Andalusia is magic. It lives and breathes art and the sun never stops shining on its whitewashed houses. Andalusia astonishes with every step you take. Its Moorish influences can be seen in all its most famous buildings: Granada’s Alhambra, the Alcázar of Seville and Malaga’s Alcazaba are just some of the architectural gems that will remain imprinted on your memory for life.
As the Sevillana song by Amigos de Gines says, “To be born in Seville. To die in Granada. (…) The love of my loves, what I want most in life and this is my land, gentlemen, and its name is Andalusia.” This region is the birthplace of flamenco, an inspiration for countless artists. The light never dims until the sun sets and this is reflected in the smiles and kindness of its people. Getting lost in the narrow alleys of the historic quarter of Santa Cruz in Seville, visiting Pablo Picasso’s birthplace or the Pompidou Centre in Malaga (that’s right, it’s not just in France) and enjoying the tapas bars in the centre of Granada are some of our tips for making your trip to Andalusia a truly authentic experience.
Here are some suggestions for films, books and music to help you discover more about Andalusia and fill you with inspiration.
Summer Rain (El camino de los ingleses)
Directed and produced by Antonio Banderas, this 2006 film was shot entirely in Malaga, the filmmaker and actor’s birthplace. Throughout the film, there are shots of the city and famous locations such as Calle Granada, with the famous bar El Pimpi as a bonus, Calle Mármoles and Plaza de la Merced. It is based on the novel of the same name by author Antonio Soler from Malaga. The film received two nominations for the Goya Awards, Spain’s top film honours.
“A passionate offering (…) it possesses a beauty, strength and emotional weight that is simply overwhelming. And it is uncompromising in its acceptance that you get it or you don’t, you love it or you’re just out of the picture. (…) Rating: ???? (out of 5).” M. Torreiro, Fotogramas.
“A brave, anxious, visceral film with a director who goes all out (…) an emotive film with an almost suicidal zeal.” Miguel Ángel Palomo, El País.
Marshland (La isla mínima)
Marshland is a Spanish thriller directed by Alberto Rodríguez and released in 2014. The film was a hit with critics and in the box-office and won ten Goya Awards. Raúl Arévalo and Javier Gutiérrez star in the film. They are two of the most renowned actors in today’s Spanish film industry. Shot on the marshes of the Guadalquivir River, the rice fields and the river itself are the perfect backdrop for the recreation of an unsolved crime that took place in the 1980’s. A location that is very close to Doñana National Park, a natural space frequented by hikers and cyclists.
“A huge, immense film. True to life, but at the same time, a work of intelligence. Revealing but subtle, the director respects his viewer.” M. Torreiro, Fotogramas.
“This superbly crafted, richly textured thriller is one of the strongest Spanish films of the year. (…) noirishly tense on different levels” Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter
La tesis de Nancy by Ramón J. Sender
A magnificent novel full of humour, in which an American student discovers Andalusia while at university in the 1960’s.
“In La tesis de Nancy, Ramón J. Sender takes a critical look at the Spain of the 60’s through the eyes of an astonished American student. It reflects both the tradition and modernity of a country that was timidly opening itself up to the developed world but still bore the deep traces of centuries of Costumbrismo, sometimes proud, but often burdensome. This history is difficult to come to terms with, interpret and understand, not only for an enthusiastic traveller like Nancy, but also for many Spanish people like Sender, for whom the vicissitudes of their lives and nation led to forced or voluntary exile.” Goodreads.com
Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
Written by Washington Irving, an American diplomat, historian and traveller who lived in the Alhambra itself for some time. The book, first published in 1832, was immediately translated into several languages and attracted people from all over the world to visit Granada. Having heard stories and legends during his stay in Granada, the author dedicated himself to transcribing them, creating a book which has become a great classic, full of historical accounts, stories and descriptions.
Remember that if you want to discover southern Spain’s most popular music, with local artists only, you can listen to our Spotify playlist. Don’t miss out!