Andalusia - In the Footprints of the Moors
This trip starts and ends in Málaga and has 7½ driving days and 7 overnight stays.
Southern Spain has a beautiful landscape marked by several mountain ranges, natural parks and not to forget, white villages. Roads are generally excellent and the mild climate usually offers sunny days.
Starting in Málaga.
The route starts in Málaga and takes us quickly into the dramatic Montes de Málaga – mountains – here are views and curves for every motorcycle enthusiast. We move on from here to the Sierra Nevada mountain range which hosts the highest peak on the peninsula, almost 3.500 m above sea level. We reside here the first night and the next day we visit one of the morisco villages which were founded in the 15’th century by the moors who chose to convert to Catholicism and stay in Spain. Sierra Nevada provides us we a lot of great sweepers and some breathtaking views.
From here we move on to the largest natural park in Spain where we reside for two nights. This is a true natural paradise and we will have a great day moving around its lakes and peaks which ranges from 600 to 2400 m above sea level. We stop for lunch in an extremely well hidden small local restaurant where the gastronomic level is simple yet nothing but extraordinarily good.
Leaving the natural reserve we move towards Córdoba passing some beautiful towns underway. We arrive relatively early and take a walk around the old center of the city to see among other things the magnificent mosque – la mesquita is placed on UNESCOs world heritage list and is a must-see.
The White Villages.
The next day we drive towards the south and on our way we pass several picturesque villages as we move though several smaller mountain ranges including passing a smaller natural park. We stay in the area of the Sierra Subbéticas natural park for the night and the following day we move on further to the south. Our aim is a roundtrip along the Andalusian white villages which offers the most spectacular roads in southern Andalusia. The roundtrip takes us to Arcos de la Frontera, where we stay the last two nights of the trip. The attractive village stands on a sharp ridge above the Guadalete-river. The moors were dislodged by the Christians from this almost impregnable stronghold in the middle of the 12’th century. From Arcos de la Frontera we make a day-round trip to the stunning white villages.
The last day we continue our journey in the mountainous areas of the white villages and as one of the final historic sights on the trip we pass Ronda and make a break for lunch. Ronda is one of the more picturesquely sited cities in all of Spain. It lies within an amphitheatre of limestone hills and stands on a rocky shelf whose walls fall on three sides to a depth of 120 meters. In the center of the town, is the extraordinary tajo, a 75 m wide gorge which separates the modern quarter, founded by the Christians after the reconquest, from the Moorish quarters. From here we take the southern route (famous by motorcyclists) towards the coast and the end destination of our trip, Málaga.
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A bit of Spanish history - In the Footprints of the Moors.
This tour could well be named ’In the Footprints of the Moors’. Spain was invaded by the Moors (Berbers from Marocco) in the early 7’th century and this sparked a new rule which saw its peak around year 1000 where an independent caliph was reigning. The ruler resided in the Andalusian town of Córdoba which at that time perhaps was the most civilized city in Europe; encouragement was given to literature and science. Schools of philosophy and medicine was founded and libraries formed.
Only a few years after the invasion, the Christian armies began the reconquista, taking back the lost land. From the north, the Christians moved towards the south conquering the land they had lost step by step. This went on for centuries and the last moor, the King of Granada, was only expulsed towards the end of the 14’th century; - the moors had then been present on the peninsula for 700 years.
The name Andalusia comes for the name the moors gave to the country, Al-Andaluz, meaning ‘the land of the Vandals’.
Moving through the landscape of Andalusia and passing by or stopping in its picturesque and beautiful villages and town leaves many impressions from the period of the moors and the reconquista
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