Andalucia holidays take you to the beating heart of Spain; a cultural and spiritual beacon, where flamenco dancing and bullfighting originated and where the image of quintessential Spain was born. Situated at the southernmost tip of the country - stretching from the Portuguese border in the west to the Mediterranean Sea in the east - Andalucia is a diverse, evocative region that boasts sun-bleached hilltop pueblos blancos (white villages),
miles of windswept beaches, beautiful Moorish architecture, vast mountain ranges and a sun that won’t quit. Over seven centuries of Islamic rule have left a rich and varied legacy of influence on the region and Andalucia holidays are a fascinating dive into a melting pot of culture. Here, ornate architecture, spice-filled cuisine and grand mosques all jostle for your attention. Made up of eight distinct provinces, Seville, Cordoba and Granada are all key stepping stones on a tour of Andalucia and the finest example of life in action here. Another, Malaga, was the birthplace of Picasso and offers a unique glimpse into another more creative side to Spain, one which produced Mudejar Art - a blending of Moorish and European styles that’s unique to Spain and a shining example of a hybrid art movement. Many of the buildings constructed in its style are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wonderful example of the region’s distinct history. With beaches and bars to play in, cities to explore and a cultural history like no other, Andalucia has all the ingredients for a holiday you can really sink your teeth into.
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What can you find in Andalucia that you won’t find elsewhere?
Andalucia is an ever-changing chameleon, eager to please any traveller who roams there and, as such, expect the exact holiday you desire when you visit. Beautiful beaches backed by bustling towns, bygone architecture, first-class tapas, stunning mountain trails that zig-zag through rivers and hills, colourful fiestas every other week and the faint swish of flamenco dresses in the air – life is good year-round in Andalucia and the region has more than enough to seduce anyone. Go with friends and get whisked away to buzzing cocktail bars in busy side-streets; enjoy first-class seafood, wine and olives in crammed restaurants; and enjoy the warm air on your skin late into the night. Afterwards, head out to the countryside to kick back in a remote hacienda and retreat from modern life as you spend your days alternating between hillside hikes and swaying beach hammocks. Between the sea and the countryside, the mountains and the city, Andalusian works its magic on anyone who visits.
Who is Andalucia best for?
History buffs will relish the chance to take a step back in time within the mythical cities of Andalucía. From one history-laden street to the next, from hauntingly beautiful ruined churches to gilded grand palaces and hilltop castles, you will cross centuries of history and wander from culture to culture during your Andalucía holidays. Listen to the soft, fluid sounds of Spanish voices at the centre of Arabic architecture, smell the orange trees as you enjoy an evening drink in Seville, experience the fizz of nightlife as it spills into balmy lamplit alleys and escape the crowds in a countryside farmhouse surrounded on every side by tranquil olive groves.
Experiences in Andalucia
In Andalucia, expect a pace of life that’s not dictated by the clock; a lust for food and drink like no other; a no-holds-barred passion for dancing and a laid-back mood that’s catching – come here and receive traditional Spanish hospitality in all its warmth and charm. For a weekend stay, choose any one of the eight provinces that make up the region – each a jewel in its own right. Stay a week and you’ll have time to mix it up and visit three, going from beach to hillside and everywhere in-between. And for those lucky few who visit for two weeks or more, do all of the above then disappear into the deepest parts of Andalucía and its hinterland on a road trip, stopping off wherever the mood takes – a slice of Spanish escapism beckons.
Special things to do in Andalucia
- Visit the Alhambra in Grenada, a legendary palace and fortress at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It’s a huge monument with pretty courtyards, blooming gardens and magical fountains and when the sun sets it becomes otherworldly in its beauty.
- Head into the bullring and watch a bullfight to experience the electric atmosphere of this most Spanish of practices. Soak in every second of the wild spectacle from the jam-packed, whooping crowds to the majestic bulls and elaborate matadors.
- A delicious siesta during the hottest hours of summer is practically compulsory in Spain. Time virtually stops after lunch, so make the most of it; bask in the shade of a swaying olive tree, take a cool dip in the sea or make like the Spanish and retreat to your room for a reviving snooze.
Inland Andalucia is a stunning and varied region with a range of attractions to include on a tailor made holiday, from the celebrated Moorish legacy of Granada, Seville and Cordoba to the tiny unspoiled villages and whitewashed towns of the interior - the famous pueblos blancos - and the rugged beauty of the Sierra Nevada. The beaches aren't bad either. Andalucia's beautiful landscapes include more than 500 miles of coastline, much of it still unspoilt, the renowned wetlands of the Donana National Park, and the only desert on the European continent. Relax among the ancient olive groves and blossoming almond orchards of the rural heartland, where undulating hills and tiny terraced farms make up the panorama, or explore the many historic towns such as Ubeda and Ronda, as well as the famous attractions of Seville, Cordoba and Granada. The winelands of Jerez and delicious local cuisine complete the picture of what must be the most enticing region of the Iberian Peninsula for a luxury holiday.
Are there three more misrepresentative words in the travel lexicon than 'Costa del Sol'? Not misrepresentative of the weather, mind - it really is the sunshine coast, with 320 plus days of sun a year - but in terms of what you can expect. Sure, there are areas blighted by an abject lack of planning restrictions, but when you know where to look there are pockets of perfection that are ideal for a tailor-made Andalucia holiday. You're just going to have to trust us on this one. With regular flights from all around the UK this stretch of the Mediterranean coast is eminently accessible for families and couples alike and while the emphasis may be on short haul sun and excellent quality hotels, there is plenty else to do aside from slapping on the sun cream - Marbella Old Town is worth a look, and the hilly interior is a cool and calm antidote to the coastline in summer, and the ideal spot for some riding, walking or spotting for vultures and golden eagles.