Andalucia is one of the most unique and beautiful regions in the southern part of Spain. With an easy-going way of life and the highest peaks in Spain, Cordoba, Granada, Seville and Ronda, Andalucía can satisfy the cultural appetite of any visitor. It is the region for many cultural phenomena that are seen as distinctly Spanish; bullfighting, flamenco and the Mudejar architectural style. The region remains romantic, dusky, gypsy and exotic imagination and hugely satisfying with its vast sleepy villages, warm landscapes and a history distinctly different for the rest of the Spain. You can explore the ancient mountain villages, town and cities, white-sand beaches, beautiful national parks and delicious local food, drinks. In fact, Andalucía boosts the right ingredients for a perfect holiday.
VILLAGES, TOWNS AND CITIES
La Taha de Pitres, Alpujararras
This is a small village high in the Sierra Nevada National Park; a few hours’ drive from Malaga. It is connected by the ancient path, Caminos, which offers an excellent base for stunning scenic walking. Visit in early November to see the glut of wild walnuts, almonds, figs and chestnuts, and don’t miss the Fiesta de las Castanas in Mecina Bombaron.
Alhama de Granada
It is one of the most beautiful places in Spain, located in the fertile southern Andalucía with authentic food, incredible light and great people. It boasts several churches, spectacular gorges, lovely squares, an Arabic quarter, a red Moorish fort, fresh food shops and dozens of restaurants and café-bar, all in easy walking distance. The town is famous for its thermal baths next to the river.
Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer de la Frontera is a beautiful hilltop Moorish town, only nine kilometres from the golden beaches of the Costa de la Luz. You can walk around the ancient cobbled street and eat delicious local foods in one of the many street cafes and restaurants. You can sit on the terraces of the hippy chic hotel la Casa Del Califa with a glass of local sherry and watch Morocco twinkling away.
Etnosur at Alcala la Real
Etnosur at Alcala la Real is a home to vibrant multicultural festivals of theatre, music, cinema, circus, workshops, exhibitions, crafts, conferences and food among others. It has a good selection of restaurants and hotels as well as a reasonably priced camping area. The festivals the world’s best performers every year, and the events are absolutely free.
Calle Granada, Malaga
Malaga has two fabulous museums, an Arab fortress, an impressive cathedral and palace. There are also clear blue seas and miles of white sandy beaches lined with chiringuito bars serving fresh sardines. Calle Granada is the top street in Malaga where you can visit tapas bars, including El Piyayo, a cross the road, more upmarket with seats outside; La Campana, a tiny, noisy and crowded bar, which serves fresh fish at an affordable price; and the famous El Pimpi, a wide, rambling palace full of Spanish character. You can try them all.
You are spoilt for choices on the beach front. The Costa de la Luz and Costa Almeria are empty stretch and rugged coves, while Costa del Sol serves up super-sized sweeps of sand.
Costa de la Luz
It is the Spain’s most south Costa, which stretches from the strait of Gibraltar to the Portuguese border. You will find white sandy beaches with Turquoise Ocean backed by pine forest, fishing villages, Moorish towns and laid-back beach resorts. It is a place where the scenery and traditional way of life hold sway over high rise and holiday crowds. You can fly into Faro and stay at cosy costal hideaway, land in Jerez or Islantila, and kick back on the huge stretch of sand at Chiclana De La Frontera. Places to check out are: Tarifa, the windsurfing capital and gateway to Africa; Canos de Meca, a hippy hangout since 1960s; Bolonia, which is a well-preserved Roman City; and Conil, a tuna fishing village.
Costa del Sol
Costa del Sol is packed with the full spectrum of beach holiday goodies. In fact, it has everything you would need in a beach. For instance, Benalmadena has everything families can enjoy. It has a super-sized stretch of white sand and Sea Life Centre as well as a theme park you can explore. There are no shortage of shops, bars and restaurants. Besides, visitors can go old-style in the refurbished old town of Benalmadena Pueblo.
The Costa de Almeria
This beach is located in the southeast corner of Spain, between Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol. Despites its calm to fame as the sunniest sport in Spain, it is one of the most attractive beaches for holidaymakers. If you love golden beaches and rugged desert scenery, then Costa del Almeria is a must visit for you. There are numerous goodies of traditional hilltop villages, where you can get a taste of old-school Spanish life.
WILDLIFE AND NATURE
You don’t have to look far; nearly one fifth of the Andalucía’s massive territory is made up of mountainous national parks and protected reserves to provide a truly satisfying experience.
Camino Mozarabe runs from the town of Alcaracejos to the village of Villaharta. Its forests, shade fields, farm tracks and beautiful streams offer the best day walk. There are also great vistas at the start to inspire you along this leisurely walk.
Parquet Natural de Cobo de Gata
This place is full of arid hills, cliffs, picturesque fishing villages and spectacular beaches. You can stay in San Jose if you want a small taste of nightlife or stay at Escullos, either on the campsite or in the hotel. During the day you can take a walk to the destroyed volcano and spend the evening on the warm rocks by the sea.
This park is located in the hills near the beautiful El Torcal national park in the Malaga region. At the park, you can take guided walking tours any time of the year to see packs of four species of wolves, living in a spacious and very natural environment. Get the unforgettable experience: eye-to-eye contact with a wolf.
Parquet Natural del Torcal
El Torcal Natural Reserve is a real hidden gem with extraordinary rock formations, stunning views of the mountains of Malaga. The foxes, wild ibex, vultures and the lizard will give you a real sense of adventure. You can also take a walk in a prehistoric landscape and visit the nearby El Chorro gorge.
Donana National Park
This national park is one of the most prized assets in Spain. Usually, the number of visitors is restricted to protect it. If you love birds, you will have the opportunity to watch flamingos and imperial eagles. You can also see wild boar, red deer, mongoose and lagoons, dunes and spectacular forest.
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD
If you want an independent self-catering holiday in your own comfortable rented accommodation, with excellent facilities, these inland country villas and hotels offer just that.
Alqueria de Morayma
Alqueria de Morayma is a traditional group of farm buildings and homesteads that are beautifully transformed into apartments and hotels. They are peaceful, strategically located and boasts quality, inexpensive foods and wines. These apartments and hotels allow you to enjoy fantastic views of the Sierra Nevada National Park. In fact, they have vineyards, swimming pools, tables and other amenities you can get in modern bed and breakfast.
Comares are traditional Spanish houses located near the gorgeous Andalucian Mountains and offer quiet and rare peace for writers. You wake every morning to the blue skies and stunning views across olive gloves and almond trees. They have the remains of the Moorish fort, incredible views down to the sea and great restaurants: you can’t miss something to eat.
Located a few kilometres outside Alhama de Granada, this rural hotel and restaurant offers incredible local food, from cheese and Serrano ham to mushrooms collected in the forest, washed down with amazingly delicious locally produced wine. You can choose to enjoy the atmosphere, Arabic baths, built in the next door caves, or walk to the historic town of Alhama de Granada through the Sandstone River valley and canyon.
Taberna Macande is lovely café/ bar that make you feel welcome the moment you walk in. There are a mixture of Middle Eastern and Spanish food and other international varieties. The tapas are abundant and free, provided you order the beers.
WHEN TO GO
The interior is best explored outside of the intensely hot summer months. Granada is romantic in the crisp winter sunshine. The Seville is at its best in the early spring. Cadiz is exceptional during the carnival celebrations. Andalucia holidays in winter sometimes include skiing in the Sierra Nevada. If you love walking, consider holidays in Andalusia during the autumn or spring to avoid extreme heat. The beach resorts are at their best from July to august, when most Spaniards have their holidays. However, the entire south coast has a reliable beach holiday from spring to early autumn. The region also makes a great winter escape when there are plenty of blue-sky days and the temperatures are very pleasant. You will see more rain in winter, especially on the Costa de la Luz. So, you will need a jacket for cooler evenings.