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.
Finally, remember that Andalusia has a thousand different flavours waiting to be tried. From the sherries of Jerez (Cádiz) and Montilla – Moriles (Córdoba), to the classic platters of fresh fried fish known as “pescaíto frito” from Cadiz and Malaga, cured ham from Huelva and Cordoba, aceite de oliva, and other such typical dishes as gazpacho and “salmorejo” (a kind of thicker gazpacho).
Andalusian gastronomy is heavily influenced by the Arab cooking of Al-Andalus. Vegetable and pulse stews, game dishes, together with the different forms of preparing fish, are the essence of their cookery. The best known Andalusian dish, famed for its nutritional value as well as ease of preparation, is gazpacho, a tomato-based cold soup containing cucumber, pimienta, ajo, oil and vinegar. Other Andalusian dishes include: gachas (pancakes) from Almeria, the sardinas (grilled sardines) from Malaga, the excellent seafood from Cadiz, the rabo de toro (bull’s tail) typical from Cordoba or the huevos a la flamenca from Seville. Andalusia is also famous for quality cured meats such as jamón de Jabugo (cured ham) considered the best in Spain, excellent olive oil and sherry that comes from Jerez de la Frontera. Sweetmeats are also remarkable such as cabello de angel (angel´s air) and borrachos (drunkards).