Best Cities Andalucia

Daniel Brown
• Monday, 02 November, 2020
• 8 min read

Flying into Madrid Take the high-speed AVE train to Córdoba or on to Seville. Flying into Malaga Take the bus straight from the airport to Granada (or Seville).

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Arriving in Barcelona Either fly to Seville (Ryanair often has cheap flights) or take the high-speed AVE train. Chris Hepburn/Getty Images Yes, Seville is bigger and probably has more to do, but Granada's unique sights make it the top place to visit on this list.

The big sight is the Alhambra, the Moorish fortress, palace and gardens complex situated up on the hill overlooking Granada. The Albania (the spelling varies) is the old Moorish quarter, with narrow winding alleyways flanked by gorgeous whitewashed buildings.

You will get great views of the Alhambra from here, which peaks out from between the houses like an elephant playing a terrible game of hide-and-seek. Then there's the Sacramento area, the old quarter with cave dwellings that people still live in.

Barrio Santa Cruz, Mac arena, and Trina are the three top neighborhoods to explore on your trip to Seville. The cathedral, with its Moorish Giraldo tower, is a fascinating mix of cultures and architectural styles.

Seville is also a good first stop in Spain for visitors coming in from Portugal. Manfred Gottschalk/Getty Images Ronda is a breathtaking place to visit, with its poor transport connections as the only reason why anyone might decide not to go to the city on a trip to Andalusia.

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A remote city built high up over the Tao gorge is dominated by its majestic bridges and fantastic views. The city also has a good wine museum and some interesting ruins of Moorish baths.

It's simply too difficult to get to for anyone to want to travel there and back and have time to explore the city in a single day. A guided tour, with the local knowledge that brings, is the way to go for a day trip.

Neil Thomas/Getty Images Córdoba, on the high-speed train line from Madrid to Seville, is often people's first experience of Andalusia as they head south from the capital. If pressed for time, you can see the most important sights of Córdoba in a few hours, making it the perfect stop on the way from Madrid to Seville.

As the first stop in Andalusia when heading south from Madrid, it also makes sense to base yourself in Córdoba, to minimize your travel time. As already mentioned, Córdoba is convenient for anyone visiting from Madrid or Seville, thanks to the high-speed AVE train.

Connections from elsewhere are a little more difficult, as the trains are not as fast (often it's just as quick to take the bus) Peter Adams/Getty Images Cadiz is famous for its fried fish and the microclimate its peninsula location affords it.

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Cadiz is a great place to sample the famous fried fish of Andalusia. It is also just outside the sherry triangle, so lots of bars also serve local wines too.

The old town area is beautiful, especially the La Via neighborhood (see the picture above). A large part of that is because the restaurants almost exclusively serve fried fish.

To visit Ronda, you have a slow bus which stops in lots of beautiful pueblos Blanco F.J. Jiménez/Getty Images Jerez, on the train line from Seville to Cadiz, is the birthplace of sherry.

Frank Win/Getty Images Tariff is mainland Spain's most southerly town and almost touches Morocco. Tariff is all about the water: particularly, waterspouts, visits to Morocco and whale watching.

How long you want to spend here depends on what you want to do: you could stay a month learning to windsurf, or just pass through on the way to Morocco. Tull & Bruno Miranda/Getty Images No, Spain hasn't annexed Tangiers, but as it's just half an hour by boat from Tariff, it may as well be in Andalusia in terms of your trip planning.

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Hopping over to Tangiers from Andalusia is easy to way to not only add in another country but another continent to your vacation. It's cleaned up its act in recent years and how has a fine souk, much like the ones you'd see in other cities in Morocco.

An overnight trip might be worth it, but any more days than that and it's best to head further into Morocco, either over land or by flying to Fez or Marrakech. MATTES Rene / hemis.fr/Getty Images Malaga has Andalusia's biggest airport and so is a very common first stop for visitors to the region.

It's just a shame that these terraces are in a very commercial part of town, with clothing stores and frozen-yogurt outlets all around you. If you have three days in Spain and want sun, food, and nightlife, Malaga is perhaps your best bet on the mainland.

Andalusia may be the poorest region in Spain economically, but it's the richest in terms of culture, places to visit and things to do. It is the most stereotypically Spanish region, with glorious sunshine most of the year; bullfighting, tapas and flamenco at every turn.

The Alhambra is a Moorish fortress complex, with a number of builds of immense beauty and gardens like you won't see anywhere else. The Cathedral is huge and marries Christian and Moorish designs to spectacular effect.

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Jerez invented sherry and a guided tour of one of the many bodegas (wine cellars) is the single most important thing to do in Andalusia. A short drive from Granada, this mountainous collection of villages is perfect for hiking or sampling the best ham in the country.

The 'radians' (inhabitants of Cadiz) invented fried fish long before the British caught on. The southern province of Andalusia in Spain has its own distinct and beautiful culture.

It’s also full of rolling mountains, valleys, beautiful coastline, and national parks. It’s full of historic cities, charming villages, and beautiful nature.

This makes it super easy to eat your way slowly around this foodie city. Granada has endless pretty corners to explore, winding cobblestone streets, and beautiful doors.

While Granada feels a bit Bohemian and artsy, Seville is classy and polished. In the CENTR area, every building looks freshly painted in pretty soft pastels.

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The architecture is impressive, and the city is jam packed with great shopping and restaurants. There are lots of other beautiful historic buildings to visit like the Silesia Collegial del Divine Salvador, and the dramatic cathedral.

The Torre de Oro is also on the edge of the river, and offers a beautiful view from the top. Be sure to visit the pretty Trina area, and the hip Beria neighborhoods to enjoy the delicious food and drink of Seville.

I knew it was a popular resort area for British tourists, but didn’t realize it also had such a charming and beautiful city center. This castle is situated on a hill and has sweeping views of the city and the Mediterranean below.

There isn’t quite as much tile or colorful details as the castles in Granada or Seville, but it is still absolutely worth a visit. It’s also just fun to wander around the narrow cobblestone streets, gaze up at the colorful buildings, and get lost in the charming CENTR.

Don’t forget to visit the impressive Cathedral, and take a look at the old Roman Amphitheater. Since it was a perfect place for a port in between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, it’s been an important city for trade. The downtown CENTR is full of historic buildings like the giant cathedral, the Plaza San Juan de Dios, the San Francisco church and convent, and many plazas.

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You can climb to the top of this tower and get sweeping views of the picturesque city. Be sure to also visit the Castillo de San Sebastián that is only connected to the mainland by a bridge.

You can walk along the southwestern edge of the CENTR and find lookout points to see views of the valley below. This is a great place to take a selfie with the giant and impressive bridge and canyon.

But if you have enough time, it’s great to stay for a couple of days, absorbing the slow pace of life, having a drink with locals at a tapas bar, and being greeted on the street.

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