is known to everyone for its sunshine, beaches and flamenco. But it's much more than this: Andalucia is a region of contrasts offering the widest range of tourist activities in all of Spain; from the beaches of the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz to the ski-slopes of the Sierra Nevada. For the cultural tourist there are the fascinating cities of Seville, Granada and Córdoba with their historic Moorish legacy. For nature lovers there are fertile mountain valleys interspersed with pretty whitewashed villages (the famous "Pueblos Blancos"), or the unique wetlands of the Coto Doñana National Park and the desert landscapes of Tabernas. Finally there are the Andalusian people, who live life to the full and are renowned for their exuberance, warmth and hospitality.
The coastline of Andalucia stretches from San Juan de los Terreros in Almería on the Mediterranean coast to Isla Cristina in Huelva Province on the Atlantic coast. The most developed part is the Costa del Sol in the province of Málaga. The main resorts lie to the west of the city of Málaga which is where the best beaches are found. Here there are the upmarket resorts of Marbella, Puerto Banús and Sotogrande. The beautiful Andalucian city of Malaga, capital of the province, is often overlooked by tourists on their way to and from the airport, which is a shame because it has much to offer. One of its claims to fame is having been the birthplace of Pablo Picasso whose house has recently been converted into a museum celebrating his life and works.
East of Málaga the coastline becomes rockier and the beaches tend to be more shingle and pebbles. The charming resort town of Nerja is along this bit of the coast, but has the advantage of a lovely sandy beach. Its focal point is the famous 'Balcón De Europa', a spectacular promenade which projects out from the top of a cliff, offering wonderful views along the coastline. On the outskirts of the town are the 'Cuevas de Nerja', apparently the 3rd most visited attraction in Spain, and where one of the caverns has been turned into a concert hall which stages performances during the summer. A few miles inland is the small white-washed mountain village of Frigiliana with cobbled streets and lovely views to the coast.
Further east, halfway between Malaga and Almería, lies the lesser known Costa Tropical in the province of Granada. It has sandy beaches and hidden coves and a superb climate and all within an hour's drive of Granada and Las Alpujarras. The main resorts along this coast are La Herradura, Almuñécar and the white town of Salobreña which has a long stretch of beach and a moorish castle. The Costa de Almería lies in the most eastern province of Andalucía. It has the warmest and driest climate in the region and averages more than 3,100 hours of sunshine a year. There are a number of good beaches, and among the most popular resorts are Roquetas de Mar and Mojacar; one of the loveliest is San Jose, a small town nestled in a wide sheltered bay, along the coastline of the Cabo de Gata National Park.
On the Atlantic west coast of Andalucía lies the Costa de la Luz located in the provinces of Cádiz and Huelva. It boasts miles of wide golden sandy beaches and dunes and offers the best surfing and windsurfing in Europe. It's a popular area for golfers too. Along the coast are several fine resorts such as Conil de la Frontera, Zahara de los Atunes, Rota, Novo Sancti Petri and Tarifa.
Inland, you could spend a lifetime of holidays:
- Gaucín, one of Andalucia's famous "pueblos blancos"
- The pretty white village of Casares, only 15 minutes from coast
- The National Parks of the Sierra de las Nieves, Montes de Málaga and El Torcal
- Serranía de Ronda with its pretty white villages and the famous town of Ronda
- The pre-historic caves of La Pileta
- The Grazalema Nature Park
- The City of Granada, home of the magnificent Alhambra Palace
- Las Alpujarras, the area south of Granada, made famous by the book 'Driving over Lemons'
- The snow-capped Sierra Nevada nature park
- The old moorish town of Guadix with its cave houses
- The Sierra de Cazorla, one of the most beautiful nature parks in Andalucía
- The city of Córdoba, with its magnificent Mezquita (great mosque)
- The city of Seville, capital of Andalucía
- The towns of Carmona and Osuna
- The Sierra Norte Nature Park and the town of Cazalla de la Sierra
- The Coto Doñana National Park
- Jerez de la Frontera, famous for its sherry and Spanish Riding School
and much more, as you will discover for yourselves.