I'm a freelance writer and social media consultant teaching English in Madrid. Follow my adventures around Europe!

Charm abounds in Andalucía, Spain's southern region

Charm abounds in Andalucía, Spain's southern region

What images come to mind when you think of Spain? Flamenco dancers and traditional bullfighting? Gorgeous coastline and tropical towns? Wine and tapas?

You'll find all of the above in Andalucía, the region in the south of Spain.

I ventured south from Madrid during my first-ever visit to Spain in 2016, hitting up Granada and a few tiny beachside towns near Almería.

granada spain south landscape
almeria beach spain coast

The landscape, from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the desert-like national parks, was enchanting. Not to mention the people were incredibly friendly—my then-boyfriend and I were saved by a nice local couple after being forced to hitchhike outside of a small town.

When planning my next Spanish getaway during a long weekend in December, I jumped at the chance to go south again—this time to Córdoba and Sevilla.

My trusty travel buddy Helen and I set out by train and reached Córdoba by mid-morning. The charming town was filled with Islamic influences, orange trees, and cobblestone streets.

cordoba streets charming spain

Córdoba's main attraction is La Mezquita, a mosque-turned-Catholic-church. Helen, who had studied Islamic art in college, insisted on going, while I had no idea what to expect; it was stunning. I've seen many Catholic churches in my travels, but nothing quite like this—one minute you're looking at an ornate painting of Jesus only to turn the corner and be surrounded by Byzantine mosaics. 

cordoba mezquita mosque spain
cordoba mezquita mosque cathedral spain

After wandering around town for most of the day, we continued onto Sevilla that evening, otherwise known as Seville.

Does anyone know why Sevilla has an English name? I don't know of any other Spanish towns that do this. (If so please let me know in the comments.)

We settled into our mediocre hostel (which at least came with free dinner) and headed out for a night on the town. Running on little sleep, we managed to fit in most of the city's sights over the next two days.

sevilla seville bullring spain
sevilla sevilla alcazar tiles architecture spain
sevilla seville las setas spain

We visited the city's famous bullring, Plaza de España, and the cathedral. We saw an incredible Flamenco show, ate amazing tapas for every meal, and shopped at local boutiques. We also went to the top of the self-proclaimed largest wooden structure in the world, so that was...something.

plaza de espana seville sevilla friends

My favorite sight by far was The Alcázar, Sevilla's royal palace (also known as the royal palace of Dorne in Game of Thrones). It was ornate and beautiful—a stroll through the lovely gardens is peaceful enough to cure any hangover.

Lonely Planet named Sevilla its top city to visit in 2018, and it's easy to see why.

Spain's fourth-largest city feels more manageable than Madrid and Barcelona, but still has plenty to see and do.

From its warm culture and friendly locals to the Moorish architecture and innovative Spanish cuisine, Sevilla's charms are endless. Andalucía, I'll be back.

What other cities should I visit in Spain? Let me know in the comments and I'll add them to my ever-growing list!

25 Things I've Learned at 25

25 Things I've Learned at 25

A love letter to train travel: why trains are better than planes

A love letter to train travel: why trains are better than planes