The 20 Best Things to Do in Andalucia (Bucket List)
You want to visit Andalucia (South of Spain) for your next trip and you’re looking for the best things to do?
You’re at the right place!
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this list of the 20 best places to visit in Andalucia, with all must-see attractions and points of interest.
In addition to this list of the best things to do, I will also give you all my best tips as well as detailed itineraries to visit Andalucia in 3 to 16 days.
So, what are the best things to do in Andalucia? Where to go?
Let’s find out!
- The 20 Best Things to Do in Andalucia (Bucket List)
- Visit Andalucia: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
- 1. Seville
- 2. Cordoba
- 3. Granada
- 4. Ronda
- 5. The White Villages
- 6. Sierra de Grazalema natural park
- 7. Malaga
- 8. The Caminito del Rey
- 9. Cadiz
- 10. Doñana National Park
- 11. Marbella
- 12. Jerez de la Frontera
- 13. Nerja caves
- 14. The Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras
- 15. Gibraltar
- 16. Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park
- 17. Tabernas desert
- 18. Ubeda and Baeza
- 19. Attend a Flamenco show
- 20. Eat tapas
- You’re traveling in Spain? These articles will help you!
- Visit Andalucia: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
Visit Andalucia: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
Let’s start this Andalucia tourist guide with Seville, the capital.
The Andalusian capital is full of historical monuments to discover. Whether you’re traveling with friends in the mood to party or looking for a romantic gateway, Seville is the perfect destination to have a good time and enjoy the sun.
Here are the best places to see in Seville, Andalucia:
- Seville Cathedral: this UNESCO World Heritage is the 3rd biggest cathedral in the world! Inside you’ll find the tomb of Cristopher Colombus, 45 panels representing the life of Christ and an impressive collection of art pieces. You should buy your skip the line tickets here.
- The Giralda: the top of the cathedral bell tower offers a 360° scenic view over the whole city.
- The Alcazar is the residence of the King of Spain when he visits Andalucia. In this palace, you’ll see sumptuous rooms, patios and stunning gardens. It’s the 2nd must-see attraction to visit in Seville. To avoid waiting in line at the entrance, click here.
- Santa Cruz neighborhood, Seville’s historic center. Many monuments to see (Seville Cathedral and the Alcazar are located there), plenty of souvenir shops, coffee shops and restaurants everywhere. You guessed it: it’s the most touristic part of the city.
- The Plaza de España: This auditorium-shaped square, with bridges spanning over a canal and azujelos-decorated benches is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!
- The Maria Luisa park: located right next to the Plaza de España, it’s the ideal spot to walk around and get some fresh air.
You can find detailed information about Seville in my article: The 15 best things to do in Seville.
What to do in Cordoba?
- Visit the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba (book here): If you just have time to visit one site in Cordoba, you should head to the mosque-cathedral. The interior, with its red and white arcades is really unique.
- Discover the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. In the past, this place has been the residence of catholic kings, the Inquisition headquarter and even a prison. Its magnificent gardens are worth the visit! In my opinion, these gardens are even more beautiful than Seville Alcazar ones.
- Go for a walk in the Jewish quarter: don’t miss “la calleja de las Flores” (flowers’ street), the synagogue and San Bartolomé chapel.
- Cross the Roman bridge to enjoy the view over the mosque-cathedral and the old city. It’s even better at sunset!
Cordoba was one of my favorite places to visit during my stay in Andalucia.
You will find every information you need to visit Cordoba in my article: The 15 best things to do in Cordoba.
Seville, Cordoba and now Granada, we have our trio of must-see cities in Andalucia!
Granada also has its own emblematic historical monument: the world-famous Alhambra. This stunning palace and fortress complex is one of the most emblematic monuments of Islamic architecture. After the gardens in the Alcazar of Seville and Cordoba, brace yourself for the spectacular Generalife gardens!
The site welcomes “only” 3300 visitors in the morning, and another 3300 in the afternoon. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most visited monument in Spain. So you get it, you must book your tickets in advance if you want to visit the Alhambra.
Other points of interest in Granada, Andalucia:
- San Nicolas mirador and San Miguel Alto mirador, for their stunning scenic view
- The Albaicin neighborhood to attend a street flamenco performance
- Granada cathedral and the Catholic Kings Museum
- The Sacromonte neighborhood and its famous troglodyte houses, the “cuevas”.
If you want more information about Granada, you should read my detailed article: The 15 best things to do in Granada.
Ronda is another top place to visit in Andalucia.
This lovely small village is located on top of a hill, dominating the whole valley. The main attraction there is the Puente Nuevo (“New Bridge” in English), you’ll see it on every postcards! It connects the old and new town, spanning over the river and valley.
If you want to take the perfect picture, go to the Plaza Maria Auxiliadora, and take the path going down to the 2 viewpoints over the bridge.
In Ronda, you can also visit:
- Ronda Arena
- Mondragon Palace
- the bandit museum
- La Casa del Rey Moro (“House of the Moorish King” in English).
If you want more details about the best things to do in Ronda, you should read my article: Visit Ronda: the definitive guide.
5. The White Villages
Among all the things to do in Andalucia, you really should do a road trip on the White villages Route. The most famous road of Andalucia will take you to the most beautiful villages and countryside spots.
Most of the White Villages, or “Pueblos Blancos”, are located uphill. In the past, that was the best protection against a potential enemy attack!
If all the houses are white, it’s for a good reason: it helps to keep their inside relatively cool during the hot Andalusian summers. You will see, these villages are very charming with their narrow streets and balconies covered with flowers.
Where to stop on the Route of the White Villages:
- Arcos de la Frontera: you’ll see nice churches there and the Castle of Arcos de la Frontera. The scenic view from the mirador is breathtaking. Arcos is the highest White Village.
- Grazalema: for its 3 miradors and their scenic view over the village and the Sierra de Grazalema
- Zahara de la Sierra: it’s one of the most typical and most beautiful White Villages, with remains of a castle and a breathtaking view over the turquoise lake below
- Setenil de las Bodegas: A very special Andalusian White village, most of the houses are troglodytes. They are carved in a gigantic rock.
6. Sierra de Grazalema natural park
What else can you do in Andalucia besides visiting cities? Go hiking!
There are many hiking trails in this park, you will need to choose one (or several!) depending on your fitness level, your interest and also the time of the year (some hiking paths are closed in the summer because of fire hazard).
For more information, there are 3 visitor center located in El Bosque, Zahara de la Sierra and Ubrique. You should check with them before, as some trails require getting a special authorization beforehand.
If you’re going to the park on a hot day, I recommend the “El rio Majaceite” path: it’s an easy hike, about 4 hours roundtrip, departing from El bosque and going along the river.
The path is in the shade, and you can also take advantage of the nearby river to freshen up. It’s a popular place among Andalusian families to picnic on Sundays.
You’re a culture enthusiast? Then you should definitely go visit Malaga!
Beside being a top beach destination in Andalucia, Malaga is also full of interesting cultural sites and museums:
- Picasso Birthplace Museum (get you tickets here): The legendary artist was born in that house in 1881. You’ll learn more about his life, his work and will see some of his personal belongings.
- Centre Pompidou Malaga, is a branch of the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris with several pieces of contemporary art
- Carmen Thyssen Museum with its extensive collection of Spanish and Andalusian paintings
- Russian Art Museum offers a collection of Russian art pieces in an old tobacco factory.
You should also definitely visit Malaga fortress: the Alcazaba.
And to enjoy a stunning scenic view over the whole city and the port, head to Gibralfaro castle.
You will find every information you need to visit Malaga in my article: The 15 best things to do in Malaga.
8. The Caminito del Rey
Close to Malaga, “El Caminito del Rey” path is one the most spectacular natural sites in Andalusia.
To go there, you will need to be a bit adventurous. Until 2015, date of its full renovation, this hiking path was considered the most dangerous one in the world! Hopefully, today it is completely up to safety standards.
Located in El Chorro gorge, it was once used to transport equipment for the 2 neighbouring hydroelectric power stations. It was made of simple wooden pontoons directly fixed on the cliffs with no guardrail. After several deadly incidents, the path was closed in 2000 and opened again only in 2015.
Nowadays, it’s totally safe to hike on this path located 100 meters above the ground, but it’s still very impressive. Before starting, think about it twice if you have the fear of heights, as once you start, you can’t go back. The path is only one way, from North to South, so you’ll have to reach the end!
If it makes you feel safer, you can always choose to do a guided hike in the Caminito. The guide will give you more information about the location and its history. You need to book your guided hike in advance here because these are often fully booked weeks in advance.
Cadiz might not be considered a top destination in Andalucia compared to cities like Seville or Granada, yet it’s a great place to visit. I actually loved this less touristic city, where you don’t have to wait forever under the sun to get inside the monuments.
Here are Cadiz must-see attractions:
- The Plaza de San Juan de Dios, where the city hall and the San Juan de Dios church are located. It’s very charming, with lots coffee shops and restaurants.
- The Roman theater, entrance is free!
- Cadiz cathedral go to the top of the bell tower to enjoy a scenic view over the city
- San Sebastian castle and Santa Catalina castle, both located next to the sea
- La Caleta beach to take a dip.
You want to learn more about the best things to do in Cadiz? Have a look at my article: Visit Cadiz: the definitive guide.
10. Doñana National Park
Doñana national park is the perfect destination to take a break from historical monuments visits and enjoy a bit of nature. Located in Huelva province, the park is about 1 hour driving from Seville and 50 min from Cadiz.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most protected areas of Europe. It’s definitely a great place to observe wildlife: if you’re lucky, you can see flamingos, deers, birds and maybe even an Iberian lynx, an endangered species.
In the park, you can take a stroll on one of the hiking paths. You’ll find more information about available itineraries in one of the visitor centers located in Matalascañas (Huelva), Villamanrique de la Condesa (Seville) or in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cadiz).
The park is very large, so you can also go around biking, horse-riding, by boat or even on an off-road bus or a 4WD. For the 4WD tour, your guide will take you to the best parts of the park, and you may even see a lynx! You must book the tour in advance here.
You’re looking for the most beautiful beaches in Andalucia? You like to party?
Then Marbella is the perfect destination for you!
This high-end seaside resort located in the Costa Del Sol has everything you dream for: 27 km of beaches, many prestigious villas, luxury stores, coffee shops and fancy nightclubs! Marbella is a very famous party destination for wealthy tourists.
To get a glimpse of all of this luxury, you can go to Puerto Banus marina to see some of the most luxurious yachts in the world. During summer, celebrities from all over the world stop by Marbella to enjoy the beaches and nightlife.
If you’re not interested in all this glitz and glamour, there is also a lovely historic center with flowery houses in Marbella.
You can of course also enjoy an afternoon at the beach: Cabopino beach, also called Artola Dunes is the most famous one. The beach is protected from the wind and has shallow and crystal clear water.
12. Jerez de la Frontera
If you’ve been to all major cities in the region and are looking for another place to visit in Andalucia, head to Jerez de la Frontera.
Not far from Cadiz, the city is known for its wine, the famous Sherry wine. More than 20 wineries and cellars are located in the city, and some of them offer guided tours with wine tastings. If you want to do a guided tour of some of the most famous Jerez bodegas and of course taste the wine, you will need to book it here.
The most famous tourist attraction is Jerez is the show of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. For 90 min, you’ll enjoy several choreographies performed along traditional Spanish music. If you want to attend one of the best equestrian show in the world, you need to book it there.
13. Nerja caves
Wondering about the best things to do in Andalucia with children? If you’re in Andalucia on family vacation, you should go on a day trip to Nerja caves.
The caves were discovered by chance in 1959 by students who were looking for bats. They are 4km long but only bout a third is open to visitors.
Unless most caves where only guided tours are possible, you can visit Nerja caves freely. However, only a certain amount of visitors are allowed inside every 30 min.
You can get an audio guide to learn more about the history of the caves and their discovery. Allow about 45min for the visit. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and a jacket: it’s always cold in caves, even during summertime!
During your visit, you will be able to access several halls, such as the Cataclysm Hall where you can see one of the tallest and largest columns in the world. Torca Hall and its numerous cave paintings is also worth a look.
For more information about Nerja caves, you should visit the official website.
14. The Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras
If you’re visiting Andalucia during summer and it’s a bit too hot for your taste, you should go to the Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras. It’s the highest mountains range in Spain, with over twenty peaks above 3000 meters.
It’s never too hot in this mountainous region (even in the summer) and above all, you will discover a wilder and less touristic side of Andalucia. The Alpujarras villages are renowned for their picturesque and timeless character.
You’ve guessed it, the Sierra Nevada is an amazing place to hike in the mountain. You can also go climbing, paragliding, mountain biking or horse-riding.
If you’re visiting Andalucia during winter, you’ll be able to ski on some the 105km of ski slopes available, while enjoying a stunning view over Granada and the sea!
Gibraltar is located south of Andalucia. Did you know that even if it’s located in Spain, Gibraltar is in fact part of the United-Kingdom? It also means that you need to cross a border to go there and waiting time is usually quite long if you go by car.
It really feels like a southern part of England, with English signs, English style phone booths and buses and (of course) English pubs. Gibraltar also has its own currency: the Gibraltar Pound, an equivalent to the British Pound. You’ll have to exchange your Euros once you get there.
An absolute must-see in Gibraltar is the Upper Rock. You can go there on foot, by car or by cable car. In any case, you’ll have to cross right in the middle of the airport, where there are traffic lights to regulate traffic between planes, cars and pedestrians!!!
At the Upper Rock, you should check out these attractions:
- Saint Michael Cave: It was used as a hospital during World War 2. Nowadays, you can attend sound and light shows there.
- The famous monkeys! There are more than 200 monkeys walking freely on the rock. Be careful with your belongings and don’t bring food.
- The Great Siege Tunnels carved inside the rock.
- The Moorish Castle, with only a single tower still standing.
16. Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park
Cabo de Gata Natural Park is the largest coast and land protected area of all the Mediterranean region. Of volcanic origin, it offers several types of landscapes ranging from beautiful beaches and coves to wilder desert style landscapes.
What to do in Cabo Park, Andalucia:
- Hiking on one of the many marked paths
- Scuba diving
- Go on a boat tour
- Take a dip at one of the world-famous beaches of Cabo de Gata, such as Las Salinas or Los Muertos
- Birdwatching (mainly flamingos) in the salt pans
- Explore the small fishermen villages of Las Negras or San José
17. Tabernas desert
Located North of Almeria, Tabernas desert is the largest arid desert in Europe.
It’s a famous place in Andalucia because many Spaghetti Western movies had been filmed there, such as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” or “A fistful of dollars”. Other famous movies like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Indiana Jones” were also filmed there.
In Tabernas, you should visit Fort Bravo (also called Texas Hollywwod). It was one of the villages built to serve as a set for an American Western movie, and it was kept as is afterwards. You can visit the saloon and even attend a duel between the sherif and a bandit!
And if you don’t want to miss any of the breathtaking landscapes of Tabernas desert, you can also visit the desert with a guide. You can’t book it online, you will need to ask your hotel to arrange it for you.
18. Ubeda and Baeza
If you’re spending some time in Andalucia, you can also visit Ubeda and Baeza (Jaén province), 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Quite unusual here, these villages are filled with renaissance style monuments!
Lost in the middle of olive tree fields and located only 8km from each other, the two villages maintained a very authentic charm. They are quite different from other traditional Andalusian villages and their whitewashed houses.
here are the best places to see in Ubeda, Andalucia:
- The Sacra Capilla del Salvador: a true jewel of Spanish renaissance
- The Vazquez de Molina palace, it’s nowadays the city hall
- The Dean Ortega palace, built in the 16th century
- The Basílica de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares
Must-see attractions in Baeza:
- Visit the Baeza cathedral
- Discover the Jabalquinto palace
- Go see Saint John Church
- Walk around the Plaza del Populo
19. Attend a Flamenco show
You want to embrace Andalusian culture? Then you should definitely attend a Flamenco show!
This art was born here during the 17th century, and is still today a very important part of Andalucia’s culture and history. Coming from the gypsy culture, Flamenco is a mix of 3 arts: singing, dancing and guitar.
There’s nothing easier than attending a flamenco show in Andalucia, they’re everywhere, even on the streets.
- In Seville, you should go to “Los Gallos” tablao (the place where Flamenco shows are taking place), the oldest one in the city with a lineup of international artists. The show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco is also very good and pretty affordable! To attend this show, you need to book your tickets here.
- In Granada, the best Flamenco shows are taking places in the “cuevas” of the traditional Sacromonte neighborhood. You can book your tickets directly here.
- In Cordoba as well, you can see an excellent show in a beautiful building at the “Flamenco Cardenal” tablao.
Today, Flamenco is considered one of the main tourist attractions in Andalucia.
20. Eat tapas
During your trip to Andalucia, you will also probably want to discover local gastronomy.
And as you’re in Spain, it’s no surprise that you’ll probably eat lots of tapas during your stay.
Wherever you are in Seville, Granada, Ronda or even the smallest village, you won’t be able to miss tapas, they’re everywhere! From classic recipes to more unique ones, tapas are a real staple of Andalusian cuisine.
Each restaurant has its own specialities, so Spanish people often go to several bars on the same night. There’s even a word for it: “tapear”!
Malaga and Granada cities are known to offer amazing tapas. In Granada, it’s a tradition that when you order a drink, it always comes with tapas. There is a real competition to offer the most unique and best presented tapas.
Some classic tapas are the Russian salad (potatoes, tuna and corn), croquetas and tortillas.
According to the well-known saying, Andalucia is the perfect place “to go tapas” (“tapear” in Spanish)!
And you, what do you plan to do in Andalucia? Which point of interests would you like to visit?
Andalucia travel Guides
- Buy the DK Eyewitness Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Lonely Planet Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Snapshot Andalusia guide on Amazon.com
You’re traveling in Spain? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Spain: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Spain are listed there.
- Itinerary: 4-5 days in Andalucia – The perfect itinerary for a short stay in Andalucia!
- Itinerary: 1 week in Andalucia – With all my best tips + accommodation suggestions!
- Itinerary: 10 days in Andalucia – Discover how to visit Andalucia in 10 days, with all my best tips!
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Andalucia – The best itinerary to visit Andalucia in 14-15 days
- Cadiz: The 12 things you must-see in town!
- Cordoba: Top 15 best things to do and must-see attractions
- Granada: Top 15 best things to do
- Malaga: The 15 best places to visit
- Ronda: The 10 best things to do
- Seville: Top 15 best things to do and places to visit