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The Spanish Fly - Travels in Spain

The Spanish Fly is a nom de plume of Paul Whitelock who first visited Spain at the age of 20. Now more than 50 years later, he has been to most parts of the country, including nine of the 12 islands. He has owned property in Andalucia since 2001 and has lived in the region for the last 15 years. This blog is a Travelogue about some of the places he has visited.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 @ 10:22 AM

I collect imanes, fridge magnets. Anything I come across that takes my fancy and is affordable.

From photos of my grandchildren to corkscrews and bottle openers.

But most are memoirs of places I have visited, in Spain, Germany and the UK. I’ve been further afield but that was in the past before I became a collector. So, no magnets from America, Australia, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Singapore nor the Soviet Union.






The largest autonomous region in Spain, Andalucía has eight provinces, each of which bears the name of its capital city.

In alphabetical order these are: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Málaga, and Sevilla.

Over the years I’ve been to every province and all the capitals, bar Huelva.

Oddly, I have no mementoes of a few of them, probably because my visits pre-dated the start of my hobby. According to my wife, my obsession.

So, there is no imán of my favourite capital, Córdoba, nor of the one I have been to most frequently in the past, Granada. Almería and Jaen aren’t on my fridge either.

I do, however, have magnets to celebrate my visits to Cádiz, my second favourite, and of Málaga and Sevilla, which vie for third place.




Best of the Rest in Málaga Province

Ronda is my favourite place in Spain. That’s why I opted to move here from the UK, 15 years ago.

I also love Montejaque, 15 kilometres away. I have a house there. I bought it three years ago as a renovation project in order to keep me off the streets. Casa Real is now a holiday rental.

Strangely, I have no iman of Montejaque, but I do have a car sticker.


I also fell for Frigiliana. I first visited this exquisite mountain village to the north of Nerja with my German pointer, Berti, for company. My wife was away in Germany convalescing after a serious brush with Covid-19 in 2021.

Nerja is good too, especially the caves, the beach and the Balcón de Europa. We go there often, sometimes to meet up with English friends who like to holiday there.



                                 Photo courtesy Malaga Hoy

The long confinamiento (lockdown) had just been eased to allow in-province travel. Like many down here I was desperate to get away after being cooped up for months.

A couple of months later, after my wife had returned home to me, we went to Frigiliana together to celebrate my 71st birthday.

Frigiliana is simply stunning. A great location, a vibrant casco antiguo (Old Part), fine restaurants and a buzzing atmosphere.

I would consider living there, but I would have to win the lotería first –property prices are sky-high!

I have a fridge magnet for another pueblo in Málaga province, namely Mijas.

I have visited many other places in the province yet have no imanes. Torremolinos (East) has great chiringuitos on its fine long beach.

Fuengirola (East) also has its charms. Cafetería Granier does great breakfasts and the vegetarian restaurant Vegetalia offers fabulous lunches. No meat, of course.

Puerto Banús has a Corte Inglés, and adjacent Marbella is home for our private hospital, and my German urologist.

San Pedro de Alcantara is charming with one of our favourite chiringuitos on the beach, our private clinic, and a good choice of restaurants.

Further along the coast are Estepona, Casares, Sabinillas, and La Duquesa, each of which have their attractions.


Restaurante Vegetalia L to R Rita and owner Katja [Photo: Paul Whitelock]



Beyond Málaga – Cádiz province

I adore Cádiz. I’ve been there six times in 20-odd years; with three “wives”, a stepson and my brother and sister-in-law. It just keeps getting better and better. Great Old Part, fabulous restaurants, fine beaches, the Cámara Oscura, the Cathedral, and the market.

Read about Cádiz here: Cádiz -¡Qué maravilla! - Help me, Ronda (

Other places in Cádiz province featured on my fridges include Arcos de la Frontera (great Parador de Turismo and views), Benaocaz (abandoned Arab village), Bolonia (beaches and Roman village Baelo Claudio), Caños de Meca (nudist beach), Grazalema (rainiest place in Spain and great views), Jimena de la Frontera (steep old village with great views and atmosphere), Medina Sidonia (very Roman, great views), El Palmar (long beach popular with campers  and nudists; good  restaurants), Setenil de las Bodegas (cave dwellings, stunning location and great bars and restaurants), Tarifa (where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean; African feel), Vejer de la Frontera (mountain-top village with fabulous views and super restaurants), Zahara de la Sierra (mountain-top village by a reservoir with good restaurants), and Zahara de los Atunes (beach resort on the Costa de la Luz).










    Photos:Cadiz [Maria Vizsla] and Tarifa [TUI]


Elsewhere in Andalucía

I have fridge magnets to commemorate my many visits to Sevilla over 20-odd years. With my first wife, Jeryl; my two children, Amy and Tom, when they were just kids; my elderly mother, Vera; a Welsh cousin, Roger; and current wife, Rita.

The best visit was last year with Rita – it was Autumn, and the temperature was just right. All my other visits were in the searing heat of Summer.

The highlights of Sevilla are too many to mention them all. Our favourites are: La Catedral, La Giralda, Plaza de España, Real Alcázar, Santa Cruz, and La Torre del Oro.

Places I’ve visited and liked elsewhere in the region are Almuñecar (Granada), Córdoba, Écija (Sevilla), Granada, Jaén, Motril (Granada), Salobreña (Granada), and Úbeda (Jaén).


Further reading:

Andalucía's 3 C’s: Cádiz, Córdoba, Ciudad Soñada (

Unsung cities: Cadiz - a light less ordinary | City breaks | The Guardian

El diario británico 'The Sun' recomienda visitar Cádiz por su gastronomía y su "ambiente diferente" ( 

Features III - costa de la luz - COSTA DE LA LUZ - Help me, Ronda (



Almería, Almuñecar, Amy, Andalucia, Arcos de la Frontera, Baelo Claudio, Balcón de Europa, Benaocaz, Bolonia, Cádiz, Cafetería Granier, Cámara Oscura, Caños de Meca, Casa Real, Casares, confinamiento, Córdoba, Corte Ingles, Covid-19, Écija, El Palmar, Estepona, Frigiliana, Fuengirola, Granada, Grazalema, Huelva, iman, Jaen, Jeryl, Jimena de la Frontera, La Catedral, La Giralda, La Torre del Oro. Málaga, Marbella, Medina Sidonia, Mijas, Montejaque, Motril, Nerja, Plaza de España, Puerto Banus, Puerto de La Duquesa, Real Alcázar, Roger, Ronda, Sabinillas, Salobreña, San Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Cruz, Setenil de las Bodegas, Sevilla, Tarifa, Tom, Torremolinos, Úbeda, Vegetalia, Vejer de la Frontera, Vera, Zahara de la Sierra, Zahara de los Atunes,

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