We're flying out of Malaga in January. Want to spend a week or so in southern Spain. If possible we want to avoid the cold weather in the mountains and the tourists in the beach towns. Looking for something non-touristy and interesting. Open to agro -tourism, small villages or anything where we can meet local people that are not bombarded with tourists.
For a very non-touristy yet fascinating corner of Andalucia, consider the pilgrimage town of El Rocío, just south of Sevilla, it feels like something from the wild west. El Rocío is in the heart Doñana National Park, the wild and beautiful wetlands of the Guadalquivir.
Very good information Carlos. John that can be a great opportunity to immerse yourself into Andalusian culture, practice your Spanish, and bond with the locals by touring small towns like El Rocío as Carlos mentioned.
John - Another great place to go to is in the area of La Taha de Pitres, Alpujarras
There are small pretty villages high in the Sierra Nevada national park that are a few hours' drive from Málaga, but offer a window on to a different Andalucía. The villages are connected by ancient paths, known as caminos, which, along with the long-distance footpath GR-7, make this an excellent base for stunning scenic walks. Visit in late September or early November to forage the glut of wild almonds, walnuts, chestnuts and figs, and if you're there in early November, don't miss the Fiesta de las Castañas (feast of chestnuts) in Mecina Bombarón.
Here are two Agriturismos for your interest:
Interesting is a relative term. Interesting to you may not be interesting to me. While not terribly cold in January, southern Spain (huge) isn’t very warm either and there are very few tourists. Almeria, Huelva, Jaen area, Murcia city, and Jerez de Frontera are a few suggestions. Not certain how far from Malaga you’re looking at. Most of the really small villages have little to keep one occupied for a few hours, let alone a week, so unless you’re going to have a car, select a location with regular bus or train service in case you want to take a day trip.
Hi RJean, unfortunately, I believe those small villages you mention, high in the Sierra Nevada, will probably be snowed-in during January... especially since the OP wants to avoid cold weather ;-)
Yeah Carlos you're right the Sierra Nevada do have snow fall during that time. Perhaps the OP might look into small villages like Ojén, Istán, Mijas, and Antequera. Those are not far from Marbella.
These are the relatively off-the-radar places I visited in April and very early May this year. None is on the coast. I have no idea what they would be like, weather-wise or otherwise, in January. I didn't have a car; all were accessible by rail or bus (mostly bus). Unless otherwise mentioned, these are places I'd recommend for 2 or 3 hours of walking around, looking at the architecture, not for a full day--though it's certainly possible I missed some important local sights. I didn't discover these places by accident; they are mentioned in guide books (though I don't think Rick covers them beyond perhaps a brief mention). I saw virtually no foreigners in any of them, but I'm sure the British frequent visitors to Andalucia know about them.
Ubeda as base, day-tripping to Baeza and (larger) Jaen. It was wet and cold on April 10 and 11; the area doesn't seem to be in the same climate zone as Seville, etc. These are not small towns; there are some actual sights to go inside. Jaen's the one with the conveniently located rail station; I liked Ubeda the best but would recommend seeing all of them.
Carmona as a side-trip from Seville.
Vejer de la Frontera as a side-trip from Cadiz (I'd guess accessible from Malaga as well). A white town, but I recall it as being flat rather than a hill-town like Arcos, Of the places I list, this is the one closest to the coast.
Priego de Cordoba as a side-trip from Granada.
Bubion, etc., as a side-trip from Granada. There's a string of villages up in the hills, served by a bus. The largest and liveliest one, and I think surely the best base for a stay of more than one night, is Pampaneira. The weather would be iffier than other places in southern Andalucía. People go there to hike. I wouldn't be shocked if the bus service is cut back a bit in the winter, but there must still be some.
I didn't get to Antequera. If you have a car, that might be a convenient sort of central spot to camp out. It also has public-transit links giving access to the major cities in the area.
You can check actual, day-by-day, historical weather statistics for major cities on timeanddate.com. I recommend doing that so you don't get an unpleasant surprise. I was hailed on in Ubeda, and the combination of cold and rain wasn't fun.
The climate-summary charts appearing in the Wikipedia listings for most major cities will give you some summary information on precipitation that will allow you to make comparisons. Note that the time period on which the averages are based usually cuts off in 2000. Weather has gotten considerably wackier since then.
@Rjean, yeah, Sierra Nevada literally means the "snowy mountains" in Spanish ;) ... a good place for skiing though lol!
I am trying to avoid the miserable winter weather and nowhere in mainland Spain is particularly warm, so I am heading to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.
Non-touristy and remote probably means closed up for the winter in many parts of Spain. Do you speak Spanish? In my experience, many parts of rural Spain have limited/no English.