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Andalusia - a region of Spain whose rich nature and culture alone deserve their own country

Dancing on the Seville Fair
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Dancing on the Seville Fair

It’s one of the most colourful and authentic European regions – the large and wide Andalusia is the place where Arabs used to reign for hundreds of years; where flamenco was born; and where Christopher Columbus took off on his great voyages. The traditions of this region – including bullfighting – fascinated the great writer Ernest Hemingway; the famous painter Pablo Picasso grew up here; and the Hollywood star was born here. So before coming, be sure to do your homework.

Andalusia – one of the largest regions of Spain – is home to over 8 million people. The cities of the region are of exquisite beauty: the regional capital Seville; Granada, known for its Fortress of Alhambra; Córdoba – ruled for many years by the Arabs; the port of Huelva, where the Age of Discovery had its beginning; the tourist capital Málaga and many other cities and towns with their mix of Roman, Muslim, Christian and traditional Spanish heritage.

Alhambra Castle, Granada
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Alhambra Castle, Granada

Andalusia is also varied geographically – its plains soon turn into the mountains of Sierra Nevada (second in Europe only to the Alps in terms of height), where one can even go skiing on warm Andalusian winters. The Sierra Nevada National Park has many violent rivers, deep ravines, rocky slopes and clear lakes, which are located between the snow-covered peaks. For skiers, hikers, mountain bikers and campers , it’s heaven.

Snowy ski slopes of Prodollano ski resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain with people skiing and snowboarding near a restaurant
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Snowy ski slopes of Prodollano ski resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain with people skiing and snowboarding near a restaurant

What's more, the mountains of Sierra Nevada comprise a highly important farming region – wheat, olives, grapes, almonds, walnuts, apples and cherries are grown at the base. These mountains also contain the most important iron mines in the whole of Europe.

The 800-kilometre-long Mediterranean and Atlantic coastline attracts tourists and holidaymakers from all around the world. With its myriads of excellent beaches, families, nudists, adrenaline junkies, water sports enthusiasts, seafood lovers and those who simply want to relax are bound to find the beach for them.

Dancing on the Seville Fair
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Dancing on the Seville Fair

In Andalusia, parties and celebrations never stop. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a harvest festival (mostly autumn grapes, olives, chestnuts and mushrooms), day of one of the saints, or just a town fair with people dressed in carnival clothes – there’s always more than enough of sherry (a traditional fortified wine) and dancing. Here's an interesting fact: Andalusia hosts around 3,000 fiestas every single year! Life in these sunny parts resembles one eternal party.

Lunch. Andalusian style
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Lunch. Andalusian style

To get a full picture of Andalusia, you simply must try some traditional dishes. Since the region is so close to the water, seafood here is abundant – garlicky shrimp fried in olive oil, grilled sardines and octopus, and many other fish and clams seasoned with various herbs and spices.

The mountain region of Andalusia is famous for its divine serrano ham. The locals also eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. On hot summer days, it’s common here to eat cold tomato soup with a little bit of ham and a few boiled eggs.

Thus concludes a brief overview of this bright Spanish region - everything else you’ll have to discover for yourself!

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