square was the scenery for the film classic Star Wars: Episode 2. The gardens of the Alcazár are a wonderful place to relax. This beautiful park belongs to the famous Royal Palace, the Alcázar of Sevilla and is located directly on the Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo. If you are in the city centre, you can easily walk there. The Alcázar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tip: Surf teacher Pako comes from Seville and knows where to get the best tapas in town. He recommends the Bodega Santa Cruz in the Calle Rodrigo Caro, 1A, and the Restaurante Gonzalo in the Calle Alemanes, 21st century.
Marbella is an upscale seaside resort on the Costa del Sol. Marbella attracts tourists in droves - especially the rich and famous, it's a place dripping with luxury and excess. In and around Marbella you will find enchanting sandy beaches, villas, hotels and golf courses. Marbella is known for the famous Golden Mile (Avenida del Mar) with expensive shops, nightclubs and exclusive properties. The Golden Mile leads directly to the marina of Puerto Banús, teeming with posh boutiques, bars and luxury yachts. Sit down, eat ice cream and people-watch.
Hans Christian Andersen had already fallen in love with Malaga: "In no other Spanish city have I felt as happy and at ease as in Malaga," wrote the Danish author. We can understand that. Malaga is sunny, friendly and full of life -it's easy to get into conversation here. If you want culture, simply explore the beautiful sights - there are endless churches and cathedrals! Or enjoy the fragrant orange trees and oceans of flowers in Pedo Luis Alonso Park. Marvel at the architecture of the famous Santa Iglesia Catedral Basîlica de la Encarnación (nickname: La Manquita) or the view over the city from the old fortress, the famous Alcazaba - certainly the most famous sight in Malaga. Next door is Gibralfaro Castle. From there you have a fantastic view of the old Roman theatre.
Tip from Camp Fairy Eva: Eva comes from Málaga and recommends eating at the harbour. There are numerous restaurants and bars with sea views. A-Frame surf instructor Manolo, on the other hand, is enthusiastic about the Picasso Museum. After all, Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga.
Gibraltar lies between Spain and Morocco and has been part of Great Britain for 300 years. Of course there is a lot of controversy about this rocky peninsula- but we leave that aside here. What is exciting about Gibraltar for the visitor? Quite clearly: The monkey rock! It lies in the nature reserve, the Upper Rock. About 300 wild Barbary monkeys live here, the only wild monkeys in Europe. The animals are not only popular, they are also quite cheeky. Tip: Hold on to your sunglasses when you are there. But Gibraltar is also exciting in other ways. Because there is no British bad weather here, but many other things you know from England: Red double-decker buses, telephone and post boxes and the (Gibraltar) pound.
Our tip: There is no VAT in Gibraltar and it is therefore considered a duty-free shopping paradise.
These enchanting cities of southern Spain are of course among the top sights but the jewel in Andalusia's crown is of course above all by its breathtaking nature. There are beautiful hikes, rocks for climbing and trails for mountain biking. In Andalusia you can also paraglide, horse ride and of course surf. The landscape of Andalusia is extremely varied. You will find mountains, forests, rugged rocks, gentle hills, dunes and beautiful undeveloped beaches. While the Costa de la Luz is a bit more natural and very suitable for surfing, the mostly-waveless Costa del Sol is a paradise for anyone who wants to relax on the beach and soak up the sun.
Pack your swimsuit and wander off to paradise. From the pretty nearby village Santa Lucia starts a wonderful hiking trail, the so-called water mill route (Molinos de Agua). Up to 15 kilometres of hiking trails take you into a real dream landscape. Here you will find green woods, colourful flowers, old water mills (from the 15th century), impressive waterfalls and natural pools to cool down. Especially beautiful is the old aqueduct, which dates back to Roman times. This hike is perfect for families with children, as there is plenty to see and places to splash about in.
Tip: If a 15km hike is too long, we recommend the 3 km long (linear) hiking trail. Since the local signs are not very good, it is best to download a map of the hiking routes beforehand.
Sporty and outdoor types will feel at home here in southern Spain. Andalusia's mountains offer wonderful climbing areas and mountain bike trails. Road cyclists will find great coastal rides on uncongested roads. And horses are still ridden almost everywhere - even on the beach. Find out more about activities around El Palmar.
On the Costa de la Luz you will find the most beautiful beaches in Andalusia. Here the beaches are still natural and untouched. On the seemingly endless and varied open beaches and coves of the Costa de la Luz you can relax and unwind.
Tip from our writer, Jana: Playa de Bolonia is located in the direction of Tarifa. It is known for its gigantic sand dune and for a lot of wind - which is why so many kitesurfers gather here. At this beach you can not only enjoy the sun, but also walk up the dune to enjoy the spectacular 360 degree view and watch the kitesurfers far below- why not give kitesurfing a go yourself while you're there?
Welcome to the most important wetland area of Europe, here in southwest Spain. The vast Guadalquivir River Delta consists of numerous lagoons, streams, wildlife sanctuaries and pine forests, river banks, dunes, beaches and impressive cliffs. Every year millions of migratory birds stop here, making Doñana one of the most important nature reserves in the world. You can discover this protected piece of nature on foot or by bike and there are also boat trips. If you want to birdwatch, you can do so with or without a guide, whichever way it's a special experience in this unique place.
You like walking by the sea? That's good, we are at the sea. To your great luck there are also great hiking trails. Either you walk directly on the beach from El Palmar to Cape Trafalgar or in the other direction to Conil. If you really want to hike, you can go to Barbate at the steep coast of Los Caños de Meca, surrounded by wonderful pine forests.
Tip from Camp Fairy Ana: Ana loves the El Levante Market in Caños de Meca. Here you can buy fresh local vegetables and second-hand clothes. There's also the Panateria where you can drink Matcha latte, eat cookies, smoothie bowls, avocado toast, cakes and buy fresh bread.
Of course Andalusia is huge and offers so much that it's impossible to mention. The Andalusian highlights within striking distance of El Palmar are all familiar to you now. If you want to venture a little further we recommend the following sights:
The beaches of the Atlantic-facing Costa de la Luz are known for their unspoilt nature and good waves while the Costa del Sol is popular with beach lovers because of the calm deep blue Mediterranean Sea. If you are passing the Costa del Sol during your Andalusia tour, we recommend one of these beaches:
- Playa de Burriana in Nerja - Try the paella at Restaurante Ayo!
- Playa de Maro, Nerja - For many the most beautiful beach on the Costa del Sol. Crystal clear, turquoise water and idyllic landscape. Great for snorkelling or kayaking.
- Playa Malapesquera, one of the most popular beaches in Benalmádena. There is a lot going on here: kayaks, SUPs, restaurants, toilets & showers.
- Playa de Artola- Cabopino in Marbella - Perfect for families because of high water quality
- Playa de Carvajal in Fuengirola
- Playa de la Carihuela, Torremolinos - Ideal for families and couples, with calm and shallow water. Great beach promenade for cycling or running.
- La Rada, Estepona - Here the blue flag flies, the sign of good water quality. There is a playground, pedal boat hire and trampolines for children.
- Playa Las Viborillas, Benalmádena - This beach is unknown, remote and resembles a tropical paradise.
- Torre del Mar, Vélez Málaga - Family atmosphere, restaurants and various water sports
- El Faro, Marbella - Bustling beach near luxury shops and the Parque de la Constitución. Free parking!
- El Padrón, Estepona - Popular beach with showers, toilets and water sports rental. Lush vegetation and rich marine life.
- Bounty Beach, Marbella - Especially popular with young people. Chill-out music, beach bars, relaxed atmosphere.
Ronda is probably the most famous of the white villages in Andalusia. Ronda lies on a high plateau and is seriously impressive. Famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Rainer Maria Rilke loved Ronda and appreciated its beauty. In Ronda there are many old palaces and other historical buildings. Ronda is especially famous for its bridge, the Puente Nuevo, which connects the old town and the new town over the spectacular160 m deep El Tajo gorge.
Tip from Camp fairy Tinka: via ferrata tour with a view of the famous bridge. Aventuras Proema offers great tours. The provider also offers guided hikes, kayak tours, rafting and rides. The tours are in Spanish.
Pop over to Africa for the day? No problem. From Tarifa numerous ferries leave for the 40 minute trip to Tangier. So you can take in the Arabic air and buy delicious spices, rugs and trinkets on a day trip. Don't forget your passport!
The nature reserve El Torcal is one of the most popular sights in Andalusia. This is certainly due to the bizarre rock formations. They are said to look like gigantic toy castles that giants have been playing with. Here you can hike in a science fiction landscape and who knows, you might even meet a badger or an ibex.
If you want to see the authentic face of inland Andalusia, Córdoba is not to be missed because this city is bursting at the seams with sights. Córdoba is so beautiful that the entire old town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roman bridges, oriental mosques and Spanish architecture make Córdoba a cultural melting pot. Here you can wander and explore to your heart's content and you will not be disappointed. Especially famous is the Mezquita, probably the most famous sight in Andalusia after Granada's Alhambra. The Mezquita was actually once a mosque that was later transformed into a cathedral. So look forward to a fantastic mix of two religions in one building.
Tip: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 - 9:30 the entrance to the Mezquita is free.
In the Sierra Nevada you can go hiking in summer and skiing/snowboarding in winter. The Sierra Nevada is located in the so-called Sistema Penibético, near Granada. The lifts of the Sierra Nevada take you from 2100 to 3282 meters up to the top of the slopes. See you at the bottom!
Granada is about 3.5 hours from El Palmar. Nowhere else can you discover the Andalusian-Moorish culture in such depth. Granada is best known for its famous Alhambra: The Moorish fortress is located on the Sabikah Hill in Granada. The Alhambra is the best preserved example of Moorish style within Islamic architecture and art. Its name comes from the Arabic and means "the red". An allusion to the red color of the walls.
But there is so much more to discover in Granada. For example, you can visit an El Banuelo, an old Arabic bath. Those who prefer to be outside should stroll in the beautiful Generalife. This was once the summer palace of the Moorish rulers and is at the same time the oldest preserved Moorish garden. After the siesta you can meander through Albaicin (old town). In this lively part of town you will find handicraft workshops and typical Andalusian courtyards with a gallery and decorated all over with flower potsr. The walls are often overgrown with bougainvillea and the whole area gives the impression of a long-forgotten paradise.
Camp Fairy Ana grew up in Granada and knows the city like the back of her hand. We asked her for a secret tip for Granada: She loves to stroll along Calle Elvira and stop at the Bar Babel World Fusion. Here you'll find delicious international tapas. If you walk further up the road, you'll come to a wonderful vantage point with views of the Alhambra, artists and flamenco dancers. It is most beautiful here at sunset. On the way up you should definitely try a Moroccan tea and grapes with chocolate.
If you want to explore a few Andalusia sights on your own, you will need a rental car. Fortunately, rental cars are very cheap in Spain.. Go to the website of Do You Spain and see the best offers. Then hit the open road and explore this beautiful, diverse and authentic corner of Spain.