Discover the best cities to visit in Andalusia, the Southern region of Spain! Which are the most popular cities to visit and where to go on a weekend getaway? Andalusia has so much to offer as it is a year-round destination full of sunshine, tasty food, and rich culture!
In this blog post, you will find all the best cities to visit in Andalusia as well as the most beautiful and unique towns in Southern Spain with descriptions, photos, and locations where they can be found on Google Maps. Happy exploring!
Read more >>> 21 most beautiful white villages and towns in Andalusia
1. Malaga – the iconic Andalusian city on the shores of the Mediterranean!
Malaga is a prominent city to visit in the famous Costa del Sol area in Spain. People have lived in Malaga for almost 3000 years so it is full of history, art, and unique places. Here are all the bucket list things to do and places to see in Malaga!
It is also a sunny, year-round destination known for its palm-lined sandy beaches, the Castle of Gibralfaro on top of a mountain, Alcazaba of Malaga fortress, and also as the birthplace of the famous painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso.
Malaga is the perfect place for a weekend getaway as you can visit all the must-see places in about 2-3 full days. However, it is also the perfect base for day trips to some of the most famous landmarks in Andalusia – see the best day trips from Malaga here!
In just 1 hour drive you can reach such famous tourist attractions as Puente Nuevo bridge in Ronda, the famous cave village Setenil de las Bodegas, you can reach the world-famous Alhambra in Granada, the impressive caves in Nerja, and others.
Furthermore, Malaga is a great beach destination in Andalusia while most of the other major Andalusian cities are located inland. It also hosts an international airport with many international connections making it relatively easy to reach for most travelers.
2. Granada – home of the world-famous Alhambra!
Granada is an iconic city at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalusia, Spain. With narrow streets filled with rich history, art, and the world-famous Alhambra fortress sitting atop a mountain, this city is a bucket list place to visit in Andalusia!
Granada offers some of the most beautiful architectural marvels this world has to offer – starting with some jaw-dropping examples in secret churches and monasteries and ending with the Nasrid palaces in the world-famous Alhambra fortress.
Granada is a great weekend getaway city as in just 2 days you can visit all the bucket list places to see in Granada. Apart from Alhambra, Granada is known for its scenic viewpoints and such hidden gems as the most beautiful sacristy in the world!
As you stroll around the narrow streets, many corners here still remind you of the Arab culture – from the times when Granada was under the rule of the Islamic kings. And don’t forget to taste the traditional pastry in Granada – pionono!
Some excellent day trips from Granada include an adventurous trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains nearby. I also recommend visiting the most flowerful town in Andalusia – Iznájar – as well as Montefrío village with the most beautiful view in the world!
3. Seville – the majestic capital of Andalusia!
Amongst the best cities to visit in Andalusia is the capital of South of Spain – Seville! With its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture, the so-called Pearl of Andalusia is a must-see destination for any traveler.
Seville is the perfect place if you are looking for a unique and exciting travel destination! In about 2 to 3 full days you can visit all the best places to see in the vibrant Seville city at the shores of the iconic Guadalquivir river.
From the Royal Alcazar of Seville, the landmark Cathedral of Seville with the tomb of the well-known explorer Christopher Columbus to authentic local food markets and ancient Roman ruins, Seville has so much to offer for any visitor to the city!
Seville hosts one of the most beautiful places in Andalusia – the bustling Plaza de España square which was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition that took place in Seville. And you must not skip a visit to one of the lively flamenco shows!
4. Córdoba – city with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (for any city)!
Córdoba is a scenic Andalusian city on the shores of the Guadalquivir River and features spectacular examples of Moorish architecture. The most famous widely known tourist attraction in Córdoba is Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba!
One of the top bucket list things to do in Córdoba is to visit the famous Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. It is a spectacular cathedral that was once a mosque when Córdoba was under Islamic rule.
When the Christian kings conquered the city it was redesigned into a cathedral, but, for the most part, it still looks like a mosque! Today it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Other top attractions, including some hidden gems in Córdoba, include the famous flower patios (courtyards), Palacio de Viana, the Puente Romano de Córdoba bridge, Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos as well as the Game of Thrones castle – Castillo Almodóvar del Rio.
5. Ronda – the town with the iconic bridge!
Ronda is one of the most iconic towns and one of the most beautiful places in Andalusia and in Spain. With the spectacular Puente Nuevo bridge over the deep El Tajo gorge it is a landmark place for any visitor to Spain.
Taking a photo of the famous bridge is a must-do thing in Ronda. Find the best photo spots of the iconic Puente Nuevo bridge in Ronda here! Other must-visit places in Ronda include the Arab baths, Plaza de Toros, and Jardines de Cuenca among others.
One of my favorite places to visit and a true hidden gem in Ronda was La Casa del Rey Moro. It is a historical site that includes the house, the garden, and a secret water mine where you can descend through a tunnel into the El Tajo gorge right by the river!
6. Nerja – the town of Europe’s balcony!
Nerja is a charming whitewashed coastal town filled with beautiful photo spots in the famous Costa del Sol area in Spain. It is a 50-minute drive away from Malaga and offers authentic Andalusian experiences in a relaxed atmosphere.
We spent five days exploring everything Nerja had to offer. The best things to do in Nerja include visiting the famous Nerja caves, admiring the impressive Aqueduct Eagle, and, of course, standing on the scenic Balcony of Europe!
Location: Balcony of Europe in Nerja
7. Cádiz – the oldest city in Western Europe!
Cádiz is one of the most emblematic cities in Andalusia. Considered as the oldest city in Western Europe it offers a great combination of historic evidence from different ages and centuries.
Cádiz once played an important role in Spain serving as the base for exploration trips around the World. And this importance is put on display through many historic buildings like the cathedral and the seaside fortresses with defensive city walls.
Besides the massive cathedral, some of the best things to do in Cádiz include climbing up to Torre Tavira – the highest roof in the city, visiting the iconic La Caleta beach, as well as exploring crazy trees and waterfalls at Parque Genovés.
Other places to visit, including some hidden gems in Cádiz, are the 2000-year-old Roman theatre, Alameda Apodaca promenade with 100-year-old ficus trees, and the 17th-century fortress Castillo de Santa Catalina. Cádiz is a place like no other!
8. Jerez de la Frontera – the birthplace of sherry!
Jerez de la Frontera is a hidden gem in Andalusia known as the birthplace and the world capital of fortified wine – sherry. If you get to visit this charming Andalusian city – and I hope you do! – then here are the bucket list things to do in Jerez de la Frontera!
When visiting Jerez de la Frontera, then going on a tour to one of the many sherry bodegas and learning about the craft of making wine is a must! Apart from that, the most iconic places to see in Jerez de la Frontera include the Alcázar and the cathedral.
We spent a couple of days exploring this wonderful city – it is full of vibrant culture, a lively atmosphere, and many historical buildings. And did you know that Jerez de la Frontera is considered the birthplace of the famous Andalusian dance – flamenco?
Location: Jerez de la Frontera
9. Marbella with the most beautiful Old Town in Andalusia!
Marbella is one of the most famous whitewashed towns in Andalusia and also one of the most beautiful ones. Although it has grown to be quite a big city, the Marbella Old Town is still the same authentic Andalusian town with flower pots and narrow streets!
If you are looking for those Southern vibes in a typical Southern town with white houses, winding cobblestone streets, flower bushes, and plants everywhere, then paying a visit to Marbella is a must.
We spent a couple of days exploring Marbella Old Town. Some of the best places to visit in Marbella include the Plaza de los Naranjos square, Calle Carmen street – one of the most beautiful streets in Marbella, and the Santo Cristo de Marbella chapel.
Enjoying tapas at El Boqueron or MIA CAFE – Tapas & Bar is definitely amongst the best things to do in Marbella! There are many beautiful spots around Marbella Old Town and countless photo-perfect corners everywhere you look!
Location: Marbella Old Town
10. Tarifa – the most Southern point of Europe!
Tarifa is amongst the most unique towns in Spain and there is a special reason – it is the Southernmost point in not only Spain but in the whole of Europe. It makes this one of the bucket list places to visit in Spain and in Andalusia!
Tarifa is one of the most popular destinations for wind sports enthusiasts – it gets as windy as can be! But one of my favorite things to do in Tarifa was walking the border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Other places of interest and the best things to do in Tarifa include visiting the impressive Castillo de Guzman el Bueno castle, spotting the mountains of Africa at El Mirador de Africa viewpoint, and getting lost in the streets of the Old Town.
11. Almería – the most flowerful town in Andalusia!
Almería is one-of-a-kind. The city offers the perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. This city completely captivated us with its Mediterranean charm and unforgettable experiences.
Some of the bucket list things to do in Almería range from the impressive Alcazaba fortress to the idyllic streets and squares of Almería Old Town. One of the most iconic and interesting buildings in Almería is the unique fortress-cathedral.
Catedral de la Encarnación de Almería was built in the 16th century. And, actually, it served not only as a cathedral but also as a defensive fortress against the Moorish forces. It has massive high defensive walls, defensive towers, and even holes that were used for cannons.
However, some of the most scenic and impressive views over the city you can get from Cerro San Cristobal! It is a viewpoint on a nearby hill in Almería and is also called the balcony of Almería for a good reason! You have the whole city at your feet!
12. Iznájar – the most flowerful town in Andalusia!
Iznájar is a small hilltop town in Córdoba province – a typical Andalusian mountaintop town with whitewashed houses and a castle on top. However, it has a secret right in the heart of it – Patio de las Comedias.
Patio de las Comedias in Iznájar is one of the most beautiful places in Andalusia for sure! It is a small square between buildings that is meticulously decorated with blue flower pots, plants, plates, colorful doors, tables, and chairs as well as a fountain.
Apart from the famous courtyard, there are a couple more things to do and places to see in Iznájar like the Santiago Apóstol church and Iznájar castle. My favorite places were the impressive viewpoints with stunning views you get from this hilltop town!
Location: Patio de las Comedias in Iznájar
13. Olvera – the town with the most picturesque views!
Featuring some jaw-dropping views Olvera is one of the most beautiful towns in Andalusia with some unmatched picturesque views! It sits on a hilltop with a church and castle standing high above the rest of the village.
Must-do things in Olvera whitewashed town include exploring the Historic Center of the town and climbing up Calle Calzada street to the scenic Iglesia Mayor Parroquial hilltop church. The best place to visit – Olvera Castle!
The castle was built in the 12th century as part of the defensive system for the Nasrid Kingdom. It sits on a rock at 623 meters above sea level and offers some of the most picturesque views in Andalusia! This is amongst the most beautiful castles in Andalusia!
14. Arcos de la Frontera – Andalusia’s most scenic town!
Although there are many villages and towns in Andalusia built upon a cliff or a hill, Arcos de la Frontera is somewhat on another level! Standing on the very cliffside on a massive towering cliff this town has some of the most outstanding views!
Plus, there is a scenic river flowing around the village’s cliff from three sides making it one of the most inaccessible places in Andalusia. Of course, it is easier nowadays with bridges and paved streets, but you still have to climb to get to the best spots.
The best places to see in the Arcos de la Frontera include Iglesia de San Pedro church, the photo-perfect Bésame en este Arco white arch, cliffside viewpoints Mirador de Abades and Mirador Plaza del Cabildo, and Basílica de Santa María de la Asunción.
Location: Arcos de la Frontera
15. Guadix – the hidden cave house town!
Guadix is a town near Granada with a unique secret – the town has a cave house neighborhood! There is an area in the town where people live in cave houses. If you check the photos you can easily see the white tall chimneys coming out of the ground.
The ground here made it easy to create holes and build houses inside them. There are some cave houses that have been turned into hotels. Mirador Padre Poveda viewpoint is a great spot to go to see the neighborhood from above.
More Andalusia travel inspiration!
- 31 most iconic Instagram photo spots in Andalusia, Spain
- 30 most beautiful places to visit in Andalusia, Spain
- 27 hidden gems and secret places to see in Andalusia, Spain
- 17 most beautiful castles and palaces in Andalusia, Spain
- 21 most beautiful white villages and towns in Andalusia, Spain
Andalusia, the Southern region of Spain, is a one-of-a-kind place. It offers the perfect mix of history, architecture, vibrant cities, quiet hidden villages, unique nature, scenic hikes as well as sandy beaches and the perfectly blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.
We spent almost 3 months discovering everything Andalusia had to offer starting from world-famous places like Alhambra, we went underground inside Nerja cave, hanged in the air at the Caminito del Rey hike, and picked up our jaws when we saw Ronda bridge.
I hope you enjoy your time in Andalusia as much as we did! And I hope you will get some inspiration from my blog to make your trip even more adventurous, fun, exciting, and unforgettable! Andalusia is definitely worth it!