Southern Spain is Andalusia and, for many, Spain is Andalusia. Before Barcelona became fashionable, and even before Hemingway made Pamplona famous, this region was the image of what makes Spain "different". Weather and landscape aside, the secret is in the history: a melting pot of Greek, Roman, Muslim, Jewish and Christian civilizations has shaped the character of Andalusians and their unique understanding of life. ...
The Costa del Sol is probably the best known area for expatriates in Spain, together with the Balearic Islands. But there is more than sun, beaches and luxury. In the villages of the interior you can find the slow life appreciated by so many artists and intellectuals who came attracted by the diversity of favorable climates and the rich history, best represented by the Alhambra in Granada.
Costa del Sol is the denomination for the coast of the province of Málaga, and includes among others the towns of Benalmádena, Estepona, Marbella and Mijas. The narrow coastal strip is delimited by different mountain ranges that highlight the beauty of traditional Andalusian villages like Frigiliana, Ronda, Coín and Mijas.
To the East, the coast of Granada --known as Costa Tropical because of its peculiar climate-- has remained less urbanized because of its mountainous orography. Almuñécar, Salobreña and Motril alternate beach resort atmosphere with a more popular flair. At the eastern corner of Andalusia, the scenery turns almost desert in the province of Almería. Family resorts like Roquetas de Mar o Mojacar share the coastline with fascinating, wild landscapes like the Cabo the Gata Natural Park or Carboneras.
Cádiz is the only province in Europe caressed by the waves of both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. But beaches are just one of the many good news that the province has for the visitor. A capital city that reminds of Havana (actually, the other way around), the wonder of the white villages around the Sierra de Grazalema (the rainiest region in Spain) make of Cádiz a whole destination of its own.
Between the mouth of the Gudalquivir river in the Western limits of the province and the capital, the towns of Sanlúcar and Puerto de Santa Maria remind us of the area´s most international product: wine. The origin of Sherry, Xerez, is just a few miles inland. The agricultural green here blends with the light blue and gold of some wonderful beaches.
As you approach the Mediterranean, landscapes turn wilder, shaped by the winds and the tides produced by the encounter of the seas. You can find Bolonia, with its majestic Roman ruins, Zahara with its endless dunes and Caños de la Meca, a paradise for the naturist. El Palmar and Tarifa are the place of reference for surfers and windsurfers from all of Europe.
For those who favor history and flavor over nature, Sevilla is their choice in Southern Spain. Mythical Sevilla has given Roman Emperors, Nobel prizes of Literature, painters like Velázquez, and countless flamenco dancers, singers and guitar players.
You could spend years getting to know Sevilla’s spectacular architectural wonders: the cathedral, the Alcazar, Torre del Oro, Plaza de España, dozens of churches… but the real pleasure is to walk its streets and squares, mingle with the sevillanos, enjoy the tapas scene and the vast cultural offer.
The city completes its attractions with some of the most recognized festivities in the world: Easter celebrations and the Feria de Abril. If you feel overwhelmed for so much beauty you can always escape to the beaches or sierras of Huelva and Cadiz, most of them at an hour drive from the city. With its international airport and high speed train you are just hours from all major European capitals.