Welcome to my Puerto Duquesa blog

I've been visiting Puerto Duquesa three or four times a year for the past 20 years and have seen the area change enormously in that time. Where once there were dirt tracks and open countryside, there are now two lane motorways and apartment complexes. And whilst the area has changed and grown dramatically, it has still retained its small town, or should that be 'small marina' feel, which keeps me, and thousands others, coming back year after year.

Since I am currently in the USA it is a slightly odd time to start a blog about Puerto Duquesa, but the reason for doing so is simple - I may actually have some time to write some stuff! Most of the things I'm going to write about are things I like doing in the area or places I like going. Clearly I am not going to be able to cover everything, but hopefully I can give you a taste of what makes this such a special place and give you some ideas for your next trip.

If you can't immediately find what you are looking for, please scroll down and look in the blog archive (click the triangles to expand the list of articles). You might also want to start with these articles: Puerto Duquesa: the basics, Favourite (best?) restaurants in Puerto Duquesa, Puerto Duquesa beaches and Holiday accommodation in Puerto Duquesa. Want to get to know the area? Try A walking tour of Puerto Duquesa.

I welcome contributions, comments, criticisms and...well...praise.

If you want to link to me or you want me to link to you, that'll work too. If I think you're a good local company and you're prepared to part with a few euros, you might be lucky enough to advertise on the blog (which, fyi, is page rank 3 on Google - just type in puerto duquesa at google.com).

Thanks / Gracias

Chris (chris@cdgsmith.com) (March 2007)


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Day trips from Puerto Duquesa

Puerto Duquesa is an ideal base for exploring the Costa Del Sol and Southern Spain. Below I've outlined a number of my favourite trips - most of which I've done many times - to give you some inspiration when you feel like leaving the beach or the pool...

(I've included some videos from You Tube to give you a real feel for the areas you might want to visit. They're definitely not the most professional clips ever produced, but they are insightful. It's probably worth watching them for the dodgy accents and cheesey music alone!)

Ronda

Ronda is a stunning town located about an hour and a half drive from Duquesa. To get there, you take the main road (N-340) to San Pedro and then follow the signs to Ronda. The drive takes you up and over mountains so isn't ideal for those who get car sick. Once in the town, the key attractions are the gorge (in the centre of the town), the bull ring (it was about €6 per person for entry last time) and the numerous gardens. Despite not being a fan of bull fighting, the bull ring has an amazing atmosphere and the museum provides an interesting insight into the history of the 'art'. There are numerous restaurants for lunch or dinner and I'm told that Tragabuches (not sure of the spelling) is the best place in town for traditional Spanish food.

Practical tip: it's best to follow the signs to the City Centre (Centro Ciudad) and then look for parking by following the 'P' signs which will lead you to one of the many underground car parks.




Malaga

The main reason for my most recent visit to Malaga was to see the recently opened Picasso museum. It really is worth a trip even if you are not an art buff. The collection of art is impressive enough, but there is also an archaeological exhibit in the basement and a great, albeit expensive, cafe (the pistachio cake and banana smoothies are heavenly!). Outside the museum, the hillside above the town offers great scope for exploration, and I spent a good two hours last time climbing about in the moorish castle on the outskirts of the town. It's not brilliantly maintained, and not on the same scale at the Alhambra in Granada, but it's the fact that it's not overly maintained and policed that adds to its charm. The main shopping street in Malaga has all the Spanish favourites including Zara and had a good atmosphere around Christmas time.

Practical tip: get a good map! I think the perfect day would be to arrive in Malaga after lunch, then head to the Picasso museum, followed by the moorish castle and finally for something to eat at one of the many tapas bars or restaurants. The views from the Parador were sensational, the food was not.



Gibraltar

Everybody that I've taken to Gibraltar says it's a bit of a dump. And, to some extent, that's probably fair; it is a bit run down, there are no good restaurants (to my knowledge) and the shopping is limited to booze, fags and perfume. But it is great fun. Park in La Linea in the underground car park then walk across the border - this avoids queuing for hours to get your car over the border and the chronic lack of parking in Gib itself. Once across the border you can arrange a tour from the grumpy chap in the customs hall (it's expensive, but the full taxi tour is a must for the monkeys, siege tunnels and caves) or walk or cab it into town. If the tour is too expensive or time consuming, the cable car at the top of the main street is a good alternative (although closed in windy weather). Prices for cigarettes (around £7 for 200), alcohol (£6-7 for a litre of spirits) and cosmetics (20-25% less than UK) are worth the trip along, although be careful with the customs limits when coming back over the border.

Practical tip: take sandwiches or expect Burger King to be as good as it gets!



Atlantic Coast

If the calm seas of the Med are a little too tame for you or you want to get away from the crowds, heading to the Atlantic Coast is a good option. There are a variety of places to go. My favourite is a beach just the other side of Barbate which is about an hour and a half drive from Duquesa. The beach is notable because it shelves so slowly, meaning you can walk out about 150 metres into the sea! Tarifa is a real 'surfer dude' town, which people tell me is worth exploring, although I've never found it particularly nice. If you want to learn to windsurf, there are schools all along the main road outside Tarifa.

Practical tip: if you are going swimming, try to avoid areas where windsurfers are practising. I've had a couple of near misses with high winds and inexperienced surfers. Also, expect it to be windy and, ideally, check the weather before you head off; it's been known to rain all day on the Atlantic Coast when it's perfectly sunny in Duquesa!



La Canada/Marbella/Puerto Banus

For those who like shopping, Puerto Banus and Marbella are meccas. The ideal shopping itinerary would start at La Canada, a giant shopping centre just off the N-340 outside Marbella, continue into Marbella New Town (underground parking in the centre of town, follow the 'P' signs) and end in Puerto Banus. Favourites chains including Zara and Massimo Dutti are represented in each location and the prices are the same in euros as they would be in pounds, saving about 30%. Puerto Banus has an impressive, and ever improving, selection of outrageously priced international boutiques, which are fun to browse.

NOTE: There is an excellent street market in Puerto Banus every Saturday, which is well worth a look. Typical tourist goods, but some quality stalls too.

Practical tip: Wrap It Up on the first level at La Canada is an excellent choice for lunch. They make freshly prepared wraps with a choice of fillings.



Casares/Gaucin

These two white hill villages - 20 minutes and 35 minutes from Duquesa respectively - are typical Pueblo Blancos and are worth a brief visit to see the 'real Spain'. There isn't an awful lot to see, but an afternoon spent strolling round the town, especially in Gaucin, with your camera is a good cultural injection!

Practical tip: some of the streets are SMALLER than your car so be careful when navigating the streets, especially if you have a big four wheel drive or estate car.

For all these trips your need a hire car so see my Puerto Duquesa: the basics section for info.




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris
I've been visiting Duquesa for about 20 years and since using DialAbroadSpain the difference in my phone bill is amazing! Keep up the good work.

Franko said...

Thanks for visiting The Spain Blog and leaving such nice comments!

I really enjoyed the details about Málaga and Ronda in this post.... 2 places I know really well having spent a good deal of time in Andalucía.