Top 5 Cities To Explore In Andalucía, Spain

When someone mentions they are going to Spain, you immediately think of Madrid and Barcelona.  While both of those cities are spectacular and diverse cities to explore, take a moment and check out Southern Spain. 

Andalucía is the second largest of the autonomous communities in Spain and the most populated.  There is so much diversity, history and culture to offer, so step off the standard tourist track and explore Andalucía.

Top 5 cities to explore in Andalucía, Spain

1. Granada

As many of the cities in Spain, you have influences from many cultures and Granada is no exception.  Here you have the home of the Alhambra and Generalife, a must see tourist spot in all of Spain.  It was originally constructed as a fortress in 889 and later converted into a royal Islamic palace in 1333.  

The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration for many songs and stories. Tickets to the palace are hard to come by in tourist season, so do book on-line well in advance.  If you aren’t able to see the palace, the general tickets for the grounds are still worth the visit.

2. Cordoba

This city was first settled in the Bronze Age (8th/9th Century B.C.) and is just nestled nicely between Granada and Seville. 

The Mezquita is a sight well worth visiting.  It is the biggest mosque in Spain and is still in use. Once you’ve finished with the mosque, walk up through the old town, with the numerous handicraft shops (all locally made), up to the Jewish quarter.  Be sure to enjoy the many Plazas, Gardens, Churches, Palaces and Arabic Baths.

3. Seville

Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. 

Quintessential Spain, as it is the birth place of both flamenco and bullfighting. It holds some of the most spectacular celebrations as well.  Semana Santa celebrations at Easter are famous the world over and the Feria de Abril is also a sight to see.  The tradition, charm and pride this city holds is compared to no other.  This is along the “Silver Route”, a roadway built by the Romans came to Spain, from the city of Seville to the seaport of Gijon.  Needless to say, there are many Roman Ruins to visit as well.

4. Ronda (Málaga)

La Ciudad Soñada, the City of Dreams. This picturesque city is perched atop a breath taking 100 meter gorge, completely surrounded with gorgeous mountains. With a charming Old Town feel, as well as modern amenities, it meets the needs of residents and tourists alike. 

The drive to Ronda alone is spectacular and is worth a day trip from the coast.  There are two highly recommended side trips from Ronda:

Setenil de la Bodegas – This small white village was built under and into the rocks, with much of the town shops and homes as caves.
Cueva de la Pileta – these caves are not overrun with commercialism and have unusually attractive formations and colors.

There is an excellent range of cave art from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods to be seen. It is a sight to see art that is more than 25,000 years old.

5. Cádiz

The oldest city in Europe is much under-rated.  This city is on a peninsula and the old city is tucked away behind the impressive towering medieval walls at the tip of the peninsula. Its narrow winding streets and pedestrian walkways are buzzing with beautiful grand plazas that are constantly full of life.  It seems a new delight is awaiting you as you round each corner. 

There are many sights to see and explore in this area, in addition to enjoying the crashing waves of the majestic Atlantic Ocean. 

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