Andalucia is a region in southern Spain, and it stands out for its Architectural landmarks ranging from mosques to castles. Some of the landmarks date as old as 500 years ago, and contain within their walls incredible stories about the history of Spain. While all the landmarks in this region are a must-see, here are the top 10 architectural landmarks in Andalucia, Spain, to kick off your bucket list.
Seville’s Plaza de Esplana
Plaza de Esplana is located within the Parque de Maria Luisa in Seville. The Plaza was constructed in 1928 in preparation for the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, a world fair hosted at the site. Spain hoped that the Plaza would represent a symbol of peace between the country and its former colonies.
The Plaza has a unique and beautiful half-moon design with four bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. Take a boat ride through the picturesque canal, winding your way under the bridges the pedestrian bridges. And make sure to stop and appreciate the Vicente Traver fountain within Luisa Park
Today, the Plaza hosts some government offices, and you might be lucky to meet the flamenco dancers performing in the square.
The Alhambra is a castle of Islamic design, peppered with fountains, nestled into a hill in Granada. Construction is thought to have begun as early as the 9th century, though the site you’ll see now was built in the 13th century by the Moors. Today, it is a sprawling complex with palaces, rose gardens, decorative fountains, gorgeous landscaping, and flowing streams. Because of its unique architecture and cultural value as one of the most well preserved Islamic palaces in the world, the Alhambra qualifies as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While strolling the Alhambra, be sure to see the Alcazaba citadel, the oldest structure in the palace. We also recommend taking a moment to appreciate the Court of the Lions and the impressive mathematics that went into designing a hydraulic system that perfectly maintained the water level. When you’re done with your visit, notice that your hilltop view offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
The site attracts many tourists, and purchasing tickets in advance is a wise choice. Alhambra is located at Calle Real de la Alhambra, making it easy to tour while on a road trip.
The Great Mosque
The Great Mosque is another landmark in Andalucía that has earned a spot on our must-see list. The Mosque was built by Emir Abdurrahman I in 785, on the grounds where the ancient Visigoth church of San Vicente once stood, and is among the few surviving structures of the Moorish rulers.
The stunning architectural design of the Great Mosque is a major part of the appeal. Eight hundred pillars and arches support the Mosque. It is considered to be an icon of Islamic religious architecture, and is also UNESCO-listed.
Another unique feature about this Mosque is that it carries both Christian and Islamic history as in 1523, Christians took over the region and constructed a cathedral inside it.Today the mosque is located at Calle Cardenal Herrero and is accessible by road.
Catedral de Sevilla
Catedral de Sevilla is a Roman Cathedral built in 1507, epitomizing Gothic-style architecture. It is listed among the largest churches in the world. Visitors appreciate the architecture and the special details, including sculptures, paintings, stained glass, and carvings.
Inside the Catedral de Sevilla you can find the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the Royal Chapel, dedicated to King Ferdinand III of Castile. You can, of course, wander around and take this all in on your own, but given how packed with history this church is, you might consider a guided tour to answer all your questions.
The Catedral de Sevilla is located at Av. de la Constitución, where the first thing you’ll see is a long line for admission. We recommend buying your tickets in advance!
The Pueblos Blancos
The Pueblos Blancos, also known as the whitewashed villages, is another landmark you must see in Andalucia. The architecture of these houses is borrowed from the Berber aesthetic of the Moors. These villages are found on hillsides, and they are made more beautiful by the potted flowers, churches, and cobblestone lanes surrounding them.
The Pueblos Blancos can be accessed through the Arcos de la Frontera gateway. To enjoy this architectural scenery, you must drive or hike to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
Metropol Parasol is a 150 x 70 meters and 26 meters high wooden structure. The locals call it las setas, or “the mushrooms”. The shape is very similar to that of a mushroom, hence the name, and it is the largest wooden structure in the world. The structure contains elevators that travel up to a viewing point where visitors can enjoy the city from a unique vantage point.
During the construction of las setas, remains of ancient Romans were discovered, stirring controversy and temporarily halting the building. Now, in addition to admiring the architecture and the views, visitors can wander through the lower floor that holds the ancient remains.
Castillo de Colomares
Castillo de Colomares is a monument built by Esteban Martin Martin in honor of Christopher Columbus. Although it is called a castle, it consists of three architectural designs: Gothic, Romanesque, and Mudéjar. This stylistic mix was intended to pay tribute to the cultural exchange that followed from the Columbus’ journey to the Americas (though, of course, that is perhaps a too-rosy view of his voyage). The monument covers 1,500 meters, making it the largest monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus.
Inside Castillo de Colomares you can find a church measuring 1.96 square feet— the smallest in the world according to the Guiness Book of World Records.
Jaen Cathedral is constructed on a site once occupied by a mosque. Since its first construction in 1246, the church has been destroyed and reconstructed many times until the 16th century, when the current building was put up.
The construction features three architectural styles: Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture. The interior work and decorations are stunning, but the real claim to fame of this site is The Holy Veil, which is believed to have been used by Saint Veronica to wash the face of Christ.
UNESCO named the cathedral a World Heritage Site, stating that it “represents a work of art of human creative genius”. Jaen Cathedral is located in the Santa Maria Square.
Palacio Del Virrey Laserna
Palacio Del Virrey Laserna is a palace constructed on the foundation of the Arab palace. It was redone in a neoclassical architectural style, but retained some touches from previous designs. Besides the architecture, tourists are attracted to the beautiful art, family photographs, and furniture inside, left over from the aristocratic inhabitants who were emulating the opulent Parisian fashion of the time. It opened to visitors in 2015, and has been modified to include an art gallery and theatre.
Palace of Benameji
The palace of Benameji reflects the civil architecture of the 18th century. The building was constructed of brick in a Baroque style, quite unique for its time. Although some rooms have been affected by the renovation, the exterior, courtyard, staircase, and private rooms are still notable architectural masterpieces.
The building is now home to an arts and crafts school, and is located in the popular Santiago district.