Andalucía is one of Spain’s most beloved tourist hotspots, evoking thoughts of white-washed buildings, tapas, sunshine and beaches. This is where the earliest Islamic in southern Spain harks back to the 8th century, following the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula.
But did you also know that Andalucía is home to Europe’s second highest mountain range, the Sistema Penibético, and the country’s most important wetlands reserve.
Andalucía’s three principal cities, Granada, Seville and Córdoba, are bursting with world-class heritage and plenty of romantic spots for couples to enjoy, such as the beautiful gardens at the fortified palace of Alcàzar de los Reyes Cristianos in Córdoba.
To help you make the most of your visit we have compiled a list of our favourite things to see and do across the region of Andalucía.
Discover Andalucía’s Moorish heritage at the Alhambra
The earliest Islamic in southern Spain harks back to the 8th century, following the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Consisting largely of the Amazing people of North Africa, they ruled for and left an impressive cultural legacy. Among them is one of the best-preserved medieval Arab palaces in the world the Alhambra.
Built over several centuries this grand monument sits on the largely inaccessible Sabika Hill overlooking Granada and is most famous for the qu’lat al-Hamra.
The complex comprises numerous palaces, such as the Palacio de Comares, which was built in the mid-14th century for the Sultan. Here he would receive dignitaries and deal with diplomatic issues. When you step onto the ramparts of Plaza de los Aljibes you get amazing views of Granada.
Visit the golden-domed Cathedral at Cadiz
In the Roman era, this is where Julias Ceasar held his first public office and was a favourite holiday spot of Lord Byron.
The city has retained its age-old charm with its attractive vistas, ancient city walls (found in the Old Town) and well-preserved landmarks. One such landmark is the golden-domed Roman Catholic cathedral. as it was built from money earned from trade between Spain and America. The Cathedral towers above the rest of the city and you can enter the Levante Tower to enjoy wonderful views of the coast.
Relax on the beach in relative peace
Andalucía may be a tourist hot spot, but it’s still possible to enjoy an afternoon of sunbathing in relative peace. Pick up a car and drive to Huelva Province’s Costa de la Luz, where there are several remote beaches including Mazagón, located 23 km (14 miles) southeast of Huelva.
The picturesque dune beaches are framed by pine trees and a low-key vibe. Though popular with Spanish families in the summer months, there’s plenty of spots to find some glorious solitude.
If you want to stick to the Costa del Sol, Playa De La Calahonda in Nerja is a dinky beach (just 120m long) with gorgeous views of craggy cliffs. It’s a lovely spot outside of the peak season, and even during the summer, it’s quieter than many of Costa del Sol’s central beaches. Guided tours depart from the Visitor Centres twice a day and itineraries change depending on the time of year.
Chocolate orange cake
Ingredients75g/2¾oz cocoa powder6 tbsp just-boiled water2 medium oranges, well-scrubbed, finely grated zest and 2 tbsp juice only225g/8oz unsalted butter, cubed and softened, plus extra for greasing225g/8oz caster sugar4 large free-range eggs225g/8oz self-raising flour1 tsp baking powderFor the candied orange zest½ orange, well-scrubbed25g/1oz caster sugarFor the…
Hairy Bikers’ Black Forest gateau
Rich with fruit, chocolate, and cream, this 70s classic still has a place on our tables. This recipe uses dried sour cherries, but you can substitute good-quality bottled ones. Ingredients225g/8oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing225g/8oz caster sugar160g/5½oz self-raising flour65g/2¼oz cocoa powder½ tsp baking powder4…