If you’re an adventurous expat, student or tourist with a few days to spare in Europe, take a trip to the sultry south of Spain for an abundance of adventures. You’ll probably need another holiday afterward to recover from the breakneck speed, but if you’re game for outdoor escapades in a limited time frame, here’s our go-to guide.
Thursday evening: Arrival in Granada
Europe offers a ton of cheap flights through Easyjet or Ryanair, so fly in and pick up your rental car. Hike up to watch the sunset with the Senegalese cave dwellers who live in the hills just outside the city.
Spend the evening slurping Spanish sangria. In Granada, you’ll get a free tapas portion with each round of drinks, saving you forking out for dinner.
Friday morning: Snowboard/ski in the Sierra
Wake early and beeline it to the mountains. The snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada range (where the 2017 World Championships of Snowboard and Freestyle Ski were held) can look like a distant mirage from Granada, where the climate can be sizzling. The resort is ideal for beginners; for the intermediate, it offers wide-open runs to lay down some solid carves and off-piste riding in deep powder bowls.
Friday afternoon: Kitesurf in Málaga
After a couple of hours of driving from the mountains, you can be kiting at the beach — snow to salt in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Although Tarifa is known as the kitesurfing mecca in these parts, you’ve got a plethora of decent spots — Benagalbón, Los Álamos and Almayate — to pick from in Málaga.
Spend the night here, sampling a plato de los montes de Málaga — a hearty meal consisting of potatoes, chorizo, black sausage, peppers and pork. Although it looks like a heart attack on a plate, it’ll warm you up after a crepuscular kiting session.
Saturday morning: Hike El Caminito Del Rey
Rise early and hit the road: Just a 45-minute drive away lies the entrance to El Caminito del Rey. This 4.75-mile hike clings to the sheer rock faces and winds along cliffs from the northern entrance in Ardales through to the southern exit in in El Chorro, Álora.
Depending on your fitness level, it will take around three to four hours. It’s just a short drive (or hike) uphill to reach Olive Branch B&B, a great place to situate yourself for the next part of the expedition.
Saturday afternoon: Rock climbing in El Chorro
Spend the afternoon climbing, with an abundance of routes (over 2,000) within walking distance of the B&B. From short pitches to multi-pitch adventures, angled slabs to overhanging tufa, as well as a neat bouldering cave, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
When your arms are too pumped to continue, flop beside the pool and check out the killer views armed with a heap of homemade flapjacks to refuel after a day on the rock.
Sunday morning: Wander over the bridges of Ronda
Head from El Chorro to Ronda, an hour’s drive away, to hike across the three bridges: Puente Viejo, Puente Romano and Puente Nuevo. Scramble into the whopping El Tajo Gorge, which splits the town in two, to peep up at the iconic Puente Nuevo bridge.
Sunday afternoon: Stomp around Sevilla
Hop back in the car to continue from Ronda to Sevilla, just under two hours away. “Game of Thrones” fans should check out the Alcázar, aka the Kingdom of Dorne.
Give your jaws some exercise by chomping your way through the copious toothsome tapas bars that saturate Sevilla. A flamenco show is a great way to finish off the trip; watch someone else move their feet after a hectic weekend gallivanting around. Get a late flight out of Sevilla in the evening and sleep the whole way on the flight home.