Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to see and do for our guide to hidden Andalucia…

Malaga Province

  1. Visit Malaga Cathedral’s Roof

The Roof of Malaga Cathedral

If the bird’s eye view of the inside of the cathedral looks spectacular, then to cap it off you emerge outside with 360-degree rooftop views of Malaga.

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  1. RELAX IN A HAMMAM

One Pool at the Arabic Baths in Malaga

The top tip of Lindsay Gregory, Director of The Luxury Villa Collection: “Stroll around Malaga historic centre, take a hammam at Mammam Al Andalus and finish with cocktails at a rooftop bar.”

Hammam Al Ándalus Malaga

  1. Meander in Antequera

Antequera View from Fort

A rather lovely town with a Moorish fortress complex and no fewer than 30 churches. Don’t miss having tapas in the impressive Plaza de los Escribanos.

 

  1. Visit Three 5000-year-old Dolmens

Entrance to Dolmen in Antequera

Just outside Antequera, these are some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe.

Museosdeandalucia.es

  1. Wonder at a 9TH Century Church – Bobastro

Bobastro Church

The ruins of a 9th-century church carved out of rock are the highlights of a larger fortified town complex. Anything 9th century and still standing is incredible in our books.

 

Granada Province

  1. Nose Around the Carmens of Granada’s Albayzin

Carmen in the Albayzin

A house with a garden in the Albayzin (the oldest part of Granada city) is known as a Carmen. These Carmens look out towards the Alhambra Palace, often have wooden balconies, plant-filled patios, babbling water features and decorative tiles.

 

  1. Visit the Abbey of Sacromonte, Granada

Sacromonte Abbey from Above

This 17th-century abbey and college comes complete with holy caves/ancient catacombs. The view of Granada alone is worth the walk.

 

  1. Take a day trip to Alhama de Granada and its Natural Hot Springs

This village has stately houses gripping onto the edge of a gorge, cobbled streets and spa credentials. Our top tip is to escape the summer heat in Granada and visit Alhama – it has a unique microclimate where summer nights cool to a comfortable level.

 

Cadiz Province

  1. Find Out the Mysteries of the Island of Sancti Petri, San Fernando, Cadiz

Sancti Petri island in the distance at sunset

Once part of several fortifications, the castle that sits on this tiny island dates back to the 13th century.

 

  1. Experience the Beautiful Light in Vejer de la Frontera

Sunrise in Vejer de la Frontera over Salt Plains

This pristine white village, sitting high on a rocky hilltop, really comes into its own at sunrise and dusk. Aside from the dramatic light, there are lovely boutique shops, great restaurants and, during the summer, look out for their candlelight festival.

 

  1. Surf and Sip in El Palmar

Beach bar looking out to sea in El Palmar

While it’s got a great beach with some decent Atlantic surf, it’s the laidback-hip bar vibe in El Palmar that makes it stand out from other stretches of southern Spain’s coast.

 

  1. HIRE A Private Chef

Private Chef

David, chef at De Tako’s top tip is, “One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food and an even better way is to enjoy perfectly cooked food is in an incredible setting surrounded by friends”.  We entirely agree – hire a private chef at your villa for the ultimate in convenience.

 

  1. Taste Riotinto Beef

One of our top hidden foodie treats in Andalucia is delicious Retinto beef from Cadiz. Much is spoken about fried fish, olives and olive oil, jamón ibérico and Sherry but this meaty option is also a real gastro-standout.

 

  1. Take to the Sea – Dolphin Watch

Hire a boat and hit the sea – you’ll almost inevitably come across a pod of dolphins in the Mediterranean.

 

Seville Province

  1. Puerta de Macarena/Walls of Seville

Puerto de Macarena in Sevilla

This forgotten about 12th-century arched gateway and wall was the main entrance into Seville, and is certainly off the beaten path.

 

  1. Drink at a Bar Dedicated to Easter in Sevilla

You’ll never have experienced a bar like Garlochí, a homage to Easter in Spain. All year round there’s incense burning and procession music playing – they call it the cathedral of bars. Don’t miss their signature cocktail: Grenadine, whisky and Cava.

 

  1. Wild Swimming at Cascadas de Hueznar in Seville Province

There’s a succession of beautiful waterfalls running over some interesting limestone formations in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Nature Park.

 

  1. SEE LIVE MUSIC IN THE ALCAZAR PALACE

Alcazar Gardens in Sevilla

Fiona Flores Watson, Telegraph Travel Writer and Seville resident recommends: “The summer outdoor concerts held in the Alcazar Palace… a magical setting for live jazz, flamenco or classical music by moonlight.”

Alcazarsevilla.org

Cordoba Province

  1. Visit Highgarden, the Tyrell’s House in Game of Thrones

Castillo del Almodovar

The castle of Castillo de Almodovar del Rio was built in 740. You can join theatrical tours, do some medieval combat training or spooky storytelling.

Castillodealmodovar.com

 

  1. TRAVEL TO EAT AT TRES CULTURAS

Starter at Tres Culturas Restaurant in Lucena

Manni Coe of Toma & Coe Tours‘ top tip is: “One of the most consistently excellent restaurants I know in Andalucia is located on a little-known street, in the little-known town of Lucena. It’s called Tres Culturas and it’s also a handy stop off en-route to Cordoba.”

Tresculturasrestaurante.com

 

Jaen Province

  1. Marvel at the Castle of Iruela, Jaen

In the Sierra de Cazorla natural park this castle was built at the start of the 16th century. A beautiful monument in an even more beautiful part of the world.

 

Huelva Province

  1. Reconnect with Nature and See Autumn in Aracena

Aracena Countryside with Vines

The colours of autumn over the vast landscape of rural Huelva is the perfect way to disconnect. Local people flock here to experience the change of the season.

 

Almeria Province

  1. Genoveses beacH in Cabo de Gata, Almeria

Genoveses beach, Cabo de Gata

This breath-taking beach near the charming village of San Jose feels like another world.

 

A bit of a cheat but do a tour…

  1. See Andalucia through its Bullrings

Bullring in Plaza Ochavada, Archidona

Our top 5 are: Most unusual is in Segura de la Sierra in Jaen province: this square bullring is the old courtyard of a castle and was built in the 18th century. Ronda bullring is the second oldest and the biggest. Seville bullring is the oldest; Antequera’s is famed for appearing in Madonna’s Take a Bow video; Mijas has spectacular views and is simply charming. Archidona usually erects a bullring inside its eight-sided main square during the summer season.

Like this and want to know more about visiting southern Spain? Check out our 50 things to do in Andalucia and our guide to the five best cities to visit in Andalucia


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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