Andalucia is one of the quintessential Spanish destinations.
On the southern coast of Spain, the region, once under Moorish control centuries ago, is a firm holiday favourite, serving up a blend of classic ingredients – sun, sea, history, culture – that attracts tourists from all over the world.
We take a look at this special part of the world starting close to the Portuguese border.
Resting right on the banks of one of Europe’s longest rivers – the Rio Guadiana – Ayamonte is found right on the Portuguese border, making it extremely popular with tourists exploring both the rest of Andalucia and those briefly visiting the Costa de la Luz from over the border.
With its own medieval quarter, popular touring spots when visiting include the salt marshes and, accessible via short ferry or via a causeway – Isla Canela.
Just over 60 miles from Malaga, the impressive hilltop of Ronda is one of Spain’s most impressive sights.
Set in rather dramatic style, the town is separated in two by a deep gorge.
The bridge, Puento Nuevo, acts as a stepping stone between the old and new parts of the city.
Crossing the bridge, one of the key viewing points in the entire town, visitors can look down into the deep chasm below.
Within the city limits, you will find an 18th-century bullring and the regal La Casa del Rey Moro.
Beyond the dramatic cliff, the city is home to a number of white-washed buildings, typical of the region, that house a number of great restaurants, cafes and bars where you can unwind after exploring the city.
Famed for its long bridge first constructed in the 1st century, the southern Andalusian city of Cordoba is one of the classic examples of ancient Spain.
First occupied by the Romans before becoming an Islamic city, Cordoba has seen sweeping changes take place throughout the region and still stands to this day, hundreds of years later.
As well as the previously mentioned Bridge, highlights here also include the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs and Medieval gate tower Torre De Calahorra.
For the green-fingered gardeners amongst you, the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs’ garden is worth checking out to simply admire or if you are looking for some Andalusian inspiration.
Magical Seville is one of the world’s greatest cities and a must-visit when looking to experience the very best of Spain.
One of the world’s great capitals of Flamenco, Seville is known around the world for its historic orange rock buildings and deeply historic centre.
To get a real sense of the city, we thoroughly spending as much as possible exploring the beautiful square Plaza de Espana, stopping by La Giralda Bell Tower for a prime photo opportunity and, if times allows, visiting the Royal Alcázar of Seville.
A major highlight, the UNESCO-listed palace was originally built for Peter of Castile after a successful conquest to take the city.
Inside, visitors will be able to wander beautiful hallways decorated with mosaics and domed ceilings.
Complementing the palace interior wonderfully, the palace gardens, broken up into hedged section,s is a bit of a suntrap, home to massive palm trees competing against the palace for space.
Remodelled a number of times down the years, the gardens display a different blend of styles with a large, beautiful reflection pool located in the centre courtyard.
One of southern Spain’s most popular towns for tourists to visit, Frigiliana is another of Andalucia’s gems.
Alongside an Old Quarter dating back to Moorish times, tourists often find themselves wandering through the narrow streets of Frigiliana, taking in beautiful ceramic decorations seeing where their feet take them.
One of Spain’s prettiest towns (award-winning in fact!), key visitor attractions in the town includes a small yet informative archaeological museum displaying pieces all found in the surrounding area, an old fountain and the remains of an old castle where you can take in the view.
Best known for its iconic Alhambra Palace, in many ways a symbol of Spain, the city of Granada is one of the world’s most tourist popular destinations.
A must-visit for anyone with a passion for travel, Granada is rich in history, offering visitors the chance to experience some grand Moorish architecture.
Alongside the famous palace, other notable places to tick off when exploring the city include Cathedral de Granada, the Nasrid Palaces and Generalife.
The former Nasrid rulers of Granada once used Generalife Palace in the summer. Sitting on a hill, the famous palace is one of Andalucia and indeed Spain’s most iconic regions.
Inside the palace, visitors can explore beautiful gardens with a central, stretching water feature that adds to the tranquil atmosphere.
Enhancing the experience, visitors can also enjoy some of the best views of Granada. The city stretches down in the valley below, skirted by hills and lovely greenery.
Famous for its beautiful beaches and old Arab fort, the coastal town of Almunecar is another of Costa Tropical’s most attractive sunshine destinations, offering visitors an authentic flavour of Andalucia.
Overshadowed slightly by nearby and better known Nerja, a visit to Almunecar is well worth the effort.
Around an hour from Granada, beautiful beaches to tick off in around the town include Playa Costa Tropical, Playa San Cristobal and Playa Cotobro.
Further into the town, Almunecar’s Old Quarter stretches right up a hill where you will be able to follow narrow (sometimes steep) lanes, many of which have jasmine growing in and around them.
9. Flecha del Rompido Nature Reserve
Another coastal attraction, the nature reserve at El Rompido marks the point where the Piedras River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Close to the Portuguese border, this vast protected area is one of the greatest natural features in all of Andalucia.
Huge marshlands have spread either side of the river with the area home to a rare and exotic collection of different wildflowers.
During key migration periods, the area is teaming with birdlife so if planning to visit, we thoroughly recommend packing a trusty pair of binoculars to catch sight of an array of different species including terns, wagtails and spoonbills.
One of Andalucia’s greatest treasures, the wonderfully whitewashed town of Salobreña can be found along the Costa Tropical looking out across the Alboran Sea.
Spread along a rock hugging the shoreline, this famous little town has a long and interesting history stretching back over 6,000 years.
Undoubtedly, the standout attraction, the town has its very own castle dating back to the 10th century.
First constructed by the Nasrid rulers, the former fortress is instantly recognisable thanks to its four tall towers.
Standing at the castle walls where a sentry might have stood standing guard centuries ago, you can gaze out across the surrounding town and beautiful coastline beyond.