Andalusia, the continent in a region
Andalusia in the very south is the hottest and the most passionate region of Spain. This is the land of flamenco, bullfighting and Carmen, but also of sherry, gazpacho, olives and vibrant citrus fragrances.
It is a land of stark contrasts and great variety. Its unique landscape can change within just 40 km, from the alpine climate of the Sierra Nevada to the beautiful sun soaked Costa del Sol beaches. Amazing cultural and architectural differences give way for each other, from a majestic Christian cathedral to peaceful white village houses and to an ancient Arabian palace. Your vacation in Andalusia will be a cultural and gastronomical treat for your senses, accompanied as it were by the notes of a solo acoustic guitar floating through the air.
The real Spanish lifestyle in Seville
The exotic and elegant capital of Andalusia, Seville, seemingly represents all Spanish stereotypes: bulls, tapas, wine, beer, and happy people who love gatherings and parties. You will experience for yourself that these are not mere inventions created to capture the imagination of the tourist, but rather these reflect the very pulse and soul of a people who embody this way of life. The sun-drenched Seville is at its best during the spring. You can visit the enormous Seville Cathedral that claims to be the largest Gothic building in the world. Its 12th century Giralda tower was originally a minaret and later appropriated by the cathedral. Any way you explore, Seville will surprise you at every turn with its picture perfect postcard scenes of the archetypal Spanish life.
The Golden Triangle: Seville, Granada and Cordoba
You can easily travel by train or by car throughout “The Golden Triangle” area, as Seville, Granada and Cordoba are locally known. Granada was the last Islamic princedom in Spain. More Arabic in character than other neighboring Andalusian gems, no place seems to serve as a greater testament to the glories of Andalusia than the hills of Granada, home to the Alhambra Palace and the enchanting gardens of the Generalife Palace, the summer residence of the sultans. Legendary even in their own day, the heart and soul of the Moors who thrived here until their final defeat by the Christians in 1492 can be witnessed today in the rich cultural fabric of the region. Precious marbles, delicately carved wood, the regional fauna, and cascading fountains will show you why the Alhambra Palace is one of Spain’s most captivating sights.
Cordoba, capital of a tolerant society and wines of Jerez
The Moors created a stunning civilization in al-Andalous, the Arabic word for Andalusia. Here the experience of medieval times was a light in the Dark Ages of Europe. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in an advanced and tolerant society. The capital of this enlightened empire, until its fall in 1236, was Cordoba. One of the richest cities in Europe, its palaces and baths were renowned throughout Europe for their sheer opulence. You will experience how much Cordoba’s charm is still largely tied to its Moorish past: its Great Mosque is one of the world’s best known pieces of religious architecture. Be careful not to get lost amidst its vast interior marble column forest!
It is well worth also making a visit to one of Jerez’s many sherry ‘bodegas’ (literally cellars but also wineries), or taking a day trip to Ronda to admire its dramatic natural escarpments. Regardless which areas of Andalusia you visit you are sure to understand why this is the place where travelers go to indulge their fantasies about Spain.