The Always Amazing Andalucía
Andalucía is a vast region. Without doubt its very name conjures up in the mind a vision of castles, an exotic Arabic heritage, heat and flamenco. And on the other side of the Andalucian dream, there’s the glitz and glam of Marbella and its neighbours. It’s entirely possible to enjoy both and that’s why Andalucía is always amazing.
But first, the good news about Andalucia…
The Marbella property market is in full recovery. In fact, the Spanish property market, which includes all of Andalucia is really in full swing. So much has happened over the past couple of years, but more so in 2017. One thing that stood out, and helped the Spanish economy was the record breaking tourism. For the 5th straight year, Marbella and the Costa del Sol saw millions of tourists’ land on its soil.
The Andalucian Junta, released the astonishing tourism figures, reporting that between June and September there were 25 million overnight stays in the area. Tourists destinations in Andalucia saw 7.8 million visitors in total, a 2% rise. The Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (INE) revealed that September last year was the best in history, even better than August 2009 and 2010.
The minister for Andalusian Tourism, Francisco Javier Fernandez said the rate of employment in tourist industries grew by 5% last month.
“This figure means that employment is not threatened outside of high season. Now we are going to make an effort to ensure that this keeps going in October and November, up until the Christmas season”, he said.
There is plenty to celebrate, so without further ado, here are some of the best areas in Andalucia worth exploring.
The Moors in Granada
The Moorish invasion of Spain in 711 and domination of Andalucía lasted until 1492 and had an impact on Spanish life that has never completely gone away. It certainly lives on in the well-preserved palaces and mosques built all those centuries ago that are now UNESCO World Heritage sites that draw people from all over the world. You must not miss the Alhambra in Granada. Book ahead to make sure you get in and get a view of it illuminated at night from the top of Sacromonte.
Córdoba and Culture
Travel to Cordoba for a serious taste of Moorish history and one of the world’s most stunning buildings: the mosque or mezquita. The dazzling Arab architecture has been disturbed in the buildings centre by the introduction of a church, but it is still possible to appreciate the talent and grasp of maths that the Moors had. Outside the city, the ruins of the city that was Medina Azahara are also worth visiting, and in the city you’ll discover the remnants of Roman influence and the Jewish community that made this place a cradle of Western civilisation.
The Sierra Nevada
From Granada you’ll spot some snow-capped mountains, even when the sun is burning you. This is the Sierra Nevada range, where locals come to ski in winter. Visitors can also see Spain’s highest peaks, Los Tresmiles. The highest is Mulhacén (3479m) followed by Veleta (3395m). You may want to visit Puerto del Suspiro del Moro, a viewing point of Granada, which is named after the last Moorish ruler of Granada who reputedly sighed when he reached this point and turned round to see what he’d lost.
A Very Old Community
Cádiz, on Andalucía’s Atlantic coast is equally historic and is one of the oldest inhabited communities in southwest Europe. Its old town is full of character and narrow twisting streets, while its more modern parts have broad boulevards. One of the city’s most distinct aspects is its resemblance to Havana in Cuba and it has been used as a substitute for the Cuban capital in Bond film “Die Another Day.” It is also birthplace to many stars of the flamenco world.
A Stunning National Park
If you are in the Cádiz region you are on the doorstep of one of the most amazing nature reserves: Doñana National Park. It covers 543 km2 and is a unique example of European biodiversity. You’ll see flamingos, deer, badgers, wild boar, the endangered Spanish Imperial Eagle and perhaps an Iberian lynx. It’s also a resting and breeding place for many migratory birds, making this an ideal spot for bird lovers.
Marbella, by far is the most popular destination in Andalucia and with good reason. This southern Spanish city, and beachside resort, attracts plenty of attention for it’s glitz and glam, but without outrageous costs for tourism. Blue flag beaches, a thriving property market, and fun for the whole family is what this fabulous city offers. Marbella is one of the wealthiest cities in Spain and in Europe and has over 125,000 inhabitants. This single town generates from 7% to 10% of the entire gross regional product of Andalusia, with about 8,200,000 residents. Accordingly, Marbella has become known for its sizeable tourist industry, ethnically diverse population and ostentatious wealth.
And, when you feel like a spot of shopping, sipping champagne at stylish beach clubs and celebrity watching at the nightclubs, you can drop into Marbella for a touch of the cosmopolitan life at a relaxing pace.
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