Travels in Andalusia
Spain’s most populous autonomous community with its eight provinces, Andalusia, land of flamenco and sunshine, presents landscapes as richly varied as its multicultural heritage.
Preceded by the Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths, Carthaginians, Catholics, Muslims and Jews, the Andalusians gave birth to Andalusian culture and bequeathed many religious and civil monuments and buildings. Many of them, like many historic Andalusian town centres, are classified as Unesco World Heritage Sites.
The Alhambra of Granada, the Alcazar and Giralda of Seville, the Great Mosque of Córdoba, the Alcalá de Guadaíra are some of the architectural and historical heritages inherited from Al Andalus.
Land of popular cultures, many ferias, festivals and religious processions punctuate the Andalusian year. Of these, the Holy Week, often sumptuous, is the most important. The ferias are organized in honour of the patron saint of a town or village.
Some such as the Feria de Abril in Seville, the Feria del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera, festive, are very much in demand by the public and the Carnival of Cadiz is one of the moments not to be missed.
Andalusia also counts as one of the high places of Spanish bullfighting, and the famous bullfighting arenas of Córdoba or Real Maestranza de Seville are a must for toréadors and amateurs alike.
Andalusia is also the home of the Spanish saddle horse Pura Raza Española, a Spanish purebred horse, which is also known as the’ Pura Raza Española’.
From the Mediterranean beaches of the Costa del Sol to those of the Gulf of Cádiz and the Sierra Nevada ski resorts, Andalusia offers an extremely varied landscape.
These beautiful natural sites are dotted with many preserved national parks, including Sierra Nevada National Park in the south-east, Doñana Natural Park in the west and Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park in the north.
Built on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is home to an impressive architectural ensemble listed as a World Heritage Site, as well as typical working-class neighbourhoods such as Triana and La Macarena.
A major business and tourist centre of Andalusia, Seville has an important hotel structure equally distributed throughout the city. An attractive offer complemented by museums and art centres, cinemas, theatres and theatres as well as theme parks.
The different civilizations and cultures: Phoenician, Roman, Jewish, Jewish, Muslim and then Catholic, which succeeded each other, have left a vast architectural heritage to Carmona, one of the oldest cities in the province of Seville.
Visible heritage in the districts of the historic centre: Sab Felipa, Santiago and San Blas, the old Jewish quarter.
Necrópolis Romana, is a Roman necropolis with hundreds of tombs and burial chambers dug into the rock. Among these vestiges dating from the early Christian era is the tumba de servilia, the tomb of a large Hispano-Roman family.
Founded by the Carthaginians, the sometimes pirate den was one of the most important ports of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Its old town with its narrow lanes, full of history, unveils its alcázaba (Xth century) and cathedral, which looks more like a fortress than a place of worship.
Nicolás Salmerón Park, next to the sea, has the best view of the marina, the commercial port and the gulf of Almería, bordered by numerous beaches.
Mojácar stands facing the sea on a hill in the foothills of Sierra Cabrera. Its charm and tourist attraction reside on an urban core of Arab origin with white houses and five kilometres of beaches.
Roquetas de Mar
Roquetas de Mar is one of the main seaside and summer destinations in the province of Almería. The city is endowed with some interesting buildings such as the castle of Roquets, the watchtower of Arab origin of Cerillos or the church Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
The town also has beautiful beaches and a fine sample of tourist infrastructure.
Facing the Atlantic, Cadiz was built on a rocky peninsula connected to Spain by a strip of land several kilometres long and two bridges spanning the bay.
One enters in the heart of this lively city by crossing the Puerta de Tierra from where the maritime avenues leave allowing to make the tour of the city protected by fortifications.
Facing the ocean and the bay, the vast beaches extend to the nautical structures that make Cadiz a first-class seaside destination.
Jerez de la Frontera
Cradle of a flamenco still very much alive in some historical districts like San Miguel or Santiago, Jerez de la Frontera is also the city of Xeres wines, taurine and equine breeding.
From its medieval past, the city, a long historical frontier between the Christian and Muslim kingdoms, preserves from this period an architectural heritage of which the Alcázar built under the Almohads in the twelfth century is the oldest.
Flagship school of Jerez: the” Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre”, the school of equestrian art, founded in 1973, a few steps from the historical centre of Jerez.
At the gates of the Columns of Hercules and at the edge of the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters, Tarifa is a pleasant little port city with some ferry connections to the Moroccan port of Tangier-city.
Its location at the gates of the Hercules Columns makes Tarifa one of the windiest regions in Europe. Large beaches with strong sea currents, combined with mild weather, have made Tarifa a spot for water sports, surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing… of international stature.
In the extreme south of Andalusia, facing the Strait of Gibraltar, unavoidable for a large number of tourists and immigrants going or returning from Morocco, Algeciras is a very accessible destination.
Algeciras is also the birthplace of the great flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía, to whom a bar-museum is dedicated in the district of San Isodoro with its steep alleys. Unfortunately, the urban coastline of Algeciras is like its seafront, occupied by too many port and industrial facilities.
Cordoba, whose city centre bordering the Guadalquivir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba under the Umayyad dynasty and one of the leading cities of Islam in medieval times.
With an important architectural, cultural and craft heritage, the historic centre has a vast network of alleys in which it is pleasant to get lost in order to capture the Hispano-Moroccan atmosphere that surrounds the city.
In the heart of Cordoba, the’ Mosque of Córdoba’, transformed into a cathedral, is one of the most beautiful monuments of Muslim art in Spain.
At the gates of the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Natural Park, the town of Montoro, with its Iberian, Greek, Roman and Muslim past, is classified as a Historic Site.
Situated on a hill overlooking the left bank of the Guadalquivir, Montoro is made up of steep alleys with white houses. We discover interesting buildings such as the bridge and church of San Bartolomé dating from the 15th century or the church of Santa María de la Mota, which houses a small archaeological museum.
Granada is one of the most interesting cities in eastern Andalusia, with an impressive heritage from Al Andalusia, at the foot of Sierra Nevada.
One of its oldest districts, the Albacín and the Alhambra and Generalife of Granada, are listed as World Heritage Sites. The last city reconquered by the Catholic Kings, Granada remains entirely immersed in the Moorish atmosphere that has made it radiate over the centuries.
Added to this Muslim heritage are Renaissance buildings, cármenes, typical houses surrounded by gardens, squares, fountains, ancient craftsmanship and gastronomy that make Granada a privileged Andalusian destination.
Nestled on the slopes of the Sierra de Baza nature park, the small town of Baza has a Muslim origin. Its urban core consists of a medina with narrow alleys and an alcázaba.
This ancient fortress, whose walls bear witness to several phases of construction from the 11th century onwards, as well as remains of towers, is still visible in the historic centre of Baza.
In the village of Basti, 3 km from the city, you will discover the ancient Ibero-Roman city of Cerro Cepero. Built around the 8th and 7th centuries BC, this ancient city, which reached its apogee in the 1st century, was one of the most important fortresses of the region in Roman times.
Huelva is a port and industrial city located between Seville and Portugal. Situated on marshy lands facing Palos de la Frontera, from where Christopher Columbus embarked for the Americas, Huelva is less touristic than most Andalusian cities, and remains an obligatory passage to the seaside resorts bordering the northern coastline of the Bay of Cadiz.
Palos de la Frontera
A river and maritime city at the confluence of the Tinto and Odiel rivers, Palos de la Frontera has seen its port lose its former splendour following the earthquake of 1755.
Situated inland, Christopher Columbus nevertheless left these quays for his first expedition to the Americas with his three caravels. A monolith facing the church of San Jorge (XIVth century) still bears the engraved names of the sixty sailors of Palos who followed Columbus in his adventure.
Nestled at the gates of Portugal and the Marismas de Isla Cristina Natural Park between the ocean and the meanders of the Carreras River delta, Isla Cristina is also bordered by long beaches. Its fishing and yachting port is reminiscent of its maritime tradition, sardine tuna and other seafood products are displayed on the market stalls and restaurant menus.
Next to it, the 2,000 hectare wetland of Marismas de Isla Cristina extends to the mouth of the Guadiana River, a natural border with Portugal.
Capital of the province best endowed with protected areas, castles and other fortresses of Spain, situated in the middle of what looks like a sea of olive trees, Jaén has self-proclaimed as world capital of olive oil.
For a long time positioned on the border between Castilians and Muslims, Jaén preserves many buildings and monuments from this period, such as the Castillo de Santa Catalina or the Palacio de Villardompardon and the Moorish baths created in the 11th century.
Built on a promontory overlooking vast olive groves, Baeza is classified as a Site of historical and artistic interest. As for its important Renaissance heritage, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located on the Route of the Andalusian Renaissance and the Nasrid Road, Baeza, ancient Roman Vivatia and Bayyasa Hispano-Muresque, is ideal to visit this region while tasting its gastronomy and olive oil.
Unquestionably one of the biggest tourist destinations in Spain, the capital of the Costa del Sol offers mild temperatures, numerous beaches, golf courses and lively streets under the watchful eye of Gibralfaro Castle. This is also the best place to contemplate the city and its port, which is nicely bordered by the promenade of La Farola.
The Alcázaba (8th-10th centuries BC) of Málaga, one of the oldest cities in Europe, was founded by the Phoenicians eight centuries BC, is one of the most imposing Arab fortresses in Andalusia.
A major destination of the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos boasts an ancient history through the numerous Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Arab remains that have been discovered in its vicinity.
Castles and watchtowers were built to protect the city from the 16th century onwards. The Santa Clara church, one of the most important, was built in the 18th century.
It is this castle that Georges Langworthy, called” El Ingles”, and his wife Anne Margaret had the idea to buy in 1898 in order to transform it into a residence for rich foreigners. This was followed by the opening of several establishments, including the Hotel Pez Espada in 1959, making Torremolinos a privileged destination.
La Carihuela, Los Álamos, El Bajondillo, Playamar are some of the beaches that stretch around the seaside resort, offering a wide range of nautical activities.
Certainly one of the major tourist centres of the Costa del Sol, Marbella, with a dozen courses between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains, is also a little Mecca for golfers on the Andalusian coast.
Puerto Banús, a residential and tourist complex with restaurants and bars, shops, hotels and discotheques, just a few kilometres to the west of the city centre, remains one of the key points of the seaside resort. A renowned marina, Port Banús welcomes an impressive number of luxury yachts every year.
Granada, more than 560 hotels
More than 860 hotels in Seville
More than 500 hotels
More than 1200 hotels
More than 1200 hotels
5,500 hotels in Province of Malaga