Julie recently travelled with Travelsphere and Just You to sample a taster of their Spanish touring, exploring the historic region of Andalusia - here's what she thought of her experience...

Although I have been to Spain and the Costas many times over the last 40 odd years, I have never even really thought of travelling inland from the beautiful sandy beaches and night life on the coasts. But I honestly must say I have been very pleasantly surprised by Andalusia; it is stunning!

Andalusia is a large autonomous region bordering the southern coast of Spain, its land characterised by hills, rivers and farmland. Its best known landmarks, Alcázar castle in Seville, the region's capital city, Córdoba’s Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral and Granada’s Alhambra palace, all stand testament to its Moorish legacy, as the region was under Moorish rule between the 8th and 15th centuries, until the Reconquista was finally concluded in the late 15th century with the ultimate victory of Isabella of Castille, marking the final and complete end of Islamic Iberia after a 700 year struggle. So it's a land rich with history, tradition, and a melting pot of influences.

We travelled to Malaga with British Airways then onward to the whitewashed hilltop village of Mijas on the Costa Del Sol We stayed at the beautiful Mijas Hotel where we settled into our spacious rooms looking over the hotel grounds. Breakfast and dinner was included and was of a good standard and offered plenty of choice. For a small village, it was surprising how many bars and restaurants were scattered amongst the tiny whitewashed streets often with beautiful views stretching over the far off coast and the beach resort of Fuengirola. It is definitely an area I would like to go back to and spend more time.

We were travelling with Travelsphere Holidays and Just You Singles Holidays staying in Mijas and Antequera, then travelling out to the various cities each day. Although that can sometimes be a lot of travelling, it was nice to experience two different hotels. It can be very hot in Andalusia and while we were away it was 37/42 degrees! So some days were pretty hard going, walking around the sights for 4/5 hours in the midday sun. But it was all worth it, as all of the places we visited were stunning.

While we were there we visited Granada and its beautiful Alhambra Palace, along with the shops and bars of the city enjoying a tapas lunch along the way. We also visited the stunning city of Seville and its Alcazar castle, and the charming city of Cordoba with its Mosque, and tiny, cobbled streets and courtyards. Malaga was a pleasant surprise with its wide avenues and shopping area around the port. But my favourite I think was Ronda and its awesome bridge and views across the gorge. It certainly was a very unique and special place!

Antequera is a large town settled deep in the hills and mountains of Andalusia. It's quaint and really quite charmingly old fashioned and sleepy, but it is in the ideal place to travel to the cities within a couple of hours on a coach. We stayed in the Antequera hotel, which was quite large with a nice pool area, but it seemed a bit tired and in need of a bit of TLC to be honest, and the food was also hit and miss. But we were only there for a couple of nights so it didn’t really matter. The rooms were large and clean with a nice balcony overlooking the pool so that helped!

Coach touring is an ideal way to see this stunning area of Spain and I would have no hesitation in recommending the Travelsphere tours or if travelling alone joining one of the Just You singles groups and hopefully making a few friends along the way.

If you would like to find out more about discovering Andalusia and Spain with Travelsphere or Just You, or any of the other destinations they offer, contact us today!

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