6 intriguing towns of southern Spain you should discover

Southern Spain is home to the intriguing region of Andalusia. It is one of the most historic and beautiful areas of the country with its vibrant cities and rich Moorish heritage. The region may not be as traveled as the main cities of Madrid and Barcelona. This makes it a perfect destination to discover. Its principal destinations of Seville, Granada and Cordoba are worthy of inclusion in the itineraries of any visitor to Spain.

Many of the things one associates with Spain are on full display in Andalusia and southern Spain. From the pageantry of flamenco dancing to classic dishes like paella, whitewashed villages to spectacular palaces and former mosques that are reminders of over 800 years of Moorish rule.

Learn more about the best cities to discover in Northern Spain here. 

Explore beyond these well-known Andalusian towns to discover other delights. Such as the seafront Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera with its world-famous sherry, horse riding and flamenco roots, and Málaga, birthplace of Pablo Picasso and home to a wonderful museum of his work.

The 6 Best Cities to Visit in Southern Spain

1) Seville

Seville lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. It boasts a fantastic historical core that displays its rich Moorish architectural heritage. The outstanding structures include its magnificent Cathedral with the striking La Giralda Tower, the Alcazar Palace and Torre del Oro watchtower. Read more about the best UNESCO sites in Spain here. Other cultural highlights include the Fine Arts Museum, and the Archives of the Indies, which document the era when Spain ruled its overseas colonies in the Americas. The city is also the historic home to two of the most iconic Spanish customs, flamenco and bullfighting.

Bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería in Seville

Bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería in Seville

Seville is a romantic destination with charming neighbourhoods to explore like the old Jewish Quarter of Santa Cruz and Triana with its flamenco locales. Save some time to explore the semi-circular Plaza de España in Maria Luisa Park. It hosts a beautiful collection of Spanish Renaissance buildings constructed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Filled with beautiful mosaic tiles, a fountain and a canal crossed by charming bridges, it’s one of the architectural highlights of the city.

The Alcázar in Sevillie, Spain

The Alcázar in Sevillie, Spain

Seville is also on our list of top cities you should visit in all of Spain – read more here.

2) Granada

Granada is an evocative Andalusian city set against the snowcapped Sierra Nevadas. The city was the last stronghold of the Moors in Andalusia. Granada features the fabulous 13th century Alhambra, an ornate Moorish Palace and subsequent Christian cathedral that dazzles with its fabulous architecture and delightful Generalife gardens. Stay at our favourite hotel – the Alhambra Palace hotel. Read more about its fascinating history here.

Alhambra's Generalife Gardens, Seville

Alhambra’s Generalife Gardens

The city provides atmospheric alleys to explore in the old Muslim Albaicín quarter. Discover the historic Gothic Cathedral, and watch fiery flamenco performances. Stroll the romantic Carrera del Darro along the river, then join the crowds at the Mirador de San Nicolás at sunset to see the Alhambra glow under the sun’s last rays.

The skyline of Granada

The skyline of Granada

3) Córdoba

Córdoba, one of Andalusia’s gems. The city reflects its multicultural history through architectural treasures. These include La Mezquita, a former 10th century Moorish Mosque converted into a 16th century Cathedral. The Old Town’s narrow winding streets are charming to explore (don’t miss the Alley of the Flowers). Be sure to discover the Jewish quarter with its 14th century synagogue. Here you can even relax in an old Arab bathhouse or hammam.

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The praying hall inside the Mezquita

History abounds with the Palace of the Christian Kings, Moorish bridge, Calahorra Fortress, and the Archaeological Museum. Flower-decked courtyards are displayed during the Festival of the Patios. The Córdoba Festival features a week full of flamenco and bullfights.

The Mosque–Cathedral bell tower of Córdoba

4) Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera is famed for its sherry production, equestrian tradition, and as the cradle of flamenco dancing. Its historic bodegas draw sherry lovers worldwide for tastings. Horses were first bred here by Carthusian monks. Today, the Riding School and May Horse Fair showcase the breed. Take in a flamenco show at one of the local tablaos in the Santiago district. Or visit the Andalusian Flamenco Center, admire the Cathedral, and take in Jerez’s Arab past by visiting its 11th century Alcázar Fortress.

Looking over Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Looking over Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

5) Cádiz

Cádiz is an ancient port city founded by the Phoenicians in 1,100 BC. Its jumble of whitewashed houses are scenically packed onto an outcrop of land overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the narrow lanes of El Pópulo, the old medieval town, and visit its Roman amphitheater. Enjoy its beaches, and dine on fresh seafood in La Viña, the old fishing district.

The cityscape of Cádiz

The cityscape of Cádiz

Other noteworthy sights include the domed Cathedral, the lively Plaza de San Juan de Dios, Tavira Tower, San Sebastian Castle and the Cádiz Archaeological and Fine Arts Museum with its Phoenician exhibitions. For some of the best ocean views, wander the garden walks of the Alameda de la Apodaca or Genovés Park.

6) Málaga

Málaga is an historic city perched along the sunny Costa del Sol. It boasts seaside promenades and beautiful beaches. The city offers up a diverse menu of sights from its Roman amphitheater to a Moorish castle to its Cathedral, known as the ‘one-armed’ due to its unfinished south tower.

Málaga at dusk

Málaga at dusk

It has a bevy of museums including one for native son Pablo Picasso, the Pompidou Center, and the Carmen Thyssen Museum. Spend some time at La Malagueta beach. Scenic choices for walks include the cobblestoned historic centre and the harbour with its seaside restaurants or a sunset stroll to La Farola lighthouse.

Southern Spain is a delight. Explore this delightful region of Andalusia and its many unforgettable sights as part of our 6-day Southern Spain Regional Discovery itinerary – fully customisable.
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