The last stop on this years trip to Spain was to spend a few days at the family home, near Marbella in Andalusia. Most people who visit Andalusia head for the sun-soaked beaches of the Costa del Sol, but I wanted to spend my time here exploring some of the less touristy places. Here are my top recommendations for a great weekend break in Andalusia.
My Top Recommendations for a Great Weekend Break in Andalusia
A Visit to Malaga’s Old Town and Port
Most people think of Malaga as just the airport which they fly into when holidaying on the Costa del Sol. In recent years a lot of regeneration work has been done to Malaga’s previously run down inner city, turning it into a very desirable place to visit. The port area has had an €80 million regeneration, creating a beautiful open air mall (Muelle Uno) along the harbour’s edge creating a contemporary dining and shopping experience. Spend some time here for shopping, or enjoy a delicious meal with wonderful views over the harbour and La Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro castle which looks over the port from its perch high above the city.
From the port you can walk along Paseo del Parque towards Malaga’s old town. Paseo del Parque is a very grand tree-lined street, home to some very beautiful buildings such as the City Hall, Malaga Museum, the Bank of Spain and also part of the University of Malaga. You can also see La Alcazaba on the hill behind these grand buildings. This road is lined with palm trees which are full of parakeets and you will hear them squawking as they build their nests.
Once you reach the old town you will be blown away by the beauty of the traditional Spanish architecture. Much of the old town has been completely pedestrianised, with many small lanes and alleys, which are home to an array of shops and restaurants. The centre of the old town is packed with many beautiful old buildings, all of which have been recently renovated after years of neglect, and are now back to their original state and decorated in bright colours. This area of the city really comes to life at night when the locals come out to enjoy a meal or drinks at the many traditional tapas bars and restaurants. You can really feel the buzz in the atmosphere here, enhanced by the mouth-watering aromas in the air from all the delicious food being enjoyed here. An evening walk through the streets is a real must while enjoying a weekend break in Andalusia.
On a Weekend Break in Andalusia, Try Some Amazing food in Malaga!
You could try one of the many amazing tapas bars in central Malaga, or you could wander off the beaten track and find yourself a hidden gem, like La Brujhada. La Brujhada is in fact a French restaurant and usually I like to enjoy local cuisine while I’m away, but I had heard how good the food was here so I was excited to try it out. It is a small restaurant located along Calle San Augustin, and is run by a French couple. The wife is the head chef and the husband is front of house. There are a few tables inside, but in the warmer months there are many more outside on a beautiful little terrace located between a small church and the Museo de Picasso. This is where I sat on my visit, after all why would you want to sit inside on a gorgeous warm Spanish evening?
I visited La Brujhada one evening with my family during my stay in Andalusia. They had discovered it a few years before and had enjoyed many delicious meals there. I would advise booking in advance as it could get quite busy, especially over the weekend. Their menu is absolutely divine, and you will struggle to order because everything sounds delicious. Whatever you decide on you will not be disappointed! The chef creates many traditional French dishes, but with her own twist, and also with many secret ingredients which work wonderfully in her dishes. Her dishes will really get you trying to work out what these secret ingredients are!
Between us we enjoyed dishes such as home made foie gras, red tuna tataki, Iberian pork tenderloin and a delicious duck breast. All of the food was amazing, with beautiful intricate presentation and an array of different tastes in every mouthful. I love my food, but I’m not the biggest desert fan and I tend to go for a savoury option, like a cheese board. There are, however, a few desserts that will tempt me and creme brûlée is one of them! So when I saw creme brûlée with thyme and lemon on the menu I just couldn’t resist.
After our meal we asked to meet the chef to give her our compliments on her delicious creations, and to ask about some of her secret ingredients, eventually she divulged one of them, but that I’m afraid will stay with me and my kitchen cupboard. To finish our meal we were offered a glass of complimentary brandy, French of course. The perfect end to an impeccable meal. I know my family have visited again since our wonderful meal, and I’ll be visiting again next time I spend a weekend break in Andalusia.
See Some Spectacular Views in Ronda
The Spanish city of Ronda is located about an hour inland from the coast and sits on top of two hills. The stunning 220 year old Puente Nuevo spans the deep canyon which separates the two parts of the city. This bridge is the main attraction in the city, offering wonderful vistas along the canyon, over the olive groves and plains below as well as beautiful city views from either side. Ronda’s city centre itself is also very beautiful and is home to beautiful churches, parks and a bull ring.
While in Ronda I enjoyed a delicious meal on one of the sun drenched terraces of the Hotel Don Miguel which is located right next to the Puente Nuevo, offering fantastic views of the bridge and canyon. As well as the beautiful views from this hill top city, why not venture out into the plains below the city, for breathtaking views of the city and the bridge above. It really makes you realise just how high up the hills Ronda is. You can reach some great viewing points in the plains on foot or by car.
As well as these fantastic things which I did on my weekend break in Andalusia, there are many more great things to see and do. Andalusia is home Córdoba, Granada and Seville which are all fantastic locations for a Spanish city break. I stayed in Granada during this trip and loved it, and visited Seville two years ago. I’m yet to visit Córdoba, but I’ve heard it’s a stunning city break destination and it is high up on my to-do list.