Andalucia is home to flamenco and bullfighting, but perhaps the most unique feature of this enchanting region is the remnants of its Moorish past. In the year 711, these North African Muslims crossed the straits of Gibraltar and conquered the entire Iberian Peninsula, which they called al Andalus for more than seven centuries.
Fertile with culture, Andalucia is a fiercely traditional place that has accepted rapid modernization. Spain’s region of Andalucia is composed of eight provinces, stretching from the south-east to the south-west of the country, each one named for its capital city: Cadiz, Cordoba, Jaen, Huelva, Almeria, Malaga, Granada, and Seville.
Once Spain´s poorest region, Andalucia – and specifically the provinces of Malaga, Cordoba, Granada, and Seville – is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Thanks to its sandy beaches, beautiful countryside, spectacular mountain ranges, fabulous monuments and high-spirited people who live life to the full and are well known for their exuberance, warmth, and hospitality. This region is one of the most sophisticated civilisations of the Middle Ages.
Each of the Andalucían capitals boasts spectacular remains of their monuments, visit all of them, and do not forget the greatest of all – Granada‘s Alhambra Palace. The interior of this UNESCO World Heritage is like a hidden treasure that lies expectantly beyond plain red walls, waiting to be discovered. Admire Palace of Charles V, a great show-off building in contrast to the more ancient Alhambra in which it is situated.
In Granada, Albaicín has retained its old charm and is the ideal place to discover Moorish architecture. The Church of San Salvador, built in the 16th century over the Albayzin mosque, is known for its extraordinary horseshoe arches, Arab-style ceilings, and the old traditional water tank. The Church of San Nicolas is well worth the steep hike through Albaicin to reach the most spectacular view of the Alhambra. Adjacent to the Alhambra, The Palacio de Generalife has the most beautiful and striking features to enjoy.
Córdoba is the home to Spain’s top surviving Moorish mosque, the Mezquita. Feel the tranquillity of the courtyard of the Mezquita with orange trees, citruses, and palms, and get mesmerized seeing the interior of this old mosque and the colourful forest of columns. Another featured landmark of this place is the Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos or Castle of the Christian Kings.
Both are Historical Monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can climb the Torre de Los Leones or ‘Lions’ Tower’ in this castle: you can see all of the city and the surrounding countryside. Another highlight of the Alcazar is its stunning patio and garden. When it comes to casual hanging around, Plaza de las Tendillas and Plaza de la Corredera are top choices. If you’re planning a holiday in Cordoba, don’t miss out on these places!
Do visit Sevilla – a soulful, flamenco-flavoured cultural capital of southern Spain. Book a schedule to enjoy the world’s most well-known bullfighting festival. Tasting the smooth sherry and marvelling at prancing stallions, find the passion in Andalusian culture. Visit the oldest Palace in Europe in the same capital, the Real Alcázar de Sevilla.
Marvel at its Palaces of different styles, from the Mudéjar to the Gothic and Renaissance, and relax in its spacious gardens, considered among the most beautiful in the world. A set of palaces with the architecture of splendid beauty, a product of the different kings who left their mark through history, from the eleventh century to today. Walkthrough its patios, halls, and rooms and enjoy the different styles you will find: Islamic, Mudejar, Gothic, And Renaissance. Wonderful gardens that began to be cultivated more than a thousand years ago and in which live, in perfect harmony, landscapes, galleries, ponds, sculptures and fountains, all of them full of history and legends.
Pay a visit to The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art is a famed riding school with horse shows and a carriage museum at Jerez de la Frontera.
In Malaga, The mighty La Alcazaba Fortress rises from the top of a hill and is separated from the rest of the Alhambra by huge walls. It is much visited because of its history and beauty. Adventure lovers can go to visit El Caminito del Rey, (The King’s Little Pathway) is a suspension walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain.
Andalucia has a whopping 800 km of coastline, with something for everyone. It features two seas – the wilder Atlantic coast, known as the Costa de la Luz, and the Mediterranean, which includes the hugely popular Costa del Sol, as well as the less developed Costa Tropical, which is Granada province´s coastline, and the practically deserted Costa de Almeria to the east. One of the best features of Andalucia´s beaches, apart from the soft sand and clear waters, is the chiringuitos, beach bars selling fresh fish, salads and cold drinks.
Andalucía expresses its heritage and culture in iconic themes. Southern Spain is a destination you will never forget, and you’ll want to come back again and again. The smell of orange bloom, the lilt of a flamenco guitar, the excellence of old centuries’ structures, recollections of Andalucia will stay with you like collected souvenirs beseeching you to return.