Exploring Andalucía’s Golden Triangle
Tuesday December 20, 2016
Visit cities steeped in incredible history, admire the Moorish influence, and enjoy the superb beaches on the tranquil Costa Tropical. Andalucía is the home of ‘tapas’ and the cities come alive in the evening with bars offering a whole host of local delicacies such 'La tortilla del Sacromonte' in Granada (a type of brains omelette), “Migas” breadcrumbs with melon or sardines) spinach with chickpeas in Seville, salmorejo ( thick gazpacho soup) in Córdoba.
No trip to Andalucía would be complete without visiting the incredible city of Granada, boasting no less than three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We recommend you set aside at least three days in Granada to make the most of your visit. The Alhambra and Generalife are Spain’s most visited tourist attraction, and you need at least one day to visit these alone. We strongly recommend booking tickets in advance as they can get sold out. You can easily take another couple of days to visit other sites such as the Cathedral, the Albayzin,, The Bañuelo and the Alcaiceria (the silk market) - so you won’t be short of things to do. There is also great nightlife in Granada to keep you busy in the evenings too! Experience the amazing tapas, local bars and flamenco - all with the stunning backdrop of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Located adjacent to the Alhambra and in the heart of the Albayzin there is a 16th century noble house which has been restored as the boutique hotel Granada – El Ladron de Agua. It epitomises the Grenadine experience if you are looking for somewhere to stay when exploring this exciting city. Choose from double or twin rooms up to the amazing Generalife Suite which is perfect for a honeymoon or for that special occasion. El Ladron de Agua literally translates as ‘The Water Thief’ from an abstract poem written by Juan Ramon Jimenez, and this beautiful boutique hotel Granada also supports local and regional art in the community.
Córdoba (also known as Cordova) is to the north west of Granada and has an impressive history of its own. Established around the 8th Century BC it is thought to have been the world’s most populous city by the 10th Century AD. Having seen both Roman and Islamic rule, it is most famous for the Great Mosque of Córdoba which is now a Roman Catholic Church - the Mezquita-Catedral - and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re happy to get up early, Córdoba is perfectly doable from Granada in a day. You can either hire a car which will take a little over two hours each way, or you can get the bus or train which take a little longer - but only cost around 30 to 35 euros for a return trip depending on your ticket type.
Seville is the Capital of Andalucía and the largest city in the region, yet it is still relatively compact and easy to get round the city in a day or two. Situated on the River Guadalquivir, like Granada, it boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites all within a couple of minutes’ walk from each other. The Alcázar palace, Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies should all be on your list of things to see in Seville. There are also plenty of other things to do in Seville, stroll through the cobbled streets of the old medieval quarter, visit the huge Plaza de España and the Giralda Tower, and take in the tapas bars and flamenco dancers.
Seville is just under three hours from Granada by car or just over three hours by bus (around 30 euros return) or by train (around 50 euros return). If you are visiting Seville from Granada and want somewhere to stay overnight we recommend the family run Hotel Alcoba del Rey, well located next to the Basilica of the Macarena. Although not right in the centre of town, it’s not far to walk to all the main sites, and we think you’ll agree that it is worth it for this exceptional hotel.
Round off your visit to Andalucía with a visit to the coast. The Costa Tropical is not well known compared to its Costa neighbours, which historically was due to the poor infrastructure in the area. With a new superhighway giving better access, it is now gaining popularity. Its small unspoilt beaches and coves away from the mass tourism of the Costa del Sol are making this a real gem of an area to visit.
If you’re looking for a little bit of paradise we recommend you visit La Herradura which is just one hour from Granada by car or an hour and a half by bus - costing around 10 euros return. Literally translated as ‘The Horseshoe’, it’s a stunningly beautiful horseshoe shaped bay with a 2km sandy beach and clear blue waters . . . great for water-sports and arguably the best scuba diving in Spain.
Either visit this pretty part of the coast as a day trip from Granada, or if you want somewhere to stop overnight we recommend La Caleta Bay which is a great little boutique hotel right across the road from the beach. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the position, the rooms and the hospitality.
We do hope we’ve given you some ideas of some of the places you might like to visit and where to stay on your Andalucían adventure. To find out more about Granada and the surrounding areas follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook – and keep up with the latest!