City Guide to Southern Spain

Malaga - Spain

April 26, 2014 • Other Destinations • Views: 5206

Who can resist flamenco’s bold vivacity or the sensual elegance of the matador, the ornate splendour of Moorish architecture and the renaissance glory of southern Spain’s Catholic cathedrals? We can’t so here’s a tapas selection of five exhilarating Andalucian cities.Spain - Seville

 

SEVILLE
Sleep
Hotel Puerta de Sevilla is a tiny gem located on a small square in the historic heart of old Seville. Demand is high for its sensitively refurbished rooms that come with plasma screen televisions and hand-picked antiques. Rooms from around AUD140 a night. Calle Santa Maria la Blanca 36. www.hotelpuertadesivilla.com

Graze
Tapas isn’t snack food, it’s a national pastime, and small plates of Spanish delicacies like grilled sardines, whitebait and torrades are enjoyed at any time of the day washed down with a glass of wine often straight from the barrel. Avoid the obvious tourist haunts and explore the bars around Calle Mateos Gago and Barrio de Santa Cruz. If you’re tapas-ed out, try the courtyard at Corral del Agua at Callejon del Agua 6 for a tasty fusion of Arabic/Spanish food.

Sip
Plaza Alfalfa and Plaza del Salvador are the twin hubs around which a constellation of pulsating bars swirl. Hip locals head for La Alameda, a garden square with a definite whiff of bohemianism where the cool set perch at Café Central or Habanilla.

Shop
Picturesque pedestrian streets have elevated shopping to a serious pastime. Clusters of smaller shops selling the traditional and the cutting edge crowd Calles Sierpes, Velazquez/Tetuan and de la Cuna. If vintage records, clothes and jewels are your style weapons of choice, then Calle Amor de Dios is the place to go. Remember not to shop between 2pm and 5pm when the shutters roll down and busy thoroughfares become ‘twilight zones’.

Unforgettable
An intimate flamenco performance at the House of Memories, the former home of a Sephardic/Judaic-Spanish merchant, Ximenez de Enciso, 28 and bathing in the magnificently restored Aire Arab baths, both in the heart of Seville’s Santa Cruz district.

BARCELONA
Sleep
A favourite with the fashion pack, glass lifts cruise Hotel Claris’s seven floors. Rooms are a subtle blend of modern contemporary style while on the rooftop, well-oiled bodies adopt a languid pose around the pool where the beautiful people meet and eat. Rooms from around AUD300. Carrer de Pau Claris 150 www.hotelclaris.comSpain - Barcelona

Graze
Bring a big appetite as Catalan cooking is garnering high praise from global gourmands. Sit and people watch along the crowded laneways off La Rambla. Catalunya is an atmospheric old-fashioned tapas bar tucked away in a cellar that dishes-up traditional tomato bread with simple toppings or enjoy some respite in Textil Café’s medieval courtyard opposite Museu Picasso.
For something more elegant, La Vinya del Senyor opposite the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Mar on Plaza Santa Maria serves exquisite bite-sized tapas.

Spain - BarcelonaSip
El Ravel is the city’s bar district but for cocktails with a twist of jazz, Jamboree at Placa Reial 17 is a speakeasy with classy credentials and swings every night. Dry Martini (Aribau 162-166) has a cult following amongst authentic cocktail lovers. Gimlet (Santalo 46) serves drinks in a minimalist 1950s space and Tinta Roja on Carrer Creu dels Molers is a tiny, timeless bar with tango lessons on Tuesdays. Over summer, Gaudi’s iconographic La Pedrera dishes up a surreal rooftop jazz experience with cocktails every Friday and Saturday night.

Shop
With sleek designer boutiques and shops that haven’t changed for generations, Barcelona is shopping Nirvana. La Rambla is a haven of mainstream fashion, La Bouqueria is a wonderful produce market while Carrers Tallers and Riera Baixa off La Rambla is where the lively night markets operate selling everything from bootleg cds to striped French Picasso t.shirts.

Spain - BarcelonaUnforgettable
The atmospheric Gaudi museum in the vaulted attic of his daring 1910 apartment building ‘La Pedrera’ at Passeig de Gracia 92 then walking amongst futuristic titans on its rooftop.
Parc Guell, Gaudi’s masterful collaboration with nature is a 15 hectare public park adorned with fantastical ornamental structures and organic cloistered walkways.
Setting a PB in the Bernard Picornell-designed Olympic pool at Montjuic.

CADIZ
Sleep
Tucked away down a narrow cobbled laneway Hotel Argantonio is a charmingly refurbished 18th century trader’s house in the heart of the old city. Rooms set around a central courtyard start from around AUD175. Calle Argantonio 3 www.hotelargantonio.com Spain - Cadiz

Graze
The squares and laneways of the old city are lined with tempting tapas bars. Enjoy all the flavours of the Huelva Sierra at Meson Cumbres Mayores, Calle Zorrilla, 4 where specialty dishes include tender stewed Iberian pork and previously untried delicacies such as trotters. Or there’s the vegetarian option. For something pricier, the restaurant El Faro at Calle SanFelix 15, comes with good recommendations as does El Alijibe’s innovative cuisine at Calle Placia 25.

Sip
It doesn’t get serious until after 11pm and most of Cadiz’s laid-back bars happen off the city’s squares. Medusa on Calles Manuel Rances is popular for its bad taste student décor and hip grooves. Alternatively head for the nearby beach and trawl the music bars along Paseo Maritime or just chill with the wannabes at Yunque.

ShopSpain - Cadiz
For take-home produce, Regala Cadiz situated on Plaza de Las Flores in the center of town specializes in products from Cadiz province. For leather, ceramics and holiday mementos made in Cadiz, go to Hecho en Cadiz at Plaza de la Candelaria 7.

Unforgettable
Viewing a panorama of everyday life through Spain’s first Camara Oscura atop the Tavira Tower. Free entry to The Museum of Cadiz that houses important archaeological Phoenician collections and regarding the Corpus Christi in Cadiz Cathedral, built with 900 kilos of silver mined in Mexico, with a mixture of shock and awe.

MALAGAMalaga - Spain
Sleep
In the middle of the action between waterfront and shop fronts, AC Hotel Malaga Palacio is a 214 room property with sweeping marina vistas and all mod cons. Cortina del Muelle 1, Rooms start around AUD150 www.ac-malaga-palacio.galahotels.com

Graze
Trawling Malaga’s tapas bars is an easy option – they’re everywhere! Café Museo Picasso serves the best coffee in town, cakes and light meals in a delightfully secluded courtyard in the Museum’s grounds. Clandestino on Calle Nino de Guevara 3 serves-up a mouth-watering well-priced menu or try El Jamel at Calle Blasco de Garay 7 for Moroccan tangine.

Sip
El Pimpi means tipsy and it’s easy to see why this is Malaga’s most famous bodega and tapas bar. People flock here to sip a refreshing tinto de verano and sit amongst the celebrity-autographed wine barrels, photographs and bullfighting posters.Malaga - Spain

Shop
Immaculately restored heritage buildings along Larios Street provide a stylish setting for international labels. Hand-crafted Andalucian ceramics are at Alfajar, Calle Cister 3 while there’s plenty of good pickings at the Sunday morning flea market on Paseo de los Martiricos.

UnforgettableMalaga - Spain
Viewing Pablo’s private collection of intimate family portraits at the brilliant Museo Picasso Malaga, then going below to see the remains of a 6th century BC Phoenician house uncovered whilst excavating the Museum on Palacio de Buenavista. With the support of ex-pat Malagueno Antonio Banderas, seeing a play in the Roman amphitheatre at the foot of the Alcazabar, Malaga’s Muslim fortress palace.

 

GRANADA
SleepGranada - Spain
Be imbued with the spirit of Granada and stay in the grounds of the fabled Alhambra in one of Hotel America’s 17 rooms. From AUD 150 a night www.hotelamericagranada.com. The ambience of Granada’s emblematic Hotel AC Palacio de Santa Paula so inspired Bruce Springsteen that he left his suite and sat in the former convent’s cloistered upper floor where he delivered an impromptu set to surprised guests in the courtyard below! Book a room or suite in sensitively restored Moorish or Spanish convent wings.  www.palaciodesantapaula.com

Graze
The Albayzin district’s narrow streets contain an exotic array of eateries. Tucked up a laneway at Cuesta Maranas 4, Restaurante Arrayanes serves up sensational North African food in a friendly alcohol-free atmosphere. If you like plates heaped with local fried fish and seafood washed down with a boutique beer, then head for Los Diamantes at Calle Navas 26.

Sip
For a foot-stomping Flamenco good time, head for the bars on Calle de Elvira and along Rio Darro at the edge of Albayzin. For an out-of-the-barrel wine experience, try Bodegas Castaneda and Antigua Bodega Castenda where drinks come with bite-sized tapas.Granada - Spain

ShopGranada - Spain
Harvest handcrafted goods at Ceramica Fabre and along the Alcaiceria. However, the best shopping fun is at night when the sidestreets around the Plaza Nueva overflow with stalls selling North African ethnic jewellery, clothes and homewares.

Unforgettable
Andalucia’s Moorish past is palpable at the Alhambra, a fortress containing palaces of extraordinary lavishness and ornate beauty. Climb the watchtower, Granada’s most visible symbol, for panoromic city views that touch the Sierra Nevada. Book tickets well in advance on www.alhambra.org.
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  • Granada - Spain
    Granada - Spain
  • Granada - Spain
    Granada - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Malaga - Spain
    Malaga - Spain
  • Spain - Cadiz
    Spain - Cadiz
  • Spain - Cadiz
    Spain - Cadiz
  • Spain - Barcelona
    Spain - Barcelona
  • Spain - Seville
    Spain - Seville
  • Spain - Seville
    Spain - Seville

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