Andalusia: A Love Letter in Photos

The immortal Amigos de Gines sing, Andalucia es mi tierra, yo soy del sur. Andalusia is my home, I’m from the South. While I can’t claim to be a full-blood sevillana, I have certainly grown to love my adopted home. My skyscraper-dominated landscape at home now has just church spires and the Giralda piercing the sky, my all-beef hot dogs replaced by acorn-fed ham.

Tomorrow is Día de Andalucía, the day in which Andalusia was ratified as an autonomous state within the newly formed Spanish Republic just 33 years ago (fun fact: Andalusia is six months younger than the Novio!!). We get a day off of work, and many private places open their doors to the public, like the Town Hall or the Congressional Palace.

And why not celebrate? This is the land that has given us the Iberian Lynx and Jerez Stallions, given rise to Antonio Banderas and Paz Vega, cultivated olive oil and sherry. García Lorca wrote homages to his native land, Washington Irving made the Alhambra famous, and Velázquez and Picasso left Andalusia to become two of the most famous Spanish painters in history. Steeped in history and architecture, folklore and culture. Columbus set sail for La India from its very shores, and the last Muslim emperor was expelled from Granada, signalling the reconquest of Spain. Camarón put flamenco on the map from his chabola in San Fernando, while David Bisbal rocketed to fame with the pop hit, Bulería. It’s a place where a si, claro because a ahi, aro illo!

My visual homage to lovely Andalucía:

The landscapes and cityscapes



Santa Cruz, Sevilla

Estepa (Seville province)

The beach at Bolonia and ruins of Baelo Claudia

The pueblos blancos, or white villages

Tarifa (Cádiz)

Iglesia del Carmen, Zahora de los Atunes (Cádiz)

The food and drink (and la marcha!)

The folklore and culture

La Manera de Ser

Have you ever visited Andalusia? What do you like about this region? Can you believe I’ve actually never been to Jaén or Almería?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Great photos, Cat! You really showed the real spirit of Andalucía!
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  2. OMG that is gorgeous! Andalusia is also my favourite region of Spain (just beating out Basque Country); I just love the colour, the heat and the vibrancy. Take me back!
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  3. This post makes me so happy! I’m typing this comment on a computer in my school’s teacher workroom, waiting for Día de Andalucía festivities to start. They say there’s going to be a traditional “desayuno andaluz” with tostada con tomate and then there will be singing, dancing, and waving of flags. Can’t wait!!!

    And I *can* believe you haven’t been to Almería yet (it’s just so, so isolated from the rest of the region and the country), but you’ve got no excuse about Jaén! 😛 hahaha you need to take the next train from Sevilla to Linares-Baeza and come explore the region!

    Have you written anything about Huelva, Cat? Yesterday in class, one of the teachers I work with was explaining the 8 provinces of Andalucía to the third-graders, saying things like “Jaén is known for its olive oil, Córdoba for the Mezquita, Granada for the Alhambra, Almería for being a desert (i.e., good for filming Westerns), Málaga for its beaches, Cádiz for carnaval, Sevilla for being the capital, and then lastly there’s Huelva”…and he didn’t elaborate hahaha. I just know nothing about that province since it’s sooo far away from Jaén!
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Sorry for the late reply! I have actually been to Huelva a number of times, as a college friend taught there for a year. Great beaches, good wine, strawberry fields, where Columbus took off the the New World, the Rio Tinto mines and HAM! Silly people!

  4. Andalucía has definitely captured my corazón! I think I fall in love with it a little more each day. Well, except for days when my car needs repair (like the last 3 weeks)…then I’m thankful for the province of La Rioja.
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  5. Yay, Andalucía! I miss my first Spanish region a bit. Such wonderful words and pics, Cat!
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  6. Beautiful photos cat! It makes me miss andalusia a lot!!

  7. A beautiful homage.
    Bibsey Mama (@BibseyMama) recently posted..#oneweek: Winter ~ Andalucía SoulMy Profile

  8. Love your ode to Andalucia, Cat! The photos make me want to explore every town I haven’t been to yet–and revisit all the ones I have!
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  9. Loved this post! I’m freezing in Madrid and heading to La Alberca tomorrow, missing Malaga! I’ve been to Almería, but not Jaén or Huelva :)

  10. Spectacular photos! I definitely need to visit the regions sooner rather than later. Looks amazing!
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  11. What a beautiful tribute, Cat. You deserve a job at the Andalucia Tourist Board. For these images are certainly going to encourage more people to visit the region.

  12. Beautiful words and gorgeous pictures. You’ve really captured the soul of mi querida comunidad. What I’d give for a bite of that salmorejo and some Cruzcampo right now! And I really love the picture of the laughing women; it reminds me of mi mamá granaína, and is really representative of the personality of the Andaluces. This post warmed my heart :)
    x Julia
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      My dear, old coworkers from when I was an auxiliar. I ran into the one in the red coat in the Centro the other day, and it was like it hadn’t been four years since we’d taught 1ero Bachille together! I loved their warmth and their commitment to not taking their jobs toooooo seriously. Wonderful people!

  13. Beautiful photos! I really loved the blend of cultures that shows up in the buildings in Andalucía. And the food…ahh, it has some amazing food.

    I’ve actually never been to Jaen or Almería either. While I lived in Sevilla, everyone kept telling me it was a waste of time because they were so ugly!
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  14. Jessica Alcorn says:

    Amazing photos Cat! I’m now dying to go to sunny Andalucia since Madrid is cold and rainy right now.

  15. Love the tree covered Plazas in Granada as the heat of the day is dying off.
    Had the best Sangria in old town Ronda – I can’t believe I walked down to get a better view of the bridge over the canyon only to realize the climb up was a killer.
    I was not expecting much of Jerez but one day of horses, a visit to a bodega, and the best fish market I have seen made for a very nice day.
    Will have to return to Cadiz and Sevilla with more time.
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  16. Fabulous photos!! I’ve been on that street in Santa Cruz 😉 I did not know about the dia de Andalucia, que interesante! I love the architecture of Andalucia and the warmth and the people. Of course I think people everywhere in Spain are wonderful :)
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  17. Really great shots, made me miss Spain lots but also put some ideas in my head for places I would love to see on my visit this fall! Thanks for the smile!

  18. Bravo. After actually being here, it’s easy to see why you and so many others came here and stayed here. We’ve only (or already) been here for a month, and it feels like this region has endless opportunities for exploration and fantastic experiences. I’m somewhat sad that we won’t get to see much of it in two months, but I know we’ll always be able to come back if we choose to do so. That’s not to say that we haven’t already had amazing experiences with the city, the culture, and of course the people (including you!).
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  19. Ahhhhh…without a doubt my favorite region. I miss it terribly, it has such a life and vibe of it’s own-something that the others just don’t capture ( at least for me anyway).

  20. Just commenting to say I heart this post.
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  21. Oh Andalucia!
    Well, I don’t know if you’re missing much without visiting Almeria or Jaen. Cabo de Gata is nice but I’m easily spoiled and not as easily impressed coming from California full of rugged stunning coastline!
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  22. Sunshine and Siestas says:

    Thanks for all of the love, friends! For those who have been here, you know Andalucia has something special. For those who haven’t, hay que venir! While I’ve been to every autonomia in Spain, Andalucia is definitely where I feel most myself.

  23. just gorgeous!! makes me want to visit, explore, LIVE there! :)

  24. Beautiful photos! I’m in love with Andalusia, too. It’s so vibrant. I particularly like the Pueblos Blancos; like stepping back in time. Arcos de la Frontera is my favorite, but there are many we didn’t see. I hope to make it back there some day to visit the rest…
    p.s. I really, really love the photo of the shoes. Just looking at them brings the music to my ears :-)
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Arcos is lovely, but there is so much more to see! I myself need to get cracking. Hopefully having the license (and my boyfriend even offered to buy me his brother’s car) will be useful.

  25. What beautiful photos and effects!
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  26. What lovely, evocative photos!
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  27. Beautiful photos. Spain just seems so warm and energetic to me. Can’t wait to go!
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  28. We spent a week in the Pueblo Blanco of Gaucin, with a view toward Gibraltar. Absolutely loved the food! Also really enjoyed Seville–too bad we didn’t know you then :(

    Gorgeous photos, by the way :)
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  29. Hahaha that horse one is awesome!

    You also capture some amazing photos from really unique angles. I need to start doing that rather than just snapping away like the usual tourist…
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Well, I’m flattered! Surely the Camino will giev you great opportunities to capture different elements. I’m looking forward to reading about it!

  30. these pics are stunning. sooooo beautiful. i love the little things (cork ) and the big ones (those alley ways, buildings, yellow church) that you captured. soooo lovely sooo inviting me NOW. thank you for this love letter and for letting me read it. i love it.
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      You know you, K and the kiddos are welcome whenever! Micki Kosman is coming anytime, too – as they say here, Andalusia has it. Still trying to figure out what “it” is so I can give my loved ones back home a reason for why I’ve stayed so long!! Hugs, guapa!

  31. ¡Hola Cat!

    You “ARE del Sur”, just from another place of birth! :)

    A little bit of fact checking, if I may. Just to set the record straight, unfortunately for me, Spain is not yet a Republic, it’s a Constitutional Monarchy. It was twice a Republic, though, the last one lasting from April 1931 to the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. Andalucía was recognised as an Autonomous Region in the Spanish “Transición”, the move from fascist dictatorship to a Constitutional Democracy as a Kindgom, not a Republic.

    What really turned the tables was the huge demo that made all the Andalusians take the streets on the 4th of December 1981…

  32. Love your blog! It brings me back to the days when I studied abroad for a year in Sevilla. Oh, how I loved that experience. I recently read several books by an American author who lived in Sevilla for several years. I highly recommend her books — they’re pleasurable, intriguing, and thoughtful stories that capture the essence of Andalucia and its people. You can find her books by doing a search for Wendy Ramer on Amazon.

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