Spain (Spanish: España), or the Kingdom of Spain is primarily located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. The country is bordered to the south by Gibraltar; to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea; to the north by France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the second-largest country in the European Union (EU) and, with a population exceeding 47.4 million, the fourth-most populous EU member state.
February 2023 – Andalucia Tour from Madrid
I traveled with Travel Service Scandinavia to visit World Heritage sites – in a group consisting of Norwegian and Finnish guests. On our way from Madrid to our Holiday World Riwo Hotel in Benalmádena near Malaga, we stopped in Toledo. The following days we had full-day bus tours to Granada to see the Alhambra castle/fortress, to Sevilla, and a village tour with lunch in Marbella. I also had an extra tour to Gibraltar (a British Overseas Territory). On our way back to Madrid we stopped in Cordoba.
February 2023 – Toledo
On our way southwards from Madrid to the Malaga area we stopped in Toledo for a couple of hours with sightseeing and lunch.
Toledo is located on the banks of the river Tagus in central Iberia, and is known as the “City of the Three Cultures” for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims, and Jews throughout its history. Built on a steep hill, It was the capital from 542 to 725 BC, following the fall of the Roman Empire. Toledo was also the location of historic events such as the Councils of Toledo and was labelled the “Imperial City”. The city has a Gothic Catedral Primada de España, and a long history in the production of bladed weapons.
February 2023 – Alhambra/Granada
The Alhambra, a medieval Nasrid citadel and palace, is located in Granada. It is one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture and one of the most visited tourist sites in Spain. The complex was begun in 1238, built on remains from the 9th century, and was taken over by the Christians when they conquered Granada in 1492. From the Wine Gate runs the Royal Street dividing the Alhambra along its axial spine into a southern residential quarter, with mosques, bathhouses and diverse functional establishments, and a greater northern portion occupied by several palaces of the nobility with extensive landscaped.
After visiting the palace gardens we walk down through the complex and ended in the fortress. Afterwards we stopped at the Albacin hill to take photos of Alhambra.
February 2023 – Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and city located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the 426m high Rock of Gibraltar, at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to over 33,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians.
From the Spanish border town of La Línea de la Concepción we had to walk through Spanish and Gibraltarian passport and customs checkpoints before we met our local sightseeing bus and guide. We drove through the modern city to the most southern point, and then up in the Cliffside to St. Michael’s Cave, located halfway up the western slope of the Rock – a tourist attraction with light & sound show. After taking photos of the monkeys outside we drove down to the city center for lunch.
February 2023 – Citrus Plantation
We stopped at a citrus fruit plantation in a valley north of Malaga. A very colorful owner showed us the different fruits and made jokes. A nice spring morning in a quiet garden. After the garden tour we tasted really fresh and tasty orange juice and/or coffee.
February 2023 – Sevilla
Sevilla was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis, named after the Islamic conquest in 711. It is situated on the lower reaches of the River Guadalquivir, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1929 the city hosted the Ibero-American Exposition, with new public spaces such as the Plaza de España and the Maria Luisa Park. The Spanish government began a modernisation of the city in order to prepare for the expected crowds by erecting new hotels and widening the mediaeval streets to allow for the movement of automobiles.
We spent a couple of hours walking from Plaza America through the park to Plaza España. We did not get tickets for the cathedral so we just walked the narrow streets in the old town by ourselves and had a relaxing lunch and enjoyed the atmosphere.
February 2023 – Cordoba
Córdoba lies on the bank of the Guadalquivir River. Once a Roman settlement, it was taken over by the Visigoths, followed by the Muslim conquests in the eighth century and became a world leading center of education and learning. The Great Mosque of Córdoba built in 756 is one of the most famous monuments of Western Islamic (Moorish) architecture with elements of Roman and Visigothic architecture. After the Christian conquest of the city the mosque was converted to a cathedral. It underwent significant modifications in the 16th century but much of the original structure remains.
We stoppet for a few hours in Cordoba on our way to Madrid, and visited the Jewish quarter and the Great Mosque/Cathedral.