Andalucía is a popular holiday destination for British and Europeans alike, and understandably so.
Sandy beaches line its coast, first-class seafood can be found in the local restaurants, and a range of historic and cultural attractions fill its cities. Its main draw is its warm temperature and excellent sunshine record, which make it a great place to visit, especially in autumn and winter.
1. Visit Bolonia
A town at the end of a no-through road, Bolonia has the famous Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, modern beach bars and a gorgeous sweep of sand lapped by an azure sea and flanked by a pine-forested dune. There’s a keen breeze too, which attracts water sports enthusiasts.
Bolonia is a small village located in the province of Cadiz, in the southern region of Andalucía. It is known for its beautiful beach, sand dunes, and ancient Roman ruins.
If you're planning to visit Bolonia, here are some things you might want to see and do:
Bolonia Beach: This is the main attraction of Bolonia and for good reason. The beach is long and wide, and the water is crystal clear. You can also climb up the nearby sand dunes for a great view.
Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia: This ancient Roman city is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Spain. You can see the remains of the city's forum, basilica, temples, and even a theatre.
Kitesurfing: Outside of the summer, Bolonia is a popular spot for kitesurfing, with strong winds and calm waters. If you're feeling adventurous, you can take lessons or rent equipment from one of the many kitesurfing schools in the area.
Hiking: The surrounding hills offer some great hiking opportunities, with stunning views of the coast and the countryside.
Local cuisine: Make sure to try the local specialities, such as Gazpacho Andaluz or Tortilla de Camarones.
Overall, Bolonia is a great destination for those looking for a mix of beach, history, and nature. It's a quiet and laid-back village, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
A stunning Moorish palace with an exquisitely decorated interior, the Alhambra in Granada is a UNESCO monument constructed in the 9th century. You’ll find impressive paved courtyards, pools and fountains and beautifully intricate carvings, as well as lush gardens.
Today, the Alhambra is one of Spain's most popular tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are some of the top things to see at the Alhambra:
The Nasrid Palaces: These are the most famous and impressive part of the Alhambra. They were the royal residences of the Nasrid dynasty and feature stunning examples of Islamic architecture and decoration, such as intricate tilework, arabesques, and muqarnas.
The Generalife Gardens: These beautiful gardens were originally built as a summer palace for the Nasrid rulers. They feature terraces, fountains, water channels, and stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.
The Alcazaba: This is the oldest part of the Alhambra, and was originally a military fortress. It features towers, walls, and gates that offer great views of the city.
The Palace of Carlos V: This Renaissance palace was built by the Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V in the 16th century. It features a circular courtyard, a museum of fine arts, and an impressive collection of Renaissance paintings.
The Baths: The Alhambra also has a set of baths that were used by the Nasrid rulers. They feature a cold room, a warm room, and a hot room, as well as a relaxation area and a fountain.
Overall, the Alhambra is a stunning example of Islamic architecture and a must-see destination for anyone visiting Spain. Its intricate details, impressive views, and rich history make it a truly unique and memorable experience.
Jerez is renowned for its production of sherry, one of the world's most distinctive and versatile wines. This fortified wine is made from grapes grown in the nearby Andalusian countryside and has a history that dates back to the 13th century.
Jerez is home to numerous bodegas, or wineries, where you can witness firsthand the production process of this world-famous drink. From the initial fermentation to the maturation process, each step of the process is carefully crafted to ensure the final product is of the highest quality.
Taking a tour of the bodegas is a fascinating experience. You'll have the opportunity to walk through the vineyards, see the grapes being harvested, and learn about the winemaking process from the experts. Some bodegas also offer guided tours that include a tasting, so you can fully appreciate the distinct flavors and aromas of sherry.
Sherry is a versatile wine that comes in a range of styles, from the pale, dry Fino to the rich and dark Oloroso. Tasting different varieties is a great way to discover your own preferences and learn about the nuances of this unique drink.
Beyond the bodegas, Jerez is a charming town with a rich cultural heritage. You can explore the historic old town, with its narrow streets and traditional houses, or visit the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art to watch a mesmerizing display of horsemanship.
Andalucía offers up to 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, making this region, along the southern coast of Spain, a popular winter destination for many in the know. ‘Snow birds’ appreciate its bright, dry winters with average temperatures of 16°C (and warmer on the coast).
Stay on 18 Andalusian campsites for only 10€ per night, including two guests and electricity.
Nestled in the heart of Andalucía lies a natural paradise that has captured the imagination of nature lovers and conservationists from around the world. The Doñana National Park, a vast and pristine wetland ecosystem, is a true gem of Europe and a vital refuge for a remarkable array of flora and fauna.
As one of the continent's most important wetlands, Doñana has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, a recognition of its unique and irreplaceable ecological value. Its ecosystem is shaped by the Guadalquivir River and the Atlantic Ocean, which converge to create a mosaic of marshes, lagoons, sand dunes, and forests.
One of the most striking features of Doñana National Park is its incredible diversity of birdlife. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded here, making it a prime destination for birdwatchers and ornithologists alike.
Among the most iconic inhabitants are the Spanish Imperial Eagle, the White-headed Duck, and the Greater Flamingo. These rare and endangered species have found a safe haven in the park thanks to ongoing conservation efforts that aim to preserve their habitats and protect them from threats such as habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.
But the park's wildlife extends far beyond its feathered residents. Doñana is home to a rich variety of mammals, too, including wild boar, badger, Egyptian mongoose, wildcats and the elusive Iberian Lynx. These charismatic creatures can be seen roaming through the park's forests, marshes, and sand dunes, offering visitors a glimpse into the natural world as it once was.
Nestled along the stunning coastline of southern Spain lies the charming town of Nerja. Just a short drive from the bustling city of Malaga, this picturesque destination is a must-visit for anyone seeking sun, sea, and history.
One of the most notable attractions in Nerja is the Balcony of Europe. Once a fortress built to protect Spain from British pirates, this breathtaking promenade now offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the rugged coastline. Take a leisurely stroll along the Balcony, and you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas that stretch for miles in either direction.
But there's more to Nerja than just the Balcony of Europe. This town boasts a rich history that's evident in its architecture and landmarks. For instance, the impressive Nerja Caves are a testament to the area's ancient past, dating back some 42,000 years. Visitors can explore the cavernous chambers, admiring the striking stalactites and stalagmites that decorate the walls.
For those seeking a taste of local culture, the vibrant streets of Nerja offer plenty of opportunities to soak up the Spanish way of life. From bustling markets to traditional tapas bars, there's something for everyone here. And if you're looking to unwind, the town's beautiful beaches are the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
Flamenco is the iconic art form of Andalucía, a mesmerizing and passionate expression of human emotion, tradition, and culture. With roots dating back almost 500 years, this enigmatic dance form is a unique blend of music, dance, and poetry that has become an integral part of the region's cultural identity.
Flamenco is a highly emotive art form that conveys a wide range of human emotions, from joy and exultation to sadness and despair. The dance is characterized by its rapid footwork, intricate hand gestures, and intense facial expressions that are said to convey the deep emotions of the performer. The music that accompanies the dance is equally expressive, featuring powerful rhythms and soulful melodies that speak to the heart.
While you can watch flamenco performances at commercial tablaos, where professional dancers and musicians put on dazzling displays of skill and artistry, for a more authentic and traditional experience, consider visiting one of the many flamenco peñas that are scattered throughout Andalucía. These informal venues are where locals gather to celebrate and share their love of flamenco. Here, you can witness impromptu performances by local artists, who are often amateurs, but whose passion and talent are truly inspiring.
At a flamenco peña, you'll be immersed in the authentic atmosphere of Andalucía, where music and dance are an essential part of daily life. The intimate setting allows you to appreciate the nuances of the dance and music, as well as the passion and energy of the performers. You'll also get a chance to mingle with locals, who are always eager to share their love of flamenco and offer insights into the art form's rich history and cultural significance.
TOP TIP - Camping Bungalows
More than 15 campsites in this exciting region offer bungalow accommodation, allowing you to leave the caravan or tent at home and still enjoy all this region offers.
Fly to Andalucia; most UK airports serve at least one of the airports in Andalucia:
In the late 15th and early 16th century, the legendary explorer Christopher Columbus set sail from Andalucía on his famous voyages to the Americas. And if you're looking for an immersive experience that will transport you back to this incredible era of exploration, there's no better place to visit than the Wharf of the Caravels near Huelva.
At the Wharf of the Caravels, you'll have the unique opportunity to climb aboard life-size replicas of the three ships that Columbus sailed on his historic journey: the Santa María, the Pinta, and the Niña. These faithful replicas were painstakingly crafted based on historical documents and expert research, and they offer visitors an authentic glimpse into what life was like aboard these legendary vessels.
As you explore the decks of these stunning ships, you'll feel like you've been transported back in time to the age of discovery. You can imagine what it was like for Columbus and his crew as they set out across the Atlantic, braving storms, unknown dangers, and the vast expanse of the open sea. You can stand where Columbus himself stood, gazing out at the horizon and dreaming of the new world that lay ahead.
And of course, you'll also learn about the fascinating history of Columbus and his voyages. You'll discover the challenges he faced, the triumphs he achieved, and the impact his discoveries had on the world as we know it today. From the moment you step aboard these incredible ships, you'll be immersed in a world of adventure, exploration, and discovery.
Seville’s winding lanes and romantic plazas are well worth a day trip. It’s one of Europe’s largest historical centres, with monuments such as the Alcázar Palace and the imposing cathedral earning UNESCO status, and has an infectious vibrancy that’ll leave you smiling.
Seville ceramics are renowned for their intricate designs and bright colours, which reflect the city's long history of Islamic and Christian influences. One of the most famous styles of Seville ceramics is known as "Triana ceramics," which takes its name from the Triana neighbourhood in Seville, where it originated.
This style features bold geometric patterns and vibrant colours and is often used to create decorative tiles and plates. Today, visitors to Seville can explore the city's many ceramics workshops and boutiques, where they can admire the beautiful craftsmanship of these timeless works of art.
Andalucía is a seafood lover’s paradise. Besides paella, the coquinas (clams) cooked with garlic parsley and white wine are delicious, as is the tender grilled squid. If you want to spice things up, try the gambas pil pil – juicy prawns in garlic chilli oil served with white, crusty bread.
Gambas Pil Pil
200 grams - prawns, cleaned and peeled
1/4 teaspoon - dried hot chilli pepper
1 clove - garlic
Bread, to serve
Begin by gently heating the olive oil, then add in the chopped garlic and peppers, and fry for a couple of minutes taking care not to burn the garlic.
Toss in the prawns and continue to fry for an additional minute.
Once done, remove from heat and serve immediately while it's sizzling hot.
Garnish with parsley, and be sure to have some bread on hand for dipping into the delectable, pepper and garlic-infused olive oil.
10. Pop to Picasso’s
Malaga is a city with a rich history and culture. One of its most famous residents was the renowned artist Pablo Picasso. His birthplace, located in the heart of the city, is open to the public and offers a fascinating glimpse into his early life and the influences that shaped his artistic vision.
Visitors toPicaso's birthplace can explore the exhibition rooms, which showcase a variety of photographs, documents, and personal items related to the artist's life and work. The house itself is also of interest, as it has been preserved to reflect the way it looked when Picasso was born there in 1881. You can see the rooms where the artist grew up and get a sense of the family's modest lifestyle.
For those who want to delve deeper into Picasso's art, a few minutes down the road is the Picasso Museum. This museum houses an extensive collection of his works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and ceramics. Visitors can explore the artist's diverse styles and techniques, from his early realistic works to his later abstract pieces. There are also several rooms dedicated to Picasso's personal life, providing a glimpse into his relationships and interests.
The museum is housed in a beautiful 16th-century palace, which provides an elegant backdrop for the artwork on display. There are also regular temporary exhibitions, which offer further insight into Picasso's life and works, as well as those of his contemporaries.
In addition to the birthplace and museum, there are other sites in Malaga that are of interest to Picasso enthusiasts. For example, the Plaza de la Merced, located just a short walk from the birthplace, was a favourite meeting spot for the artist and his friends. The square is now home to several cafes and restaurants, making it a perfect spot to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Rob is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, he is responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and publication of the Alan Rogers Guides.
He has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
With many of Spain's ancient cities built by Romans and Muslims, the ruins impress even today as a testament to their ingenuity. Each city tells a story of struggle, hope and resilience as the population has weathered many upheavals in its history.
As of 2021, there are 43 UNESCO sites in Spain, four of which are located in the Canary Islands, one in Ibiza and one in Mallorca (we've only included mainland sites). Spain joined the 8th Session in 1984 and inscribed five sites; Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Córdoba, The Alhambra and the Generalife, Granada, Burgos Cathedral, Monastery and Site of the Escorial, Madrid and Park Güell, Palau Güell and Casa Milà, Barcelona.