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Andalucía evokes dazzling white towns, ancient cities, imposing mountain peaks, regiments of olive groves, golden sandy beaches, the scent of orange blossom, a temperate climate and the purest light. From the seemingly endless stretches of golden sand that line the undiscovered Costa de la Luz to the unmissable cities that bear witness to 700 years of Moorish influence, the region boasts a wealth of attractions that will not fail to impress.
Hilltop white villages of snaking narrow streets, hidden inner patios of abundant carnation pots, Islamic arches, formal gardens heavy with the scent of jasmine and orange blossom, breathtaking palaces, and above all, a warm, extrovert people who instinctively create an exuberant street life.
The historic hilltop town of Ronda offers the visitor tranquillity, a rich and diverse history and an authentic Andaluz atmosphere. Its eclectic mix of architectural styles stand testament to the diverse peoples that have fought over, occupied or simply visited the town across the centuries. Home to picturesque 'pueblo blanco ' streets, a profusion of wrought iron balconied houses and Spain's oldest and most splendid bullring, the Mercadillo quarter has its own special atmosphere.
Dividing the old part of the city from the new is a dramatic river gorge, its plunging 90m drop being bridged by the Puente Nuevo from where there are spectacular views. Our houses are scattered across the beautiful Serranía surrounding the town and all are within an easy drive. Further afield through a landscape of craggy forested sierras lies Sevilla, a city that lives life to the full. The luxuriant jungle of botanical gardens that is the Maria Lluisa Park, the once Jewish quarter with its picture book wrought iron clad houses and the vast cathedral are just a few of the good reasons to visit.
Heading west you will find Arcos de la Frontera, an original frontier town from the old Muslim kingdom of Granada, whilst the vineyards and wineries that start in earnest after here leave no doubt that you are entering the world capital of sherry production - Jerez.
The stunning stretch of coastline known as the Costa de la Luz is perhaps Andalucía's best kept secret. This magnificent, unspoilt fringe of golden sand stretches practically unbroken fromthe Portuguese border to the Straits of Gibraltar. Our property selection centres around the pretty white towns of Vejer de la Frontera and Conil de la Frontera. Nearby Cádiz is one of Europe's oldest cities. Now a busy port, it is rich in Moorish style buildings arranged around narrow streets and alleyways that criss-cross the historic peninsula.
To the east, dramatic scenery is formed by the deeply plunging gorge of El Chorro, which carves its way through breathtakingly pretty valleys of lush wooded slopes. North of here, Córdoba offers the awesome dimensions of the 'Mesquita' or Great Mosque and the myriad of white alleyways and flower filled patios that is its ancient Jewish quarter.
No visit to Andalucía would be complete without witnessing the spectacular sights of historic Granada. Nestling against a stunning backdrop of the often snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the imposing silhouette of its sumptuous Alhambra Palace towers above a delightful and intriguing network of ancient narrow streets that bear witness to the city's Moorish past. A short drive south of here, tucked between the Sierra Nevada and the coast, the delightfully undiscovered Alpujarras is unquestionably picturesque, its valleys and hillsides being dotted with oasis-like white villages and criss-crossed by a network of ancient paths that make this area a delight to discover on foot.
Local specialities include scrambled eggs with wild asparagus and various flavourful game dishes. Finish off with 'piñonate' (a sweetmeat of almonds and pine seeds) or the exquisite 'pestinos de almendras' (almond pancakes).
On the coast, tuna is offered in any one of over 1000 different recipes while the 'caldillo de perro' (fish soup) is always delicious. Meals can be complemented by a smooth glass of 'manzanilla' from Sanlucar de Barrameda, perhaps a sherry from Jerez or El Puerto de Santa Maria, or a glass of local wine from Chiclana de la Frontera. The light, white 'Tierra Blanca' is a perfect lunchtime accompaniment.
Jerez hosts its Horse Fair which has been declared of International Touristic interest. In 2013 this takes place between 6th - 13th May. There are over 200 "casetas" full of Jerezanos and visitors alike, wearing traditional short-jacket suits and flamenco dresses, whilst dancing, drinking sherry and eating tapas.
Most Andalucian villages have their own spring fair where the locals dress in short jackets or flamenco dresses and parade around on their beautiful horses. In Vejer de la Frontera this fair takes place 10th - 14th April and in El Colorado, near Conil 30th May - 2nd June.
Each year on Easter Sunday the towns of Vejer and Arcos secure the main streets and release a bull into the main square, which is then joined by the bravest residents. In 2013 this falls on 31st March.
On Midsummer's eve many Spanish coastal towns including Conil and Chiclana de la Frontera burn effigies of people in the media and let off fireworks from the beach. 23rd June 2013.
The city of Jerez celebrates its grape harvest each September, in 2013 this will take place 10th - 15th September. It commences with the crushing of grapes, street theatre, flamenco shows, horse parades and also features tastings, exhibits and markets stalls in the Plaza de Arenal.