Andalucía is justifiably proud of its wide range of top class attractions in all eight provinces, such as the Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches, the Sierra Nevada and monuments dating back to Moorish times.
Stretching from Almería to Huelva, Andalucía is one of the most complete destinations in the world, thanks to the fact that its eight provinces are so diverse. Without leaving the region, it is possible to visit thousand-year-old monuments, sunbathe on glorious beaches, play golf on world class courses or enjoy sport in the snow at one of the principal ski resorts in southern Europe.
With its very extensive range of facilities, Andalucía seems to have been especially designed to satisfy all tastes. Those who are looking for excitement, with adrenalin-pumping sports such as climbing, ﬂying or hiking, will ﬁnd the perfect setting for all of these in different parts of Andalucía, and while they practice them they can enjoy impressive views over the stunning countryside.
Lovers of gastronomy will also discover that Andalucía offers quality food, products, and recipes, which in some cases have been traditional for hundreds of years. Hams from Huelva, prawns from Sanlúcar, avocados from Málaga and salt-cured tuna ﬁllets from Cádiz are just some of the specialties of a region which has an abundance of two fundamental pillars of the Mediterranean diet: wine and extra virgin olive oil.
Andalucía today is one of the few places in the world that can boast a spectacular range of culinary products thanks to its land and its seas. It is a privileged region because the variety of its eco-systems has meant that non-native species could develop with maximum guarantees of safety and quality.
The region has a wealth of natural spaces: seas, mountains, desert, meadows, plains, ﬁelds, rivers, marshes and woods; different climates, ranging from subtropical to desert, passing through high mountain and Mediterranean, hours of sunshine, soil rich in nutrients and different types of land, the cultural legacy of the civilizations which settled here, the tradition, imagination and creativity of its people, innovation and avant-garde technology. All of these contribute to the fact that Andalucia can be considered Europe’s biggest ‘pantry’.
There is also a huge variety of culture on offer. Andalucía is home to some of the world’s most important monuments, such as the Giralda cathedral tower in Seville, the Alhambra in Granada and the Mosque-Cathedral in Córdoba.
There are remains dating back thousands of years from the civilizations that made this region their home in the past, such as Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors,
Standing between Europe and Africa, and the place where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet, this region has been coveted by numerous cultures since history as we know it began, and even before that.
The culture of Andalucía can be enjoyed by visiting the many important museums to be found in the regions different provinces. The heritage of Velazquez, Murillo and Picasso gives us paintings, sculptures, jewellery, images and archaeological remains in the form of cathedrals, museums, churches, monasteries and palaces, acting as guardians of a spectacular collection of art.
Even in the most far-off parts of the region one is likely to find a top quality altarpiece, a painting by a grand master or the most elaborate gold and silverwork.
Rural and nature tourism is another of this region’s strengths. Without leaving the area, you can visit places of such environmental importance as the Doñana and Sierra Nevada national parks, or the natural parks of Los Alcornocales and the Sierra de las Nieves, among others. Mountain peaks more than 1,000 metres high, extensive wetlands and remarkable geological formations are all to be found in Andalucía for those who want to explore a variety of landscapes, many of them totally astonishing.
The diversity of countryside ranges from the warm valley of the Guadalquivir to green mountain ranges, volcanic areas such as the Tabernas desert or the snow covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada. This wealth of nature is accompanied by lovely inland ‘pueblos blancos’, or white villages, which can be found in such picturesque settings as La Alpujarra, Grazalema, the Genal valley and the Sierra de Aracena, among others.
Another fundamental pillar of tourism in Andalucía is its 1,100 kilometre long coastline, with virgin beaches, magnificent cliffs, marshlands ﬁlled with life and an underwater world which is still barely known.
Every year millions of visitors come to the Mediterranean and Atlantic beaches of Andalucía, which all have different characteristics. The Costa de la Luz in Huelva and Cádiz provinces, the Costa del Sol in Málaga, the Costa Tropical in Granada and the Costa de Almería are some of the most popular coastal destinations in Europe.
The variety of festivals and celebrations in Andalucia is as wide as the region’s geography, and the calendar resembles an encyclopaedia which sums up the arts and customs of its people and places.
There are festivals to celebrate spring and the sowing of new produce, patron saints, grape harvests, pilgrimages, crafts, gastronomy, music, religious beliefs and much more.
The Carnival celebrations early in the year kick everything off to a rumbustious start, with satirical songs and comedy. At Easter the religious brotherhoods carry their most valuable treasures in procession to accompany the images of Christ and the Virgin Mary, following a route that is faithfully repeated every year. The Corpus Christi festival in June is the perfect motive for a brilliant procession, and the May Crosses are a spectacular combination of the religious and the profane.
Flamenco is the most genuine expression of Andausian folklore, and the ﬂamenco festivals in the summer have performances to suit all tastes.
Andalucía is also famous for its artisan ceramics and pottery, metalwork and jewellery, leather for clothes and saddlery, textiles, which range from blankets to lace and shawls, and craftsmen continue to showcase a whole range of skills including furniture making, weaving vegetable ﬁbres, binding, working in stone and marble, making musical instruments and many others.