Andalusia is located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. The region’s rich history and culture have been greatly influenced by Arabs and Romans, but also by earlier conquests. The region’s capital city, Seville, is just 2h20 away by train from Madrid.
Cádiz > Seville
Start exploring Andalusia with the city of Cádiz (1h40 trip from Seville), the oldest city in southern Europe. Laid like a ship on the Atlantic ocean, it was the point of departure of Christopher Columbus for his second voyage to the New World. Take a stroll on the Campo del Sur avenue, for a view of the Los Mártires and Capuchinos defence bastions overlooked by San Sebastián and Santa Catalina Castles. Heading towards the boulevard Alameda Apodaca, the Candelaria Bastion and the San Carlos Walls can also be seen. Visit the Cathedral of Cádiz, famous for its golden tiled dome, before discovering the Las Puertas de Tierra (city gates). Wander in the narrow streets of the Old Town, to unearth popular quarters such as La Viña (the fisherman’s district) and Santa María (true home of flamenco song). In the El Pópulo quarter, which is the oldest in the city, you’ll find the three gates to the original medieval city and the Santa Cruz Church.
Take the morning train to reach Seville (1h40 from Cádiz). In addition to its Holy Week processions, the Feria de Abril (April fair), the bullfights and Flamenco, Seville also offers history, culture, a cuisine and a lifestyle of its own. It is perhaps the Spanish city that best reflects the different civilizations that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula, and this can be seen in its amazing buildings, that blend Renaissance, Baroque and Andalusí styles. Its symbol, the Giralda, is a must-see, but don’t miss its other equally fascinating landmarks : the Torre del Oro, the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Reales Alcázares (Royal Palace). Discover the charismatic Triana quarter, where bullfighters, cantaores (Flamenco singers) and bailaoras (Flamenco dancers) proudly boast their origins.
Seville > Córdoba
On the 3rd day, go to Córdoba (1h05 trip), the land of leading figures such as the bullfighter Manolete or Abd-ar-Rahman III. The blend between the cultures from East and West can clearly be seen in Córdoba, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The main example of this blend is the Mosque-Cathedral, a Jewel of Hispano-Islamic art. The Mosque of Córdoba was built during the 9th and 10th centuries, and consecrated as a cathedral in 1236. The legacy of the Muslim era can be seen in Córdoba’s majestic old quarter, one of Europe’s largest.
Córdoba > Málaga
Take the train from Córdoba to reach Málaga (0h50 trip), famous for its coastline, mountain view and warm weather. Art with Roman, Arabic and Andalusí influence can be seen everywhere : the Palace of the Citadel, the Castle of Gibralfaro, the Cathedral and the Roman Theatre. Drop in the Casa Natal Museum, birthplace of Picasso, and visit the Mercado de Ataranzas (market). Dedicate the second half of the day to have some fun on the beaches of Málaga.
If you have a couple of more days to spare, visit the captivating cities of Antequera (0h30 trip) and Ronda (1h50 trip), both easily accessible from Málaga.
Málaga > Granada > Almería
Go to Granada (3h05 trip from Málaga via Córdoba) to visit the famous Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, located near the Old Town. Visit the Albaicin quarter by finding your way through its labyrinth of narrow streets and contemplate the gardens of cármenes (typical houses). Continue to the nearby Sacromonte quarter, famous for its caves, in which the gypsies continue celebrating every night. In Almería (2h20 trip from Granada), one of the sunniest place in Spain, visit the Alcazaba, a medieval fortress ; the Almería air raid shelters, the longest in Europe ; the Chanca, a group of houses carved into rocks ; the city’s cathedral ; and the Castle of San Cristobal. Take a walk on the Paseo de Coches seaside promenade and relax by having a drink with a free tapa.