Andalusia or Andalucia (in Spanish) is a region found in southern Spain. It offers loads of treats to visitors: historical and ancient cities, amazing deserts, mountain ranges and lovely beaches.
For starters, why not explore Andalucia’s Golden Triangle. The three very different cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada form the triangle. Each city promises an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Being Southern Spain’s cultural and financial center, Seville attracts many tourists annually. One of the most important landmarks in the city is the Cathedral of Seville. As the worlds largest Gothic cathedral, the church occupies the site of the great mosque built in 12th century. It also contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus, which is of great interest to visitors. The grandeur of this structure lies in its simplicity and its massive and beautiful bell tower. La Giralda, the cathedral’s bell tower and the city’s symbol, is a towering magnificent building that dominates Seville’s skyline. It offers awesome views of the city to those who are patient enough to climb its seemingly endless ramp (there are no steps). Surrounding the Cathedral is the Jewish Quarter, which is considered the most charming area in the city. It is a favorite for tourists with its small winding streets, perfect for walking and strolling. The Real Alcazar is another architectural gem you should not miss. It is a fascinating Moorish (Mudejar) palace with lavish rooms, lovely gardens and numerous courtyards. The place is vast and there are lots of rooms to explore. You can also find Christopher Columbus references here like the room where he planned his journey to America. And be prepared to be amazed by its stunning gold ceiling of intricate design. The collection of Roman mosaics in the Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija is another must-see. The palace is referred to as the best paved house-palace in Europe. The city of Seville is most famous for its two major festivals: the Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Feria de Abril (April Fair). Both are huge celebrations that visitors and locals alike will surely enjoy.
North-east of Seville is Cordoba, an ancient city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a city of cultural diversity and historical significance. The most important tourist destination in Cordoba is the Mezquita, one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is a huge mosque-turned-cathedral that is widely known for its Islamic-style arches of red and white stripes. Its equally huge tower, the Torre de Alminar, is a great spot to see and observe the beautiful city. The Patio de los Naranjos, also known as Court of the Oranges, is a public park where orange trees are planted symmetrically to duplicate the forest of columns inside the cathedral. Around the Mezquita, the narrow streets of the Old city hold some of the city’s tourist attractions. The Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir River is a historically significant site that leads to Torre de la Calahorra, once an old fortified gate to the city. The tower now houses a history museum, the Museum of Al-Andalus Life, which exhibits Muslim Andalusia artifacts. Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, or most commonly known as the Alcazar, is an 8th century fortress where Ferdinand and Isabella (the Christian Monarchs) resided and later on became the Spanish Inquisition’s headquarter. Its historical significance, as well as its lush and amazing gardens, attracts many visitors. The best time to visit Cordoba is May, the Month of Cordoba. There are various fairs and festivities that will surely make the visit more memorable and unforgettable. Feria de Cordoba is the longest festival in Spain, which extends for almost 2 weeks. Have a great genuine Spanish experience with people dancing Flamenco, horse riding, and children enjoying rides set up for the occasion. At night, indulge in parties all around the city. During the second week of May, Festival de Patios is celebrated. Numerous private patios are open to visitors from all over the world.
Next stop is the city of Granada, another great city worth exploring. One of the main reasons for visitors to flock to this city is the majestic Alhambra, one of the main attractions in Spain. With its historical significance, it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alhambra is a medieval complex consisting of a fortress, the Alcazaba, a palace, the Palacios Nazaries, a garden, the Generalife and a small city, the Medina. The complex is filled with outstanding works of architecture and stunning landscape. With the marvelous Sierra Nevada mountain range as its background, Alhambra is simply breathtaking. Albayzin, just across Alhambra, is an ancient Muslim neighborhood. Another UNESCO site, it is a favorite spot for tourists. The narrow streets, the charming white-washed old buildings, the ravishing Arabic shops and boutiques, the scenic gardens plus the picture-perfect views of Granada and the Alhambra play important parts in the city’s appeal to the public and its tourist attendance.
Sacramonte, on the other hand, is a more isolated neighborhood. It is a gypsy district most popularly known for its cave dwellings and its fantastic views of the Alhambra. At the heart of the city is the Plaza Isabel la Catolica with the prominent statue of Columbus with Queen Isabel. The Cathedral of Granada, the second largest cathedral in Spain, is a 16th century structure remarkable for its Renaissance interior. In South Granada lies the modern center of Granada, Puerto Real. It is the city’s major shopping destination, so don’t miss this district of classical and modern buildings.