I am doing a 6-part series of the six regions of Spain you must visit. This is the second part of the series, Andalusia.
The autonomous (and most populous) community of Spain, Andalusia, is located in the very south of the country and Europe providing a gateway between the continents of Europe and Africa. Its position between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea made it a tempting prize for civilizations since prehistoric times.
There are several theories that the first hominids in Europe were in Andalusia having come across the Strait of Gibraltar. The earliest known paintings of humanity have been found in the Caves of Nerja in Málaga. Andalusia was also the last region to be conquered during the Reconquista with the 1492 fall of Granada.
Here are some more reasons why Andalusia is one of the six regions of Spain you must visit.
The region surrounding what is now Granada has been populated since at least 5500 BC so it is filled with history.
I recommend staying in the city centre so that you can easily walk around to all of the major sites. There is a great network of taxis as well, but if you stay central you probably won’t need them.
Granada is a great place to watch Flamenco since it originated in Andalusia. Sacromonte is a great area to look if you’re wanting to see some, but if you’re not sure where to watch here’s a list of the best places to watch Flamenco by Spanish Sabores.
Getting in and out of Granda by rail and air is quick and easy via the Granada railway station and Federico García Lorca Airport. Both offer fast and affordable transportation services to the city centre.
The main attractions in Granada are the Alhambra and Generalife. Make sure to book your tickets online at the official ticket sale site way in advance of your visit, especially if you’ll be visiting during peak season. Tickets often sell out. You’ll also need to select an entrance time for your ticket, so consider that if you’re wanting to do sunrise/sunset pictures.
Málaga’s history spans over 2,800 years, being founded in the 8th century BC, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
If you’re looking for a beautiful Spanish city on the water with the perfect mix of history, shopping, museums and great restaurants then Málaga is your destination. Not to mention it’s the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.
The best views of Málaga and the Mediterranean Sea can be found on top of Mount Gibralfaro where you can also see Gibralfaro Castle. There have been fortifications there since the Phoenicians around 770 BC. The walk up to the top can be quite a hike. I’d recommend taking a taxi or bus to the top and then hiking down. Next to the castle is the Alcazaba, the old Moorish palace.
In the old town you’ll find promenades lined with cafes, restaurants and shops. You’ll also be able to see some Phoenician and Roman ruins.
Málaga is easy to access by train, bus, air or sea and you can easily get around the city by bus or train with their convenient transit system.
Seville is about 2200 years old, was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis, and is the capital city of the autonomous region of Andalusia. Walking around the city you will find many Roman ruins such as an aqueduct and various temples.
Seville’s history and culture run deep with Hercules being the mythical founder. Not to mention that the old centre contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral (which contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus) and the General Archive of the Indies. Definitely make time to visit all these sites, but I’m sure as you walk around getting lost in the old city you won’t miss them.
Just outside of the old town in the Parque de María Luisa is the impressive Plaza de España (pictured above) that was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. This is a must-see park plaza, and don’t forget your camera. Trust me, you’ll want to take so many pictures here. Really take your time exploring the plaza and park and their many features, including statues and restaurants.
Seville is easy to access by bus, train or air with the main train station being just outside of the city centre. If you like to walk a lot then Seville is definitely the destination for you, but if not there is also a very reliable network of trams and the Seville Metro to get you around.
Stay tuned for part three of the six regions of Spain you must visit, Galicia. Until then, happy travels and keep wandering.