Andalusia is a region in the south of Spain. It is a region of contrasts: ancient cities and deserts, amazing beaches along the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz and the Sierra Nevada mountain range where the highest mountain in Spain is found and also the most southerly ski resort in Europe.

Five of the eight Andalusian provinces are maritime, with colorful fishing fleets and a wealth of seafood usually associated with the north. There are also wildlife-filled wetlands and highland pine and oak forests rich with game and trout streams, not to mention free-range Iberian pigs.

Andalusia—for 781 years (711-1492) a Moorish empire and named for Al-Andalus; Arabic for “Land of the West”, is where the authentic history and character of the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish culture are most visibly apparent.

An exploration of Andalusia must begin with the cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada as the fundamental triangle of interest and identity. All the romantic images of Andalusia, and Spain in general, spring vividly to life in Seville: Spain’s fourth-largest city is a cliche of matadors, flamenco, tapas bars, Gypsies, geraniums, and strolling guitarists, but there’s so much more than these urban treasures.

Andalusia encompasses an area of 87,268 square kilometers with a population of just under 8 million people. It spans almost the entire south of Spain and is bordered to the west by Portu- gal. To the south in the Province of Cadiz at the very tip of Spain lies the British overseas territory of Gibraltar where it is separate from North Africa by just a few miles.

Andalusia has a rich Moorish heritage, including many fantastic examples of Moorish architecture which were built during the eight centuries when Andalusia was the centre of the Arab population in the Iberian peninsular. The Moorish rule effectively ended in 1492 AD when the Christians recaptured Granada.

Nowaday, the region is a very popular tourist destination with a lot of British and German package holidayers coming to stay in the concrete resorts on the Costa del Sol. But if you stay away from the concrete resorts you will find lots of culture, amazing scenery and great food.

Like most of the rest of Spain, Andalusia’s main language is Spanish, but with a local dialect. The local dialect is somewhat similar to the Spanish spoken in parts of Latin America such as Cuba and Colombia.