Andalucia, Provinces, Major Cities & Top Attractions

Andalucia is located in southern Spain and has the biggest population of the autonomous regions with are around 8.5 million inhabitants.
andalucia alhambra

Andalucia is a fairly rocky and mountainous part of the country that is firmly rooted in it’s Spanish traditions. Tapas are probably more famous here than in any other part of Spain, Flamenco music is also commonly associated with this area. Andalucia was under Moorish rule between the 8th – 15th Century, as a result you can find many famous Moorish buildings and landmarks here.


Alcázar castle in Seville, Córdoba’s Mezquita Mosque, Granada’s Alhambra Palace and many more. The Costa del Sol is located in southern Andalucia where you can find the popular tourism cities of Malaga and Marbella, Granada and Seville are located further to the north. The southern coastline boasts some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Spain along it’s 150 metre coastline.

Provinces of Andalucia

Andalucia is so vast that it consists of 8 different provinces. Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville make up this massive autonomous community covering a land mass of just over 87,000 km². Throughout this article we are going to provide snippets of information about each province and their places of interest.

Seville

Plaza de Espana, Seville
The Spanish translation for this city is Sevilla but we are going to refer to the English translation. Seville is the largest city and also the capital city of Andalucia with over 700,000 inhabitants. The total population is actually well over 1.5 million if you include the surrounding metropolitan areas on the outskirts of the city. The beautiful city of Seville is not only the fourth largest city in Spain but one of the most important from a cultural and historical point of view. Some of the top attractions in Seville include Plaza de España (picture above), Alcázar Castle, Giralda and Maria Luisa Park. The locals are fiercely proud of their culture and are collectively known as “Sevillanos” with the female equivalent being “Sevillanas”. Bullfighting is popular in Seville but this city is more famous for Flamenco music and the beautiful Sevillana Flamenco dancers with their distinctive red dresses.

Málaga

Málaga
Málaga is another large city and province in southern Spain with a population of close to 600,000 inhabitants. The surrounding metropolitan areas take this number to well over 1 million making Málaga the 6th most populated city in Spain. Málaga is perhaps the oldest city in Spain also with a history that can be traced back to the Phoenicians some 2800 years ago. Like all of southern Spain, Málaga was under Moorish rule for almost 800 years until the until the Reconquista which ended in 1492. The Arabic influence here is probably stronger than in any other part of Spain and this is evident in the number of Moorish buildings such as the Alcazaba of Málaga. On the contrary to popular belief, this city is actually very much in tune which it’s culture and Tapas are possibly more famous here than in any other part of Spain. The coastal towns and areas that lie to to west are collectively known as the Costa del Sol. These areas are all busy tourist destinations that welcome millions of visitors in each year to it’s golden sandy beaches.

Córdoba

Córdoba
Córdoba is located to the east of Seville and north of Málaga. The population of Córdoba is around 320,000 inhabitants and like Málaga, this city retains much of it’s Arabic history and architecture. This is possibly the hottest city in the country with the average temperature in the summer months as high as 37 Celsius. The second largest old town in Europe is located in Córdoba along with many Roman buildings and remains. These remains include a Roman bridge, the Roman Temple, the Theatre, and Mausoleum. The Great Cathedral of Córdoba (Mezquita de Córdoba) is located in this city which is also a Unesco World Heritage site. Córdoba was re-captured from Muslim rule by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1236.

Granada

Granada
The beautiful city of Granada is located to the east of Málaga and west of Almeria on southern coastline. Granada is the location for one of Spains most famous and recognisable buildings, The majestic Alhambra. The view of Alhambra (image above) with the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the background is one of the most picturesque and photographed views in all of Spain. The population of Granada is somewhere around 240,000 inhabitants and double that when including the urban and metropolitan areas. The land mass of 7,000 square miles is littered with fantastic architecture such as Granada Catherdal and the exquisite Generalife Palace with it’s beautiful gardens and fountains.

Cádiz

Cádiz
Cádiz is one of the smaller cities in Andalucia, the port is actually the home of the Spanish Navy. Cádiz sits on a narrow strip of land in the sea just off the mainland, the population here is around 120,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately there is no way to extend the land due to the restrictions of the sea and laws now in place that prevent reclaiming space from the sea. Interestingly, Cádiz is recognised as being one of the oldest continually inhabited European cities of the ancient world with traceable roots back to the Phoenicians. The views on offer here are spectacular with more well preserved beautiful architecture such as the Plaza de San Antonio and church and Cádiz Cathedral.

Almería

Alcazaba of Almería
Almería is the most eastern of the 8 provinces of Andalucia which is edging towards a population of 200,000 inhabitants. Agriculture is big business in Almería with thousands of greenhouses providing vegetables to much of Europe. Throughout history and right up to the 20th Century, Mineral and Ore mining was a lucrative source of income. El Cable Inglés is a big structure that was used to load minerals onto waiting ships in the port. This mineral loading station can still be seen today and has recently undergone development work to make it a tourist attraction. Almería boasts it’s own beautiful architecture such as the Alcazaba of Almería fortress (picture above) and The ancient walls of Jayrán.

Huelva

Huelva, Queen Victoria District
Huelva is located west of Seville and to the north of Cádiz , Huelva actually sits on the Gulf of Cádiz. There are many similarities betweea the two cities as Huelva is also know to have been inhabitant for over 3000 years. Huela was originally a small city but the population has rocketed up to 150,000 inhabitants thanks to the mineral mining boom in the 19th Century. Rio Tinto was the biggest mining company in Huelva during the boom, even so it’s interesting to see English style suburbs such as the Queen Victoria district here (picture above). Plaza De Las Monjas and Castillo de Niebla are two of the beautiful landmarks worth checking out here.

Jaén

Saint Catalina's Castle.
Jaén is actually the smallest provincial city in terms of population with around 120,000 inhabitants. The actual province of Jaén has a much larger population outside the city with well over 650,000 inhabitants. Located in the Santa Catalina mountains, Jaén is a beautiful city which happens to be one of the largest producers of Olive Oil in the world. This city boasts some beautiful landmarks and architecture which includes Saint Catalina’s Castle (picture above) and Jaén Cathedral.

Top Cities & Towns

Andalucia Provinces Map

The image below displays the 8 provinces that collectively form the autonomous community of Andalucia.
andalucia provinces map

Famous Andalusians

Paco de Lucia
Andalucia consistently produces people that achieve great fame in their respective professions. Paco de Lucia (picture above) was arguably the greatest Flamenco guitarist that has ever lived until his recent death. The painter, artist and sculptor Pablo Picasso represents Andalucia as one of the many great Spanish artists. The top actors include Antonio Banderas who was born in Málaga. David Bisbal and Estrella Morente are two other leading musicians from southern Spain.

Southern Andalucia