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The Rough Guide to Andalucia

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The popular image of Spain as a land of bullfights, flamenco, sherry and castles derives from this spectacularly beautiful region. The influences that have washed over it are many—Moors, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and others all came and left their mark. The Rough Guide keeps you on the inside track whether you're flying in for a few days or planning a lengthy sojourn.

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The Rough Guide to Andalucia

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Overview

The popular image of Spain as a land of bullfights, flamenco, sherry and castles derives from this spectacularly beautiful region. The influences that have washed over it are many—Moors, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and others all came and left their mark. The Rough Guide keeps you on the inside track whether you're flying in for a few days or planning a lengthy sojourn.

  • Explore every corner of Andalucía, using the clearest maps of any guide.
  • Choose where to go and what to see, inspired by dozens of photos.
  • Read expert background on everything from mouthwatering tapas to Sevilla's spectacular Easter celebrations.
  • Rely on our picks of the best places to stay and eat, for every budget.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843530688
  • Publisher: Rough Guides, Limited
  • Publication date: 7/9/2003
  • Series: Rough Guides Travel Series
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Ellingham wrote the first Rough Guide - to Greece - in 1981. He followed that with The Rough Guide to Spain the following year and has spent time in Andalucía most years since then.

Geoff Garvey has been captivated by Andalucía since his first visit as a student in the early 1970''s.

Mark Ellingham wrote the first Rough Guide - to Greece - in 1981. He followed that with The Rough Guide to Spain the following year and has spent time in Andalucía most years since then.

Geoff Garvey has been captivated by Andalucía since his first visit as a student in the early 1970''s.

Mark Ellingham wrote the first Rough Guide - to Greece - in 1981. He followed that with The Rough Guide to Spain the following year and has spent time in Andalucía most years since then.

Geoff Garvey has been captivated by Andalucía since his first visit as a student in the early 1970''s.

Mark Ellingham wrote the first Rough Guide - to Greece - in 1981. He followed that with The Rough Guide to Spain the following year and has spent time in Andalucía most years since then.

Geoff Garvey has been captivated by Andalucía since his first visit as a student in the early 1970''s.

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Read an Excerpt

WHERE TO GO: SOME HIGHLIGHTS
Andalucia¹s manageable size makes it easy to take in something of each of its elements ­ inland cities, extensive coastline and mountaineous sierras ­ even on a brief visit. The main characteristics and appeal of each province are covered in the chapter introductions, but the more obvious and compelling highlights include:
SEVILLA. Andalucia¹s capital city, the home of flamenco and all the cliches of the Spanish south has beautiful quarters, major Christian and Moorish monuments and extraordinary festivals at Easter and at the April feria.
MOORISH MONUMENTS. Granada¹s Alhambra palace is perhaps the most sensual building in Europe; the exquisite Mezquita, a former mosque, in Cordoba, and the Alcazar and Giralda tower in Sevilla, are also not to be missed.
CASTLES. Niebla in Huelva and Banos de Encina in Jaen, as well as those in the cities of Malaga and Almería are the outstanding Moorish examples; the best Renaissance forts are at La Calahorra in Granada and Velez Blanco in Almeria, whilst hilltop Segura de la Sierra in Jaén has the most dramatic location.
CATHEDRALS. Sevilla¹s Gothic monster is the biggest, but those of Cadiz, Granada, Jaen, and Almeria are all worthy of a visit.
RENAISSANCE TOWNS AND HILL VILLAGES. Small-scale towns and villages, once grand, now hardly significant, are an Andalucian forte. Baeza and Ubeda in Jaen are remarkable treasure-houses of Renaissance architecture, while Ronda and the White Towns to the west are among the most picturesque hill villages in Andalucia.
BAROQUE. The Baroque splendours of Andalucia are without equal; towns such as Ecija and Osuna in Sevilla province, and Priego to the south of Cordoba have clusters of stunning Baroque churches and mansions. Roman and prehistoric ruins. Italica near Sevilla, Baelo Claudia near Tarifa and Carmona¹s Roman necropolis are all impressive Roman sites, while for an atmospheric "lost city" Mulva, in the hills of the Sierra Morena, is hard to beat. Andalucia also has some of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe, including a group of third millennium BC dolmens at Antequera, and the remarkable Los Millares site near Almeria.
BEACHES AND RESORTS. For brashness and nightlife it has to be the Costa del Sol, but you¹ll find that the more authentic resorts such as Nerja, Almunecar and Mojacar are less frenzied. The region¹s best beaches lie along the Atlantic coast and to the east of Almeria.
HIKING. The Sierra Nevada and the nearby foothills of Las Alpujarras in Granada are excellent places for hiking, as are the densely wooded hills of the Sierra de Cazorla and the Sierra de Morena ­ including the latter¹s less well-known offshoot, the Sierra de Aracena, in the north of Huelva. Andalucia¹s dozen or so parques naturales (natural parks) are located in areas of great natural beauty, and are detailed in the Guide.
SEAFOOD. This is Andalucia¹s speciality and is excellent all along the coast but particularly so in Málaga and seafood-crazy Cadiz. The many good places to try it are listed in the relevant chapters throughout the Guide.
BARS. Spain has the most bars of any country in Europe, and Andalucia has more than its share of these. For sheer character and diversity, the bars of the cities of Cordoba, Sevilla and Cadiz are some of the best anywhere.
OFFBEAT. Among the more curious things to see in Andalucia are a self-styled "pope" who has built a "New Vatican" near Utrera in Sevilla province; a rosary museum at Aroche in Huelva displaying beads once owned by the famous; a nineteenth-century English-designed housing estate in the middle of the city of Huelva; a mini-Hollywood in Almeria which preserves the film-set of famous "paella westerns"; still-functioning nineteenth-century sulphur baths used by Lord Byron at Carratraca in Malaga; a Communist village run on Utopian principles at Marinaleda in Sevilla; the spectacular mines of Río Tinto in Huelva; and Andalucia¹s oldest inn, complete with highwayman¹s cell, at Alfarnate, in the rugged Axarquia district of Malaga.
WHEN TO GO
In terms of climate the question is mainly one of how much heat you can take. During the summer months of July and August temperatures of over 40šC (104šF) on the coast are normal and inland they rise even higher in cities such as Sevilla, generally reckoned to be the hottest in Spain. The solution here is to follow the natives and get about in the relative cool of the mornings and late afternoons, finding somewhere shady to rest up as the city roasts in the midday furnace. The major resorts are busy in July and packed in August (the Spanish holiday month) when prices also are at their highest. Better times to visit are the spring months of April, May and early June when lower temperatures combine with a greener landscape awash with wild flowers. The autumn is good, too, although by this time much of the coastal landscape looks parched and the resorts have begun to wind down; in hilly areas, however, such as the sierras of Cazorla and Aracena and the high valleys of Las Alpujarras the splendours of autumn can be especially scenic. The winter months ­ particularly December and January ­ can often be dismal and wet as well as cold at altitude, although Almeria sees only one day of rain a year on average and in winter has many days of perfect crystal visibility.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

PART ONE BASICS
Getting there from Britain
Getting there from Ireland
Getting there from North America
Getting there from Australia and New Zealand
Red tape and visas
Insurance
Health
Travellers with disabilities
Information and maps
Costs, money and banks
Getting around
Communications: post, phones and media
Accommodation
Eating and drinking
Opening hours and public holidays
Fiestas, the bullfight and football
Music
Trouble, the police and sexual harassment
Work
Directory

PART TWO THE GUIDE
CHAPTER 1: MALAGA AND CADIZ
Malaga
El Chorro Gorge
Antequera
El Torcal Natural Park
Laguna de Fuente de Piedra
The coast to Torre del Mar
The Axarquia
Velez-Malaga
The coast to Nerja
Nerja
The Costa Tropical (west)
Almunecar
Salobrena
The Costa del Sol
Torremolinos
Fuengirola
Marbella
San Pedro de Alcantara
Estepona
Gibraltar
Algeciras
Ronda and the White Towns
Arcos de la Frontera
The Costa de la Luz
Tarifa
Cádiz
The Cadiz coast and sherry towns
Jerez de la Frontera
Travel details

CHAPTER 2: SEVILLA AND HUELVA
Sevilla
East from Sevilla
Carmona
Ecija
To Osuna and Estepa
West from Sevilla
Niebla
Huelva
The Columbus trail
Coto de Donana National Park
Along the coast to Portugal
Isla Cristina
Ayamonte
Inland to Río Tinto
Sierra Morena
Aracena
Travel details

CHAPTER 3: CORDOBA AND JAEN
Cordoba
Medina Azahara and beyond
South of Córdoba ­ the Campina
Priego de Cordoba
North of Cordoba
Northeast from Cordoba
Jaen
Baeza
Ubeda
Towards Cazorla
Cazorla
Cazorla Natural Park
Travel details

CHAPTER 4: GRANADA AND ALMERIA
Granada
West towards Málaga: Alhama de Granada
The Sierra Nevada
Las Alpujarras
Guadix and Baza
Almeria
The Costa Tropical
The Costa de Almeria
Mojacar
Velez Rubio and the Letreros cave
Inland Almeria: Movieland and Nijar
Travel details

PART THREE CONTEXTS
The historical framework
Chronology of monuments
Flamenco
Wildlife
Books
Language
Glossary
Index

LIST OF MAPS
Andalucia
Andalucia: Trains
Chapter divisions
Malaga and Cadiz
Malaga
Antequera
The Axarquia Region
Nerja
Central Torremolinos
Marbella Old Town
Gibraltar
Ronda and the White Towns
Ronda
Arcos de la Frontera (Casco Antiguo)
Cadiz
El Puerto de Santa María
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Jerez
Sevilla and Huelva
Sevilla
Sevilla Cathedral
Sevilla: The Old City
Alcazar (Palace of Pedro I)
Sevilla Restaurants and Tapas Bars
Carmona
Ecija
Huelva
Coto Donana National Park
Rio Tinto Mining Area
Sierra de Aracena
Cordoba and Jaen
Cordoba
Mezquita
Medina Azahara
Priego de Cordoba
Jaen
Baeza
Ubeda
Sierras de Cazorla and Segura
Granada and Almería
Granada
The Alhambra
Las Alpujarras
Los Millares
Almeria
Cabo de Gata Natural Park
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Introduction

Andalucia is the southernmost territory of Spain and the part of the Iberian peninsula that is most quintessentially Spanish. The popular image of Spain as a land of bullfights, flamenco, sherry and ruined castles derives from this spectacularly beautiful region. The influences that have washed over Andalucía since the first paintings were etched on cave walls here more than twenty-five thousand years ago are many ­ Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Vandals all came and left their mark. And the most influential invaders of all, the Moors, who ruled the region for seven centuries and named it al-Andalus, have left an enduring imprint on Andalucian culture and customs.

The sight and sound of flamenco, when the guitar laments and heels stamp the boards, or cante jondo, Andalucia¹s blues, as it mournfully pierces the smoke-laden gloom of a backstreet café, also tell you there¹s something unique about the people here. The Muslim influence on speech and vocabulary, a stoical fatalism in the face of adversity, and an obsession with the drama of death are all facets of the modern Andalucian character. Contrastingly, the andaluces also love nothing more than a party and the colour and sheer energy of the region¹s countless and legendary fiestas ­ always in traditional flamenco costume worn with pride ­ make them among the most exciting in the world. The romerías, wild and semi-religious pilgrimages to honour local saints at country shrines are yet another excuse for a jamboree. And in quieter moments there are few greater pleasures than to join the drinkers at a local bar winding down over a glass of traditional fino (dry sherry from Jerez), while nibbling tapas ­ Andalucia¹s great titbit invention.

Few places in the world can boast such a wealth of natural wonders in so compact an area. The mighty Guadalquivir river which crosses and irrigates the region from its source in the Cazorla mountains of Jaén in the northeast, reaches the sea 400 kilometres away at the dune-fringed beaches and marismas of the Coto Doñana National Park, Europe¹s largest and most important wildlife sanctuary. To the east and towering above Granada, the peaks of the Sierra Nevada include the Spanish peninsula¹s highest mountain, snowcapped for most of the year, while thirty kilometres away and close to the sweltering beaches, sugar cane thrives. This crop was another contribution to Europe by the Moors, along with oranges, almonds, aubergines, saffron and most of the spices now used to flavour the region¹s cooking which features an astonishing variety of seafood. Nestling in the folds of the same mountains are the valleys of the Alpujarras, a wildly picturesque region dotted with dozens of mountain villages, many of them little changed since Moorish times. Further east again come the gulch-ridden badlands and lunar landscapes of Almería¹s deserts, sought out by film-makers and astronomers for the clearest skies in Europe. On the coast it¹s easy to despair. Extending to the west of Malaga is the Costa del Sol, Europe¹s most developed resort area, with its beaches hidden behind a remorseless density of concrete hotels and apartment complexes. But even here the real Andalucía is still to be found if you¹re prepared to seek it out: go merely a few kilometres inland and you¹ll encounter the timeless Spain of white villages and wholehearted country fiestas. Travel further, both east and west, along the coast and you¹ll find some of the best beaches in all Spain, along the Costa de la Luz, near Cadiz, or the Costa de Almeria.

Andalucia¹s sunshine image ­ projected across the world in advertising campaigns ­ belies the fact that this is also Spain¹s poorest region where an economy rooted in near-feudal land ownership (two per cent of the landowners possess fifty per cent of the land area) stifles investment and is the cause of desperate poverty. Rural life is bleak; you soon begin to notice the appalling economic structure of vast absentee-landlord estates, and landless peasants. The andaluz villages saw little economic aid or change during the Franco years, or indeed since, even though the former governing Socialist party has its principal power base here. Tourism in coastal areas has brought some respite to the alarmingly high levels of unemployment, and Spain¹s growing importance as a member of the European Union promises to speed up progress, but there is still a mighty long way to go.

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