Andalucia Highlights 2021

Welcome to the Andalucia Highlights 2021! is dedicated to southern Spain, where visitors and locals enjoy lots of sunshine each year, life is lived outdoors, and fiestas are celebrated merrily with local food and wine, all the year round, in every village, town and city, to celebrate everything from food harvests to religious pilgrimages. Andalucia is one of the most varied regions in Spain, with every type of scenery from wetlands to deserts, mountains to beaches.

Naturally 2020 and 2021 are different, we look forward to returning to normality and the return of international tourists in 2022.

Most of the 10.000 pages on are read by searching for information on a specific subject or by navigating from the main menu above.

The highlights are an opportunity to read the website like you would a magazine, simply scroll down this page and click on an article that interests you. We are adding several new articles at the top of the list each week. The page features a mix of articles timed to coincide with an event or news story and timeless classics.

When you reach the bottom of the page, which is the beginning of this year, explore another year.

Welcome to the highlights of 2021.

Christmas in Andalucia

If you’re expecting Christmas in Andalucia to be somewhat like it is back home, you’re in for a surprise. Everything from the beginning to the end of the season is going to be different from anything you’ve ever experienced before.

Flamenco - Villancicos - Zambombas

The villancicos are also known by the name of zambombas in Andalucía, a name which comes from the instrument that is traditionally used to accompany them. A zambomba is a drum like instrument that has a stick inserted through the skin, and the stick is moved up and down, creating the rhythm.

Christmas Pastries

Traditional Spanish Christmas pastries (of the non-"turrón" type) add a special touch to the holidays with their own distinct flavours - and textures! Here is a look at some of the most popular specialities. Once upon a time they were only available in December and January, but that is changing. Nevertheless, it's only during the holiday season that you'll see them in such large amounts. In fact, in most supermarkets you can even buy them in bulk.

Villaluenga del Rosario

Out of all the towns on the Pueblos Blancos route in Sierra de Cadiz, this town sits at the highest altitude. Cushioned in the narrow valley of the Arroyo Albarrán Grazalema,  this small settlement enjoys a striking setting, with a towering mountain on one side, and a sloping U-shaped valley on the other. The town’s name translates to the ‘long town of the rosary’, apt for its narrow shape.

Monasterio de la Cartuja

This large, walled complex of honey-coloured stone buildings, situated on the Isla la Cartuja (named after the monastery itself; the word means “charterhouse”), has seen many ups and downs during its long, dramatic history. From monks who welcomed Christopher Columbus, to barracks for Napoleon’s troops, ceramic factory run by an Englishman producing world-renowned porcelain, to modern-day contemporary art gallery and open-air live music venue.

La Isleta del Moro

La Isleta del Moro is a quaint fishing hamlet known for its picturesque setting, and well worth the 500m detour from the AL-4200 San Jose to Las Negras coast road.Population is about 200. The name comes from Isleta del Moro Arraez, possibly from a Moorish commander called Mohamed Arraez (ar-rais means boat owner). Straddling a narrow peninsula, between two small hills, the hamlet offers a very photogenic coastal scene.

Agua Amarga

Agua Amarga is a pretty fishing village and beach resort on the Almeria coast, in Cabo de Gata-Nijar natural park, with a population of just 400. Still undiscovered by large-scale tourism, this is one of Andalucia's hidden seaside treasures. While its name may translate as Bitter Water, this delightful, laid-back beach town has excellent Mediterranean cuisine, good independent boutiques and trendy bars.

Alcazaba of Almeria

The hilltop Alcazaba's hefty walls and towers dominate the city and command magnificent views over the old town below and across to the Mediterranean. Measuring 25,000m2, this was the largest fortress built by the Moors. The Alcazaba was founded during the first half of the 10th century by Cordoban Caliph Abd al-Rahman III, who also built Medina Azahara.

Via Verde of Olive Oil

This vía verde (greenway) covers 55km between Jaen and the Guadajoz river, where it joins the Vía Verde of the Subbética. It is suitable for walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users. This greenway follows part of the 120km-long Jaen-Puente Genil railway line used for transporting olive oil from the late 19th century onwards, linking Jaen with Malaga and Algeciras and opening up the market for oil.


Lepe is a small agricultural market town, that until the late seventies its economy was based on fishing, but is now one of the wealthiest villages in the region thanks to its intensive farming of strawberries, which are exported all over Europe. It is also famous for being the subject of innumerable Spanish 'Irishman' jokes. It has about 27, 000 inhabitants.

Leperos are proud also of the fact that their wines, which were exported to England in the Middle Ages, were mentioned in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

Granada City - History

Granada's history is one of internal crises because of the existence of a powerful landowning nobility successive wars with Castile. Successive kings of Granada sought political support and military aid from Morocco. Moroccan recruits caused the kingdom to undergo an intense process of "arabisation", to cut itself off from all Castilian influences, and to develop an absolute form of government based on military support.

Cúllar - Venta Quemada

Venta Quemada is a small village in the municipal district of Cúllar on the plateau of Chirivel, one of the ‘High Plains’ (Atliplano) of the province of Granada. The village sits within the comarca of Baza, located south of the A-92N motorway off junction km 75 (coming from Guadix, or km 369 coming from Seville). It has a population of about 125. The village shares its name with a very popular venta (roadside inn) that specialises in barbeque grill.

Gibraltar Airport History

The runway was first established during the Second World War on the southern half of the 'neutral zone'. During the sieges  this had been an un-demarcated strip of sand on the isthmus separating the British and Spanish lines of fortifications. It was said to be the distance of a canon ball's range. In 1813 it was used by Gibraltar as a Yellow fever encampment. In 1909 the British erected a fence and gate half way along. Between the world-wars Gibraltar marked out a horse-racing track.

Baelo Claudia

Baelo Claudia, near Tarifa, is one of Andalucia´s most significant and well-preserved Roman archeological sites. The extensive ruins are situated on the Costa de la Luz, some 15km north of Tarifa, by the small town of Bolonia and its beautiful beach. The site´s important history rests on the former city having been a strategic point for trade routes between Europe and North Africa.

Cable Car Benalmadena

The Telecabina takes you on an amazing 15-minute journey in a four-person cable car right up to the highest point on the Málaga coast at an altitude of almost 800m above sea level. From this superb vantage point, you not only have the most magnificent views of the Costa del Sol, but also the awesome panoramic vistas of the Sierra Nevada mountains (white with snow in the winter months), the Guadalhorce Valley and on a clear day you can see Gibraltar and the coast of Africa.

Flights to Andalucia

Andalucia is extremely well-connected for international visitors, with thousands of flights arriving from all over Europe every day. There are six main airports in the region - five in Andalucia itself (Malaga, Seville, Granada, Jerez and Almeria), plus Gibraltar, which is handy for the Costa de la Luz (south of Cadiz) and western Costa del Sol (west of Malaga).


Oranges are big business in Spain. Andalucia topping the charts in production ahead of Valencia since 2019. However, the “naranjo” (orange tree), its blossoms and its fruits have a long tradition in Andalucia with Moorish poets singing their praises in Islamic Spain and historians reminding us that these trees were also valued by Greeks and Romans who surely cultivated them in their Iberian colonies.


A visit to this historical Andalucían town is a journey almost 5,000 years back in time, beginning with the Bronze Age and the native Iberians. The timeline is there to be followed in this fascinating city's profusion of burial mounds, dolmens, Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains and baroque bell towers.

Antequera Dolmens

Just outside Antequera you can visit three 5000-year-old dolmens: Menga Dolmen (the largest in Europe) and Viera Dolmen, which are both located just outside the town, while El Romeral Dolmen is a few km away. These three prehistoric burial chambers represent some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe.

Flights to Andalucia

Andalucia is extremely well-connected for international visitors, with thousands of flights arriving from all over Europe every day. There are six main airports in the region - five in Andalucia itself (Malaga, Seville, Granada, Jerez and Almeria), plus Gibraltar, which is handy for the Costa de la Luz (south of Cadiz) and western Costa del Sol (west of Malaga).

Roman roads in Andalucia

Via Herculea or Via Exterior was an important Roman road into Hispania, reaching as far as Gades (Cadiz). This 1,500 km-road from Narbonne in Gaul to Cadiz was renamed Via Augusta after the emperor, who ordered it to be renovated between 8 BC and 2 BC. Many Roman roads in Andalucia are today referred to as Via Augusta. This is a misnomer, although other roads that Augustus renovated may have been referred to locally as Via Augusta. The confusion arises because the Romans only named principal routes.


Despite being a growing town, Ronda retains much of its historic charm, particularly its old town. It is famous worldwide for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevín through its centre. Visitors make a beeline for the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, which straddles the 100m chasm below, before taking in the views from the Alameda out over the Serranía de Ronda mountains.

Medina Sidonia

Medina Sidonia is an unspoilt, ancient hilltop town, little-known despite its important history. The town was one of Spain's most important ducal seats in the 15th century; producing an admiral who led the Spanish Armada against England. The title of Duque de Medina Sidonia was bestowed upon the family of Guzmán El Bueno.

Vejer de la Frontera

If you are exploring the N340 Costa de la Luz coast road, you'd be wise to make time for a wander around Vejer. This classic white village on the hilltop is well worth a visit. It is actually 10 kilometers inland, perched high above the steep gorge of the River Barbate.


Located in a high valley over 800m in the Sierra del Endrinal and dominated by the magnificent rocky outcrop known as Peñon Grande, the pretty mountain village of Grazalema is most popular base for visitors to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. The park is a vast protected area of rugged limestone mountains, which are famous for being the rainiest place in Spain.

Los Escullos

If Bond movies, quirky bars, fossils and remote Mediterranean beaches appeal to you, take a trip to Los Escullos. Los Escullos is a small cluster of houses overlooking the jagged Almeria coastline, a few km north of San Jose. Sitting under the extinct volcano Cerro del Fraile (at 493m, El Fraile peak is the highest of the Sierra del Cabo de Gata), it has a certain charm.

Jardines de la Concepción

Just outside Malaga, "La Concepción Jardín Botánico-Historico de Málaga." is a magnificent botanical garden. There are regular guided tours of the gardens which pass through exotic trees and plants, Roman sculptures and a waterfall. There is also a beautiful mansion that once belonged to the creators of the gardens, the Marquis of Casa Loring and his wife, and several panoramic view points to enjoy.

Jerez de la Frontera - Fascinating Fact 1

The city's name started out as "Xeres" in Roman times (though the Phoenicians were here before them), then became "Sherrish" under its Moorish rulers (giving its name to the fortified wine, finally ending up as "Jerez de la Frontera" in the late 14th century, due to its location on the border of the Muslim and Christian-ruled regions. In Catalan, Italian and French, sherry is still called "Xeres", harking back to the Roman/medieval Castillian word, "Xerez".

Golf News

The twentieth edition of the Santander Women's Professional Spanish Championship began on Wednesday 29th November at Lauro Golf (Alhaurín de la Torre, Málaga), the final event of the Santander Golf Tour 2023 calendar. Twenty-eight golfers, including twenty-five professionals and three top amateurs.

Antonio Banderas

This highly acclaimed actor has it all – the looks, the charm, the drive, the energy, and the creativity. Star of innumerable Hollywood movies, Banderas is one of Andalucia’s most famous, and proudest, exports.

Malaga City - Fascinating Fact 5

Malaga´s astonishing reinvention of itself, from stopping-off point for beachgoers to artistic mecca of southern Spain, has been triggered by the Picasso museum and followed up by the  Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC) de Malaga, Malaga´s Tate Modern. This has temporary exhibitions by cutting-edge international artists, such as Louise Bourgeois and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as showing both up-and-coming and established Spanish artists (Chema Cobo), and a permanent collection.

Alcazaba of Málaga

La Alcazaba is Malaga's most important landmark, and overlooks the city from a hilltop inland. It is one of two Moorish fortresses in the city, the other being the Castillo de Gibralfaro, situated above. The Alcazaba is the best-preserved Moorish fortress palace in Spain. It received about 1 million visitors in 2016.

Seville City - Fascinating Fact 6

Visitors to Seville will notice a symbol on many signs around the city, from taxis and buses to sewer covers, consisting of the letters ´NO8DO´. This is the city´s logo, and legend says that it originates from the 13th-century coat of arms awarded to Sevilla by King Alfonso X the Wise.

Seville City - Fascinating Fact 7

One of the most controversial of Seville´s many claims is that Cristobal Colón (Christopher Columbus) is buried here, in Sevilla´s mighty Gothic cathedral, variously described as either the third, second or biggest cathedral in the world (the other contenders being St Peter´s in Rome, and St Paul´s in London), depending on who you talk to.

Alcazaba of Málaga

La Alcazaba is Malaga's most important landmark, and overlooks the city from a hilltop inland. It is one of two Moorish fortresses in the city, the other being the Castillo de Gibralfaro, situated above. The Alcazaba is the best-preserved Moorish fortress palace in Spain. It received about 1 million visitors in 2016.


Andalucia Highlights