Welcome to the Andalucia Highlights 2014!
This ezine is dedicated to southern Spain, where it is nearly always sunny, life is lived outdoors, and fiestas are held every week, all the year round, in every village, town and city, to celebrate food harvests, saints' days and important local anniversaries. Whatever your interests and personal tastes - nature, hiking, gastronomy, gastrotourism, nightlife, cultural tourism, history; a private luxury villa, or a city boutique hotel, or a simple seaside apartment - you'll find what you're after here in Andalucia. Explore the pick of the region in the pages of southern Spain's best online magazine.
Visit our current issue of Andalucia Magazine, with details of events happening around the region this month, from cutting-edge art installations, to quirky local fiestas. We list all the most important ferias and traditional events from every part of Andalucia, whether in the smallest hamlets or major cities - Carnaval, Spring Fairs, romerias (pilgrimages), music festivals. This year, Jerez is European City of Wine, bringing to a wide audience the attractions of city's unique offering: sherry. A special programme of events will marry sherry with its traditional Jerezano partners: horses, and flamenco, both of which have their own ferias, while the vendimia (grape harvest festival) in September focuses squarely on the region's fortified wine. International Sherry Week (2-8 June) will encourage lovers of the stuff the world over to try pairing it with new types food - discovering new depths to this unique style of wine. If you can't be there in person, online guided tastings will make the experience accessible from home too!
Every month we bring you an updated edition of Andalucia Magazine. This essential information source focuses on aspects of Andalucian culture, both those with roots firmly in the past, and those which are more forward-looking. We also talk to interesting personalities: writers, singers, actors, designers, restaurateurs, artists, bullfighters and many other celebrities born in Andalucia or otherwise connected to southern Spain - Antonio Banderas, Jose Pizarro, Dani Garcia, to name a few. Andalucia Magazine is your number one ezine for all things Andalucian; back issues can be viewed here too.
There are so many Andalucias: the secluded, out-of-the-way one, where you can rent a house in the middle of nowhere, buy all your food from local growers and producers, and enjoy the solitude and spectacular mountain views with abundant wildlife on your doorstep - try the Sierra de Ronda, the Alpujarras, or the Picos de Aroche, not far from to Doñana National Park, which is a birder's paradise. Then there's the cultural buzz of a cosmopolitan city, perfect for a weekend break: the latest avant-garde art exhibitions, quirky museums, one-off fashion designers, contemporary architecture, trendy tapas bars and glam rooftop terraces: Malaga, Granada, Seville.
And of course, the hundreds of kilometres of pristine beaches: from super-chic resorts with all-night open-air cocktail bars, trendy lounges and glam beachclubs, where they can rub shoulders with the glamorous, sophisticated, and famous - head to the Costa del Sol. Or a more low-key, family option - a quiet cove with a small chiriginguito (beach restaurant), where children can splash about in the shallows and build sandcastles, cute seaside towns with quirky cafes and hip juice bars - the Costa de Almeria, Costa de la Luz.
If history's your thing, then Andalucia has prehistoric caves, Moorish castles, fairytale palaces, medieval gems, Roman cities; stories and legends of royal dynasties to keep you interested for centuries, including countless UNESCO World Heritage sites. Granada, Cordoba, Ubeda, Baeza. Those who want a faster-paced adventure can find steep mountains to climb, snowboard, bike or parascend down, big waves to surf on, and fast rivers to kayak.
Nowadays southern Spain offers a huge range of holiday courses where you can learn about everything from photography and painting, to yoga and spiritual healing, to flamenco dancing, to sherry and cooking. A double-bonus - you get to find our more about a passion, while enjoying the wonderful warm weather and hospitality of the Andalucians. The latest fashion is for bootcamps - a fast, fun way to lose weight and get fit - look around Marbella (no carbs before Marbs, as they say on TOWIE). Less strenuous, but equally enjoyable (and scenic, too) is golf: there are over 100 courses, with many located on the Costa del Sol.
Foodies are well catered for in Andalucia, whose reputation as a gastronomic destination continues to sky-rocket - hardly surprising, with such superb produce on offer, traditionally cultivated and farmed for centuries - jamon iberico, wine, olive oil, fresh seafood and vegetables. Whether it's tapas, a three-course meal, or a full-blown tasting menu: innovation, prime raw ingredients, and unforgettable locations and views make for a memorable eating experience. A growing number of gastrobars offer fascinating fusions - Andaluz-Asian, Peruvian-Japanese, using the latest culinary techniques plus seasonal produce to produce extraordinary looking, wonderful-tasting dishes. Many towns and cities also hold regular farmers' markets selling local produce, so you can taste what's on offer - and take a piece of Andalucia home with you.
A growing activity which many tourists in Andalucia are choosing as part of their holiday, is gastrotourism. There's an ever-growing range of places you can visit - farms, wineries - to see and learn how food and wine are produced. Many bodegas in the Sherry Triangle have offered guided tours with tastings for years, but other, smaller wineries are starting to offer this too - at some you can even pick and press the grapes yourself during the harvest; have lunch afterwards, and even watch a flamenco show (Huelva, Cadiz, Malaga). Similarly, you can visit a pig farm, and learn how to carve jamon iberico (Huelva) like a master, see the olives being picked and oil being produced (Sevilla, Cordoba, Jaen), or watch goats being milked and make cheese (Cadiz, Huelva). On a more indulgent, relaxed scale, you can go on a tapas tour with a local expert, who will explain (in English) what's on offer at each tapas bar, and recommend specialities you won't find anywhere else. In terms of city tours, many themed visits are available these days - historic, literary, cultural, religious, artistic; by bike, on foot, in a canoe - you name it.
Whatever your tastes - and budget - southern Spain offers you a truly memorable holiday. You'd be hard-pressed to do and see everything in one trip, which is why so many decide to move to southern Spain, either for part of the year - to escape the increasingly harsh British winters, for example - or permanently.
If you decide to stay, Andalucia Magazine will also provide you with all the information you need for living in Andalucia, whether you choose to retire here, or to set up a business and enjoy a whole new life in the sun.
Your guide to a very Merry Christmas in Andalucía, Spain.
The duchess of Alba was an aristocrat and art collector who lived principally in the Palacio de Duenas in Seville.
The Sierra Nevada is a dramatic, rugged and extensive Spanish mountain range.
A very special collection of hotels in Andalucia.
Click your way through to easy access to everything there is to know about Malaga Airport.
Car Hire Itineraries, enjoy the freedom of freedom of driving around Andalucia!
Get ahead of the game and visit Osuna, confirmed as filming location for Game of Thrones!
Grape harvest festivals take place in early September in Andalucia.
Huelva is a mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus.
The Starlite Festival is a month-long music and cultural event held in July/August at the Cantera de Nagüeles, in Marbella.
A delightful white village on the Costa Tropical boasting long, sandy beaches.
Malaga Feria takes place in the middle of August so don't forget to take a fan!
Get ahead of the game and visit the historic town of Osuna, confirmed as filming location for Game of Thrones!
The festival of the Virgen del Carmen is celebrated on the 16th July in fishing villages along the coast.
The summer solstice is celebrated along the Costa del Sol with beach bonfires and fireworks.
Our pick of Andaulcia's ten best beaches, it was difficult to choose!
This is a traditional way of cooking freshly-caught sea fish, most often sardines. Try it on a beach on the Costa del Sol!
Corpus Christi is the Catholic holiday in honour of the presence of the body of Christ in the holy water.
The El Rocío pilgrimage is the most famous in the region, attracting nearly a million people from across Andalucia, Spain and beyond.
Robina Lowry explores Andalucia's Moorish history through beautiful architecture.
Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz boasts white sandy beaches and some of the best kitesurfing conditions in Europe.
Home of the world famous Alhambra Palace, Granada is an Andalucian city not to be missed!
New-look Málaga is bursting with museums and boasts some of Andalucia's best tapas bars.
Any excuse for a party in Andalucia, all year round. That's why we love it!
Visit the beautiful and rugged Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park in Córdoba province.
Great new kids’ area and Europe’s longest runs of jumps and obstacles for this 2013/2014 season in Sierra Nevada.
The passing of a legend; adiós para siempre.
Cadiz is one of Andalucia´s most vibrant yet underrated cities, take a look at our top tips for your visit!
A new ham cutting Guinness World Record set in Benarraba this month!
La Gruta de las Maravillas is a network of limestone caverns located in Aracena.
Semana Santa is an amazing experience, and a great time to visit to Andalucia.
Every spring Cordoba bursts into bloom with special festivities! (5th to 18th of May)
The next Festival of Colours takes place in Seville on the 17th of May 2014!
The Seville Fair takes place just two weeks after Semana Santa, on the 5-10th of May!