The southern province of Andalucia in Spain has its own distinct and beautiful culture. It’s also full of rolling mountains, valleys, beautiful coastline, and national parks. It’s a must visit if you head to Spain! This post will share how to have the perfect tour of Andalucia at your own pace.
You could spend your whole trip getting to know this vibrant region. It’s full of historic cities, charming villages, and beautiful nature.
I spent almost a month visiting this region, so I want to tell you all about the best cities to visit in Andalucia Spain!
Tour of Andalucia Spain: 6 Cities to Visit in Andalucia Spain
The first city on the list is Granada Spain – this was absolutely my favorite spot in Spain, and one of my new favorite cities in the world!
Granada is a very old city – the area around the city has been populated since 5500 B.C.. The Moors ruled this city for centuries, and their influence can be seen everywhere – in the architecture, food, etc.
Another very interesting thing about Granada is its geography. It’s located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains – the tallest mountains in all of Europe. Yet it’s only an hour drive from the coast. This means you have access to tropical coastline and snow covered mountains for skiing all within an hour or two’s distance.
There are lots of amazing natural places to explore if you’re interested in hiking Sierra Nevada mountains and outdoor sports like mountain biking and skiing are plentiful.
The biggest attraction in Granada is the beautiful Alhambra, or the old Moorish castle and palace. Be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time as they can often sell out.
Granada also has a very fun tradition of serving free tapas with every drink order! This makes it super easy to eat your way slowly around this foodie city. I highly recommend delving into the food culture here with a Granada food tour, or just a self guided tapas tour!
Granada has endless pretty corners to explore, winding cobblestone streets, and beautiful doors. You can spend hours just taking pictures.
Be sure to visit the Alhambra, see a flamenco show, wander the picturesque neighborhood of the Albaicin, and visit the many pretty churches and historic buildings. If you’re wondering what to do in Granada, there is so much! Be sure to give yourself a few days here.
Seville is a gorgeous and regal city. It’s also the largest city in Andalucia. While Granada feels a bit bohemian and artsy, Seville is classy and polished.
In the centro area, every building looks freshly painted in pretty soft pastels. The architecture is impressive, and the city is jam packed with great shopping and restaurants.
The crown jewel of Seville is the Alcazar – or the historic castle and palace. Every city in this region has one, but the one in Seville was the most dramatic and beautiful. The tile, the courtyards, and gardens were astounding. I could have taken pictures here for days! Be sure to make a visit here a priority.
There are lots of other beautiful historic buildings to visit like the Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador, and the dramatic cathedral. Be sure to also climb up the Torre Giralda on the side of the Cathedral. You’ll get a great 360 view of the city below.
The city of Seville is divided by the river Guadalquivir that runs right through it. This is a beautiful area to walk along and enjoy the river views. The Torre de Oro is also on the edge of the river, and offers a beautiful view from the top.
Seville has an amazing food scene. Be sure to visit the pretty Triana area, and the hip Feria neighborhoods to enjoy the delicious food and drink of Seville.
Malaga surprised me. I knew it was a popular resort area for British tourists, but didn’t realize it also had such a charming and beautiful city center.
I spent 2 days here, but could have definitely stayed longer. The food here also blew me away!
Just as the other cities, Malaga has their historic castle/fortress to visit – the Alcazaba. This castle is situated on a hill and has sweeping views of the city and the Mediterranean below. There isn’t quite as much tile or colorful details as the castles in Granada or Seville, but it is still absolutely worth a visit. Spend some time wandering through these beautiful grounds.
Be sure to visit the Picasso museum here. Picasso was from Malaga, and this museum is full of his beautiful works.
It’s also just fun to wander around the narrow cobblestone streets, gaze up at the colorful buildings, and get lost in the charming centro. Don’t forget to visit the impressive Cathedral, and take a look at the old Roman Amphitheater.
And do your share of eating. The food scene here is thriving and every meal we had far exceeded our expectations. A few great places to try are Cortijo de Pepe for lunch, or El Meson de Cervantes or El Tapeo de Cervantes for dinner.
Cadiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain! It’s also one of the oldest in all of Western Europe. This city is isolated on a peninsula in the southern part of Spain. Since it was a perfect place for a port in between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, it’s been an important city for trade.
The downtown Centro is full of historic buildings like the giant cathedral, the Plaza San Juan de Dios, the San Francisco church and convent, and many plazas.
Another interesting thing about the city, is that it is full of watchtowers that were used as look out points to keep the city secure. There are still more than 100 towers scattered through the city, but the most famous is the Torre Tavira. You can climb to the top of this tower and get sweeping views of the picturesque city. There is also a museum here that will tell you about the history of the city and the towers. The Torre also houses a camera obscura that uses pinhole camera principles to show you a live view of the city. The camera obscura tour is included in admission.
Be sure to also visit the Castillo de San Sebastian that is only connected to the mainland by a bridge. The nearby beach of La Playa de la Caleta is surprisingly pretty for a city beach and worth a stroll or swim.
Cadiz is also known for their delicious seafood, so be sure to stop for some tapas de mariscos.
Ronda is most well known for the dramatic cliff that it sits on. The river, Guadelevin that runs through the city has carved very steep sheer cliffs and a canyon that runs through the middle of the city. This makes for very picturesque views from below or above.
You can walk along the southwestern edge of the centro and find lookout points to see views of the valley below. Then walk over the new bridge to the oldest part of the city.
You can take a pathway on the western side that leads down below the bridge. This is a great place to take a selfie with the giant and impressive bridge and canyon.
If you then walk back up and circle around to the other side of the centro, you will see the smaller old bridge – still impressive and interesting to see.
The old centro is full of pretty old architecture and cute tapas bars to stop for a glass of wine and some olives.
If you’re interested in the Spanish tradition of bull fighting, stop by the Plaza de Toros to see the world famous bull ring. You can also take a tour inside.
The final city on my list is not a well known one – it’s the little town of Olvera, one of the pueblos blancos, or white towns in the Andalucia region.
Really, I just think it’s important to spend a little time in a small town in this area to balance out the experience in the big cities. Small town life is very different, and allows you to see authentic Spanish lifestyle – mostly untouched by tourism.
You can stop by any of the pueblos blancos, but I think Olvera is the most beautiful and most interesting of all.
Olvera sits at the top of a mountain with gorgeous views of the mountains, valleys, and olive farms below. The top of the town is marked by a small Moorish castle that dates from the 12th century.
A few steps from the castle is a Spanish church built in the 1800’s. Below these monuments are the steep sloping old centro streets – winding cobblestones, and historic white buildings.
Besides the historic features of the town, Olvera sits right on the Via Verde route – an old railroad path that has been converted to a bike or walking route. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy the natural scenery.
If you are short on time, you could just visit Olvera for a day or even an afternoon. But if you have enough time, it’s great to stay for a couple days, absorbing the slow pace of life, having a drink with locals at a tapas bar, and being greeted on the street.
And to top it off Olvera has some of the best sunsets I’ve seen of anywhere in the world.
And that’s it! 6 cities you should definitely see if you head to the Andalucia region of Spain.
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