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Andalusia, or Andalucía, as the Spanish say, is the southernmost region of Spain, encompassing iconic towns like Seville, Córdoba and Granada, plus popular beach spots like Cádiz and Marbella. Locals and tourists alike flock down south to experience the amazing cultural offerings, traditional festivals, authentic food, sandy beaches and snow-capped mountains. Here’s why you should go, too.
1. It’s Extremely Affordable
Relatively speaking, Andalusia is one of the cheapest regions in Spain and quite possibly, in all of Western Europe — here, you can pay one euro (~$1.05 as of this writing) for a beer and get a free tapa, or pay about $30 a night for a stay in a B&B. Needless to say, you can really stretch your dollar here and still have a great time, especially if you travel during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall), when crowds are fewer, prices are down and the weather is just right. If you prefer more comfort, your money goes further here, allowing you to experience luxury for a much lower price than you’ll typically find in other European destinations.
2. You’ll Get a Dose of Real Spanish Culture
Southern Spain is the place to be for an authentic travel experience. While there are plenty of tourists, it’s easy to find hidden spots, whether it’s a small whitewashed village or a local bar on a quiet street in Granada where no one speaks English. You can make Andalusia whatever you want it to be: a quiet, romantic experience, a luxury vacation with all the amenities or a hostel stay where you immerse yourself entirely in the local culture. Despite hosting plenty of visitors from around the world, Andalusia has somehow managed to retain its traditional charm, which can be absolutely lovely or even maddening (like when you’re searching for a vegetarian meal option or directions in English). Just go with it and enjoy yourself. Eat some jamón at 11:00pm for dinner, shout “Vamos!” along with the locals as you watch the fútbol game on the bar TV and treat yourself to an afternoon siesta to rest up for a big night out on the town.
3. History Buffs Will Love This Part of Spain
Andalusia has a rich history full of Christian, Sephardic and Moorish cultures. The architecture and art in this region is magnificent for this very reason, with palaces, churches, mosques and temples lending themselves to a mix of tiles, arches, towers and languages. The history lives on through the many festivals celebrated in this region, which you can enjoy even if you aren’t religious yourself. The Holy Week celebrations during Easter are particularly interesting here, and include all sorts of parades and daily processions through the streets. Most towns have their yearly feria in the springtime, a festival devoted to Flamenco dancing, singing, guitar music and, of course, lots of food. Gardeners can enjoy Córdoba’s beautiful Patio Festival, where owners spend all year growing plants and flowers to decorate their cozy interior patios. Make sure to book well in advance if you’ll be traveling during a festival, though, as accommodations fill up quickly and prices have been known to skyrocket at the last minute.
4. There’s Something For Everyone Here
Whatever style of vacation you desire, Andalusia’s got you covered, with cityscapes, rivers, mountains, history, culture, art, dancing, food, farms, vineyards, and beaches perfect for any type of traveler. For a more city-like experience complete with loads of museums and culture, Seville is your spot. Smaller towns offer amazing monuments, like the famous Mosque of Córdoba or Alhambra palace in Granada. Pleasant villages like Ronda or Arcos de la Frontera are picturesque and quaint for a quiet rest away from the hustle and bustle. Beach towns like Nerja, Marbella and San Fernando are perfect for a relaxing, sun-filled break. The Sierra Nevada mountain range near Granada is home to some of Spain’s highest peaks and is known not only for its hiking but also for skiing in winter. Those looking to indulge their taste buds a bit can enjoy sherry tastings in Jerez de la Frontera.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Spain’s Andalusia region? Let us know in the comments, below.
All images courtesy of the author.
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