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).
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.
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).
Sea resorts by Costas (from east to west)