Best places to visit in Andalusia, Southern Spain

Andalusia stretches over 87,268 km of land. One of the bigger regions in Spain, Andalusia makes up 17% of the country. There is so much to offer visitors. Here are some highlights in this fascinating part of the country and some ideas for your holiday in the South of Spain.

Cabo de Gata, Almeria

Cabo de Gata, Almeria

This area is named Cabo de Gata after the mineral Agate (Agata) which used to be mined here. As you drive through this National Park you will see the landscapes vary. From deserts with cacti and prickly pear trees to beautiful rugged, unspoiled and natural beaches.

You will discover villages that look like they came straight out of the Wild West. It's easy to see how this area has attracted so many film producers. Ridley Scott filmed scenes for the film Exodus at Playa de Los Genoveses. The bird scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was also filmed here.

The Alpujarra villages and the Sierra Nevada

Pampaneira - Alpujarras

These small villages extend across a large area in the provinces of Granada and Almeria. The Alpujarras sit in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and boast dramatic landscapes. A day out around the Alpujarras is a truly unique experience. The locals thrive on the sale of their craftwork and delicious food from the area.

This group of villages is currently on the UNESCO waiting list to be added as a World Heritage site. They have a history of silk production and were once one of the main producers of silk in the world. You will love a holiday in the province of Granada and this area of Andalusia if you enjoy nature, walking, hearty food, and local crafts. A great time to visit the villages in the Alpujarras is when they are celebrating one of the fiestas in the summer months.

The stunning mountain range of Sierra Nevada is also home to Europe’s most southerly ski resort and offers one of Europe’s longest ski seasons, usually starting in late November and running until early May. The resort is just over an hour’s drive from the beautiful beaches on the Costa Tropical and under thirty minutes from the center of Granada city. There are many hiking routes around the Sierra Nevada, which you can explore if skiing isn't your thing or if you arrive outside of the ski season. 


View of the Alhambra Palace, Granada

Granada city is famous for its rich culture and history, a trip here is one of the best things to do in Andalusia. The city combines influences from Moorish, Jewish, Roman, and Christian traditions. From the gypsy neighborhood in the Sacromonte to the Moorish neighborhood in the Albaicín, the streets of Granada are a story of its diverse history. 

Of course, Granada is famous for the spectacular Alhambra Palace and gardens which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located overlooking the city itself, around 2.7 million people visit the Alhambra every year. The site began as a fortress over 1000 years ago. As the years passed it had different purposes as different monarchs conquered the Kingdom of Al Andalus and ruled the land.

A fascinating history lies before any visitor to this spectacular place. The intricate plasterwork on the walls seems unending. The reflective details in the architecture add symmetry to the Nasrid Palaces. As you wander through the Alhambra complex you may think you have traveled back in time.

Playa de Las Doncellas, Costa Tropical

When people think of Granada as a province they often don’t think of the beach. However, the Costa Tropical is the Mediterranean coastline of Granada. Stretching over just 19 km, it is where the beauty of the mountains meets the coast.

Sometimes known as the rugged coast, the Costa Tropical remains a fairly untouched and rural Spanish coastline that sits just down the road from the bustling coastline of the Costa del Sol. One of the towns to visit on the Costa Tropical is Almuñecar. With a subtropical climate, bathe in the turquoise sea or roam around the town trying the typical cuisine of fresh fish, and tropical fruit.


Cordoba Mosque

Cordoba is another region in Spain influenced by the occupation of several Kingdoms throughout history. Also famous for its colorful Patio festival or 'battle of the flowers' held in Spring, Cordoba is another one of Andalusia's must-see places. 

Yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, visiting the Mezquita of Cordoba is one of the best things to do in Southern Spain. The building of this impressive mosque began in 785 and took around 200 years to complete. This Mosque-Cathedral is located in the center of the old quarter of Cordoba city. The central hall is made up of hundreds of columns and arches. Many of these stone columns came from other countries across the empire, although at first glance they look alike. 

You can easily explore Cordoba on foot. Along this route, you will take a walk through history highlighting symbolic architecture such as Juderia - the old Jewish quarter and the Puente Romano - the ancient Roman bridge.


Palacio de Obispo, Malaga City

The coastal towns of Malaga are popular places for holiday rentals because of their beaches and nightlife, but the old quarter of Malaga city should also be included on your tour around Andalusia. The city has its own fortress or ‘Alcazaba’ and an impressive Roman amphitheater too. The views from the Alcazaba over the coastline and the port are well worth the jaunt up the hill.

As you walk around the city center you may see flower sellers with traditional white jasmine for sale. Known locally as biznagas, they make an authentic gift to take home. Don’t miss Calle Larios, the main commercial street, or the bar Pimpi, a must-see for any visitor to Malaga.

Caminito del Rey

In the province of Malaga lies another one of Spain’s most impressive attractions, The Caminito del Rey- the King’s pathway. Not for the faint-hearted, the walkway is pinned along a narrow gorge but walkers brave the heights as it is worth it for the spectacular scenery.



Ronda is located inland of the Malaga province. The town is split into two by a vast gorge, the old town and the newer part where the commercial area is. The surrounding countryside and views from the bridge make for impressive holiday photos.

The bridge - Puente Nuevo - inspired Ernest Hemingway in his novel ‘For whom the bell tolls.’ Ronda’s Plaza de Toros has a museum that displays different aspects of this Spanish tradition. A visit to Ronda truly is one of the best things to do in Andalusia.


Plaza España, Seville, Andalusia

The city of Seville is famous for its Easter processions and its traditional Feria de Abril. If you have a chance to visit at Easter time you will be able to enjoy the intense atmosphere of the processions known as Semana Santa. The Feria de Abril follows after Easter and lasts for 10 days. Colorful flamenco dresses and lots of bottles of manzanilla dry wine are enjoyed each year. This time of year the temperature in Seville is perfect for exploring the city on foot.

Monuments worth visiting in the city are the Cathedral of Seville with its famous bell tower called La Giralda, the Alcázar (Moorish castle), and the ancient Merchants’ exchange where the extremely valuable archival documents illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines are kept. These three buildings are UNESCO listed. The Plaza de España, Parque Maria Luisa, and the neighborhood of Triana are also a must-see in Seville. 

If you are visiting the province of Seville it is also worth taking a trip along the route of the Pueblos Blancos of Andalusia. These stunning white villages sit on the top of the hills in the province. Distinguished by white-washed houses and cobbled streets, these villages are a snapshot of the history of the Province. The architecture here is influenced by North Africa, the Moors' native land. Spend some time wandering around the narrow streets and enjoy taking idyllic holiday photos.



This coastal city is still one of the most important seaports in the country and is the oldest city in Spain, founded in the 11th century B.C. It's often called the Tacita de Plata, meaning the 'silver tea cup'. There is something special about the city of Cadiz. The atmosphere and the friendly locals make it one of the best places to visit in Andalusia. 

One of the best things to do in Cadiz city is to taste some tapas in the Barrio de La Palma,  just a short walk from the beach. Take a walk along the fortified walls beside the sea and see the San Esteban Castle. You can also see Cadiz from above at Torre Tavira, using their 'camara oscura.'

Playa Bolonia, Tarifa, Cadiz

Cadiz is also famous for its beaches. The Costa de la Luz is an especially popular destination for vacationing Spaniards. This coast faces the Atlantic and a particularly special place is Tarifa. In this beach town you can stand at the point where the Atlantic sea meets the Mediterranean sea. Due to the slight difference in the tide of the Atlantic during the summer months, the beaches are a great place for water sports, from paddle surfing to kitesurfing.

Jerez de la Frontera

Tabanco San Pablo

There is nowhere better in Andalusia to visit a Bodega than in Jerez. There are several established bodegas offering visits and tasting tours in Jerez and in Puerto Santa Maria. Pay a visit to one of the wine cellars and learn about the process behind producing top-quality wine and sherry.

The wine and sherry culture of Jerez is also reflected in its gastronomy. Local game and fish are marinated in sherry resulting in rich and tasty dishes. One to try is sautéed artichokes with prawns, parsley, and fino sherry for a real taste of Jerez.

The province of Jerez is also known for its devotion to preserving the ancestral abilities of the Andalusian horse through maintaining traditional Baroque-style horsemanship. At The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, you can tour the school and see shows such as ‘How the Andalusian horses dance,’ equestrian ballet with classical dressage. and quintessential Spanish music.

The best way to travel around Andalusia

Andalusia is one of the most beautiful regions in Spain. With its diverse landscapes as well as history and culture, the region has so much to offer. Often considered to be more traditional than other parts of Spain, you will not be disappointed when you visit this beautiful part of Southern Spain.

Day trips and coach trips around Andalusia are the best way to see what this region has to offer no matter where you are staying in the province.  If you don't rent a car, the best way to see Andalusia is by bus. The extensive bus network goes to even the smallest hilltop villages in Andalusia. Buses are cheaper and you can reach many more destinations than by train. 

Coach companies such as ALSA offer great intercity services as well as more remote routes. Get buses along the coast as well as to the best cities and towns in Andalusia. Most of the bus routes run a couple of times a day, depending on where you are heading.