There’s an awful lot of Andalucia. Stretched out over 87,000km² it’s made up of eight separate provinces – each with its own historic cities, landscapes and sights to see.

But after many hours discussing everything it has to offer, we’ve come up with what we think is the definitive guide to the best things to do in Andalucia. Here goes…

Seville Province

1. Visit the Alcazar & its enchanting Gardens

Patio de las Doncellas, Real Alcazar, Seville

This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most outstanding examples of Mudéjar architecture in the whole of Spain.

An active royal palace, it’s swathed in gorgeous, sprawling gardens full of swaying palms and tinkling fountains.

Address: Patio de Banderas, s/n, 41004 Sevilla. Alcazarsevilla.org

2. Climb La Giralda & Get a Bird’s-eye View of seville

Giralda in Seville

This iconic minaret turned bell tower has changed with the city over the course of its eight century-long life.

Ramps rather than steps lead most of the way up (so that the muezzin could ride his horse up to call the faithful to prayer). From the top, you’re rewarded with a view out over beautiful Seville.

Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla

3. See Columbus’s Tomb in Seville Cathedral

Columbus Tomb in Seville Cathedral

Sheer enormity aside, there’s so much to see inside the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. There are artworks by Murillo and Goya, the largest and richest altarpiece in the world, a beautiful orange tree-filled courtyard, a stuffed crocodile (really!) and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

The legend goes that its original planners said: “Let’s build a church so beautiful and so majestic that those who see it finished will think us mad”. We wonder if you’ll agree.

Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla. Catedraldesevilla.es

4. Go Boating in Plaza de España

Plaza de Espana, Seville

Built in the 1920s, this highly decorative, Renaissance/Baroque Revivalist plaza makes for the perfect photo opportunity in Seville.

Putting the camera aside for a moment, between it, an ornamental boating lake and the surrounding leafy Maria Luisa Park, it’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

5. get lost in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Seville

The most attractive quarter of Seville – making it quite possibly Andalucia’s most beautiful neighbourhood – the barrio of Santa Cruz is the history-packed old Jewish quarter of the city.

It obviously gets more than its fair share of tourists, so head there at daybreak. Then you can have it all to yourself, and see the sunrise wake each of its squares and fountains. Magical.

6. experience Flamenco at Tablao El Arenal

Flamenco dancer in Seville

Opened over 40 years ago by the dancer Curro Vélez, Tablao El Arenal is one of the best places to experience flamenco in Seville.

To get the most out of flamenco we always recommend hiring a guide: this UNESCO protected art form is incredibly complex, and newcomers always benefit from a little bit of explanation.

Address: Calle Rodo, 7, 41001 Sevilla. +34 954 21 64 92. Tablaoelarenal.com

7. taste the finest Spanish Cuisine at Abantal

Abantal Restaurant Seville

The interiors and the food compete with each other for attention at this chic and contemporary Michelin star restaurant.

In terms of choice, you can opt for the ‘Daily Chef’ or ‘Grand Daily Chef’ tasting menus. Just make sure you book first.

Address: Calle Alcalde José de la Bandera, 7, y 9, 41003 Sevilla. +34 954 54 00 00. Abantalrestaurante.es

8. Relax in Arabic Baths

Aire Arabic baths in Seville

An entire building given over to the concept of sheer relaxation through water, this is another level entirely of spa experience. There are whole rooms of pools of different temperatures, along with massages and treatments.

Don’t miss the rooftop pool: sip Cava, nibble fresh fruit and take in the views of the Cathedral. Stunning.

Address: Calle Aire, 15, 41004 Sevilla. +34 955 01 00 24. Beaire.com

9. Visit Roman Spain at Italica

Italica near Seville in Spain

This dramatic ruined Roman city just outside Seville was the birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian.

With its huge amphitheatre, extensive temple and remarkable mosaic floors, it’s one of the most fascinating historic sites in southern Spain.

Address: Av. Extremadura, 2, 41970 Santiponce, Sevilla. +34 955 62 22 66.

Malaga Province

10. Travel back through time – Alcazaba & Gibralfaro

Alcazaba Malaga

It’s a journey through Spanish history. Start at the Roman amphitheatre ruins, then make your way through the Moorish Alcazaba fortress, and finish at the Gibralfaro castle overlooking the sea.

Address: Calle Alcazabilla, 29015 Málaga. Malagaturismo.com

11. Drink Like an Andalucian at Antigua Casa de Guardia

Antigua Casa de Guardia Conchas Finas

Stand at the bar and sample some of the most delicious sweet and dry fortified wines from the barrels at Malaga’s oldest tavern.

Address: Alameda Principal, 18, 29005 Málaga.  +34 952 21 46 80. Antiguacasadeguardia.com

12. Admire Ronda from the Bottom of the Gorge

Ronda Bridge

This town of Ronda is all about its dramatic position, and the vantage point it provides to the surrounding landscapes.

Take the walk from Mirador de María Auxiliadora to the bottom of the gorge. Here you get some of the best views of the mind-blowing bridge (pictured above), which took more than three decades to build and has a small prison cell at its heart.

13. See the (second)Oldest Bullring in Spain

Ronda's Bull Ring

Andalucia’s oldest bullring might be in Seville, but if you’re a Hemingway fan, the Plaza de Toros is a must. Ronda’s matadors inspired many of his stories, including Death in the Afternoon.

Address: Calle Virgen de la Paz, 15, 29400 Ronda, Málaga. Rmcr.org

14. Pay Homage to Pablo Picasso at The Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum Malaga

Malaga was, famously, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and this museum holds a very personal collection of works by the artist.

If you’ve got more than a passing interest in modern art, it’s simply a must-do while in the city.

Address: Palacio de Buenavista, Calle San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga. Museopicassomalaga.org

15. Stargazing at El Torcal Astronomical Observatory

El Torcal Astronomical ObservatoryHaving watched the sunset among the weird and wonderful natural rock formations of El Torcal, head to the observatory to enjoy one of its frequent evening explorations of our galaxy.

Check the website for up-and-coming events.

Address: Carretera de acceso MA-9016, km 3,5 desde la A-7075, Junto al Centro de Visitantes “Torcal Alto”, 29200 Antequera, Málaga. +34 600 70 37 00. Astrotorcal.es

16. Eat like a Local – Beach-side Espeto de Sardinas

Espeto de Sardines in Malaga

Any self-respecting malagueño chiringuito – or typical beach bar – will serve you up a plate of espeto de sardinas.

This simple dish consists of freshly caught sardines, normally cooked over a fire on a spit, in a large, sand-filled fishing boat. Crusted in salt, they’re delicious with a squeeze of lemon and a cold beer.

17. Walk the Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey, Malaga

While it may not be the death-defying scramble it once was, the Caminito del Rey still has plenty to recommend it.

This award-winning 8km hike includes a cliff-face clinging walkway, pinned 100m above the gorge of El Chorro.

Address: Barriada Conde de Guadalhorce, s/n, 29550 Ardales, Málaga. +34 902 78 73 25. Caminitodelrey.info

Granada Province

18. Be awe-struck by The Alhambra

Alhambra Palace, Granada

Take a trip back to Spain’s Moorish past marvelling at the splendours of the Alhambra Palace and see why it has had such an impact on architecture, art, music and literature, through the ages.

A joint UNESCO World Heritage site with the Generalife gardens and the Albayzin, it’s Andalucia’s most captivating monument.

Address: Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada. Alhambra-patronato.es

19. sit & Reflect in the Generalife

Generalife, Granada

Wander through these gorgeous Moorish gardens with fountains and fantastic views of the Albayzin area of Granada, find a shady spot and take in the peace.

Address: Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada. Alhambra-patronato.es

20. Watch a sierra Sunset from the mirador de san nicolás

Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain

Head to the Albayzin’s Mirador de San Nicolás to watch the sunset over the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada. Then take a walk through the labyrinth of the old town to stop at tapas bars, sip on some cervezas and enjoy your (free) tapas.

Address: Calle Mirador de San Nicolás, 18010, Granada.

21. Visit Carmen de la Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta

Carmen de la Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta, Granada

Most carmens (a house surrounded by walled gardens that’s typical of the Albayzin neighbourhood of Granada) are private residences and only accessible only through guided tours (if at all). However, one is open to the public – Carmen de la Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta.

The dream-like strangeness in the architecture of the house and gardens of the once private house of the artist Rodríguez-Acosta – now a museum – are only surpassed by the medieval Alhambran escape tunnels he converted into a labyrinth; eccentric beauty at its best.

Address: Callejón Niño del Royo, 8, 18009 Granada. +34 958 22 74 97. Fundacionrodriguezacosta.com

22. Ski in the Sierra Nevada National Park

Sierra Nevada ski resort Granada

During winter and early spring months you could be skiing down the mountain in the morning and having sundowners on the beach in the evening at Europe’s southernmost ski resort.

Address: Andalucía Plaza, 18196 Pradollano, Granada. Sierranevada.es

Cadiz Province

23. spot the WATCHTOWERS OF CADIZ

Cadiz Watch Towers

The skyline of the ancient port city of Cadiz is dotted with watchtowers. Used by merchants and traders to watch as their boats came in after long and risky Atlantic crossings, there are 126 in total that come in five different shapes.

Torre Tavira is one of these watch towers, and the 360-degree views from the top can be experienced in fascinating detail via a camera obscura.

Address: Calle Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10, 11001 Cádiz. +34 956 21 29 10. Torretavira.com

24. Bolonia Beach & Baelo Claudia

Baelo Claudia in Bolonia, Cadiz

Stretching 4km along the gorgeous Cadiz coastline, the golden-sanded beach of Bolonia rises up dramatically to a huge sand dune – great to climb up and roll down – at its western end.

Gazing out to sea, just a short distance back from the beach is Baelo Claudia, one of Andalucia’s best preserved Roman sites.

Address: Ensenada de Bolonia, s/n, 11380 Cádiz. +34 956 10 67 97.

25. go Kite Surfing in Tarifa

Kit Surfing in Tarifa

Whether you’re an experienced kitesurfer or a rank beginner, head to one of the many schools offering lessons and make use of Tarifa’s famous combination of fabulous beaches and strong winds. Surf’s up!

26. Get a taste of Village life

Setenil de las Bodegas

There are countless white-washed villages in Andalucia, and many of them are utterly picturesque and charming. Cadiz, though, has two particularly good examples: Vejer de la Frontera and Setenil de las Bodegas.

While the former is lovely, the latter is… unusual. After marvelling at the jaw-dropping houses, directly built into the rock walls and caves of its gorge, make sure you stop and try some of its famous chorizo at one of the village bars.

27. Los Alcornocales Natural Park

Los Water Fall in Alcornocales Natural Park

Grab a picnic, jump in the car and wind your way through this national park. After taking in the spectacular scenery, find your spot in the shade of Spain’s largest cork forest.

Address: Carretera A-2228 Alcalá de los Gazules – Benalup Casas Viejas, Alcalá de los Gazules, km. 1, 11180

28. Whale Watching in the straits of gibraltar

Whale Watching in Andalucia

The Gibraltar Straits are a famous migration route for many dolphins and whales, so hop on one of many tour boats operating and scan the horizon for those arching fins.

Visit the town of Tarifa and there are a few whale watching boats that head out daily from the port.

29.watch the sunset over Playa La Caleta

Sunset at Playa de Caleta, Cadiz

The fact that Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe is probably reason enough for a visit.

Watching from the Playa La Caleta as the sun sinks slowly into the Atlantic in a blaze of reds and oranges definitely seals the deal.

30. Restaurante El Faro de Cadiz

Carabinero at El FaroAfter listening to the applause as the sun drops into the ocean at Caleta Beach, it’s a three-minute walk to Restaurante El Faro de Cadiz.

If you can’t get a seat in the formal restaurant, politely push your way through the crowds to the standing tapas bar and order some seafood.

Address: Calle San Félix, 15, 11002 Cádiz.  +34 956 21 10 68. Elfarodecadiz.com

31. Beach Horse Racing at sanlucar

Beach Horse Racing in Sanlucar de Berrameda

This rather unusual event takes place every year in August in the lovely town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. A horse race where riders hurtle along a 1,800m stretch of beach, it’s a wonderful cultural experience.

More information: Sanlucar-de-barrameda.com/beach-horse-racing

32. The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art

Royal Equestrian School in Jerez

Book a show at one of the world’s most respected classical riding academies and watch Andalusian horses dance an equestrian ballet.

Address: Av. Duque de Abrantes, 11407 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz.  +34 956 92 25 80. Realescuela.org

33. understand sherry aT Bodegas Tradicion

Bodegas Tradicion in Jerez

Make your way to the beautiful city of Jerez de la Frontera. Literally translated, Jerez means sherry. So when in Jerez, and all that…

Having rescued some of the oldest ageing and bottling methods, Bodegas Tradicion tours combine the wine tasting with a viewing of their excellent collection of art.

Address: Calle Cordobeses, 3, 11408 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz. +34 956 16 86 28. Bodegastradicion.es

Cordoba Province

34. Wonder at a Church inside a Mosque – The Mezquita

Mezquita in Cordoba

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Catholic cathedral was built within a pre-existing mosque.

It’s home to several gems of Moorish architecture including a prayer room containing more than 850 arched columns and the portal of the Mihrab, to name just a couple.

Address: Calle Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba. Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 19:00 & Sunday: 08:30 – 11:30, 15:30 – 19:00. Mezquita-catedraldecordoba.es

35. See Cordoba at Night

Cordoba at Night

Start at the Roman Bridge of Cordoba – for views of the Mezquita lit up against the night sky – before heading in to explore the city, its food and architecture under cover of darkness.

Address: Av. del Alcázar, s/n, 14003 Córdoba

36. Fiesta of the Patios in Cordoba

Cordobese Patios

Every May for two weeks the private courtyards of Cordoba are thrown open to the public and visitors are delighted by dazzling displays of flowers.

Cordoba was given the award for Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO back in 2012 for this heart-warming fiesta.

More information: Turismodecordoba.org

37. Fall of MOORISH Spain – Medina Azahara

Medina Azahara, Cordoba

Back in the 10th century Medina Azahara was built to be the administrative centre of Andalucia. Unfortunately in the early 11th century, it got burnt to the ground during a period of civil unrest.

Just outside Cordoba, the romantic ruins of the palace and mosque still remain today, a dusty memory of a once great civilisation.

Address: Ctra. Palma del Río, km 5.5, 14005 Córdoba. 957 10 36 37. Museosdeandalucia.es

Jaen Province

38. explore ubeda & Baeza

Ubeda Cathedral

A long way from the well-worn tourist trail, the neighbouring towns of Ubeda and Baeza share joint UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

They’re home to countless fine examples of Renaissance architecture, including the Vázquez de Molina Square, the Palace of Marqués de Mancera, the Hospital of Santiago and the Plaza del Pópulo.

Addresses: Palace of Marqués de Mancera: Calle María Soledad Torres Acosta, 1, 23400 Úbeda, Jaén; Hospital of Santiago: Calle Obispo Cobos, 28, 23400 Úbeda, Jaén; Plaza del Pópulo: Plaza de los Leones, 4, 23440 Baeza, Jaén

39. hike the Cerrada de Elías

Cerrada de Elias
Stretching 22km in total, this walk runs through lush green valleys and shady canyons full of babbling rapids and waterfalls. In the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, it takes in some of the most stunning countryside in Andalucia.

Address: 23476 La Iruela, Jaén

Almeria Province

40. Wonder at the 11th-Century Alcazaba

Alcazaba de Almeria

From perfectly preserved citadels in the towns and cities to lonely piles of crumbling rocks in the middle of nowhere, southern Spain isn’t short of a Moorish castle or two.

Almeria’s 11th-century Alcazaba, though, is the biggest of the bunch and, rising above the city in a series of impressive battlements and towers, one of the very best.

Address: Calle Almanzor, s/n, 04002 Almería. +34 600 14 29 82.

41. see some ancient geological features at Níjar Natural Park

Isleta del Moro Cabo de Gata

Tucked away in the region’s southeasternmost corner, the largest protected coastal area in Andalucia is part of UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network.

The spectacular Playa de Mónsul and Isleta del Moro (above) are home to vast volcanic rock formations, wide sandy beaches, salt marshes, sea grass beds and coral reefs.

Address: 04118 Níjar, Almería.

42. get your cowboy on at Mini Hollywood

Wild West Set in Almeria

This immersive American Western theme park was originally a set built for Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More and used again for the Clint Eastwood classic The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

A great family day out, it’s ideal for kids (of the small and not so small variety) to get their cowboy on and yee-haw their way through the Western-themed saloon, shops and scenarios.

Address: Carretera Nacional 340A, km 464, 04200 Tabernas, Almería. +34 950 335 335. Oasysparquetematico.com

43. Tabernas Desert

Tabernas Desert

Whether by foot or by horseback, a trek through Europe’s only true desert – an amazing arid and lunar nature reserve – is breathtaking.

Huelva Province

44. hit the columbus trail

Columbus Replica Ship Huelva

Discover key historical sites linked to Christopher Columbus as he planned his epic voyage to the Americas – including life-size replicas of his ships.

Addresses: Paraje de La Rábida, s/n, 21819 Palos de la Frontera, Huelva; Diseminado de la Rábida, s/n, 21819 Palos de la Frontera, Huelva. Monasteriodelarabida.com

45. go wild in Doñana National Park

DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK

Covering a whopping 530-odd kilometres, this UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the largest nature reserve in Europe – is one of Spain’s great wildernesses.

Explore the marshy wetlands in this birdwatchers’ paradise – by foot, by horse or by 4×4 – and seek out endangered species such the Iberian Lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle.

Address: A-483, Km.38,7, 21760, Almonte, Huelva. +34 959439629.

46. Gruta de las Maravillas

Gruta de las Maravillas, Aracena

More great hiking and walking but underground this time. Escape the heat in Spain’s oldest public cave system including sights such as the Emerald Lake.

Address: Calle Pozo de la Nieve, s/n, 21200 Aracena, Huelva. 34 663 93 78 76. Open daily: 10:00 – 13:30, 15:00 – 18:00

47. dine at Azabache

Azabache restaurant in Huelva

An award-winning restaurant with a very simple philosophy: let the seasonal produce speak for itself.

This one-time tapas bar serves up a range of classic Andalucian dishes – but done very, very well. Expect lots of fresh seafood hauled straight off the dock that morning.

Address: Calle Vázquez López, 22, 21001 Huelva. +34 959 25 75 28. Restauranteazabache.com

Across Andalucia

48. Experience a Feria

Feria in Sevilla

Nothing says ‘Andalucia’ quite like a feria. And if you’re in the region during the height of summer, then the chances are there’ll be one on somewhere.

These local fairs are a colourful explosion of partying, flamenco dresses, horses, dancing, music and fun fairs. Find out the best time to visit, and see our list of ferias.

49. just… Sit in a square

Plaza de la Corredera in Cordoba

A Spanish plaza is all about soaking up the atmosphere – people-watching, sun-taking, reading and chatting. Order a glass or two of wine and linger; let the buskers come and go, and just enjoy being in the moment.

Some of our favourite squares in Andalucia include: Plaza Duquesa de Parcent in Ronda; Plaza la Candelaria in Cadiz; Plaza de los Naranjos in Marbella; Plaza de la Corredera in Cordoba; Plaza de Doña Elvira in Seville; Plaza de la Merced in Malaga; and Plaza de Bib-Rambla in Granada.

50. Learn about Spanish ham & OLIVE OIL

Jamon Serrano

No matter where you are in Andalucia you can sign up to a culinary day that specialises in two of the region’s greatest gastronomic achievements: ham and olive oil.

Here you’ll learn all about jamon from Huelva, and taste your way through Spain’s largest olive oil producing region, Jaen. (Of the 100 extra virgin olive oils included in EVOOLEUM’s official 2020 guide, no fewer than 81 were from Spain – with the winner hailing from the Jaén region.)

Like our pick of the best things to do in Andalucia? If you book a villa with The Luxury Villa Collection, we’d be delighted to help you plan your trip around them.


Ben Cooper

A head-over-heels hispanophile, Ben is a one-time travel editor at Rough Guides, DK Travel, ELLEuk and Red Online.

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