There’s no need to convince you that Spain in the summertime is a must. And while Barcelona and Madrid may be on your radar, there are places to go and things to see in a region that offers just as much if not more.

This summer, head to the South of Spain and experience it by taking its popular regions by storm. From the fluid art of the flamenco to tapas on tapas, there’s an endless amount of culture, food and beach to go around. Pack your favorite vacation garb and get ready for a summer under the Spanish sun when you head to Seville, Granada and Costa del Sol this summer.


The Beach

Bolonia, Cadiz – Known as one of the best beaches in Andalusia, this beach is secluded enough to avoid too many crowds of people searching for a retreat from the Seville heat. You can sunbathe, sleep and read on the sandy shores. Or, if you’re the adventure seeker, you can partake in windsurfing and watersports thanks to the strong wind. There are also sand dunes that are perfect for occupying kiddos once you’ve explored the Baelo Claudio Roman ruins.

Cala del Aceite – This beach is a best kept secret. It’s only accessible by car, but it is surrounded by lush green forest and gold-studded sand. It’s cradled by the cliffs so there’s hardly any wind, making the turquoise waters a calming retreat for those who simply want to float around on the water and relax.

Matalascañas, Huelva – Matalascañas is the closest beach to Seville and offers stunning views and a selection of chiringuitos down the boardwalk. It is made complete with sand dunes that form part of Doñana National Park and an overturned tower that was once a 16th century building destroyed in the Libson earthquake. You can enjoy all the fun in the sun while blissfully basking in a beachside escape from Seville’s city life.

The Food

La Brunilda – Enjoy a cozy establishment that has people’s heads turning in El Arenal on Calle Galera. This bistro-style venue serves a roster of little dishes including duck confit, mushroom risotto, yucca chips, ham croquettes, pulpo and national wines.

Enrique Becerra – This spot has honed in on crafting typical Andalusian tapas and utilizing influences of the Moorish rule. This is a famous destination located in the heart of the Arenal neighborhood serving croquettes of pringá, eggplants stuffed with prawns, green asparagus flamenquines and must we continue? 

Taberna Peregil – A historic bar that was the first to introduce the local orange wine to the city in 1904, something that has kept locals and tourists coming back for more. Alongside their vino de naranja – refreshing in every way in the summertime – they offer tapas including chicharrones de Cadiz.

La Azotea – Following a day at the famous Cathedral, stop with the kids for a break from the heat to enjoy an authentic yet masterful twist on local favorites. They offer refreshing Spanish potato salad with smoked fish and capers, traditional “puchero” croquettes and drinks to help keep you cool after a day strolling los calles de Seville.

The Nightlife

Tablao El Arenal – If you left your dancing shoes at home, that’s quite alright. You can dance in your seats as you watch a flamenco show that features an accompaniment of live music and tapas. There are two performances each night, and if you’re visiting in the spring or fall, you can watch the Peñas de Guardia.

Los Gallos Tablao Flamenco – A historic renovated home blends authenticity and architecture for a haven of incredible shows, flamenco guitar, sangria and all things Spanish tradition. Be sure to order tapas to get more of your fill of traditional cuisine.

El Patio Sevillano – Establishing itself in the 1900s, this historic venue is located in the epicenter of Seville and showcases different flamenco-style dances known as sevillanas. You can also witness a display of traditional Spanish dance. Stars are born here with many going on to be famous for their talents, which makes this place a gem if you’re in the business of catching a lineup of talented dancers. While here, delight in tapas and refreshments that will perfectly complete your summer night in Seville.

The Culture

Seville Cathedral – Architectural relics and historical curios attract locals and tourists alike to the largest cathedral in the world (by volume). Here, you can lend your time to exploring 80 different chapels, the Court of the Orange trees and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

Plaza de España – This semi-circular plaza is carved by a canal and offers its walls and pillars to many of the city’s administrative offices. Whether you need a geography lesson, want to see an official walking about or just want to marvel at the Sevillian azulejos, there’s much to give your attention to at this stop along your Sevillian stay.

Triana – Rich in painted ceramics and flamenco, this is a neighborhood that wildly contributes to the Sevillian culture. Take the Isabel Bridge – a nice place to walk, ride bikes and lounge with a good book – and be sure to snap a photo with the statue of a flamenco dancer. While here, you can appreciate the Moorish revival and baroque architecture. Post exploration, stop at a dive-bar favorite, Puratasca, or experience an authentic abacería tradition at La Antigua Abacería.


The Beach

Playa del Muerto – Tranquil at its core, this beach is a retreat – although near a touristy beach – from a busy beach crowd. Especially in the summer. La Playa del Muerto is not easily stumbled upon as it is only accessible by a secluded path made of stone. This beach offers a chiringuito that’s run by friendly locals, crystalline waters and a quiet place for when you need to escape the city.

Salobreña – While in Salobreña, you are not restricted to just the beach. The town offers many charms with small alleyways and quaint, white houses. However, the place you’re going to spend your time at is Playa del peñon se salobreña. This beach offers the peñon rock so you can stand tall over the clear blue water. The beach dazzles with thick sand and many locally owned spots to dine at in the summertime.

Calahonda (Motril) – Pack your best summer gear for afternoons spent with your bum nestled in the dark, thick sand of Calahonda beach. Perfect for families, the stunning blue water welcomes you and your loved ones to a relaxing experience with the luxury of signature beach charm and a collection of restaurants when it’s time to take a break from the sun. There’s so much to appreciate from the gorgeous landscapes in the distance to the vibrant blue hues of the water. There’s no reason this place shouldn’t be on your beach list while visiting Granada.

The Cuisine

Bar Kiki San Nicolás – This is a dining destination that allows you to pull up a seat at a table perfectly positioned under the stars on the plaza. While here, you can take pleasure in an array of tapas as well as main dishes made from local flavors. From live music to exceptional gin and tonics, there’s a lot to indulge in at this restaurant in Granada.

Al Sur de Granada – For breakfast, stop at the restaurant that’s inspired by British author – Gerald Brenan – and his life in the Andalusian Village. This spot offers a plentiful menu including homemade muesli and toasted peasant bread with tomato, olive oil and jamón Ibérico. However, you can leave here with more than just a full stomach. Be sure to grab summer favorites like organic wines and olive oils, local honey and jams and almond-based sweets.

Mirador de Morayma – You can dine in a beautiful home in the Albaicín. Not only does this establishment offer flavorful dishes, it’s a gorgeous place for a meal and offers up impeccable views of the Alhambra. Here, you can savor a mix of local cuisine with Moorish influences. Be sure to plan ahead by reserving a table with a view.

The Nightlife

Venta El Gallo – Late-night flamenco in the caves of the Sacromente hill is an experience you don’t want to miss. Venta El Gallo showcases stunning performances from local stars who graduate to fame. Not only can you witness incredible dancers on the floor, but you can take the floor too. On some evenings, lessons are offered so you can flamenco your way through your summer in Spain.

El Templo del Flamenco – Get swept away in a unique flamenco experience in the Albayzín district. The passion is unrivaled, experienced only in an intimate setting in this barrio. At El Templo del Flamenco, dancers are overflowing with talent and art, exceeding all of your expectations for the magic that is flamenco. 

La Casa del Arte Flamenco – Located in the heart of downtown, this is one of the best places to catch a show-stopping flamenco performance. Talented artists come together to give you an unforgettable show that has earned international recognition. The performances are stunning, passionate and colorful – perfect for a summer evening in Spain. While in downtown, head to La Alboreá for a cozy, intimate flamenco experience.

The Culture

Alhambra – A trip to Southern Spain is not complete without a visit to this fortress embellished with 13th to 15th century Moorish palaces and gardens. Pay a visit to nature when you walk through the lush gardens or opt in for a nocturnal visit offering a completely different experience at Alhambra. The palace is perched high over the city on a hill and evokes an unforgettable sentiment with its rich history and bewildering, restored architecture.

Sierra Nevada National Park – Take a break from immersing yourself in the city’s culture by adventuring to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These mountains make up the largest national park in Spain and welcome the wildest traveler. You can hike the trails in the summertime or enjoy a leisurely gondola ride through these towering mountains.

Royal Chapel of Granada – See the true evolution of Spain’s church, art and cultural presence when you visit Royal Chapel. The Gothic-style building was built from 1505 to 1517 and to this day invites tourists and locals to embrace the religious embellishments and chapels that houses a magnificent wealth of history.

Costa Del Sol

The Beaches

Burriana Beach – If you’re looking for one of the most popular beaches on the Costa del Sol, Burriana Beach in Nerja is it. The golden sand amplifies when met with the sun that shines bright over the South of Spain. Restaurants abound – including Restaurante Ayo offering paella – as well as stylish shops with local treasures. Get recruited for a game of volleyball, take part in the various watersports or sit still with your eyes on the clear water while you relax with the family this summer.

Playa de la Carihuela – In Torremolino lies Playa de la Carihuela, a popular destination for couples and families alike. The water is crystal clear and shallow, perfect for swimming and enjoying watersports. Along the beach sits the promenade, home to various places to grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink when the summer heat becomes too much. While here, you can rent sunbeds and parasols while the family roams freely in the designated play areas.

La Malagueta – There’s no overlooking this gem. As you approach this palm-tree paradise, you’ll notice the Malagueta sculpture. Once you’re hooked on this beach, you can join other tourists and locals in their quest for relaxation this summer. When you want to take a break from bronzing, there’s plenty of trees to find sanctuary under. The beach is well equipped with sunbeds and espeto, grilled fish on a skewer that can be found at Málaga. The city centre is not too far so you explore Spain beyond the beaches.

The Cuisine

Espetos – You’re going to want to make sure that you’re spending your summer trying this local delicacy. Whether you’re at the beach or in the city, you must get this classic Andalusian fried seafood dish. If you just so happen to be at the beach, you can watch as they skewer the sardines and roast them over wood fires. This dish pairs well with lemon and white wine.

Mercado Atarazanas – Pescado frito, Rosada a la plancha, pulpo and Tomate picado con anchoa are a few of the fragrant dishes you can get when you relish in the offerings at this central market. All of the ingredients are fresh, reasonably priced and made with the heart of the Málaga city.

El Pimpi – This Málaga institution is what comes to most people’s mind when they think of dining in this part of Costa Del Sol. You get the best of everything here with famous wines, excellent food and a lively ambience. While dining here in the summer, savor sweet wines, salads, cheese platters, Molletitos, Tostas and the classics: Surtido de tostas Pimpi, Bacalao y salmorejo and Queso de Cabra.

The Nightlife

Nerja – For a more low-key evening, you can live it up in a more laxed environment in the fishing village. This area is populated with an older crowd and offers seafood platters, bars and one of the best live music scenes on the coast. For rock, head to Pub Tantra. To get the flamenco you came for, visit Burro Blanco. There’s no end to a summer evening when you go out in Nerja’s Plaza Tutti Frutti.

Benalmadena – For a vivacious scene, Benalmadena is where you want to head when the sun goes down. Here, you can party all night long – literally. Plaza Solymar is known as the 24-hour square, offering late-night spots such as Kiu nightclub and Kaleido Café – Club. There’s an assortment of pubs, clubs and bars for you to choose from when you’re dancing the night away in Benalmadena.

Torremolinos – There’s fierce competition for who takes the cake for leading nightspots on the Malaga’s coastline. Torremolinos has made a name for itself as a gay and lesbian scene that’s come one, come all. There’s open-air clubbing – perfect for the summer – and features bars such as El Gato that don’t close until 9 a.m.

The Culture

Ronda – Explore the city of Ronda during your time in Southern Spain. The inland city is located at the top of an escarpment and boasts sights like the Puente Nuevo, an 18th-century bridge that spans over the El Tajo gorge. The city is not just known for its picturesque moments. You can find more of what you’re looking for when you roam La Ciudad, the oldest part of the city that’s decorated with medieval churches and palaces.

Antequera Dolmens – For a dose of culture in Costa del Sol, visit this collection of megalithic monuments in the heart of Andalusia. Here lies 5,000-year-old archeological wonders by the name of The Menga Dolmen, The Viera Dolmen and The Tholos de El Romeral Dolmen. During the summer solstice, the sun shines directly above the top of Peña de los Enamorados, shining light on the entrance of the Menga Dolmen – thought to be of mystical importance for the tribes that built the structures.

Mijas Pueblos – Strolling around the cobbled streets of this village is a quick way to soak up the best of Costa del Sol. While you’re exploring the village you’ll notice an important Moorish influence that’s crucial to the charm and personality of the village and its people. Take a donkey taxi, visit the Chapel of the Virgin of the Rock and the Red Trail of Mijas.

Ready to plan your vacation to the South of Spain? Explore a new destination and have the trip of a lifetime when you book accommodations, flights and rental cars with Vacations by Marriott.