So the four months of planned travel with my sister have come to an end. What to do next? Ah, how convenient (and how fortunate) – Mum and Dad are renting a little ‘casa’ with a spare bedroom in the Andalusian Hills of Southern Spain. It’s the perfect opportunity for some quality time with the parentals, knocking off a tonne of laundry (it’s ridiculous how excited you get about using a decent washing machine when you’re backpacking), munching a bunch of healthy home-cooked meals, a mini fitness bootcamp (oh so desperately needed after all those irresistible Italian carbs), a moment to assess the remaining travel funds (eeeek), and of course the chance to explore this gorgeous region of Spain…
You can check out andalucia.com for a comprehensive guide of locations in Andalucia and Southern Spain but, for now, here’s my own little blurb on the spots we checked out:
Cútar is an adorable little village of Moorish origin nestled in the Andalusian Hills. It’s low white-washed houses sparkle among the greens and browns of the beautiful surrounding hillside landscape which is covered in olive trees, vineyards and mango plantations. Our little rental house, ‘Casa La Loma‘ was situated about a 10-minute walk down the hill from Cútar and had a fantastic salt-water swimming pool. It also came with the sweetest little black and white kitten nicknamed ‘Peanut’ who quickly became a part of the family. To be honest, most of our stay was spent chilling out poolside at the casa, but Cútar made for a lovely spot to take an evening stroll and was an eye-catching feature of the phenomenal view we were so lucky to have.
Torre del Mar is a beach resort located on the coast of the ‘Costa del Sol’ region in Andalucia. It took around 20-30 minutes for us to drive from ‘Casa la Loma’ down to the beach at Torre del Mar, which is a superb four kilometre-long stretch of sand lined with fantastic little beach shacks. Many an afternoon during the fortnight we stayed in Cútar was spent soaking up rays from the Spanish sun laying on Torre del Mar beach. We particularly enjoyed the fact that, as we were there in September, we missed the busy summer crowds, leaving plenty of space between our little beach set-up and the next persons. No visit to Torre del Mar was complete without stopping in at any one of the beach shacks for a big plate of absolutely scrumptious calamari rings drenched in garlic aoli and freshly squeezed lemon juice! For Dad’s birthday dinner we made a visit to a beach restaurant named ‘Rompeolas‘ where a lovely big ‘Pargo’ or Red Snapper fish was cooked for us over an open fire right on the sand, then served covered in olive oil, sea salt and garlic and accompanied with potato and zucchini fries drizzled with honey balsamic – deeeeeelicious!!
For a fun family day out, we decided to drive approximately three and a half hours from Cútar to a truly stunning spot called San José which is a small fishing village located in the ‘Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata‘. The Mediterranean Sea here was just so incredibly clear and WARM – absolute bliss to float about in all afternoon long – and the sand is more golden and clean than that at Torre del Mar. There are two very nice beaches right in the village which have easy access to a good selection of cafés, restaurants and tapas bars, and then there are a few beaches outside of the village also, all within walking distance.