Andalusia – the southernmost autonomous community in Peninsular Spain

Andalusia is the southernmost autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. It is the most populous and the second largest autonomous community in the country. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga, and Seville. Its capital city is Seville. The seat of the High Court of Justice of Andalusia is located in the city of Granada.

In the articles of the autonomous statute, Andalusia is granted the condition of historical nationality, reflecting the political identity of the Andalusian people as a result of its historical and cultural uniqueness. In the previous statute, the Statute of Autonomy of 1981 or the Statute of Carmona, was defined as “nationality”.

The geographical setting is one of the elements that gives Andalusia its own uniqueness and personality. From a geographical point of view, three large environmental areas can be distinguished, made up of the interaction of the different physical factors that affect the natural environment: Sierra Morena —which separates Andalusia from the Meseta—, the Betic Systems and the Betic Depression that they individualize upper Andalusia from Lower Andalusia.

The history of Andalusia is the result of a complex process in which different cultures and peoples merge over time, such as the Iberian, the Phoenician, the Carthaginian, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Andalusian, the Sephardic, the Gypsy and Spanish, which have given rise to the formation of Andalusian identity and culture.

At present, the economy of Andalusia is marked by the disadvantage of the region with respect to the Spanish and European global frameworks due to the late arrival of the industrial revolution, also made difficult by the peripheral situation that Andalusia adopted in the international economic circuits . This resulted in a lower impact of the industrial sector on the economy, a great relative weight of agriculture and a hypertrophy of the services sector.

Andalusia’s hinterland is the hottest area of Europe, with cities like Córdoba and Seville averaging above 36 °C (97 °F) in summer high temperatures. Late evening temperatures can sometimes stay around 35 °C (95 °F) until close to midnight and daytime highs of over 40 °C (104 °F) are common. Seville also has the highest average annual temperature in mainland Spain and mainland Europe (19.2 °C, 66.6 °F), closely followed by Almería (19.1 °C, 66.4 °F).

Protected areas

Andalusia has many unique ecosystems. In order to preserve these areas in a manner compatible with both conservation and economic exploitation, many of the most representative ecosystems have been given protected status.

In total, nearly 20 percent of the territory of Andalusia lies in one of these protected areas, which constitute roughly 30 percent of the protected territory of Spain.

Among these many spaces, some of the most notable are the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, Spain’s largest natural park and the second largest in Europe, the Sierra Nevada National Park, Doñana National Park and Natural Park, the Tabernas Desert, and the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, the largest terrestrial-maritime reserve in the European Western Mediterranean Sea.

Tourism

With almost 30 million annual visitors whose main destinations within the community are the Costa del Sol and Sierra Nevada, Andalusia is the fourth autonomous community by number of visitors from all sources, after Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. The highest tourist demand is concentrated in the summer period.

There is a high concentration of destinations on the Andalusian coast. 75% of all hotel overnight stays in Andalusia are made in coastal municipalities and this is where the largest offer of hotels is concentrated, with more than 70% of the total offer of regulated accommodation.

Along with sun and beach tourism, there is also a slight growth in nature, indoor and sports tourism.

Regarding cultural and congress tourism, Andalusia has a great heritage and history. Its monuments, cathedrals, castles or fortresses, monasteries, historic centers and museums, as well as a wide network of palaces for fairs and exhibitions, make this sector clearly expanding in the community.

One way to discover the culture of Andalusia is by exploring the sites which have been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation. In Granada, you’ll see the Alhambra palace, the Generalife gardens and the mediaeval Albaicín neighbourhood; in Cordoba, its historic centre with the great Mosque; in Seville, the cathedral, the Alcázar palace and the Indies Archive; and in Jaén, the monumental sites of Úbeda and Baeza. You’ll also be able to experience festivals such as Easter Week, the Carnival in Cadiz, the Rocío pilgrimage in Huelva and the April Fair in Seville.

You’ll find a variety of natural landscapes which range from the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz and Almería to the extensive olive groves of Jaén. You can visit the Doñana National Park – also declared a World Heritage Site –, or go skiing in the Sierra Nevada ski resort.

Andalusia has a thousand different flavours waiting to be tried. From the sherries of Jerez (Cadiz) and Montilla – Moriles (Cordoba), to the classic platters of fresh fried fish known as “pescaíto frito” from Cadiz and Malaga, cured ham from Huelva and Cordoba, olive oil, and other such typical dishes as gazpacho and “salmorejo” (a kind of thicker gazpacho).

Main attractions

Almería province

San Juan De Los Terreros and its beaches

Villaricos and its beaches

Vera and its attractions

Garrucha and its attractions

Mojácar and white colors

Roquetas de Mar and its beaches

Almería and its attractions

Níjar – one of the largest municipalities of Spain

Lucainena de las Torres and its attractions

Tabernas castle dates back to the 11th century

Gérgal Castle has been listed as a Site of Cultural Interest since 1985

Oasys Mini Hollywood – Spanish Western-styled theme park

Cádiz province

La Línea de la Concepción – a westernmost resort of the Costa del Sol

Algeciras ranked as the 16th busiest port in the world

San Roque was the first enclave of Campo de Gibraltar to be declared a historical-artistic complex

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is internationally renowned for beach horse racing

Chipiona and its tallest lighthouse in Spain

Rota and its castle

El Puerto de Santa María – the City of a Hundred Palaces

Jerez de la Frontera – the world capital of sherry wine

Cádiz and its Victoria Beach – best urban beach in Europe

Tarifa – where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean

Vejer de la Frontera and its historic center

Conil de la Frontera and its beaches

Chiclana de la Frontera has the largest number of hotel beds in the Costa de la Luz

Córdoba province

Espejo and its attractions

Iznájar and its castle

Lucena and its castle

Cordoba has more World Heritage Sites than anywhere in the world

Zuheros and its castle

The Iznájar reservoir is the largest in Andalusia

Granada province

Guadix and its cathedral

Almuñécar and its castle

Velilla-Taramay and its beach

Salobreña and its castle

Motril is synonymous with sugar cane

Pampaneira and its attractions

Bubión and its architecture

Capileira and its parish church

Lanjarón and its mineral waters

Granada – noble, loyal, named great, famous and heroic city

The castle of Moclín named ‘Hins Al-Muqlin’ during the Nasrid kingdom

The Abbey of Sacromonte and its museum

Sierra Nevada ski resort

Huelva province

Huelva and its attractions

Ayamonte and Isla Canela beach – the westernmost resort on Costa de la Luz

Almonaster la Real and its Mosque from the 10th century

Jaén province

Alcalá la Real and its fortress of La Mota

Jaén – world capital of olive oil

Baños de la Encina and its castle

Linares and its attractions

Úbeda – a World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Baeza – a World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Segura de la Sierra and its castle

The Alcaudete castle was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural monument in 1949

Saint Catherine’s Castle – former Moorish fortress

Málaga province

Nerja – the easternmost resort of Costa del Sol

Frigiliana and its white colors

Torrox and its umbrellas

El Morche and its beach

Estepona and its beaches

Marbella and its attractions

La Cala de Mijas and its towers

Fuengirola and its attractions

Benalmádena is one of the municipalities with the largest hotel offer on the Costa del Sol

Torremolinos – one of the main spots of musical and nightlife in Spain

Malaga – one of the oldest cities in Europe

Rincón de la Victoria and its caves

Torre del Mar and its beaches

El Puerto de La Duquesa and its castle

Casares – the prototype of the Andalusian white village

Ronda and its bridges

Benadalid and its castle

Genalguacil and its Museum of Contemporary Art

Colomares castle – the largest monument in the world to Christopher Columbus

Automobile and Fashion Museum in Malaga

Benalmádena Stupa

Butterfly Park of Benalmadena

Seville province

Utrera and its historic center

Seville and its UNESCO heritage

Carmona – a monumental city

Lebrija and its attractions

Los Molares castle and its history

Sea resorts by Costas (from east to west)

Costa de Almería

Costa Tropical

Costa del Sol

Costa de la Luz

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