Two weeks in the south of Spain.
We departed from Miami International airport during November(we tend to do our international trips during US holidays since it is easier and much more affordable to travel abroad). We usually skip thanksgiving dinner as well, we feel like everyone is trying to fly in, while we are trying to fly out.
Well our first layover was in Amsterdam for about 10 hours. Lucky for us Erik has family there so they had a small itinerary for us to go out and do something during the day. We stayed in Leiden a small cute town with so much to see and do. The weather was typical dutch with gray clouds, cool breeze, and a slight drizzle here and there. We first went to uncle Franks house where we had typical dutch breakfast of hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and bread. Yes the dutch eat chocolate sprinkles for breakfast and they are still skinny! HAHA! We set out and drove to our first destination Molenmuseum De Valk. It's a must see when visiting Leiden. One of the few still operational mills in Holland, it has a 5 euro entrance fee for adults and kids within the ages of 6-15 pay 2.50 euro. We then went to eat in a wonderful old weigh station that was converted to a restaurant called WAAG https://waagleiden.nl/. The food here is amazing! The atmosphere and decor is also incredible. It is also a dog friendly restaurant so if you feel a bit squeamish with a dog next to you, be aware of this! After eating we walked around Leiden a bit, sent out a few post cards and off we went back to the Amsterdam airport.
Later that evening we arrived in Alicante, Spain. Eriks hometown. We had a full trip planned out wanting to visit Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid etc. But unbeknown to us much of Barcelona was flooded. Madrid was a 5 hour drive , but at the moment there was political issues.So Tom, Erik's dad had made us a brand spanking new itinerary. He decided we should visit Valencia, Altea(where we stayed), Alicante, Granada and Cordoba. Oh my, was that the best decision we ever made was to listen to him.
The first few days we stayed in Altea and Alicante known as the Costa Blanca region in Spain. Altea is a HUGE vacation spot in the summer while in the winter it was almost a ghost town with a few of the locals here and there. We ate at a few great restaurants in Altea, our favorite restaurants were The Diference and El Sabor. The Diference was where we had breakfast almost everyday. For three people it was roughly $17 with a nice coffee,tea and orange juice with a nice toast and sandwiches.
The Sabor is a much fancier restaurant in which dresscode is a must and a reservation as well. We needed to have a paella while visiting Spain so we did just that!
We visited El Chiringuito which is an amazing place, seating is pretty much outdoor with just a canopy over your head. It is definitely built to support large crowds. The paella here was amazing and will always have a special place in our hearts!
We visited Santa Bárbara Castle located in Alicante. It is located on Mount Benacantil. The castle itself dates back to the 11th century with artifacts dating up to the 1800s. The views from the castle of the Mediterranean are amazing. You could definitely spend an afternoon here while looking at all of the amazing artifacts or just admiring the views here.
Another must visit attraction in the south of Spain is Valencia, known for its city of science and art, the architecture here is breathtaking.
We visited the best known attraction here which is the City of Science, it has seen better days but it's still has some unique architecture that you will not see anywhere else. We did visit the aquarium here as well which we suggest you skip over as it is almost like every other aquarium in the world.
We suggest you add Valencia Cathedral to your list of things to see and do while in Valencia. The cathedral is jaw dropping from its high ceilings to the details engraved within the stone walls. It's a gothic styled cathedral dating back to the 11th and 15th century, you can take an audio tour of the cathedral. It also houses one the Holy Chalice which has been defended as the true Holy Grail(if you're in to that stuff) you could spend hours here!
The following morning we ventured off in a rental car towards Granda! To go visit the Alhambra! YOU MUST PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE AND BE THERE AT YOUR SCHEDULED TIME! We cannot stress this enough. We lost almost 100 euros because we missed our scheduled time by minutes haha.
We suggest you bring some VERY comfortable shoes. We spent almost all day here and it is definitely a 2 day site to see. Our watches showed we had walked almost 10 miles that day JUST IN THE Alhambra! be prepared to be in awe. The gardens here are huge and we could only imagine how they would of looked during spring or summer. So tips for the Alhambra, bring water, comfortable shoes(we cant stress this enough) and snacks! You WILL spend all day here and maybe come back the next day to see more!Even though you mainly came to Granada for the Alhambra make sure you check out some of the amazing attractions in the area like the Flamenco Dancers in the caves, to walking around the city center and seeing historic buildings. Lots of arabic restaurants in the area with great tea as well.
We set off after spending two days in Granada on a short drive to Cordoba to visit La Mezquita. Cordoba is a beautiful city that is definitely worth a visit if you're in that area of Spain. La Mezquita is the main attraction here and you could tell why. The mosque is one of the largest in the world. Once you arrive in Cordoba you will notice its immense size. But wait until you get inside of this beautiful mosque.
Most people only come to Cordoba to see the mosque but there are so many other attractions to see while you are here. To walk on the Roman Bridge of Cordoba is also incredible since it dates back to 1st century.
You should also visit Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos which is also an amazing royal compound.
If you have any questions regarding Spains, Costa Blanca feel free to ask us a question!