Enjoy walking through the beautiful area of Andalucia
Andalucia in the South of Spain is one of Europe’s most beautiful and varied regions. Strolling through olive groves, admiring orange trees, rolling mountain landscapes and deep valleys you will be transported to a natural paradise. A wonderful way to discover the stunning coastal region of the Costa del Sol and the trendy town of Marbella on foot is to take part in Marbella 4Days Walking. You can then round off your dream trip by visiting historic cities such as Seville, Cordoba and Granada, as well as indulging in a spot of golf on some of Europe’s finest courses.
The best time to explore Andalucia is the spring and autumn when temperatures of around 23°C create ideal conditions for long walks through stunning scenery and allow visits to the area’s historic cities without the crowds. From 13 to 16 October, the famous coastal town of Marbella will be hosting the sixth annual walking event, Marbella 4Days Walking. Taking part in this popular event is an excellent way to start an active holiday in southern Spain – just make sure you leave some time at the end to see the delights of Seville, Granada and Cordoba before you head home.
During this four-day event, participants walk varied and surprising 20 or 30 kilometre routes each day. These carefully planned walks will take you from the beach to the mountains and all around Marbella, with stunning scenery and breathtaking views of Gibraltar and even the coast of Africa. Marbella 4Days Walking is so much more than simply hiking, it’s a great way to get to know this lively town, meet new people and have great fun too. Go and admire the million dollar superyachts in Puerto Banus, and wander through the narrow cobbled streets of the white washed Old Town, with its many tapas bars, squares and chapels. What better way to end a wonderful day of walking, than with an ice cold “cerveza” or white wine and some delicious Spanish “jamon bellota” with your fellow participants? Bliss!
Explore the Rock After completing the challenge of the Marbella 4Day Walking, you’re just 45 minutes’ drive from the iconic Rock of Gibraltar to continue your journey of discovery! But don’t forget your passport, as this rock is still British territory – much to the annoyance of Spaniards! Gibraltar is a very important place from a historical point of view, being captured in 1704 by Anglo-Dutch forces during the War of Spanish Succession, due to its strategic importance separating Europe from Africa at the entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic.
On the very top of the rock is a nature reserve inhabited by a colony of Barbary Macaque monkeys introduced by the British and accessible to visitors by cable car. According to legend, Gibraltar will remain in British hands, as long as the monkeys on the rock are there. Winston Churchill even shipped in new monkeys from North Africa during World War II to stabilise the population which had dwindled to just seven animals.
Head on to Tarifa and Beyond A little further on you find yourself in Tarifa, on the southernmost tip of mainland Europe. The coast here is very popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers because of the strong and constant winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Tarifa offers amazing birdwatching during the great migration in spring and autumn, when flocks of birds such as storks and majestic birds of prey cross the Straits of Gibraltar. Another favourite activity from Tarifa is Whale and Dolphin watching and the views of the African coast and mountains are incredible.
Having seen some of the most beautiful places on the coast, it’s time to venture inland to Seville. Considered to be the most important city in southern Spain for culture, politics, economics and art, Seville is just two hours’ drive through wonderful Andalusian scenery from Tarifa.
The city is full of historical monuments, churches, parks and palm gardens and known as an “open air museum” due to the richness of the ruins, architecture and monuments. The most famous building is the Maria de la Sede cathedral, the largest church in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world! But of course Seville is also the city of the flamenco and music and dancing is to be found in the most unexpected places, from the bars and restaurants to the streets – so look out for an impromptu performance.
Architectural Gems Another historic city not to miss is Córdoba, once one of the most important cities in the world. There are many ancient buildings and monuments which have survived surprisingly well, which makes Cordoba well worth a visit for lovers of history and architecture. The most famous is the Mezquita, the second largest mosque in the world, but this is certainly not the only important building. In fact the entire historical centre of the city is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As if Seville and Cordoba were not enough, Andalucia boasts another amazing historical city – Granada. Famous for its Alhambra, a gigantic palace filled with the remains of both the Moorish and Catholic culture. Granada is a wonderful place for walking around, from the Alhambra’s stunning gardens to the winding streets of the Albaicín and you can discover century-old architectural masterpieces around every corner. Granada also has a fantastic nightlife, buzzing with one of the largest student populations in Spain and famed for its tapas, it’s a great place to go out in the evening to eat, or soak up the atmosphere on the terraces.
Andalucia is unique for having so many wonderful sites to visit, with so many different things to enjoy in such a small area. The proximity of the cities and the cultural richness, as well as opportunities for an active holiday, will make your trip unforgettable. Make Marbella 4Days Walking the first step of your journey and then set off to discover this amazing region.