Most Andalucians don’t tend to have the same strong sense of “nationalist” identity as Catalans, Galicians and Basques. However, Andalucía Day (28 February) has just as much significance, and sense of pride, for Andalucians as it does for compatriots honouring their own “days” in other regions where a second official co-language to “castellano” (“Spanish”) is spoken – also including Navarra, Valencia and the Balearics.
This year marking its 40th anniversary, Andalucía Day commemorates the 1980 referendum that made the Andalucian region an official “autonomous community” of Spain. (There are 17 in total, plus the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Africa.)
As part of the celebrations, balconies in cities and villages throughout the region are draped in the green and white Andalucian flag, and special commemorative events are held in schools, town halls and other institutions.
Being a public holiday – and falling this year on a Friday, which means a long weekend for many people – Andalucians, foreign residents and visiting tourists usually head to a beach restaurant or inland “venta” for lunch; while many also take the opportunity to travel further afield and explore other parts of the region.
For those visiting Andalucía this week, or planning a trip in the future, each of Andalucía’s eight provinces offers its own distinctive attractions and charm. To help us on our way, the Barceló hotel group compiled “eight enchanting routes to celebrate Andalucía Day”.
Málaga: Described as “the pearl of the Costa del Sol”, Málaga city offers fascinating routes tracing the history of art, from the Middle Ages to contemporary times.
Granada: The capital city preserves numerous typical Andalucian patios featuring distinctive architectural eras and styles, including the 16th century Casa del Chapiz.
Cádiz: Known as the western world’s oldest city, Cádiz today is popular for its magnificent beaches and the “route of the white villages”, which highlights rural tourism based on culture, nature and gastronomy.
Huelva: On 3 August 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Huelva in a three-boat fleet comprising the Pinta, Niña and Santa María on his voyage of discovery to the Americas. Five hundred years later, visitors can follow a route featuring remnants and mementoes of that historic trip.
Jaén: The Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas nature park is the largest protected area in Spain, and second largest in Europe, with more than 200,000 hectares of diverse landscapes and spectacular flora and fauna.
Córdoba: Follow a route through parts of the city, Callejas de la Medina and Callejas de la Axerquía, that showcase the Al Andalus era – and which even have their own festival, the Callejas (in October).
Sevilla: Fans of the TV historical drama series “La Peste” can discover settings for this intriguing crime story (dating to 16th century Sevilla and the outbreak of the bubonic plague) dotted around the city.
Almería: The Cabo de Gata nature park is part of a stunning coastline extending along more than 50 kilometres, contrasting spectacularly with the inland Tabernas area, “Europe’s only desert”.