Andalucia is more than just a luxury travel destination it is distilled Spanish history and romance. You will feel enveloped in the spirit of Spain as you spend lazy days walking through verdant olive groves, driving through the mountains to visit ancient shrines and bullrings, wandering around Roman ruins or eating tapas and watching Flamenco dancing. Spend your nights in fairy-tale mountain lodges or beautiful Spanish palace complexes that will transport you back in time. Andalucia is located in the south of Spain; it is an area that is steeped in diverse and interesting history dating back more than seven hundred years. You will see ancient Moorish architecture next to Baroque churches and charming white towns nestled in the rocky landscape.
Panorama of Granada in Andalucia.
This region is home to some of the most beautiful destinations in Spain, such as the rustic Ronda, vivacious Granada and the legendary Seville, with its stunning cathedral, where Christopher Columbus’ bones are said to be located. The Mezquita in Córdoba will awe you; the music scene in Jerez will serenade you, and the hilltop villages of Cádiz, believed to be the oldest settlement in Europe, will enchant you. Sample sherry in its birthplace, and eat delectable seafood at the Michelin starred restaurant Aponiente. Take a horse-drawn carriage through the cobble-stoned streets of these magical places to picturesque restaurants serving authentic paella. See the opulent Alhambra in the sunset, and enjoy the bounties of this intriguing place.
You will be seduced by the culture of this arid place, from the stunning untouched coastline to the whitewashed villages inland where history comes alive. Start your Spanish vacation in Grenada, and visit the mythical Alhambra, an eleventh century Moorish citadel, which has been added to over the years. This palace come fortress features gorgeous medieval architecture. The Alhambra was nearly one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; it is also a unique World Heritage site. Take a private tour with a local art guide to fully comprehend the scope of this fascinating place. Listen to enchanting tales of the fortress as you wander through the Salon de Embajadores, the romantic outdoor Patio de los Leones with its fountains, and get lost in the lovely summer gardens. The complex is stunningly designed with natural light and running water in mind to aid relaxation and meditation. It was built to please the beauty-seeking califas, whose early Moorish lifestyle revolved around pleasure and leisure. This opulent site is a treasure to behold, but it is also very popular amongst tourists so try to visit during the quieter winter months or book your time slot in advance.
Take to the roads in Andalucia's interior.
After touring this divine site, take some time to eat some tasty tapas in the romantic outdoor terraced dining area at Chikito, or dine in elegance at the luxurious Arriaga, with its panoramic views of Granada. Then finish unwinding by vising the Hamman, a traditional Andalucian spa where you can have an aromatherapy steam bath or get a special treatment or massage. In the early evening visit the Albaicin, the medieval quarter. Wandering through this UNESCO World Heritage Site will eventually lead you to the Plaza de San Nicholas where local flamenco dancers gather to rehearse, in front of the backdrop of the Alhambra and the misty Sierra Nevada. If you wish to see a Flamenco performance unlike any other, then visit the caves of Sacromonte where dramatic shows are held.
Hire a luxury car and drive the exciting roads winding through the Serranía de Ronda. You will drive by silver toned olive groves, Holm oak tree forests and expansive vineyards as you pass through the Ronda wine country. Those seeking adventure and natural beauty should hire a bike or go horseback riding through the stunning countryside in the foothills of the Sierras. Plan to visit the Doña Felisa wine estate and explore the sherry wine lands of this region. From the town of Jerez de la Frontera at the center of this area you can visit Bodegas Tradición, which has an incredible cellar and art collection. As you taste rare Sherries you can peruse the Goyas and Picassos on display. Finish your sherry adventure with a private tour of Fernando de Castilla, one of the best vineyards in Andalucia.
View of Osuna's historic church.
When you reach La Ciudad the incredible sight of Puente Nuevo, towering above a dizzying gorge and the Río Guadalevín, will greet you. This site is best viewed from the Camino de los Molinos that spans the bottom of the gorge, where you can see the bridge that separates the old town, with its massive intact Islamic fortress, from the new town. Only the Mezquita in Córdoba matches this spectacular sight. The Mezquita gives you a glimpse into the lavish and elevated age in the medieval period when Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in harmony here, surrounded by beautiful décors. Hidden in the center of this Andalucian gem is an unexpected sixteenth century cathedral, the sight of which is sure to take your breath away. Around the Mezquita you will find the lovely decaying juderia. Get lost in the maze of streets and wander past windows filled with flowers and calm plazas.
Your next destination in Andalucia is often said to be Spain’s most beautiful city, Seville. Here, the scent of orange blossoms fills the air and seduces you with its fragrance. Seville is a heady combination of Moorish history and the opulence of the Spanish Golden Age, when Christopher Columbus’ travels brought back untold wealth. Be transported back in time by the vibrant Plaza de España and the Mudejar and Renaissance palaces of the Royal Alcazar. See the sunlight reflect off the Giralda bell tower, which presides over one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the world. The beauty of the area is perfectly captured by the seventeenth century painters from the Golden Age displayed in the Museo de Bellas Artes. You will find some fantastic food in Seville. Head to the Santa Cruz quarter for eateries with ambience and lively wine bars. Or have cocktails at sunset in the Rooftop Terraza de Eme, and watch the sun glow orange over the cathedral. For dinner try Abantal, the best contemporary Spanish restaurant in Seville.
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