Itineraries - Back Roads of Southern Spain

Back Roads of Southern Spain by David Baird
Back Roads of Southern Spain by David Baird

Back Roads of Southern Spain
by David Baird

From detailed driving instructions to recommendations of what to see, what to eat and where to stay, Baird’s “Back Roads of Southern Spain” is the best accompaniment for car trips through Andalucia. Illustrated with excellent photos and maps, Baird covers many destinations in the region as well as creating themed excursions, so whatever you’re interested in; whether wine, seafood or poetry –there’s a car trip for you.

See the following excerpt that begins explaining the best driving route to experience wine in the southern Spain region.

Route of the Wine

Impeccable, whitewashed villages, vine-and-olive-clad hills and mountains which really do look like the edge of a sierra (saw) make any visit to the Axarquia (the eastern corner of Malaga province) worthwhile.

From Nerja head for the hills. The MA105 runs directly inland, crossing the A7 Malaga-Almeria autoroute and running past fields of sweet potatoes and avocado orchards towards the sharp-toothed mountains of the Sierra Almijara, declared a protected nature park.

Until recently, Frigiliana (pop. 2,700), six kilometres from the coast and 300 metres above sea-level, retained the character of a typical agricultural village. Despite what many guidebooks tell you, it was never “voted the most beautiful village” in Spain and Andalucia. Instead, with its cubist architecture and mosaic-cobbled streets, some years back it won prizes as the “best-preserved and beautified” village.

As has happened all along the coast, a blizzard of construction has transformed the area and hundreds of new houses straggle over adjacent ridges. However, Frigiliana has escaped the worst horrors of the boom. Considerable credit for that goes to a former mayor who ruled that within the village all building must be low-rise and in traditional Andalucian style.

At peak times parking may not be easy, despite the introduction of a multi-storey car park. The steeped, flower-decked streets of the old town, the Casco Viejo, are worth a stroll, though you may have to elbow your way through busloads of sightseers.

All that remains of the Moorish fort on the hill above the village are traces of old walls, for it was razed 400 years ago after a major battle in the War of Granada. Moriscos (Moors converted to Christianity) made their last stand here against Philip II’s forces but were finally crushed. One of the Frigiliana streets is named after Hernando El Darra, the Morisco leader.

Twelve ceramic plaques dotted about the village recount the epic tale. One reports that Axarquia was populated by “slight, strong men of such great spirit that in the old days the Moorish kings regarded them as the most valiant, daring and effective in the Kingdom of Granada”.

The local wine, honey and virgin olive oil are available. Molasses is still canned in the Ingenio, the large building near the Civil Guard barracks, the last such factory in Europe.

For more information about this particular route or numerous others by David Baird, including “To Little Madrid and Beyond”, “Malaga’s Lake District”, “Andalucia’s Ice Cube” and “Spain’s Wild West”, follow the link below to buy the book now!