Things to see and do in Andalucia
Andalucía vacations take you deep into the heart of rural Spain, where you'll find a charming, rustic way of life amongst the rugged limestone landscapes. The highest mountains in the country are found here, thick with ancient pine and oak woods. And then there are white hilltop villages, Moorish palaces, empty beaches backed by Roman ruins and spectacular wildflowers that dust the landscape in spring.
Small group and tailor made tours take you to explore the countryside on foot, bike or via a multitude of high-adrenaline activities. Creative types can spend their time dancing, painting or photographing the rugged landscape. Read on to discover what you can do on a vacation to Andalucía.
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Things to do in Andalucía
Walk this wayWalking in Spain’s southernmost region leads you along rural tracks and paths to diverse landscapes, sun-washed sea views and mountain monasteries. Plus, you’ve got incredible seafood and a warm Andalucían welcome, far away from the beachside tourist traps. Las Alpujarras, on the south slopes of the Sierra Nevada range, is home to lakes fed by mountain streams, lush valleys, Roman ruins and tiny whitewashed pueblos. Meanwhile, stays in Almeria allow you to trek the surreal landscape of the Sierra de los Filabres. Nearby, the protected coastal desert of Cabo de Gata has several walking trails, as well an incredibly rich array of plants and birdlife.
Andalucía walking vacations cater to a range of abilities, and you’ll hit the trails for up to eight hours a day. Small group vacations – where you’ll travel with up to 14 likeminded travelers, as well as an experienced walking guide – are a popular choice in this part of Spain. On these trips you’ll either be based in one hotel or guesthouse, exploring a different part of the local countryside each day, or you’ll move from place to place, with your luggage transferred for you.
Tailor made self guided tours are also popular. Again, you might be based at one location or you might move on daily, following quiet paths from village to village through forests and hills, and staying in comfortable inns and hotels with your bags are delivered ahead for you each day. Or you could enjoy the freedom of a self drive trip. Either way, the days will be well-paced, with maps and walking notes provided.
If you like your vacations crammed full of action, then Andalucía offers a plethora of activity vacations – from five-day taster sessions to two-week extravaganzas. They’ll get your heart racing, your brain in gear and your taste buds tingling. If variety is your bag, then you could plump for a multi activity vacation. This means that you can try something different every day – canyoning, rafting, kayaking or stargazing, for example – without being tied to one sole activity.
Fancy a more leisurely pursuit? Then sign up for a week of language lessons in gorgeous Granada, practicing the lingo by day and spending your evenings at tapas bars, theatre shows and concerts. Or gourmands can take an Andalucía foodie tour, exploring the region’s distinctive cuisine, from the fish markets and tapas bars of Cadiz to local producers of jamon iberico and olive oil.
Unleash your creativityAndalucía’s landscapes are stunning and varied. Dazzling sunlight endures year-round, even when the rest of the continent is cloaked in winter gloom – making it ideal for both painting and photography vacations. On both types of trip, you’ll be based for a week in a guesthouse in one of Andalucía’s famous white villages, along with a small group of around 10 fellow enthusiasts.
You’ll paint or brush up on your photography skills in a variety of locations, including spectacular valleys, mountains and beaches. Evenings are spent getting to know your fellow travelers in family-run restaurants and bars. You’ll need to bring paints and brushes, or a camera, but other equipment and expert instruction will be included.
Get to grips with the pastYou can’t visit Andalucía without feeling the pull of the past, with remnants of its Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and Iberian history scattered throughout the countryside. The cities of Seville, Granada and Cordoba all date back as far as Roman times, and the pueblos blancos (white towns) of Malaga and Granada provinces are a series of whitewashed hillside villages with Moorish and Roman roots. Join small group tours of historic Andalucía to get to know the region’s history, architecture and fiery character.
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There’s a huge range of vacations in Andalucía, ranging from four-day short breaks to two-week explorations. Train links in Andalucía are excellent, and there are major international airports in Granada, Seville, Almeria and Malaga.
The best time to visit is autumn or spring, when wildflowers are in bloom and citrus trees scent the air. Temperatures are scorching and crowds are at their highest in summer, though you can still find relief in the mountains. If you’re prepared to risk a bit of rain, winter can be a good time for walking vacations, with highs of 16°C to 20°C and the inspiring backdrop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains.
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