Andalusia or in Spanish, Andalucia, is the most populated and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities in Spain. It is divided into eight provinces namely Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga, and Seville, with Seville being the capital district and the city of Seville being the capital of the whole region.
Andalucia is in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha, west of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea, east of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean, and north of the Strait of Gibraltar. The name “Andalusia/Andalucia” is derived from the Arabic world “Al-Andalus” which in turn is derived from another old word, “Vandalusia”, which means “Land of the Vandals”. The place's name hints on being a multi-cultural region; the Vandals, along with Muslim, Romani, Iberian, Carthaginian/Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visigoth, Byzantine, Castilian, and Christians, have influenced and have contributed to the growth of the said Spanish territory. Andalucia is also known for its pretty divisions – with Malaga, Seville, and Cordoba being the most visited destinations in the area.
What to see & do
Cordoba – Best described for its colourful cuisine and laid-back scenes, Cordoba is the perfect destination for travellers who just want to breathe some fresh air, undo their jeans button, sit back, and enjoy a hearty plate. Its heart, called Mezquita, is another entity altogether, a symbol of worldly and sophisticated Islamic culture, which in turn contrasts with Spain's rather Christian upbringing. Visits are best from mid-April to mid-June, when the city explodes and stages its major fiestas. Don't worry about the weather during these months though – as the heat is quite tolerable and the spring hitting its stride is like a fresh and newly watered flower.
Malaga – Malaga has become a rather contrasting and interesting city. It is today a briskly modern yet historic place, with stone-cold and stark exteriors and warm, majestic, and somewhat peculiar interiors. It still has the atmosphere of a true Mediterranean port, and this is the track that the city wants to imprint on its visitors – that it is indeed a modern city living daily with its past. Visit the unfinished Gothic cathedral within the city, and check out the new museums nestled around. Don't expect the city to be colourful as other Mediterranean coastal towns though, the city tends to stay on the neutral palette for its architecture.
Seville – It is believed that Seville has been founded 3,000 years ago by no less than the Greek god Hercules, but that is just the beginning of the city's wonderful story. Apart from the 'myth' of how it all started, Seville is altogether a beautiful city etched with a history and a modern character that is both refreshing and interesting. The city has seen dark days when greedy conquistadors once roamed the sinuous streets of El Arenal to count their colonial gold, but has also seen enough colour when Flamenco, a dance made popular by pairings of madame and matador (to the riff of the Spanish guitar) have been born and embedded to its long and festive culture. When visiting Seville, never miss watching live Flamenco performances, the Feria de Abril (spring fair), and the Semana Santa (Holy Week) presentations.
Apart from the above-mentioned, travellers may also explore the huge region and venture to places unlisted in this guide, as the real traveller strays outside the set barriers and checks on the uncharted beauties found outside the confines of the mind.
How to get around within Andalucia
Buses are the most popular mode of transport here in Andalucia. Buses connect each district to each other, and services are provided by Alsina Graells and DAMAS. Other means, including taxis and rental cars are available here. Travellers may get around by foot as well. There are also train services connecting Malaga, Cordoba, and Seville to Madrid.
How to get there
The Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport is the fourth busiest airport and the third largest airport in Spain. It is located in Malaga, a district of Andalucia, and is considered as the main gateway of the world to Andalucia. Airlines that travel to the destination include Aeroflot, Air Berlin, Air Europa, British Airways, easyJet, Flybe, Germanwings, Finnair, and many others.