Spain – the Gateway to North Africa8 December, 2011
Spain has so much to offer in terms of art, culture, events, and outdoor activities. Add to this the beautiful long stretches of golden sand that is found on most of the country’s coastline and you have one of the most appealing places in the world. With France to the north and Portugal to the south, Spain’s beauty is only compounded when its neighbours are also taken into account.
Spain’s most interesting neighbour however, is Africa. It seems hard to believe that such an exotic continent is actually so close, but a short boat journey from southern Spain will bring you to the French speaking Morocco on the northern tip of the continent.
A huge and awe-inspiring country, Africa is a less well travelled tourist route, but one that is becoming ever more popular. These days many people use southern Spain as a base before exploring the African continent. By renting beautiful holiday villas in Spain, you can spend a week or so relaxing and planning your trip south before setting sail.
With this sort of holiday you can have a serious bit of relaxation by staying in one of southern Spain’s glorious villas and then, after a good rest, appeal to your more adventurous side with a trip into Northern Africa and beyond.
For the first part of your trip you can stay in any number of glorious resorts in Andalucía. The Costa del Sol is probably the best known of the resorts, where you can enjoy sun-kissed beaches, golf courses and aqua parks. There are also fantastic day trips from the area that will take you to historical sites such as The Moorish Alhambra Palace in Grenada and the charming old town of Ronda. If you stick to the coast you can take the short trip to Nerja, where you will find an awe-inspiring maze of caves to explore; definitely a trip for the more intrepid.
If you want to properly immerse yourself in the African culture, why not set sail for a longer trip to the tip of Africa? One of the first locations that you will reach on your journey is the ancient city of Marrakech. Situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is the second largest city in Morocco. With a total population of over one million it has an old preserved city and a more modern shopping area next to it.
When you get there you simply must head for one of the busiest squares in the world, ‘Djemaa el Fna’. A unique and magical place with storytellers, musicians and acrobats all vying for your attentions, at night the area is converted into a huge open air restaurant offering all the delights of North African cuisine. Other attractions nearby include the Draa River and Sahara Desert to the south, the Ourika River in the Atlas Mountains and the waterfalls of Beni Mellal near the Atlantic Ocean.
This is only the only tip of the iceberg, but even if you solely concentrate on Marrakech you will be treated to a rich cultural and historic experience that will give you a wonderful taste of the African continent.
So, whether you wish to take a day trip, or want to spend more time in Africa, southern Spain is a great starting point for your travels and can provide you with the required relaxation before you hit the adventure trail in Africa.