Andalucia Spain: Southern region
of the Iberian Peninsula
Andalucia Spain and its Geographical Location
This region is called Andalucia. It is located in the Southern region of the Iberian Peninsula, look at the Logo map above, the silver outline details Andalucia's expanse.
Westwards, the Guadiana river separates Andalucia from Portugal. Andalucian coastlines border the Alboran Sea (Mediterranean Sea) and the Atlantic Ocean. The Alboran sea, acts as the western Mediterranean Sea filter, before entering the Straights of Gibraltar and out into the Atlantic.
Furthest South Tarifa (Cadiz) is the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsular - and of the European continent. From Tarifa, the distance to Africa is 17kms.
2nd Largest Spanish Region. The region of Andalucia, is the 2nd largest region of Spain, spanning over 87,268km2. This represents 17.3% of the geographical dominion of Spain.
The Eight Provinces, Topography and Communication Systems
Highlights of the Eight Provinces of Andalucia
Topography of Andalucia
Airports of Andalucia
Principal Andalucian Roads
Andalucia Rail Travel
Andalucia Bus Service
Outside Andalucia Bus Companies --> To Andalucia
Bus Companies Operating Inside Andalucia
Ports of Commercial Importance
Click on the map for a larger version of the Physical Map of Spain
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All Rights Reserved.
The 50 Provinces of Spain
Sevilla is the Capital of Andalucia
The name of each province capital - is the same as the province itself.
Principal Andalucian economies derive from agriculture and services: tourism, transport and goods.
Historic Economy of Andalucia
An enormous wealth of silver, was started by a fire fire in Sierra Morena. Legend of this silver, attracted the Phoenicians who traded with resident Tartessians an advanced Iberian tribe. Vast amounts of silver were mined alongside gold, lead and mercury. Spanish Carthage
, later, overwhelmed the Phoenicians. The Carthaginians further exploited Andalucia Spain's precious metals, thus financing a renewed war-effort which led to the 2nd Punic war.
During Roman times Andalucia Spain was known as: Baetica it was the southern most province of Hispania Ulterior.
The Romans greatly improved the Iberian Peninsula's agriculture: fish, wheat and olive oil were exported to the Roman Empire from the Baetica province.
Andalucia Spain was the ruling region in the al-Andalus period of the Cordovan Caliphate. Many Artisanships were implemented during that time, such as Taracea Craftsmanship. These crafts have become speciality goods of Andalucia.
- Cadiz - A Phoenician built habour city, nowadays, a Transatlantic de-luxe Cruise liner port-of-call. Cadiz is a fashionable shopping city. Gaiditan Costa de la Luz beaches are famed for their long white, sandy beaches and their fantastic surfing opportunities i.e: in Tarifa.
Cadiz belongs to part of the Sherry Wine Triangle.
Jerez is Cadiz's largest city and is the Sherry captial par excellence. 10kms east of Jerez you find the Circuito de Jerez, originally built for Formula 1 racing.
The Circuito de Jerez evolved into a much favoured venue of world racing championships MotoGP events held late March or early April. See: Andalucia Travel MotoGP.
Travel Connections Jerez is now well connected. Jerez Airport is 5kms north of Jerez, it is a small airport and therefore communications were supplimented with excellent motorways exit-points from Sevilla, Granada and Cadiz. Equally, are frequent trains from Madrid and Barcelona. Ample bus services are provided on racing days going to the Circuito de Jerez.
Jerez is also home to horses, bull breeding and Historic Heritage
Cadiz is an important community for Renewable Energies: Solar Power and in Wind Power
Field of Photovoltaic Panels,
- Cordoba - Historic Cordoba a Heritage city, once the capital of Spain: (the al-Andalus Cordovan Caliphate). Hispano-Moorish Art and Architecture evolved when the
Cordoba Mosque monument was constructed, incorporating a vast knowledge of Syrian Caliphal Architecture, delving deep into Islamic Mezquita History.
Cordoba is where Guitars originated from and from where Bull fighting began. The passion of Flamenco stems from the heights of the al-Andalus Caliphate. Cordoba is the proud home of Cordoba Leather. Today the city is a fashionable shopping city, famed, for La Juderia's jewellery and guitars
Stem from The Blueprint of Islamic Gardens and Mosques of islamic art and architecture. They are best referred to as: Patios Cordobeses. Cordoba hosts the Best Patios competition during the month of May. Visitors may view private homes' patios, signposted as in the above graphic, found at the front door of each competitor - for the Cordoba Patio competition.
- Granada - Historic Heritage city, Alhambra Granada Spain and Alhambra Granada Generalife monuments are the crown jewels of Granada. The Sierra Nevada, Parque Natural and the Sierra Nevada skiing resort, the Alpujarras
- Sevilla - Historic Heritage city, Flamenco, Feria de Abril.
Sevilla is also an important source-area for Renewable Energies: Solar Power. The Hercules Project, Sanlucar la Mayor, Sevilla : Spanish Pioneering in hydrogen economy. Hydrogen fuel cell powered cars, energy generated from renewable energy (Solar), opened its first Hydrogenerator station 16th June, 2010 in Andalucia, Sevilla.
- Jaen - denominated as one of the world capitals of Olive Oil, its Renaissance World Heritage cities of Ubeda and Baeza, where the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place swinging the Reconquista in favour of the Catholics and changing the fate of Moorish Spain
- Huelva - The National Park: Parque de Doñana: Europe's prime wetland, the white sands of Costa de la Luz
- Malaga - a Transatlantic de-luxe Cruise liner port-of-call habour city. Famed for the Costa del Sol, Andalucia Travel Costa del Sol, also known as "the Costa del Golf." Malaga is a fashionable shopping city with jet set Marbella and Puerto Banus as a backdrop. There is an exceptional seaside resort in
Nerja Spain. Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso. Malaga airport is Spain's forth most busy airport.
Puerto de Malaga
- Almeria - blessed by the Cabo de Gata: Nijar Natural Park. The volcanic Tabernas desert
- during the Palogene and Neogene Orogenic eras
(65.5 million - 2.6 million years ago): was when the African mass crashed into the European landmass, creating the Alpine orogeny, which uplifted many parts of Europe.
Thus most of Southern Mediterranean Europe and the Iberian Peninsula became mountainous. More than half of the Andalucian region is situated 600 metres - above sea level. Gibraltar is geologically classified as part of the Baetic Cordillera, belonging to the Alpine Orogeny of the Gibraltar Arc.
Spain has Six Major Mountain Ranges: the Pyrenees, Cordillera Cantabrica, Sistema Iberico, Montes de Toledo, Sierra Morena (Andalucia), Sistema Penibetico, (Andalucia).
- Northern Andalucia Spain, Sierra Morena acts as the natural boundary to the Meseta Central
The Baetic Cordilleras
- Sistema Subbetica
- Sistema Penibetica
The Guadalquivir river flows through the largest valley in Andalucia. This valley is referred to as the Baetica Depression
, flanked by the Sierra Morena and the Subetica Sistema. The Guadalquivir river drains into the Cadiz-Gulf in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Guadalquivir Valley spans over 65% of Andalucian terrain. The Guadalquivir river (657kms), is the longest Andalucian river and the 2nd longest river of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Guadalquivir valley over centuries has been hallmarked by its vast, fertile, flat plains. Phoenicians, Tartessians, Romans and Moors, settled in this area, realising the immense mineral and agricultural values.
The Romans, especially prized the Guadalquivir valley. They believed, the area held more profitabilty for Rome - than the rest of the Hispania Province. Romans carved the Despeñaperros Pass in Jaen.
The Intrabetico Groove - (The other) Low Andalucia
A series of valleys: Depression of Ronda, the Antequeran Hoya, the Granada Depression, Hoya de Guadiz, Baza, Huescar and Lorca. Originally (Oligocene and early Miocene), the Baetic area may have been covered with water. However, spurs arose thus separating the valleys.
Some of the valleys are sweeping fertile vegas: cereal growing flats. The Intrabetico Groove is situated between the Subbetica and Penibetica Cordilleras.
The Baetic Cordilleras abound with extraordinary flora and fauna. These mountain ranges acted as frontiers between Moorish Spain from Christian Spain during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Andalucia's northen boundary is defined by the Sierra Morena mountain range - which spreads 400kms from west to east. This forms a natural ridge with the Sistema Central Plateau, delinating Extremadura and Castilla la Mancha regions.
The mineral wealth of the Sierra Morena: gold, copper, steel, silver, lead and mercury created a precious-metal boom leading to prehistoric colonization, thus initiating the History of Andalucia.
Sierra Morena mountain ranges are located within the provinces of: Cordoba, Sevilla, Jaen and Huelva. Four natural parks protect the Sierra's best features.
In Western Sierra Morena (within the Parque Natural Sierra de Hornchuelos) you find graceful, sweeping, deciduous forests of holm oaks, cork oaks, carab and chestnut trees. These are important areas of rural economies: cork oak landscapes, charcoal production and dehesa pasturelands - of particular significance for the grazing of the Iberian pig.
Sierra Morena's Despeñaperros Pass was
Desfiladero de Despeñaperros
The Most Important Entry-Point into Andalucia from Castilla
: Pass of the Overthrown Dogs became legendary at the Battle of Navas de Tolosa, 16 July 1212 AD.
Battle Navas de Tolosa: F. P. Van Halen
A natural gap in the Eastern-side of Sierra Morena range was carved by the Despeñaperros river and was enhanced by the Romans. This gap had a sheer-faced gorge, 500 metres deep.
The main pass had been blocked by the Almohads.
The Christian learned of an alternative route known to local herdsmen. They sneaked through...
The Almohads were surprized in their camp. A massive ambush and slaughter ensued. It was the turning-point of the Almohad demise.
Conversely, this battle became the headstart point for the Christian Reconquista: (a Crusade against the Almohads, initiated by Pope Innocent 111). Over 10,000 Moors perished, many were hurled down the gorge...
The Baetica Cordilleras
The Baetic Cordillera: Sistema Penibetico
: is a series of sub-chain mountain ranges, which spread from western Andalucia --> towards Murcia/Valencia, in a general southwest-northeast direction.
Ranges of the Cordillera Subbetica
- Sierra Elvira
- Sierra de Gibalbin
- Sierra de Grazalema
- Sierra de Harana
- Sierra de Huetor
- Sierra Sur de Jaen
- Sierra de Loja
- Sierra de Magina - which also extends into the Cordillera Prebetica
- Sierra Sierra Subbeticas de Cordoba
- Sierra de Alcaraz
- Sierra de Bernia
- Sierra de Cazorla
- Sierra de Castril
- Sierra de Maria - it joins the Cordillera Penibetica
- Sierra de Mariola
- Montgo Massif
- Peñon de Ifach
- Sierra de la Sagra
- Sierra de Segura
- Sierra del Tabilla
- Cordillera Antequerana
- Sierra de Alhamilla
- Sierra de Almijara
- Sierra de Baza
- Sierra de la Contraviesa
- Sierra de los Filabres
- Sierra Espuña
- Sierra de Gador
- Sierra de Lujar
- Sierra Nevada
- Serrania de Ronda
- Sierra de Tejeda
Nearly twenty percent of Andalucian territory is protected land. There exist various classifications:
- Parajes: Protected Landscape
- Parques: Parks
- Reservas: Reserves
When you add all the protected land of Spain, to the Andalucian, this translates in a thirty percentage of all Spanish territory.
Airports of Andalucia
Six Andalucian provinces have airports:
- Malaga Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional de Sevilla
Aeropuerto de Cordoba (ODB)
Aeropuerto de Almeria
Aeropuerto de la Parra
Federico Garcia Lorca Granada-Jaen Aeropuerto
A-49 is part of the North South intermediate
European route crossing international borders from Portugal into Spain.
The Huelva Freeway A-49
(La Autopista del Quinto Centenario: The fith Century Motorway) connects Portugal with Spain and ends in Sevilla.
The E803 A-66 Autovia Ruta de la Plata: The Silver Highway. An evocative name evoking the Roman "Silver Route." The A-66 route, coincides approximately, with the Ancient Roman route of Roman Spain - initiating in Gijon, Asturias and ending in Sevilla. The A-66 links with the Madrid - Lisbon A-5 route.
(In Merida: you find Emerita Augusta capital of Roman Hispania Lusitano. It is the best preserved Roman archaelogical site in Spain - an approved UNESCO World Heritage Archaelogical site since 1993.) See this Hispania map.
The E05 A-4 the Western-most, north-south "reference road," runs from Greenock, Scotland to Algeciras. After it passes through Madrid it travels through: Cordoba, Sevilla, Cadiz and Algeciras, along Andalucian routes, entering through the Despeñaperros Pass
in Jaen. The E05 A-4 is known as the Autovia de Malaga: Malaga Highway - except in Jaen where the E05 branches off into the E902 A-44 and this is referred to as the Autovia de Sierra Nevada: Sierra Nevada Highway.
The E15 Autovia del Mediterraneo: The Mediterranean Highway is a north-south "reference road" initiating in Inverness, Scotland crossing England, France and Spain. When it reaches Spain, it follows the N-340 route from La Junquera to Algeciras. The N-340 follows the ancient tracks of the Roman Via Augusto Herculea route.
Renfe (Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles): is the state-run railway system of the Iberian Peninsula. Feve (Ferrocarilles de la Vias Estrecha) function on narrow-gauge lines. Autonomous communities have their own particular carriers.
Train communications focus: Madrid --> outwards.
Spanish trains are excellent. Spanish Rail travel is cheaper than in other European countries, offering a refund, if they arrive more than 10 mins late on AVE trains.
- Talgo Trains (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol) are long distance trains
- Cercanias: Regional Services
- AVE: (Alta Velocidad Española) are high speed trains.
Sevilla -> Madrid takes three hours
RENFE INFORMATION: Tel Nº's 91 53 00 202 / 93 49 00 202
RENFE RESERVATIONS: Tel Nº 91 52 73 333
- Expresso al-Andalus (al-Andalus Express) is a orient-express type luxury styled train. Journeys depart from Sevilla, visiting: Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and Jerez de la Frontera
- Transcantabrico: (Transcantabrico) is another luxury tour train, journeying around the north of Spain
Cheap Travel Days
: Blue Days operate on weekdays. They specifically are NOT holidays or even on the Eve of holidays. Dias Azules operate with a 50% discount for this reason.
Tarjeta Joven: Youth Card. The Tarjeta Joven is for people between 12 -> 25. There is a 50% discount for the dates that match the Dias Azules.
Tarjeta Turistica: Tourist Card for non-reisdents, irrespective of their nationality. The Tarjeta Touristica permits, unlimited travel, with no extra payments.
Tarjeta Dorada: Gold Card for the over sixties.
Tarjeta Euro-Railpass: Eurail Pass cards can be paid for
within Europe. They provide unlimited travel. Pricing depends on the duration of the required travelling.
Metropolitan Metro Services
Sevilla, capital of Andalucia Spain, has excellent intercity-train communication services. Equally, Sevilla has a metropolitan Metro.
The Metro de Sevilla was recently intregrated to metropolitan Seville. The future Metro de Malaga and Metro (ligero) de Granada are currrently undergoing vast works to implement these services to both these cities.
The bus service spreads over more areas than the train services. It is even cheaper than the train. Service quality is not as highly recommended as in the train service.
- Alsa: www.alsa.es Tel nº: 902 42 22 42
- Dainco: www.dainco.es Tel nº: 902 42 22 42
- Damas: www.damas-sa.es Tel nº 959 25 69 00
- Secorbus/Socibus: www.socilbus.es Tel nº: 902 22 92 92
- Portillo runs a monopoly service in Malaga Province
- Alsina Graells Sur operate throughout Andalucia
Tel nº 950 23 81 97 (Almeria) and 958 18 54 80 (Granada)
- Alsa (See Above) will also sell tickets for the Alsina Graells Sur buses
- Surbus provide service for Almeria
Tel nº 959 62 47 35 and 950 62 47 36
Website: Surbus Services
- Los Amarillos operate around Sevilla
Website: Los Amarillos
- Autocares Baraza provide service from Granada/ Vera/ Mojacar and Almeria
Tel nº 950 39 00 53
Website: Autocares Baraza
- Autocares Bonal operate the ski route from Granada to the Sierra Nevada
Tel nº 958 27 31 00/ 958 27 24 97
Algeciras Bay Port
, in Cadiz Province, ranks as the busiest deep sea port in Spain. It is a leading Mediterranean container port for International transshipment, a crossroads for European, African, American and Asian shipping. Renfe transport freight to Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona.
Algeciras was important to Phoenician and Roman civilzations. The Visigoths destroyed it but the Moors rebuilt it. Castillean King Alfonso XI captured it in 1344 AD. Moors redestroyed it and finally it was rebuilt in the 1704 AD.
Algeciras port is a major transit zone for Moroccans as they embark to cross the straights to go to Tangier. Other destinations are: Canary Islands, Ceuta and Meillia. There is an oil refinery in Algercias.
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