Things to see and do in Andalucia
Andalucia is one of Spain’s autonomous communities par excellence, where tourism is one of the main sources of income. Andalucia’s characteristics make it possible for Spanish tourists and those from all over the world to come to our land at any time of the year.
Its great historical wealth, its cultural heritage, this land’s art, its climate, its natural and coastal paradise, the gastronomy and, of course, its human value are just some of the singular features that make Andalucia great and attract most visitors.
Andalucians have a very friendly, open and pleasant nature, which is recognised all over the country and is one more added value fostered by tourism in Andalucia.
Thanks to its natural wealth and its coasts bathed by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, there are endless interesting things to see and do in Andalucia. So, here is a wide range of options for enjoying this land, which as you can see offers us a multitude of places to visit and tourism which completely considers the visitor’s tastes, since its offer is immense in all respects.
We invite you, then, to have hundreds of experiences and to enjoy the best of Andalucia, which we assure you is a land with a special charm that captures everyone who visits.
Triana, the most special Seville neighbourhood
It is probably the most famous neighbourhood in the whole of Seville and one of the liveliest. Many tourists put this neighbourhood on their list of essential things to do, since there are a multitude of experiences we can have in this Seville neighbourhood with a very special charm. The neighbourhood’s location affords it the privilege of observing the River Guadalquivir and the mark it leaves on the city from Triana Bridge and one of the panoramic views you cannot miss.
This neighbourhood’s social life invites you to stroll through its streets filled with tapas bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy the gastronomy and experience the city’s charm. One example of this is Triana Market, where in addition to buying fresh produce, you can enjoy the best tapas in the market. The streets of Triana are also the perfect scenario for a flamenco show, where you can experience this land’s authentic art. Another of the places you cannot miss is the Chapel of Carmen, which is an emblematic site in the neighbourhood, as well as Calle Betis, an old wharf street from where we can continue our stroll towards the Giralda, the Golden Tower and the Cathedral.
The Triana neighbourhood is par excellence one of the places you must visit, with a special charm on its streets and its people, and which is an obligatory stop on the list of Andalucian tourist sites.
Úbeda and Baeza, the perfect combo for a weekend getaway
These two Jaén villages become World Heritage Sites in 2003 and both share a beautiful history, forming part of the Reconquista and with an Arab origin. Both villages preserve Renaissance monuments, giving Jaén province a special beauty, which led to them being recognised by Unesco.
These two villages are the ideal scenario for history and architecture lovers. Convents, palaces and even archaeological remains are just some of the most emblematic places we can visit. The Vázquez Molina Palace, the Garden, the Sacred Chapel of the Saviour, the Church of Saint Mary of the Royal Palaces or the Palace of the Chains are just some of the things you must visit in the most Renaissance part of Úbeda. If we travel just 6 miles, we find Baeza, where Leones Square, Toros Square, the Jaén Gate, the Villalar Arch, the Casa del Pópulo and the Old Butcher Shop form part of the huge list of historic places we can enjoy in Jaén.
There are many Renaissance and Mudejar art buildings remaining in Úbeda and Baeza, which were leading players of these villages’ era of splendour.
They are without a doubt two of the Andalucian corners which form part of the great Andalucian cultural heritage and which are also located in a privileged enclave surrounded by the Cazorla, Segura and Villas Sierras, and endless acres of olive groves which are home to our most precious liquid gold: oil.
Sur la route a travers les villages blancs de Cadix
Rural tourism is one of the reasons why Andalucia is the destination chosen by millions of tourists. Many people come in search of rest and to discover the more inland Andalucia.
This is why one of the best settings to enjoy the special charm of Andalucian villages is the Grazalema Sierra itself. This natural site is home to the Cádiz white village routes, one of the most famous.
Villages such as Setenil de las Bodegas, Arcos de la Frontera, Zahara de la Sierra, Ubrique and Grazalema are just some of the 19 white villages that make up this route.
The colour of these villages’ house facades, which share the same limestone aesthetic, is what gives this route its name, known as one of the prettiest in Andalucia.
Furthermore, the privileged enclave where they are located, in the middle of nature, adds a special value to this tour and leaves a beautiful stamp of these municipalities, and will make your getaway through the white villages unforgettable.
Marvel at the views from Ronda’s Puente Nuevo
Ronda is one of the most famous cities in the whole of Andalucia. It makes us all think about the famous Goyesca bullfights, in addition to being a natural paradise where the most famous faces come to relax. But there is a special place we have all heard about in this Malagan city: the New Ronda Bridge. The images of this bridge have gone around the world, turning it and Ronda into one of the most popular cities in the whole of Andalucia.
The New Bridge separates the newest and the oldest part of the city, in addition to making its mark over the gorge or the Tajo, which is a vertiginous gorge over the River Guadalevín. This is Ronda’s most characteristic monument par excellence, which is visited by thousands of tourists who come to see the great gorge over which it is situated and to enjoy some of the best views in Andalucia.
Be amazed in Medina Zahara
After the Córdoba Mosque, the biggest must-see in Córdoba is probably the ancient Caliphate city of Medina Azahara, a glorified city which Abd-al Rahman III had built at the feet of the Morena Sierra, and which in a short time become the maximum expression of the power of the Caliphate of Córdoba. And even if our impression is that it is a small place, nothing could be further from the truth, since it contains a multitude of magical corners which are very easy to miss if it is our first visit and we are not paying attention.
For any adventurous visitors who decide to pay a visit to Medina Azahara without a guide, we think that nobody should under any circumstances miss the House of Ya’far for its architecture and for the condition in which it is preserved. He was the prime minister of Abderramán III in the time of the Caliphate, which gives clues that you are in an ancient palace complex. What’s more, you’ll be amazed by the Rico Room, which has been restored to give a rather vivid image of the splendour the city enjoyed. Either before or after, you will have to also walk through the Great Eastern Portico, with its huge arches.
And we have to mention the Viewpoint, which is at the entrance and offers some impressive views of the entire complex. From afar, you will be able to see the layout or the remains of the Aljaima Mosque, which you should also visit. It is also worth highlighting a visit to the Medina Azahara Museum, which is very easy to access from the site and has a car park. Regarding its opening times, you need to bear in mind that Medina Azahara is closed every Monday of the year, as well as on public holidays such as Workers Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Three Kings Eve. While all European Union citizens can visit the site free of charge, the cost for everyone else is €1.50.
Cádiz, la Tacita de Plata (the silver cup)
Many call the city of Cádiz Spanish Havana, perhaps because its promenade is similar to the Malecón. But what really makes this city special is its history, a city that has always lived from the sea and trade, and was the port of departure of great explorers, such as Christopher Columbus. Its history is extensive, as told by its rich heritage of different eras, but it also has nature, coast, good gastronomy and very good people. Walking along its streets is a true pleasure. It is a delight to discover places such as the El Pópulo neighbourhood, San Juan de Dios Square, the Viña neighbourhood with the Roman Theatre, the central market and the Tavira Tower and Genovés Park.
And although the city of Cádiz has a lot of offer visitors who decide to come to the beautiful enclave, they cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular Santa y Apostólica Church-Cathedral of Cádiz, one of the most emblematic and famous sites in the city. Also known as “Holy Cross over the sea” or “Holy Cross over the Waters”, it is not the first cathedral to exist on this site, since previously there was a Gothic Cathedral whose construction took place under the rule of Alfonso X. We recommend that, in addition to the cathedral, you visit the Western Tower or Watch Tower, a stupendous viewpoint from which you can see the entire city of Cádiz.
Another essential stop in Cádiz is the Great Falla Theatre, the mecca of the Carnaval and one of the most important corners to see in Cádiz, which owes its name to honorary citizen of the city Manuel de Falla. Neo-Mudéjar in style, it is built in red brick and has three large arched iron doors on its main facade, with alternate voussoirs in red and white.
El Torcal de Antequera natural site, the forest of stones
Torcal de Antequera is an impressive natural site of limestone rocks and karstic landscape, which is unique in the world and located between the municipal districts of Antequera and Villanueva de la Concepción.
This place is also known as El infierno de Piedra or Stone Hell, but don’t be scared. In reality, it is a place with an incredible natural beauty, whose origin dates back 90 million years, when it was part of the seabed of Thetis.
This place is known for the whimsical forms of its rocks. One of its big attractions is the facility with which the rocks, sculpted by the natural elements, make us imagine hidden forms. Some formations are really familiar, such as the Tornillo, which was declared a Natural Monument.
As for routes, it has three perfectly signed paths. One of the most famous routes is the Green Route (Torcal Alto Path), which is 1,440 metres long with a duration of around 45 minutes. This route is low difficulty and can be done with children and pets. Another very popular route is the Yellow Route, which is more difficult than the previous one, at 2,750 metres long and with a duration of around 2½ hours. The third route is the Orange Route with a duration of 3½ hours and 3,600 meters long.
Experience first-hand the Carnival of Cadiz
Carnival in Andalucia in general, but particularly in Cádiz is one of the biggest cultural and tourist attractions. Indeed, in Cádiz people are very passionate about this festival, since the Cádiz carnival has the great honour of being recognised with the title of International Tourist Attraction Festival.
This festival is held just before the start of Lent (the 40 days prior to the start of Holy Week). Visiting Cádiz during this festival is special for the fun ambience that is felt on the streets thanks to the famous chirigotas, comparsas (satirical and poetic singing groups) and choirs.
Turn into a bird by engaging in paragliding, hand gliding or riding a hot-air balloon
Glide through the skies of Andalucia and gaze at the natural beauty of this unique land. In Vejer de la Frontera, one of the most beautiful towns in Andalucia, you can paraglide from the court of El Poniente Restaurant.
Go to Jerez de la Frontera
“The person from Jerez, generous and good natured” or “in Jerez they have wineries for apothecaries”… It is very interesting that Jerez can be described with the traditional Spanish refrain. Jerez is an Andalucian city deserving of its status as a must-see, especially if you want to immerse yourself in the culture of Spanish wine, but it has many more attractions. For an interesting experience, as you stroll around the San Miguel neighbourhood, think about “La Faraona”, the unparalleled Lola Flores and let yourself be inspired by the art of the neighbourhood where she was born.
Go wine tasting, without getting drunk, and try best wines from Jerez in any of its most emblematic cellars
As we have said, this city deserves a mandatory stop and one of the reasons for this is its famous wine. As we usually say to describe them, “good birth, careful breeding and time” are the elements that define the characteristics of this wine. Sherry is one of the most versatile wines in the world. The variety of these wines ranges from very dry to one of the sweetest wines on the planet.
Become Guzmán el Bueno in his tower in Conil de la Frontera
The Guzmán Tower is the most recognised historical monument in Conil de la Frontera and was built in the 19th century by Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, and formed part of both the old castle and the walls that in the olden days protected the city. This tower had a double function, the first being a regular watchtower and the second something more “curious” which was to help fishermen with tuna watching.
Enjoy with your five senses any of the culinary creations of the Michelin star chefs in Andalucia
Andalucia has 18 restaurants to its credit that have been awarded these most sought after stars. One of these has three stars, three have two and 15 of these restaurants boast one. There have been no new awards this year in the region, nor has any star been withdrawn.
Become a rociero
While the village of El Rocío, despite being quite small, has some 2,000 inhabitants, it is interesting that on Whitsun its population swells and the village practically equals the country’s third most populous city, since hundreds of thousands of “El Rocío locals” come from all over Europe and Spain, particularly southern Andalucia, gathering here to celebrate the El Rocío Religious Procession in honour of the Virgin of El Rocío.
The most highly anticipated moment of the night is undoubtedly “the jump over the gate”. This act consists of jumping over the altar railing to remove the Virgin of the Hermitage and walk her around on the shoulders of different brotherhoods, and where the priests pray for her to be saved until dawn. On the Monday afternoon the Virgin returns to the hermitage.
Lick your fingers, in Huelva
The gastronomy in Huelva combines the best of the sea and the land, since products like Jabugo ham and deep-water rose shrimp put Huelva’s culinary offering at a very high level. Eating in Huelva, thanks to its wide variety of fish, seafood, cold cuts and meats, has become one of the main tourist attractions.
Feel like Christopher Columbus during his first trip to the Indies
Entering the Huelva Muelle de las Carabelas Museum will make you feel like Christopher Columbus, since here you can find a detailed recreation of this adventurer’s journey to America. This museum is located in Palos de la Frontera, Huelva and is where you can see the recreations of the Niña, Pinta and Santa María ships.
In addition to these vessels, another attraction we can visit is an interpretation centre that will take us back in time to Guanahani Island, which is none other than the first island where Columbus disembarked.
Imagine you are in the red planet
The Tinto River is a coastal river in southern Spain that flows through Huelva. It starts in the Padre Caro Sierra and flows for almost 62 miles as far as the Huelva Ria, where its waters join those of the Odiel River. It is a very particular river, since it is known for the reddish hue of its waters. For many years, it was thought that these particular characteristics were due to mining contamination, however a group of scientific researchers debunked this false belief and concluded that its composition is essentially natural.
Pass by Caminito del Rey, as if you were King Alfonso XIII of Spain
If you like hiking and are adventurous you will love the Caminito del Rey, since it offers heart stopping views, a vertigo challenge, adrenalin-charged ascents and unique experiences.
The El Chorro Natural Site is home to the Caminito del Rey, a 20-mile walkway that is barely three feet wide and hangs up to 328 feet above the river on the almost vertical walls of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge.
Become a romantic traveller of the nineteenth century
Romantic Ronda is quite a spectacle that you cannot miss; it involves experiencing the recreation of the romantic era in the city of El Tajo. It is an event of great historic and cultural interest that includes travellers, muleteers and the famous highwaymen who settled the Ronda mountains.
Step on the sand of Plaza de Toros de Ronda (Ronda Bull Ring), as if you were a famous bullfighter
Imagine that you are making the paseíllo move on the day of the exclusive Goya bullfight that is held in the city each September. This bullfight is an authentic jump back in time, where attendees will be immersed in the aesthetic of 18th century bullfighting. Feel like you are in a Francisco de Goya painting, whose name has been given to this event.
Pretend you are part of Marbella’s Jet Set
If you like fashion, Marbella is the perfect place. This city is one of the most important international shopping centres. Forget about Rome or Paris; in Marbella you will find the best fashion stores, so indulge and spoil yourself at one of its dazzling stores.
Feel and admire the work of the great Picasso
The ambience and the years lived in his native Málaga have given birth to some of the most famous Picasso artistic icons, such as flamenco and bulls. Let yourself fall in love with the work of the extraordinary Malagan artist thanks to its Picasso route, a tour through the streets where he spent his childhood, and discover his work and the places that marked this genius of art.
Reminisce your childhood in Nerja
Gaze at the mythical La Dorada. The so-called Barco de Chanquete fishing boat from the famous TV series Verano Azul is one of Nerja’s obligatory tourist photos.
Go to prehistoric times
Tour some of the oldest caves in Andalucia. Gaze at cave paintings in caves such as La Pileta in Málaga province. This famous cave is a rich prehistoric site where you can find Paleolithic cave art and Neolithic remains.
Climb to the top of what was once considered the most impenetrable fortress of the Iberian Peninsula
Enjoy a visit to Jabal-Faruk or “lighthouse mount”. You most likely do not know what we are talking about, but the city of Málaga is home to Gibralfaro Castle, which was considered the most impregnable fortress in the whole of Andalucia and whose name is most likely more familiar to you. Another amazing experience is gazing at Málaga Bay from this castle, its port full of cruise ships and its emblematic Farola a delight.
Let fire and water purify any physical or psychological problem
On the Night of San Juan de Almuñécar, participate in the traditional rituals of this festival to attract beauty, good luck and health.
Imagine a Moor king or queen
Granada has treasures that you cannot miss, such as the Alhambra and the fabulous San Nicolás Viewpoint, from where you can gaze at the greatness of the sunset. Revel in getting lost in the Albaicín, stroll the alleys to find the house of the Morantes, the hidden water wells or the Las Pesas Arch… Discover the Granada, Santa Isabel and San Cristóbal Viewpoints. What more can you ask for?
Be brave and climb the highest peak of the Iberian Peninsula
From the Alpujarra to the very heart of the Sierra Nevada, the challenge is to climb an altitude of 11,414 feet to reach and enjoy one of the best views in the world; all from the summit of Spain, the Mulhacén.
Enjoy winter in the Sierra Nevada. We show you 10 essential things you need to know.
“Eat till you burst” for four euros
Andalucia is one of those favourite destinations of the Spanish due to the great amount of culture, art and history that is hidden in each of its towns. It is also no less true that this is because it is where you can enjoy one of the best experiences, known here as “tapas hopping”. You surely know that to talk about Andalucia is to talk about tapas, one of the best experiences you can have in this life.
Get lost in the towns of Alpujarra
Located in the Sierra Nevada Natural Park, here is where we find La Alpujarra, one of the most particular counties in the whole of Andalucia. Its singular land, which is unsurprisingly home to Mulhacén, has led to its towns springing up and growing according to the inclines of the mountain.
Visit the Tabernas Desert
Tabernas is the desert of Almería. The reason why there is such an arid zone at this latitude has to be due to the effect of being surrounded by three mountain ranges. The Filabres Sierra, the Alhamilla Sierra and finally (and somewhat further away) the Alpujarra Sierra and the Sierra Nevada act as a natural barrier against the humid winds that come from the Mediterranean.
Look with alien’s eyes at the see of plastic of the greenhouses of Almería
The term “sea of plastic” is the most common way to call Poniente Almeriense county. This is due to the huge number of greenhouses covering the area. The purpose of these “tents” was to act as windbreakers, but the farmers ended up realising that they protected from the heat and also helped to bring forward harvests.
Pray in Cabo de Gata
Raise your eyes to the sky and ask the gods to ensure that the wonderful paradise you can see from its viewpoints continues for many more years.
Meet and look in the eyes of an authentic brunette woman from Córdoba
Find the similarity with the women of Julio Romero de Torres. Visit the museum of this famous Cordoba painter.
Be amazed and horrified by looking at the Christian cathedral in the middle of the Mosque of Córdoba
Although many consider it to be the greatest exponent of the list of follies that have been perpetrated by some kings in the name of some gods (kings and gods regardless of country or religion), the reality is that Córdoba Mosque-Cathedral is undoubtedly the most important monument in the whole of the Islamic West and its history sums up the evolution of the Omeyan style, in addition to the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of Christian construction.
Enjoy the beauty of the patios in Córdoba
The Córdoba Courtyards Festival is held in the first week of May and is traditional in this city. Many of them are located in private houses and you can discover flower carpets, artisanal Arabic mosaics and beautiful fountains.
Buy the typical flamenco doll souvenir from Andalucia
Display it on one of your living room shelves. Give your house decor an Almodovarian touch with this very Andalucian souvenir.
Enjoy salmorejo soup in Córdoba or gazpacho in Seville
In Andalucia, each home has its own gazpacho or salmorejo. There will be someone who does not put cucumber in, another who forgoes the bread, someone else who prepares it without water, or without garlic… and as far the quantity of each ingredient goes… that is a matter truly impossible to control. However it is prepared and wherever you eat it, enjoy it because it is quite a delicacy.
Experience nature at Cazorla Natural Park
Cazorla Sierra is a county of Jaén, but it also has the peculiar feature of belonging to the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, a destination perfect for lovers of rural getaways and nature, indeed anyone who appreciates and values finding wild fauna in its natural habitat.
Take photos at the Royal Alcázars of Seville
The Royal Alcázar of Seville is a complex of palaces surrounded by a wall. If you visit this place, fine tune your senses and enjoy its gardens in particular. Vegetation was an essential element in Muslim constructions, whose legacy remains to this day. It is now the place of residence of the Spanish monarchs when they visit Seville and is the oldest royal palace in use in Europe.
Eat a skewer on the Costa del Sol
Any Andalucian, Spaniard and visitor should at least once in their lives enjoy the pleasure of eating a sardine skewer fresh off the coals in a refreshment stall on the Costa del Sol. A cool beer and a lovely sunset over the Mediterranean Sea is the best gastronomic combination on a clear day.
Have an oil and tomato breakfast roll in Antequera
A mollete is a kind of traditional Antequera bread that is characterised by its softness and round shape. This delicacy is prepared with pure oil pressed from the olive trees of these Analusian lands and tomatoes from the surrounding fertile plain. You must try this unbeatable way to start the day.
Watch the sunset at the Parador de San Nicolás, Granada
One of the most beautiful views in the world can be found in the famous Parador de San Nicolás in Granada. The picturesque neighbourhood of Albaicín watches the sun go down each day in one of the prettiest sunsets on the planet, where the Alhambra sits majestically before you, bathed in different colours until night falls.
Experience the wild nature of El Rompido
Considering the impact of humans on nature, finding still virgin spots can be difficult. This is why El Rompido is a must see where you can take a dip in its crystal clear water surrounded by the purest vegetation.
Breathe in pure oxygen amidst Spanish firs in Grazalema
Make sure to fill your lungs with fresh air in Grazalema and stroll among a fir species that is only conserved in this natural spot: the Spanish fir. You must visit this enclave at least once and experience being at one with nature.
Take a stroll through Generalife in Granada
Generalife is the most beautiful garden in Spain. You can’t come to Andalucia and not take a stroll among its flowers and ponds. Located in the Alhambra, it is one of the most important tourist attractions in Granada and the most visited in the world.
See the Iberian lynx in Doñana
Doñana is one of the places you must visit in Andalucia. When there, make sure you try and see one of the most important native species of the peninsula, the Iberian lynx.
Go to a flamenco show in Seville
Spain has a close bond with flamenco and Andalucia in particular is its birthplace. You mustn’t miss a good flamenco show in Seville, where you can experience first-hand the art of the guitarists, singers and dancers that will make your hair stand on end.
Try the ham from Jabugo
In the north of Huelva province is Jabugo, a small town that has the best Iberian hams in Spain. Eating a slice of this delicacy is a unique experience you mustn’t miss.
Visit the Nerja caves
Whether or not you’re a history buff, the Nerja caves are a must-see monument. Its stalactites and stalagmites, along with its rock paintings, take us back to Prehistory and this is the best way to share our early ancestor’s past.
Watch the El Palmar sunset in Cádiz
The El Palmar sunset is considered one of the most beautiful in Spain. The sun falls into the sea, creating an array of colours in the sky and leaving an unprecedented landscape for you to watch that will relax and relieve you of all your worries.
Eat tuna in Conil
Traditionally fished red tuna from Conil is the region’s product par excellence; a unique mouthful of the sea, which the locals cook like no one else. If you visit Andalucia, you must give into this temptation at least once in your life.
Drink a vermouth in the Baños del Carmen
The Baños del Carmen in Málaga is a singular place to have a glass of vermouth while watching the sea. The atmosphere is quiet and pleasant and a lot of cultural shows are organized. Don’t miss this experience.
Experience Semana Santa in Málaga
When in Andalucia, you must experience the peculiarity and beauty of Semana Santa in Málaga at least once in your life. The images are extremely venerated and are carried through the streets on large thrones. El Cautivo or Christ of the Legion and El Rico are the most famous.
Enjoy the Seville Fair
Who is not familiar with the Sevilla Fair? It is the most famous fair in Spain and a must-see. Lanterns, local dress, polka dots and horses combine with good wine and the most select ham. Try to dance the Sevillana in this unique atmosphere of fun.
Swim in the waters of Bolonia
Taking a dip in crystal clear waters at a golden sandy beach is one of the best sensations in the world. Bolonia Beach is the most prestigious in Spain. Experience it for yourself.
WHERE TO STAY
If you wish to discover this unusual side of Andalucía, don’t hesitate to stay at the best hotels. Without a doubt, the best option is Fuerte Hoteles. The chain has facilities where, apart from the regular services, you can enjoy the best of each spot in the Andalucian geography. Its over 60 years’ experience is the best warranty so you can devote your time to discovering these unusual corners. Marbella, Conil, Grazalema, El Rompido or Torrox are some of the places where you can find amazing accommodation facilities near the spots we have recommended for you.