I am pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Carol, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Carol is from Australia, and submitted the following report about her trip to Spain's Andalucia region. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo Travel Rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages Spoken: Spanish, basic English in main tourist areas
Costs at Destination: Reasonable (local transportation, dining, tours, events, and attractions)
Reasons to Visit Andalucia
Andalucia in southern Spain was my choice for 3 weeks of solo travel in January 2019, where wintertime meant cheaper accommodation and far fewer crowds.
Flying into Seville I was thrilled to find the streets lined with orange trees in full fruit, later collected by local council workers to be made into marmalade.
Real Alcazar, a royal palace, is a stunning mix of Moorish and Catholic Christian influences. Its intricate patterns of tiles and gorgeously laid out gardens and courtyards were both stimulating and soothing to walk around, and the lack of tour groups at this time of year made it a much more intimate experience than at Granada's Alhambra.
My very first free city walking tour unveiled Seville's culture, history, and the location of attractions to visit later. I would highly recommend them, in this part of Europe, at least.
A local tour company offered a day trip to Cordoba to walk beneath the hundreds of red and yellow curved archways of the Mezquita-Cathedral. Next was historic Cadiz, off the beaten track for most visitors, but as a history lover I filled four days very easily, enjoying its Phoenecian and Roman heritage and ending the day with the most stunning sunsets over the Atlantic ocean.
Granada's dramatic location at the foothills of the snow covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada was on the grandest scale. It was this historic center of Catholic Monarchy that gave a new, if challenging, perspective to my understanding of the ‘discovery' of the Americas.
For a complete change, my final stop was the sunny seaside city of Malaga – shorts and sandals at last! There were iconic whitewashed seaside villages and beaches nearby and art lovers are well catered for with Picasso's house and an offshoot of the famous Pompidou art center. Logistically, Malaga is a good European hub, with flights to most places in Europe enabling me to fly back to Australia after a few days stopover in Italy.
While hesitant at first, I found Spanish buses and trains quite cheap and well maintained, with ample space for luggage. Half my time was spent staying in mid-range hotels, breakfast included, which were a bargain at this time of year. The other half was spent in Airbnb accommodations, just to have the freedom and space. I plan to explore Andalucia further next winter as the value for money at this time of year is exceptional.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)