A jack of all trades, Andalucia is the go-to for iconic landmarks, natural wonders, blissful beaches and time-honoured traditions. From wild mountain ranges to bronzed shores washed by the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Spain's southern coast is all about sun, siestas and an obligatory glass of sangria.
Beaches are just the beginning of Andalucia's pulling power. Ancient landscapes and fiery fiesta keep things quintessential, while back to nature adventures are sure to capture your heart and mind. Set to impress with sun across the seasons and pinch-me perfect panoramas around every corner, the Spanish sojourn's got all bases covered.
Dramatic diversity is the name of the game, and Andalucia most definitely holds all the cards. Whether your tastes lean towards luxurious resorts or away-from-it-all escapes, holidays here promise a hotchpotch of hidden delights and tried and tested tourist treasures. Brits might beeline for the glitz and glamour of Marbella's golden mile, but are soon swooning over whitewashed villages and stunning mountain scenery further afield.
There's no denying Andalucia's penchant for the past. Cities are crammed with culture and impressive monuments, from Moorish mosques to gothic cathedrals and spectacularly accessorised Alcázars. Timeless echoes still reverberate through pristinely preserved palaces, while folklore traditions live on in the form of flamboyant flamenco and tasty tapas. If you're looking for a place to experience the essence of Spain, you've found it!
Clue's in the name on Andalucia's 'sunshine coast', where a whopping 320 days of golden rays grace the region every year. Basking in a beautiful Mediterranean climate, the summers are wonderfully warm and winters mild. Home to the only desert in all of Europe, it's no surprise things stay relatively dry too. In July and August temperatures can creep all the way to the mid 30°Cs without even breaking a sweat – although you might be!
Truth be told, it's virtually impossible to see all of Andalucia's sights on one trip. Armed with a to-do list as long as a tapas menu, even the most diligent planner will struggle to squeeze in the sheer amount of activities on offer!
Whitewashed villages are Andalucia's statement attractions, and there are few as famous as Frigiliana. Perched on the foothills of the Sierra de Tejeda natural park and overlooking the glistening sea, this collection of sugar cube houses and winding streets are sure to spark your wanderlust. Regularly hailed as one of Spain's most beautiful villages, you'll be smitten within seconds.
Make your way through the Moorish old quarter, where bougainvillea drapes liberally from balconies and wall-hung pots add pops of colour. Red-roofed residences are meticulously maintained, streets are pedestrianised and life practically slows to a halt. As luck would have it, there's a healthy helping of villas in Frigiliana to relax and slip into local life. Plus there's plenty more pueblos blancos peppered across the region, from gravity-defying Ronda to magical Mijas...
Culture vultures flock to the aptly named 'golden triangle', drawn up between a trio of showstopping cities – Seville, Granada and Cordoba. Teeming with UNESCO World Heritage Sites and architectural wonders, these Iberian Peninsula powerhouses live on in your memory long after you've left. Day-trip devotees are spoilt for choice, as the three Moorish masterpieces are all within easy reach of our Andalucia villas. Between elaborate gold ceilings, dazzlingly decadent palaces and breathtaking bucket list backdrops, the spectacle of these cities are simply spellbinding.
If your coastline is the longest in Spain, it's only natural that beaches will be a focal point for sun-seeking holidaymakers. A one-time fishing village turned low-rise resort, Nerja has kept true to its rustic roots and humble beginnings – centring itself round the Balcón de Europa, its most notorious landmark. Complete with a picturesque plaza lined by palm trees and ice-cream parlours, the panoramic views across turquoise seas and craggy coves are second-to-none! Overflowing with silky, sweeping bays and hidden coastal hideaways, Nerja's most popular beach is undoubtedly Playa de Calahonda.
Stretching out for 600 miles, there's more than enough sand to go around in Andalucia. From world-famous resorts to wild and rugged coves hidden far from the tourist trail, get ready to make a splash in some of Mainland Spain's most beautiful beaches. Seductive shores have been winning hearts for centuries, flanked by honey-hued cliffs and fronted by deep blue waters – it's easier than you might think to find a deserted cove away from the crowds.
Blue Flags, world-class watersports and beachfront bars are a big part of the draw too. Be sure to treat your tastebuds to the local speciality of sardine skewers, often cooked up in front of the charming 'Chiringuitos' and all just a stone's throw from your towel.
Even the mainstream resorts of Marbella and Mijas have their own charms, so put those preconceived notions to bed and plant yourself on a sunlounger for a few hours. With an abundance of family friendly facilities and all the bells and whistles you'd want on a beach day – settle in for carefree convenience and effortless entertainment.
Feed your curiosity with the countless culinary creations that Andalucia offers! Tables creak under piles of little tapas plates, traditions live on in the form of espeto de sardinas (sardine skewers) and crowd-pleasers like paella are still a firm favourite. Fortune favours the bold, so be sure to tuck into the more obscure menu options. From snails in Seville to Malaga's Fritura Malagueña, each province has its own prized dish inspired by local ingredients. Healthy, hearty and filling, the food in Andalucia is deeply influenced by Arabic cuisine.
If you're travelling with fussy foodies – never fear! There's plenty of places serving up British classics, and even a couple of UK supermarkets for the times you fancy stocking your villa cupboards with beloved brands and kid-friendly snacks. The Spanish don't miss a beat when it comes to sugary treats either, so indulge your sweet tooth with classic churros and pastries overflowing with chocolate. The ice-cream is pretty irresistible too!
Whether you're splurging on the golden mile or searching for souvenirs in traditional towns, shopping in Andalucia is sure to ticks all your retail therapy boxes. Puerto Banus and Marbella are decked out with designer heavyweights, high-end brands and unique boutiques. Playground to the rich and famous, this is the place to go for luxury buys and sneak peak of how the other half lives. From decadence to department stores and shopping centres, you'll be able to bag a bargain and find everything you need in one place. Easily accessible and kitted out with eateries and cinemas, there's plenty of entertainment to keep everyone happy.
Local markets and food stalls are the best way to get to grips with any destination, and Andalucia more than delivers! Browse handmade accessories, quirky keepsakes, second-hand products, ceramics and leather goods, or swap fine art and crafts for local produce. Fresh bakes and homemade breads make nice additions to your villa kitchen, while olive oils, jams and other jarred products are perfectly-sized for your suitcase.
Is there anything better than a coastal road trip? Wind in your hair, sun on your face and the smell of salty sea spray hanging in the air. And the best bit? You're most likely on your way to the beach! Andalucia's heavenly highways lead you beside secret coves and golden swathes of sand, revealing beautiful views and transporting you to untouched oases.
Hiring a car brings you closer to the action and lets you explore on your own time. Staying to watch the sunset or changing your plans last minute is all part of the fun, and feeds into the feel-good freedom of a villa holiday. Whether you embark on scenic drives through the Sierras or a self-tour through traditional towns, the world's your oyster behind the wheel.
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