Why visit Spain and Andalucia in 2018? Here’s the top 5 reasons

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The Beauty of Andalucia – Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Be There in 2018!!

When you’re choosing your holiday destination, why limit yourself to either relaxing beach time, gourmet heaven, or world-class cultural delights?

In Andalucia, the swathe across southern Spain, you have all this in spades, plus fabulous weather and vibrant street life!

1. Seville, city of Murillo

Named by Lonely Planet as the best city to visit in 2018, Seville is a wonderland of excellent tapas bars, 2,000 years of stunning architecture, and – for one year only – celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the Golden Age painter Murillo. The Sevillano artist was best-known for his paintings of saints, but he also lent his skill to depicting everyday life in 17th-century Spain – street urchins and normal (not high-born) young women. As well as the exhibitions, concerts and plays take you back to Seville of the 1600s. The mighty Cathedral is the largest Gothic basilica in the world, with its own Murillos.

2. The Alhambra palace – Moorish marvel

With a different feel to steamy Seville, Granada is more serious but with a magical, mystical air. This is home of Spain’s greatest historical monument, the Alhambra, palace of the Nasrid kings, overlooking the city with a backdrop of snow-peaked mountains. Get a glimpse into how Spain’s Moorish rulers lived five centuries ago – beautiful patios with long, still pools of water reflect the intricate carved arches, creating another dimension of architectural wonder.

3. The insiders’ coast, and cooking with Annie B

Forget the Costa del Sol, packed with skyscraping apartment blocks and busy beaches. On the Costa de la Luz, you have miles of golden sand to yourself – walk, run, ride a horse, or landsail. After your dip in the ocean, tuck into fresh barbequed fish at a chiringuito (beach restaurant). Up the hill in the pretty white town of Vejer de la Frontera, charming Scottish gourmande and Sherry Educator Annie B will teach you how to use fabulous local ingredients – almonds, jamon iberico, extra virgin olive oil, and sustainably caught almadraba tuna – to make an unforgettable Andalucian meal, eaten on her rooftop terrace with spectacular views.

4. Taste the “liquid gold” of Jaen province

Want to get off the beaten track, escape the tourists and taste one of Andalucia’s most delicious yet misunderstood products? Head inland to Jaen – endless rolling fields lined with olive trees make up the landscape; try strong, peppery picual EVOO, or soft, fruity hojiblanca. Two small Renaissance towns amidst a sea of trees, Ubeda and Baeza, offer intact historic centres from 500 years ago: churches and palaces of golden stone with wondrous carved facades.

5. Jerez and the Sherry Triangle

If your only experience of Sherry is a glass of the sweet variety with an aging aunt at Christmas, a whole world awaits you in this vineyard-filled south-western corner of Spain. Did you know that all Sherry wines, made from either palomino or Pedro Ximenez grapes, are filtered, aged and blended? A bodega (winery) visit is a full sensory experience – the rows of barrels, with shafts of sunlight dancing through high windows; the yeasty smell of the wine as it ages gently; and of course, the full gamut of tastes when you try the Sherries themselves, from pale, bone-dry fino, to smooth, dark cream.

This wonderful guest blog is thanks to Fiona Flores Watson, an expat journalist who is passionate about all things Andalucian, and who now calls Seville home….

Travelling Divas is offering an incredible tour in conjunction with Annie B (one of Fiona’s top 5 and a favourite of Frank Camorra and Shane Delia) in September 2018, including a few of the others on this list. Anything else not included we can always organise for you to see post tour…..

Have a great week and chat soon.

Chief Divas, Andrea x

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