Both a massively popular beach resort and a charming hill town, Mojácar is divided into two quite separate parts. Mojácar Pueblo is the attractive historic centre, a picturesque jumble of white-cube houses daubed down an inland hilltop. Some 3km away on the coast, Mojácar Playa is its young offspring, a modern low-rise resort fronting a 7km-long sandy beach.
There’s a hint of Italy’s Amalfi Coast about the Costa Tropical, Granada Province’s 80km coastline. Named after its subtropical micro-climate, it’s far less developed than the Costa del Sol to the east and often dramatically beautiful, with dun-brown mountains cascading into the sea and whitewashed villages nestled into coves and bays.
Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Níjar
Extending southeast of Almería, the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Níjar boasts some of Spain’s most flawless and least crowded beaches. The park, which stretches from Retamar in the west up to Agua Amarga in the east, encompasses 340 sq km of dramatic cliff-bound coastline and stark semi-desert terrain punctuated by remote white villages and isolated farmsteads.
Parque Natural Sierras Subbéticas
This 320-sq-km park in the southeast of Córdoba province encompasses a set of craggy, emerald-green limestone hills pocked with caves, springs and streams, with some charmingly appealing old villages and small towns set round its periphery. It makes for lovely exploring and good hiking among valleys, canyons and high peaks (the highest is 1570m La Tiñosa).
Torremolinos & Benalmádena
Once a small coastal village dotted with torres (towers) and molinos (watermills), ‘Terrible Torre’ became a byword for tacky package holidays in the 1970s, when it welcomed tourism on an industrial scale and morphed into a magnet for lager-swilling Brits whose command of Spanish rarely got beyond the words ‘dos cervezas, por favor’. But times, they are a-changing.
La Vega & El Altiplano
Surrounding Granada is a swathe of fertile land known as La Vega, a patchwork of woods, shimmering poplar groves and cultivated farmlands. To the northeast of the city, the landscape becomes increasingly hilly and arid until it tops out in a highland plain known as El Altiplano.
Known as the crossroads of Andalucía, Antequera sees plenty of travellers pass through but few lingering visitors. But those who choose not to stop are missing out. The town's foundations are substantial: two Bronze Age burial mounds guard its northern approach and Moorish fables haunt its grand Alcazaba.
Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema
The rugged, pillar-like peaks of the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema rise abruptly from the plains northeast of Cádiz, revealing sheer gorges, rare firs, wild orchids and the province's highest summits, against a beautifully green backdrop at altitudes of 260m to 1648m.
The Vejer Coast
The villages along the coast close to Vejer de la Frontera are some of the least pretentious pueblos anywhere along Spain’s shoreline. About 14km west of Vejer, El Palmar has a dramatic 4.8km sweep of blonde sand that pulls in surfers, while beachy Los Caños de Meca, 7km southeast of El Palmar, retains a splash of its hippie vibe.