Introducing the Many Faces of Andalusia, Spain

Posted on February 2, 2015 by

One of my goals for 2015 is to share more about our home base in southern Spain, so here’s a guest post on the beautiful region of Andalusia that few know about.

Spain means something different to everyone and for many people this country simply conjures up images of sunny beaches, flamenco dancing and paella. But there’s a lot more to this land than those stereotypes and nowhere is this more apparent than in Andalusia, one of Spain’s most diverse regions. A trip to Andalusia will provide you with some of the most varied sightseeing and activities you’re likely to experience from one destination — here’s a look at the different aspects of this charming region:

Historical Treasure Trove

For a touch of history, learn more about the country’s past and embrace the traditional side of Spain in cities like Cadiz or Granada. Cadiz is considered to be oldest city in Europe and those looking for a romantic atmosphere will find the winding streets, intimate taverns and Moorish buildings a delight. Granada blends the old with the new, combining the architecturally stunning 9th century Alhambra Palace (remember to get your tickets in advance – they get sold out very fast!) with a hip reputation as one of Spain’s most youthful and cutting-edge cities.

The Alhambra Palace in Granada

Beaches for Every Need

Andalusia is as far south in Spain as it gets, keep going and you’ll end up in North Africa’s Morocco. The coastline here offers views of the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the East, and this region is home to the famous Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz and Costa Almeria.

Yes, there are the well-known beach resorts such as glitzy Marbella and Torremolinos, where most families go on package holidays — but you can also take the road less traveled to the windswept Atlantic coastline of the Costa de Luz where you’ll discover some of the world’s unspoiled beaches such as Playa de Bolonia with endless miles of golden sand and clean waters while remaining tourist-free. 20km away from Bolonia is another fantastic beach, Tarifa, both a fantastic surfing hotspot and charming fishing town with some of the best views of Africa’s Rif mountains.

Beach in Almuñecar

Head into the Mountains

Besides beaches and historical towns, Andalusia is also home to a few of the tallest peaks in the country. The Sierra Nevada National Park is where you can discover lagoons, glacial lakes and snow-covered mountain peaks, as well as Europe’s second highest mountain range after the Alps. In summer, you can trek all the way up to El Mulacén, the highest mountain in continental Spain. During winter, the park converts to one of the most popular ski stations in Europe. In fact, the short distances mean you can spend a morning at the beaches of Granada or Malaga before heading into the mountains to enjoy an afternoon of skiing.

Skiing in Sierra Nevada

Culture Vultures

This region is also a stronghold in Spanish culture–this is where you go to see the real Spain and experience age-old traditions like flamenco and bullfighting. Seville, the biggest city in the region, has some of the most famous flamenco tablaos and bars in the country – establishments like La Carboneria has been around for a long time and continue to draw in music lovers and fans from around the world. Bullfighting is another century-old practice that remains popular in Seville until today. Be sure to visit during bullfighting season (April to May) to witness some exciting matches.

Flamenco dancing

Food Glorious Food

Food, without a doubt, is one of the most important aspects of life for the Spaniards. The country is well famed for having some of the best chefs in the world (think Ferran Adria, the Can Roca brothers and Dani Garcia) and the most famous restaurants on Earth. To sample some of the most traditional Spanish dishes, Andalusia is definitely the place to go.

Besides the typical dishes like paella and churros, you can also find more regional specialties here such as migas (breadcrumbs fried with chorizo and peppers) and salmorejo (a tomato-based cold soup). Fans of the jamón iberico will be thrilled to find the famous Jamón de Trevelez originated from the Alpujarras region of Andalusia, said to be some of the best Spanish ham.

Spanish jamon

Beautiful beaches, alpine mountains, historic cities, hopping nightlife and surfing hotspots, are just a small selection of the attractions on offer in Andalusia. If you’re looking for an all-encompassing trip, then Andalusia is a great region to visit!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Thomson.

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