Cordoba: The dominant attraction in this ancient (152 BC) city is "La Mezquita", the world's third largest mosque. An active worship site for more than 2,000 years, the Mezquita is joined with a Christian "Catedral" and impressive bell-tower. An early morning visit culminates with a walk along Calleja de las Flores at the edge of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos.
Cadiz: This 3,000 year-old sea-side city boasts an impressive cathedral, and affords the opportunity for an afternoon stroll in the Parque Genoves. Unfortunately much of the city's rich history has been "renovated away".
Arcos de la Frontera: Sited on a spur of rock 300 feet above the valley floor, Arcos is the eastern gateway to the "white hill towns" of Andalusia. Once a Roman village, it emerged as a medieval center of royalty and culture. Home to many gothic churches.
Ronda: Site of "El Tajo" - a dramatic gorge famous throughout Spain for its strategic importance and beauty. Many impressive sights in Ronda, including Plaza de Toros (1785), spiritual home of modern bull-fighting; also the ancient "Banos Arabes" (11th century) offering Moorish travelers a place to rest and be purified before entering the city.
Pueblos Blancos (White Towns): A collection of dramatically situated whitewashed villages, each with generally fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, located along the mountainous frontier between Christian and Muslim Spain. Some typical examples (in addition to Arcos and Ronda) are Montejaque in a valley sheltered by imposing rock formations, Grazalema at the foot of a limestone mastiff, and Zahara de la Sierra with its skyline dominated by the ruins of a 16th-century watchtower.
Seville: This is the city that most evokes all that is Andalusia -- Moorish arches cathedrals, orange trees, flowers everywhere, the scent of jasmine, flamenco, art, opera, and literary culture. The "Catedral de Sevilla" is the largest Gothic church in the world (and the world's third largest cathedral), with the adjacent 300 foot "La Giralda" bell-tower thrown in for good measure. The 10th-century "Real Alcazar" is Spain's best example of Mudejar architecture with its many arches and glyphs. A stroll along the Rio Guadilquivir and a bridge-crossing leads to the barrio Triana, a town within a city, home to Seville's ceramic factories and gypsy community. Seville is rich in history and culture, and is, rightly, the capital of Andalusia
© G. Pasternack Photography