Andalusia is an area full of culture, history, and tradition. Home of the terrace filled city of Cordoba, the centre of Islamic rule in the Iberian peninsula, Seville, the city where Flamenco dancers originate from, and Granada, which has the Alhambra castle perched on a mountain overlooking the city. Every traveler should attempt to visit this wonderful region in order to get the most authentic Spanish experience possible. With the scorching sun, sand swept beaches, and mountains covered in olive trees, you will never feel more Spanish than when traveling through Andalusia.
If you love Spanish culture then rejoice! Andalusia is where many of the modern day traditions that make up Spanish culture originate from. So if you like going for walks along the boardwalk and taking a quick dip into the sea, you should make sure to visit the beautiful city of Málaga. Sitting under a palm tree starring into the water reflecting a setting sun over the mountains will leave you breathless and appreciative of this wonderful country.
On top of the Alcazaba – Málaga
Muelle Uno – Port of Málaga
Or maybe you prefer to surrender to your gluttonous desires a pig out on delicious Spanish food. Fear not, because at any city in Andalusia for 1.50€ or less you can get a glass of beer with a tapa included as part of the price. For less than the cost of a bottle of beer in most European cities you can drink and eat to your hearts content.
Andalusia is also responsible for producing over 30% of all the worlds’ olive oil, and it is easy to see why. There are olive trees as far as the eye can see all around, and the oil sold in stores is as fresh and thick as if you made it yourself. Having plain bread with oil and tomato is a classic Andalusian food. Sounds plain right? Not with the fresh olives and tomatoes that are grown here. It will be an explosion of taste in your mouth and you will begin to see why olive oil is such an important part of cooking in Spain.
Image Source – Millions of Olive Trees all over Andalusia
For those curious about Spanish history, traveling through Andalusia will teach you more than any book ever will. The region was once called Al-Andalus, and was controlled the Moorish people for hundreds of years. Cordoba was the original capital, and Islamic architecture can be seen all over the city. First there are the classic terraces, which are perfect for eating and staying cool on a hot day. Then there is one of the most unique buildings in the world, the Mosque of Cordoba. The Mezquita (Mosque in Spanish) was converted into a Cathedral in the 13th century. Despite this conversion, the building was left largely in-tact, so that the same structure survives to this day. It is a must see when visiting this area since there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.
The beautiful views from the other side of the bridge – Córdoba
Inside la Mezquita – Córdoba
One example of the amazing ceilings at the Mezquita
Another famous example of Islamic architecture is the Alhambra is Granada. Once the Caliphate of Cordoba fell to the Catholic kings of Spain many Muslims made the trek to Granada, which begin the Emirate of Granada. Today, the Alhambra is one of the top touristic sites in the country, and for good reason. Walking through Alhambra will feel like you have been thrown back in time hundreds of years. Carved designs on the walls are still in great condition, and the majestic gardens and courtyards will make you feel like a lord.
El Patio de los Leones – Alhambra
Make sure to book your tickets for Alhambra online ahead of time. Since it is such a popular attraction they sell out very quick and there are always long lines.
Also while in Granada you should try to find a way to get to a viewpoint where you can see the city and the Alhambra together. This will give you another perspective on just how grand of a building it is and how beautiful the city of Granada can be.
Mirador de San Nicolás – One of the best views of La Alhambra
Those are just three tiny examples of what you can do while in Andalusia. Don’t stop there though. Try to make your way over to Seville to see the Flamenco dancers or take part in the fiesta. Or just relax in a small town in the mountains to see what rural Spanish life is like. You can go hiking, horseback riding, or just relax and take a siesta. Not matter how much or how little you choose to do, staying in Andalusia will give you a new appreciation for Spain, with all of its historical and cultural idiosyncrasies.
Have you ever been to Andalusia? Share your experience with us!