Landscapes - Fertile Plains of Andalucia

The fertile plains, near Arcos de La Frontera, Cadiz. © Michelle Chaplow
Fertile plains near Arcos de La Frontera, Cadiz. © Michelle Chaplow
The fertile plains, near Fuente de la Piedra, Malaga. © Michelle Chaplow
Fertile plains near Fuente de Piedra, Malaga. © Michelle Chaplow


Andalucia features massive swathes of fertile lowland, largely along river basins in Cadiz, Malaga, Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba provinces.

Crops such as wheat, cotton and sunflowers are grown on the plains which stretch along near various rivers:

The valley of the mighty Guadalquivir, Andalucia's largest river, is the most fertile area in the region. Starting in the Sierra de Cazorla mountains in Jaen province, it broadens out from east to west as it runs through Cordoba and Seville provinces. From its lower end, a broad plain stretches west across Seville province and southeast into Cádiz province, where its estuary is in Sanlucar de Barrameda, across the river from Doñana Park.

The Genil river, the region's second river, whose source is in the Sierra Nevada, flows past Granada city, Loja and Huetor Tajar (famous for its asparagus), on its journey across the Vega de Granada (plain of Granada province), then Ecija and into the Guadalquivir at Palma del Rio. Its route crosses three provinces: Granada, Seville and Cordoba. The area has many cereal fields and olive groves.

Other lesser rivers which flow directly south from the coastal mountains to the sea include the Almanzora and Andaraz (Almeria province); the Guadalfeo (Granada), the Torrox, Guadalhorce (Malaga), Guadiaro, Guadalete and Barbate (Cadiz).

These landscapes offer a number of great photographic opportunities - wide, open fields which stretch for miles with the occasional farmhouse or hut. Driving past sunflowers is a delightful experience, as their huge yellow heads turn towards the sun (girasol in Spanish - turn-sun). Seeing a huge field, often on rolling land, full of row upon row of bright, cartoon-like flowers, is one of those Andalucian moments when you want to stop the car, jump out and capture the sight on camera.

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