By Penelope Bielckus
While we can indeed travel more than we could a few months ago, long-haul travel still generally remains off the cards. Flights present a risk due to the time spent in close proximity to others onboard the plane, as well as risk found in the airport itself due to time spent in queues, checking in, getting food and so on.
This summer is the perfect time to enjoy a staycation either in Gibraltar itself (fewer tourists means that locals can enjoy the attractions and make the most of what there is to do here) or a little further afield across the border. Since the border is now open to everyone here in Gibraltar, trips to Spain are once again a possibility. A staycation can either be a long day trip (or a weekend of day trips from your home) or a small vacation not far from home.
So, is travelling to Andalucía safe? Well, it carries a risk, as does any form of travel right now. Your risk is increased if you travel on public transport (e.g. bus or train) as well as if you travel to larger cities or other busier locations.
– Do you have a mask? Check whether masks are mandatory – many regions of Spain are bringing back the requirement to wear face masks when out and about. Washable fabric masks are a great way to accessorise (as much as one can with a protective face mask, anyway) and are better for the environment than disposable ones. Just make sure you wash them after each use with hot water!
– Where will you be staying? Whether it’s a hotel or an Airbnb, contact your accommodation provider to check what their safety and sanitation measures are.
– Pack hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes for cleaning shared surfaces (e.g. in a restaurant or your hotel)
– Do you have a condition that means you have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms? Consider postponing any non-essential travel and ensure you’re avoiding crowds whenever possible.
The city of Ronda is a stunningly beautiful place and, unlike other cities in Andalucía, has a small population (very similar in size to Gibraltar, in fact). Ronda is also almost entirely walkable, meaning that once you are there, you don’t need to use any form of public transportation to get around.
Many of the best sights to see in Ronda are outdoors, from the stunning Puente Nuevo to the Alameda del Tajo gardens. Ronda also has the benefit of being located in the mountains, meaning that the summer heat isn’t so bad here!
Places to visit in Ronda:
– Puente Nuevo, including the viewpoints ‘Mirador de los viajeros románticos’ and ‘Mirador de Aldehuela’
> Jardines de Cuenca and the spectacular viewpoint ‘Mirador de Cuenca’
> Puente Viejo
> Baños Arabes (Archaeological museum of the 13th-14th century Arab baths)
> Plaza de Toros (the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain)
– Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor Ronda
> Palacio Mondragón
If you plan to stay in Ronda, the Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel is a beautiful 4* hotel in a renovated 18th-century family home and is within walking distance of the major sights.
“What would summer be without a beach vacation?”
What would summer be without a beach vacation? Well, a normal summer actually, if you’re like me and don’t much like beaches (I know I know, blasphemy for someone living in Gibraltar). However, if you ARE a fan of beaches or watersports, Tarifa is an excellent choice for a getaway.
Whether you opt to go hiking near the city along the Ruta del Buda or you plan to stay in Tarifa itself and go kitesurfing, relax on the beach, go whale-watching, or explore the old town, you’ll definitely have a great staycation. Best of all, you can get there within an hour (slightly more if you’re unlucky with traffic)!
Where to go in Tarifa:
> Puerta de Jerez
> Southernmost post of Continental Europe (because that’s not in Gibraltar, it’s actually in Tarifa!)
– Playa del Bolonia and the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia
> Castillo Guzman el Bueno
> Iglesia de San Mateo
> Playa de los Lances
> Los Alcornocales Natural Park
> El Estrecho Natural Park
If you opt to stay in Tarifa for a few days, La Residencia is a beautiful hotel with a rooftop terrace and an infinity pool. They have both studios and apartments as well as a hotel with 55 rooms, a spa and a restaurant.
“Vejer is considered to be the inspiration for Chefchaouen in Morocco.”
CONIL & VEJER DE LA FRONTERA
The towns of Conil de la Frontera and Vejer de la Frontera are perfect for a dual getaway. Conil has everything you would want from a coastal town, while Vejer is a beautiful Pueblo Blanco up in the hills.
Getting to Vejer and Conil from Gibraltar takes around 1.5 hours by car and the route goes through the beautiful Parque Natural Los Alcornales. An alternative route takes you along the coast road via Algeciras and Tarifa, and is barely any different in driving time. You could even take one on the way there and one on the way back and get the best of both!
While Conil is often mentioned for its coastal location and beautiful beach, it also has a charming old town that is well worth a visit. Red tuna of Almadraba is the local delicacy and you can enjoy a meal at a local restaurant with incredible views of the town and the sea.
In comparison to Conil, Vejer is known for being culturally and historically a highlight of Andalucía. However, it is generally less visited than Conil and isn’t quite as well known. Vejer is considered to be the inspiration for the town of Chefchaouen in Morocco (check back in February’s issue for this story!) and is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway.
“The perfect spot for a romantic getaway.”
Sights not to miss in Conil de la Frontera:
> Church of Santa Catalina
> Guzman Tower
> Cala del Aceite
> Playa de la Fontanilla
> Roche Coves
Make sure to visit these spots in Vejer de la Frontera:
> Iglesia Parroquial del Divino Salvador
> Castillo de Vejer
> Molinos de Vejer
> Plaza de España
> Casa del Mayorazago
The villages of Caños de Meca and Zahara de los Atunes are also located within 30 minutes from both Conil and Vejer, so you could even expand your trip to really make the most of this region!
Whether you decide to stay in Conil, Vejer or somewhere nearby, there are many beautiful boutique hotels in this area and you really are spoilt for choice.
Where will you choose to go for a summer staycation? Take your copy of Gib Mag with you, and send us a snap for a chance to win a week’s worth of meals at Supernatural! #ShowUsYourMag
CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL CHECKLIST
> Do you have a mask? Check whether masks are mandatory – many regions of Spain are bringing back the requirement to wear face masks when out and about. Washable fabric masks are a great way to accessorise (as much as one can with a protective face mask, anyway) and are better for the environment than disposable ones. Just make sure you wash them after each use with hot water!
> Where will you be staying? Whether it’s a hotel or an Airbnb, contact your accommodation provider to check what their safety and sanitation measures are.
> Pack hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes for cleaning shared surfaces (e.g. in a restaurant or your hotel)
> Do you have a condition that means you have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms? Consider postponing any non-essential travel and ensure you’re avoiding crowds whenever possible.