Travel Guide: The Pretty Towns and Cities in Andalusia, the Fairy Tale Region of Southern Spain

There where the Mediterranean spirit touches the artistic soul that speaks with colours and details- hidden pearls are scattered under the sunny South. These historic towns enchant like the magic wand under the throne of its capital Seville.

Andalusia has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and sun-kissed land full of amazing beaches. While most people are thrilled only by mighty Seville, Andalusia has much more to offer. Medieval cobblestone streets delight with the sounds of Spanish guitar, it’s the touch of the Moorish past that stands in the background.

Andalusia wins with its rich landscapes and cultural heritage, with the artistic soul of a romantic charm. White Hill Towns are also scattered along the route of the brilliant mountain touch of the Sierra.

 

Seville: The City of Fascinating Architecture

The majestic Seville and its romantic soul lies in the shadow of its architectural delight. With the touch of Flamenco and culinary panorama, particularly tapas, the burning spirit of the Spanish heart invites.

Traditional culture allures with the vibrant festivals and everyday life at the cobblestone streets. The royal elegance of its edifices is intertwined with the charming street lamps, especially enchanting at night.

The majestic Cathedral of Seville was once a Great Mosque, characterised as the largest Gothic church in Christendom. Announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedral of Seville is a treasure of artistic glory.

The colourful tiles of the artistic square Plaza de España in Seville
The colourful tiles of the artistic square Plaza de España in Seville- Credit: TheDiaryofaNomad.com

The most charming quarter of Seville, Barrio Santa Cruz, was once a Jewish district. Plaza de España in the Parque de Maria Louisa is the recognisable sign of Seville with its leisurely feelings and charming bridges.

The Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Royal Alcazar holds the astonishing touch of palaces and gardens under one shell. Announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the Royal Alcazar is one of the symbols of Seville. The tile decor makes the palace pretty famous.

This Moorish complex of palaces dating from the 11th century is a perfect blend of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles. The Gothic style was brought in the 13th century with Spanish influence. The royal family still uses some buildings and thus makes it one of the oldest royal places in Europe still in use.

The Alcazar itself derives from the Arabic al-qaṣr meaning the castle. The Patio de Doncellas (Courtyard of the Maidens) is probably the most astonishing and recognizable part of the Alcazar.

 

Granada: Cozy City in the Mountains of Sierra Nevada

Nestled in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, Granada is an astonishing place full of relaxing vibes. Under the shelter of Alhambra castle the Moorish heritage left exquisite architecture and Islamic treasure. It’s now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Granada is the home to several caves where some people live from time to time. The enchanting mosaics of the Alhambra just fill with the divine spirit and historical atmosphere. The stunning views of Granada spread out from the majestic Alhambra.

Majestic views of Granada from Alhambra castle
Majestic views of Granada from Alhambra castle- Credit: Iberian-Escapes.com

Albayzin or the Arab quarter of Granada spells the charm of the bohemian touch, also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The steep hill shapes the tiny streets and offers the stunning opportunities to watch the sunset over the Alhambra.

The Cathedral of Granada is the second largest in Spain after Seville. It’s a lovely blend of Renaissance and Baroque styles.

 

Cordoba: the Ancient Capital of Europe

Cordoba bursts with historic charm entitled as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in its pretty Old town. Once Cordoba held a significant position in Europe as the centre of civilization.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba or Mezquita is its recognizable sign dating from the 10th century. The astonishing mosaics of Muslim architecture capture the beauty of time. This eternal glory is strengthened by the fact the mosque was converted into a cathedral in the 16th century. The minaret of the Cathedral offers the fabulous views of Cordoba.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba, its recognizable sign and acting as Cathedral nowadays
The Great Mosque of Cordoba, its recognizable sign and acting as Cathedral nowadays- Credit: TurismodeCordoba.org

Cordoba is a town filled with flowers which vibrate the tiny streets together with the traditional rhythm of flamenco. The Juderia neighbourhood or Jewish quarter delights with its decorative charm and whitewashed houses.

May is the month of many events in Cordoba, like The Battles of Flowers, May Crosses or the pretty popular Fiesta de los Patios.

 

Ronda: Town Placed on the Stunning Cliffs

Ronda delights with the dramatic setting where the stunning cliffs and Puente Nouvo Bridge create the ambience. The old and new parts of the town are linked with the El Tajo Bridge with the amazing views of the gorge.

The charming architecture of Plaza del Torros is the most popular gathering place. The whitewashed houses of Ronda attract by their simplicity and tradition.

Ronda town in Andalusia placed on the stunning cliffs
Ronda town in Andalusia placed on the stunning cliffs- Credit: AdventurousMiriam.com

Ronda amazes with the lovely squares and cobblestone streets, with beautiful architecture. Mondragon Palace and Arabic Baths are among its highest attractions.

Ronda is the place to take a relaxing stroll along the picturesque views of its parks. These are in particular Alameda del Tajo and Alameda del Jose Antonio.

 

Malaga- The Historical Centre of the Popular Beaches

The birthplace of Pablo Picasso was transformed from a mainly touristic invite into the lovely pedestrian charm of the centre. This Mediterranean port town is sheltered by the fortress with astonishing views. The two of them simply cherish the town: Alcazaba and the Castillo de Gibralfaro.

Malaga is the home of the popular Costa del Sol, filled with all-inclusive resorts at the beach. The cultural treasures of Malaga offer more than 20 museums.

The colourful historical centre of Malaga
The colourful historical centre of Malaga- Credit: GibSpain.com

The historical sights of Malaga include the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre. The Old town of Malaga is a charming collection of cobblestone streets and lovely cafe bars intertwined with inviting boutique shops.

The Botanical Gardens of Malaga date in 1994, but give the crown to the relaxing stroll near the palm trees. The harbor of Malaga gives plenty of restaurants to enjoy the maritime pleasure.

 

Marbella: The Elegant Town Near Malaga

Stretching along the 27 km of coastline at the Costa de Sol, the seaside town of Marbella is a delightful relaxation. The Old town is a cultural hive hosting whitewashed houses and flower design. The closest beach to the old town is Playa La Fontanilla.

The seaside views of the beaches and town of Marbella
The seaside views of the beaches and town of Marbella- Credit: Iberian-Escapes.com

Plaza de los Naranjos rules the heart of Marbella, especially in the cozy shadow of many terraces. Lovely churches hold the charm in the pedestrian streets of Moorish traces. The colourful doors of Marbella can take the charm of the Castle.

This stylish town is home to many beach resorts, fancy yachts at Puerto Banus and elegant promenades under the palm trees. The Spanish Contemporary Engravings Museum dominates among the many with artworks by famous artists.

 

Cadiz: The Historic Town With Stunning Views

The ancient city of Cadiz on the southern shore of the Iberian peninsula is an old port town. The historical vibes hold the mix of the Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Moorish traces.

The beautiful panorama of Cadiz along the coast
The beautiful panorama of Cadiz along the coast- Credit: Wanderlust.co.uk

The Cadiz Cathedral offers stunning views of the coastline and panoramic beauty. Barrio del Populo is the place to explore the medieval charm and Santa Maria quarter gives the chance to absorb the birthplace of flamenco song.

Watching the shore in Cadiz is best done at Alameda de Apodaca and its terraced promenade. The shaddy treasure can be enjoyed at the popular Alameda Marques de Comillas. Parque Genoves is the most exotic park in Cadiz with mesmerizing waterfalls.

The beaches differ in the colourful shine of diversity, while Playa de la Victoria takes the winning place of Spain.

 

Mijas: One of the Pretties Andalusian Towns

One of the prettiest towns in southern Spain is divided into two levels. One is the Old town and the other La Cala or the coastal part of Mijas. Located in the province of Malaga, Mijas is filled with whitewashed houses.

The rhythm of white and blue resembles the Greek islands, this is the place of simple design and blue ceramic plants. The Old town bursts the scenic views from the hill especially from the old fortress.

Pretty street of Mijas town with seaside views and blue flower pots-
Pretty street of Mijas town with seaside views and blue flower pots- Credit: TheCraftofwandering.com

This Moorish settlement is nowadays populated mostly with the expat communities. It’s the place where the true Andalusian spirit plays the vibe. The Enthnological Museum and Museum of miniatures hold the exploration of the heritage and culture.

Mijas Costa is filled with all-inclusive resorts and sandy beaches. The 16th century watchtower Torre vieja at summer hosts numerous concerts.

 

Frigiliana: The Stunning Beauty of the White Town

Frigiliana conquers with the stunning beauty of whitewashed houses where oranges and geraniums flow like jewels. This hilly town just amazes with the simplicity of the cobblestone streets and colourful doors.

Pretty street of the white town Frigiliana in Andalusia
Pretty street of the white town Frigiliana in Andalusia- Credit: MigratingMiss.com

The ruins of the Castle of Izar from the 16th century serve as the perfect viewpoint of this white village and the Mediterranean sea.

Frigiliana is located about 70 km north of Malaga, close to the lovely town of Nerja. The steep path called Calle Real leads to Casco Antigua or the Castle of Frigiliana. Just strolling the pedestrian streets gives enough enchantment and discovery.

The Castle of Izar is the heritage of Arabs dating from the 16th century.

The amazing day trips close to Frigiliana are easy to find and just take a hike to the Natural Park of Tejeda, Almijara or Alhama. Nerja caves are the main attraction of Southern Spain.

Nerja

This resort town near Frigiliana is nestled in the historical charm of the wonderful buildings. The Balcony of Europe

is the stunning viewpoint in the Centre of Nerja. Once it was an old fort and now a viewpoint framed by the palm trees.

The red-coloured Aqueduct Eagle is one of the masterpieces of Nerja. It dates back in the 19th century.

Cascada de Maro is a fascinating waterfall where mountains blend with the sea.

 

Juzcar: Blue Town of the Smurfs

Juzcar is a famous Blue Smurfs Village hidden in Malaga Province. Once a classical white village in Andalusia, Juzcar was painted into blue in 2011 by Sony Pictures. It was a way to promote the Spanish edition of the Smurfs 3D movie.

Blue town Juzcar also known as the Smurf town
Blue town Juzcar, also known as the Smurf town- Credit: Andalucia.org

Only a temporary intention became a touristic boom and Juzcal got a new destiny. The mushroom production in Juzcal was a reason to turn it into a blue town. The whole town is decorated with Smurf statues, Smurf murals and a tiny mushroom building.

 

Estepona: The Traffic-Free Town Full of Flowers

Estepona is a hidden gem along the Costa del Sol, usually overshadowed by nearby Marbella. With plenty of beaches along the corner and a traffic-free old town, Estepona is the perfect choice of family-friendly destination.

Cobblestone streets are captivated with the picturesque lines of the whitewashed houses and floral decor. The main square of Plaza de la Flores enjoys the delicate scents of the orange trees that give the frame and other flowers.

 

Plaza de lasFlores in Estepona, the quare full of flowers
Plaza de lasFlores in Estepona, the quare full of flowers- Credit: FascinatingSpain.com

Orchid gardens in Estepona just along the coast make the town a true flower paradise. The largeness of the gardens makes it a relaxed dream. On the route of murals, the street art lives its most fascinating life here.

The Castle of San Luis in Estepona now enjoys only the ruins. Rada beach is known for its tranquility so close to the centre.

 

Jerez de la Frontera: The Royal Town of Horses and Wines

The royal vibes of Jerez de la Frontera are the profound characteristic of this town of horses. Located only 35 km from Cadiz, this town hosts several schools and shows of horse dances.

Jerez de la Frontera also lies in the glory of its flamenco and wines. It was even announced as the European City of Wine in 2014. Flamenco in all its styles is presented at the Festival de Jerez. Sherry is the most popular drink made in Jerez from palomino grapes. Many flamenco clubs share the authenticity of flamenco and sherries.

Beautiful Jerez de la Frontera with its statues and church
Beautiful Jerez de la Frontera with its statues and church- Credit: Cadizturismo.com

Cante jondo or the typical Gypsy style of deep singing is pretty famous in Jerez de la Frontera.

The Arab influence of the town breaths in its walls, the Fortress and the Mosque. The beautiful Cathedral of San Salvador lives adjacent to the mosque in the Baroque style.

 

Arcos de la Frontera: Pretty White Town Near Cadiz

Arcos de la Frontera is set on a hilly basis holding the throne of the white towns in Andalusia. Arcos lies in the province of Cadiz dramatically falling from the cliffs to the waterfalls of the white houses.

Arcos de la Frontera standing on the high cliffs with amazing views
Arcos de la Frontera standing on the high cliffs with amazing views- Credit: Cadizturismo.com

Plaza de Cabildo elegantly stands as the viewpoint of the Guadalete river and a beautiful valley. The balcony of Pena Nueva picturesquely offers the home to these images. The mountains of Sierra de Grazalema burst in awe with the views.

The historical heritage of Arcos is rich in art and fairy tale. The castle of Arcos with a Muslim origin is the panorama of history.

 

Setenil de la Botegas: Town Built in the Canyon

Setenil de la Botegas is a place built inside of a canyon. This white village in the Cadiz province lives its phenomenal life. These cave houses are pretty practical in the summer, while some of the streets are in fact bridges.

Setenil de la Botegas, the town built in canyon
Setenil de la Botegas, the town built in canyon- Credit: Losviajesdedomi.com

The name itself comes from the Latin words septem nihil or seven times no. This derives the meaning from the final, seventh time when Catholic rulers finally conquered the Moors. Botegas means warehouse in Spanish, as the rocks served to make the storage to various products.

Exploring the Setenil gives the chance to see the amazing viewpoints, have lunch in the cave restaurant or just see the earlier castle that became just a tower now.

 

Conclusion- The charm of the Andalusian towns and cities

Enumerating the charming towns of Andalusia gives the shortage of space. This magical province in Southern Spain invites with the historical and artistic treasures, with sunny days almost all year around. The vibrant spirit of flamenco bursts the relaxing days into the field of emotions.

The Moorish rule has left some of the most beautiful creations of art in Europe, fairy tale moments that speak their own stories. 800 years of Moors put the prejudices down and intertwine with the cultural heart of flamenco and tapas.

The fabulous landscape of Andalusia separates the natural curiosity of the mountain Sierra Morena and keeps the frontier to the region of Castille. Despeñaperros canyon and Natural Park play the role in dividing the two regions of Spain.

The river Guadalquivir creates the valley and plain fields between the Sierra Morena and the Baetic Cordillera.

The towns of Andalusia, even in their simple core, enchant with the cobblestone streets and ceramic pots. The whitewashed towns hold their special charm at their hilly images. They are the off-beaten spirit of the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

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