Wherever I travel to, I always try to experience the place like a local as much as I possibly can. I want to see where the locals hang out, they shop and chill out. This usually means you can avoid the majority of the tourist traps and find the real gems in the city. With that in mind, I thought I would share some tips by way of 4 tips for experiencing Andalucia like a local. Andalucia is one of those beautiful places in Spain with endless possibilities. Beautiful towns such as Cordoba, Ardales, Ronda and a few more whose names I can't recall.
1. Rent an Apartment
Renting an apartment/flat allows you to live among the locals. During our visit, we decided to base ourselves in Ardales. Of course, this is the same region with the famous hiking route named "one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. It's also well-known for its almond biscuits and Olive Oil cake. Ardales is a typical Andalucian town steeped in ancient history. Strolling the cobbled stones to our charming apartment situated right in the heart of the little town. It featured a cute courtyard as well as rooftop access offering not only amazing panoramic views but also a jacuzzi perfect for a little wind down after exploring. We booked our apartment via Booking.com. More of the options on where to stay in this beautiful little village can be found here.
2. Shop Where the Locals Shop
Renting a place also means you have an opportunity to cook and try out local produce. There was a little supermarket not too far from the flat which we managed to pop into. Picking up some fish and other sea food we tried our hand and something not so far off a Paella. Discovering that Ardales is also famous for its Almond buscuits and Olive Oil Cake we whizzed around th cobbled alleys to find one of the bakeries that locals had suggested we tried. I seriouly dont know why I didnt take pictures of them, possibly due to them being scoffed down before I could pick up my camera.
3. Eat Where The Local Eat
It's funny how the locals, majority of them men, go and have coffee at the local cafe in the early mornings - I am talking 6am. I dared not to ask, perhaps they were all running away from any morning cleaning. We also managed to check out local eateries. Being a small town also means that these little restaurants get busy or or you may experience a bit of a wait before getting a table. Of course being in Spain meant that tapas was the way to go. Washed down with spanish vino!
4. Explore Surrounding Towns in Andalucia
As I have mentioned, Andalucia is steeped in history. This is also the place said to have given birth to Bull fighting. That town, being Ronda. Exploring Andalucia means you have access to many of these small towns and villages bursting with history, with the added benefit of not actually having to travel very far:
Ronda - Only one hour's drive by car. Set within a valley basin surrounded by beautiful mountains.
Seville - Only 2 hour's drive by car. This is the capital of Andalucia and lies at the foothills of Sierra Morena mountains. Home architectural and artistic heritage comprising the Alcazar Arab Fortress, the cathedral and India Archive, making it the perfect candidate for being awarded UNESCO World Heritage.
Cordoba - One hour by car. This is the capital of the province of Cordoba. It was once an Iberian and Roman city. Later because of the capital of an Islamic Caliphate. The town in perfect of a day trip of exploring. Be sure not to miss out on the famous mosque; Mezquita, also one of Europes largest mosques.
How to get there:
Getting to Andalucia is fairly easy. We travelled from London to Malaga. Malaga airport has major airlines flying in several times from the UK and many cities from in and around Europe. You can find reasonably priced tickets with airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet. From there on we rented a car from the airport and drove to Ardales which I believe was about 2-3 hours drive from Malaga. Of course, you don't have to base yourself in Ardales, you can stay in any of the little towns in Andalucia as the other towns are all within easy reach for exploring.
For other things to do in Ardales you can check out my previous posts on the town as well as make sure you don miss out on dinning with a view at El Mirador. Also, check out the best spot in Andalucian's El Chorro for a swim or watching the sunset.