The coastal area of Andalucía holds numerous man-made and natural attractions. Apparent in the structures, art, and culture of the region, are the fusion of Catholic and Islamic elements, as well as influences of African and European migration, which shaped the region over the centuries. Let us go around the provinces of Granada, Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva to see the best spectacles that the region has to offer.
The town of Granada was the last stronghold of the Moors when Catholicism dominated Spain. A melting pot of culture, it is filled with spots to rave about.
The Alhambra just happens to be the crème of the crop. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it used to be where Moorish royalty resided. Apart from the majestic walls and towers, it also has landscaped grounds and the Generalife gardens that will transport you to a romantic era of patios, fountains, and terraces.
Albaicin is another must-see in Granada which is also a UNESCO Listed World Heritage Site. A hillside Arab quarter with labyrinth alleys and whitewashed houses, it overlooks a magnificent view of Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains. You can also catch the Church of San Salvador, San Nicolas and the Baños Arabes in the neighbourhood.
To fully experience Granada, pay a visit to the hilltop Gypsy village of Sacromonte, and marvel its vibrant houses. The Sacromonte caves serve as shelter to Gypsies and artists to this day and is also the stage for authentic flamenco performances. During Semana Santa, the Cristo de los Gitanos procession also takes place in Sacromonte. Definitely worth seeing, should you find yourself in the area during Lent.
If you want to take a break from culture and art, you can also check the Parque de las Ciencias. Be warned though, that it is bound to get crowded and noisy with students.
Veering away from the usual fanfare of palaces in the region, boasting a lengthy coastline, Malaga is host to some of the best beaches in the region, Playa El Cañuelo is just one of which. A secluded cove with pebbles and sand, you’ll need to trek to get to its crystal clear waters.
Malaga has the most museums in the whole of Andalucía, which spans varying subjects as cars, wine, art, and much more. The Picasso Museum can be found here and is one of the most popular spots in the area. Housing a collection of Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece throughout his life, the museum is the birthplace of the world-famous artist.
With the dramatic views of the Puente Nueva and El Tajo Gorge, Ronda is a town in Malaga that you simply cannot miss. Reflecting the warm light of the sunset, it is truly marvellous to see this fine union of the natural and the man-made. At one end of the bridge is the La Ciudad with cobblestone streets and ornate houses.
Bullfighting is quite big in Ronda with its Plaza de toros. They celebrate the Feria Goyesca annually, which is a week of festivities, through a parade and a bullfight with participants dressed up in 18th-century fashion.
The southmost area of Andalucía, Cadiz features beautiful beaches, including Bolonia Beach, which is known as the best beach in the region. If not beaches, lovely coastal cities showcasing Mediterranean seafronts are available, ideal for an afternoon or evening stroll. Parque Genoves is one of the most exquisite seafront landmarks which shelters a variety of plant species.
Catedral Nueva is a massive monument built in the 18th century that should be explored when in Cadiz. It features a collection of olden Catholic artifacts and treasures, as well as the tomb of Manuel de Falla, a well-respected composer from Cadiz, and several bishops. Next to it is the Old Cathedral, (also worth visiting), that is filled with works of arts.
The Cadiz Carnival is one of the best festivals to catch in Andalucía seven weeks before Easter Sunday. A religious holiday, it involves festivities, with locals and tourists dressed up in costumes, joining parades, and street parties with music, dancing, and a Carnival Queen pageant.
Sherry Tasting is one activity you can do when in Cadiz. Tours uniquely for sherry tasting are being done between Jerez and Cadiz. The tour includes trips to sherry bodegas / cellars tasting their best sherries, and end with a seafood and sherry lunch.
Huelva lost much of its historic structures in a destructive earthquake back in 1755 but retained its non-architectural appeal.
Best known as the departure point of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World – or what is now America, one of the must-see spots of Huelva is the Columbus Trail. Here, travellers revisit history by going on the trail which Columbus took when he stayed in Huelva prior sailing to America.
Doñana National Park is a well-preserved natural sanctuary for numerous plant and animal life. A UNESCO heritage site, several species, some rare ones, may be seen here like the Iberian Lynx, Purple Heron, and Spanish Imperial Eagle. Geologists have even hypothesized that this area is likely to be the site of Atlantis.
Matalascañas is a beach surrounded by the Doñana National Park, where the ancient upside down tower can be found. A concentrated area of the beach has cafes and restaurants, and during the summer, people gather around chiringuitos in the area where they drink and get merry, experiencing the nightlife.
That wraps up the tour of the best spots and activities to take part in on the seaside provinces of Andalucia, namely: Granada, Malaga, Cadiz, and Huelva. Exploring these will positively make your Andalucía trip truly memorable, and those photos social media worthy.