I want to first off express to you all how much I deeply regret planning this trip because I planned it so wrong! I am so bothered that I didn't plan a LONGER trip for Andalucía! I'm trying to save up leave at work for a big trip the husband and I are planning for later this year so our trips now are kept to a maximum of 4 days and it's just not enough!
Even though I felt as if I didn't have nearly as much time as I needed, I am still very thankful to have shortly touched on this region of Spain. Spain is definitely one of our favorite countries to visit so we will have to plan a longer trip to Andalucía in the future. For now, I would like I share my 4 day weekend itinerary with things to do, accommodation and places to eat!
If you remember reading my post about why you're not planning cheaper trips, you may remember that I pointed out how not booking trips in advance could be a reason you're spending more money on your travels. I searched 5 months ahead from my desired travel dates (first weekend of May) and found tickets from Nürnberg to Málaga via Ryanair for $62 a person! Although I've scored tickets for far less in the past, the prices of these tickets didn't hurt too much!
After finding the flight, it was time to narrow down where exactly we wanted to hang out during our trip to Andalucía, Spain. I knew my husband wanted beach and sun, but I also wanted to see monuments and see some history. We both 100% agreed that we wanted to really do was just eat good food, drink good beer (plus sangria), and enjoy each other's company. I narrowed it down to Málaga, Córdoba, and Sevilla!
At first, I decided we could just take the trains and buses to get between the cities but at the last minute I decided to get a rental car... Just two days before my trip (something I usually don't do)! After doing some research, I learned that MalagaCar.com was reliable and relevantly cheap. For three days, we rented a Renault Megane with unlimited mileage for a total of 67 Euros. There was no check-in at the airport, instead you'll take a short 3 minute shuttle to their location where check-in was less than 10 minutes. We decided to accept the 1,000 Euro hold on our credit card instead of purchasing their insurance since the representative said they have a courtesy of 5 cm of damage such as a small scratch.
I must include that driving was not the best option for us. My GPS ended up taking us through this tiny alley/road and as it became more narrow, I was unsure how I would fit. My husband assured me that I could get through [insert eye roll] and I ended up scratching the right mirror just a tiny bit. It's only been a few days since I turned the car in and I haven't heard anything yet but the "damage" was definitely less than 5 cm so I'm not too worried. Just be mindful that driving in the cities, just as most cities, can sometimes be a bit difficult.
As far as accommodation, I booked 3 months out from our departure and still managed to book "too late". Most of the better valued hotels and Airbnb's I found were taken up during the days I would be in the different areas so I kind of had to just take a loss but also a gain during my search. I ended up finding two small Airbnb's, one in Malaga ($56) and one in Sevilla ($78) but then splurged on our last night and stayed at the Marriott's Playa Andaluza (right on the beach) for 140 Euro/night.
I'm more of the Airbnb type but the two rooms were quite small, which is normal in Europe. They were all walking distance to where we needed to get to so I did enjoy that aspect but there were no free or available parking spaces so we had a tough time looking for parking. At the resort, we had free parking and a few other amenities such as access to the beach, access to three huge pools, and so many more amenities which made staying at the resort hassle free! This trip was a balance of relaxation but also loads of fun!
Finally, I purchased the tickets, I got us a rental car, I booked our accommodations and now off to enjoy a quick getaway to Andalucía!
The city of Córdoba is the very reason why I wanted to plan this trip in the first place! 10 years ago when I was starting college, I took up a course studying the Renaissance and Baroque era which lightly touched on Moorish architecture which then lead me to the Mezquita de Córdoba or the Mosque of Cordoba. At that time, I could only dream of one day going to Europe and traveling to Spain to see this mosque. This last weekend, I fulfilled that dream and had all the feels!
Getting general tickets to the mosque was not an option to purchase in advance. Instead, you could look up the hours on the website and if there are any events on the day that you're interested in visiting the mosque. I would definitely recommend going to the mosque in the morning as the afternoon lines were really long! I went at around 10:45 am and was able to get tickets right away on a Sunday. You can also get tickets to go up the bell tower and there are even night visits.
We only spent about 5 hours in Córdoba roaming the mosque, the shops, and best of all- enjoying great food and drinks. We stopped at a few spots, two of them which weren't anything great (overpriced) but then there was this hole in the wall and I kid you not, had the best food and drinks we had during our trip! This tiny tapas bar was in a corner near an empty alley and had all their tapas priced at 3 Euro a plate but the plate size was actually larger than a tapas sized plate (it was instead a half portion size-media raciones). We ordered 4 tapas and 5 drinks and the total bill was 21,50 Euros. We ate so much food that we didn't need to eat until the next day and this meal was at lunchtime! This tapas bar was called La Tata and had very limited seating, there was only one person servicing everyone but she was amazing! Although a short visit, Córdoba had my heart right away and is a must!
Oh, Sevilla. I was blown away because I didn't expect much from this city. I knew I wanted to see a Flamenco show where this dance originated from but didn't take into account how beautiful Sevilla really is! Aside from Flamenco, Sevilla's beauty was contagious. Just when I thought I saw one building or church with intricate architecture, I then saw the historic palace of Alcázar and couldn't help but say the word "wow" over and over in each corner I saw! If you've ever been to Morocco, you'll see how influenced this region of Spain is with Moorish and colorful designs.
Once we arrived in Sevilla, the host of our Airbnb gave us some tips on where to hang out and where the best foods were at. Barrio de Santa Cruz seemed to be where it was all happening so we decided to stroll around there for some food. We ended up finding a Flamenco show that was starting in less than 5 minutes so decided to stop in and see if we could watch it. We went to La Casa del Flamenco at 8:30pm and although they said reservations were required, they ended up having space for us to watch the show. The show was 18 Euro a person and it lasted just over an hour.
The Flamenco show at the La Casa del Flamenco was intense! You could feel every part of the dances within you. From the guitarist tapping his foot on beat, then the singer who clapped his hands with the rhythm to then feeling the passion within the Flamenco dancers themselves was something I've never seen before! The trembles, their feet stomping and even sweat was flying from the stage. The dances brought out so much emotion to everyone on the stage, you can't help but feel it too.
We saw some other shows being advertised around, some were even cheaper than the one we went to. I read from my Europe on a Shoestring book about attending a free flamenco show but you'll have to wait until 11pm and midnight to watch. I was sure to be in my bed before midnight so that wasn't going to happen for me. The location looks like a bar in a garage setting but I'm sure has some of the best Flamenco shows. Check out La Caboneria and let me know what you thought of it!
A neat activity to do while in Spain is taking up a cooking class and what better dish to cook than a traditional Paella? Now, this dish does not originate in Sevilla, it actually originates in Valencia but we haven't been there yet so we decided to cook paella in Sevilla. I found this class just two days beforehand on Airbnb from Taller Andaluz de Concina. This tour was actually in a market that is worth mentioning, it's called Mercado Triana.
During the cooking class, not only did we learn how to make paella (and some tips as well), we also made a traditional sangria and and appetizer called Gazpacho. It was really easy to make and not too bad to eat but a bit too tomato for my taste. Overall the class was fun, but I do think that because the class was full (there was a max of 10 people), it wasn't intimate and most of what we did was watch the instructor and cut up some vegetables and fruits. The paella was fabulous! There was enough food to feed all 10 of us and then some. Plus, you can't go wrong with paella paired with sangria!
We strolled around the city of Sevilla at night, enjoyed the views and just talked about our trip while walking through the Jardin de Murillo. The next morning we wanted to conquer Real Alcázar de Sevilla before heading towards Málaga for our last night in Spain. I didn't purchase tickets in advance so when I got to the palace, there was a huge line where other tourists had said was about 3 hours long! I ended up just going on the website through my phone and purchasing tickets for entry just an hour later. Thank goodness for technology because having tickets for Alcázar saved us so much time! We ended up grabbing lunch nearby (which is not worth mentioning- it was overpriced) and once our time slot was approaching, we got in the line for reserved tickets and got in right away!
I purchased 2 general tickets with audio guides which came out to a total of 35 Euro. We picked up our audio guides and map at the gift shop once we entered and started our tour. Now, I need to tell you all that Alcázar is HUGE. You will need AT LEAST 2 hours or else you will not have time to listen to the audio guide and be able to take pictures especially when it's crowded!
I absolutely loved Real Alcázar as it reminded me so much of my trip to Marrakesh, Morocco from a few years back. The details are unreal and most areas made you feel as if you were at an oasis! I didn't get to spend nearly as much time as I wanted and needed while there but we did enjoy the time we were allowed.
So Málaga was actually split up into two half days, one half day was actually in Málaga at the city center and then the other half day was in Estepona which is where we didn't do anything but go to the beach, hang out by the pool and continued drinking beer!
In Málaga, we walked from our Airbnb to the center where we really just ate dinner and went to bars to have some beer. I can't recommend much to do in Málaga since we weren't there long enough to experience it, but I can recommend a great spot to eat and it's at El Pimpi. Prices were decent but the food was delicious so at that point, I didn't care what the prices were! It seemed as though there were two parts to this restaurant/tapas bar because I saw a menu at their bar for tapas as cheap as 3 Euro a plate but where we sat, we were not offered tapas, only appetizers and main dishes. Either way, I definitely recommend this spot as I couldn't stop savoring each bite I had and truly wanted to order more but the husband wanted to go out for drinks. We ended that night just hanging out at the bars and enjoying the downtown city views.
Just writing this post makes me feel a bit bummed out that I didn't get to spend much time in any of the cities and I most definitely will travel back to enjoy Andalucía better. If this itinerary helps you in any way or if you want more information about my trip, let me know what you think and shoot me a message.