And thankfully the rain wasn’t present for much of the tour through southern Spain after I got back from Morocco – for the most part it was fantastic weather for exploring. History could be seen everywhere from the different conquests of various regions to the influences of a variety of rulers (Roman, Visigoth, Muslim, French) on local architecture and culinary specialties. But while this is mostly about southern Spain, I did step back into the UK briefly at the beginning and you’ll see how in my list of daily excursions:
- April 24th: Arrived by ferry from Tangier and caught the shuttle bus to Algeciras before finding a bus to La Línea de la Concepción. Got to the AirBnB I was staying at and dropped off my things before exploring La Linea.
- April 25th: Walked into Gibraltar and took the cable car to the top. Checked out some monkeys, walked on a glass platform overlooking the cliff side, strolled down to St. Michael’s cave and back up, and headed back into La Linea to grab a bus to Malaga. Checked into hostel just in time for free sangria hour! Also had a really good paella on the roof top patio.
- April 26th: Toured Alcazaba in Malaga before grabbing my bags from hostel to head to Granada. Got to Granada and walked around after checking into hostel to get my bearings and find some place to eat.
- April 27th: Spent half the day touring Generalife and Alhambra. Didn’t manage to get tickets to the Nasrid palaces as those are usually sold out 2 months ahead of time. Even the ticket to Generalife/Alhambra was sold out day of (you can get it a few days ahead of time like I did). Rested weary legs for a bit before heading to dinner and a flamenco show.
- April 28th: Said goodbye to Granada as it was time to hit Valencia (7.5 hour bus ride). Met an interesting girl who lived in Spain but moved from Argentina years ago. She offered me some dried dates (which were fantastic) and made the bus ride go by much quicker with our conversation. Checked into hostel that was in a train station – made a friend very jealous!
- April 29th: Joined a free walking tour (these are great and you tip what you think the tour was worth). Had paella Valenciana. Checked out a movie in northern Valencia (Avengers: Infinity War – English with Spanish subtitles).
- April 30th: Headed to my last stop in Spain – Barcelona! Arrived in the afternoon but already had two Gaudi sites planned – hit up Casa Batllo and La Predrera’s night show The Origins. Tried the Catalonian champagne called cava at the night show (complimentary after the show).
- May 1st: May day/Labour day! Quite a few places were closed and there was a huge thunder and lightning storm in the morning. It cleared up around late morning which enabled me to hit up Park Guella and it’s Monumental Core. Followed that up with an afternoon free walking tour of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter which ended just as it started to rain again.
- May 2nd: Breakfast was had in Barcelona’s most famed market – La Boqueria Mercat. Two places were the target today. The first was the “appetizer” and was Palau Guell (showcasing Gaudi’s early architectural work) and then was followed by the main course of my entire trip to Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia. This was Gaudi’s final work which is still under construction to this day which is slated to be completed 2026 (100 years since Gaudi’s death) but most locals think more like 2036. It is an absolutely stunning piece of architecture and it actually caused me to pause when I entered it.
- May 3rd: Caught the bus to Marseille. My train to Montpellier to catch the connection to Marseille had been cancelled due to the French strike but the bus was almost as fast and half the cost.
In this whirlwind of travel, I stayed in an AirBnB and four hostels. I’ll briefly go through each to review but most of the hostels were similar.
In La Linea, I stayed at a fantastic AirBnB that was about a 10 minute walk from the border to Gibraltar. When I had arrived, the very first thing I did was take a shower. It was the first shower I had in over a week that wasn’t in questionable facilities (as I had spent a week in Morocco). Overall, the stay was great, albeit brief and if you’re looking for a place, you can contact me and I’ll send you in the right direction.
Next up was Malaga. The hostel I stayed at was called The Lights Hostel and is centrally located. Facilities were decent and the staff were friendly. They have nightly free sangria at 8pm and a really cheap communal dinner at 9pm. Also, from 8-9 was two for one drink specials. I availed myself of all three great options! I ended up talking to a couple from Norway about how everyone else had a jacket on while we were the only ones with summer gear (short sleeves, etc).
After the two solo nights, I had a couple nights in Granada where I stayed at the White Nest Hostel. It was adequate and the ensuite bathroom was convenient. They advertise laundry service and this was the place I had planned to do laundry but they actually had only one set of machines (washer and dryer) which they used to wash all their towels and bed sheets. Suffice it to say, I managed to finagle some time to do my laundry, but it was a bit of a pain.
After two nights in Granada, it was time for two nights in Valencia. I ended up staying at the Up! Hostel which is located right in the Valencia train station. This made it very convenient when I had to catch the train after my stay as well as being centrally located. The lounge area is quite nice but the facilities are pretty basic. There was a bit of confusion as someone showed up the first night being assigned to my bunk and it took getting the girl at the front desk to correct her mistake in assigning beds.
My final stay in Spain was in the centrally located Casa Barcelo. While the beds were comfortable enough, the washroom facilities were lacking in number and size. There was a single toilet room men and one for women as well as two shower stalls each. Whoever designed the shower stalls put no thought into getting the proper door as the doors swung from inside out and basically took up the whole stall in the travel path. Even normal sized folk could not close the door in the men’s shower so left it open. The lounge and kitchen were adequate and there was a nice courtyard out back. However, alcohol was not allowed on premises (unlike the other hostels that sold it on premises). The best part was the laundry service where for 6 euros they would wash your laundry, dry it, and then fold it for you.
A couple tips about traveling in Spain. While it is indeed cheaper than England or France, in that regard it’s a lot harder to pay in large euros such as 100s or 50s. I recommend bringing quite a few 20s. Also, most restaurants close by 3 or 4pm and don’t reopen until 8pm or later. Plan your meals accordingly!
Now, once again, I present random photos!