Welcome to Andalusia
Andalusia, here all of the Spanish cliché’s seem to come together… Flamenco music & dancing, unique festivals & celebrations, traditional tapas and paella, sunny beaches, whitewashed villages etc. Andalusia is Spain’s most southerly region where the typical characteristics of the Spanish are more pronounced than in any other region. Once Spain’s poorest region, Andalusia - and specifically the provinces of Malaga, Granada and Seville - is now one of the most favourite destinations in Europe for travellers from all over world. Thanks to it’s ever present sun, the many different beaches, beautiful and unspoilt countryside, spectacular mountain ranges, fabulous monuments and high-spirited people who live life to the fullest and are well known for their exuberance, warmth and hospitality! Andalusia is one of the warmest regions anywhere in Europe. It has a warm, Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and mild winters. If there is one characteristic trait of Andalusia’s atmosphere… it is its light. The large amount of hours of sunshine make the cheerful, hospitable character of the region’s people.
Andalusia, a bridge joining Europe and Africa, meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, has been coveted by many different cultures throughout history and prehistory. Perhaps the most unique feature of this enchanting region are the remnants of its Moorish past. The towns of Cordoba, Seville and Granada once homed the most sophisticated civilisations of the Middle Ages. Each of these Andalusian capitals boasts spectacular monuments of their past, the most impressive one is, undoubtedly, Granada’s Alhambra palace. The name Andalusia traces back to the arabic language after the Moorish invasion in the 8th century. The Arabic name was a corruption of earlier Vandalusia or the land of the Vandals, the Germanic tribe that invaded Spain after the fall of the Roman Empire and set up various kingdoms in Southern Spain and North Africa. Andalusia was the center of power in medieval Muslim-dominated Iberia. Besides Muslim or “Moorish” influences, the region's history and culture have been influenced by the earlier Iberians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Roman Empire, Vandals, Visigoths, all of whom preceded the Muslims, as well as the Castilian and other Christian North Iberian nationalities who conquered and repopulated the area in the latter phases of the Reconquista. There was also a relatively large Sephardic Jewish presence. According to Islamic legend, the people of El Andalus asked Allah for five favours – clear blue skies, seas full of fish, trees laden with every kind of fruit, beautiful women and a fair system of government. Allah granted them everything except the last favour on the basis that if all five gifts were bestowed, the kingdom would become an unearthly paradise!
Art and culture
Andalusia’s age-old history has left behind an immense artistic heritage. The Alhambra, the Generalife and the Albaicín in Granada, the Historic Centre and the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the Giralda Tower and old town of Seville and the Renaissance towns of Úbeda and Baeza are all World Heritage sites. The stunning Moorish, Renaissance and, above all, Baroque architecture can be seen in its most important buildings, the castles, fortresses and monasteries that are found throughout the region, make up a hugely valuable array of history. Andalusia, the native land of great artists and writers such as Velázquez, Murillo, Lorca and Picasso is home to painting, culptures, jewellery, images and archaeological remains found in cathedrals, museums, churches, convents and palaces. The region has some of the best museums in the whole country: The Picasso museum in Malaga, The Fine Arts museum in Seville, the Julio Romero de Torres Museum in Cordoba, the Alhambra museum in Granada… It is also the area for cultural events such as the Malaga Cinema Festival. The Flamenco Biennal Exhibition of Seville, the Latin American Cinema Festival of Huelva, the International Music and Dance Festivals in Granada and in the Caves of Nerja. The most authentic expression of Andalusian folklore and cultural heritage is the Flamenco music and dance. The flamenco festivals in summer offer a calendar of performances to suit all tastes. Andalusia is a paradise for travellers with a taste for history and shows how it has grown to the present day in its art with respect for her heritage.
The region of Andalusia consists of eight provinces, stretching from the south-east to the south-west of the country. Each one named for its capital city: Cadiz, Cordoba, Jaen, Huelva, Almeria, Malaga, Granada and Seville. It is located at the south of the Iberian Peninsula and is the southernmost point of Europe. Its northern frontier is marked by the Sierra Morena Mountains, which separate the Castilian plain to the north and the Guadalquivir River basin to the south. To the west, the Guadiana River separates Andalusia from Portugal in the province of Huelva. To the south, the waters of the Atlantic Ocean wash the shores of Huelva and Cadiz provinces, while the Mediterranean meets the coast in the provinces of Cadiz, Malaga, Granada and Almeria. In the east, its frontiers are marked by the Mediterranean coast of Almeria and the Levante area of eastern Spain.
Landscape, land of contrasts
The diversity of it’s landscape make Andalusia to an interesting region full of contrasts and bring together the attractive coastline, large wetlands, luxuriant mid-mountain areas, volcanic landscapes such as the Tabernas desert, and the snow-capped peaks of ierra Nevada. The Guadalquivir is Andalusia’s most important river and brings life to many areas in its journey across the region. In barely forty kilometres you can go from Alpine mountain landscapes to tropical areas on the shores of the Mediterranean. The coast of Andalusia stretches for almost 900 kilometres and is home to a large number of interesting cities ,authentic villages, beautiful beaches and some untouched areas that are a delight to visit.
Eighteen percent of the territory of Andalusia is under some type of environmental protection, distributed among more than 140 natural parks, with numerous trails and interesting rural routes with significant ecological, environmental and landscapes value. This gives travellers the opportunity to submerge themselves into living nature that has been respected and conserved for the enjoyment of man, now and in the future. In all of these naturals spaces, water plays an active part in carving out the landscape and contributing sounds to the environment.
Come and explore
The whole ensemble represents a range of attractions for tourists that goes from impressive monuments in large towns to the authentic life in the characteristic villages, which have provided a constant source of inspiration for all kinds of artists like painters and writers.
Andalusia offers a warm welcome to visitors and, while conscious of the need to modernise and move forward with the times, it is also careful to take care of its roots and maintain its important cultural heritage and monuments, legacy of the region’s ancestors. As well, while developing rural tourism, they are taking in account the importance of the preservation of their natural sources.