Top 5 Cities to Visit in Andalusia, Spain

View of Granada

The autonomous community of Andalusia makes up 17% of the territory of the Kingdom of Spain spanning almost the entire south of the country. It is, on its own, larger than countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, or Switzerland.

This hilly region is famous for its rich culture and history – it combines influences from Roman, Visigoth, Moorish, Jewish, and Christian traditions.

Andalusia is the second-most popular destination (after Catalonia) in Spain, with over 30 million international visitors every year.

Avenida de la Constituci├│n, Seville

Here are my top 5 cities in Andalusia; try to make it to one or two, or even all five! ­č笭čçŞ

1. Granada

The Alhambra (left) is the most important monument of Muslim Spain

Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The highlight of any visit to this city is the Alhambra – a series of palaces and gardens built under the last Muslim dynasty in the 14th century.

The hill facing the Alhambra is the old Moorish quarter called the Albaicin. It is full of narrow cobbled streets, churches, tea shops, monuments and many secrets. The Alhambra and the Albaicin have the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

The Albaicin is the old Muslim quarter of Granada

The Sacromonte district, located on the hillside of Valparaiso, is famous for its cave dwellings, once the home of Granada's large gypsy community.

View of the Sacromonte from the Alhambra

Location: Granada Map
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2. Seville

Metropol Parasol and Seville Cathedral
Wooden structure Metropol Parasol (left) and the Gothic Seville Cathedral (right)

Seville is the capital of Andalusia and the fourth largest city in Spain. It is considered a birthplace of flamenco.

The main monuments in Seville – the Cathedral (the world’s largest Gothic church, home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus), the Reales Alc├ízares Palace and the General Archive of the Indies – are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Numerous churches of the city were mosques in the Arab period, conserving wonderful elements of that style.

Once a minaret of a mosque that stood on the site before, the Giralda tower now forms part of the Cathedral

Plaza de Espa├▒a is an outstanding example of Regionalist Revival Architecture. In more recent years it was used in the filming of the new Star Wars episodes.

Plaza de Espa├▒a, built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929

Location: Seville Map
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3. Málaga

Castle of Gibralfaro
The Castle of Gibralfaro sits on a high hill overlooking Málaga city

Málaga is located at the mouth of the Guadalmedina River on the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea. The climate and scenery of the city and its surroundings are very similar to Los Angeles, southern California.

The Tower of Málaga Cathedral built in the 17th century

The lower fortress and royal residence, the Alcazaba is one of the most visited monuments in Málaga. Built by the Moorish Hammudid dynasty in the 11th century, it is one of the largest Arab fortresses in Andalusia and the best-preserved of its kind in Spain.

Another remnant of Málaga's Islamic past is the Castle of Gibralfaro located on a larger hill behind the Alcazaba, and dates back to the 14th century. At the foot of the Gibralfaro stand the beautiful remains of an old Roman theater dating to the 1st century BC.

Málaga is a home of over 30 museums headlined by the Picasso Museum and the Carmen Thyssen Museum. An estimated 6 million tourists visit the city each year.

Roman theater
The Roman theater and the Alcazaba fortress

Location: Málaga Map
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4. C├│rdoba

C├│rdoba is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. It was the capital of a Roman province (Hispania Ulterior), as well as and the capital of the Muslim world during the Umayyad Caliphate.

The historic centre of the city has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. The most important monument in C├│rdoba is its Great Mosque-Cathedral (built between 784 and 786), which reflects the importance of the city in the Middle Ages.

Attractions in C├│rdoba include a synagogue (built in 1315), the Alcazar fortress dating back to the Arab times, and a dozen or so churches, mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Roman bridge with 16 arches connects C├│rdoba with its suburbs across the river. The Forum Adiectum, the Colonial Forum and Mausoleum are other Roman remains in the city.

Location: C├│rdoba Map
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5. Cádiz

The Cathedral, built in the 18th century, is the most impressive landmark in Cádiz

C├ídiz stands on a long, narrow peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean‚ in southwestern Spain. Founded 3,000 years ago by the Phoenicians, it is one of the oldest city in Western Europe.

With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, Cádiz enjoys pleasant temperatures all-year round.

Jump to the ocean in Cádiz

The Playa de la Caleta, located between the Castles of Santa Catalina and San Sebastián, has been pictured in several films, such as Die Another Day (2002) and Alatriste (2006). To get to the castle of San Sebastián, there is a lovely walk along the breakwater.

Long breakwater and the Castle of San Sebastián

Location: Cádiz Map
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  1. I THINK you read my mind!! Spain is 100% next on my TO VISIT list!!! So thank you so much for this list!

  2. Thanks so much for this virtual tour. I am headed to Spain this fall but will probably be in the Barcelona area. I certainly want to make my way to Andalusia!

  3. Spain is such a diverse and amazing country. Visiting the Alhambra is definitely an experience I'll never forget. Thanks for sharing.

  4. We are planning to visit Spain hopefully in this year. This country is in top of our to do list. I am going to bookmark this post this will help us a lot. We dont want to miss anything. Thanks for sharing

  5. These photos are stunning and the book would be excellent in my home to inspire a visit. We haven't visited Spain but would absolutely love to plan a family vacation there!

  6. Wow! The architecture and scenery are certainly beautiful! These would be lovely places to visit.

  7. What an interesting region. I had no idea it was influenced by so many different cultures and religions.

  8. This area looks so nice and different. I love the uniqueness of each region!