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Travel to Andalusia for the best of flamenco culture

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.
  • Andalusia, Spain
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  • Andalusia, Spain
    © iStockphoto.com / Freeartist
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Spain

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.

Andalusia: the key figures

Surface area : 87268.0 km2

Population : 8045000 inhabitants

Time difference : GMT + 1

  • 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.
  • 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.

Andalusia: what to visit?

Landscapes

  • 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
  • Moorish castles, The Moorish castles, Landscapes, Andalusia
    The Moorish castles
  • View of a white village, The route of the Caliphate, Landscapes, Granada, Andalusia
    The route of the Caliphate
  • Al Adrisi, The Al Idrisi route, Landscapes, Andalusia
    The Al Idrisi route
  • La Alpujarra, The Alpujarras, Landscapes, Andalusia
    The Alpujarras
  • The Alhambra, Sierra Nevada, Landscapes, Almeria, Andalusia
    Sierra Nevada
  • The Sierra de Grazalema, Sierra de Grazalema, Landscapes, Huelva, Andalusia
    Sierra de Grazalema
  • Sierra de Grazalema and the Peaks of Aroche , The Sierra de Grazalema and the Aroch Peak , Spain
    Sierra de Grazalema and the Peaks of Aroche
  • The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas, Landscapes, Andalusia
    Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas
  • The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas, Landscapes, Andalusia

Coasts

  • , Costa del Sol - Sotogrande, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Sotogrande
  • Estepona, Costa del Sol - Estepona, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Estepona
  • Marbella, Costa del Sol - Marbella, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Marbella
  • Benalmadena beach, Costa del Sol - Benalmadena Costa, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Benalmadena Costa
  • Torremolinos, Costa del Sol - Torremolinos, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Torremolinos
  • Malaga, Costa del Sol - Malaga, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Malaga
  • Rincón de la Victoria, Costa del Sol - Rincon de la Victoria, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa del Sol - Rincon de la Victoria
  • Costa del Sol , Nerja , Nerja , Spain
    Costa del Sol - Nerja
  • Costa de la Luz, Costa de la Luz- Cadiz y Huelva, Coasts, Andalusia
    Costa de la Luz- Cadiz y Huelva
  • Costa de la Luz , Tarifa , Tarifa , Spain
    Costa de la Luz - Tarifa
  • Unspoilt nature on the tropical coast, The Almeria Coast, Coasts, Almeria, Andalusia
    The Almeria Coast
  • , Granada's tropical coast, Coasts, Andalusia
    Granada's tropical coast
  • , Granada's tropical coast, Coasts, Andalusia

The fauna and flora

  • Dońana National Park, The Parque Nacional de Dońana, The fauna and flora, Seville, Andalusia
    The Parque Nacional de Dońana
  • The Sierra Aracena y Picos de Aroche Natural Park , Sierra de Aracena Natural Park , Spain
    The Sierra Aracena y Picos de Aroche Natural Park
  • Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park , no title! , Spain
    Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
  • The Sierra Nevada National Park , Spain
    The Sierra Nevada National Park
  • Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natura, Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park, The fauna and flora, Andalusia
    Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park
  • Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, Cape of Gata-Níjar, The fauna and flora, Andalusia
    Cape of Gata-Níjar
  • , Bay of Cádiz, The fauna and flora, Cadiz, Andalusia
    Bay of Cádiz
  • The climate, Los Alcornocales, The fauna and flora, Andalusia
    Los Alcornocales
  • Despeńaperros , Spain
    Despeńaperros
  • Benalmadena Butterfly Park, Le parc aux papillons de Bénalmadéna, The fauna and flora, Andalusia
    Le parc aux papillons de Bénalmadéna
  • Benalmadena Butterfly Park, Le parc aux papillons de Bénalmadéna, The fauna and flora, Andalusia

Museums

  • Seville Fine Art Museum , The Seville Museum of Fine Arts , Spain
    Seville Fine Art Museum
  • The Bull Fighting Museum (Seville) , Spain
    The Bull Fighting Museum (Seville)
  • Cordoba Fine Art Museum , Spain
    Cordoba Fine Art Museum
  • Romero de Torres Musuem (Cordoba) , A flamenco dress , Spain
    Romero de Torres Musuem (Cordoba)
  • Cadiz Fine Art Museum , Spain
    Cadiz Fine Art Museum
  • Flamenco , Spain
    Flamenco
  • Art in Huelva
  • Art in Malaga , Spain
    Art in Malaga
  • Le musée de la danse flamenco , The Flamenco Museum , Spain
    Le musée de la danse flamenco
  • The Andalusian centre for contemporary art , Spain
    The Andalusian centre for contemporary art
  • The Picasso Museum in Malaga, The Picasso Museum, Museums, Malaga, Andalusia
    The Picasso Museum
  • The Castillo and Plaza de la Armas
  • The Arab Baths
  • Gŕdor and Los Millares
  • Parque de las Ciencias de Granada , Spain
    Parque de las Ciencias de Granada
  • Parque de las Ciencias de Granada , Spain

Monuments

  • 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
  • La place d'Espagne de Séville , Plaza de Espańa in Seville , Spain
    La place d'Espagne de Séville
  • La Torre del Oro , The Golden Tower , Spain
    La Torre del Oro
  • The arenas de la Maestranza de la plaza de toros , Spain
    The arenas de la Maestranza de la plaza de toros
  • The Castillo de las Armas , Spain
    The Castillo de las Armas
  • The Alcazar de Jerez , Spain
    The Alcazar de Jerez
  • Villavicencio Palace , Spain
    Villavicencio Palace
  • San Sebastián Castle , Spain
    San Sebastián Castle
  • The Alcazar de Cordoba , The Alcazar of Cordoba , Spain
    The Alcazar de Cordoba
  • The Medina Azahara archaeological site , Spain
    The Medina Azahara archaeological site
  • Cordoba Cathedral , Spain
    Cordoba Cathedral
  • The Alcazaba of Malaga , Spain
    The Alcazaba of Malaga
  • The Castle of Gibralfaro , Spain
    The Castle of Gibralfaro
  • Malaga Cathedral  , Spain
    Malaga Cathedral
  • The Alhambra of Granada , Spain
    The Alhambra of Granada
  • Generalife Palace , Spain
    Generalife Palace
  • The Albaicin Quarter , The Albayzín district , Spain
    The Albaicin Quarter
  • Granada Cathedral , Spain
    Granada Cathedral
  • Santa Catalina Castle , Spain
    Santa Catalina Castle
  • Jaen Cathedral , Spain
    Jaen Cathedral
  • Villardedompardo Palace, Monuments, Andalusia
    Villardedompardo Palace
  • Almeria Cathedral , Spain
    Almeria Cathedral
  • , The Megalithic Necropolis of Gádor, Monuments, Andalusia
    The Megalithic Necropolis of Gádor
  • Los Palacios Nazar , Spain
    Los Palacios Nazar
  • Los Palacios Nazar , Spain

Andalusia: what to buy?

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.

Andalusia: what to eat?

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.

Andalusia: what are the cultural particularities?

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.

Andalusia: travel tips

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!

Andalusia: Latest hotel reviews
  • 9.35 /10
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    Casares - Spain
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    In the hills less than a mile from the beaches of the Costa del ...

  • 9.0 /10
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    Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Benahavis Marbella Resort
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    Luxury, peace and quiet, and good taste all define the qualities ...

  • 8.9 /10
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    Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort Spa
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    A magnificent hotel with a rich historical past. The tranquility, ...

  • 8.85 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Alfonso XIII
    Seville - Spain
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Alphonso XIII is a mythical Seville establishment and among ...

  • 8.85 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Eme Catedral
    Seville - Spain
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The EME Fusion is a stylish, ultra-modern hotel hidden away in ...

  • 8.7 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Las Dunas Beach Hotel & Spa
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    Located on the verge of the sea, between Estepona and Marbella, ...

  • 8.7 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Puente Romano
    Marbella - Spain
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    Our opinion: this is the best hotel in the area. This establishment, ...

  • 8.7 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Gran Melia Colon
    Seville - Spain
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Melia Colon is one of Seville's two palaces. Located in the ...

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