Friday, 12 January 2024, 14:57
The British like Spain. This is neither news nor a secret. Many choose this country to settle down, to live in after retirement or to spend their holidays. But they tend to look to Spain for its warmth, its beaches and its restaurants in summer. However, the charms of its winter spots do not go unnoticed either, according to a recent article in The Times newspaper.
In 'Six Spanish city breaks that are overlooked in winter' the British publication points out that winter is the perfect time for a getaway to a Spanish city, whether to celebrate Christmas, to enjoy its "fiery" festivals or simply a "blast of sunshine". It suggests, in fact, taking a route around the country to combine "a city and ski trip in Granada", escaping to "daily temperatures of 20C" in Las Palmas or countering "Bilbao's winter chill with buzzing pintxo restaurants". The Times selects six cities to escape to in winter, three of them in Andalucía.
The first city on the list compiled by The Times is Malaga, which, with an average temperature of 17C in January, is an unbeatable city break "for a blast of winter sunshine". Malaga has been spruced up in recent years with a number of museums and galleries, it tells readers, from a branch of Madrid's Carmen Thyssen museum to the colourful Pompidou Centre. In the old town, "you can combine a wander through cobbled streets with the Roman theatre, the Moorish Alcazaba fortress and Gibralfaro Castle, or you can simply stroll along the coast and find beach restaurants serving sardines cooked over an open fire on the sand", referring to the famous espetos.
The next recommendation is Granada. Although the good weather and its monuments are famous without the need for any publicity, the city in winter, reports the article in The Times, has special attractions. "The rose-coloured stone of the Arabic fortress stands out even more when set against the snowy mountain backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and with fewer crowds you can take your time to explore," it notes. The Arabic-style tea shops "even more enticing in the chilly weather". Added to that, "you can combine the city sights with a day's skiing by hopping on the one-hour bus from Granada to the Sierra Nevada ski station".
Andalusia's Cordoba offers travellers a "delightful jumble of cultures". "Through the keyhole-shaped doors of the Mezquita, you'll find soaring columns, stone arches and Arabic script alongside a gothic cathedral," says the writer. Other sights include a Roman bridge and the Alcazar palace. Neither does it forget the medieval Jewish quarter, where whitewashed houses are set around flower-filled courtyards. They are decorated and open to the public at Christmas, and host carol singers and flamenco performances, readers are told.
Outside Andalucía, The Times includes in its recommendations cities such as Bilbao, known for "modern art, green spaces and excellent cuisine". For its part, Palma de Mallorca stands out for one of its favourite festivals, on 16 and 17 January, when it honours Saint Anthony, with parades, bonfires and dances with the devil through the streets of the city. And on another island you can also enjoy a different kind of winter, says the article. Spain "can provide warm-weather cities that will thaw even the worst winter chill". The capital of Gran Canaria is another example. Las Palmas boasts historic Vegueta and the adjacent neighbourhood of Triana, which offer "palm-dotted squares, handsome buildings and cafés"; its 15th-century cathedral and the Casa de Colón, which explores the island's links with the Americas, are also recommended. "Or you can simply slope off to the beach."
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