he southern coast of Spain can be described in one word... delightful. So much so, that there are over 500,000 foreigners, mostly from northern Europe, that have taken up residence along the southern coast of Spain. While driving past Malaga in order to get a little further east, away from a lot of the tourists, I found three English language stations in just the first half of the radio dial. It was almost like having never left home, except all of the speaking was done with a British accent.

As can be seen from these pictures, much of the southeastern shoreline is pretty rugged, with hills or mountains coming right down to the water in most places. The coves often have small beaches, sometimes made of sand, many times just pebbles. The flatter land is usually found around the floodplains of rivers where they open into the sea.

The water is crystal clear, like that of a swimming pool, and it is usually possible to see 15 to 20 feet or more down into the water with no problem. I don't know if this is usually the case, but I never saw large waves, considering how large the Mediterranean is, although I'm sure they would appear if a large storm were to occur. The sea was very calm for the whole time we were there.

Most of the time spent at the shore was in the town of Almuņecar, a resort town about an hour's drive east of Malaga. If you go to the shore just a couple of weeks before the peak of the summer holiday season, the weather is wonderful, but the rates for a place to stay can still be quite reasonable. We were able to find a fully furnished 2 bedroom house that looked out over the Mediteranean for less than one would pay for a night's stay in an inexpensive motel here in the U.S. This was the view looking down the hill towards the Mediterranean from the balcony on the front of the house.

Some of the restaurants do not open until the summer vacation season starts, but there were still plenty of good places available to eat at. While staying in the town of Almuņecar, we discovered in the next town over, a wonderful restaurant called Il Gabbiano. It was situated up on a knoll, with a beautiful view of the bay below, so that we could watch as sailboats or paragliders came and went while we enjoyed our meal. In addition to the delightful ambiance, the food was super, with the meals being among the best I have ever had. My mouth waters each time I think of the place again. This is definitely a place I would love to return to.

This is the preferred means of getting around the Mediterranean by the folks that have the means to do so. There seemed to be no shortage of nice boats. When looking them over at the local marina, they seemed to be from all over Europe.... something else that I would like to do someday.....well, I guess that's for another trip

This is a picture of Salobreņa, a small town built atop a hill, as most towns seem to be, just up the coast from Almuņecar. As you can see, with many small towns in southern Spain, that except for plants, just about everything that doesn't move is painted white. Another nearly universal feature in these towns is the castle situated at the highest point of the hill that the town is built on.

On one of the trips from Almuņecar up to Granada to see the Alhambra, we decided to take the old route up through the mountains, rather than use one of the newer highways. The old road went right up the side of the mountains using many switchbacks, and in a very short time we were several thousand feet above sealevel. The picture at the right shows the view looking back over the route we had come. Even though we were well inland, due to our vantage point it was possible to see the Mediterraean Sea just over the hills in the distance.... a spectacular view!