A Short Tour of Andalucia
Tell me about Andalucia?
Few regions of Spain have the sense of romance and tradition that is associated with the province of Andalucia. A huge expanse at the most southerly tip of Spain, the region takes in hugely varied landscapes from desert-like stretches of Almeria to the mountain ranges surrounding Granada. It’s an area rich in history and cultural influences stretching back across Roman and Moorish rule. From the beaches of Tarifa you can watch the car lights in Morocco at night.
The great thing is that with just a few days you can choose to either totally absorb yourself in one of the cities – we’ve chosen Granada and Seville for this blog – or spend your time touring the highlights from one of the Further Afield base camps across the region.
What should I see?
To give full justice to this amazing area you could easily fill a month travelling around the major cities of Cadiz, Jaen, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga or Seville as well as time spent visiting the beaches and natural parks that are spread across the region. But this Further Afield guide is about how you could spend a few days in some of our beautiful places to stay whilst getting to know Andalucia.
When’s a good time to go?
Any time of year is the answer, but it very much depends on what you’re after? Visiting in the height of summer means soaring temperatures when you might want to factor in some beach time or at least staying somewhere with a pool. Winter sees inland temperatures drop to below freezing at times, but it’s often punctured by bright, sunny and warm days, perfect for sight-seeing. In reality though May / June and September / October offer the most reliable and accessible weather and fewer crowds.
Getting there and getting around
The major airport for the region is in Malaga, but there are several cities with international airports across the region. The modern road network makes travelling by car, despite the long distances, super easy and there are rail and bus networks across the whole of the province.
A must-see on any tour of Andalucia is the ancient Moorish city of Granada. Once the seat of power for Moorish rule of the region it is home to the amazing Alhambra, now one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.. which means you really need to plan a visit by booking tickets in advance. It’s one of those places where a guided tour really could be worthwhile as its architecture and décor is full of messages and stories that are easily missed.
But the city is more than the Alhambra so give yourself the time to visit the Albaicín, one of the oldest parts of the cities with its maze of narrow laneways twisting across the hillside under the shadow of the Alhambra but at the same time offering amazing views back up to its fortified neighbor.
It’s an easy city to explore by foot with plenty of superb tapas bars and restaurants to stop off at on the way.
How to get to Granada: Flights are available from many European destinations direct to Granada airport, just outside of the city, or you can arrive by train or car easily from across Spain.
Great places to eat and drink in Granada: Check out Mirador de Morayma for its pretty patios with great views across to the Alhambra or El Trillo for its fabulous menu and views from a different angle.
Where to stay in Granada: Check out Hotel Palacio de Los Navas, close to the cathedral and 15 minutes’ walk to The Alhambra. Its cool and stylish interiors offer a welcome retreat whatever the weather is throwing at you.
The capital of Andaluica, statesman-like Seville is an amazing place to spend a couple days. Stretching along the Guadalquivir river, where you can see the Torre del Oro, the city is crammed full of Spanish history. Roman, Moorish and Christian architecture surround you as you wander the streets. Don’t miss the stunning Alcazar and the cobbled streets surrounding the cathedral with their pavement cafes. But it’s also a thoroughly modern city with a buzzing arts scene and superb bars and restaurants.
How to get to Seville: Again, Seville has an international airport, plus extensive train, bus and road access.
Great places to eat and drink in Seville: There’s an amazing rooftop bar at the Hotel Eme and a cocktail at The Alfonso XIII cocktail bar should be on your list. For food try El Contenedor, Gourmet Flores for amazing jamon and gourmet tapas or Restaurant Mechela for its funky interior and great menu.
Where to stay in Seville: Further Afield has selected the amazing Corral del Rey in Seville. It’s a collection of townhouses in the oldest part of the city, with an incredible level of service and style. Room options include suites with their own pools – when it’s over 40 degrees in August that is most welcome!
Other Andalucian highlights
You might want to add other cities to your list; like Cordoba with the incredible Mezquita, Malaga with its truly Mediterranean vibe, arts and food scene, Ronda with its famous gorge and Cadiz, where you feel like you might have slipped across to South America without noticing. We’ll be adding guides to these cities in the future.
But don’t forget that the countryside and coastline shouldn’t be overlooked, so build in time to kick back and enjoy that too.
Where to stay for a short tour of Andalucia
The road networks in this region are superb, making accessing the region’s highlights by car really easy. So, if you’re looking for places to stay where you could visit some of these cities without having to move around then you could consider staying in Almohalla 51 tucked away in the old town of Archidona near Malaga, or head over to Arriadh hotel (below) just outside of Ronda. There is also the beach option of Casa Blanca in beautiful Maro, or head for the hills at Cortijo Opazo.
The amazing thing about Andalucia is its variety which means you can experience vastly different landscapes and cultures in a really short trip. But in reality you’ll probably leave wanting to experience more and our range of places to stay across the region provides a superb starting point as your plan your next tour! Check them all out here.