Five places in Andalusia that you can’t miss

And some Spanish sayings inspired by Andalusia 

Do you live in Andalusia or have thought about visiting the region to study Spanish or to simply spend a few days on holiday? Well, there are a few places that, without a doubt, you can’t miss. This region is home to countless wonderful places with lots of history and charm, but today we are going to talk about some cities that have brought about the most well-known Spanish sayings inspired by Andalusia, used frequently in everyday Spanish conversations. If as a Spanish student you like learning new expressions in Spanish, you’ve found the perfect article!

Quien se fue a Sevilla perdió su silla

This saying with historical origins (dating back to the reign of Henry IV) continues to be frequently used to this day. It is said to someone who leaves briefly and when they return someone else has taken their seat. Normally it is used in the literal sense of the expression: when someone gets up from their seat and return to find another person has taken their spot. But don’t worry, you will realise that losing your seat is worth it when you visit the Andalusian capital. This city speaks for itself and needs no introduction. Art and beauty cover every street, from the monumental Plaza de España to the Giralda. Losing yourself in the backstreets will truly be a walk of dreams, unless you do it in the summer. The temperatures in the capital can break thermometers; because of this, when it rains in the Sevillian city people say: “la lluvia en Sevilla es una maravilla”, which means “the rain in Seville is a wonder”

dichos españoles inspirados en Andalucía
Photo by Joan Oger on Unsplash

Que salga el sol por Antequera y póngase por donde quiera

This city of just over 40,000 residents is undoubtedly a very important part of Andalusia. However, due to its geographical location it is impossible for the Sun to come out from between the mountains, which is why this expression is ironic. We use it when we want to imply that something doesn’t matter very much to us. Despite the sun not coming out in Antequera, the city doesn’t need it as it shines with its own light. Its historic centre, its Alcazaba and its small squares will leave you speechless, and of course you mustn’t forget to visit what makes it really well known: the Dolmens which are more than 6,500 years old, situated in the magnificent nature reserve of El Torcal. Antequera is a must-see spot for many when they are visiting Málaga, the capital of the province, but be careful when you’re leaving the city, don’t leave Málaga to go to Malagón (“salir de Málaga para meterte en Malagón”), that is to say, don’t leave a bad situation only to find yourself in a worse one. 

Irse por los cerros de Úbeda

This city situated in the province of Jaén has held the title of World Heritage City since 2003, making its place on this list indisputable. In every corner of the city, you are able to appreciate the influence of countless civilisations that have passed through there. And get ready to visit all the churches, basilicas and palaces, there are a lot. But Úbeda is not only known for its historic monuments, but also for one of the most popular Spanish sayings inspired by Andalusia. Originally it tells the story of a knight who was lost in the hills of Úbeda during the reconquest against the Muslims in 1233. Although in its origin this expression was used to say that someone was a coward, it is now used when someone, for one reason or another, strays away from the main topic of a conversation. But hey, we are not going to ‘irnos por los cerros de Úbeda’: just get lost in its streets and squares, you will love them!

Ser como los de Jerez, hasta que no tocan no ven

This saying is used with people who are quite touchy when they are speaking. We don’t know if all the people from Jerez are ‘tocones’  when they talk, but what we do know is that this city of Cadiz will touch your heart. Known as the birthplace of flamenco, it can offer both the tourist and music lover all that they need to find: an unforgettable experience. We recommend visiting the neighbourhoods of Santiago and San Miguel and their many flamenco clubs and dance floors. But the trip doesn’t end here: Jerez de la Frontera also offers one of the best wines in the world, made there in the city. If you like wine and tapas, this is the destination of your dreams. Oh, and don’t forget: “Llevar a Jerez vino es un desatino” (another Spanish saying literally meaning ‘taking wine to Jerez is nonsense’).

Quien tiene un tío en Graná, ni tiene tío ni tiene ná

Or, to rephrase, it is of little worth to show off if you cannot later prove why you are showing off. This saying is a variation of the original which swapped the city of Granada for that of Alcalá, but if you want to fully immerse yourself in the Muslim heritage and walk around the most magical city in Andalusia, take it from me, your destination is in the south. Granada gives us the opportunity to walk on history with every step we take, to lose ourselves in the white backstreets of the famous neighbourhood of Albaicín, and to be able to enjoy an unforgettable sunset from the mirador of San Nicolás: the Alhambra and behind it Sierra Nevada create, undoubtedly, a scene straight out of a film. Well, maybe you don’t have an uncle in Granada, but you don’t need one: this city welcomes you with open arms. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the best tapas are eaten there.

dichos españoles inspirados en Andalucía
Photo by Dimitry B on Unsplash

Did you like these Spanish sayings inspired by Andalusia? Do not hesitate to put them into practice if you want to speak like an authentic Spanish speaker, and get your suitcases ready because these five places want to hear you.

Picture of Manuel Fernández

Manuel Fernández

Student teacher in Entrelenguas
Translated into English by Sophie Gordon

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