Just before we moved to China, we decided to go on a bit of a road trip around Southern Spain for a couple of weeks. We were looking for beautiful scenic towns, good weather and nice beaches, and Andalusia definitely did not disappoint.
Our first stop was Malaga, where we flew in to. Unfortunately our baby hiking pack was lost on the flight and so we only had our buggy, which was fine except for Alcazabar, that wasn’t the most buggy friendly. We stayed in an Airbnb that was across the river from all the noise, which suited us fine. It was a very short walk in to the town centre but we were far enough away from it all to park relatively easily and have quieter evenings. Also, being out of the centre meant we were able to afford a bigger Airbnb with 2 rooms and a beautiful large outside terrace. Malaga was a pleasant surprise for us. The old town area was lovely and very charming. Whilst the beach was very crazy and busy with both tourists and locals, there was a lot to do and many cafes and restaurants to hang out at and enjoy the sunshine.
Our second stop, a 2 hour drive away, was Cadiz. This time, we were located at another Airbnb right in the heart of the old town. We couldn’t have asked for a better location. However, the Airbnb itself wasn’t the most practical for having an almost-walking baby. It was super hipster. However, they offered all the amenities, including a high chair, a cot, and baby-sitting services, so that was good and we made the most of that. Cadiz has an incredibly beautiful and long sandy beach so it never felt busy, even on the weekend. There are few scattered cafes every half a kilometre or so that were on the beach so we could stop and shelter from the hot sun. Everyone in Cadiz has their own parasol as there are not many shaded places on the beach itself. We did a lot of walking around Cadiz and wandering around the old town, stopping for tapas every so often. Cadiz was our favourite place that we visited as it had everything- beautiful old streets that you can get lost in, markets to buy lovely crafted jewellery and leather goods, tapas on every corner, and a wonderful beach as well.
Our next destination was Seville, the capital of Andalucia. Our Airbnb was great here; really spacious and light. The only downside was that it was the only place we stayed in that didn’t provide a cot for free. We also found driving in Seville a bit tricky and the only places to park were in public carparks, all a bit of a walk from our home. There was so much to see and do in Seville so our days were pretty busy here. The Catedral de Sevilla is a ‘must-see’ and is one of the biggest in the world. The Plaza de Espana provided a lovely walk around the gardens and great photo opportunities. However, favourite place of the trip was the Royal Alcazar of Seville. I could honestly spend so many hours just wandering around the beautiful gardens and taking all the photos. I love it there. I would definitely recommend getting here for the opening time at 9:30 as the queues get pretty big and it’s nicer to have less people there.
After Seville, we drove to Cordoba. Parts of Cordoba reminded us a little of Cadiz but there was no beach. Instead, it boasted a beautiful river and the Roman bridge, as well as the mosque/cathedral, which is well worth a look and is also free from 8:30-9:30am. We went at this time and they were hardly any people there. It was fascinating seeing a church inside a mosque and the building itself is simply beautiful. When walking around Cordoba, there are many things to see just on your walks so we managed to enjoy the town and it’s sights without paying that much for entrance fees. There are some wonderful narrow lanes that you can get lost wandering around and stopping for more tapas and a beer. Our Airbnb here was really great and although quite small, it had free private parking in a garage and really helpful owners who looked after us well.
Our final destination was Granada and the only place where we weren’t staying in an Airbnb but a hotel. We picked this hotel because it wasn’t in Granada itself but in the middle of the beautiful Andalusian country-side, amongst the olive trees. The Hotel Cortijo del Marques’ history dates back 500 years and has been renovated with all the love and care that such a historical building should. The chapel was built in 1878 and provided a nice cool area if we needed to escape the heat. It was super family friendly and Penny was allowed dinner earlier than the restaurant opening times. There were high chairs, playing areas, cots available, etc to make sure we were fine. You can’t eat anywhere else other than the hotel restaurant, which was fine with us as the food was absolutely terrific. The owners were so friendly and went out of their way to help us with anything. I can’t recommend this hotel more.
We drove in to Granada and spent a few hours exploring the city and also visiting the Alhambra. Unfortunately, we booked our tickets to the Alhambra quite late and therefore we could only get time slots in the late afternoon. This meant seriously hot temperatures and quite a bit of waiting around before we could enter. I would recommend getting tickets a couple of months in advance and if you’re there in the summer, definitely go in the morning as it really does get so hot. Another tip for the Alhambra if you're going with a baby: they don't allow buggies or carriers- but they do provide their own carriers, which are fine. However, the area where you pick these up is not at the entrance to the Alhambra itself, but at the entrance of the Nasrid Palaces, therefore it makes sense to start your trip at the Nasrid Palaces (which is the specific timed entrance on the tickets) and not at the official entrance. It's a VERY big complex!
This was a really cool trip and I’m pleased we got to go on it before leaving Europe. Whilst we didn’t stay in places for too long, it was more of a whilst-stop tour of some beautiful towns and cities in Andalusia. It worked well with Penny because the driving times were relatively short and tied in with her naps. We got into a routine of me packing up our stuff during the morning whilst Mike entertained Penny, and then we would pack up the car and leave at the same time Penny’s nap would occur. She would then usually sleep through the whole drive and wake up at the new destination.