Andalucia is Spain as you have always imagined it: white-washed hilltowns, Moorish palaces, orange blossom, sequined matadors, flamenco dancers, city carnivals, wave-pounded beaches, sherry ‘bodegas’... clichés perhaps, but no less charming for it. There's a wealth of wonderful buildings, from Seville's little-known Roman ruins to Granada's world-famous Alhambra palace. And there are still some wonderful surprises, from horse-riding through the chestnut woods of Aracena, to snow-shoeing on Spain's highest peak in the Sierra Nevada.
Wherever you go, there is an enticing array of places to stay, from historic town mansions to charming country retreats, many of which outstrip the state-run paradors. There are more bars than in any other European country, serving some of its finest seafood and sherries. And, with regular 2-hour flights from northern Europe to several Andalucian cities, there is nothing to stop you coming, even for a weekend. The hardest thing will be leaving so soon.