If you read about our time in Lisbon (not including Eurovision), you’ll get why we were so happy to be back in Spain! We were heading to Andalucía, which is arguably the most ‘Spanish’ region of Spain, or the region that is home to the majority of things that people most commonly associate with Spain. Bullfighting and flamenco both originated in this region and due to the hot climate in summer, the siesta is taken very seriously here.
We visited three cities in this region, Seville, Granada and Córdoba, but because we weren’t the most organised and didn’t book tickets to the main attraction in Granada before it sold out, and Córdoba being quite small, we do not have enough to talk about to do a separate post for each place. We spent the most time in Seville, which is the biggest of the three, so we’ll mostly talk about that but include some pictures and info about the other two also.
Seville is a city with a large old town full of typical Spanish architecture. It gets H O T here, and even in early May the temperature was already in the 30s. During the summer it is normal for days to consistently sit in the mid 40s, and with the nearest beach about an hour away, it’s not recommended you visit then if you don’t like the heat. Some consolation may be that the Spanish do most of their socialising at night when it is naturally cooler. When we say ‘night’, we don’t mean evening; we mean going out for dinner AT 10pm. Until this time, most restaurants are empty or not even open yet. Due to Spain being so far west in Europe, yet sharing the same time-zone as countries further east, the sun does stay out late, so it does not necessarily feel strange to be heading out for dinner at such a time. The streets are full of people dining on terraces and squares, and there is such a relaxed, social vibe which makes you think that nobody has work the next morning.
Where to Stay: Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville is the most appealing part of the city. Cobblestone roads, brightly painted buildings and beautiful churches are everywhere that a restaurant serving tapas isn’t, so it’s essentially got you covered on all bases. Both Granada and Córdoba are small so you can’t go too wrong no matter where you stay, although in our opinion, neither has the charm that Seville has.
What to Eat: Just eat as many different tapas as possible. We devoured more than our fair share of spanish ham (jámon), calamari, pork cheek, olives, cheeses and breads and were not disappointed at any of the places we ate.
If in Granada, make sure you get ice-cream from ‘Los Italianos‘. They have tonnes of flavours, but specialise in a ‘cassata’ flavoured ice-cream cake which they slice up and place in a cone.
What to Do: Plaza de España in Seville is a massive plaza with stunning architecture located within Parque de María Luisa, which offers a cool relief from the harsh sun while walking around, as well as being free.
The famous Cathedral and bell tower known as ‘Giralda‘ are both very impressive, with the latter providing amazing views of the city (warning: anywhere in Europe that offers ‘amazing views’ usually comes at the expense of hundreds of stairs).
The main attraction in Granada is the Alhambra, which was the royal palace in the days of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula. We discovered the hard way that tickets for this are sold out well in advance, so we could only admire it from afar.
The thing that makes Córdoba stand out is the mosque-turned-cathedral (Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba) in its old town. The interior of the cathedral is a mixture of Christian and Islamic influences and has a unique design of columns throughout. Córdoba seems to be full of tourists on day trips from Seville and Madrid, so the area around the cathedral and old town can get quite busy. Once the evening comes, the city has a more ‘local’ feel, and gave us a complete different impression.
Our Favourite Things about Andalusia
Brodie: The friendly, social atmosphere
Todd: The architecture and the laid-back lifestyle.