One thing in my 20’s that I have been trying to take advantage of is how easy it is to fly around Europe from London (at least this was the case pre-Brexit). In just two to three hours with a ticket costing you under 100 (sometimes even 50 pounds) you can find yourself in a much sunnier climate. During Easter 2019, I took a trip to Picasso’s home town for a long weekend in Costa Del Sol. Spain is such a beautiful country to explore and is very accessible to travel around particularly by train; ideal if you fancy doing a tour around the country.
My trip to the Andalusian region of Malaga was short but sweet. Touching down at the airport, I took an easy train ride to Fuengirola to my newest Airbnb home for the weekend. Tip: The train platform is located right outside the terminal so there is no need to worry about the train being an inconvenience. It is also certainly cheaper than a taxi ride! We initially had planned to stay in Malaga but as it was Holy Week or Semana Santa as it is locally known, this meant that the peaceful weekend getaway I was hoping for, may not have gone to plan. The loud musical Easter processions run all night in the city, so I was advised to stay in Funegirola – a smaller beachside town instead. Easter processions still run in this town just as they do across country so you can still experience this Spanish tradition. However, by 11pm the town reverts back to it’s typical Spanish lifestyle of wine and tapas bars taking the centre stage again.
Fuengirola is certainly quieter than Malaga but by no means should it be overlooked.
My Airbnb was a centrally located, light and a very spacious 2 bedroom apartment, kitted out so chicly in Ikea furniture. The host was kind and even bought some board games for us in case we decided to stay indoors, as rain was forecast for the weekend (of course the British weather travelled with us to sunny Spain!) Nonetheless the rain mostly held out despite the clouds, and we spent the first two days pottering around the town. We walked leisurely walking alongside the beach, occasionally stopping to have a Cruzcampo in the bars that were interwined throughout Fuengirola. There is also a small lovely beach, but our April visit unfortunately meant that it was far too cold to do a spot of swimming or sunbathing. One of my favourite finds in Fuengirola was La Galleria, a food market with stalls to enjoy a bite to eat and a relaxed place to grab a drink. One thing to note is that smoking is permitted inside, something that of course has been banned in the UK for a while so it was a bit odd to get used to again!
During my long weekend I also spent one day each in Malaga and Marbella. Both are easily accessible by train and/or bus, with public transport even running during Holy Week. On Good Friday we explored some of what Malaga had to offer by beginning with a walk in Parque de Malaga. Here we admired the ornate baroque and renaissance statues, surrounded by many colourful and somewhat tropical plants! But with only a few hours to see some of Malaga’s highlights we had to be selective with our time. So we took a walk to Castillo de Gibralfaro for some great views of the city, followed by walking down to the Roman Theatre to see the ruins. The sun finally came out in the afternoon so we sat by La Malagueta beach, which is located on the city’s waterfront. Being so centrally located, I can imagine this beach would be heaving in the Summer months. Tip: For any Summer visits to the city I’ve also read that Torremolinos (approx 20 mins away) is a nice day trip out, as are the beaches, La Misericordia and Los Almos; Los Almos even has beachside concerts in the Summer!
We correctly anticipated that the city would be busy given it was Good Friday in Spain- a Catholic country. Upon first impression, the processions were slightly intimidating. Large crowds march in traditional dress of long robes and tall pointed hats covering their faces, as they carry religious statues throughout the towns, accompanied by a band playing instrumental music. However, after a while you soon become accustomed to it and the processions really are a unique and cultural experience.
Old Town, Marbella
On our last full day in Spain we travelled by bus from Fuengirola to Marbella. We mainly walked around the Old Town but if you are in Marbella there is a lot to do! Popular for partying in the Golden Mile, you can also go shopping in Puetro Banus, do water sports at Naguelas Beach or walk along the Paseo Maritimo.
Old Town, Marbella
Overall I really enjoyed my weekend in Spain – even if the sun didn’t come out to play as much as I hoped! If sipping wine and eating tapas or some espeto (grilled sardine) at a local chiringuito (beachfront bar) isn’t enough to sway, this Andalusian region also has some incredible hikes. I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to this but the views from Caminito del Rey look breathtaking and would be a good activity to keep you busy for 3 hours or so!
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