Luxury & boutique hotels
When to go
Many of this region’s fiestas revolve around religious devotion and Catholic saints, but piety is not a pre-requisite. During festivals such as Semana Santa (held during Easter) and Moros Y Cristianos (held at various dates throughout the year depending which province you’re in), sherry is downed in copious amounts and food, dance, music and song are all integral parts of the celebrations.
PlanesEach of the eight provinces in Andalucia have an airport, but Malaga – Costa Del Sol airport (www.aena-aeropuertos.es/csee/Satellite/Aeropuerto-Malaga/en) is the largest, with regular flights to destinations throughout Europe. Trans-Atlantic flights to Malaga stopover at Dublin and flights across the Pacific change at Rome or Paris.
BoatsFRS (www.frs.es) runs regular ferries from Tangier to Gibraltar. A one-way journey takes about 90 minutes to two hours.
TrainsAndalucia’s trains can be unreliable, especially outside the cities, but it is possible to get around using the Spain's high-speed AVE network (www.renfe.com), which connects Malaga, Cordoba and Seville to Madrid.
AutomobilesAndalucia is rife with road-trip worthy terrain, and while it may lack the romance of horse riding you’ll definitely cover more ground on four wheels. You’ll find hire car booths in major city airports.
For a five-star gourmet hotel break in Spain, rustic boutique hotel Casa la Siesta will sate your appetite. The owners’ table d’hôte is an unmissable feast of kitchen garden-gathered fruit and vegetables and excellent local delicacies. On your country getaway, look out for the secreto Ibérico (a hidden cut of marbled meat – fatty, but delicious), and the staple of Spanish cuisine, seafood straight from the coast, just 12 kilometres away.
Marbella has been the famously chic playground of old-school, look-at-me Mediterranean glamour for decades, and Marbella Club is one of the biggest reasons behind its rep. Opened by playboy Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe in 1951, the shore-side resort (which includes a spa, beach club, golf course, botanical gardens and champagne room, naturally) still attracts the glitz-garbed international jet set and those who like to watch them at play. Although these days, a lot of the younger guests slope off to barefoot-luxe coast club Nikki Beach down the road when they’re tired of lounging on the pool terrace…