Living and studying in Andalusia puts you right in the heart of one of the most exciting regions of Spain. Its cultural identity is recognised worldwide, as many of the traditions thought of as quintessentially Spanish originate in the area – flamenco, for example, and bullfighting. Its eight provinces cover nearly a fifth of the country in the southwest, ranging from huge mountain ranges to miles of untouched beaches. It also enjoys some of the hottest temperatures in Europe, bringing in holidaying tourists from all over the world. The region is a fantastic place to travel and explore all year round, and if you’ve got time around your commitments learning Spanish it’s definitely worth venturing out of the city whilst you’re studying in Seville or Cadiz. Here are a few ideas for where to visit:
The birthplace of Picasso
For art fans, the region is the land of some amazing painters, including Picasso himself. Visit the city of his birth, Malaga, home to one of the greatest collections of his artwork at Museo Picasso Malaga. Opened in 2003, it has 285 pieces of work donated by members of his family. You’ll also find the Carmen Thyssen Museum, another art museum focusing on the collection of Andalusian-born Carmen Cervera. There is also a modern art museum here, so a must-visit for art lovers. The city itself is also great to explore but it’s best to go in spring or autumn to avoid the crowds.
The Coast of Light
The Costa de la Luz, or the Coast of Light, extends across part of the Andalusian coast facing the Atlantic Ocean. It stretches from the mouth of the Guadiana River all the way to popular surfing town Tarifa in the south. This has always been a popular choice for local Spanish tourists to spend their holidays, attracted to the quieter and more untouched beaches compared to many other areas of Spanish coast. However, it’s recently become popular with foreign visitors, especially surfers, birdwatchers, walkers and other nature lovers, who find a wealth of wonders to enjoy on the stretch. These peaceful windswept beaches are well worth a visit for some time off from your studies.
The Sierra Morena
Another unmissable highlight in the region is the incredible mountain ranges, especially if you’re a fan of the outdoors. Nearly 15% of Andalusia is over 1,000 meters and there are two main mountain ranges: Sierra Morena and the Baetic System. The Sierra Morena stretches from east to west across the Iberian Peninsula and is a great place to hike and see the region from on high.
If you’re going to experience the great tradition of Spanish bullfighting, make sure you do it in style. Check out the Plaza de toros de Ronda: where the whole sport has its origins. The stadium is staggering – built in 1785 it’s an enormous 66m in diameter. There is also a museum here dedicated to bullfighting, so you can learn about the history of the sport.
From art to hiking to some of the most hallowed of Spanish traditions, Andalusia has it all – make sure you don’t miss out whilst you’re studying here!