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Travel to Andalusia for the best of flamenco culture

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor
Flamenco, sherry, tapas, bullfights...behind all the clichés Andalusia is a fascinating region. Take in the intricate mosaics that encase Seville, wander the white villages which adorn the region's rural hillsides or simply lounge on the extensive beaches of the Costa del Sol.

Travel guide

As the most southern province of Spain, Andalusia is famous for flamenco, bullfighting and tapas, but it also boasts the splendours of the Muslim period; palaces, gardens and mosques blend seamlessly with the riches brought back from the Americas in Córdoba, Granada and Seville. White villages or pueblos blancos adorn the hillsides as far as the eye can see and offer an insight into the rural Spanish way of life. Explore the Moor castles on the Sierra Nevada or relax on the beaches of the sunsoaked region of the Costa Del Sol for the ultimate rejuvinating break.

Our Editorial team's advice

The inhabitants of this southern Spanish region have a desire for modernity whilst clinging to their traditions. As in all major cities, the ideal way to discover Seville is to wander around on foot; so with that in mind, bring a good pair of shoes.

As for driving in Seville, it can prove quite anarchic, so take a taxi if you really need to - they are very cheap! Be aware that during Holy Week it is practically impossible to drive around Seville's town centre. The streets are so crowded that it can take hours to cover even the shortest of distances. If you are driving, park on the Ronda (the local ring road) and continue on foot.

During the feria, try to secure an invitation from a local; it's the best way to experience the festival, its traditions as well as the local tipple 'Manzanilla' with its delicious sweet taste!

If you are seeking a bar with a festive atmosphere, perhaps one with flamenco music, La Carboneria in the Santa Cruz district is the place to be. The first room is devoted to jazz and improvised jam sessions while the second room is exclusively for flamenco where singers, dancers and musicians perform late into the night. Outside there's a huge patio where you can enjoy the sultry evenings.

A good thing to do in case you find yourself victim of theft in Seville; while you can go to the police you could also have a look at the Alameda de Hercules flea market early in the morning. You'll have a good chance of finding and buying your belongings back!

pros

  • +Developed and reliable tourism infrastructure in place
  • +The architectural diversity of numerous cities and villages.
  • +The natural 'joie de vivre' of most of the locals.
  • +The art of the local gastronomy.
  • +The sunny climate.

cons

  • -Busy tourist sites, especially during summer.
  • -Noise level at certain times of the day, particularly in the big cities.
  • -The coasts, which tend to be very built-up, lack charm.
  • -The inland heat in the summer.

Traditions

The day is organised according to the weather. The Spaniards have lunch at 1:30 pm and dinner at 9:00 pm. Daily activities stop between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Evenings are long and can last until dawn. The locals have a strong sense of partying and the streets often stay animated until late into the night. Family remains the foundation of social organisation - although modernity has challenged those values - and you'll always find a warm welcome wherever you go.

Food

The greatest gastronomic tradition of the region is tapas, at any time of the day. In a bar, on the terrace of a café, or sitting in a restaurant, you can sample all sorts of mini culinary delights washed down with a glass of sherry (a fortified wine made from the grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez). Beer fans should also try out the local 'Cruzcampo'.

Then comes the meat; you won't find any beef in Andalusia - they eat bull (ternera) - which has a strong taste. Ham is popular too (from Jabugo and Tréveles) along with pescados fritos, fried fish which is eaten throughout the region.

In terms of desserts, a classic is the torta de aceite which is light and flaky biscuits originating from Seville and it's said a healthier alternative to other pastries because of the extra virgin olive oil used. Lastly, don't forget to taste all of the succulent fresh fruit such as pomegranates, figs, strawberries and oranges.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Andalusia . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Andalusia . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Andalusia .

September

  • Seville flecheStagne 70/100 Good
  • Almeria flecheStagne 67/100 Good
  • Estepona flecheStagne 66/100 Good
  • Huelva flecheStagne 64/100 Good
  • Torremolinos flecheStagne 62/100 Good
  • Marbella flecheStagne 62/100 Good
See the different areas

Souvenirs

Ceramics, guitars, castanets, flamenco frocks, hand-held fans, and embroiderys: you can find a host of local handicrafts in most Andalusian towns. In Seville, take time to walk around the Campana and the pedestrian streets of Tetuan and Sierpes; and if you are looking for ceramics and clothes shops, go to the the districts of Triana and Los Remedios. Do not forget the small markets on Duque Square and Magdalena Square as they have a large choice of leather goods.

The province of Cordoba is renowned for its jewellery and exquisite silver works (several international jewellery firms have even installed outlets on the Costa del Sol). In contrast, the city of Granada specialises in welded iron and copper - its lanterns and railings are much sought-after.

What to see

The White Villages, The white villages, Landscapes, Seville, Andalusia
The white villages
The desert of Tabernas, Spain, The Tabernas Desert, Landscapes, Almeria, Andalusia
The Tabernas Desert
The Alhambra, Sierra Nevada, Landscapes, Almeria, Andalusia
Sierra Nevada
Estepona, Costa del Sol - Estepona, Coasts, Andalusia
Costa del Sol - Estepona
Malaga, Costa del Sol - Malaga, Coasts, Andalusia
Costa del Sol - Malaga
Costa de la Luz, Costa de la Luz- Cadiz y Huelva, Coasts, Andalusia
Costa de la Luz- Cadiz y Huelva
The Sierra Nevada National Park , Spain
The Sierra Nevada National Park
The Picasso Museum in Malaga, The Picasso Museum, Museums, Malaga, Andalusia
The Picasso Museum
La cathédrale de Séville , The Cathedral of Seville , Spain
La cathédrale de Séville
, Le palais de l'Alcazar ŕ Séville, Monuments, Andalusia
Le palais de l'Alcazar ŕ Séville
Cordoba Cathedral , Spain
Cordoba Cathedral
The Alhambra of Granada , Spain
The Alhambra of Granada
Granada Cathedral , Spain
Granada Cathedral
Flamenco , Spain
Flamenco
Andalusia : Explore