Ireland Iceland Travel offers tours in South Spain. Our tours are in Sierra Espuña in Murcia, Malaga, Almeria, and Valencia. The location and short distances to Gibraltar and Morocco offers possibility to combine our tours with other exotic experiences.
The Sierra Espuña contains Murcia’s largest extensions of forest, as well as being one of its most emblematic areas of outstanding natural beauty. Its modern verdure is due in large part to reforestation campaigns carried out towards the end of the 19th Century by Murcian philanthropist Ricardo Codorníu, known by the nickname the Tree Apostle.
The districts bordering the area are Río Mula (Mula and Pliego) and Sierra Espuña (Alhama de Murcia, Totana, and Aledo). Mula and Pliego nestle between the Espuña and Ricote ranges and are places steeped in local tradition and culture, which, along with the area’s scenery make them an ideal stopping place on inland routes in the region. Alhama de Murcia, Totana, and Aledo are all within easy reach of these wooded uplands, which naturally form part of the identity of the towns themselves.
The district is also known for its pottery manufacturing, and Totana is Spain’s second most important area for pottery production. The district of Aledo has kept alive the tradition under the gaze of its Moorish watchtower and has dominated the valley since the days when it bore witness to skirmishes between Christians and Moors.
The city of Almeria is Andalucia’s most eastern capital. Years ago, it was not as well known by tourists as other capitals like Malaga, Sevillle, or Granada. However, that has changed drastically in the last while with its growth as a major holiday area.
Almeria holds a great deal of charm and is steeped in history. It is located at the foot of a mountain range which is crowned by the magnificent Alcazaba, an Arab fortress built by the Caliph of Cordoba, Abd-erRahman with three huge walled enclosures (in the second of which are remains of a mosque, converted to a chapel by the Catholic kings). The Alcazaba is the second largest Muslim fortress in Andalucia behind the Alhambra in Granada
Almeria was the backdrop for many movies, like many of the Spagetti Westerns. Today there are 3 movie sets still running and Ireland Iceland Travel offers a visit to the locations, many of them whom are still operating.
Nerja is on the seashore some 50 kilometres from Málaga on the N340 coastal highway, and marks the eastern tip of Málaga’s Costa del Sol.
The town’s monuments include the 17th century Church of El Salvador, in a style which is a charming mixture of baroque and Moorish, or mudéjar, and the beautiful Gardens of Capistrano Playa, which descend to Burriana Beach.
CAVES OF NERJA
Nerja’s most spectacular attraction is undoubtedly its fascinating caves, located just three kilometres from the centre of town. They include archaeological treasures such as paintings over 20,000 years old and other pre-historic remains. One of the enormous natural caverns has been transformed into a concert hall, where many performances are staged during the summer. Each summer Nerja celebrats International Cave Festival, with the participation of many top international entertainers
Picturesquely situated in a bay surrounded by mountains and bounded by the rivers Guadalmedina and Guadalhorce, Malaga with its two thousand-eight hundred years of history is one of the oldest cities in Europe.
The city experienced the greatest civilizations of the Mediterranean, from the Phoenicians and the Greeks to the Romans, thanks to the strategic location of the port, an important site along the trade routes since ancient times.
This introduction is to say that Malaga is not only the capital of the Costa del Sol, a destination known throughout the world since the beginning of the tourist boom in this area, where the climate, the sea, beaches and golf courses represent an irresistible attraction for national and international tourists. If you plan to spend your holidays in Malaga or surroundings, dedicate at least one day to visit the city.
The centre of Malaga is a place where you can spend hours and return to visit without ever getting bored; there’s so much to see that it’s impossible to even enumerate. Malaga is rich in culture, modernity and historical monuments. It’s a cosmopolitan city, capital of the Costa del Sol and with a history that dates back to the Phoenician times when it was founded, and later on passed onto the Greeks, Romans and Arabs, who left us part of their culture and constructions. Malaga was finally conquered by the Catholic Kings in 1487, leaving us an incomplete cathedral due to the lack of funds back then, known as ‘La Manquita’.
Of its even further past we must mention several monuments to visit, highlighting the Alcazaba Arabic Castle and the Gibralfaro castle with beautiful gardens located by the coast.
Apart from the above mentioned, Malaga is the city of Pablo Picasso’s birthplace, and the square where he used to play as a child still exists today, as well as his house which is now a museum that we can visit during our stay in Malaga.
Malaga has the second biggest port in Spain, recently modernised and is now also a great place to spend a day’s shopping.
Gibraltar, colloquially known as The Rock, (or simply ‘Gib’), is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom sitting at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north and the people of Gibraltar are ferociously loyal British citizens despite being bilingual in English and Spanish.
Gibraltar is a unique place for the curious traveler. We love to take time to explore the caves and tunnels especially those not meant for tourists! The inside of the rock is an absolute labyrinth with secret internal roads and tunnels four times longer than those on the surface. Military presence and security in this otherwise deserted area is strong but almost invisible.
In Greek mythology Gibraltar was Calpe, one of the Pillars of Hercules, which marked the edge of the Mediterranean and the known world. In 711 Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslim governor of Tangier, landed at Gibraltar to launch the Islamic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. The Rock took his name – Jabal Tariq (Mountain of Tariq) eventually became Gibraltar.
Strategically important, Gibraltar was ceded in perpetuity to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht; the British garrison was formally declared a colony in 1830. Spain continues to hassle and harass Gibraltar in a so far fruitless effort to grab this territory that has been loyal to the British crown for more than 300 years. In referendums held in 1967 and 2002, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to stay a territory of the United Kingdom. On 10 June 2004, citizens of Gibraltar voted for the first time in the UK MEP (Member of the European Parliament) elections, as part of the South West constituency.
The topmost part of the Rock is still a British military installation, and off-limits to the public.
Ireland Iceland Travel offers tailor made group tours, retreats, cycle tours, food and wine trails, hiking tours and walks in South Spain
*Sierra Espuña and Murcia is a two hour drive from Alicante.
*Malaga is 4 hour drive from Alicante