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Frigiliana is one of Andalusia’s “white villages". Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik
Frigiliana is one of Andalusia’s “white villages". Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik

Food & Drink

Take a roadtrip from Málaga to Alicante

Málaga and Alicante are two of Spain’s most popular destinations. Often used simply as a gateway to the resort towns of the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, the cities themselves offer many fascinating things to see and do.

Málaga – for artists and dreamers

Allow yourself to get lost in the narrow, winding alleyways, and striking Moorish architecture of Málaga’s old town, which dates back about 2,800 years. A visit to the Cathedral is a must, along with Málaga’s renowned art museums such as the Picasso Museum and two high-profile new openings, the Centre Pompidou Málaga and the Málaga branch of the St. Petersburg State Russian Museum.

Alcazaba, Málaga’s imposing 11th century Moorish fortress. Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik

Head up to the Alcazaba, Málaga’s imposing 11th century Moorish fortress that overlooks the harbor and sea. If relaxation is more your thing then catch the sunset from the roof terrace of the AC Hotel Málaga Palacio.

Málaga has an interesting gastro scene, with creative tapas served downtown at Gorki in Calle Strachan. The city’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is Jose Carlos García,

located in the new port development, Muelle Uno, which is also home to an array of designer shops and eateries. For those seeking something more ­authentic, head 5km up the road to the old fishing village of Pedregalejo. The boardwalk is lined with traditional chiringuitos (beach restaurants), such as Hermanos Muñoz which serves the freshest sardines.

On the road

Driving north from Málaga, the first stop on the road is Frigiliana. It’s one of Andalusia’s “white villages,” distinctively Moorish in its appearance and consisting of a labyrinth of steep, cobbled alleyways that wind past whitewashed houses. Explore the tiny alleys as they often lead to a bar or restaurant.

MediterraneoTapas bar and restaurant. Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik

Down the road from Frigiliana is Nerja. With its 16km of white, powdery sand and sparkling clear water, it boasts some of the Costa del Sol’s best beaches, All sorts of water sports are on offer here, from water skiing to scuba diving and sailing.

From Nerja, drive inland to Granada, the most spectacular remnant of the Moorish occupation of Spain.

Gorki restaurant. Photo: Aleksandra OlejnikSituated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it is best known for the Alhambra, a huge, breathtaking hilltop fortress that consists of a myriad of royal palaces, fountains, patios, and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty. While in Granada, visit the Moorish district of El Albaicín and stop for a cup of authentic Arabian tea in the charming As-Sirat teahouse in Placeta de la Charca.

From Granada, return to the coast road to explore the wild beauty of the Cabo de Gata nature reserve in ­Almería. Consisting of more than 70 wild coves and beaches, it’s a ­fantastic spot for anyone interested in bird watching and scuba diving as well as cycling, trekking, and horseback riding. If you want a bite to eat, look no further than to Mediterraneo, a casual beachside restaurant, where you can enjoy fresh fish and paella.

On the approach to Alicante, choose the coastal road for some of the Costa Blanca’s best seaside ­locations. Beach bums will delight in the unspoiled El Carabassi nudist beach, while families may prefer Campoamor, a popular resort on the Orihuela Coast.

Alicante – for sailors and foodies

Monastrell restaurante in Alicante. Photo: Aleksandra OlejnikOnce in Alicante, there’s ­plenty to see and do. For sailing enthusiasts there’s the Volvo Ocean Race Museum, while those more historically inclined will be drawn to the magnificent silhouette of the Santa Bárbara Castle that looms over the city.

For foodies, the unmistakable highlight of Alicante is Monastrell, the best restaurant in the city, and one of the best in Spain. Run by chef María José San Román, it was awarded a Michelin star in 2013. With its ­sumptuous 10-course tasting menu priced at €75 per person, it offers one of the most delightful – and ­affordable – gourmet experiences there is. Don’t miss the wine pairing, available for an additional €35. Monastrell’s sommelier is a joy to behold!

By Isabelle Kliger 

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