Southern Spain: off the beaten track

When you think of southern Spain, you often think of mass tourism, don’t you? These Dutch people who are lisping and say, “Hey, I’d like a patatje met.

Southern Spain is a beautiful part of Spain but also popular among many English, Germans and Dutch. Sander and I prefer to avoid the standard routes as much as possible. Hence, we like to give you tips to choose just the different cities or routes. This includes some tourist spots, because you don’t completely avoid it. Plus, you shortchange those cities, because some places are so popular for a reason. If you are smart, try to learn some Spanish before you travel to southern Spain as well.

Another thing that always works is to go out of season as much as possible. Of course, this does not work out for everyone. Especially when you are tied to school vacations. In that case, we recommend at least booking something through Airbnb or at a hospedaje. It is inexpensive and you can really look for beautiful places. We also recommend renting a car. That way you’ll be more mobile in southern Spain :).

All tips for southern Spain at a glance

1# Almeria and Gabo de Gata

Almería is a fine compact city with a beach in the province of Almería. The city even has its own airport. For us, Almería was a nice place because it has all the basic necessities for a nice city trip: culture, beach, veg restaurants and beautiful nature nearby such as Gabo de Gata and Sierra Nevada. In national park Gabo de Gata you will find beautiful quiet beaches. Also, nature is volcanic, which gives a very different picture of Spain. Wonderful for long walks. Special place.

All in all, Almería is a great base to spend a weekend or week.
We stayed in Laura’s apartment. Her husband Javier took the time to tell all about Almería. Want to sleep here too and don’t have an Airbnb account yet? When you book with my discount code you even get € 30 discount. Use this link, sign in and then search for Javier and Laura’ s apartment.

Granada is also nearby. We found Granada overrated. Beautiful city, but drama with finding affordable places to sleep. Even the Alhambra-the attraction of Granada-is sold out a month in advance. We hear from several people that it is beautiful, but when you have been to Morocco or India, this is a bit disappointing. So do you want to go to Alhambra because you “have to,” and there are no more tickets? Don’t sit by, just go to Morocco or India sometime ;-).

2# Playa de Getares



Near the industrial city of Algeciras you will find this quiet mini-beach. Sometimes there is even enough wind to kitesurf. We were here in November and what a nice place say! We just didn’t encounter a single tourist. On Sundays, all Spaniards go to lunch at the beach, so perfect place to practice your Spanish and meet locals. We very nicely worked on our fitness a little bit here. Because yes, all that food…it has to come off, right?

But for vegetarians, there’s not a whole lot to eat at Playa Getares. Except cheese, olives, espinacas con garbanzos and patatas bravas. But we stayed in an apartment a 5-minute walk from the beach where we could cook our own meals very well. Also, there are several supermarkets nearby (by car) so we did not starve. You’re a 20-minute drive from Tarifa. A fun but touristy kite and windsurfer’s paradise.

3# Motril

southern spain-motril

This small town on the coast is touristy in the summer, but delightfully quaint in the off-season and off-holidays. Here you can really take it easy. After all, there simply isn’t that much to do. The beach was virtually empty when we were there. So quiet long beach walks are perfect to do here. Wouldn’t stay there too long. 1 full day and 1 night is sufficient. Unless, of course, you want to unwind. There is 1 place in the “city” where you can get cappucino with soy milk.

5# Cadiz

southern spain vacation

Even though many tourists still come here, even in the off-season, it is highly recommended. A gem of southern Spain because especially when the day-trippers leave from the cruise ships, it is lovely here. The setting sun is so beautiful here! There are also several restaurants for vega options to eat. For vegans, it’s a little trickier. We found a place where you had more than 3 choices as a vegan! Whalhalla! This was at La Isleta de la Vina. Tip: when you
are “on a budget” and coming by car, park your car for free nearby at corte ingles for free. It is then a 30- to 40-minute walk to downtown, though.

The following tips are touristy but worth visiting in southern Spain:


southern spain-sevilla

You can’t leave Andalusia without visiting Seville. What a beautiful city! You can also eat here just fine as a vegetarian and/or vegan. << Read our tips for tasty veggie hotspots in Seville. >>


Remains just fine. This city is a favorite of many Dutch, German and British tourists. When you walk around here it really teems with different languages. We liked Malaga and especially liked it because you can eat very well vega. Unfortunately a little less good vegan. Its climate makes it a great place to stay year-round. And there is a beach, not bad either! << Read our dining tips for Malaga >>


Kite-surfers paradise! This small town is located on the southern coast of Spain. It is small, compact and has great beaches. This is where kiters gather (i.e., many sporty men and women) to show off their skills on the water. The “vibe” is fine in Tarifa. There is one occasional game-breaker: the wind. Always have a pair of shorts or something similar under your skirt.


Not quite southern Spain, but more Andalusia/central Spain lies Cordoba. This beautiful city is home to the Mezquita. A special place where the Catholic faith and Islam merge together in 1 church/mosque. One night in Cordoba was enough for us. Do make sure you have 2 full days to see everything. Parking in the city is expensive. Keep that in mind.

Conil de la Frontera

Wintering in Spain? That’s fine here. We were here in November and it was fairly deserted. Every time we wanted a nice bite to eat, everything was closed (winter break) or it was just too late to have a quick drink. Great base for Jerez de la Frontera and Cadiz. Conil does have perfect beach for jogging or running. So we did this regularly. All that food has to be worked off after all ;-).

Vejer de la frontera

Beautiful town with charming old center and ditto white houses. You can wander around wonderfully here, but you won’t get lost. It’s a little too small for that anyway. We found the best veggie restaurant to be El jardin del Califa. With a beautiful courtyard garden and cozy atmosphere.

You can also eat great vegan and vegetarian food in Madrid. Here I was for over a week and did my

<< top 3 veggie hotspots in Madrid >>listed for you.