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…
If there’s one Spanish institution that needs absolutely no introduction, it’s Flamenco. Perhaps paella, bullfighting, tapas or Rioja wine would yield higher scores in a round of Family Fortunes when attempting to guess Spain’s most immediate subtexts, but Flamenco would certainly be in there somewhere.
What is Flamenco?
It is considered less a genre of music and more an artform in southern Spain. A typical Flamenco performance is made up of four elements: cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dancing) and jaleo (vocalisations and rhythmic clapping). The structure of each song is usually determined by its palo – the specific Flamenco style, according to rhythm and geographical origin among other criteria. Some palos are sung without a guitar; others are danced while others aren’t. However, both Flamenco artists and enthusiasts would probably argue that the key components to any Flamenco recital are spontaneity and individual interpretation of the performers.
Origin, Transcendence & Meaning
Flamenco, as it’s known today, goes back at least 200 years, shaping the cultural perspective of many a Spaniard along the way. However, it isn’t necessarily as central to the lives of ‘Spaniards’, on a national scale, as, say, the pub is among the British. Only in the southern regions of Andalucia, Extremadura and Murcia is Flamenco sometimes considered the holy grail of music and dance.
It’s this undying and moderately provincial passion that characterises Flamenco down to its core. From its 18th century roots in gitano pueblos through to modern day arena-sized performances, the enthusiasm for practicing and watching Flamenco has always remained as fierce. You only have to wander into a busy Flamenco bar to observe its significance and steely staying power. Children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents crowd around the small ensembles and will strain their necks to watch the magic unfold.
Flamenco Shows & Peñas
There is ample opportunity to see Flamenco in Andalucia, but before you do it’s well worth understanding the difference between a Flamenco show and a peña.
Flamenco shows are often better-planned and promoted events and are thus more expensive to attend. They are quite spectacular and can generally be relied upon to see the best-known Flamenco artists. Locals, though, will likely tell you that the real Flamenco is to be found in the peñas.
To be in with a chance of seeing Flamenco at a peña, which roughly translates as a member’s club, you have to read the newspaper; look out for cheap flyers taped to lampposts; talk to locals; generally keep your eyes peeled and ears pricked in bars and cafés, as they are often impromptu in nature. Inside, the walls are bedecked with Flamenco photos, portraits and general memorabilia – it’s clear from the moment you walk in that the patrons live and breathe the music. Performers are not professional, rather people with regular day jobs with an insatiable passion for Flamenco. Generally speaking, anyone can play if they’d like – the principle is akin to a jamming session – though the standard of singing, dancing and guitar playing tends to be very high, despite the performers only being ‘amateur’.
Where to Go
People will pay large amounts of money and queue for unseasonably long periods of time to get a seat at a top Flamenco show or peña. However, in Andalucia, and particularly in major cities like Seville and Granada, you don’t usually have to try hard to find and get into an authentic Flamenco performance in a busy bar.
Unlike other live, acoustic music shows the audience are not required to remain completely silent as songs are played out; singing and clapping along is encouraged, as are cries of approval and encouragement, usually in the form of an ‘ole!’ or a ‘jale!’
Hundreds of shows and peñas take place across Andalucia every month, so it would, frankly, be near-impossible to list all (or even most) of them here. Instead we have picked out a few noteworthy examples of where to see Flamenco in Andalucia.
Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez is popularly regarded as la cuña – the birthplace – of Flamenco in Spain. It boasts the Andalucian Centre of Flamenco for a start, so there is probably a good chance that it all started there, and many of the most famous Flamenco artists come from Jerez, such as Lola Flores or José Mercé. In any case, Flamenco is to Jerez like cheese-rolling is to Gloucestershire. If passing through, and you’d like to catch a show or peña, head to:
Bars & Tablaos
Puro Arte, Tablao Flamenco (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Conocedores, 28; Tel: +34 647 743 832; (puroarteflamencojerez.com)
Tabanco el Guitarrón de San Pedro (Flamenco Thursday night, Saturday afternoon, Sunday night.)
Details: Calle Bizcocheros, 16; Tel: +34 649 65 69 18; (Facebook Page)
Tablao del Bereber (Flamenco on Friday.)
Details: Calle de las Cabezas, 8-10; Tel: +34 605 94 75 77
Tabanco El Pasaje. (From Thursdays to Sunday.)
Details: Calle Sta. María, 8; Tel: 956 33 33 59; (tabancoelpasaje.com)
La Guarida del Angel
Details: Calle Porvenir, 1; Tel: +34 615 60 12 23; (Facebook Page)
Peña Flamenca Los Cernícalos
Details: Calle de Sancho Vizcaíno, 25; Tel: +34 956 33 38 71; (flamencodejerez.com)
Peña Flamenca Buena Gente
Details: Calle Ánimas de San Lucas, 9; Tel: +34 956 33 84 04; (Facebook Page)
The Flamenco festival in Jerez is held during the last week of February and first week of March (Jerez.es). This is when the big names come out to play and the best classes are held. To attend a class, you must book in advance in September when tickets go on sale (yes, it’s that popular!)
Since Seville is a much larger city than Jerez, there are, unsurprisingly, many more Flamenco bars and peñas to be found. However, Flamenco isn’t quite as popular as the livelier and crowd-galvanising Sevillanas, which dominates Seville’s renowned Feria in Spring.
Bars & Tablaos
Tablao Flamenco El Arenal (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Rodo, 7; Tel: +34 954 216 492; (tablaoelarenal.com)
La Carbonería (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Calle Levíes, 18; Tel: +34 954 56 37 49
T de Triana (Flamenco on Tuesday, Thursday.)
Details: Calle Betis, 20; Tel: +34 95 43 31 203; (Facebook Page)
Casa de la Memoria (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Cuna, 6; Tel: +34 954 560 670; (casadelamemoria.es)
Tablao Álvarez Quintero (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Calle Álvarez Quintero, 48; Tel: +34 605 13 01 30; (tablaoalvarezquintero.com)
Torres Macarena (Flamenco on Wednesday night.)
Calle Torrijiano, 29; Tel: +34 954372384;
Niño de la Alfalfa (Flamenco Friday night.)
Details: Calle Castellar 52 Acc C; Tel: +34 619038562; (Facebook Page)
Amigos de Manuel Mairena (Flamenco Tuesday to Sunday.)
Details: Calle Guillén de Castro, 26; Tel: +34 686947804;
To be absolutely sure of catching a show, go in Autumn when the Peñas de Guardia take place, featuring talent young and old. If you go in Spring during Feria, the standard will be very high but many of the tents with best shows are often ‘guest list only’.
Flamenco flows liberally through the veins of Granada’s music scene, and can be traced back as far as the 1700s when gitanos – gypsies – first arrived on the scene. The musical culture in the city was already rich in flavour but the gitanos brought with them their own enchanting artform, which combined with Andaluz styles to create Flamenco as it is known today. It is the gypsies who have preserved Flamenco throughout the years. The barrio of Sacromonte is still home to many people of this origin and this is where the best, most authentic Flamenco – gitano style – in Granada takes place. However, Flamenco can be found all over the city, more predominantly in El Albaicin.
Bars & Tablaos
El Tabanco del Tio Gregorio (Flamenco on most Thursday and Friday nights)
Details: Cuesta de San Gregorio 24, Granada, Spain 18010; Tel. 662 13 70 46; (Facebook Page)
Eshavira (Flamenco on Thursday-Saturday nights)
Details: Calle Postigo de la Cuna, 2, Granada, Spain 18010; Tel. 958 29 08 29; (eshaviraclub.com)
Tablao Flamenco Jardines de Zoraya (Flamenco every night. Reservation necessary.)
Details: Calle Panaderos, 32; Tel: +34 958 20 62 66; (jardinesdezoraya.com)
Cuevas los Tarantos (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Camino del Sacromonte, 9; Tel: +34 958 22 45 25; (cuevaslostarantos.com)
Venta El Gallo Restaurant (Flamenco most nights.)
Details: Barranco de los Negros, 5; Tel: +34 958 22 84 76; (ventaelgallo.com)
El Templo del Flamenco (Flamenco every night.)
Details: Calle Pernaleros Alto, 41; Tel: +34 622 50 00 52; (templodelflamenco.com)
Cueva La Rocio (Flamenco most nights.)
Camino Sacromonte, 70; Tel: +34 958 22 71 29; (cuevalarocio.es)
Peña La Platería (Flamenco every Thursday.)
Details: Placeta de Toqueros, 7; Tel: +34 958 21 06 50; (laplateria.org.es)
Sala Vimaambi (Flamenco Thursday-Saturday.)
Details: Cuesta de San Gregorio, 30 Granada; Tel: +34 958 22 73 34; (vimaambi.com)
Soniquete (Flamenco Fridays and Saturdays.)
Details: Carrera del Darro, 51; Tel: +34 639 69 20 41
There is no particular time of year when Flamenco is best in Granada. All through the year you can find high-quality shows being advertised around the busier areas of the city, in Plaza Nueva or along Carretera del Darro, for example. Entry fees are usually between 6-15 euros.
While Malaga might be better known for its large amount of upscale places to eat, and trendy bars and clubs, there’s much in the way of authentic Flamenco, too. All around Malaga province there are peñas hidden away in small towns and villages. The best thing about them is that many of them do not want to be found, although if they are, then customers are always welcomed with open arms. The higlight of the Malaga Flamenco calendar is the Bienal de Arte Flamenco which comes to town at the end of the summer every year.
Bars & Tablaos
Bienal de Flamenco (Month-long festival held every September. Shows in participating bars.)
Restaurant Tipi Tapa (Flamenco Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights.)
Details: Calle Málaga, 4, 29640 Fuengirola; Tel: +34 951 31 16 30; (restaurantetipitapa.com)
Kelipé Centro de Arte Flamenco (Flamenco Friday and Saturday from 9:15pm to 10:30pm. Reservations recommended.)
Details: Calle Caldereria, 6; Tel: 692 82 98 85; (kelipe.net)
Peña Flamenca Fosforito
Details: Arenisca 12, Santa Cristina; Tel: 952 35 11 15
Peña Flamenca Juan Breva
Details: Calle Ramón Franquelo 4; Tel: 952 22 13 80
Elsewhere in Malaga Province
Flamenco in Andalucia is by no means limited to the big cities, though. The towns of Malaga Province alone are home to several great, authentic places to catch the real deal. Here are just a couple we can particularly recommend:
Peña Flamenca Niño de Vélez, Vélez-Málaga
Vélez-Málaga isn’t the most conspicuously ‘luxe’ of towns. But what it lacks in airs and graces, it more than makes up for in a serious Flamenco scene. Spearheaded by the tireless Flamenco Abierto Axarquia, the town has undergone a Flamenco revolution in the past year or so and has seen great artists like Diego Carrasco & Family, Jorge Pardo, El Pele, José Valencia and Raquel ‘La Repompilla’ Heredia perform.
Details: Calle Tejeda, 10, Vélez-Málaga; Tel: 606 510 329; (Flamencoabierto.com)
El Burro Blanco, Nerja
Nerja’s long-standing tablao is, on the surface of it, a fun, lively place to have a drink and watch some tourist-friendly Flamenco. Don’t be fooled, though: on weekends, things get underway late and you can catch some of the best performers in the area strutting their stuff.
Details: 3 Calle de la Gloria, Nerja, 29780; Tel. 615 15 39 61; (Facebook Page)
As well as regular shows and peña performances, various espectáculos take place throughout Andalucia, especially over the summer months. These ‘spectacles’ can be more theatrical and friendly to the casual observer than ordinary shows. The Alhambra Palace in Granada, for instance, generally hosts events in the past, as has the otherworldly Cuevas de Nerja (Malaga) – a large, stalactite-laden, underground cavern with an installed Flamenco stage at its core. Now that’s pretty spectacular.
In southern Spain and looking to see some authentic Flamenco? Speak to our concierge and let them find – and book – you the very best.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 139603 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_content] => 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...
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. [email protected]
Visit Malaga Cathedral's Roof
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.” https://malaga.hammamalandalus.com/en/
RELAX IN A HAMMAM
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.
Meander in Antequera
Just outside Antequera, these are some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe. Museosdeandalucia.es
Visit Three 5000-year-old Dolmens
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.
Wonder at a 9TH Century Church – Bobastro
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.
Nose Around the Carmens of Granada's Albayzin
This 17th-century abbey and college comes complete with holy caves/ancient catacombs. The view of Granada alone is worth the walk.
Visit the Abbey of Sacromonte, Granada
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.
Take a day trip to Alhama de Granada and its Natural Hot Springs
Once part of several fortifications, the castle that sits on this tiny island dates back to the 13th century.
Find Out the Mysteries of the Island of Sancti Petri, San Fernando, Cadiz
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.
Experience the Beautiful Light in Vejer de la Frontera
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.
Surf and Sip in El Palmar
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.
HIRE A Private Chef
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.
Taste Riotinto Beef
Hire a boat and hit the sea - you’ll almost inevitably come across a pod of dolphins in the Mediterranean.
Take to the Sea – Dolphin Watch
This forgotten about 12th-century arched gateway and wall was the main entrance into Seville, and is certainly off the beaten path.
Puerta de Macarena/Walls of Seville
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.
Drink at a Bar Dedicated to Easter in Sevilla
There’s a succession of beautiful waterfalls running over some interesting limestone formations in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Nature Park.
Wild Swimming at Cascadas de Hueznar in Seville Province
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
SEE LIVE MUSIC IN THE ALCAZAR PALACE
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
Visit Highgarden, the Tyrell’s House in Game of Thrones
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
TRAVEL TO EAT AT TRES CULTURAS
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.
Marvel at the Castle of Iruela, Jaen
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.
Reconnect with Nature and See Autumn in Aracena
This breath-taking beach near the charming village of San Jose feels like another world.
Genoveses beacH in Cabo de Gata, Almeria
A bit of a cheat but do a tour…
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 [post_title] => Hidden Andalucia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hidden-andalucia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=139603 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133379 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-10-03 15:27:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-10-03 15:27:14 [post_content] =>
See Andalucia through its Bullrings
(As of Nov 2020)Since the global pandemic reached our countries in early 2020 there has been restrictions in one way or another on the way we live our lives. With the sheer amount of press on Covid-19 it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. So we wanted to reach out to our guests and give you a clear idea of what it’s really like to be in southern Spain in 2020. As we become used to Covid-19 not going away we’re getting better at carrying on with our lives but with safety measures in place. Obviously, those who are at high risk may adopt a more stringent approach to their activities but for the rest of us we’re getting out and about responsibly. While we at The Luxury Villa Collection welcomed guests during 2020 we realise that clarity on what it's like in southern Spain is needed.
What restrictions are there in southern Spain?Shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, events, museums and art galleries all have capacity limits to ensure social distancing can be adhered to safely. Businesses all have hand sanitizer at the door so customers can clean their hands upon entering and leaving an establishment. As of 25th October there is a curfew between 22.00hrs and 07.00hrs. Further restrictions have been put in place to limit the movement of people outside their municipalities. Face coverings must be worn at all times if over 6 years old, other than:
- People playing sports do not have to wear a mask whilst engaged in the sporting activity.
- Masks do not need to be worn by customers who are eating, drinking, or smoking.
- In the sea or swimming pool.
- In a designated household sunbathing area on the beach.
Do I have to wear a face covering?The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old at all times unless during one of the points stated above. This includes in all forms of indoor and outdoor public spaces even if social distancing can be applied. For countries that haven’t adopted this measure, face coverings seem a huge inconvenience but what they have allowed people to do is enjoy their holiday as normal with face coverings and social distancing being the only restrictions.
Are restaurants open?Yes, restaurants and cafes are open with limitations place upon their capacity to ensure tables are spaced out enough so customers can remove their face coverings while drinking or eating. Serving staff and chefs must wear masks at all times.
Are Beaches open in Andalucia?Yes. Once on a beach in your own sunbathing area and in the sea you may remove face coverings. The sunbathing areas must be 2 metres apart and social distancing must be adhered to in the sea. Some beaches have allocated sunbathing areas others are flexible but there are personnel checking that people adhere to social distancing rules while enjoying the beach. No distancing is necessary within your family unit. The norms that local governments put in place over summer 2020 worked to great effect and people could enjoy the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz and Costa Tropical.
Are tourist sights open?Yes. Restrictions on numbers being allowed into famous landmarks, tourist attractions and galleries has meant some sights have never been so quiet. Achieving the perfect photo of the Alhambra Palace or Real Alcazar de Sevilla without other sightseers is actually possible.
Does a face covering need to be worn while driving?When driving alone or with your household no face covering needs to be worn, but if there are passengers or a driver from a different household then everyone must wear a face covering.
What’s the general mood in southern Spain?Summer 2020 saw fewer parties for sure: the dancing all night in a club and watching the sunrise from a buzzing rooftop bar was and is not on the cards at the moment. However, long lunches beside the sea, visiting theme parks, historic sights, galleries and museums, beach days and outdoor activities are all there being enjoyed. It's really business as usual with the some sensible parameters in place. Some of our guests used our villas with entertainment rooms, cinemas, spas and abundance of space to organise private experiences from chefs to talks to spa treatments and live music. Bringing the wonderful Spanish culture into the safety of their private villa.
What is State of Alarm and What Does it Mean?The phrase state of alarm sounds very official and, well, alarming however, it is really just an administration step for the government and helps regional governments put in place restrictions. This phase allows the government (if necessary) to limit the movement of people at specific locations and times, temporary use private industries (such as private hospitals), limit the use of services and ensure the supply of necessary goods and services. In 2020 during Covid19, the state of alarm has meant limiting the movement of people between different provinces and curfews been implemented (from 23.00-06.00hrs). In no circumstances does state of alarm mean visitors aren't permitted to travel back to their home country.
Air travel – Is it safe?So far there has been little evidence of in-flight transmission of coronavirus, but there have been a couple of examples of transmission early on in the pandemic before more stringent controls were in place. Shaun Fitzgerald, Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor at the University of Cambridge said, aircraft ventilation systems are unique, the “replacement rate” - the number of times a volume of air equivalent to the volume of the cabin is removed each hour - can be four minutes in a aircraft. Compare this to 20 or 30 minutes in an indoor environment on the ground and it’s very brisk. The air filters themselves on aeroplanes are sophisticated and much more effective than filters found in indoor venues on the ground. Most airlines say face coverings are mandatory, limit food and drink services and don’t allow queuing for the toilet. The airports themselves are being diligent ensuring social distancing is in place as well as temperature controls in some. As from October 2020 if traveling from Europe or the UK:
- You must complete a health control form - which includes a HCF - a negative PCR test within 72hrs of your arrival to Spain.