Hidden Treasures of Andalucía

While traveling through southern Spain, you’ll be met with an abundance of historical monuments, olive groves and sunshine. There are small villages scattered throughout Andalucía that are ideal for immersing yourself in the country’s rich history and culture. Here are some of our favorite southern towns:

Just 30 minutes outside of Sevilla lies the town of Carmona, which is built on a ridge overlooking the central plain of Andalucía. From churches to palaces and city walls, every corner of this city contains traces of its past. The Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro is an imposing Arab fortress that has been converted into a Parador hotel. It’s worth a stop inside to see the fortress from above and enjoy the city views. The Alcázar de la Puerta de Sevilla is a palace with Roman and Arab structures and don’t miss the tombs and mausoleum of the city’s preserved Roman Necropolis going back to ancient times.

Check out the town of Écija surrounded by olive groves and nicknamed the “city of towers” for its numerous towers, steeples, and churches that rise above the rooves. The 18th C church of Santa María was built upon an old Mudejar temple, while the 17th C Descalzos Church is baroque style with outstanding ornamentation. Notably, the Jewish population of Écija suffered an antisemitic revolt initiated after the assault on the jewry of Seville in June 1391, that spread across Andalusia and much of the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, don’t miss the convent of Santa Florentina, the oldest convent in town where the nuns make delicious pastries. Bring cash if you’d like to try some!

The town of Lucena is known for its outstanding Jewish history since much of the population was Jewish from the 9th – 12th centuries. One of the most important archaeological finds here is the ancient Jewish necropolis, discovered in 2006, with more than 350 tombs all facing toward Jerusalem estimated to be from the same period. Make sure to see the Palace of the Counts of Santa Ana, a manor house that belonged to an illustrious local family. Its gorgeous details include the façade with Baroque columns, two arcaded courtyards, and a Baroque staircase decorated with 18th century tiles. The Gothic-Renaissance Church of San Mateo was built in place of the old synagogue and has one of the most beautiful Baroque sacrariums in Andalucía.

Finally, the history found in Antequera is unlike any other. A giant stone arch welcomes you into the historic center full of convents, palaces, and churches. The town is most known for its ancient burial mounds dating from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age. These archaeological dolmens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered some of the finest examples of European megalithic construction- must see! Also visit the Alcazaba, an old Moorish fortress, and admire the dramatic limestone tower rock formations in the surrounding nature preserve of Torcal de Antequera.

Contact the Valesa team to plan your tailored journey through Spanish history all over Andalucia and Spain.