Plaza de Espana, Seville, Andalusia, Spain

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Andalusia

February 29, 2024

Andalusia is the southernmost Spanish autonomous community on the Iberian Peninsula. It has all the characteristics of a Mediterranean destination: a warm climate, beautiful landscapes, a diverse culture including music, architecture and history, world-class gastronomy and, of course, excellent beaches.

If you’re a first-time visitor to Spain, it’s a good idea to choose Andalusia as your first Spanish destination, because nowhere else will you get to know Spanish culture and lifestyle as deeply as there.

The history of Andalusia was greatly influenced by medieval Moorish rule. They were later replaced by the Christian Spaniards, who also left a strong mark on the architecture of the region. The cultural and historical diversity that characterizes Andalusia today was formed from the mixture of the two, and sometimes from ancient remains. That is why this is such a special part of Spain.

Andalusia is a destination worth spending a few days or weeks in. If you want to read a complete itinerary, click on the link to find a two-week Andalusia itinerary.

In this article, we will specifically focus on architectural attractions in Andalusia. We list the sights that we think are the top 10 best tourist attractions in Andalusia.

1. Alhambra, Granada

The Alhambra one of the most visited tourist attractions in Spain. The Alhambra, a medieval Nasrid citadel and palace, is located in Granada. It is one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture. This sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses royal palaces, serene patios, and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty, as well as the fountains and orchards of the Generalife gardens.

Pro tip: Be sure to buy an online ticket to the Alhambra in advance, as it is a very popular destination. Plan several hours to visit it, as it is huge and requires a lot of walking. Parking is well organized, a large parking lot is available for tourists in front of the entrance.

In Granada, you should not only visit the Alhambra itself, but also the viewpoints around the city, such as the Mirador de San Nicolas and the Mirador de Sacromonte.

2. Alcazaba, Malaga

The Moorish fortress was built in the 8th century, although many parts date back to the 11th century. The Alcazaba in Malaga was the palace of the city’s governors. It is the oldest surviving Alcazaba in Spain. The fortress once consisted of more than 100 towers and three palaces, and was protected by three walls, two of which still stand today. At the entrance to the Alcazaba are the remains of a Roman amphitheater dating from the 2nd century, some parts of which were used in the construction of the Alcazaba.

Pro tip: In the center of Malaga, next to the Alcazaba, you will find a point on Google Maps called Ascensor a la Alcazaba, which marks a lift to the Alcazaba. This will give you a quicker way up, in case you need it. And Gibralfaro is accessible by car or bus, you just have to travel to the top of the mountain, so you don’t have to climb up there on foot either.

3. Colomares Monument, Benalmadena

Also called Castillo de Colomares in Spanish, the monument, in the form of a castle, dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. It is a building that is barely 30 years old.

Without doubt, the Colomares Monument is one of the most photogenic buildings we have ever had the opportunity to photograph.

It also contains the smallest church in the world, covering an area of just 1.96 square meters. Its park offers fantastic views of Benalmadena and the Costa del Sol.

Pro tip: pay attention to the castle’s opening hours, which are strict. For us, in the summer, we preferred to take photos in the morning, when the light was much better than in the afternoon, when everything was already quite shady.

4. Puente Nuevo, Ronda

The symbol of Ronda is the Ponte Nuevo, meaning new bridge in English, which was built in the 18th century. The bridge connects the two main parts of the city, which are divided by the Guadalevín River. Its sight attracts the eye, and luckily we have plenty of opportunities to admire it from different points of the city. From Ponte Nuevo, you can get a wonderful view of the gorge, known in Spanish as El Tajo de Ronda.

Pro tip: One of the best views can be found at the Arco del Cristo, Arco arabe, southwest of the bridge. A little higher up is the lookout point called Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda, from which the view of the bridge is also perfect.

5. El Torcal de Antequera

El Torcal de Antequera is an exception to the attractions on the list, because it is not a building, but a natural area. El Torcal de Antequera is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range located south of the city of Antequera, in the province of Malaga. It is known for its unusual landforms, and is regarded as one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. If you’re spending several days in the area and have a car, it’s definitely worth a visit. From the Mirador Las Ventanillas lookout you can see the coast and the city of Malaga. And hiking among special rock formations is the perfect way to relax in nature for mountain lovers.

6. Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Cordoba is home to one of Spain’s most important and Andalusia’s second most important Arab monument, the former Moorish mosque that was converted into a cathedral and is still known as the Mezquita, or Great Mosque. The Mosque-Cathedral is still one of the largest Christian cathedrals in the world. In the colonnade, the 850 columns of marble, jasper and granite form a unique spectacle in the two-colored striped arches.

During the day or at sunset, it’s worth walking across the Roman bridge of Cordoba next to the cathedral. It was originally built by the Emperor Augustus, but rebuilt by the Moors. The view of the bridge and the old town behind it is fantastic from the banks of the Guadalquivir River.

Pro tip: Pay attention to how to dress when entering the cathedral. Don’t go there in shorts or in a sleeveless top. As is often the case in religious buildings, there are also rules regarding clothing.

7. Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs, Cordoba

The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, also known as the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs or Alcazar of Cordoba, is a medieval fortress located in the historic center of Cordoba, next to the Guadalquivir River and near the Mosque-Cathedral. The fortress was one of the main residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. The gardens of the building in particular are stunning, with very pleasant walks along the fountains.

8. Plaza de Espana, Seville

In our personal opinion, Plaza de Espana is the most iconic and spectacular building not only in Seville, but in Spain. The beauty, uniqueness and Mediterranean style of the country is often promoted through photos of the Plaza de Espana. A must for photographers, as the whole square offers fantastic opportunities.

Located next to Parque de Maria Luisa, the building was designed to showcase Spain’s role in history, industry and technology. The walls of the semicircular building on one side of the square are artistically tiled to represent all the provinces of Spain. The buildings are a rare example of regionalist architecture, characterized by the use of local materials. Today it is home to government offices.

Pro tip: In our experience, siesta time is the least crowded time in the square during the day, when the light is also best for photography. Plus, you can also go boating on the canal in the square.

9. Seville Cathedral and the Giralda tower

The Cathedral of Seville, built on the site of a Moorish mosque, is still one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. The Gothic cathedral has many artistic and historical treasures. It also houses the coffin of the famous explorer Christopher Columbus. The Giralda Tower, linked to it, is a remnant of the former Muslim mosque and now functions as the bell tower of the cathedral. The lookout at the top of the Giralda is accessed via 35 ramps, which is well worth the effort as it offers a fantastic view of the whole of Seville from the top.

You can get tickets to Seville Cathedral and the Giralda in several ways, online or on the spot, and there are also guided tours available. In high season, it is highly recommended to buy tickets online in advance.

10. Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Royal Alcazar or Real Alcazar of Seville can be found close to the Cathedral and the Giralda. It was built during Seville’s Moorish and Christian periods, the Alcazar is a fascinating mix of styles. It is the oldest royal palace still in use. Furthermore, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. It’s worth a couple of hours, as it’s a large complex, but a must-see in Seville.

These are the 10 best places to visit in Andalusia. Andalusia is a fantastic destination to get a real insight into Spain. If you have the chance, don’t miss it.

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