The city of three cultures, Córdoba has a bewitching quality. It is Andalusia in it’s purest form and it couldn’t get any more beautiful. What to do in Córdoba?Continue reading
- Things To Do
So you have decided to visit Andalucia. We here at Uncovering Andalucia would like to say, from the bottom of our bilingual and bicultural hearts that we are OVERJOYED! We can’t say enough about how amazing Andalucia is with its varied landscapes, delicious food, welcoming people, and colorful traditions. If you’re coming back to visit, you know what we are talking about. If this will be your first trip, get ready to leave a piece of your heart because, as the old travel slogan says “Spain is different” (but in all the best kind of ways!)
Here are a few of our tips to make the most of your trip. Any other questions? You know where to find us! (email@example.com)
Logistics before visiting Andalucia
Nope! See, we made it easy for you to come enjoy Spain! Citizens of the United States can enter Spain for periods of up to three months without a visa. If you are traveling from another country, consult this link
This depends a bit on where you are going and what time of year you are planning your visit. Temperatures in Andalucía tend to be milder than in the north of Spain, and it can be quite warm in summer. The best times to visit the South of Spain are in the Spring and Fall, however we would advise you to consult the temperatures and consider if you will be skiing in the Sierra Nevada, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea or hiking in Cazorla before you pack your suitcase. If you know where you are headed, feel free to contact us and we can give you more specific advice!
Whatever you do, don’t do it at the airport. They always have the worst rates. Nowadays it’s not common to change your dollars into euros before your trip. The best rates are often the rates you get with your American credit card or debit card, so try to charge as much as you can. However, there are American banks charging high fees, so make sure to ask before your trip.
The second strategy is to get cash out of foreign ATMs using your own bank’s debit card attached to your checking account. We’ve never had a problem with this (be careful if your pin has more than 4 digits, because some ATMs might not accept that). Also, make sure to call your bank ahead of time to let them know that you will be abroad. This way the bank will know your card hasn’t been stolen and it’s actually you enjoying your time in sunny Andalucia!
Whenever you travel abroad, it is wise to consider medical insurance. Most comprehensive travel insurances cover theft, loss and medical problems. Depending on the activities you will be enjoying on your vacation, you may consider expanding your coverage (think skiing or surfing or motorcycling). In Spain you can visit the emergency room of a public hospital and you will be treated free of charge. This is part of socialized medicine and it works quite well. Pharmacies are also good for smaller health issues and pharmacists are generally very good at giving advice if you aren’t feeling 100%. Make sure to check with your insurance company before leaving or consult an online travel insurance provider such as Lonely Planet.
Preparing your trip before visiting Andalucia
Let’s suppose that this is the first time you are visiting Andalucia and you only have a few days to make the most of your trip to the region. We recommend that you start your trip in Málaga. Málaga is a city that has a little bit of everything: there is an international airport with direct flights from the United States in summer. It is also close to the other important cities and it is well connected. The climate is wonderful along with its beaches, food, museums and atmosphere that make this the ideal destination for your home base.
The first day of your trip you can visit Málaga. Take a relaxing walk along the boardwalk, visit some museums, enjoy the historic center and the delicious gastronomy! Click here for more Málaga tips!
The second day, take the train from the María Zambrano station (or take advantage of an organized trip) to visit Sevilla. You will be won over by it’s beautiful ceramic tiles, plazas, and general charm. This is the Andalucia you’ve always imagined! Definitely don’t miss out on trying some of the delicious tapas in Sevilla!
The next day take the bus or plan an excursion to Granada where you can visit the Alhambra. A quick note about that. If you are planning to visit the Alhambra, make sure to get your tickets in advance. You can order online here. Another option is getting lost in the old winding streets of the Albayzín and enjoying some of the famous tapas! Granada is famous for giving a substantial tapa with your drink! You will fall in love with Granada for sure!
Now that you’ve visited Málaga, Sevilla and Granada, we recommend that you spend some time in the beautiful white towns of the interior. You can rent a car, or travel by bus to a variety of beautiful towns including Mijas, Ronda, Antequera, and La Axarquia in the province of Málaga. Another option is traveling a bit farther to visit the small towns in Cádiz, Granada or the other provinces of Andalucia.
Next we recommend a visit to Córdoba. You can go by bus or on an organized trip. The city is impressive with its history of the three cultures (Jewish, Christian and Muslim), its famous mosque and the breathtaking patios. Cádiz, Huelva, Almeria and Jaén offer a completely different experience that are well worth visiting, as well if you have more time for your route.
If you only have one weekend and you really want to make the most of it, we suggest visiting Málaga and Sevilla.
Andalucia has five main airports: Málaga, Sevilla, Almeria, Jerez, and Granada-Jaen. The biggest by far is the Málaga airport. It is the fourth biggest in Spain and it is an international airport with flights to the United States, Europe and even Russia. The distances are relatively short between all the airports and the city center, so it’s really a great option for traveling to the South of Spain. You can reach the city center easily by car, train or bus.
Of course, if you plan to fly into Madrid or Barcelona, both cities are well connected to Andalucia by the bullet train AVE. Your connecting flight from either Madrid or Barcelona is very short, as well. So it really depends on where you are coming from and what works best for you!
Make sure to take a look at our section on hotels and where to stay for each city to learn about the different neighborhoods and options for your stay! That way you’ll be able to book a room like a local!
The quick answer is: no. Not that we don’t love Portugal. It is quite charming and there is a lot to see! However, if you are only spending one week in Andalucia, there are so many places to see in the region that there is no need to add another country into the mix unless you have a person reason to include Portugal on your itinerary.
Logistics during your trip to Andalucia
Make sure to consult the city sections because depending on which airport you fly into the best option to get to the center city might be different.
The AVE (the high speed bullet train in Spain) is, by far, the best means of transport that exists in Spain. It is considered one of the best in the world. In about 5 hours you can travel from Barcelona to Málaga on the AVE. In Andalucia, the AVE connects Málaga with Córdoba and Sevilla. Both cities are about an hour away from Málaga by high speed train.
And, while it might be the best mode of transport, the website leaves something to be desired. It is really complicated to navigate and it often gives you an error, especially with credit cards from outside Spain. Our suggestion is that you look at the time table and then buy your ticket at the station!
Renting a car in Andalucia is one of the best things you can do. The highways are beautiful and the distances are relatively short. Most cities are well connected, as well. Whats more, if you are from the United States, you can use your American driver’s license without a problem. You’ll just need your credit card and license to rent the car. (Just make sure your name appears the same on both the credit card you will be using and your license!)
Welcome to the land of rest and relaxation. If you are someone who suffers from jet lag and you need some time to adapt, in Andalucia you will have no problem easing into the routine. We recommend that you try not to sleep until a relatively normal bedtime on the first day. Take advantage of the time by taking a walk by the beach, a stroll through the center, a coffee at an outdoor terrace, etc. Remember that mealtimes are different in Andalucia. Lunch is between 2-3pm and dinner is between 9-10pm. In summer the times might be even later with the warm weather and long days. Although in Málaga most restaurants are used to tourism and will happily provide you a delicious meal a bit early, so you don’t have to wait until 10pm for dinner unless you choose to!
Right, so in Andalucia you don’t have to tip (in fact, people don’t even expect it!) If the service is really exceptional, you can feel free to leave 1 euro after lunch or dinner.
If you want to use your cell phone here, including the data, it is a good idea to look at the different telephone companies and choose a prepaid option. Check out the websites of Movistar, Vodafone, Pepephone, Amena and Yoigo to choose the best price option.
Spaniards tend to eat 5 times a day. In the morning when they wake up, they might eat something light. Perhaps a yogurt or a piece of toast with their coffee or tea. They will head off to work and around 11am there will be a break for a “second breakfast.” This is where Spaniards tend to have something a bit more substantial: a small sandwich, a croissant or a doughnut. Lunch is anywhere between 2 and 3pm and it is the biggest meal of the day. Many times the most economic option is to order the “menú del día.” This is a three course meal (a first dish, second dish and dessert) with bread and a drink all for under 10 euros. You get to choose your first dish and second dish from a list of options often listed on the little chalk board outside. Check a few bars and choose the one you like best! Between 5pm-7pm there is the “merienda” an afternoon snack. This is often something sweet like a muffin or a chocolate croissant. Dinner is between 9pm-11pm depending on the time of year. Spaniards often would not think of eating dinner before it gets dark outside, so in summertime dinner can be quite late!
Andalucia is well known for its excellent gastronomy. In almost any city, town or corner that you visit there is something delicious to try! The traditional foods are sometimes updated with a modern twist in delicious dishes that you have to try! We will expand on the delicious gastronomy of Andalucia in an upcoming post, but we´ll whet your appetite with fried fish, sardine skewers roasted over a fire on the beach, fresh shrimp, salmorejo (a cold tomato soup thickened with bread and olive oil, gazpacho, the wonderful wines from Jerez, Montilla, and Málaga, the acorn fed ham, the fabulous pastries and an impossibly long list. Andalucia is one of our favorite places to eat in Spain!
In Spain men and women will greet another woman in a casual setting with a kiss on each cheek. In a more formal, business setting men and women will shake hands. Men almost always shake hands with other men. In an informal setting, it’s possible that close friends will give a quick hug, as well. In general the Spanish are very familiar and will link arms, pat you on the shoulder and generally lean in close to have a conversation.
Just that. The volume in Andalucia is generally pretty high. People often talk over one another. This is not rude, it is just a way of taking turns in speech that is completely different from the United States. In many families you will hear people having conversations on top of conversations. This is part of what makes life in Andalucia so much fun!
Andalucia is unique in its festivals and celebrations. A couple that are not to be missed include the processions of Holy Week (click here to watch our video about Malaga’s Holy Week). In Córdoba each spring they celebrate the Crosses of May with beautiful crosses decorated in flowers, as well as the celebration of the patios. The April fair in Sevilla, with the beautiful dresses, casetas and dancing is not to be missed. In August, Malaga celebrates it’s week long fair in the center of town, as well as the fairgrounds. Make sure to check the calendar before your trip to see what celebrations you might be able to enjoy!
Andalucia is lucky in that you can enjoy almost any sport that you like. We have great soccer (or football) teams. We also have world class golf courses in Marbella, right along the coast. If you like to surf, Cádiz has some enviable beaches. In Granada you can ski in the Sierra Nevada mountains. You can hike in Jaen and swim and scuba dive in the Mediterranean sea of Almeria. There are motorcycle races in Jerez and bicycle routes through the countryside in Sevilla. Almost any sport you choose, there are places to enjoy in Andalucia.
Here it is better to consult our city guides, mainly because each city and town in Andalucia is different. In Málaga tablaos are not allowed, but you can see authentic flamenco at the Peña Juan Breva whereas in Sevilla there are more options of where to catch an impromptu performance. In Granada you can even enjoy a flamenco show in the caves homes of the Albayzin.
This is really something that depends on the person. Many Spaniards are against bull fights. While some claim that it is an important part of the culture, the experience can be upsetting in that you will see some blood and the animals will die. You should be aware of this if you choose to go. If you don’t care to see a bull fight, though, don’t worry! You are in good company with a lot of Spain! In fact, bull fights have been banned in Catalonia!
The city of three cultures, Córdoba has a bewitching quality. It is Andalusia in it’s purest form and it couldn’t get any more beautiful. What to do in Córdoba?Continue reading
Málaga’s small towns are delightful places to plan a weekend getaway. Here are 5 original choices to disconnect near the Costa del Sol.Continue reading
Spain’s Costa del Sol has more to offer than just great beaches. There are lots of reasons to make this your next holiday destination!Continue reading
The ronqueo del atún is an art. And to prove it, Chef Raúl Cob of the Kempinski Hotel Bahía prepared a 70kg tuna before our eyes.Continue reading
The Malaga Fair is a week long party with lots to see and do, as well as lots to eat and drink. Our tips for enjoying the fair the way the locals do!Continue reading
Málaga has become much more hipster. Here are 10 of our favorite “hipster” places in Málaga that should be on your list.Continue reading
You’ll be surprised by the haute cuisine and fusion flavors at Kava, a luxury restaurant in the heart of historic Marbella.Continue reading
On the Costa Tropical of Granada, crowned by a castle and with a gorgeous blue sea, sits Salobreña, a small Andalusian town worth discovering.Continue reading
Devour Malaga Food Tour is a perfect introduction to the gastronomy, the culture and the customs of Málaga, designed for visitors from a local’s point of view.Continue reading
La Odisea de los Vinos Málaga is one of those places with a fantastic family history that is reflected in the flavor of their dishes and the service.Continue reading
A street art filled walk through Soho Málaga, different street artists have made this area the artistic neighborhood of the city.Continue reading
A spring afternoon in Málaga is ideal to taste some of the new wines of the province in Mainake Vinos. Tasting wines from Bodega El Niño de la Salina.Continue reading
The CAAC Sevilla, in the Isla de la Cartuja, is a beautiful monastery that has been perfectly transformed into a contemporary art space.Continue reading
Although it’s outside the historic center, the Málaga neighborhood of El Perchel has a lot of it’s own history and it’s well worth a visit.Continue reading
Restaurante Óleo, in the Contemporary Art Center of Málaga is a place to remember. The sushi is excellent and the dishes from Málaga are delicious, as well!Continue reading
The town of Carratraca, Málaga is known for it’s sulfur water spa, but the streets and the people of the town are what made us fall in love!Continue reading
The Balneario de Lanjarón and the hotel, in the province of Granada: a perfect place to relax. The water is well known, and now we know why!Continue reading
Why celebrate Valentine’s Day in Málaga? We have our reasons! And if you aren’t convinced, check out these romantic plans in this beautiful city.Continue reading
La Botica de la Cerveza: We already knew that it was a special place, but it was truly a pleasure to enjoy a beer tasting with Pepe.Continue reading
Julia Bakery Málaga is one of those charming cafes that make you happy as soon as you walk inside: fantastic cupcakes and the best iced tea!Continue reading
Until 1831, the Protestants who passed away in Malaga were thrown to sea. This changed thanks to the construction of the English Cemetery in Malaga.Continue reading
La Esquinita del Chupa y Tira is a corner store and a place to enjoy the delicacies of Málaga. You can find it in the neighborhood of La Victoria.Continue reading
A Weekend in Malaga (36 hours). We’re here to tell you exactly why and how to make the most of your time in the capital of the Costa del Sol.Continue reading
Every year the “Casas Corralones” in Málaga open their doors to show off their famous patios. It’s a great opportunity to learn about local culture and traditions.Continue reading
A magnificent experience in the Hammam Al Andalus, Arab baths right in the center of Málaga that allow us to relax and free our minds.Continue reading
Benalmádena is one of the touristic coastal towns in Málaga. In addition to its beaches, it dates back to ancient times, with streets and places that are well worth visiting!Continue reading
The neighborhood of Triana is everything you want in Spain. It is a town within a big city, full of spirt, culture and pride. Here is my list of reasons that to visit and fall in love with Triana in Sevilla.Continue reading
The Picasso Foundation in Malaga allows you to not only see Picasso’s birthplace, but to also attend painting workshops, like I did with Rusko.Continue reading
El Castillo de Colomares se encuentra en Benalmádena, Málaga y no sorprendió por el detalle y la belleza de su arquitectura.Continue reading
The Alcazaba of Malaga is the most well preserved example of a Moorish citadel in Spain. It is next to another historical site: the Roman Theater.Continue reading
What to see in Cádiz? We show you 10 must see places and things to do in Cádiz that made us fall in love with the city during our visit.Continue reading
The Monastery of San Jeronimo in Granada is the perfect place to lose yourself. In addition to the peace and quiet, it has great architecture importance.Continue reading
Freiduria Las Flores I: Serving up some great dishes along with cold beer and a fun atmosphere. The people in Cádiz definitely know how to do it right!Continue reading
Hotel AC Malaga Palacio is one of the best located, most known and with the best views of the city of MalagaContinue reading
Restaurant Montana offered us magnificent quality in an historic area of Málaga You can find Restaurant Montana in one of the neighborhoods with more tradition and character in Málaga: “La Victoria”. This restaurant is very well known in Malaga and we went there because our fiend had recommended it to us, saying that he had a great dining experience. Taking advantage of the fact that on Thursday you can enjoy your dinner with a stand-up comic routine, we thought that it would be fun to enjoy both the food and a few laughs.Continue reading
Café con Libros is much better than a simple café The truth is, there are so many different places to have coffee in any city anywhere in the world that you could get dizzy trying to figure out your favorite place. But, at the same time, its easy to tell someone the name of your preferred coffeehouse. Why is that? Isn´t the coffee from the place around the corner really similar to the coffee from Starbucks or the place next to where you work? Maybe they use the perfect combination of coffee and milk to create the most perfect latte of your life? The answer, of course, is no. What makes a coffee house the best, what makes it your favorite spot is the ambiance, the customer service and basically everything that makes you want to stay there resting for a minute from the frenetic pace that we have come…Continue reading