The post on the Way of St James and being forced to use my severely rusted Spanish skills today has made me reminisce the months I spent travelling around Spain a few years ago. So here you are, the best things I remember being free or cheap but fun (if somebody has more up-to-date information, please, let us know)!
1) Free tapas was still served in parts of Leon and Granada, if you ordered a drink.
2) Free events in Granada:
dancers on the wall of the mall, belly dancers in the Teterias, and the celebrations of San Juan. I am sure other cities have their share of events as well, but these I remember well.
3) Cheap accommodation: sign up for a Spanish course and the accommodation is cheap. I did. Also a good way to get to know other travelers in various ages.
4) Cádiz and Tarifa are in my opinion underestimated in many ways. Both have great beaches and cheap dorms ( I remember paying 10e/ night). Great parties, easy to get in contact with locals but they are still not pushy. There not as many foreign tourists as e.g. on the Sunny Coast, so in my opinion these cities have remained “more Spanish”. Tarifa should be a heaven for hang gliders, it is always windy there. Below first a picture from the main beach in Tarifa, then one from one of the sides in Cádiz (Cádiz is on a narrow peninsula with beaches on both sides).
5) Valencia was beautiful just when walking and sight seeing from the outside. It was also comparatively clean. Just look at the post office on the right.
6) Loads of beach art. Incredibly good sand sculptures made by homeless (?) people. Estepona had loads of nice sculptures and it was also one of my favourite destinations on the Sunny Coast. Clean, still pretty Spanish, cheap, relaxed.
7) Las Alpujarras on the southern foot hills of Sierra Nevada was a good place for day hikes. White villages, and amazing scenery.
In short, I found Spain cheap but casually fun when I mainly stayed out of the over crowded tourist areas and rather did what Spaniards did, together with them. I drank calimocho (redwine out of a box mixed with coke. Does not taste as bad as it sounds. And it was cheap), ate in suburban pubs, and e.g. in Alicante chose to party in the pubs in the “barrio” rather than going to the fancy discos for foreigners.
P.S. I also highly appreciated Spaniards ability to make sense of a very poor Spanish.
[…] known or have super famous sights but rather great atmosphere like Faros in Portugal, Cádiz in Spain, Raglan in New Zealand. I also really liked the small towns in Greece that Bakeritalia mentioned […]
Well, I’ll look forward to your brother’s post. We spent more time in Portugal than Spain, but it was still just a bit of a holiday – hardly a couple of years!
Italy, hm. We went there a few of times but also quickish trips (some quicker than others) and I don’t think we saw anything terribly surprising (Rome of course, Tuscany, Pompeii, Venice, etc).
I do remember hanging out on the edges of Rome because we were there for five or six days and it was a great feel away from the tourist sites, all the locals were out there on the summer weekend getting together in parks and so forth – but of course you have to see the tourist sites, too. You’ve probably been to Rome I guess.
Bakeritalia is in Florence now so for tips there ask her… in fact, she might be a better person to ask in general!. It’s the second time living there for her.
Thanks, seems like a good blog! (and no Rome yet, plenty of times been on the way but never made it. One day 🙂 )
Having a little look back in time here… We always said we’d go back and see Spain. We crossed it once on the way from Portugal to Italy but only really stopped at Granada (and one short night in Barcelona). You’ve reminded me that we wanted to go there again and given me a few ideas.
Spain is definitively worth a visit or two. I fell in love with it when I 8 years ago spent a few months there traveling around the country (my aim was two pick up the language before going to South America for a backpacking trip. Instead I picked up a kiwi husband, so South America is still on the list. When kids grow a bit older). After that I’ve always loved to go back to the best bits (not all of them free 😉 ). Btw, I’ve asked my brother to write a post about Portugal, he’s spent a couple of years there as a surf bum. But I haven’t explored Italy yet apart from a couple of quick stops, do you have any good tips?