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Travel bucket list idea:

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

Andalusia expresses its passionate soul in the guitars, singing and twirling, stamping steps of its native flamenco – declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.

Most scholars believed the seeds of flamenco arrived in the 15th century with the Roma from India. Over the centuries they slowly migrated west with their castanets and tambourines, absorbing songs and dances in the Middle East and North Africa along the way. The Spanish at first considered it a foreign art, or ‘Flemish’ – hence flamenco.

By the 19th century flamenco as we know it emerged – popularized by Bizet’s Carmen – with shows performed in cafés cantantes (singers’ cafés), the forerunners to the modern tablaos. These are intimate venues with small wooden stages, perfect for the exhilarating machine gun-like zapateado (dancing).

You can hear flamenco’s eastern origins in the singer’s cante jondo (‘deep song’), evoking pain, sorrow and joy, while dancers express each emotion with their bodies, driven by the pulsing percussive strumming of the guitars.

A good show, and there are many here, can send chills down your spine with their duende, the ecstatic ‘demon’ spirit that brings listeners out of themselves.

Recommendations

4

Tablao Cardenal

Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain

Three flamenco dancers wearing red perform on stage

Very professional Flamenco club founded back in the 1990s near La Mezquita with only 50 seats, but plenty of passion; several of its seven talented artists have won national prizes for their guitar-playing and dancing.

Adult price: £20

Best for ages 6+

Duration: 1 hour

When: Daily

Website >
More details >

Flamenco in Granada

Granada, Andalusia, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
A flamenco dancer holds a fan up to the sky

Andalusia is the birthplace of flamenco, which still pulses through its blood; Book in for a show at one of Granada’s excellent theatres.

Adult price: £15

Best for ages 5+

Duration: 90 minutes

When: Daily

Frequency: daily

Flamenco in Seville

Seville, Andalusia, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
Woman in a blue flamenco dress posing before an ornate stone building in Seville

Andalusia is the birthplace of flamenco, which still pulses through its blood. Book in for a show at one of Seville’s excellent theatres.

Adult price: £15

Best for ages 5+

Duration: 90 minutes

When: Daily

Frequency: daily

Flamenco at Tablao Cardenal

Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain

Three flamenco dancers wearing red perform on stage

Very professional Flamenco club founded back in the 1990s near La Mezquita with only 50 seats, but plenty of passion; several of its seven talented artists have won national prizes for their guitar-playing and dancing.

Adult price: £20

Best for ages 6+

Duration: 1 hour

When: Daily

Website >
More details >

Logistics

Price from: £15
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 5+
Frequency: daily
When: Daily
Duration: 90 minutes

Getting there & doing it

Always book tickets for a tablao or club in advance, either via an organised tour or on the websites of the clubs. Options usually include a show and a drink or tapas or dinner with a choice of set price menus. Performances run around 90 minutes.

When to do it

Most clubs put on two shows every evening, usually around 7pm and 9pm.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

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Cordoba

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A fascinating city of labyrinthine lanes and Roman and Moorish monuments, including one of the world’s greatest buildings: the Mezquita.

Granada

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Seville

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View of the cathedral looking up at the end of the nave and an intricate stone tower

Extravagant and sensuous, Spain’s fourth city entices with brilliant monuments, gardens, tapas bars, flamenco shows and full-on nightlife.