Where is Andalucia?
Andalucia is a sprawling region on Spain’s southern coast, bordering Portugal to the west. Alongside its 500 miles of coastline, it has a huge inland area of rolling hills, farmland and cities.
Andalucia’s sun-drenched capital is packed with historic monuments, and you’ll find most of them in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood. Gothic Seville Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the third largest cathedral in the world. If it looks familiar, that’ll be because it doubled as the Water Gardens of Dorne on TV’s Game of Thrones. The main attraction here is the tomb of Christopher Columbus, which is held aloft by four allegorical figures. Other architectural must-visits around the city include the spectacular Alcazar Palace – residence of the King of Spain – and the modern Metropol Parasol. Seville has a real character, with flamenco clubs, traditional tapas tavernas and Baroque churches dotted around its winding lanes.
Cordoba is one of Andalucia’s most charming towns, with ornate chapels, white-washed buildings, flower-draped balconies and little lanes that peep out to stunning views. The Jewish Quarter is particularly scenic and this is where you’ll find the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, which is known for its candy-cane-esque brick-and-stone-striped arches, and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, where you can climb up to the ramparts for views over the city. Crossing the Roman Bridge at sunset to see the mosque-cathedral bathed in the evening light is a must. For eating and drinking, head to Plaza de las Tendillas, where the clock tower strikes with the sound of a flamenco guitar instead of chiming.
You can’t visit Granada without seeing the colossal Alhambra. This impressive 13th-Century palace and fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are three separate sites – the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife and Alcazaba – and pre-booking a guided tour is a must as limited tickets are available each day. The city’s other big attractions are the Gothic-Baroque-Renaissance Granada Cathedral and 15th-Century Royal Chapel. Backed by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is perfect ‘aimless wandering’ territory. As well as ticking off the main sights, make time to leisurely explore the street stalls, teahouses and bohemian cafés. Head to the traditional Sacromonte neighbourhood to see a flamenco show and visit the cave houses, and stop off at a Moorish teahouse in the Albayzín.
Loja is an enchanting town in the west of Granada province, surrounded by the beautiful Sierra de Loja. It’s known as ‘The town on the water’ thanks to the Genil River that divides the town in two. In the town itself there are some impressive churches, including Iglesia de San Gabriel and Iglesia de Santa María de la Encarnación, plus a history museum where you can learn more about the area. The rolling landscape around Loja is dotted with olive groves and cereal fields. Nearby waterfalls provide the perfect shaded spot for a picnic and, with over 50 local caves, hiking and caving are popular activities.
Combine Inland Andalucia with Marbella for a rural, historical, cultural and beach multi-centre holiday. Hire a car and you’ll have total freedom to explore at leisure, or ask us about guided excursions and transfers.