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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
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.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

The Alhambra

Granada, Andalusia, Spain

Spain’s most visited attraction is the stuff of dreams, filled with intricate mosaics and carvings, magical gardens and breathtaking views.

Best for ages: 13+ | £12

Alcazar of Seville

Seville, Andalusia, Spain

A Moorish Christian architectural gem, Europe’s oldest royal palace (recently seen in Game of Thrones) dates from 1360, with gardens of pure delight.

Best for ages: 13+ | £11

Flamenco in Andalusia

Andalusia, Spain

Madrid may have the biggest stars, but Andalusia was its birthplace, and the tradition of Flamenco pulses through Andalusia’s blood. Book in for a passionate night of guitars, singing, stamping steps and colourful, swirling dresses.

Best for ages: 5+ | £15 | 90 minutes

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Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

Exterior of the ancient Arab fortress
Experience

Alcazaba of Almeira

Almeria, Andalusia, Spain

The biggest citadel ever built by the Arabs in Spain, begun in 955, was remodelled by Ferdinand and Isabella; its impressive walls, gardens and views featured in Game of Thrones, Indiana Jones, and Wonder Woman 1984.

Best for ages: 6+ | £2

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Alcazaba of Malaga

Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

A well-preserved Moorish city fortress, built 11th century on a hill in the city centre. Adjacent to the entrance are the remains of a Roman theatre, dating back to the 1st century AD.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3

Exterior of the market with people waiting and cars parked
Experience

Atarazanas Central Market

Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

Malaga’s Arab shipyards were adapted in the 19th century to create this wonderland of fresh fruit and veg, meat and seafood. In fact, the entire neighbourhood is devoted to food – it’s a great place for a tapas crawl.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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

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

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...

€1,010 | Rating 4.05 / 5 [19 ratings]

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Andalusia 5-days Guided Tour from Madrid via Cordoba

Andalusia 5-days 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....

€640 | Rating 4.26 / 5 [26 ratings]

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Andalusia with Costa del Sol and Toledo - 5 Day Tour

Andalusia with Costa del Sol and Toledo - 5 Day Tour

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 th...

€645 | Rating 4.08 / 5 [256 ratings]

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

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...

€1,220 | Rating 4.07 / 5 [28 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Hotel Boutique Convento Cadiz

Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain

An atmospheric boutique hotel in a 17th-century convent, in easy walking distance of the sights and beaches of Cadiz.

Official star rating:

Hotel Molino del Santo

Ronda, Andalusia, Spain

In gorgeous countryside near Ronda, this charming hotel in a former mill comes with a lovely pool and superb restaurant.

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La Almunia del Valle

Sierra de Nevada, Andalusia, Spain

A delightful rustic-chic boutique hotel in the Sierra Nevada, perfect for hiking or skiing – and only ten minutes from Granada.

Official star rating:

Hotel Casa Morisca

Granada, Andalusia, Spain

Overlooking the Alhambra, Granada’s most evocative boutique hotel occupies a superbly restored 15th-century mansion, full of romance and charm.

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When to go

Peak season is spring, with 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.

Our writer’s recommended itineraries for this destination

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