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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.

My Top 25 Places To Visit In Andalucía
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 @ 9:24 AM

Way back in September 2011 Luisa and Simone of inspired me to write an article listing my top 10 favourite places in Andalucía.

Now, more than a dozen years later, I have clocked up nearly 16 years of residency in the largest of Spain’s autonomous regions, and the picture has changed significantly.

In those 12 years of living here full time I have travelled a fair bit and got to discover many more fascinating places.

I would not leave out the 10 places I listed back in 2011, so I have revised my article and it’s now my top 25.

Of course, one can always quibble about such lists, as they are, by definition, personal, but they are always the starting point for a healthy discussion.


My Top 10 in 2011

In fact, it was a top 13 with the big three cities of Córdoba, Granada and Sevilla getting a brief mention. The other 10, in alphabetical order, were, and still are:


Bolonia (Cádiz) - Without doubt the best beach in Andalucía, almost totally unspoilt, with the spectacular restored Roman city of Baelo Claudio as a backdrop.

BOLONIA and BAELO CLAUDIA - Help me, Ronda (





Cádiz City - The oldest city in Europe is much under-rated. In the process of receiving a make-over, this is a port town to rival Liverpool or Hamburg. With its cámara oscura, fabulous fish market, atmospheric Old Town, its cathedral and fine beaches it takes some beating.

CADIZ -¡Que maravilla! - Help me, Ronda (



Cazorla (Jaén) - A place to get away from it all. Mile upon square mile of virgin forest and little hint of civilisation. Boasts probably the remotest Parador hotel in the whole of Spain!


El Chorro (Málaga) - This series of linked reservoirs is stunning, with ample opportunities for sightseeing and bathing in the clear waters. It is also the starting point for the stunning Caminito del Rey.





Grazalema (Cádiz) - The wettest place in Spain, the scenery is spectacular, and the town is very pretty with oodles of ambiente.

A wander near Ronda: Spain’s empty quarter | Andalucia holidays | The Guardian


Jimena de la Frontera (Cádiz) - A stunning pueblo blanco perched on a hill with narrow cobbled streets and flowered balconies.

Diary of a paper boy in Andalucia - Olive Press News Spain (


Montejaque (Málaga) - This delightful pueblo blanco was my home for two happy years. With a permanent population of just under 1000 and 14 bars, the scenery and walks round about are second to none.

A Stroll through Montejaque - Help me, Ronda (




Ronda (Málaga) - La Ciudad del Tajo, also known as La Ciudad Soñada, is where I now live after four decades of travelling throughout Spain. Ronda's location perched atop a stunning 100 metre gorge, with mountains all around, is breathtaking. With a splendid Old Town, as well as modern amenities, it meets the needs of residents and tourists alike.

Ronda, el choque ideal (the perfect place to meet) - Help me, Ronda (


Tarifa (Cádiz) - The crossroads of Europe and Africa and the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. A fascinating pot-pourri of cultures at the southernmost tip of Europe.






Úbeda - Baeza (Jaén) - These two neighbouring towns boast stunning honey-coloured medieval buildings. To wander the streets is like going back in time.






My 2011 article provoked some comments:

Rosi Reed wrote in September 2011:

“I've been to 7 of these 10 and would agree with every one on the list.....the problem is that there's probably 10 more places that are every bit as worthwhile to visit. I'm not sure about Bolonia as the best beach though, we had clients there who have had problems with the local feral dogs. Can I post a vote for El Palmar for best beach? Can I also add to the list - Sevilla (and can't believe it was left off) and in Sevilla I would say best thing to a bike for the day and ride around the network of bike paths through the centre and down by the river. Can I also add a vote for the place we sell more holidays in than any other - Jerez. It's the only town I know that smells of what has made it famous!”


Alison sent this message in June 2012:

“Oh, Vejer de la Frontera, amazing history, a Unesco world heritage site and the views from the old town towards the Bay of Trafalgar are amazing.”


The Spanish Fly responded:

“Hi, Alison and Rosi. Thank you for your comments. If I were to re-do my list now, I would certainly include Vejer, El Palmar, Jerez and Sevilla, all of which I have discovered and fallen in love with since my original article.
Maybe I should re-do it as my top 25 ... I would also add Cómpeta, Córdoba, Setenil de las Bodegas, Caños de Meca, Almuñecar, Frigiliana, Nerja and Torrox Pueblo.


My Top 25 in 2024

After more than a dozen years of exploring other parts of the country that has been my home for more than 15 years, I’ve discovered other places I love.


Almuñecar (Granada)

I first went to Almuñecar and the Costa Tropical in 2012 on a press “freebie”. I liked the whole area back then. We revisited a couple of weeks ago and I loved it even more. Two great beaches, plenty of chiringuitos and restaurants and a charming casco antiguo.

Tropical fruits in Andalucía - Mmmm! - Olive Press News Spain (


Antequera (Málaga)

My first wife Jeryl and I called in to the Parador in Antequera on our silver wedding anniversary tour of Andalucía in 2000. We managed to wangle a swim in the pool, even though we weren’t staying there – they even provided us with towels! We went to look at the old part of town up the hill and loved it.

I took girlfriend Maude there also – she liked it too.

Finally, I traded in the amigos points I had accrued from the Parador network (I’ve stayed at or visited over 50 to date) for a two-night stay for me and Rita in 2023. Rita loved Antequera also.

10 lugares que ver en Antequera imprescindibles - Viajeros Callejeros


Caños de Meca (Cádiz)

I’ve been here a couple of times with both of my wives (not together, I hasten to add!). Jeryl and I liked the coast around here, especially the naturist beach just outside the resort. Rita is less keen to get her kit off, but we enjoyed a nice meal and a walk to nearby Cape Trafalgar.



Cómpeta (Málaga)

My good friend John, a fellow hispanist, told me about Cómpeta many years ago, when he was thinking of buying a place there. In the end he plumped for Velez-Málaga and spent many happy years visiting his "place in the sun" with his wife Maggie and kids. Although he was by this time disabled as the result of a freak cycling accident, John still enjoyed spending time in Andalucía.

I visited Cómpeta for the first time in 2023. What a treat! Although many Brits live here, it didn't mar our experience. The steep, narrow streets and the evident civic pride combined to make it a charming place to spend time.


Córdoba City

This was always my favourite of the big three Andalusian cities. Small and charming. The Mezquita is simply stunning and the Alcázar too. I went there with my first wife Jeryl and my son Tom a long time ago and loved it. I returned some years later with a girlfriend, Maude, after my divorce, and still liked it. I haven’t made it yet with The Meter Maid, but it’s on the list.

ANDALUCIA’s 3 C’s: Cádiz, Córdoba, Ciudad Soñada - Help me, Ronda (


Frigiliana (Málaga)

I first went to Frigiliana with Bertie, my dog, while Rita was recovering from Covid-19 in Germany. We stayed in a former ice-cream parlour in the Old Part. I fell in love with Frigiliana. So much so, that I took Rita there when she returned from Germany, to celebrate my 71st birthday. We stayed in the same ice-cream parlour, Casa Moranga. We’ve also visited with friends Ian and Christine from Derbyshire, and with my daughter Amy and grandsons Felix and Jude.



Genalguacil (Málaga)

I’ve been to Genalguacil three times, twice for the annual Encuentros de Arte. Quite remote and inaccessible, it’s worth the effort to get there. The village is decorated with sculptures and other artwork which emerges from this annual competition. The village council invites a small group of artists from all over the world to come and live in the village and produce a piece of original artwork. All their expenses are covered, and each receives a bursary of 1000 euros. In exchange the artists donate their creations to the village.

GENALGUACIL - El Pueblo Museo - Help me, Ronda (


Granada City

I have been to Granada many times and visited the Alhambra on each occasion. It is marvellous, if somewhat shabby. The Jewish quarter (Albaicín) is also lovely, as is the cathedral and the Old Town. Tapas are free.

Granada - Wikipedia






Málaga City 

I’ve always liked Málaga. It has much more to it than most people think. From The Picasso Museum and his Casa Natal (birth house), the Roman amphitheatre, a fascinating pedestrianised town centre, superb beaches, the refurbished industrial port, Gibralfaro mountain and so much more.

I first visited the city when we used to stay a night in the Parador de Gibralfaro at the beginning and end of trips to the area when we were still living in the UK.

Nowadays, we go to stay in the town centre for a night or two if I have a Costa Press Club “do” in the city.

MALAGA CITY - Help me, Ronda (


Nerja (Málaga)

Jeryl, Tom and I visited Nerja way back in time and liked it. Rita and I now go fairly regularly to stay with friends Ian and Christine who holiday there every year. Although Nerja is very touristy, it doesn’t bother us, as the beaches are lovely and the chiringuitos too. In town, the bars and restaurants include a free tapa in the price of your drink.

I also took Amy, Felix and Jude there for two days in April this year and they liked it also.

Nerja - a little gem (



Setenil de las Bodegas (Cádiz)

Setenil is one of the prettiest and most spectacular of the pueblos blancos around here. With its spectacular topology and charming cave-houses, mostly shops, bars and restaurants these days, it’s knockout. Only 20 minutes from home, we have visited often. The last time we went, earlier this year, there were too many tourists for my liking, but it’s still a must-see place.



Sevilla City

I think I’ve been to Sevilla six times. The first five times I hated it – too hot, and nowhere to park. The last visit in October 2023, Rita and I went by bus for half price (we’re senior citizens and have a tarjeta sesentaycinco*). We stayed for two nights in the casco antiguo in the four-star Hotel Murillo for 50€ a night including breakfast.

We did the cathedral, the largest in Europe, the Giralda Tower, and the    and we ate some great food. And the temperature was just right.

In Love with SEVILLA - at last! - Help me, Ronda (


Torrox Pueblo (Málaga)

Torrox Costa has a certain charm, with a lovely beach and great chiringuitos. However, it is very much a German enclave. Don't get me wrong, I like Germans - my wife Rita is German - but I don't need them wall-to-wall in a Spanish beach resort.

Torrox Pueblo, a few kilometres inland, is a different kettle of fish entirely and is very charming.


Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz)

Vejer is stunning. Perched upon a hill, it has the lot! Stunning views all around, a fabulous Old Part, great restaurants and a real ale brewery. We enjoy strolling around, soaking up the atmosphere. A famous car ad was filmed here, which sent its popularity through the roof.

Near to the fabulous beach resort of El Palmar, and not far from the resorts south of Cádiz.



Zahara de la Sierra (Cádiz)

Overlooking the embalse (reservoir), Zahara is delightful. The top of the town is where the action is with a street full of bars and souvenir shops, a hotel and the church. Down below there are restaurants overlooking the reservoir, where there is also a beach where you can hire pedaloes and kite surfers.






©  The Spanish Fly


Other Links:

Amigos de Paradores | Paradores

“WHEN I’M 65…”: HOW TO ….. get a tarjetasesentaycinco (



ABC de Sevilla


Costa Press Club

Diario de Sevilla

Explore La Tierra


Genalguacil Pueblo Museo

Karl Smallman

Lonely Planet

Paul Whitelock


Ronda Today

Trip Advisor

Turismo de Cádiz









AlbaicínAlhambra, Almuñecar, Andalucía, Antequera, Baeza, Bolonia, Cádiz, Cádiz City, cámara oscura, Caminito del Rey, Caños de Meca, Cazorla, Cómpeta, Córdoba, El Chorro, El Palmar, Frigiliana, Genalguacil, Granada, Grazalema, Hamburg, Jaén, Jimena de la Frontera, Sevilla, Baelo Claudio, Liverpool, Málaga, Montejaque, Nerja, Ronda, Setenil de las Bodegas, Sevilla, silver wedding anniversary tour of Andalucia, Tarifa, Torrox Pueblo, Úbeda, Vejer de la Frontera, Velez-Malaga, Zahara de la Sierra 

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