Hello my friends! I apologize for taking a while to get around to this installment, BUT…I’ve been busy traveling so stay tuned for another exciting journey coming soon 😉
In this chapter I will take you to lovely Marbella on the Costa del Sol as our final base destination. From there we will explore two of the incredible “ White Villages” of Spain.
Many of you have asked me to include some practical tips such as packing advice, so I’m happy to share what works for me. Packing is as much an art as it is a skill, and it takes a bit of practice and most of the time there is luck involved so don’t get discouraged if you feel over or under prepared for a trip! Now, I will start by saying that I am not one of those extremely efficient travelers that will tell you how to pack for a month abroad in a carry on! 🤣. Nope, not me! I’m a bit of a clothes horse , I like comfort and I like OPTIONS!! Can a lot of you relate??
My general rule is 1 small to medium sized checked bag, one manageable carry-on, and a tote bag. We often use public transportation when traveling, a small suitcase and a carry-on that can fit on top are much easier to maneuver on trains, busses, and especially wheeling over the mostly cobblestone streets we tend to be navigating. Having spine and other orthopedic issues makes me very aware of size, weight and maneuverability of my luggage. I look for extremely lightweight and compact luggage. I’m very fortunate that I do have my dear hubby to help carry the load when I’m struggling! So definitely consider whether you’re traveling solo or not when choosing luggage.
Now let’s get back to Spain, before we forget the reason we’re here😉. I promise to give more packing tips later!
The next and final stop on our tour of Andalusia was Marbella. I first learned of this beautiful seaside resort area from a dear friend that had vacationed there for several years. Coincidentally, I unknowingly chose the same resort that she had frequented! The town of Marbella sits along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and lies under a backdrop of the Sierra Blanca Mountain range in the province of Malaga. We arrived by train to Malaga, the capital city of the region and had arranged a private transfer to the Amare Beach Hotel. The hotel is directly waterfront, beautifully decorated in an artistic modern style and fit well within our budget. We chose a partial sea view room and were not disappointed!
If you prefer a more glamorous stay, the area of Puerto Banús is the luxury marina area. In Puerto Banús you will find yachts, designer shops, luxurious accommodations and upscale restaurants and nightlife.
Plaza de los Naranjos
Our stay centered around Marbella’s Old Town where you’ll find a maze of small cobblestone streets overflowing with tapas bars, shops and beautiful flowers. The heart of Old Town is the beautiful Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square) with its stunning tile benches, greenery, fountains and even a carousel.
We used Marbella as a base to explore two of Andalusia’s incredible White Villages. Ronda and Sentenil de los Bodegas. These villages are characterized by their whitewashed walls and red tile roofs.
Ronda received the title of city around the time of Julius Caesar, but it’s history dates back to prehistoric times. Remnants of civilization going back to Neolithic times can be found here!
In addition to being the birthplace of the bullfight, Ronda was also a destination for both Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway. Both found the beauty of the area compellingly inspirational to their writing and monuments to both men have been erected in the city.
The most breathtaking feature of Ronda is its El Tajo Gorge. This natural gorge divides the city between the “new” 15th century section and the ancient Moorish settlement. It is truly something to behold!
Sentenil de las Bodegas
This incredible town is literally built under a rock. When I first glimpsed photos of it, I knew I had to visit! Like Ronda, settlements here date back to prehistoric times and inhabitants most likely chose the location for its insulation capabilities. Homes are built right into the natural rock which keeps temperatures cool in the hot summers and warm in the cooler months.
There are a few ways to visit the White Villages, if you have a car you can easily drive from Malaga or Marbella. There are also group or private tours available. We used a private tour guide so we could customize our time and it worked out perfectly. My best advice is to always begin by researching your destination, see what’s available and what suits your needs and budget!
And on that note, our journey through Andalusia comes to a close. I hope you enjoyed and maybe find some inspiration for your travels!
Ciao for now ❤️