I started this month with anticipation and mixed feelings. I’ve heard so many great comments about how amazing and friendly Barcelona is that I was thrilled to get to see Spain for a month. On the other hand, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it, my expectations being too high and the fact that I wasn’t going to Barcelona, but in Andalusia instead.
But I am really happy to tell you that I really enjoyed my time in this amazing country. I had never really tought about visiting Spain, it wasn’t in my top 10, nor my top 20. Actually, when my boyfriend suggested that we could go there, I was secretly looking for a way to head to Morroco instead – no need to say that my plan failed… But I couldn’t be happier about that. I am already plotting a return next year (which probably won’t happen), but I will definitely come back in Spain as soon as I can, that is for sure.
That being said, let’s start where I landed after having spent a full month in the United Kingdom. From Edinburgh, I flew directly to Málaga. On my first day, I knew that the decision to come to Spain was right – thanks Simon! This lively seaside resort has a lot to offer: the oldest port still in use in Spain, a beautiful beach where the water was too cold for me at this time of the year (the end of October), cheap treats, and a culture mixed between the Spanish’s and the Arabian’s. Plus, the people were super friendly.
Next was Granada. A city where free tapas come with a drink at any restaurant I went to. No need to say that I tried as many as I could! I intend to write a post soon about the tapas and where I stuffed my face in Spain. There, I spent an afternoon visiting the Alhambra, a day hiking in the Sierra Nevada National Park, and I’ve wondered in the streets of the Albaicín neighbourhood.
Córdoba. I have mixed emotions about this place and I will let you know why soon enough, but I still managed to visit the main attractions – for free because there was a holiday. Yeah! I liked it, but I won’t put it on my return list.
Then I went to Ronda where I stayed a little bit too long but I needed to travel slower because of the cost of the transportation. This resulted in me cafeteria-hopping for a few days, having cheesecakes and churros more than I would like to admit. The bridge which is a UNESCO Heritage deserves a detour, so does what is left of the fortress. A day trip to Ronda should definitely be on your list!
Marbella wasn’t in my itinerary first but it was the cheapest and the easiest way to reach Gibraltar where I really wanted to go. So I spent my time walking along the beach and discovering cozy cafés that I couldn’t afford (I needed to cut down to go to Gibraltar, you see). Oh, and the road from Ronda to Marbella is truly gorgeous, zigzagging between the mountains.
I finally made it to Gibraltar where I crossed the easiest border of my life – I just showed my passport and that was it. The apes are so cute – I would love to say charming but stealing people food is definitely not – and I’m not sure if being attacked by one should be place in my highlight list… Still, being reach only by Spain and the UK, I know that it is not a praised destination and I felt fortunate to visit it. However, that is another place that won’t be put in my return list. I think a day trip is enough to see around, and I’m glad I went.
My time in Spain ended with a week long in Sevilla, the true gem of Andalusia – more on that later. Sevilla was my favourite destination so far. But I’ll reserve why for a post or we’ll still be reading this tomorrow.
While being in Spain, I finally got to try Blablacar – you ride with a local who does the route already which is faster and spare you the loneliness – because it was the cheapest way to get around and I loved it. My spanish wasn’t really good and their english wasn’t either so communicating was harder but I learned so much more about our surroundings than if I had taken the train or the bus.
While I loved my time in Spain, it is an understatement to say that my route was a total mess and I don’t suggest you do the same. The destinations were nice, but the itinerary was not and I will write a post about it the following week. So if you’re looking for an itinerary to follow, scratch this one.
Onto my Expenses for the Month
I am travelling with my boyfriend which means that the total cost of this travel is twice what is listed below. However, this is my share of our trip for one month spent in Spain.
Accommodation: 457.48$ CAD (365.98$ US or 303.41€)
- Málaga over 4 nights = 52.00€ (13.00€ per night)
- Granada over 4 nights = 48.86€ (12.22€ per night)
- Córdoba over 5 nights = 58.50€ (11.70€ per night)
- Ronda over 5 nights = 39.05€ (7.81€ per night)
- Marbella over 2 nights = 28.00€ (14.00€ per night)
- Sevilla over 7 nights = 77.00€ (11.00€ per night)
Food: 225.64$ CAD (177.67$ US or 144.64€)
- Number of breakfast included in the hostel fees : 5. I relied on bread and nutella for nearly all of my breakfasts.
- Kitchens were available everywhere I stayed this month. On average, I ate breakfast and dinner at my hostel/Airbnb while I ate lunch outside to have a taste of the Spanish cuisine – hello tapas!
Transportation (except in and out of Spain): 136.26$ CAD (109.01$ US or 87.82€)
- Train from Málaga’s airport to the center of the city = 1.80€
- Blablacar from Málaga to Granada = 8.50€
- Bus roundtrip from Granada to the Sierra Nevada National Park = 11.80€
- Bus from Granada to Córdoba = 9.28€
- Train from Córdoba to Ronda = 23.45€ (ouch!)
- Blablacar from Ronda to Marbella = 6.00€
- Bus from Marbella to La Línea de la Concepción = 8.44€
- Shuttle from UK’s border to Gibraltar’s center (roundtrip) = 2.00£
- Bus from La Línea de la Concepción to Algeciras = 2.45€
- Blablacar from Algeciras to Sevilla = 12.00€
Activities: 72.49$ CAN (57.08$ US or 46.47€)
- Alcazaba, Málaga = 2.20€
- Cathedral, Málaga = 6.00€
- Alhambra, Granada = 14.85€
- Cable car + Nature Reserve, Gibraltar = 22.00£
Souvenirs: 6.64$ CAN (5.23$ US or 4.26€)
- Postcard + stamp from Andalusia (x2) = 3.15€
- Postcard + stamp from Gibraltar = 1.05£
Miscellaneous: 22.86$ CAD (18.00$ US or 14.65€)
- This includes soap, shampoo and laundry fees (I washed my clothes twice for nothing).
Total spent: 921.37$ CAN (732.97$ US or 601.25€)
What I’m up to for the Next Month
My feelings are mixed for the upcoming month: I can’t wait to go to Portugal and to Ireland, but sadly this also means this is my final month in Europe for this trip. However, I am happy to know that I will be seeing my family soon and getting in time for the Christmas holidays.
That being said, I am going to travel from south to north in Portugal, staying in beautiful Albufeira (and hoping to do an excursion – kayaking, scuba diving, whale watching – I don’t mind), hitting Lisbon (I’ve already stayed two weeks there on my first visit in this country in 2014, so my time will be shorter this once), heading to Cascais and Sintra to enjoy the palaces and wonderful hikes, getting to see Coimbra, and having a glimpse of Porto and the Douro Valley. I have a little bit more than 3 weeks to spend in Portugal and I hope to make the most of it with this itinerary.
Dublin, Ireland will be my last stop before heading home. I have 4 four days there so I will probably try to cram a day trip in my itinerary, maybe to Northern Ireland. I don’t know yet.
Any day trip suggestion from Dublin? Please, let a comment below 🙂