The province of Andalusia in Spain (also called Andalucia) is a fascinating land, with a tumultuous but flourishing past. Its identity is rooted in its history. Thus, since the early 19th century, Andalusia has attracted many travelers and intellectuals, fascinated by the country’s oriental atmosphere and architecture, such as the Alhambra.
Here are 10 tips to help you understand the Al Andalus personality. This travel guide to Andalucia will help you make the most out of your trip.

What to do in Andalusia:

1. Discover Andalusia’s glorious past
2. Book well in advance
3. Be amazed by the arhitectural heritage
4. Stroll in the popular districts
5. Taste de tapas
6. Attend a flamenco show
7. Celebrate and dance!
8. Discover the white villages
9. Explore the profound nature of the parks
10. Freshen up in Summer
Useful information to gtravel to Andalucia
Lodging
Detailed map of Andalusia
How to get there
Suggestion of a 12 day itinerary
Tip to visit the Alhambra

1. Visit Andalusia and discover its glorious past

The invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in 711 led to a deep transformation of culture, architecture, gastronomy and of a certain lifestyle that characterizes Andalusia today. Similarly, the re-conquest of the territory by the Christian Kings marked a cultural break whose  fabulous heritage can be seen in major cities in this part of Spain.

Many guides will help you better understand the past influence on the current daily life, including the Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. This book presents many sketches of the Alhambra Palace as it was discovered in the 18th century. It also describes how it was rescued from abandonment by the author, a diplomat and a traveler of the early 19th century. These tales are really fascinating and will enrich your visit of Andalusia.

spain ganada alhambra andalusia

Granada – Panoramic view of the Alhambra

2. Book well in advance

Many visitors coming from around the world visit Andalusia, the attractive region in the South of Spain. Lodging and many visits must be anticipated and booked several weeks in advance, especially if you want to stay in the historical heart of major cities. Same precaution is required for the visit of the Alhambra (Nasrid Palace), magnificent Moorish fortress of Granada. There are several types of tours (guided, personal, special) but because so many people come here, the available places are often exhausted several weeks before the tour date. What’s the use to travel to Andalucia if you can’t visit the Alhambra? !

Consult our tip to get a ticket to the Alhambra when everything seems hopeless.

Spain-Alhambra-Mirador-de-Daraxa

Alhambra Mirador-de-Daraxa – Granada

3. Prepare to be amazed by the architectural heritage

The architectural wealth of many cities and of some villages explains Andalusia’s past splendor through ages. While visiting Andalusia, you will discover many fortresses, churches and cathedrals, palaces and other buildings:
on the footsteps of the Almohades : the Alhambra and the Generalife in Granada, the Giralda and Alcazar of Seville, the Medina Azahara of Cordoba.
on the footsteps of the Catholic Kings : the Seville Cathedral, the largest gothic building in the world, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, the beautiful Royal Chapel of Granada.
– And so many others…All these places to visit are really worth a trip to Andalucia.

spain mosquee cathedrale cordoue andalusia

Cordoba – Mosque Cathedral

spain sevilla alcazar

Alcazar of Sevilla

4. Stroll in the popular districts

The Andalusian cities should be discovered on foot, without no specific route, to better feel the atmosphere and enjoy the quaint charm of the streets. Andalusia was deeply marked by different populations that occupied the Iberian Peninsula. Muslims, Jews and Christians have built historic districts. For example, lose yourself in the picturesque alleys of the Albayzin,  former Muslim district of Granada, in the Santa Cruz district of Seville or in the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba.

spain andalusia sevilla

Seville – Pedro Roldan building

5. Taste the tapas

Visit Andalusia and treat yourself with delicious cuisine. It is famous for its typical Mediterranean dishes accompanied by one of the best olive oils in the world. In addition, the Spanish like to go to bars and drink a glass of andalusian wines (sherry, manzanilla). They eat tapas, these appetizers the size of a dish. They are often composed of smoked meat slices, olives, tomatoes, grilled vegetables, shrimps, ox tail and shared among the guests.  “Tapear” (drink in a bar), is a typical way of life that need to be discovered during a trip to Andalucia. Check out the small cafe-bars, frequented by locals.

spain andalusian tapas

Spain – Andalucia – tapas

6. Attend a flamenco show

Music, dance and guitar are part of Andalusian identity. Hence, a visit to Andalucia should include attending a flamenco show, and dive into the Andalusian atmosthere. They are offered everywhere in the South of Spain, especially in Seville. Ask the Tourist Board of the town you visit to recommend a good tablao, the place where flamenco shows are performed.

We went to the renowned “tablao”, Los Gallos, in Seville, after having bought our tickets directly on site the same day.

spain andalusian flamenco

Flamenco Show

7. Celebrate and dance !

Nothing is better than to celebrate and share emotions during your trip. This is great because the cultural and festive calendar of the Andalusian cities is very busy. Religious holidays (Easter), music festivals, horse shows, bullfights, the festival in the patios of Cordoba are all eagerly expected by the locals. The people here do not turn in at nightfall !

spain andalucia cafe bar

Sevilla – cafe bar

8. Discover the white villages

Visit Andalusia and get out of the cities! These charming villages, are places to visit and enjoy. In the heart of exceptional natural sites, they are perched on hillsides. Their architecture reveals their Muslim origin: houses traditionally whitewashed, narrow winding streets, patios and flowered balconies, red-tiled roofs. The villages also have beautiful churches and fortresses dating back to the Moorish period, as Zuheros. This beautiful white village is located in the foothills of the Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park.

Spain-andalucia Zuheros

Zuheros

9. Explore the profound nature of natural parks

Due to the geographical position of Andalusia and to its climate, the parks of this region are truly sumptuous. They offer an exceptional flora and fauna, breathtaking landscapes and attract all nature lovers and hikers. This region is home of the notorious Sierra Nevada National Park and also of many nature parks.

We hiked in the Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park, on the banks of the Canyon de Bailon, a wonderful off the beaten path trail. Potholing lovers can see natural caves, some of which are home to paintings dating from the Neolithic period.

10. Freshen up in Summer

In July and August temperatures in Andalucia can be scorching, often reaching 104 F°. But the region offers nearly 400 miles of coastline, including many beautiful beaches. Prefer small creeks off the beaten track, often located in protected natural parks.


A trip to Andalusia is a great adventure. Live like Andalusians do !

Useful information to travel to Andalucia

  When to go:

Prefer Spring and Automn because on Summer temperatures are high.

Lodging:

Lodging in the historical center of major cities is relatively expensive. Here is the list of accommodation that we booked:
– Seville: El Escondite de Maria : Lovely flat and very pleasant tenant.
– Cordoba: The International Pension,  very good hotel, ideally located in the historical heart of the city.
– Zuheros:  Hotel Zuhayra, very good, excellent interpretations and helpful staff.
– Granada: Hotel Los Tilos,  ideally located and the staff is attentive.
– Malaga:  Debambu Larios, well located apartment hotel.

Note that rural tourism is highly developed in Spain (Agri turism), and in particular in the South of the country.

Andalucia map:

Click on the link to download a printable map of Andalusia ( 3365 X 1731 pixels) : Detailed map of Andalusia.

How to get there:

We recommend bus transportation. Spain has a network of modern and comfortable buses that connect all major cities and large villages. This mean of transportation avoids all the congested problem due to narrow winding streets, especially in old districts. In addition, the bus departures are frequent (about one departure every hour). On conventional roads between Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga, it’s best to book tickets in advance online. We made reservations with the ALSA Company. Their Buses are very comfortable.

Our itinerary in Andalusia:

D1 – Malaga. Transfer to Sevilla
D2 & 3 – Sevilla
D4 – Sevilla-Cordoba
D5 & 6 – Cordoba
D7 – Transfer to Zuheros
D8 – Hiking in the Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park
D9 & 10 – Granada
D11 – Transfer to Malaga
D12 – Return to Paris

map of 12 days trip to Andalusia visit

Map of Andalusia – 12 day trip

How to get a ticket to the Alhambra:

You don’t have a ticket to visit the Alhambra ? Don’t panic. Buy the “Granada Card” online. This pass allows the visit of 8 major monuments in Granada, INCLUDING the Alhambra plus free rides by bus. You only have to choose a date and time of visit which will be printed on the ticket. Then, you present yourself at the Nasrid Palace at that time. When booking tickets online, download a voucher which is exchanged against the pass once you arrive in Granada. The card is valid for 3 to 5 days.

All the useful information are described on the website Granadatur.

andalousie granada card

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