Just as the American image of Germany is Bavaria, the Yankee dream of Spain is Andalucía. This is the home of bullfights, flamenco, gazpacho, pristine whitewashed hill towns, glamorous Mediterranean resorts, three exciting cities (Granada, Sevilla, and Córdoba), and the south coast (Costa del Sol).
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Ronda Midsize town dramatically overhanging and straddling a deep gorge, and home to Spain's oldest bullring, with nearby prehistoric paintings at Pileta Cave.
▲▲▲ Granada Grand Moorish capital, home to the magnificent Alhambra palace and still-pungent North African culture.
▲▲▲ Sevilla Soulful, flamenco-flavored cultural capital of southern Spain.
▲▲ Arcos de la Frontera Queen of the White Hill Towns, with a romantic, cliff-perched old town that meanders down to a vibrant modern center; well-suited as a home base.
▲ Córdoba Home to Spain’s top surviving Moorish mosque, the Mezquita.
▲ Nerja Gem of the Costa del Sol, offering Old World charm, good beaches, and little of the crass high-rise-hotel vibe that plagues much of the resort towns nearby.
▲ Tarifa Whitewashed, Arab-feeling town with good restaurants, affordable hotels, a lovely beach, and hassle-free boats to Morocco.
▲ Gibraltar Broken-off bit of the British Empire sporting its famously steep-faced and monkey-covered Rock (technically not within Andalucía but within easy reach of Tarifa and the White Hill Towns).
▲ Jerez de la Frontera Proud equestrian mecca and birthplace of sherry, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy both in its relatively urban setting.
Zahara de la Sierra Tiny whitewashed village scenically set between a rocky Moorish castle and a turquoise lake.
Grazalema Bright-white town nestled in the green hills of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
Medina Sidonia Perfectly scenic white town worth at least a quick stop for anyone driving between Arcos and Tarifa.
Vijer de la Frontera Gleaming hilltop village with a Moroccan flair and within easy reach of Spain's southern coast.