Visit Andalucia for a taste of the sun, sea and party of southern Spain

From the pristine beaches of the Costa Tropical to the ancient port city of Cadiz, the sunny southern region of Andalucia is one of its brightest gems.

Whether you want to relax on the sunny beaches of the Costa del Sol or sample the delicious local cuisine, this huge coastal region has plenty to offer.

Covering an incredible 17% of Spain’s total territory with temperatures rarely falling into the single digits, it’s the perfect place to escape the ravages of a northern European winter.

So if you’re heading to the Costa del Sunshine, what should you see and do? Here is our information on everything you can enjoy Andalusiafrom carnivals to cooking.

When is the Cadiz Carnival?

Considered the oldest city still standing in Europe, the port of Cadiz was established by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC. Surrounded by the sea, the city today is a charming mix of architectural styles, reflecting its rich and varied history.

If you want to get a real taste of Cadiz, you have to visit during carnival season. Taking place every February, the city transforms into a huge party venue.

“Carnival music can be heard in every corner of the city and many of its citizens prepare their costumes, which in Cádiz are known as ‘tipo’ – some of them are true works of art” , explains Arturo Bernal Bergua, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports of Andalusia.

“These are the days when Cadiz live with all their soul, it is one of the most anticipated recreational events in the city and one of the most imaginative and ingenious Spanish carnivals.”

This year, the epic 10-day celebration runs from February 16-26. Considered the biggest carnival in Spain, the first Sunday sees a big parade through the streets of the city. Fireworks, food, competitions and dancing take place for the duration of the festival – and sometimes even longer.

Which beaches can I visit in Andalusia?

Although you’ve probably heard of the sunny beaches from the Costa del Sol and Málaga, the Andalusian coastline extends over 800 km. If you deviate from the beaten path, you will discover truly unique and unexpected landscapes.

One of these wonders is El Acantilado del Asperillo, the highest dune cliff in Europe. A fossil dune system, the jagged rock structures jut out over 12 hectares of coastline.

Equally eye-catching is the Bolonia dune, which reaches an impressive height of 30 meters and a length of over 200 meters. This dune system is part of the Del Estrecho Natural Park, located on the north side of the Strait of Gibraltar, the meeting point between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Next to the dunes, there are superb waterfalls in the region too, as Bergua explains.

“You can also visit one of the few freshwater waterfalls in Spain, which falls directly into the sea, in the natural area of ​​Maro – Cerro Gordo, where some of the smallest and most hidden beaches in the world are located. country.”

“Rijana is even smaller, in the Granada town of Gualchos, which is around 250 meters long. In addition, the community also has what is considered the longest beach in Spain, Doñana, 28 km long and with restricted access.

What are the best places to discover Andalusian cuisine?

If you want to taste the local cuisineBergua recommends following local food routes.

“A good way to get to know the cuisine and indigenous products of Andalusia is to follow its gastronomic routes, such as the tuna route from Almadraba on the coast of Cádiz, the ham route from Jabugo to Huelva or the rice route in Seville,” says Bergua.

“The gastronomy of the southernmost region of Spain is undoubtedly determined by its excellent climate, its long hours of sunshine and its proximity to the sea.”

The Andalusian tourist office organizes tours for each of these routes, allowing you to learn more about how food is produced in the region.

The Rice Route will take you to the banks of the Guadalquivir River, where 40% of Spanish rice is grown. As well as producing this essential grain, the wetlands create a spectacular natural habitat, with 275 species of birds nesting or wintering here.