What to do in Andalucia
To visit Andalucia, in the south of Spain, is to discover a very rich region from a cultural and historical point of view. Follow our top 20 things to do in Andalucia as well as all our tips and tricks to visit Andalucia in 2018.
And if you want to do a nature break and hiking, then go to the natural park of Sierra de Grazalema, or, for the bravest, the famous Caminito del Rey.
So, what are the places of interest? Where to go and what to do in Andalucia?
Visit Andalucia: the must-sees
We start this tourist guide of Andalucia by its capital: Seville.
The Andalucian capital is full of historical monuments to discover. For a festive weekend with friends, or a more romantic romantic getaway, this is the perfect destination for not getting bored and enjoying the sun.
Places of interest to visit in Seville:
- The Cathedral Notre-Dame of the seat of Seville: registered with the world inheritance of UNESCO, it is the 3 rd largest cathedral in the world! Inside, you can admire the tomb of Christopher Columbus, the 45 panels depicting scenes from the life of Christ and a large collection of works of art and goldsmithery. Avoid the queue by booking your tickets here!
- The Giralda: from its summit, the bell tower of the cathedral offers a 360 ° panorama over all of Seville.
- The Alcazar: Residence of the King of Spain when he stays in Andalucia, this palace has a sumptuous decoration and beautiful gardens. It is the second tourist site to visit absolutely in Seville! To avoid waiting for hours in the queue, click here!
- The district of Santa Cruz: the historic district of Seville. Concentration of monuments to see, souvenir shops galore, restaurants and cafes, you will understand it is the most touristy place in the city.
- The Spanish Steps: shaped like a semicircle, with its bridges crossing the canal and its benches decorated with azulejos, it is the most beautiful that I could see!
- The Maria Luisa Park: located right next to the Spanish Steps, it is the ideal place to walk and cool off a bit.
Find all the things to see in Seville, Andalucia, in our dedicated article: Top 15 places not to miss in Seville.
Among the most beautiful places to visit in Andalucia, I highly recommend you to go to Cordoba. Just 40 minutes by train from Seville, the city is one of the must – see attractions in Andalucia.
What to do in Cordoba
- Visit the Mezquita (to book in advance here) of course! If there is only one site to visit in Cordoba, it is the cathedral mosque. The interior, with its arcades and columns in red and white colors really gives off a very special atmosphere.
- Discover the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. Alternately residence of Catholic kings, seat of the inquisition then prison, the Alcazar deserves a visit for its magnificent gardens. I even found them more beautiful than those of the Alcazar of Seville.
- Stroll through the Jewish quarter of Cordoba to see the calleja de las Flores, the synagogue and the chapel of San Bartolomé
- Cross the Roman bridge to admire the view of the mosque-cathedral and the old town. To do at sunset!
Cordoba is one of my favorites during my stay in Andalucia.
And as there are many other places to see in Cordoba, read our article on the city: Visit Cordoba: the ultimate guide
With Seville and Cordoba, Granada completes the trio of cities to see absolutely in Andalucia.
Granada also has its historical monument: the famous Alhambra of Granada. Beautiful set of several palaces, it is one of the most emblematic monuments of Islamic architecture. And if you enjoyed the visits to the gardens of the Alcazar of Seville and Cordoba, there is no doubt that the Gardens of the Generalifewill impress you!
Entrances to the Alhambra are limited to “only” 3300 people in the morning and as many in the afternoon. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra is the most visited monument in Spain. You will have understood that it is imperative to book your tickets in advance if you want to visit it.
Also worth seeing in Granada, Andalucia:
- the miradors of San Nicolas and San Miguel Alto for their spectacular panorama
- the Albaicin district to attend a flamenco show in the middle of the street
- the cathedral of Granada and the museum of the catholic kings
- the district of Sacromonte and its troglodyte houses
Among the places not to be missed in Andalucia , Ronda is at the top of the list!
Ronda is a very pretty little hilltop village that overlooks a green valley in Andalucia. The main attraction to see in Ronda is the Pont Neuf. You will find it on all postcards! It connects the old part to the modern part of Ronda, spanning the river and the valley.
If you want to make the perfect photo, go to Plaza Maria Auxiliadora where you will find the path that goes down to the 2 points of view on the bridge.
In Ronda, you can also visit the bullring, the Mondragon Palace, the Bandit Museum and the King’s Palace.
All information to visit Ronda can be found in our article: Top 10 things to see and do in Ronda.
5. The white villages
In the list of things to do in Andalucia, I recommend you add a day to devote to the white villages road. The most famous route of Andalucia will make you discover the most beautiful corners and villages.
The white villages or Pueblos Blancos are for the most part located at the top of the hills, which used to protect them from possible enemy attacks. The white color of their wall, meanwhile, is supposed to prevent them from coming out of the strong Andalucian heat in summer. These villages are all very charming with their little streets with flowered balconies.
On the way to the white villages of Andalucia, I advise you to stop at:
- Arcos de la Frontera: you will discover beautiful churches as well as the castle of los Duques. The panorama from the viewpoint is also breathtaking. Arcos is the highest of the white villages.
- Grazalema: for its 3 watchtowers offering panoramic views of the village and the Sierra
- Zahara de la Sierra: one of the most typical and most beautiful with its castle in ruins and the view of the turquoise lake below
- Setenil de las Bodegas: a white village of Andalucia very particular because most houses are troglodytes and dug directly under a huge rock.
6. The Natural Park of Sierra de Grazalema
In Andalucia, you can also indulge in something a little more athletic than just visiting the cities, hiking.
The natural park of Sierra de Grazalema is then the ideal place for that. It is located on the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga, near the villages of Arcos or Zahara.
Depending on your level, your desire and also depending on the heat and the period (some trails are closed in case of risk of fire in summer), the park offers several hiking routes for all levels.
Do not hesitate to inquire at the visitors center of the village of El Bosque, Zahara de la Sierra or Ubriqueto know the open trails. Some of them also require specific authorization.
If it’s hot, I recommend the path “El Rio Majaceite” is a hike easy about 4 hours round trip that runs along the river starting from El Bosque.
The trail is in the shade and you can enjoy the river to cool off and even picnic. Many Andalucian families find themselves on their banks on Sundays to eat.
If you do not know what to do in Andalucia and you are fond of culture, I advise you to visit Malaga.
In addition to being a seaside resort and therefore a flagship destination in Andalucia for beach lovers, Malaga has several cultural places very interesting to see:
- The Pablo Picasso museum (entrance ticket here): it is located in the birthplace of this immense artist who was born there in 1881. You will discover his life, his works and even some of his personal objects.
- The Pompidou Cultural Center: an annex of the famous Pompidou Center in Paris presenting several contemporary works of art.
- The Carmen Thyssen Malaga Museum: a very rich collection of Spanish and Andalucian paintings.
- The Russian Museum of Malaga: located in a former tobacco factory, discover a rich collection of Russian art.
And to enjoy a splendid panorama on all the city and the port, do not miss to go on the walls of the fortress of Malaga: the Alcazaba.
8. The Caminito del Rey
In the surroundings of Malaga, the road “El Caminito del Rey” is one of the most spectacular natural tourist sites in Andalucia.
Here we do not laugh anymore, this paragraph is reserved for thrill-seekers who do not feel dizzy. Until 2015, when it was completely renovated and restored to safety standards, the hiking trail “El Caminito del Rey” was considered the most dangerous in the world!
Located in the El Chorro Gorge, it was once used to transport equipment for the 2 neighboring hydroelectric power plants and consisted of simple wooden piers with no barriers, clinging to the cliffs.After several fatalities, it was closed in 2000 and only opened again in 2015.
Today, the course more than 100 meters high is no longer dangerous, however it is still impressive. Think carefully before committing to it if you feel dizzy, because once you start you will not be able to turn around again. The trail is indeed “one-way”, from north to south and does not make a loop, so you have to go all the way!
To reassure you, you can choose to go on a guided tour in the Caminito. The guide will give you more information about the history and geography of the place. Remember to book early just here, as tours are often full weeks before.
Cadiz is not necessarily considered a leading destination in Andalucia, facing competition from more famous cities like Seville and Granada.
Nevertheless, it was one of the cities that I preferred to visit in Andalucia. Exactly, perhaps because it is less touristy and you will not have to queue in full sun to enter the monuments.
Selection of places not to miss in Cadiz, Andalucia:
- The Plaza de San Juan de Dios where is the Town Hall and the Church of San Juan. Lined with cafes and restaurants, it is one of the most pleasant places in Cadiz.
- The Roman theater whose visit is free
- The cathedral of Cadiz whose top of the bell tower allows to admire a panorama on all the city
- San Sebastian Castle and Santa Catalina Castle, 2 located by the sea
- The beach of Caleta for the bathing break
Find our Top 12 things to do in Cadiz in our article: Visit Cadiz.
10. The Doñana National Park
The Doñana National Park is the ideal place for a nature break in Andalucia and to alternate a little with the visit of historical monuments.
Located in the province of Huelva, it is about 1 hour drive from Seville and 50 minutes from Cadiz.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this site, among the largest protected areas in Europe, is famous for the observation of fauna and flora. If you are lucky, you can see flamingos, deer, fallow deer, birds and especially an Iberian lynx, a feline threatened with extinction.
To visit the Doñana National Park, you can take different paths on foot. The visitor centers of Matalascañas (Huelva) of Villamanrique de la Condesa (Seville) and Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz) will provide information on the routes to take.
The park is very extensive, you can also choose to go by bike, horseback, boat or even bus all terrain and 4 × 4. For this excursion, guides will take you to the most beautiful corners of the park and maybe even to discover the lynx! It is imperative to book early just here.
Where to go in Andalucia to enjoy beautiful beaches and go out at night?
Answer: in Marbella, an upscale seaside resort of Costal Del Sol!
On the program: 27 km of beaches, each one more beautiful than the next, prestigious villas, luxury boutiques and ultra-select cafés and nightclubs! Marbella is famous for hosting tourists with a high budget and especially fond of partying. The nightlife is very developed.
If you want to have a glimpse of all this luxury, you have to go to the Marina of Puerto Banus, where are moored the yachts of the most fortunate. The stars and the fortunes of the whole world come often make a small passage in Marbella in summer.
But if sequins and bling bling do not interest you, Marbella, it is also a pretty historical center with flowery houses where to walk quietly. And you can also enjoy an afternoon at the beach. That of Cabopino, also called Dune d’Artola is the most famous because protected from the wind and with a shallow and translucent water.
12. Jerez de la Frontera
If you have visited all the famous cities and are wondering what to visit in Andalucia, head to Jerez de la Frontera.
Not far from Cádiz, the city is famous for its wine, the famous Sherry wine or Sherry for the English. More than twenty wineries and wineries are in the city and will all be willing to visit you and especially to sherry. To enjoy a guided tour in one of the most legendary bodegas in Jerez and do a tasting session, I recommend you book here.
Another traditional activity of Andalucia and present in Jerez : horse breeding. It is at the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art that the most beautiful Andalucian horses are raised, trained and trained. To attend the training and enjoy a guided tour of the stables, take your ticket directly here. It’s a must visit in Jerez, Andalucia!
And to admire all the talent of the squires and their horses, the most popular tourist attraction of Jerez, is to attend a show of the royal school. Lasting 90 minutes, the show presents several choreographies to the rhythm of traditional Spanish music. Reservations for an unforgettable evening, it’s here!
13. The caves of Nerja
What to do in Andalucia with children? Well if you are visiting Andalucia with your family, I recommend an outing to the caves of Nerja.
The caves were discovered completely by chance in 1959 by students looking for bats. They are nearly 4 km long but only 1/3 of the cave is open to visitors.
Unlike many other caves where guided tours are imposed, the caves of Nerja can be visited freely. The flow is still controlled, a number of visitors is allowed every 1/2 hours.
With an audio guide you can learn more about their history and discovery. Allow about 45 minutes for the visit and a lot of steps. Plan for comfortable shoes and a jacket, as it is well known: It is quite cold in the caves, even in summer!
You will have access to different rooms including the cataclysm room where is one of the widest and tallest columns in the world but also to the room of the Torca with many rock paintings.
If you want more information about the Nerja Caves, check out the official website ( in Spanish and English).
14. The Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras
If you visit Andalucia in the summer and you are too hot, a tip: go to Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras. It is the highest mountain range in the Iberian Peninsula with more than 20 summits at 3,000 meters altitude.
Here no heat in this region of high mountains and especially Andalucia wilder, less tourist and more authentic. The villages of the Alpujarras are indeed famous for their picturesque and out of time.
Enjoy your stay in the Sierra Nevada for hiking in the mountains or enjoy various activities such as climbing, paragliding, mountain biking or horse riding.
And if you visit Andalucia in winter, you can ski on the 105 km of slopes and at the same time enjoy a splendid view of the sea and Granada!
It is at the end of Andalucia that you will find Gibraltar. Particularity, Gibraltar actually belongs to the United Kingdom and is therefore not at all Spanish although located in Andalucia. You will need to cross a border to get there and waiting times are usually long if you go by car.
You will find English signs, English phone booths and English buses and pubs. Gibraltar also has its own currency: the Gibraltar Pound, the equivalent of the pound sterling. You will have to change your Euros upon arrival.
In Gibraltar, the must visit is Upper Rock, the rock of Gibraltar. You can get there by car, on foot or by cable car. In any case, you will have to pass right in the middle of the airport where traffic between planes, cars and pedestrians is governed by traffic lights !!!
At Upper Rock, do not miss to see:
- The Saint Michael Cave which served as a hospital during the Second World War. Sound and light shows are organized here today.
- The famous monkeys of the rock! There are more than 200 who walk in total freedom. Pay attention to your belongings and do not bring food.
- The tunnels of the Great Siege carved on the rock
- The Moorish castle, of which only one tower remains
16. The Cabo de Gata-Nijar Nature Park
The Cabo de Gata Natural Park is the largest protected maritime and terrestrial area on the entire Mediterranean coast. Of volcanic origin, it offers several types of landscapes ranging from beautiful beaches and coves to a wild and desert landscape.
Activities to do in Cabo Park, Andalucia:
- hiking on one of the many marked trails
- scuba diving
- a boat ride
- swim on one of the world famous beaches of Cabo de Gata like Las Salinas or Los Muertos
- observe birds and flamingos in saline
- explore the small fishing villages of Las Negras or San José
17. The Tabernas Desert
It is in the North of Almeria that you will find the desert of Tabernas, the largest arid desert in Europe.
It is a very famous corner in Andalucia because it has been used for the filming of many spaghetti westernssuch as “The good, the bad and the ugly” and “For a handful of dollars”. It is also in the desert that were shot “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Indiana Jones”.
In Tabernas, I advise you to visit Fort Bravo, one of the villages built to serve as a backdrop for a film from the American Wild West and which was kept at the end of the shooting. You can visit the saloon and witness a duel between sheriff and bandit!
If you want to visit the desert with a guide and not miss the exceptional scenery of the Tabernas Desert, I recommend you book a 4 * 4 2-hour tour just here (the most convenient way to get around).
18. Ubeda and Baeza
To visit Ubeda and Baeza, in the province of Jaen, in Andalucia, is to discover 2 small towns registered with the UNESCO world heritage for their numerous monuments of Renaissance style.
Lost in the middle of the olive groves, and located only 8 km from each other, the 2 have kept a charm quite authentic and different from the typical Andalucian villages with white facades.
What to see in Uubeda, Andalucia:
- The sacred chapel of the Savior: a jewel of the Spanish Renaissance
- The Vazquez Palace of Molina, today the Town Hall
- The palace of Dean Ortega, a building of the 16th century
- The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria de los Reales Alcazar
The essentials of Baeza, in Andalucia:
- Visit the Baeza Cathedral
- Discover the palace of Jabalquinto
- Go see the church of Saint John the Evangelist
- Walk the Plaza del Populo
19. Go see a flamenco show
Among the things to see in Andalucia, attending a flamenco show is a must!
It is here that this art finds its origin in XVII century, it is very anchored in the culture and the history of Andalucia. Of gypsy origin, flamenco mixes 3 artistic practices: singing, dancing and guitar.
You will have no trouble attending a flamenco show in Andalucia, there are everywhere and even in the street.
- In Seville, I recommend the tablao (place where flamenco is played) “Los Gallos”, the oldest in the city and which hosts internationally renowned artists. The Museo del Baile Flamenco show is also very good, and not too expensive! To attend, you must book your tickets in advance here!
- In Granada, the best flamenco shows take place in cellars in the traditional district of Sacromonte. I recommend this one, to book directly here!
- In Cordoba also, attend an excellent show in a beautiful building at tablao Flamenco Cardenal.
Flamenco is today considered one of the main tourist attractions of Andalucia.
20. Enjoy tapas
To visit Andalucia is also to discover the gastronomy.
And as you are in Spain, I do not tell you anything by telling you that you will surely taste plenty of tapas during your trip to Andalucia .
Whether in Seville, Granada, Ronda or even in the smallest of villages, tapas are in the spotlight everywhere at the cocktail hour ! From classic tapas to much more original recipes, tapas is an integral part of Andalucian cuisine .
Each establishment has its specialties and it is not uncommon for Spaniards to go to several bars during the same evening. There is even a verb to designate this, “tapear”!
The cities of Malaga and Granada are particularly famous for their tapas. In Granada, the tradition is that when you order a drink, tapas are offered! Competition is then tough to stand out in the originality and presentation of tapas. Among the classic tapas you will find Russian salad (potatoes with tuna and corn), croquettes and tortillas.
According to the expression, Andalucia is the ideal place to “get out of tapas” (“tapear” in Spanish)!
And what did you plan to do in Andalucia? What places of interest do you want to visit?
Travel to Andalucia: flight prices
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