Cities like Madrid and Barcelona get all the attention from tourists in Spain, but visitors who ignore the Andalusian region of the country are missing out on an exceptional opportunity to explore new dimensions of Spanish beauty and culture. If you’re unsure what Andalusia has to offer, let us convince you why it should be next on your bucket list!
Seville is the quintessential Andalusian city: exuberant, charismatic, and layered with history. According to myth, the city was founded some 3,000 years ago by the Greek demigod Hercules. Today, Roman ruins testify to the city’s ancient past, and relics from Islamic Spain remind visitors of the role the Arab world played in shaping Andalusia’s history. A must-see attraction is the Alcázar, an intricate fortress built in the 1300s that now acts as both a museum and architectural wonder. Of course, Seville has always be able to adapt to the times: it’s an increasingly creative, modern metropolis, as evidenced by architectural endeavors like the Metropol Parasol, a head-turning museum that claims to be the largest wooden building in the world. Seville is also known for having some of the best food in Spain, so you can complement your sightseeing with some delicious tapas!
If you can only see one thing in the beautiful city of Córdoba, make it the Mezquita. Universally recognized as one of the most stunning works of Islamic architecture, the Mezquita symbolizes the rich Islamic culture that thrived in Spain when the rest of Europe was still in the Dark Ages. The building itself is spacious and serene, and is famous for its many symmetrical arches. The entire city of Córdoba acts as a window into the past, with relics that boast of a time when Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived side by side and created glorious works of art and culture. You can explore the rest of Córdoba easily on foot, so enjoy the blend of ancient and lively modern life in this special city.
Set in a crook of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Granada never fails to enchant visitors with its deep history and culture. The striking Alhambra palace, the last stronghold of the Moors in Western Europe, is a cultural landmark that perfectly suits the city’s elegant, dramatic atmosphere. Wind your way through the city’s narrow streets, exploring markets, parks, and the plethora of tapas bars available. From street art to frequent flamenco performances, the modern culture in Granada radiates creativity, so you’ll love immersing yourself in this charismatic city!
4. Las Alpujarras
If you want to get out of the cities (or need to work off some of the delicious food you’ve been eating), head for a hike through Andalucá’s Sierra Nevada and explore the canyons and “white villages” of Las Alpujarras. The trail has many bite-sized sections, so whether you want a longer trek or merely a quick jaunt outdoors, you’ll be able to breathe in the majestic scenery and visit some Moroccan-style villages nestled in the mountains, many of which sell beautiful artisanal crafts.
Tarifa draws visitors to its laid-back beaches and charming whitewashed buildings every year. Tarifa is the meeting point of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, the tip of Spain just before you reach Morocco. The old Roman settlement has a distinctly international feel, a lively blend of Western European, Mediterranean, and North African cultures that makes it the perfect place to top off your exploration of Andalusia. Take this chance to relax on one of the many beaches, or do as the locals do and try your hand at kitesurfing or windsurfing on the sparkling blue waters!
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Blog Post Author: Hannah Hunt