Like most of Europe, the old meets the new, and while Granada has its modern side, it is its historic neighborhoods that bring praise and for good reason. Atop a mountain overlooking the Albaicin is the formidable and beautiful Moorish castle, the famous Alhambra, which is a must see and feel experience; but for me, I equally enjoyed wandering through the winding passages of the Albaicin. The Sierra Nevada mountains are north of the city, and must be apart of every itinerary, especially if you’re as nature-obsessed as I am. Among the attractions in and around Granada, you will want to consider seeing the Capilla Real, Catedral Santa María de la Encarnación, The Gypsy Quarter of Sacromonte, and La Alcaicería (Arab Spice Market).
Along Spain’s southern coast sits the infamous Costa Del Sol, and while it’s known as being the tourist strip of Spain, and it is, the coast also provides a fine starting point to seeing the rest of Spain as you move north. There are family-friendly options in Benalmadena if the shops, restaurants and night life of Torremolinos are too much for you, and there’s no shame in that – it’s not for everyone. For me, I enjoyed seeing the beach life, but as soon as I could, I went inland and explored the amazing nearby city of Ronda. Ronda sits at atop split cliffs that overlook some of the most beautiful green areas of southern Spain. The town is well-known for its bridge that lent inspiration to the Lord of the Rings, but there is so much more to that region. Don’t miss Malaga, Playa del Cañuelo, Pueblos Blancos, Parque de la Paloma, and the Marbella Old Quarter.
Seville is a personal favorite of mine, for it is an awesome blend of history meets modern Spanish life. There are castles and relics among a fiery nightlife and bustling city life. There are neighborhoods full of soul, while there are streets of old that tell the story of rebels and matadors and flamenco. Seville is known as the birthplace of the passionate dance of Flamenco. The astounding Alcázar Palace is near many of the best foods and museums in all of Spain, which sets the city up for being one of the best wandering cities in Europe. Walk and wander and you will discover what it is to be Spanish and what it means to live in Spain in modern day. See a Flamenco show then find where the matadors perform then tour the art of the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, before nightfall. Taste the food and the tapas before having a drink and wandering around the streets where the youthful congregate, for Seville is a sight to see and an experience to have and cherish forever.
As I said, Andalucia is a diverse place, and while I’ve highlighted only a few of the most important regions, there is so much more I’ve yet to cover… If you get a chance to spend time in Spain, especially in the southern regions, then you won’t want to miss the monkeys of Gibraltar, the famous southern route of the Camino de Santiago, and then there’s the Alcazar in Jerez, the Museo de Cadiz, and the Mezquita & Medinat al-Zahra palaces of Cordoba. There’s always Costa de Almeria, east of Malaga, and the Costa de la Luz region closer to Portugal, west of Seville and Cadiz.
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