About Andalucia, Spain
The southern Spanish region of Andalucia is made up of 8 provinces which stretch from the east to the west of the country, each one being named for its own capital, namely Seville, Granada, Malaga, Almeria, Huelva, Jaen, Cordoba and Cadiz.
Although Andalucia was at one time the poorest region in Spain, the area is now an incredibly popular tourist destination because of its stunning landscapes, gorgeous beaches, impressive mountains and varied attractions. The local people are also very hospitable and welcoming, which is one of the reasons why this is one of the premier tourist spots in Europe.
The quintessential Spanish arts of bullfighting and flamenco dancing both originated here, and both can be experienced at the many festivals held throughout the year in this region. Andalucia is also famous for the unique and fascinating remnants of its Moorish heritage. The Moors were Arabs and Berbers who entered Spain in 710 via the Straits of Gibraltar from North Africa. They occupied the peninsular, naming it Al Andalus, for over 700 years. The Moors established an impressive and sophisticated civilisation during the Middle Ages in the towns of Seville, Granada and Cordoba, and even today these three cities each boast stunning remains of Moorish buildings, with one of the most important being the Alhambra Palace in Granada.
The Andalucian coastline stretches for 500 miles and 70% of this is made up of sandy beaches. Andalucia is the home of many of the famous “Costas” that are so popular with visitors, including the Costa de Almeria, Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz. As well as boasting fabulous cities and beautiful beaches, the Andalucian region also has many pretty towns and unspoiled villages. The area’s “pueblos blancos” are whitewashed towns that are often ignored by the tourists, but yet are exceptionally lovely.
Climate Of Andalucia
Andalucia is the region of Spain which boasts the driest and hottest summers, however the west of the region is often quite wet during the winter months due to the weather systems which sweep in from the Atlantic Sea. Despite the area’s reputation for having a rather arid climate, in fact Andalucia has higher than average rainfall when compared to the rest of the country and one of the country’s wettest villages is located in the Sierra de Grazalema to the west of the region. The majority of Andalucia enjoys over 300 sunny days each year and average temperatures are high, with Seville and Almeria both boasting the nation’s highest average temperatures at 18.6ºC and 18.7ºC respectively. Of all of Andalucia’s cities, Granada is the coldest, with an average temperature of just 15.1ºC. The coldest month across the region is January while its hottest is the month of August. Sevilla-Tablada in Andalucia also has the honour of holding the record for the highest ever temperature to be recorded in Spain – an amazing 47.4ºC which was recorded on the 6th August 1946.
Tourism In Andalucia, Spain
Because of its pleasant year-round climate, this region of Spain is especially appealing to visitors from overseas, and especially with tourists who hail from the north of Europe. Tourism is primarily concentrated on the coastal regions with many of the inland zones around Cordoba and Jaen staying almost completely untouched by tourists. Conversely, the areas close to the region’s beaches enjoy the benefits of tourist activity throughout the year and especially during the summer months.
Andalucia is the second most popular area with overseas visitors in Spain, the first being Catalonia, and the region sees around 30 million tourists arriving on its shores each year. Most tourists go to the popular “Costa” resorts, with the Costa del Sol being the most commonly visited. Most tourists come to the area during the month of August, with the lowest numbers coming during December. Although the central parts of the region are less developed, there is an increasing amount of tourism in the Sierra Nevada National Park which has become a well known ski resort. Andalucia is a popular place for those seeking cultural attractions thanks to its fascinating history and there are lots of cathedrals, monasteries, castles and forts to explore with many architectural styles to be seen from the Islamic Moorish period up to more contemporary styles.
How To Get To Andalucia, Spain
Most visitors get to the Andalucia region by aeroplane and there are two international airports which serve this part of Spain close to the cities of Seville and Malaga. Flights can be found here to and from all of the primary Spanish cities as well as a number of overseas destinations. There are also four domestic airports at Almeria, Granada, Jerez de la Frontera and Cordoba.
As might be expected for a region that boasts such a long coastline, it is also possible to get to Andalucia by sea. The region has over 30 marinas as well as 15 commercial ports and 2 estuary ports. Algeciras Port is the largest in Spain for its overall traffic while the port of Malaga is the peninsula’s second most visited port by cruise ships. It is possible to get to this port as well as the ports at Cadiz and Almeria on scheduled ferry services which come from several north African destinations, the Canary Islands, Melilla and Ceuta.
There are also numerous bus and train services which serve the area and connect the region to major Spanish cities.
Popular Tourist Areas In Andalucia, Spain
Costa Del Sol. Spain
One of the premier tourist destinations in Andalucia, the region of Malaga and the Costa Del Sol has a lot to offer with beautiful beaches, attractive resorts and fascinating attractions. Famous coastal resorts like Benalmadena, Marbella, Fuengirola and Torremolinos are household names and are well known for their miles of sand and exciting nightlife. This area is also ideal for keen golfers, as it boasts more than 60 courses suited to players at all levels and abilities. The area is also packed full of family-friendly activities from water parks, theme parks and go-karting to safari parks and public gardens. Accommodation encompasses every budget, from low cost B&Bs right up to glamorous 5 star spa resorts.
Seville is the capital of the whole Andalucian region and, according to myth, was created 3000 years ago by the god Hercules. This historical city, one of the largest in the country, draws tourists from all over the world to experience its culture, attractions and history at first hand. Here you are right in the heart of traditional Spain, with flamenco dancing and bullfighting playing a major role in the authenticity of this destination.
Without a doubt, most visitors to this attractive city with strong Moorish influences are here to see the world famous Alhambra Palace. Once home to Queen Katherine of Aragon, this beautiful building is a must-see on every tourist’s list. The city enjoys a varied and diverse location, close enough to the beaches of Costa Tropical to spend a day on the sand but also within easy reach of the Sierra Nevada national park and its ski resorts.
Costa de Almeria, Spain
The Costa de Almeria has some well known tourist resorts including Roquetas de Mar and Mojacar. This region has a varied coastline, from the desolate and rugged landscape of the eastern region to the popular sand beaches of the north. Although this area is popular with sun seekers, the Nijar national park is often visited by hikers and backpackers who are drawn to the deserted coves and desert-like landscape.
Costa de la Luz, Spain
Translated as the Coast of Light, this region is located to the west of Andalucia and is only just starting to rise in popularity with tourists thanks to its fine golden sand and crystal clear seas. The coastline is divided between two provinces, Huelva and Cadiz, and is still free of the high rise development which is so evident in the Costa del Sol and Costa de Almeria districts. This region is popular with kiteboarders and windsurfers, and indeed international competitions are regularly held here.
Andalucian cuisine reflects its diverse history and culture. Due to its varied landscape and climate, the food here embraces all kinds of influences including fresh locally produced vegetables and a plethora of fish and seafood from the long coastline. Tapas are popular here, as in the rest of Spain, and it is very common to move from bar to bar sampling the various offerings. The region is also the world’s top producer of olive oil, and it features heavily in many local recipes, including the region’s signature dish, pescaito frito. Another of Andalucia’s best known dishes is gazpacho soup made with local produce and delicious serrano cured ham. When it comes to desserts, Andalucia’s Moorish heritage comes to the fore with sweets and cakes being flavoured with almonds, spices, orange blossom and rose water as well as other exotic ingredients. The fortified wine known as Sherry also has its home in the Andalucia region, being made in the Cadiz province. Manzanilla is a particularly dry version of this drink and some say that they can taste the ocean when they drink it.