View of Moclín, Granada and its Arab castle

Explore the past and present of Andalusia with the Route of the Caliphate


Hillside castles and fortified towns invite you to travel back in time to Al-Ándalus. In the Middle Ages, Muslims followed a route that took them from Granada to Cordoba, which has now been classed as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. This is known as the Route of the Caliphate and you can follow it to explore the history of Andalusia.

Various battles between Muslims and Christians took place in this area of Spain, the site of ancient cultures and current traditions that date back 10 centuries. Over 200 kilometres long, it is one of the best locations to visit in Andalusia and a destination that is suitable for all ages.These are some of the places and historical facts that can be discovered along this journey through Andalusia:-Heritage buildings: in the province of Granada you will find the Arab bridge in Pinos Puente and the Nasrid castle of Moclín. Córdoba is home to the Luque fortress, the Lucena and Priego castles in Córdoba and the Muslim street pattern of Baena’s old town centre. In Jaén you will discover La Mota Castle in Alcalá la Real.Arab-influenced cuisine: some local recipes originate from Muslim culture. Albóndigas (meatballs), migas (fried breadcrumbs) and arroz con leche (rice pudding) are all dishes that can be enjoyed now just as they were by the caliphs 1000 years ago.  

Top left: Rice pudding with dates © Parador de Carmona. Top right: Nasrid boxes, Arab crafts in Granada. Below: Castle of Priego de Córdoba © Ayuntamiento de Priego de Córdoba

Traditional crafts: artisanal clay modelling is still practised in several of the towns along the Route of the Caliphate, a legacy of Arab culture. Many Spanish words, such as aceite (oil) and escabeche (pickle) were inherited from this civilisation.The Route of the Caliphate can be completed with a hiking excursion. So if taking this route through Andalusia, it’s a good idea to bring sturdy footwear and walk through the Sierras Subbéticas. And as you do so, you will be following in the footsteps of history.

Bailon viewing point in Zuheros, Sierra Subbética.