Andalucia is simply one of the most beautiful corners of Europe and is, as yet, undiscovered by the majority. It’s a land where the excesses of the twentieth century seem not to have taken root and where travellers are genuinely welcomed. A land immortalised by the writings of Ernest Hemingway and beloved by Orson Welles, where stunningly beautiful, sun-kissed countryside, covered by green olive groves stretch off into the distance under a perpetual azure blue sky. With biscuit coloured plains, untamed rivers, deep gorges and the spectacular snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, providing the backdrop, there can be few places on earth which can boast such a wealth of natural wonders in such a small area.
Tiny whitewashed villages perch on the hilltops, with narrow winding streets where every house has window boxes crammed with flowers of every colour, adding a touch of vitality to these sleepy hamlets, little changed since Columbus’ days.
Andalucia has a long and violent past stretching from the dawn of civilisation. The Phoenicians and ancient Greeks traded, whereas Julius Caesar fought here, as did Hannibal. The region is crammed with legacies from throughout the centuries from a variety of civilisations. Without doubt, the jewels in Andalucia’s crown are the fantastic cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, which have some of the most important monuments anywhere on earth, many of which are designated as Heritage Sites by the United Nations and protected accordingly. Seville, home of Carmen and Figaro, boasts the world’s largest gothic cathedral. It was from here the conquistadors set sail to explore and plunder the New World and from the sixteenth century unimaginable wealth poured in, building the city we see today. Cordoba has a sixteen arched bridge spanning the river, built by the Romans and amazingly still in use and the Mezquita, built by the Moors is so beautiful and thought-provoking it is beyond words. Granada has the Alhambra, the Moorish King’s Palace so richly decorated, it shames almost anything we can conceive today.
Nowadays though, despite its pedigree, or because of it, Andalucia is perhaps the most Spanish region in the country, indeed, the popular image of ‘real Spain’ of ruined castles, sherry and bullfights has its roots here. The food is a delight, with the area noted for its seafood and its famous drink, the fortified wine from Jerez we call sherry. Try a glass of ‘fino’ - a very dry yet refreshing sherry whilst nibbling ‘tapas’ - that great Spanish titbit invention. The people are charming – always ready to help and with an attitude towards their fellow man and a love of life which seems only to exist in Mediterranean people.
So, for a unique blend of superb countryside; famous and stunningly beautiful monuments and cities; wonderful art, all set in a country which welcomes tourists as honoured guests – come with us and see.
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