Faces of Tarifa

Tarifa has long been known as a culturally-blended town, through all its incarnations: frontier fortress, fishing village, trendy tourist town. All the peoples who have settled in or near Tarifa have left a mark, from ancient Roman soldiers to Moorish settlers, Jewish merchants and Celto-Iberians. The Moorish style of architecture is the most common here, but everything else blends in with these walls to create a singularly beautiful place to vacation. You’ll find virgin coastline, fine hotels, and tons of water sports to engage your interests.

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Celebrity watching at Puerto Banús

Just west of Marbella is Puerto Banus, and this is the place to be if you’re an heir or heiress to a large fortune, or just wish that you were. Yachts line the harbor, and you can watch them as you have a drink at an alfresca restaurant or bar in the area. They’re beautiful when viewed against the ocean and the mountains that form the backdrop of this town.

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Málaga – City of flowers

Malaga is the home of Pablo Picasso (it seems like everyone claims Pablo Picasso) and the beautiful Antonio Banderas, also known as Zorro and Puss in Boots. But Malaga has a long and illustrious history filled with individualism and survival. Like every major city in Andalucia, it was occupied by the Moors until the 15th century, and later suffered from pirate attack, though not as much as many Andalucian coastal towns. It became a great merchant center, which can be seen if you look around La Alcazaba, the archaeological museum of the town that once was a Moorish fortress.

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Antequera – Ancient city of Andalucia

Antequera is situated centrally to most of the other Andalucian cities, and is an excellent alternative to Malaga for flights. It’s right on the railway from Granada to Algeciras, and the views of El Chorro Gorge from the rail line are breathtaking. The town looks like the typical medieval town of Andalucia from a distance, with high church spires and walls and towers of its Moorish fortress outlined against the horizon. Below, farmlands are irrigated by the Guadalhorce River, and asparagus, olives, and cereals thrive alongside sunflowers.

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Spain’s gateway to Marocco – Algeciras

Stretching nearly to Gibraltar, Algeciras has long been an important port in Spain. It’s a popular crossroads for Moroccan workers on the way to and from France, Holland, and Belgium. Partly for this reason, there’s a strong Arab flavor to the city; many signs are in Arabic, and you’ll find excellent tea shops specializing in Moroccan mint teas. It’s not a pretty city, but it’s an almost fiercely individual one with a unique and vibrant personality. The restaurants here tend to be both excellent and inexpensive, and many have perfect views of the Rock of Gibraltar. And if you stroll the streets, you’ll find a number of quiet parks and plazas out of sight of the bustling city.

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