Southern Spain Tarifa

Tarifa is one of many hidden gems in the south of Spain

by Malwina Gudowska

Southern Spain Malaga Flamenco Cueva de Nerja

Flamenco show in Nerja Caves near Malaga

Spain’s varied landscape and its choose-your-own-adventure allure make it one of the most enthralling destinations for travellers to explore. The result is many of the cities are overrun and crowded by eager tourists hoping to discover every last bit of the country’s charm. But for those of us who prefer a slower pace of travel and a quieter vacation, Spain also offers plenty of hidden gems where you’d least expect them—often right around the corner. Even if you begin your adventure in some of Spain’s more notorious and populated areas, look beyond the ubiquitous beaches and hot spots and you’ll come across unparalleled beauty and serenity.

Among the well-known destinations in Southern Spain, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-track places waiting to be discovered. If you’re flying to Malaga, first explore the city’s flamenco scene with a stop at the Cante Grande de Casabermeja festival held every summer for the past 40 years. From there, head east to the Axarquia country on the Mediterranean Costa del Sol. Most of the area remains relatively untouched and has, for the most part, managed to escape urban development.

Caleta de Velez Fish Market

The fish market at Caleta de Velez

Although there are a number of large resorts in between the long stretches of sandy beach, there are also still plenty of undiscovered rocky coves and secret places to explore. Start at Caleta de Velez, the area’s main fishing port where you can purchase and indulge in the day’s fresh catch. You’ll find plenty of sunbathing opportunities along the coast but some of the more undiscovered areas include Chilches Beach and Playa de Mezquitilla, both set on small coastal villages, and Cala del Pino, a beach and nature reserve located six kilometres east of Nerja and only accessible by boat or on foot.

If you fancy going west from Malaga instead, you’ll come across a more developed area at first but drive past the hectic resorts of Marbella and Torremolinos, around Spain’s southernmost tip and you’ll find yourself on the Costa de la Luz. Escape the crowds in favour of a more authentic Spain in Tarifa (see top photo), a small town filled with coastal delights.

Southern Spain Alfabia Gardens

The Moorish manor house and gardens of Alfabia

After exploring the area to your heart’s content, hop on one of the Majorca flights with Monarch and make your way to the island. From the island’s capital Palma, make the exciting journey—up steep and spiralling mountain roads alongside mule-drawn carts—to Orient, a lovely village with mountain views surrounding the valley. On your way back to Palma, make a stop at the Palma/Soller road to see the manor house and gardens of Alfabia.

Southern Spain Puigpunyent

The timeless village of Puigpunyent

Beyond the beaches, the mountain villages of Majorca in the far west of the island are a must-see, and one of the most scenic routes is from Palma to Calvia, west to Capdella, then up to the village of Galilea. Fom Galilea, go north and you’ll come to Puigpunyent, another timeless and charming village.

Close to Felanitx in the southeast of the island, the Sanctuary of San Salvador offers another panoramic view of the area. And while most of the roads to get to the mountainside villages are quite windy and twisty and will make you sweat, if you put in the effort, you will always be rewarded with breathtaking views stretching far off into the distance.

Photo Credits: little amsterdam, flamenco, fish market, alfabia, puigpunyent



3 Responses to Unspoilt Beauty: The Hidden Gems of Southern Spain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow Travel Wonders
Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
Awards and Affiliations