Spain’s Andalucía region is one of Europe’s sunniest spots to visit and includes some of the country’s most popular cities. Destinations like Seville, Toledo and Grenada have so much to offer, helping you create an exciting itinerary that includes traditional food, insightful historic attractions and breathtaking national parks.
If you are planning a trip through the province, here are a few sights you shouldn’t miss.
See A Flamenco Show In Seville
This may be one of the most cliché things to do in Spain,but you cannot visit this region and not experience the passion of Flamenco.This traditional, fiery dance grew out of the working class districts of Seville, combining striking moves with music that features African influences and lyrics detailing the struggles faced in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
When it comes to choosing where to go to watch one of these fantastic performances, it all depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want an intimate experience that brings the dance up close and personal? If so, choose somewhere like Casa de la Memoria or Casa del Flamenco. However,if you would prefer a more in-depth evening that also includes dinner, Palacio Andaluz provides a theatrical version of Flamenco. Finally, you can always choose to stop by a bar like Casa Anselma to enjoy some singing and dancing for the price of a drink.
Hunt For Lynx In Doñana National Park
Doñana is one of a number of national parks in Andalucía,but it’s undoubtedly the best if you want to spot some amazing wildlife. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s home to foxes, deer, flamingos, various species of birds and, the rarest of the lot, the Iberian lynx. These endangered cats are not always willing to show themselves to visitors, but the fleeting sight of one is sure to make your trip.
Guided tours are available by four-wheel drive, but you can also explore under your own steam via the many hiking routes. Other activities include cycling, horse riding and boat tours.
Eat Tapas In Granada
There are so many great places to eat tapas in Spain, but the fact these little morsels were invented in Andalucía is even more of an excuse to get your fill here. Granada tops many travellers’ lists for the best city to taste tapas thanks to the eagerness of bodegas and tascas to serve them up for free when you order a drink.
Created as a way of making wine that was covered to stop insects getting in more appealing to passers-by, tapas are traditionally eaten whilst standing at the bar. Order more drinks and the restaurant is likely to break out the big guns, offering up dishes like jamón ibérico, salpicón de mariscos (seafood with chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers), and meatballs in almond sauce. Calle Elvira is the best street to start your tapas trek.
Now, it’s impossible to mention Granada without talking about its iconic Alhambra, a fortified palace that showcases Islamic architecture on top of Roman foundations. If you want to take a look around, it’s best to book in advance as visitor numbers are limited every day. However, the best views can be had from Mirador San Nicolás as the sun sets.
Tour The White Villages
The White Villages, or Pueblos Blancos, are traditional settlements throughout Andalucía that offer a slower pace of life and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of cities like Seville and Granada. The white colour (caused by a chemical reaction in the limestone) helps the buildings stay cool during the hot summers. The towns are typically perched high on hilltops and feature fortified elements – two things that helped protect them from enemies in the past.
The majority of these idyllic locations can be found in and around Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park; there are hiking and cycling routes that link a few of them together. Highlights include the emerald lake and Moorish castle in Zahara de la Sierra, the Balcony of Lovers in Castellar de la Frontera and the 12th-century Arab fortress in Arcos de la Frontera.
Walk Through The Nerja Caves
Discovered accidentally by students looking for bats, the Nerja system of caves has been dated back 40,000 years to the Upper Palaeolithic period. In fact, some signs point to it possibly being inhabited by Neanderthals before this. What is certain is the beauty of the complex, around one third of which is open to the public. You can book a guided tour or pick up an audio guide but, otherwise, entry is completely free at 9.30am on every weekday. It’s a good idea to book in advance, though, as only 60 free tickets are allocated each day.
Inside, you’ll see giant stalactites and stalagmites, the largest column of its kind to be discovered and prehistoric cave paintings. One section forms a natural amphitheatre with fantastic acoustics that enable regular concerts to be held.
If you would like to plan your own tour through Andalucía,we can help tailor-make your holiday. Alternatively, our Spain’s Classics escorted tour, in partnership with Collette, features many of the places listed above. Call us on 0800 988 3369 or sign up to our mailing list to receive regular news and offers.