“More beautiful than the most beautiful days” said Jules Verne when referring to his beautiful Andalusian. He was right. Here are 11 of the most beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia.
- 1. The Alhambra in Granada
- 2. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
- 3. The Royal Alcazar of Seville
- 4. The Giralda of Seville
- 5. Plaza de España in Seville
- 6. Seville Cathedral
- 7. Alcazaba of Malaga
- 8. Ronda New Bridge
- 9. Alcazaba of Almeria
- 10. Cadiz Cathedral
- 11. Vazquez de Molina Square in Ubeda
The art of living and the essence of Spain have their roots in Andalusian traditions. Flamenco dancers, bullfighters, small white villages, alleys dotted with jasmine, olive groves as far as the eye can see: the power of attraction of Andalusia radiates.
Its towns, like its villages, are inhabited by charming squares, crowned with houses with ivory walls and emblazoned Baroque facades. There are ornate fountains, a church, a bar. The praise of slowness reigns, time suspends its flight in the coolness of a patio and around famous tapas.
In addition to its trendy, strolling and old-fashioned way of life, Andalusia undoubtedly contains the most incredible monuments in Spain. In its provinces, from Cadiz to Cordoba via Granada , Málaga and Seville : an overview of the most beautiful architectural treasures of the region. Here are the 11 most beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia.
1. The Alhambra in Granada
Granada is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. It enjoys an exceptional geographical location with, in the background, the immaculate peaks of the Sierra Blanca . It faces the Albayzon, an ancient Arab city listed by Unesco, adjoins troglodyte houses hosting flamenco shows and stands out as the world capital of tapas.
If its riches are numerous, it is undoubtedly its majestic Alhambra that makes its reputation. The Alhambra is also known as the “Red Castle” due to its ocher color. It is one of the most beautiful Arab palaces in the world. Its refined decor and architectural finesse go hand in hand with the beauty of its gardens.
The visit begins with the passage of grandiose doors, seeming to enter a marvelous world. It continues from palace to palace. Their architecture is breathtakingly finished. These royal refuges feature many gilded rooms, azulejo plinths , crenellated towers, pierced wooden domes and exquisite courtyards. A feast for the eyes.
2. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
The beautiful and quiet city of Cordoba is home to the finest architectural example of the Hispano-Muslim civilization. It is undoubtedly the mosque-cathedral , listed as a universal heritage site by Unesco.
The Mezquita Catedral surveys the maze of alleys, exquisite patios, flower balconies and palaces in the heart of Cordoba. Its architecture is unique in the world, with a beauty that words struggle to transcribe. Here, the Christian faith and the Muslim faith intertwine and give rise to a decor as original as it is sumptuous.
During your visit, you pass through a forest of columns and infinitely curved arches, carpets of Byzantine mosaics, a spectacular Baroque choir and a stunning Renaissance cupola.
3. The Royal Alcazar of Seville
The Real Alcazar palace in Seville bears witness to an architectural diversity like nowhere else in Spain. Hence its title among the beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia.
This palatial complex has been embellished by all styles since the 20th century. Its core is a masterpiece of Mudejar art, built by craftsmen from Granada (hence a certain resemblance to the Alhambra in Granada). The ensemble offers many exceptional points of interest: the Justice room and the Plaster court, the Palace of Peter the Cruel, the Gothic Palace or Charles V’s salons, numerous patios and terraced gardens.
4. The Giralda of Seville
Seville, between hills and the banks of the river, unfolds like an immense labyrinth of winding streets dominated by La Giralda . This legendary tower, symbol of the old Almohad mosque, gives the air of a medina to this city which is as theatrical, festive and exhilarating. The elegant silhouette of the Giralda is made of bricks.
The one that was a mosque was originally topped with three golden balls. They gave way to bells and a mythical statue of Christianity. Today, this masterpiece of Almohad art is the only one to combine simplicity and craftsmanship so well. At the foot of La Giralda, behind a door as monumental as it is photogenic, you will discover the Patio de nos Naranjos : a square shaded by orange trees.
5. Plaza de España in Seville
Seville indeed brings together many of the most beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia. Around its Maria Luisa Park you will find the immense Plaza de España in a semicircle of two hundred meters in diameter. The Sevillian architect Animal Gonzales erected this square using the azulejo technique . This set is divided by a canal, itself spanned by adorable little bridges.
The Plaza de España is surrounded by long arcaded galleries framed by two huge towers. Climb to the first-floor gallery, decorated with azulejos and artesonado ceilings , and discover the many niches illustrating the history of the Andalusian provinces.
6. Seville Cathedral
A church so large that those who see it take its builders for fools. Such was the ambition of the architects who erected the cathedral in 1401. The monumental building took the place of the initial mosque and rivals all the marvels of the Christian world. It is also the third largest cathedral in the world after St. Peter’s in the Vatican and St. Paul’s in London .
Its Spanish Gothic and Renaissance style has survived for hundreds of years. Outside, the more modern portals of St. Christopher, the Prince and the Assumption harmonize with the thousand-year-old ensemble. Inside, stone, stained glass, scrupulous ornaments and wrought iron dominate. The vaults blaze. The chapels house the coffins of illustrious individuals.
7. Alcazaba of Malaga
Opening onto the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Málaga can be proud of its historical past still present in the old quarters. Very lively, Málaga has a large port, elegant promenades, very tasteful villas and, of course, one of the beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia.
This is his Alcazaba, built in 1040 on a hill overlooking the city. It was thought of as a fortress and a palace. It remains to this day one of the most important Muslim military constructions. To visit the Alcabaza, a path climbs from the city center, giving memorable views. The pleasant promenade is dotted with fortified gates, sometimes adorned with columns and Roman capitals.
After the tower of Christ, you reach the first enclosure and the gardens. Then, to a second enclosure housing the palace, the courtyards and a magnificent panorama of Málaga below.
8. Ronda New Bridge
Raised on a rocky plateau, the city of Ronda dominates the vertiginous gorge of the Tajo. Walking through its cobbled streets, you will discover an architectural heritage of incredible richness, where Muslim constructions, churches, palaces and even some of the most harmonious and ancient bullrings in Spain mix.
Travelers come here to stroll between the heart of the Ciudad , the Arab town dotted with picturesque alleys, and the commercial suburb. To connect the two? The new bridge ( Puerto Nuevo of its Spanish name): among the most beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia. Built between 1751 and 1793, the new bridge that connects the two sides of the Tajo offers walkers a breathtaking view of the Guadiaro valley.
9. Alcazaba of Almeria
Leaning against the elongated, arid and desert mountain, face-to-face with the Riviera sea, Almería stands out from the aforementioned cities. It is best known for its fortress, or Alcazaba, which dominates the city and the entire bay. It enjoys a privileged location and was first erected to protect the city before becoming a Moorish palace.
In the first enclosure, occupied by beautiful gardens, stands the cistern. The wall of the watchtower, topped with a belfry-wall, separates the first enclosure from the second. The latter contains the palatial city of which historians have preserved some constructions. The third enclosure had a purely defensive role. Take the time to walk along its walkway and enjoy the remarkable views of Almería and its port.
Below, do not miss the district of La Chanca whose troglodyte houses are painted in all colors.
10. Cadiz Cathedral
Nestled on the island of Leon, Cadiz lies at the heart of a coastline of lagoons, beaches and salt marshes. When you arrive, you cross an agglomeration bristling with buildings and traversed by large avenues. Once the Puerta de Tierra is crossed, we discover the medieval quarter and the baroque city.
It is precisely between the Populo district, embodying the main medieval town, and that of Santa Maria, a 15th century suburb, that one of the beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia is located: the Catedral de Cadiz . Its construction began in 1722, in a refined baroque style. It was completed in 1853 only. Its neoclassical facade is a game of concave and convex surfaces embellished with two towers and small temples. The interior is bathed in cyclopean dimensions and enjoys a surprising luminosity.
11. Vazquez de Molina Square in Ubeda
At the gates of Andalusia, the province of Jaén has occupied a strategic place since Antiquity. The proof with its vestiges of the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonies as well as the architectural and cultural imprints of the five centuries of Muslim domination.
It is in this great province that we find the last of our eleven most beautiful monuments to see in Andalusia: the Plaza Vazquez de Molina located in the aroused town of Úbeda. The latter offers a Renaissance morphology and ensembles which, like those of Baeza, have been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
The Plaza Vazquez de Molina is an old Moorish stronghold which conceals architectural treasures. It overlooks fertile valleys, vast olive groves and the river. This place has a unique harmony and transports anyone to another era. It is crowned with dazzling buildings: church, palace, prison and rich houses.
Its Renaissance brilliance and golden stone reach perfection in Plaza Vazquez de Molina and in the Chapel of El Salvador, the city’s emblem. This chapel is one of the most striking religious art in Andalusia during the Renaissance. This pantheon dazzles with its facade rich in statues, sculptures, buttresses in the form of flames. The interior houses a nave with a blue vault swept in gold as well as the Sacristy which mixes pagan images.