Making a list of things that are worth the visit in Andalucia is very difficult. Should we focus on nature? Culture? History? Relax? Should we write for families, solo travelers...? There´s so many options, so many amazing sights, but we can only pick a few. So we tried to pick a few very different choices from across the country, as some sort of a representative of what this beautiful region has to offer.
The Cadiz Carnival
Spain is known for its festivals and carnivals. The most famous, and probably the best, is the Cadiz carnival, which attracts people from all across the world. Cadiz itself is a beautiful, historical city surrounded by the sea, with beautiful beaches and nature, and close to the national park Doñana. The carnival itself is an explosion of colour and fun, with many local artists performing for the entertainment of the crowd. Expect good food, big crowds, colourful costumes, dancing, singing... however, if you actually want to explore Cadiz as a tourist... maybe don´t go during the carnival. You won´t see much of the architecture.
Semana Santa in Seville
They say everyone should see Semana Santa at least once in their life. The Easter week is most heavily celebrated in Seville. It´s a strongly religious occassion when all the Christian brotherhoods in and around Seville take to the streets in a long, days lasting procession. Participants atone of their sins by walking, sometimes barefoot, sometimes carrying heavy statues depicting parts of the Bible, through the city and to their respective churches. Again, it´s not the best time of the year to see much of Seville. The streets will be full of crowds onlooking on the processions, it will be hard to get places... if you come for Semana Santa, you´re here for Semana Santa.
Flamenco has its strongest presence in Seville as well. If it´s Flamenco performers on the streets, professional shows, dance shows in pubs, or the history behind the artform, Seville bursts in the seams with Flamenco. It also hosts the Flamenco Festival called Feria de Abril or Feria de Sevilla. It´s the April fair, but it happens two weeks after Semana Santa, which means that it doesn´t have to be in April – this year, it falls on the beginning of May. If you´re going to the Feria, we recommend you to completely immerse yourself in the culture, buy a Flamenco dress, dance, sing, clap, stomp, and have the best time!
Are you an animal lover? Andalucia is full of them. It looks like everyone has a dog, Iberian pigs, kettle, goats, sheep and others roam the countryside... but the most amazing animals must be hands down the horses. We´ve already wrote about Andalucian horses in another post, so just to summarize – these horses are one of the most valued breed in the world. They are athletic, beautiful, highly priced, have a firm place in history and culture, and Andalucia is very proud of them. You can take a ride in a horse drawn carriage, or go on a horseback riding tour through the countryside.
If you´re visiting Málaga, don´t miss the Alcazaba, a former Moorish fortress that is situated above the city. And if you like climbing high places, just above Alcazaba is Gibralfaro, another fortress that offers a view of the whole city, the mountains around, and the sea on the other side. There is nothing better than to climb the hills, take pictures of the view, and then descend the hill straight to the Malagueta beach to have a dip in the sea. Talking about the fortresses, you can find amazing buildings, castles, cathedrals, churches, etc. in every city in Spain. Whether it be the Alahambra in Granada, Alcazar in Seville, Torre de Guzman in Cadiz, or any other of the sights around the region, they are all full of history and beauty.
Caminito del Rey
Andalucian nature is absolutely stunning. Mountains, valleys, rivers, natural parks... but only a few places are as breathtaking as Caminito del Rey. ´The Walk of the King´ is located near El Chorro, near Ronda, and used to be the most dangerous mountain path in Europe until they fixed it a few years ago. Seven kilometers of man-made pathways attached to cliffs and leading through forests, with a river and a few little waterfalls underneath. The views are unforgettable.
For film buffs, Andalucia is a heaven. Especially Seville has been used in numerous films, from Star Wars to The Dictator. It is also the setting of many operas and novels, either from the pen of a foreigner of one of the many famous poets, novelists and playwrights who come from here, or who spent parts of their lives here, like Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and even Hemingway. It is also a sought after filming location for Game of Thrones, which has been filmed in Italica, the Roman ruins near Santiponce, in Seville´s Real Alcazar, Osuna Bullring, in Cordoba, and many, many more.