Although you might not think it at first, Spain is a large European country with some very diverse regions to explore. One of the most popular regions is Andalusia in the southern part of the country. This is a great region to learn about the history and culture, taste some of the most amazing food in the world, and enjoy a little time at the beach. Here are some of the best places to add to your Andalusian itinerary.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
The Andalusia city of Granada is best known for being home to the Alhambra, a Moorish masterpiece and enormous complex with palaces, colorful tiles, courtyards, and gardens. There are lots of other great things to do while you’re in Granada as well. The city has festive public squares that are filled with travelers, vendors, and outdoor seating for the restaurants. The Granada Cathedral is very impressive to tour with an audio guide, and authentic flamenco dances are performed in town regularly.
Ronda is best known for its iconic and impressive bridge, which stands hundreds of feet above a ravine in the Málaga province. This bridge inspired Ernest Hemingway in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and makes a great day trip from Marbella or the Costa del Col. Come here to experience the dramatic scenery and traditional Andalusian culture. The city also has a lot of bullfighting history, making it a great place to learn more about the sport. There are also nice parks in Ronda, as well as the Museo del Bandolero and the historic mansions and palaces to see. Ronda is considered to be a hidden gem in the Andalusia region with its own unique charm and hiking opportunities. Great viewpoints include the Alameda del Tajo park and the Mirador de Ronda.
Bubión is one of three tiny villages nestled together along the outskirts of Sierra Nevada National Park, a very scenic mountainous region in southern Spain. It is in between the villages of Capileira and Pampaneira, and you can walk to these the other villages on a hiking trail from Bubión. This region is a great opportunity to get outside of the major cities and sightseeing attractions to slow down your pace of travel. You can take a bus here from Granada in a couple of hours and enjoy the landscapes along the way. While you’re here, take leisurely strolls around the hilly streets and iconic architecture to pop into local shops and eateries filled with local residents. For amazing views, hike the trails between towns at sunset. This is a remote and off-the-beaten-track destination that you’ll fall in love with at the first sight of the whitewashed houses and narrow cobblestone streets.
Whitewashed houses and ancient palaces can be seen when you visit Cádiz, a port city that has monuments and its own set of enchanting neighborhoods. It is located on the southern tip of Spain and has historic watchtowers that were used during the city’s prominent trading days. Definitely try the fried fish when you are in this part of Spain. People also visit Cádiz for its beaches, especially the Costa de la Luz, and for the area’s watersport opportunities.
Tarifa is a great beach destination in Andalusia, especially Bolonia Beach. This is a calm and tranquil beach that has white sand and turquoise waters that flow up to hidden coves. It is a favorite area for kite surfers and families. You can also see the Baelo Claudia ancient ruins nearby for some culture after your beach day. Watersport lovers enjoy it here because of all the activities you can do here. Whale watching is also popular in Tarifa. Tarifa is so far south in Spain that it nearly touches Morocco. It’s not very convenient to combine Tarifa with sightseeing in other parts of Andalusia, but you could easily visit Morocco when you’re in this area as a fun alternative.
Seville is another very popular Andalusian city and one that’s famous for the Plaza de España. Spain is filled with lots of great city squares, but few are more impressive than this one. It’s by Maria Luisa Park and along a large and scenic canal. The Seville Cathedral is a huge Gothic building that is wonderfully grand and filled with masterpieces. Meanwhile, the old Jewish quarter called the Barrio de Santa Cruz and has lots of tapas bars and flamenco venues in a charming atmosphere. Torre del Oro, the Tower of Gold, has stairs that you can climb to the top of for great views. Overall, Seville is an ideal place to experience flamenco dance culture, sunny plazas, and fun festivals. The Parque de María Luisa is another local highlight for a little time outdoors and to relax.
Málaga is an old port town with beach resorts, fortresses, and castles. Many people come here for the beach scene because it is an excellent place for sunbathing in the summer. You’ll find great restaurants along the waterfront and a medieval Old Town area with pedestrian streets and outdoor cafes around the plazas. Málaga has its own airport, which makes it an easy Andalusian destination to visit. When you are in this area, don’t miss out on seeing the nearby Pablo Picasso museum and the Atarazanas food market for lunch. Come here for amazing weather at pretty much any time of the year and to experience the local nightlife scene.
Also make a point to visit Córdoba when you’re in the Andalusia region to see the Great Mosque, which is an impressive show of Islamic architecture. When you are here, you can feel the mix of the different cultures and religions that have been here over the years. Córdoba is also famous for its patios that are colorful and ornately decorated with lots of plants and flowers. The Fiesta de los Patios takes place in May each year when local residents beautifully decorate their patios with flowers.