DECEMBER is the time to make dreams come true.
After all the frantic gift-buying, wine-quaffing, food-gobbling on Christmas Day, those days between December 25 and New Year’s Day can feel rather flat.
And while we’re not denying the obvious pleasure in spending a few days indoors and bingeing festive movies, there is more to life that sprawling on the sofa polishing off Christmas chocolates.
Many expats head back to their native lands over the festive period, leaving Andalucia rather more empty than usual — and ripe for exploring.
Turn your Christmas downtime into something special with a family-friendly, festive day out.
Grab your wooliest hats and thickest coats (and your masks!) and head outside to enjoy the magic of Andalucia over Christmas!
Take an indulgent day trip to La Casa de las Duenas in Sevilla
The festive season is a time for dizzying excess and no-one knew how to treat themselves quite like the 18th Duchess of Alba. Before she died in 2014, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva had enough land to allow her to walk from Galicia to Andalusia without setting foot off her own land. The 88-year-old held the Guinness World Records for the most titled person in the world – so many, in fact, that she allegedly demanded the Queen bow to her whenever the two met. Her extravagant home, the Dueñas Palace in Seville, is open to the public this Christmas. Just like the duchess, it’s flamboyant, glamourous and totally OTT. Open from 10am-3pm with tickets from €8.
Hit the slopes in Sierra Nevada
For those hoping to hit the piste this festive season, prayers were answered when Sierra Nevada started its season on December 18.
But if you’re wanting to head to the Granada mountain range this season sooner is better than later as, due to coronavirus uncertainty, lift passes are only on sale until January 11 at the moment.
Cost of the day passes vary depending on the age of the skier: children (6-15 years), adults (16-59 years) and seniors (60-69 years), with a one day pass for an adult in high season costing €52.
Got a bit more time to play with? It’s worth checking in to the recently renovated El Lodge cabin with piste-facing views and private balcony hot tubs, which are perfect to unwind in after a long day of showing off on death-defying black runs.
Explore the great outdoors in Malaga
Picasso’s home town has been an incredible place to go to get inspired and this winter is no exception. While the galleries might be shut, there’s plenty of eye candy to enjoy. Historical highlights can be found in the heart of Malaga, including the city’s stunning 16th-century cathedral and the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress that overlooks the city and boasts a maze of sculpted gardens, stone walls and coastal views. And no visit this time of year would be complete without a stroll through the glittering arch of Christmas lights the illuminate Calle Larios.
Treat yourself to a delicious day out in Cordoba
Looking for something extra sweet? It would be sinful to forget the one dulce that marries Andalucians’ sweet tooth with their love of belenes (nativity scenes). Every year, talented artisans in the town of Rute create a spectacular tribute to the birth of baby Jese, using an incredible 1,500 kilos of chocolate. Covering a whopping 45 square meters, it truly is a sight to behold. Follow the north star before January 6 to take a look (and maybe a taste) yourself.