No region captures the passion and power of Spain quite like Andalusia.
The southernmost part of the Iberian Peninsula, Andalusia features endless coastal beaches, rugged mountains, vibrant cities, charming hill towns and centuries of dramatic history. It delivers an intoxicating blend of European and Muslim cultures that have coexisted for more than 700 years.
Andalusia was a key outpost of the Roman Empire for seven centuries, starting around 206 BCE, with two of its greatest emperors — Trajan and Hadrian — coming from the region. Many Roman archeological sites remain, such as the settlements of Italica and Carmona in Seville.
Indeed, Seville, the capital of the region, is a great place to start a visit. With a population of just under 700,000, the city throbs with the energy of flamenco, the traditional Andalucian song and dance that displays the passion of the people.
At one point Seville was the gateway to the world, with its port awarded the royal monopoly for trade with the Spanish colonies in the Americas. The tomb of the man who discovered America, Christopher Columbus, is on display in the spectacular Seville Cathedral, the world’s largest Gothic church. It was built on the site of a former mosque constructed by the Muslim Moors. For a clearer picture of Moorish culture, visit the nearby Alcazar, the millennium-old palace overlooking a cool and peaceful garden.