An accessible region
The sun and heat
Andalusia, located in the south of Spain, is one of the most touristic regions in Europe and welcomes several million visitors each year. The good news is that not all nationalities are looking for the same experience, with French travelers generally being mostly motivated to discover culture and ecotourism. So what’s so special about Andalusia?
A very accessible region (European hub)
By land, by sea and especially by air
Andalusia is easily accessible by plane, allow a little more than two hours of flight to connect Paris or other provincial cities such as Nantes or Lyon to Seville or Málaga. Note two companies at affordable prices: Transavia, Vueling and Volotea.
In the car, too, it’s not death. After the Basque Country and its toll free highways, turn left and go straight ahead and for free on Madrid and Despeñaperros (the gateway to Andalusia). The night stop can be scheduled on the border or perhaps in Burgos and its fabulous cathedral.
Seville is often a pleasant surprise for European travelers.
With the take-off of the Spanish economy in the 90s and especially on the occasion of the establishment of the euro in the early 2000s, life in Spain became increasingly expensive (while unfortunately wages did not follow the same pattern). With one notable exception, the bars are still very affordable. It eats very well, very different dishes and at fair prices. Another good news is that you will find all the standards of comfort and quality throughout the region because the tourism industry is very developed.
In winter, it is not uncommon to find roasted chestnuts in the city center.
The sun and heat (almost) guaranteed
Even in winter, the days can be sunny, warm and bright.
An opportunity to travel all year round
When we go on vacation, we like to enjoy a good climate to make the most of the days and stroll feeling the sun’s rays and its heat, something essential especially when living in slightly rainy regions … Andalusia is a practically safe bet. Even in winter, it is rare to rain for several days in a row; On the other hand, it is not uncommon to take advantage of the sun and temperatures around 20ºC for a full week, especially on the Mediterranean coast. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, there is no shortage of sunshine here.
The abundance of sunny days favors “sun and beach tourism”.
Avoid summer heat if you can
But keep in mind that the months of July and August are particularly hot with temperatures that can exceed 40 degrees, even the nights are rated as tropical and can exceed 30 degrees at midnight! In fact, it is hot and dry from May to September.
Spanish, Mediterranean and surprising culture
A guaranteed jet lag
Upon reaching the Iberian Peninsula, you land in a new world. Even in northern Spain, a complete change of scenery is guaranteed in the arid areas of the Ebro Valley and the Bardenas Reales. In addition, the country is not in its natural time zone (Portugal, United Kingdom) due to historical alliance reasons during World War II. Result: wait for surprising hours … and late hours: lunch hours … at all hours, very late store openings, completely deserted city centers during hot afternoons and the imposed nap figure in the Guadalquivir valley during summer … and suddenly the squares of cities and towns are filled with people until late at night. The time lag is assured. Very surprising, but far from being unpleasant in the end forces you to change your pace and enjoy more vacations.
The “Mediterranean style”: lively nightlife and abundant human relations.
The varied cuisine and good Mediterranean dishes
The local cuisine, Spanish and Andalusian, is varied and very different. Remember that olive oil is ubiquitous and replaces any other form of cooking fat. The recipes and menus reflect the crossroads of the worlds of the peninsula, a real pleasure for gourmets. Not forgetting the famous tapas that are everywhere, a symbol of popular Spanish cuisine.
The richness of fruits and vegetables favors a varied, attractive and surprising cuisine.
Shows and intense nightlife
Let’s finish this summary by mentioning the part of Andalusian culture so appreciated in the international scene, of course, flamenco, which is much more than a dance, is an artistic, exuberant and exciting culture. But Andalusia has much more to offer: contemporary art museums, a spectacular Teatro de la Maestranza where classical music shines in Seville, the overflowing and popular carnival of Cádiz and its competition of “chirigotas”, the religious celebrations of Holy Week, festivals of all kinds of music during the summer. Without forgetting the local festivities of each municipality with its celebration part: the smaller the town, the more opportunity you will have to get to know the Andalusians closely.
The complex and virtuoso universe of flamenco inoculates primary emotions. Olé, Olé y Olé!
The Hispanic-Muslim heritage, everywhere in the region
If there is an element that the traveler looks for in our beautiful region, this dream of Andalusia; It is the exoticism of this Hispanic-Muslim heritage unique in Europe. The pleasure – urban and unexpected – of the aroma of bitter orange blossom is its perfect metaphor.
The Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba, one of the oldest functioning temples.
Prestigious historical monuments
The most representative monuments, and especially those that make you dream more about Andalusia, are of Hispanic Muslim origin. The most famous are undoubtedly the Alhambra in Granada, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba and the Alcazar and Giralda duo of Seville, universally celebrated for their beauty. There is much more to discover … the remains of Al-Andalus are visible in all provinces: palaces, walls, fortifications, bridges, hamman, ferris wheels, etc.
Traditional white village and flowers, with bucolic charm that never fades.
A popular culture with deep Moorish roots
Better yet than historical monuments, there is a living heritage that we find in everyday life: white villages on the slopes of the mountain, countless names of places and words of daily vocabulary, horticultural and fruit crops and rice, introduced by the Arabs and consumed daily throughout the year. The designs of the Alhambra that can be found in the ceramics of the patios throughout Andalusia, the palm trees and the splendid love for the plants and the bucolic corners of the patios, Andalusian music and even the order of the dishes served at the table They were introduced by gourmets from Al-Andalus.
Many more surprises…
The incredible thing is that, besides being accessible, warm, Mediterranean, unique and Hispanic-Muslim, Andalusia has much more to offer.
Architecture: Much more than Al-Andalus!
The history of Spain is very rich, it is often overlooked despite its prominent place in the Roman Empire and its domination of Europe and the world between the 16th and 18th centuries. Even without taking into account the Hispanic-Muslim heritage, there are monuments and historical remains in abundance. Architecture lovers will not be disappointed with this heady variety.
The imposing Gothic Cathedral of Seville impresses the traveler.
The mountains: damn it, but that’s for sure!
Most travelers are attracted to Andalusia for all the reasons mentioned above, so attractive that they did not even have to convince themselves of the possibility of a rich natural heritage in the region (the specialty of G3-guides, by the way). First, the mountains, ubiquitous in eastern Andalusia with many peaks. Obviously we mention Sierra Nevada, and many others … for example La Sagra, the beautiful and ignored Sierra that crowns the highlands of Granada.
The Pico Torrecilla, summit of the Sierra de Las Nieves and western Andalusia.
The sea of olive trees: Sacred, there is everywhere!
If you want to stay dumbfounded, take the road and cross the Guadalquivir Valley, on the main or secondary roads … Dare with a one-day road movie from Córdoba through Baena, Jaén, Baeza and Úbeda (these last two interesting cities to visit and / or pretext to travel), Linares, Andújar and return to Córdoba. Surely you will be surprised by the result.
The olive … elaia, olea, oliva, drupa, drupe, aceituna, zeitun … pillar of Mediterranean cuisine.
I hope that all these reasons have convinced you of the good idea to know our beautiful region. This list does not mention the inhabitants who are very often approachable and pleasant, even downright warm and affectionate. France and Spain, neighboring countries and so different … French-speaking travelers who do not know the Mediterranean climate will be all the more disoriented.