Andalusia with Marbella, Málaga and Alhambra

Andalusia with Marbella, Málaga and Alhambra

Málaga, Alhambra and also Marbella

Málaga, Alhambra and also Marbella were the declared destinations in Andalusia for the second week of our vacation after starting at the Algarve. And so, well rested we started early on Saturday in Albufeira. Get on the A22 and head east. After just after 80 kilometres on the motorway, we went via the Puente Internacional del Guadiana to Spain. Our goal that day at 38 °C was Torrox on the Costa del Sol near Malaga.

On the way to Torrox we had a short break in Seville at the best time of the day. Except for a few tourists, who were also on their way or had no sensible sense of temperature, there were hardly any people on the streets. The 38°C were in fact a good challenge and really not an invitation to longer explorations of the city. Thus, we have limited ourselves to giving our car directly in the center of the parking garage above the famous Torro del Oro in Av. Paseo de Cristina and only take a short trip to the centre.

From the Av. Paseo Cristina you can also quickly reach the Plaza de Espana, which we still visited. The cathedral, the bullfighting arena, the palace, theater, university etc. etc. are also in the immediate vicinity. With our short stopover, the city has already impressed in the centre. Unfortunately, the big (but to be expected) realisation was that Seville is not the best destination on a 20 August in bright sunshine. And so we drove straight on towards Málaga and Torrox. Fortunately, the motorways have also been very empty in Spain.

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla, Andalusien

Andalusia, there’s much to see…

The next adventure should not be long in coming. Arriving in Torrox we were greeted by the friendly property manager who showed us the way up into the mountains near Torrox to our house. After five kilometres or initially 20 minutes driving time with an interesting road we arrived at our holiday home, the “Villa Vista“.

Lonely at the mountain and surprisingly equipped with electricity and running water! It was to be a very relaxing week in the house; only the trip to the bakery had to be cancelled in the morning.

With a breathtaking view over Torrox Costa, we were well compensated for the lack of fresh bread in the morning. The house really had everything to offer to recover very well for one week. Beside the pool there was also a great roof terrace where you could grill and chill out on a wonderful barbecue. Next to the house there was a small vineyard and the fruits of the trees from the garden could have been eaten.

A well-considered shopping list was also the prerequisite for the great recovery, because the coffee milk forgotten in the supermarket was already very annoying due to the longer driveway to the house. The next bigger shops were about 30 minutes away.

And so we always used the excursions to the valley for a day’s shopping.

 

Speaking about day trips: Torrox and Torrox Costa are located east of Málaga . After a first quick look at the map also a good program on the list: the Alhambra, Gibraltar, Málaga , Seville (was already ticked off), Marbella, Nerja and an aquapark in the region. Enough for seven days with a few days of rest at the pool.

The plan was set! Said, done and off we went. We had forgotten in the plan the sun of Andalusia, which made some changes. In the end, however, we have seen so much that we were able to gain at least a first impression of this great region.

Andalusia in August is especially suitable for one thing: relaxing by the pool. Or the beach.

Culture, and even more culture

If you are looking for culture, Andalusia is a great destination. Clearly Cordoba and Ronda west of Málaga were missing on our list. All in all, of course, a huge area that requires more than a week’s holiday. We’ll be back.

We started according to our plan with Marbella and Málaga. Known as the favourite place of the rich and beautiful, Marbella also attracts ordinary mortals to see what you can do with too much money.

The beautiful Marbella can be seen at the small harbour, which is also adjacent to the old town. The decadent Marbella can be seen at the marina about 5 km away, where the superyachts of the super-rich line up like a pearl necklace. It’s easy to see who has the money and who just wants to be there with the little cutter.

And it not worth to mention that this marina is the perfect place for super-rapid sailing. A little hint – you can also rent the cars for a stylish visit. At the end of the street Conjuta Banabola you only have to decide whether to turn right towards Cartier (approx. 110 m) or turn left past the restaurants. I recommend turning to the left. The distance is at least 170 m long and you can drive along the parallel road behind the houses always beautifully in a circle and thus also create routes. If only the tourists wouldn’t stand in the way!

If you like it, you can eat a nice ice cream at the harbour after an extensive round. Price per scoop in a cup costs 3,5 Euro. For the sake of fairness, there is a quantity discount from the second scoop onwards.

Nowhere in Andalusia is the density of superlatives higher than at the marina of Marbella and it resembles a zoo visit in the figurative sense. On the one hand, the supposedly proud yacht owners boasting of the largest yacht and on the other hand, the normal tourist. Whoever looks at whom more may be left standing. But here too, as in the zoo: Don’t grab and feed through the bars!

From Marbella to Málaga in Andalusia

On the way back to Marbella, we reached Málaga , another destination on our way.

In the centre of Málaga is a very beautiful city with an infinite number of tapas bars and restaurants, all of which are very inviting. With a friendly greeting from the sun (“the pool calls!”) we drove back to Torrox after a short walk through the city centre.

Kathedrala Malaga
malaga-innenstadt

Even if the stop was short and compact – we would come back again for a visit. At that time, we had already took Gibraltar from the list because of its distance, our pool and the sun.

The highlight of the week for me was a visit to the legendary Alhambra near Granada, which is also a World Heritage Site.

The Alhambra near Granada is one of the most visited destinations in Europe and so it is advisable to order your tickets in advance on the internet (www.alhambra-tickets.es / only Spanish / English). With the ordered tickets you have a guaranteed entrance to the Nasrid palace in the centre of the wide complex. It is important to keep the time window, which is determined by the order: outside of these times you can “only” look at the gardens.

The tickets are available in different versions. The ticket with full access to the Nasrid palaces and the Generalife costs just under 14, – Euro / adult.

We had ordered the tickets for the morning visit, which is also recommended for summer visits. After we printed the online tickets directly at the ticket printers next to the souvenir shop in front of the main entrance, we were ready to go.

There is a signposted tour of the Alhambra, which you can easily follow (external link: Alhambra map for iOS / Android). You should at least book an audio guide on site. Unfortunately, we missed this opportunity. In the gardens the crowds of people get very lost. Only in the Nasrid palace it gets a little bit fuller.

I’m sure you can write a lot of pages about the Alhambra. I want to be brief at this point. The visit is definitely worthwhile and surely belongs to the obligatory program during a holiday in Andalusia.

If the temperatures are cooler, a stroll through the old town of Granada is recommended before or after visiting the Alhambra.

After a long stay in the Alhambra we decided to go back to the pool. And so we made a detour through the Sierra Nevada parallel to the highway back towards Torrox.

Near Torrox Costa is also Nerja, which is clearly the most beautiful place to visit on the Costa del Sol. Nerja with the Balcon de Europa (a viewpoint on the pedestrian precinct) offers just about everything you would expect from a holiday resort. The beauty of Nerja is that the inner city area was hardly disfigured with functional buildings. The variety of restaurants and bars offer a wide choice. If you don’t have a great holiday home on an unpaved road in the mountains, Nerja would be an alternative destination for a holiday.

Frigiliana II
Nerja Balcon de Europa
Nerja Strand
Frigiliana

At the end of this beautiful and very relaxing week we spent in Frigiliana at a city festival (XI Festival Frigiliana 3 Culturas). On the tapas route you can walk from one restaurant to the next and try many different tapas. And wine. And beer. With Spanish music in the background and the music groups on the main stage, it’s great to celebrate!

To evaluate the holiday in Andalusia with the few but meaningful words of a typical Ebay rating, we say,”Everything good!”

Our tour started in Portugal.. you missed it? Take me back: Algarve, Portugal!

What have you done in Andalusia? Where should we have been in any case? Are you interested in Italy or the Canary Islands? Then just read about our experiences at Etna or how we got through the serpentines of Gran Canaria.

 

And here we could always have a good look with an empty battery:

With this app, you are also offline on the right track.

Simply download the right country package to your mobile phone before you travel.

Here 1 x Here for Android and here 1x Here for iOS

Potsdam Historic Places and film sets

Potsdam Historic Places and film sets

Citytrip in Potsdam – lots of history & great film sets!

For an extended weekend we have chosen at Ascension Day Potsdam as a short holiday destination. One thing first: Potsdam is ideal for a short break! If you want to experience history and great scenery, there are many possibilities in the city. With castle Sanssouci and the new palace as well as the gardens, the historic town of castle Cecilienhof, where the Potsdam conference was held, and the film studios in Babelsberg (location of the famous German daily soap “Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten”) Potsdam offers a colourful mix of different possibilities.

Our highlights in four days Potsdam (with a small detour to Berlin)

  • The Dutch Quarter in Potsdam
  • Brandenburger Straße with the Brandenburg Gate (also in Potsdam there is a Brandenburg Gate!)
  • City tour with a hop-on/hop-off bus
  • Visit Sanssouci Castle
  • Cecilienhof Castle (Potsdam Conference with Stalin, Truman and Churchill after World War II) World War II – beginning of the “Cold War”)
  • Babelsberg Film Park

Our hotel in Potsdam was located in the suburb of Drewitz, which is dominated by prefabricated buildings. The good connection with the tram made it possible to get to the centre of Potsdam quickly (single trip 2,10 Euro, 1-day ticket 8,40 Euro, transit time approx. 25 minutes). Potsdam as a city we found to be very “compact”, so that the essential points could be reached by foot.

The city centre of Potsdam

So what do you do in the city on four days? On Ascension Day we first explored the city centre in the afternoon after our arrival. Brandenburger Straße with its shops and the Brandenburg Gate was to become the focal point of the next few days. The pedestrian zone ends at the western end of the Brandenburg Gate, from where it is only a stone’s throw away to the magnificent gardens of Sanssouci Castle. In the east you can go directly to the Dutch Quarter, where you almost feel like visiting a Dutch town. If you are more interested in Russian influences, we recommend a visit to the Russian colony Alexandrovka. The colony was built for Russian prisoners of war.

A trip to Berlin

Day 2 we used the opportunity to visit Berlin to get to know the city from the water side. With the car the journey was not a big problem despite the Protestant church congress and so we stood after a good half hour at the Spree riverside. Berlin on one day is of course also an impossibility; -). With the excursion ship and the captain’s humorous comments, it was possible to get a good first impression of the buildings in the government district.  From the ship it was indeed a different viewpoint and, above all, a very relaxed city tour. We had “just” booked the little tour. If you are going to Berlin, just have a look at the many providers. There are some who offer round trips and don’t go back on the same route.

The “Currywurst” Fiasco

Berlin offers so many things that we decided to just stroll along the Kurfürstendamm and to look at other points in Berlin on a forthcoming holiday. A real Berlin visit also includes the doner kebab or currywurst. Both are said to have been invented in Berlin. Via Google you can quickly find the alleged top ten of the best doner kebab stalls and currywurst snacks. We decided to have the currywurst and were really disappointed. With this sausage, the currywurst was supposed to have made its success story out of Berlin? If only we had decided for the kebab stall with the 200-metre-long snake across from the curry sausage stall.

Potsdam with an Oldtimerbus

The penultimate day began and the day’s goal was clear: Explore Potsdam in a relaxed way! In the best weather we drove back to the city centre by tram. The most central stops are the “Brandenburger Straße” or “Platz der Einheit”. In the pedestrian precinct there is a great café with the “Extrablatt”. You get an extensive breakfast at a fair price (7,45 Euro / buffet). The meeting point of the Oldtimer city tour at Potsdam’s train station was a good place to meet. On our way there, we “took along”the imposing St. Nikolaiskirche as well as the old town hall and the newly built Potsdam’s city palace (headquarters of the state parliament) on the Old Market Square.

A mosque that is not a mosque and the new palace

Our tour in the historic double-decker bus took us from the train station via the Havel at the Stadtschloss, the film museum to the old pump house for the water features in Sanssouci. Due to the claims of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The pump house was to be integrated into the cityscape without the industrial character and was therefore designed as a mosque. Another scenery in Potsdam… From there the bus went over the direction of Park Charlottenhof, past the old emperor train station (today the training centre of the DB.) to the “Neue Palais”. On the spot we had about 20 minutes with the tour guide to look at the buildings. Not really much for a visit to this facility, but at 28°C in the shade sufficient for a first glance. And that was very impressive. In just under six years of construction time, a castle was built for the guests of Frederick the Great.

Scenes everywhere…

It was amusing to learn that the “stones” on the façade are only painted. For reasons of cost, it was not possible to afford real clinker bricks. Due to the lack of a heating, the castle could only be used in summer – as if somebody saved money at the wrong end. Again a big backdrop… just like the communities behind the castle, which housed the “only” the economic areas. The two buildings are very impressive in themselves. From the New Palace, we then drove in the oldtimer bus past the Dragon’s House, the Orangery and the historic mill directly to the world-famous Sanssouci Castle.

Sanssouci Castle

When you think of Potsdam, you usually think of Sanssouci Palace, which is often described as Prussian Versailles. It is this one classic picture with the view of a yellow lock with the green copper dome and the wide stairs that one looks up. With this picture in mind, the real castle looks surprisingly small. Here a masterpiece was completed during the construction period of 1745 – 1747 in only two years. It is rightly still attracting masses of people today. Considering the size of the entire park complexes, the construction times are extremely short for the conditions at that time. It is hard to imagine what was built in such a short time. Looking over the vineyard towards the fountain, one can well imagine that one could withstand it well at that time.

The potato on the gravestone

Perhaps this was the reason why Frederick II. was buried in a crypt next to the castle. It was not until August 1991 that the wish was fulfilled. The gravestone and the graves of his dogs (!) can be found to the right of the castle. The gravestone can also be easily recognized by the potatoes, which many tourists still leave there as a “thank-you”. One of the names of Friedrich II. was also the “Potato King”. Without his potato commands in times of great famine, potatoes would probably never have been planted in Germany, or would have been planted much later.

Our stay on site was only about 30 minutes, which is very sporty. Of course you can also visit the castle, which is also recommended. The entrance fee is 12, – Euro or as a “day ticket” for all castles in Potsdam only 19, – Euro / person. Family ticket 49, – Euro. Our city tour guide recommended the Potsdamer Schlössernacht (castle night in the middle of August) to us very much. Due to the many disguised visitors it should be a great picture of the city.

Heiliger See (Holy Lake) – Celebrity alarm

After this overview we went back to the bus and with it also to the finish line of the tour. The city tour guide let us know that in the villas at the Holy Lake next to Wolfgang Joop or Günther Jauch and many other celebrities have settled. You can’t live well enough! After almost 2.5 hours with three stops on the way (New Palace, Sanssouci Castle and Cecilienhof) the tour ended for us again in the Dutch quarter. It is said to be the largest Dutch building ensemble outside the Netherlands. After so much culture, politics and impressions in such a short time and feeling 30 °C in the shade, we enjoyed the evening with a view of the Havel in the beer garden.

Babelsberg Film Park

The end of our weekend trip to Potsdam was a visit to the “Filmpark Babelsberg”, which gives an insight into the film history of the film studios Babelsberg. Europe’s largest film studio has developed in Babelsberg to match the city’s many “backdrops”. Only for reasons of security (because of the quickly inflammable film material at that time) the film production was relocated from Berlin to Potsdam. And so you can see a lot about the great films that have made Babelsberg famous and, above all, how films are produced. This began with Metropolis almost 100 years ago. More recent films, which were also made in Babelsberg (partially) include “Panem’s Tributes – Mockingjay 1 + 2” as well as “Inglourious Basterds”. “Jim Knopf and Luke the engine driver” was filmed recently, for which you can also see the original scenery with Lummerland railway station.

How long is it possible to stay in Filmpark Babelsberg?

The park itself is manageable in size and is mainly designed for family visits. We spent a good half day on site. There are many different attractions to the topic of film, such as a 4D action cinema or a daily stunt show. You can see the scenery of a western town or a medieval town. In addition to the “original” dandelion construction wagon and the witch’s house from the film Hansel and Gretel, there is also a boat trip through Janosch’s dreamland and the big sandman hall for children. More interesting for film fans is the Hall of Dream Workers, where different professions are presented and demonstrated on the subject of film (mask makers, scenery construction etc.)

We were lucky to see that most tourists wanted to spend more time with lakes than with film history in the great weather. Thus, the number of visitors was manageable for one Sunday. The queues at the “attractions” were therefore correspondingly short or not present at all.

“Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten” (Good Times, Bad Times)

One of the highlights of the film park is the backdrop of the well-known television series “Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten”. You can only experience this area with a guided tour. Before you get to the set of the series, you have to go through different other settings like “Bader-Meinhof Complex”,”The Monuments Men” or “Jim Knopf”. Then it will be really exciting for the GZSZ fan.

Because of the two months production delay there is a strict ban on photography, so that the coming story will not be betrayed. And so we were able to see changes in the houses, which will probably be shown on television in the next few weeks. During the guided tour you walk through the streets of the series and at the same time you can see the entrances of the club “Mauerwerk” or the “Vereinsheim” as well as the entrance to the “underground station”. Behind the street scenery stands the caravan of “Chris Lehmann”.

Having a Coke in the “Mauerwerk”?

For the fans of the series, it is certainly a great but short experience. The guide also gives some very interesting insights into the production process. What you can’t see are the interior scenery. In short: no chance of a Coke in the “Mauerwerk” and no coffee in the “Vereinsheim” ! As a short anecdote, the guide then told us that there are indeed different sized plastic kebab skewers for the scenes in the kebab grill. The aim is to realistically display the consumption over the different times of the day. It’s a pity that there is not a copy of the “Mauerwerk” or the “Vereinsheim” as a real restaurant. That would have been a funny idea.

Prices of the Filmpark

We enjoyed our visit to the Filmpark Babelsberg. Most attractions are designed for children. The entrance fee was 22, – Euro / person + 3 Euro parking fee. If you want to save money, take the trial ticket for 15, – Euro (3 hours before the end of parking). With the map you should be able to see enough. For fans of GZSZ (“Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten”) the park is an absolute must because of the scenery. On the last Sunday of the month you still have the chance to sign an autograph with one of the GZSZ actors.

Result of the weekend

If you want to see a lot of culture and experience history, Potsdam is the right place for you. The number of castles is correspondingly high and many museums (such as the Barberini Museum or the Filmmuseum) offer many possibilities in case it should rain. The many restored houses in the city centre create a very special atmosphere.

Potsdam, we’ll be back!

Have you been to Potsdam? What is your impression? You may also like Bremen in the north of Germany.

After so much history we will plan our next vacation with some beaches again. You like beach and water more? Then read our about  Gran Canaria or the Algarve. You don’t feel like flying? Then simply off to the Baltic Sea – for example to Travemünde.