A Guide to Andalucia: spectacular beaches and ancient cities sit alongside the playgrounds of the rich and famous

Andalucia is the second largest autonomous community in Spain. It has an area of 90,000km² spanning almost the entire south of the country from Portugal to Murcia, and a population of around 8 million. Its interior is the hottest area in Europe, with cities such as Sevilla and Córdoba averaging above 97ºC in summer.

The great climate makes the region very popular with tourists, but Andalucia offers much more – from ancient cities, pueblos blancos and Granada’s world-renowned Alhambra to buzzing playgrounds of the world’s richest and most famous, and from the dry Tabernas Desert to the beautiful, vibrant beach communities of the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz.

There are also 150 natural protected spaces to choose from, and in the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range you will find Mulcahén, the highest mountain in Spain.

Whether you come to live, work or play, getting to Andalucia is easy as it boasts 6 international airports, including Málaga, the oldest and busiest, with nearly 13 million passengers a year.


Bolonia, Tarifa 

Andalucia (Beaches) Bolonia

Situated approximately 20km north of Tarifa, on the Costa de la Luz, and reached via a 7km rocky road off the main highway, Bolonia beach is one of Andalucia’s best kept secrets. With the coast of Africa as a backdrop, this enchanting bay has been untouched by modern development, and boasts 4km of golden sands and calming crystal waters. It is best known for its 30m high sand dune, said to be among the largest in Europe, and the ruins of Baelo Claudia that are located on the beach and provide one of the best examples of Roman urban architecture on the Iberian Peninsula.

Playa de los Alemanes, Cádiz 

Close to the small village of Zahara and stretching from Cabo de la Plata to Cabo de Gracia, Playa de los Alemanes boasts fine, golden sands and crystal clear waters. The beach owes its name to World War II, when it served as a monitoring site for German ships.

Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz 

This blue flag beach boasts unspoilt, white sands and crystal clear waters stretching 20km as far as the lighthouse at Cabo de Gracia. The excellent restaurant at the Hotel Antonio and the many lively chiringuitos make this a popular beach with locals and tourists alike.

Isla Canela, Ayamonte

Isla Canela is a natural island separated from the mainland by a river and joined to the charming town of Ayamonte by a bridge. The beach extends for 7km and is a popular holiday resort combining beautiful golden sands with a championship golf course and a picturesque marina, offering water sports as well as many restaurants and bars.

El Cañuelo, Nerja

Situated between Nerja and Almuñécar within the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Park, this remote beach is accessed from the clifftop via a shuttle bus service. The stunning kilometre-long stretch of sand boasts exceptionally clear waters, rich in marine life, making it an excellent spot for snorkelling and scuba diving.


Oriza, Sevilla 

Oriza is one of Sevilla’s most stylish restaurants, located in a restored mansion house next to the Murillo Gardens. Famed for its largely game based menu, including delicacies such as ostrich carpaccio and casserole of wild boar, the wine list is equally impressive providing a rich supply of hearty Spanish reds.

San Fernando 41
41004 Sevilla
+34 954 227 254


Sabina, Sevilla

Located in a former shipyard building with high vaulted ceilings, Sabina is known for its typical Spanish and Andalusian cuisine. With its relaxed atmosphere and good service, Sabina is an excellent choice for sampling some of the best dishes that Spanish gastronomy has to offer.

C/Dos de Mayo 4
41001 Sevilla
+34 954 562 547

Restaurant Antonio, Zahara de los Atunes

Located within the charming, family-run Hotel Antonio, Restaurant Antonio offers an excellent menu specialising in fresh fish and seafood. It also boasts a large terrace from where you can enjoy spectacular sea views.

Hotel Antonio
Ctra Atlanterra Km 1
11393 Zahara de los Atunes
+34 956 439 542


La Isla, Sevilla

Considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Sevilla, La Isla offers two large dining rooms plus a few tables for al fresco dining. Founded in 1946 and located in an old building close to the Cathedral, its extensive menu features exquisitely fresh fish as well as several meat dishes with a predominantly Galician and Andalusian influence.

C/Arfe 25
41001 Sevilla
+34 954 212 631


Marisquería Cunini, Granada

Located around the corner from the Cathedral, this is one of Granada’s best fish restaurants offering a huge variety of seafood dishes. As well as the indoor seating area, there are covered tables outside in the plaza plus standing room at the bar inside, where free tapas are served with drink orders.

Plaza Pescadería 14
18001 Granada
+34 958 250 777



El Rincóncillo, Sevilla

Andalucia (Bars) El Rinconcillo

El Rincóncillo is one of the oldest and most famous bars in Sevilla with a history that dates back to 1670. With its classic decor, wooden beamed ceilings and marble tables this is the perfect place to enjoy a beer whilst sampling some exquisite tapas.

C/Gerona 40 y Alhóndiga 2
41003 Sevilla
+34 954 223 183


Taberna Coloniales, Sevilla

Located in the heart of the historical centre of Sevilla, Taberna Coloniales is arguably the best place to experience traditional tapas in the city, offering an extensive menu including “solomillo al whisky” (pork tenderloin with a whisky flavoured sauce).

Plaza Cristo de Burgos 19
41003 Sevilla
+34 954 501 137


Bar Garlochi, Sevilla

Hidden away in a side street close to Plaza Alfalfa, this unique quirky bar is lavishly decorated in the style of Sevilla’s Semana Santa processions, featuring religious statues, brass candelabras and incense. Serving only cocktails, shots and beers, including its signature drink, “Sangre de Cristo” (Blood of Christ), this must-see bar is popular with both locals and tourists.

C/Boteros 26

Bar Los Diamantes, Granada 

The legendary Bar Los Diamantes is a classic tapas bar, founded in 1942. There are now five different locations around the city, with the original one situated on Calle Navas. Known for its excellent seafood dishes, the great atmosphere and friendly staff combine to make this the perfect place to enjoy the authentic tapas experience.

C/Navas 28
+34 958 227 070


Bodegas Castañeda, Granada

Bodegas Catañeda is a charming traditional tapas bar that has become an institution among locals and tourists alike. Famed for its extensive wine list, and in particular its vermouth, served from large wall mounted casks, it also offers an excellent choice of tapas.

C/Almireceros 1
18010 Granada
+34 958 215 464 


Sala Boss, Sevila

Located on the infamous Calle Bétis that runs parallel to the Guadalquivir River, Sala Boss is one of Sevilla’s largest nightclubs. Attracting a fashionable crowd, it offers several different bars and dance areas set over four levels, as well as a stadium-like dance floor in the centre.

C/Betis 67
41010 Sevilla
+34 954 990 104 

Antique, Sevilla 

This vibrant club is situated in the former Olympic Pavilion of Expo ’92. With various rooms where you can listen to different types of music, Antique is one of Sevilla’s hottest clubs attracting an upmarket crowd, including many celebrities.

Matemáticos Rey Pastor y Castro s/n
41092 Sevilla
+34 954 462 207


El Camborio, Granada

Located in Sacromonte with breathtaking panoramic views over the Alhambra from its top floor terrace, El Camborio is set over several levels in a unique location, carved into a cave. The lower area offers a bar with sloping ceilings and a dance floor where you can party all night long or, if you are looking for a more relaxing space then there are gardens and a terrace on the top floor where you can enjoy the beautiful views and a drink.

Camino del Sacromonte 47
18010 Granada
+34 958 221 215

Granada 10, Granada

A former theatre converted into a funky, modern dance venue, Granada 10 is the biggest and one of the oldest nightclubs in Granada. It boasts an opulent interior and attracts a hip, glamorous crowd who party on until the early hours to popular contemporary music as well as some techno, R&B and Reggae.

C/Cárcel Baja 10
18001 Granada
+34 958 224 001


Abril, Sevilla

Andalucia (Nightclubs) Abril

Inspired by the big New York clubs of the 80s, such as Studio 54 and the Loft, this stylish club opened in 2005 and is now well established on the list of Sevilla’s top night spots. With its great atmosphere, good music and fun loving crowd, Abril is the place to see and be seen.

Avda Luis Montoto 118
41018 Sevilla
+34 954 571 072


Events (from Jan 14)

Carnaval de Cádiz

Considered by many to be Spain’s most fun-filled and entertaining carnival, the Carnaval de Cádiz is one of the biggest fiestas in the country. For two weeks the streets of Cádiz are filled with masks, music and parades with the most flamboyant and outrageous costumes, providing an unmissable experience.

27 February – 9 March 2014

Feria de Abril, Sevilla

The biggest and most colourful of Andalucia’s festivals, the Feria de Abril takes place every year in Sevilla two weeks after Easter. Dating back to 1847 when it originally started as a livestock fair, this spectacular six-day extravaganza now attracts over a million people. Temporary party tents, or casetas, are set up all over the town where you can enjoy music and dancing til the early hours. There is also a full programme of daytime events including daily parades of horses and decorated carriages that make their way through the city.

6 – 11 May 2014

Feria de Málaga 

The Feria de Málaga is held every August commemorating the taking of the city by the Catholic monarchs, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragón, in 1487. The streets are adorned with paper lanterns and floral displays, and numerous live music and dancing performances take place throughout the day and well into the night.

16 – 23 August 2014

Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada

The Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada has been held annually for over 60 years within the historical palaces of the Alhambra and other distinctive monuments of Granada. The programme consists primarily of classical music, ballet and dance but also offers some ancient and contemporary music, with performances from some of the world’s best musicians and dancers.

20 June – 11 July 2014


Feria del Caballo, Jerez

Andalucia (Events) Feria del Caballo

The Feria del Caballo is an exciting event that takes place every year at the González Hontoria Park in the world famous sherry producing town of Jerez de la Frontera. Dating back over 500 years when it started as a livestock fair, thousands of people from all over the world now come to witness the remarkable display of horsemanship during this wonderful spectacle.

11 – 18 May 2014


Shopping Areas/Centres 

Centro Comercial Nervión Plaza, Sevilla

Opened in 1998, this enormous shopping centre covers an area of over 25,000m² and is home to numerous fashion stores, restaurants and cafés as well as a multiplex cinema with 20 screens.

C/Luis de Morales 3
41005 Sevilla
+34 954 989 131


Centro Comercial Bahía Sur, Cádiz 

This spacious commercial and leisure complex covers an area of 25,000m². There are over 100 shops with boutiques specialising in fashion, accessories and home furnishings, a huge Carrefour supermarket and plenty of free parking space. It is more than just a shopping centre, offering many cafés and restaurants, sporting facilities and a children’s recreational area as well as a multiplex cinema.

C/Caño Herrera s/n
11100 San Fernando
+34 956 592 184


Centro Comercial Neptuno, Granada

Located just 5 minutes from the centre of Granada, this impressive shopping centre is set over three floors and houses an assortment of shops including fashion boutiques, sports stores and jewellers, as well as a number of restaurants and cafés in the upper food hall area, a popular children’s play area and a multiplex cinema.

C/Arabial s/n
18004 Granada
+34 958 522 245


Alcaicería, Granada 

Situated in the heart of Granada, close to the Cathedral, this former silk market was named Alcaicería, meaning “house of Caesar”, in recognition of the fact that Emperor Justinian had granted the Moors the permission to sell silk. Today it is now full of gift shops where you can buy typical handicrafts and souvenirs of the city.

Mercadillo de los Jueves, Sevilla 

One of the oldest markets in Sevilla has been setting up shop in Calle Feria every Thursday morning for hundreds of years, selling everything from antique furniture, ceramics, paintings and glassware to old video game systems, computer parts, toys and clothes.

Sports Centres/Activities

Real Club Pineda 

Andalucia (Sports CentresActivities) Real Club Pineda

Founded in 1940 and located in the heart of the city of Sevilla, the Real Club Pineda is a private sports club offering numerous different activities such as horse riding, golf, padel, tennis, football and swimming. The club also boasts a spa, a gym and an excellent restaurant.

Avda de Jerez s/n
41012 Sevilla
+34 954 611 400


Montenmedio Golf & Country Club 

Montenmedio Golf & Country Club is one of the largest equestrian estates in Southern Europe covering an area of 450 hectares. The club hosts some of the top international events on the equestrian calendar including the Sunshine Tour, Europe’s most important winter show jumping and dressage competition. It also offers many other facilities including a beautiful 18-hole golf course.

CN-340 Km 42,5
11150 Vejer de la Frontera
+34 956 455 004


Golf Clubs

Montenmedio Golf & Country Club 

Surrounded by forests of wild olive, cork oak and pine trees, this 18-hole course is one of the most natural and well-kept courses in Southern Spain. With a large colonial style clubhouse and full practice facilities, the Montenmedio Golf & Country Club provides an impressive golfing experience.

CN-340 Km 42,5
11150 Vejer de la Frontera
+34 956 455 004


Real Club de Golf de Sevilla

Designed by José María Olazábal, the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla opened for play in 1991 and has hosted numerous international competitions, including the Spanish Open, ever since. This challenging course of wide fairways and spectacular bunkers is held in high esteem by amateurs and professionals alike.

Autovía Sevilla – Utrera Km 3,2
41500 Alcalá de Gaudaíra
+34 954 124 301


Club de Golf Valderrama 

The Club de Golf Valderrama is one of the best known golf clubs in Europe. Located in the resort of Sotogrande in the heart of Andalucia, it opened in 1974 and was initially known as Las Aves. The course was redesigned in 1984 by the original architect, Robert Trent Jones, and renamed Valderrama.

Avda Los Cortijos 2/n
11310 Sotogrande
+34 956 791 200 


The San Roque Club

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Bermeja Mountains, the San Roque Club offers two beautiful, challenging courses. Created by Dave Thomas in 1990 with bunkers redesigned by Seve Ballesteros, the legendary Old Course is considered one of the best courses in Europe. The New Course, designed by Perry Dye, opened for play in 2005. It compliments the Old Course perfectly and is suitable for both beginners and the most capable of players.

11360 San Roque
+34 956 613 030


Real Club de Golf Sotogrande 

Opened in 1964, this impressive course was the first course in Europe to be designed by the renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones, whose philosophy was to create courses perfectly integrated with their natural surroundings. Rated one of the top 10 courses in Europe, the Club also offers a driving range, putting green, swimming pool and a restaurant and bar providing the full golfing experience for players of any level.

Paseo del Parque
11310 Sotogrande
+34 956 785 014


City Sights

La Alhambra, Granada 

This spectacular Moorish palace overlooking the city of Granada is undoubtedly one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. With its historic fountains, magnificent patios and exquisitely decorated halls, the Alhambra really has to be seen to be believed. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is Andalucia’s most visited monument and so it is advisable to book tickets in advance.

C/Real de la Alhambra s/n
18009 Granada
+34 958 027 971


La Mezquita de Córdoba

La Mezquita de Córboba is arguably the most significant monument in the Muslim world. Its construction commenced in 785, when Abd-ar-Rahman I established Córdoba as the capital of al-Andalus, on the site of an ancient church dedicated to San Vicente. Noted for its giant arches and its forest of over 850 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite, this medieval mosque is regarded as one of the most accomplished examples of Moorish architecture.

C/Cardenal Herrero 1
14004 Córdoba
+34 957 470 512


La Alcazaba de Almería

Holding a commanding position above the city centre, this colossal fortress was built in the 10th Century, under the reign of Abd-ar-Rahman III, in order to defend the prosperous city of Almería against enemy attack. It comprises some 35,000m² and is divided into three fortified sections, the third being the most modern dating from when the Catholic monarchs, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragón, had a castle built at the highest point, and from where the most magnificent views over the city can be enjoyed.

C/Almanazor s/n
04002 Almería
+34 950 801 008


Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, Sevilla

The magnificent Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is the largest cathedral in Spain and the third largest in the world. Occupying the site of a former mosque, this impressive Gothic cathedral was completed in the early 16th Century and is the burial site of Christopher Columbus.

Avenida de la Constitución s/n
41004 Sevilla
+34 902 099 692


Cuevas de Nerja

Re-discovered in 1959, the spectacular Cuevas de Nerja are a series of caverns stretching for almost 5km and home to the word’s largest stalagmite, a 32m high column measuring 13m by 7m at its base. The caves are one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and concerts are regularly held in one of the chambers, which forms a natural amphitheatre.

Ctra de Maro s/n
29787 Nerja
+34 952 529 520