Andalusia is a rocky, sun-baked region on Spain’s Southern coast. It is what imagined Spain would be like when I first decided to come here, rich in Spanish culture from the sun, flamenco, tapas, sangria, bullfights, ancient cities and beautiful beaches that meet the Atlantic ocean.
Andalusia has a rich Moorish past which can still be seen today through the beautiful architecture throughout the region. From the Alhambra in Granada to the La Mesquita in Cordoba.
There’s so much history, culture and scenery to be seen in Andalusia as well as some of the most authentic Spanish food to try. Over the past 2 holidays, I have explored quite a bit of this region of Spain and have fallen in love with the place just like the next person would. I feel as though that it is a region that could forever be explored and you will always find something new and fascinating about it. I mean what’s not to like…it’s pretty much summer there all year round anyways.
I have a different style of travelling and don’t really like to do all the touristy things unless I am absolutely interested in it. I prefer to get lost on my own and discover things by myself in new cities so here’s what I got up to in Malaga, Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
It would make sense to fly into Malaga, it is Spain’s third biggest airport with plenty of discount flights all over Europe.
Being from the UK, I think of Malaga as one of those destinations just full of British holidaymakers but Malaga surprised me most of all, not my favourite place in Andalusia but still so pleasantly surprised at just how beautiful the old part of the city was.
A wander around the old town is certainly a must, there’s nothing better than getting lost down little European streets, it’s worth it just to admire the beauty of Malaga.In the old town, you will find the impressive Renaissance cathedral or otherwise nicknamed the ‘La Manquita’.
For some of the most stunning city views, an afternoon walks up to Gubralfaro Castle comes with the excruciating half an hour walk up the steep hill in the sun for the views. Just breath-taking.
Exploring the city is all well, but let’s face it most people go to Spain for either the city culture or beaches and when you think of Malaga, you don’t think of city culture. Instead, you’re more than likely thinking ‘Beach’. Escape the hustle and bustle of small city life down at the beach for a relaxing time in the sun. Although certainly not the most beautiful beach in Andalusia, if you only have a few days in the city and no time to travel elsewhere in the region then it does its job. It can get busy at the weekends and in season time.
Granada has to be one of my favourite cities in Andalusia.I love the small streets, the quirky bohemian, hippy vibe you get and the Moroccan influences. The laid back lifestyle is what I dig and Granada just delivers that.
A walk up to the Moorish Albacian neighbourhood is an absolute must. I love the white wash small houses in the mountains. Grab a beer and watch the sunset fall over the city, or take in the scenery of the mountains on the other side of you. The local people who live in this area are some of the nicest I have come across in my time in Spain.
The main tourist attraction in Granada is The Alhambra, You will need to book tickets in advance unless you fancy an early rise to wait in a queue. I didn’t make into the main bits of The Alhambra but I did get up to it and we walked around the grounds. The views from there are spectacular.
Oh, and did I mention that in Granada it’s free tapas. That’s right you heard correct FREE tapas, all you have to do is order a drink and you will automatically get free tapas. You never have to spend a ridiculous amount on a meal again. I would live on tapas when they’re free with a cheeky sangria.
I recently visited Cordoba with my work colleague who used to teach there. I didn’t see much of the city because well it was ‘Cate del Vino’ an annual wine festival, so my view was of Cordoba was through blurry wine goggles or trying to make it through the day from the stinking hangover that came from drinking cheap Don Simon wine the night before. Never the less, I found Cordoba to be a very charming little city. The little streets are fascinating with the walls and balconies decorated with brightly coloured flowers and the apartment blocks with their colourful almost secret courtyards. I can see why Cordoba has quite a large expat community and why people fall in love with the place.
A visit to the famous La Mesquita, a cathedral that was once a mosque is a must. Near the Mesquita is a small side street where you can get a beautiful photo. It is probably one of the most famous photos taken in Cordoba.
Eat Tortilla in Bar Santos, which is famous for its Spanish omelette. Order a slab of the tortilla and a small a bowl of solmarejo (a cold tomato cream that’s typical in Cordoba) and sit back and enjoy the sun and the tortilla.
I didn’t really do much in Seville except soak up the sun in rooftop bars with extraordinary views and expensive sangrias (treat yourself) but then again I travel differently to other people and prefer to take in cities in my own way and time. Seville has some of the most stunning architecture and some of the best weather year round. So I don’t feel guilty for relaxing throughout my time in Seville.
A wander up the Las Santas (the mushrooms) is a must for the city panoramic. You even get a free drink up there with your ticket that costs 3 euros.
Seville Cathedral is also a must, although I didn’t go inside. I did enjoy the views and stunning detail of the building opposite from a 5* hotels rooftop bar with a very expensive sangria in hand (known as the best sangria in Seville, may I add) and of course soaking in the sun on my last day in Andalusia.
Have you been to Andalucia? What did you think?