With one of the most romantic Spanish cities as its capital, Andalusia – the picturesque south of the Iberian Peninsula, prides itself with eight beautiful provinces: Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga and Seville, its epicenter. Nevertheless, it boasts as many lyrical and diverse sunsets.
The birthplace of artists such as Picasso and Velázquez, the most prominent scene of flamenco and bullfighting, home of the scenic Costa del Sol and Sierra Nevada, Andalusia is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, and the place where the East meets the West on the most lurid Spanish land.
“All Spain feels its existence justified by the honor of having on its flanks the Andalusian piece of the planet.” – Ortega y Gasset, Teoría de Andalucía, 1927
Almeria, or literary the “Mirror of the Sea” was founded in 995 AD by the Moors, whose traces are still visible today in the region’s rich culture. Also known as “The Garden of Spain”, Almeria boasts dozens of attractions including spectacular fortifications such as the Moorish Alcazaba; charming pueblos with narrow Kasbah streets; the western Oasys Theme Park which served as a settlement for “The good, the bad and the ugly”; lots of museums and lovely beaches; as well as the stunning National Park – Cabo del Gata.
Overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, Cadiz is the southernmost part of Western Europe and maybe the most exotic piece on the old continent. Boasting an impressive array of wild beautiful beaches, white towns, natural parks, enchanting plazas and cathedrals, Cadiz has a charm of its own, being considered by many, one of the most mysterious places in Europe.
With a striking historical and cultural background, a lovely countryside, Moorish castles and unusual cathedrals, the beautiful region of Cordoba still preserves, between its boundaries, one of the softest Spanish vibe, being able to offer visitors a truly authentic experience. Cordoba’s major attractions include: the timeless Old Jewish Quarter (The Juderia), The Mosque (Mezquita), the beautiful gardens of Alcazár de los Reyes Cristianos, Don Quixote’s Plaza del Potro, and Plaza de la Corredera, build on a ruined Roman amphitheater.
Home of the famous Alhambra, the flamboyant Sacromonte quarter and one of the best Moorish architectures in Europe, Granada is the point of departure of most of the Spanish stereotypes, and the place where gypsy women are still dancing flamenco with passion, holding red roses between their teeth.
Sharing the striking Sierra Nevada with its neighbor Almeria, and being ideally located just 70 km away from the coast, Granada offers tourists the amazing opportunity of skiing and sunbathing in the same day. What can I say, is one of the best year-round destinations in Spain.
Connecting Spain with Portugal, Huelva boasts a wonderful varied landscape, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Morena mountain range. Spain’s most pristine beaches, a remarkable array of Nature Reserves and charming fishing villages, as well as a conspicuous gastronomy, make from this land of fiestas an authentic destination for any kind of Spain aficionados.
One of Andalusia’s lesser known provinces, Jaen prides itself with national parks, Renaissance cities, dozens of protected areas and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, lovely mountainous areas covered with luxuriant Mediterranean flora, as well as the reputation of being the home of olive oil.
World-famous Malaga features some of the best resorts in Spain, being the preference of many when it comes to lovely summer beaches on the Iberian Peninsula. Home of the illustrious Marbella, the exclusive Puerto Banus, the beautiful Torremolinos, the romantic Benalmadena, the amazing city of Malaga, the charming Estepona, the beautiful beaches of Fuengirola and dozens of charismatic villages sprinkled in the center, Malaga is par excellence a parade of culture, architecture, history, wine regions, eye-catching sights and never-ending beaches.
The capital of Andalusia, Seville lies beautifully on the banks of Rio Guadalquivir, as one of Spain’s most treasured and interesting destinations. Offering a great amount of attractions, such as the imposing Cathedral of Seville, the delightful Old Town or the one-and-only Alcazar (Mudejar Royal Palace), the romantic city of Seville encompasses everything a traveler would expect to find between the Spanish borders.
Although Seville itself is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and even in Europe, there’s still much to discover in the surrounding area, so, don’t hesitate to venture beyond the capital’s delights and to discover the serene La Campina, the North’s wooden hills, the South’s whitewashed villages or the West’s arty Aljarafe.