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Bucket list destination:

Andalusia

  • Andalusia, Spain

Last updated: 22 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

One of Europe’s most popular year-round holiday destinations, Andalusia has it all: long sandy beaches, spectacular mountains, national parks of extraordinary biodiversity, and fascinating cities that more than recall the centuries when Andalusia was the wealthy, sophisticated capital of Moorish Spain.

After decades in the doldrums, it’s found its mojo again: alongside its World Heritage Sites, pretty White Villages and passion for traditional fiestas, flamenco, sherry and horses, you’ll find a dazzling array of new contemporary art museums, boutique hotels and restaurants. Lively invigorating and full of sunshine, Andalusia promises you’ll never be bored.

Orientation

Andalusia is bounded to the east by the Mediterranean, south by the Straits of Gibraltar and west by the Atlantic.

It has the most varied geography and vegetation of any region in Spain, from the lofty peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the lush Sierra de Grazalema, from the fertile Guadalquivir valley to the sandy beaches of the Costa del Sol, from the Donana National Park wetlands in the west and Europe’s only true desert at Cabo de Gata in the east.

The key hubs to base yourself in for the bucket list experiences, and broader exploration, are as follows:

Seville

Extravagant and sensuous, Spain’s fourth city entices with brilliant monuments, gardens, tapas bars, flamenco shows and full-on nightlife. Visit opulent churches, bar-hop on sherry and tapas, watch a flamenco show or feel the city at its most intense, during its famous fiestas, Semana Santa (Holy Week) or Feria de Abril.

Cordoba

A fascinating city of labyrinthine lanes and Roman and Moorish monuments, from the 9th to the 11th centuries, Cordoba was the most brilliant metropolis in Europe, a past glory that lingers in its sublime Mezquita (Great Mosque), one of the world’s most extraordinary buildings.

Granada

Magnificently set under the tallest mountains in Spain, Granada – capital of  the Nasrid kings and the last stand of the Moors in Spain – is a city with a fairytale aura. Crowned by the incomparable hilltop citadel and gardens of the Alhambra, this is an atmospheric city steeped in history.

Malaga

Spain’s increasingly hip sixth city, Malaga has 3,000 years of history to explore and gorgeous sandy beaches. Wander through fascinating Old Malaga, with its Moorish citadels and gardens, explore the lively contemporary art scene, including the Picasso and Carmen Thyssen Museums or simply laze beside the glittering sea.

Jerez

One of the region’s most delightful small cities, Jerez is famous for flamenco, fino (sherry), and horses; the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrianism is one of the city’s biggest draws.  Discover Moorish palaces alongside contemporary architecture, and buzzing café culture, based around tabancos (simple sherry bars).

Tours, tickets & transfers

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

5 Day Tour Andalusia with Costa del Sol and Toledo

  • Madrid

Take your time on a 5-day tour of Spain that guides you round Andalusia’s most famous cities: Seville, Cordoba, Toledo and Granada. Visit the birthplace of flamenco in Seville, see the home city of El Greco in Toledo and be amazed by the Moorish gardens of the Alhambra. You’ll also see Spain’s oldest bullring in Ronda on this five days in Spain itinerary, and soak up the beauty of Spain’s resort coast, the Costa del Sol. Highlighting the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Toledo, this tour takes you deep into the heart of Andalusia, Spain’s most colorful and distinctive region. Breakfast is included, and enjoy a choice of standard or superior hotel accommodation for all four nights.

Price €825

Min age 0

Rating 4.06 / 5 [258 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Andalusia 5-Day Guided Tour from Madrid via Cordoba

  • Madrid

Enjoy this tour around Andalusia with us and discover the most important cities and areas of the South! Visit Cordoba, Seville, and Ronda. You will also see the famous Mediterranean city of Marbella, Granada, ending this  beautiful multi day tour with the visit of the  medieval Toledo.

Price €685

Min age 4

Rating 4.13 / 5 [29 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Madrid, Andalusia and the Mediterranean Coast with Barcelona - 9 Day Tour

  • Madrid

Experience the best of Spain on this 9-day tour from Madrid. See famous Park Güell in Barcelona; visit UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens in Granada; tour the Great Mosque of Cordoba and Seville’s Santa Cruz Quarter and Maria Luisa Gardens; and have plenty of time in each city to explore more at your leisure. Enjoy eight overnight stays in 3- or 4-star hotels as well as several guided tours and round-trip transportation by deluxe coach.

Price €1,475

Min age 0

Rating 4.07 / 5 [28 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

8-Day Spain Tour from Madrid: Cordoba, Seville, Ronda, Costa del Sol, Granada and Toledo

  • Madrid

Experience the highlights of Spain’s Andalusia region, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage City of Toledo, on this 8-day tour of Spain from Madrid. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens in Granada; explore the beautiful Mediterranean coastal region of Costa del Sol; and witness the mix of three cultures of Spain -- Christian, Moorish and Jewish -- in Toledo. Enjoy seven overnight stays in 3- or 4-star hotels as well as several guided tours and round-trip transportation by deluxe coach.

Price €1,475

Min age 0

Rating 4.05 / 5 [20 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Website >

Travel advice

When to go

Peak season is spring, with Holy Week (Semana Santa) and other fiestas: Christmas is another busy time. The cities (especially Seville and Cordoba) often roast in July and August; if you go then, take a long afternoon siesta.

Autumn is lovely and warm; January and February are quiet, and can be rainy, but offer a good chance to feel like a local.

Getting there and away

Malaga, with Spain’s fourth busiest airport is the main international gateway to Andalusia. Seville comes second, with numerous European flights, while the region’s smaller airports in Granada, Jerez de la Frontera, and Almeria take in mainly domestic flights.

If you fly into Madrid, the AVE high speed trains can whisk you into the centre of Cordoba, Seville and Malaga in under three hours.

Getting around

Getting between Andalusia’s main hubs is quick and easy, whether you want to hire a car, take the train, or visit smaller towns and villages on the extensive bus network.

AVE High speed trains link Malaga with Seville and Cordoba, with slower regional trains going on to Granada and Jerez.  Reserve ahead for AVE trains.  The reliable bus network goes to even the smallest villages at least once a day.

Cycling is a good option, especially in the spring and autumn and there are plenty of country roads without much traffic, but only try the mountain roads in the Sierra Nevada if you’re very, very fit.