It’s 8am. The phone alarm is ringing and I can hear birds singing outside my window. The sun is already shining telling me it’s time to wake up. For a moment I feel that I’m in Malaga and I should jump out of bed, do my morning workout and go downstairs to grab my amazing cappuccino from the café next door. That feeling suddenly disappears when I realize it’s Sunday, my alarm rang too early, I’m in Bucharest and maybe I should sleep one more hour.
Even though it was just a second of fantasizing, that feeling of a Spanish morning remained for the rest of the day and the excitement didn’t let me sleep anymore. It looks like my subconscious mind is telling me it’s time to go and experience Spain again. And it’s not only my deeper thoughts that are guiding me there. I actually elaborated a timeline so I can get there soon.
But this is what I am talking about. Recently, I went to Andalusia, Spain, a place I didn’t know too many things about, but it is a part of Europe that convinced me there is more to discover. It all started when I was wandering on Sky Scanner in search of my next escape. I heard about Malaga before, I knew it is the birthplace of Picasso and that it’s in southern Spain, which could only mean art, warm weather and a new place to discover. That information alone was enough to convince me to buy a ticket. So I made some kind of a plan (as I always do, even though I am flexible enough to adjust the plan on the way) and I was ready to go.
This lovely city in Andalusia is known as one of the oldest places in the world (nearly 2800 years old). With so much history, Malaga has a lot to offer. From its old town, to a large beach, castles and art, the city can fulfill many wishes. Maybe you love to soak up the sun on the beach and your partner wants to find out more about the city’s history. There’s a place for everyone. Moreover, it has one of the warmest winters in European cities, so you can get a cheaper plane ticket and enjoy the off-season prices.
Spanish people are full of life, communicative and as far as I’ve seen, they love carnivals. And I was lucky enough to be there when one of their annual carnivals was happening. Kids (even infants), teenagers, adults and elders were all dressed up for the occasion and even performed on a scene and at parade. A rainbow of color: minions, fairytale characters, Einstein(s) and many others were walking on the streets. If you get the chance to get there during a festival, you shouldn’t miss it.
The city is cute, cozy and so Latin, thus it felt like home. I had a really nice host I found on Airbnb who was willing to give me some tips and indications that only locals know. It’s a lovely studio close to the city center but in a quiet area, with all the features you might need. It’s always better to talk to the locals because they can give you tips that you cannot find in tourist flyers or websites. And if you are a shy person, this is a great way to overcome your fears.
While walking around the old town, you can get to Picasso Museum really quickly or visit his home, admire the Roman Theater and do some shopping. My suggestion is to just get lost on the lovely streets; you never know what you’ll find next. Don’t miss the Gibralfaro castle, where, after climbing many stairs, you’ll get a great panoramic view of the city. You can go next to Alcazaba castle, an old Muslim palace.
When you are done with the old city and the castles, go to the harbor and take a walk. That’s actually a way to get to the beach.
If you want to get to know Andalusia better, you shouldn’t stop here, but rather visit some of the close cities. From the Malaga train station, you can get a train or bus to Marbella, Granada, Seville, Tarifa, Cadiz or other cities.
I chose Tarifa, a small town, just a few hours away. Here’s why.
I have to admit I consciously picked this place and I wanted to get there ever since I first read about it on Johannes’s blog. It intrigued me because he was thrilled to be there and he’s one of the people I follow on a regular basis. Johannes is a location independent professional, whose e-book – Webworktravel Destination Guide – was the first of this kind I ever bought. At the moment, this book is totally free so you can download it right now, if you are interested in pursuing a digital nomad lifestyle. Moreover, if you choose Tarifa and you are a bit scared to go there by yourself (even though there’s no reason), you’ll be happy to know that Johannes is organizing workations there, so this can be the perfect mix of visiting it, meeting new people and get the taste of this kind of life.
Tarifa (most exactly Punta de Tarifa) is the southernmost point of Europe (mainland) and merely known as one of the world’s most popular destinations for wind sports. If you never tried it, here’s your chance.
The beaches Tarifa offers will probably be the main attraction for you. You can choose from:
– Valdevaqueros beach (annual world wind surf championships and popular for kitesurf and sailing)
– Playa Chica (family beach where the wind is not that strong)
– La Caleta (small beach in the east of town)
– Los Lances (10 km of white sandy beach)
You can actually see the Moroccan coast while you are on the beach and can always take the ferry and get to Africa, which is just 35 minutes away. Tarifa also offers some whale watching tours or short organized trips to Tangier (Morocco). I totally wanted to get there but the weather wasn’t the best so I decided to take a bus and go to Gibraltar. Ok, neither of them is in Andalusia, but why not give them a chance?
Just about an hour away is Gibraltar – a British overseas territory with an area of just 6.0 km2 and one of the most interesting because evidence of Neanderthal habitation was found here and it is believed to be dated somewhere between 28.000 and 24.000 BC.
If you get there by car, you should know that traffic drives on the right, as the territory shares a land border with Spain, La Linea de la Concepcion being the closest Spanish city. If you want to get there by bus, this is the name of the place you should be looking for.
The most interesting thing I found there was their border. I walked so it was even more spectacular. The main road intersects the airport runway, so it has to be closed every time a plane lands or departs. There’s a stop sign that shows you if people and cars are allowed to pass or if it’s airplanes’ time.
When you get there, you should definitely see the Rock of Gibraltar, which is home to around 300 Barbary macaques. And when it comes to the language, you should have no problem, since the people are speaking both Spanish and English.
All in all, if you have at least one week to spare (or better said to invest) in this trip, I recommend you to do it. Moreover, if you are a digital nomad, Andalusia is a great place to live for a while. Take a look here for more details on why is this place a great workation destination for digital nomads.
And I am back to my morning thoughts. Looks like I kinda fell in love with Andalusia and just like when alove strikes, you can’t really take your mind of it. I was there for less than two weeks, so it might be the time to give it a shot for the slow travel. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet there.