European Muslim-Friendly Cities where to spend your next holidays

European Muslim-Friendly Cities where to spend your next holidays

European Muslim-Friendly Cities where to spend your next holidays

Most Muslims worldwide would think twice about travelling to Europe as they feel it’ll be hard to find halal food. But thanks to the presence of the Turks, the Moroccans, and the Algerians in the cities, you’ll easily be able to find halal food all around these cities! Not only that but there are also mosques in certain areas, making it convenient for every Muslim traveller venturing into the city.

1. Berlin

From visiting the largest department store in Europe (KaDeWe) to taking a stroll in the Grunewald forest, Berlin has everything that’ll entertain your wandering heart!

This city pleases everyone from the shopping enthusiasts to the nature lovers, and whatever your personality is, you’ll find this city magnificent nonetheless?  Not to mention that it’s the place where the iconic Berlin Wall is located!

Berlin is also the home of around 300,000 Muslims, which covers 10% of the whole population in the city! You’ll easily find mosques around the city, such as the Berlin Central Mosque, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Moschee, Wilmersdorfer Moschee, İbrahim Al-Khalil Moschee and Büyük Camii?

Berlin Central Mosque

Credit: @2funyaman on Instagram

Berlin also offers more than 60 halal restaurants! If you’re on a tight budget during your trip, you can head down to Rayan Chicken for yummy Turkish food or Maroush for delicate Lebanese food?

2. Hamburg

Just like its sister city, Berlin, Hamburg also offers various tourist attractions ranging from historical places to countless museums and incredible architecture. And hey, it’s a major port city in Northern Germany, and it’s no surprise if you find some cool fish markets and water activities too?

Elbe Filarmoni Salonu, Hamburg

Turkish people are the largest migrant community in the city, and their population is around 93,000. The number of Muslims in the city takes up 200,000 people, and it’s more than 10 per cent of the city’s population. There are more than 20 mosques in the city; some of the popular ones include Islamisches Zentrum and Centrum Moschee, just to name a few!

Islamisches Zentrum

Credit: @zicoalbaiquni on Instagram

For affordable Turkish food, enjoy Turkish barbecue at Restaurant Pamukkale Koz, taste Lebanese delicacies at Békaa Libanesisches Restaurant and Restaurant L’Orient or experience Persian cuisine at Restaurant Teheran! If Middle Eastern cuisine is not to your taste, Jawa Restaurant is also a good choice as it offers authentic Indonesian food?

3. Frankfurt

Say hello to the home of museums, fine arts and breathtaking architectural buildings?  Beautifully located on the River Main, this old imperial city will bring romance back and have a classic sensation when you’re in it! As its city’s skyline is highly influenced by North American culture, it also earns the nicknames Manhattan and Chicago of the Main. If you visit this city, don’t forget to enjoy the Römerberg (Frankfurt’s Old Town Center) to witness the city’s historical buildings. Goethe House and Museum is a good place for those in fine arts, while Senckenberg Natural History Museum offers a wonderful sensation for those who love museums with modern touches!


Credit: Scott Jungling on Flickr

The city comprises around 11.8% of Muslims and is one of the most Muslim-friendly cities in Germany. There are four main mosques in the city and they are: Pak Muhammadi Moschee, Bait-us-Sabuh, İslamische Gemeinde Mevlana and Islamische Gemeinde Rodgau.

Bayram Kebap Haus

Credit: @thecherrycross on Instagram

Although dominated by Turkish cuisines like Bayram Kebap Haus, Doy Doy Restaurant and Ramo’s Grill & Kebap Haus, you can also taste some Persian delicacies at Kish restaurant. You can just as well satisfy your Asian appetite by visiting Thai Fun to enjoy some of the finest Thai delicacies around 😋

4. Munich

Munich is a city that offers you endless tourist attractions such as the landmark Frauenkirche and historical buildings with marvellous architecture in the Altstadt old town. The Tierpark Hellabrunn is the world’s biggest zoo; you definitely don’t want to miss this when you visit this beloved city. If you’re a fan of nature, you’ll definitely be interested in visiting Englischer Garten, a gigantic natural park with iconic swimming holes!


Credit: Sven Wusch on Flickr

Have a taste of Afghan cuisines at Kababji Grill Haus! And if you’re into food fusion, El Sham Restaurant offers you a great treat as they are a combination between Arabian food and German food 😍

If you’re looking for a space to fulfil your prayers, drop by one of the most iconic mosques, Mosque Penzberg, and marvel at the traditional Islamic architecture and simple modern designs of this mosque 🤩

Mosque Penzberg

Credit: Islamic Art and Architecture on Facebook

P.S. Why not explore beyond these popular cities of Germany and check out Tubingen, a city that’s almost entirely vegan! Check it out here to find out more!

5. London

This city is a must-visit, and we’re pretty sure most of you would find it an experience of a lifetime. From iconic Big Ben, spectacular London Eye, majestic Buckingham Palace, Tower of London and historic Westminster Abbey, this city offers you unstoppable beauty that’s to die for!

London is also home to more than one million Muslims 😱 Some mosques you’ll have to visit are The London Central Mosque, East London Mosque, Fazal Mosque and Leyton Mosque. There are also some Islamic centres in the city, such as Deptford Islamic Centre, East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre and The Islamic Cultural Centre. As the city has more than one million Muslim residents, halal food is not an issue. Turkish food, Pakistani food, Indian food or Middle Eastern food, you name it, and London has it!

Credit: Bang-Lish on Facebook

P.S. If you need a guide for your trip to London, we’ve got you covered here!

6. Manchester

This city is the centre of arts, media, and higher education! Castlefield, Museum of Science and İndustry, National Football Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Town Hall all show that Manchester is a crowd-pleaser as it suits all types of travel personalities?

Manchester Townhall

Credit: Stephen on Flickr 

Ning Restaurant

Credit: @thepastimebliss on Instagram

Manchester is one of the most Muslim-friendly cities in England! The diversity in Manchester also showcases the variety of halal food this city has to offer. Ranging from Ethiopian delicacy (Habesha), Mediterranean beauty (Petra, Beirut and Jaffa Restaurant), and takeaways (Caspers UK and Kobeda Place), to even a street filled with many other halal food options (Wilmslow Road), you won’t go hungry! Also, did you know that there are more than 5 mosques in Manchester? 😱

7. Vienna

Vienna is Austria’s capital and the largest city, and it’s absolutely rich with beautiful sights 🥰 The attractions vary from great palaces such as Schloss Schönbrunn, the uniquely enchanting Riesenrad Ferris Wheel, and the mindblowing Hofburg İmperial Palace!


Credit: @binarymeow on Instagram

Some famous halal restaurants that you can check out are Quicky’s (halal burgers), Asala Halal (Mediterranean food), Der Wiener Deewan (Pakistani food) and Sen Grill (Turkish barbeque) 😍

Quicky’s Burger

Credit: @ramicup on Instagram

So, has the presence of these halal eateries enticed you to visit Vienna yet 🤤

8. Barcelona

There are two main reasons to visit Barcelona: You’re either a big fan of its famous football team or want to feel the city’s romance! Either way, you will enjoy immersing yourself in this fascinating city. Barcelona is a pedestrian-friendly city, so it’s great for you to discover the city on foot. A bonus point is that you can stay away from the bustling tourist bus?

Nou Camp Stadium

The main mosque in Barcelona is Mezquita Tariq bin Ziyad, and the two Islamic centres in the city include Centre İslàmic de Barcelona and Minhaj Islamic Center! Bismillah Raval Kebabish (Turkish food), Sabor Persa (İranian cuisine), Lal Qila (Halal Indian food) and Zeeshan Kebabish (Pakistani food) are some of the restaurants you need to check. Restaurant Malaysia offers comforting Asian staples and if you are up for a good steak, El Asador de Aranda is a must-visit.

Sabor Persa

Credit: Sabor Persa on Facebook 

9. Paris

Well, this is one of the most romantic cities people have on their bucket lists. And news flash, it’s also Muslim friendly too. The city is packed with iconic attractions such as Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, the Louvre and Arc the Triomphe. And if you are a fashionista, this city is a dream come true. You can visit some free attractions such as the most haunting spot in Paris, Cimitière du Père Lachaise, or the beautiful waterfront, Canal St-Martin.

Eiffel Tower

Credit: @see.capture.remember on Instagram

For your hunt for halal food in Paris, you can taste some Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delicacies at Le Helem and Chez le Libanais (Lebanese), Les Quatre Frères (Arabian) or Pacha Kebab (Turkish). If you’re up for some fancy dinners, you can check out one of the best French fine dining restaurants at Alcazar 😍

P.S. Check out our 7 Must-Try Muslim-Friendly Restaurants In Paris article here!

10. Brussels

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and also the capital of the European Union. Most people would think about waffles when they hear about this city, and yes, they DO have some of the most delicious waffles in the world!

Credit: @travellensdiary on Instagram

The city is home to beautiful attractions like Grand Place (Grote Markt), Belgian Comic Strip Center, Place Royale (Koningsplein), Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts and Atomium. Known for its beautiful historical buildings, this city will give you unending pleasures, and you would wish that you would be here again soon☺️


Halal food and mosques are things you should not worry about while travelling in Brussels! The city is packed with so many cultures, and you can easily find Arabian halal food (Bab El Hara) and Moroccan delicacy (Le Livre Jaune) and even Ethiopian halal cuisine (Kokob) in the city!

11. Copenhagen

With so many tourist attractions and most of them within walking distance of each other, Copenhagen is a place where you can enjoy the beauty of all sorts of sights! Nyhavn is a must-visit place where you can feel the city’s romance, and marvel at beautiful buildings such as the Christiansborg Palace, Kronborg Castle and Amalienborg Palace!

Once you’re done with that, get ready to bargain at Strøget, as it’s Copenhagen’s largest shopping area 🤩

Strøget, Copenhagen

Credit: Lucky Girl Kris on Flickr

Don’t go hungry on your trip! Halal food can also be found at Al-Diwan, Kebabistan (Turkish cuisine) or Kabab-Ji Grill (Mediterranean Cuisine)!

12. Amsterdam

Whether hopping on your bike or taking a canal cruise, Amsterdam will give you the most memorable journey of your life. You’ll want to visit over and over again as the beautiful city is home to fine arts, museums and beautiful parks?  Not forgetting the countless cafes along the pretty cobbled streets! Don’t miss out on The Rijksmuseum, The Anne Frank Museum, or The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam!

14% of Amsterdam’s population consists of Muslims, showing a high growth level compared to the presence of Muslims in the 1990s! Moskee El-Tawheed Amsterdam, Westermoskee Aya Sofya, and Masjid Al-Karam are some of the most notable mosques in the city. Crystal (Steakhouse and Pizza), Restaurant Riaz (İndonesian food), MOZO (Moroccan cuisine), Daarbaand (Persian delicacy) and Istanbul Plaza Doner Kebab (Turkish food) are some of the highlights of halal cuisines in the city. So now you know you won’t go hungry on your vacation 😉

El Tawheed Mosque

Credit: @hussin_momentomda on Instagram

There you have it! We’ve provided you with 12 Muslim-Friendly European cities in this article, and now, there’s nothing that prevents you from enjoying the beauty of this world. What are you waiting for? Book your tickets and show the world that it’s not hard being a Muslim.

Written by Have Halal Will Travel


Discover why Spanish nature reserves are considered one of the best in Europe

Discover why Spanish nature reserves are considered one of the best in Europe

5 Natural wonders hidden within its borders

Get ready to discover why Spanish nature reserves, are considered among the best destinations in Europe. With 52 UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserves, there is a multitude of diverse ecosystems and rich natural landscapes to enjoy.

1. Irati Forest (Navarre)

The Irati forest is one of Europe’s largest beech and fir woodlands. Crossed by the rivers Zatoya and Andueña, Irati is an immense expanse of green, consisting of 17,000 hectares of almost pristine land. You can see herds of deer. Go hiking. And discover the fabulous legends connected with its valleys: Aezkoa and Salazar.

2. Doñana National Park

Doñana is home to more than 230 species of birds and you might be lucky enough to see breathtaking scenes such as the “pink carpet” that the flamingo colonies create when they feed. In fact, the marshlands are a staging, breeding and wintering site for thousands of European and African birds.
Among the varied landscapes, you’ll be amazed at natural phenomena like the mobile dunes (some over 30 meters high) which move from the beach and bury all the pine groves in their path.

3. Somiedo Natural Park (Asturias)

Somiedo Natural Park is a route through lakes. A biosphere reserve where there are bears, five valleys, and sights to marvel such as the Brañas, vast summer pastures of grassland and water. Explore its 200 kilometres of unspoiled natural scenery at your leisure.

4. Bardenas Reales Natural Park(Navarre)

An ideal destination for film lovers, the desert-like landscape of Bardenas has featured in iconic series like Game of Thrones. Take off on foot or by bike, and unwind among the sands, plateaus and ravines of another galaxy.

5.  As Catedrais beach (Galicia)

It’s only when the tide is out that you can wander among the impressive arches and caves on the seashore. The clear waters of the sea are divided by strands of white sand. You’ll never forget this imposing natural monument.

The Top 6 Reasons to Visit Spain

The Top 6 Reasons to Visit Spain

The Top 6 Reasons to Visit Spain

By Halal Trip | 23, Dec, 2016

Among all the hot travel destinations in the world, Spain manages to come off right at the top because it is packed with splendid answers to ‘Why travel to Spain’. There are so many must-visit places in Spain and enjoyable things to do that once you arrive in the country you will feel you want to extend your holiday, just to experience more. For those of you who are still unsure whether visiting Spain is the best holiday option for you, here are some top reasons to visit Spain listed by HalalTrip.

1) Warm Weather – Great for Travel!

When you are thinking of why travel to Spain, you should consider whether the weather would be at its best for you to have the best vacation experience. The beauty of this country is that no matter what season it is, you would find that it is the best time to travel to Spain. In general the seasons of spring and fall are not very hot and would allow you to travel to most of the top attractions in Spainwith ease. Summer tends to get slightly warm but is great for those who love the sun.

2) A Winter Wonderland

Travelling during winter would be great if you want to avoid large crowds. Also it is good to note that the South of the country is found to have less extreme cold weather during winter.You would also be able to get great off-season travel deals since most tourists do not travel during this time of the year. You can even engage in fun activities like skiing in the mountain ranges which is one of the bestthings to do in Spain, and of course enjoy the beauty of Christmas décor that adorn the streets.

3) Architectural Masterpieces

If you try to find why is Spain a popular travel destinationthe architectural wonders located all over the country come off at the top of the list. From awe inspiring cathedrals featuring the works of famed artists such as Gaudithese sites will give you enough of reasons to visit Spain. Try to include visits to the La SagradaFamilia and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela to your itinerary.

4) Great Mosques – Witness their Magnificent Splendor

Among all of the mosques in Spain, The Great Mosque of Cordoba should be a must-visit location for every traveler. Having a history dating back over thousands of years, this mosque has even been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other mosques which thrive on rich history and unmatched architectural splendor are the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, Almonaster Mosque and the mosque within the fortress of Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera.

5) Spanish Cuisine – The Most Coveted in the World

The Muslim traveler would be much pleased by the great options of Halal food in Spain. Owing to the significantly higher number of Muslims in Spainyou will find many stylish eateries producing great Halal dishes for you to enjoy. Also there are ample choices of vegetarian dishes which are equally exquisite in taste.

6) Unmatched Natural Beauty

Travelers from around the world find many reasons as to why go to Spain on holiday. Among these is the natural beauty of the island. With mesmerizing sites such as mountain ranges, LagoMartianezWater Park, beautiful Atlantic beaches and hidden beaches like Calas, your vacation in Spain will make you feel like you are in paradise.

If you are planning to travel to Spain, HalalTrip offers useful information for Muslim travelers on where to find facilities such as mosques and Halal food. 

The Ummayad dynasty in al-Andalus

Reign of the Andalusian Umayyads
ʿAbd al-Rahman I

The ascent of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān assured the survival of Muslim power in Spain. Confronted by the intrigues of the ʿAbbāsids, by the jealousy of the earlier Muslim settlers, who opposed his appointments, and by the uncertain situation on the Frankish frontier, he nevertheless succeeded in establishing himself in Córdoba, setting up an Umayyad administration, and introducing the elements of Syrian culture into Al-Andalus. Supported by his standing mercenary army, he temporarily repressed the rivalries of the Arab aristocracy. In 763 he defended his territories against an invasion organized by al-Manṣūr, the ʿAbbāsid caliph of Baghdad. After defeating the ʿAbbāsid force, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān executed its leaders and sent their preserved heads to Baghdad as a gesture of defiance. The ʿAbbāsids were subsequently unable to effectively intervene in Spain and never succeeded in recovering northwest Africa.

Abd al-Raḥmān introduced internal reforms to Al-Andalus, which included the formation of a council of state, the reorganization of the judiciary under a senior qadi (judge), and the division of Spain into six military provinces. His embellishment of Córdoba included the construction of a spectacular mosque, schools, and hospitals, and he was noted for his clemency toward Spain’s Christian population. The Frankish annexation of Narbonne and of the hitherto independent duchy of Aquitaine further weakened the Pyrenean frontier, and, when a dissident governor of Zaragoza appealed to the Franks, their king, Charlemagne, invaded Spain, only to find the gates of Zaragoza shut against him. He was defeated by a combination of Basques and Muslims as he retreated through the Pyrenees at Roncesvalles (778).

After this failure, Charlemagne realized that he could not win Spanish support for his designs without the favour of the Spanish church. He intervened in the adoptionist controversy in order to discredit the metropolitan of Toledo and to separate the church of the small independent kingdom of Asturias. He succeeded in undermining the authority of Toledo, and the creation of the kingdom of Toulouse enabled his frontiersmen to conquer Barcelona (801), which was placed under a Gothic governor. The imperialism of the Franks soon led to a revival of localist sentiment, however, and, after Charlemagne’s death in 814, the Basques and other Pyrenean peoples broke away from Frankish rule. In the Asturias, the peace with the Muslims had ended as the authority of Toledo was rejected, and armies from Córdoba advancing up the Ebro began to raid Álava and Castile. The young Alfonso II withstood these attacks for 10 years, until a succession crisis in the emirate of Córdoba gave him some respite.

Challenges to the Umayyad emirate

ʿAbd al-Raḥmān had designated his second son, Hishām I (788–796), to follow him, but this was challenged by his elder son, Sulaiman, governor of Toledo. The standoff was resolved when Sulaiman accepted a pension in Africa. Hisham was succeeded by his young son al-Ḥakam I (796–822), but again the succession was disputed. The rebellion of Toledo, savagely repressed by the murder of many of the Gothic inhabitants, obliged the emir to engage large numbers of professional soldiers, often Slavs or Berbers, and to levy new taxation to support them. When the population of Córdoba rebelled, the uprising was put down with great bloodshed, and the suburb of Secunda was razed.

Under ʿAbd al-Raḥmān II (822–852), the urban rebellions were stilled, as the Muslim garrisons protected themselves in inner fortresses. Frankish pressure, after the fall of Barcelona and Tarragona, was relaxed, and the Muslims left the northeast to the mawālī Banū Qāsī family, whose influence was for a time so great that they were called the “Third Kings of Spain.” The court of Córdoba, now prosperous, cultivated Arabic literature and the refinements of Eastern life. The tranquility of Al-Andalus was shaken in 844 when the Norsemen sailed down the Atlantic seaboard and forced their way into the Guadalquivir, raiding Sevilla.

In the north, Alfonso II’s small Asturian kingdom had allied itself with its Basque neighbours and repopulated the frontier of Castile. It occupied the new capital of Oviedo and attracted the bishops of Galicia, where the discovery of the supposed tomb of St. James at Padrón had turned the nearby town of Santiago de Compostela into a significant Christian religious centre.

In the south, the Christians of Córdoba, now obliged to use Arabic or be excluded from the business of the state, again became restless. When ʿAbd al-Raḥmān II was succeeded by his son Mohammed I (852–886), some of these Mozarabs (Spanish Christians who retained their faith but adopted the Arabic language) protested by seeking out martyrdom. This movement, led by Eulogius (died 859), ultimately collapsed, and many Christians subequently converted to Islam. Finding themselves still discriminated against, they joined the great rebellion of the crypto-Christian chief ʿUmar ibn Ḥafṣūn, which raged from 880 until 928. ʿUmar’s rebellion grew under a pair of weak emirs—al-Mundhir (886–888) and ʿAbd Allāh (888–912)—and for a moment ʿUmar threatened Córdoba itself.

ʿUmar’s contemporary, Alfonso III (866–910), king of Asturias, supported the cult of St. James at Santiago de Compostela in an effort to energize his Christian kingdom. He authorized Vimara Peres to set up the county of Portugal, and claimed that his goal was the restoration of the Visigothic monarchy in Spain. Alfonso styled himself as emperor, but his aspirations were quashed when he was deposed by his sons, and his dream of a reborn Visigothic kingdom died with ʿUmar. Instead, the new ruler of Córdoba, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III (912–961), outplayed the Christians with a shrewd combination of diplomacy and aggression.

The Golden Age of Muslim Spain

Abd al-Raḥmān III would prove to be the greatest of the Spanish Umayyad rulers. His grandfather was the emir ʿAbd Allāh, and his father, Muhammad, was assassinated when ʿAbd al-Raḥmān was still an infant. Gifted with charm and a keen intellect, the young prince quickly became ʿAbd Allāh’s favourite, and he was selected as the emir’s heir apparent over a number of other contenders. ʿAbd Allāh died in October 912, and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ascended the throne when he was just 21 years old. He would govern Muslim Spain for nearly half a century. The first 10 years of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III’s reign were spent in restoring central authority, the rest in defending his northern borders against the inroads of the Leonese and in stemming the westward advance in North Africa of the Fāṭimids. Almost from the moment he assumed the throne, he campaigned against ʿUmar, reducing the warlord’s sphere of influence and capturing his strongholds. ʿUmar died in 917, and, although his sons resumed their allegiance to the rulers of Córdoba, the rebel fortress of Bobastro would not fall until 928. In 929 ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III declared himself caliph, and under his rule Córdoba grew to become the largest and most cultured city of Europe. The seat of Europe’s first academy of medicine and a centre for geographers, architects, craftsmen, artists, and scholars of every kind, Córdoba rivaled for a brief period the splendour of Harun al-Rashid’s Baghdad. He also built the opulent royal city of Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ (Medina Azahara) some 5 miles (8 km) west of Córdoba. The city was abandoned after the unrest that consumed the Umayyad caliphate in 1009, and the ruins of Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ would remain undiscovered until the early 20th century. In 2018 Madīnat al-Zahrāʾ was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site as an outstanding example of the arts and architecture of Muslim Spain.

For a time ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III’s navy mastered the western Mediterranean, and he maintained diplomatic relations with the Byzantine emperor and with the princes of southern Europe. He also dominated northwest Africa, which supplied him with Berber troops. These forces would prove vital for his struggle against the Christian kings of Leon and Navarre. The Leonese had tested ʿAbd al-Raḥmān in the first year of his reign by driving deep into Umayyad territory and slaughtering the Muslim population of Talavera de la Reina. Beginning in 920, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān led a series of campaigns that culminated in the sacking of the Navarrese capital at Pamplona in 924. This brought a period of stability to the Christian frontier, but the ascent of Ramiro II to the Leonese throne in 932 ushered in an era of renewed hostility. Skirmishes along the frontier led to a clash at Simancas in 939, where the Muslims were soundly beaten and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān himself narrowly escaped death. A growing Castilian separatist movement within his own domains rendered Ramiro unable to capitalize on this victory, however, and he negotiated a five-year truce with the caliphate in 944.

After Ramiro’s death in 950, the Christian kingdoms descended into civil war, and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān was quick to recover that which had been lost. By the end of the decade, Muslim domination of Spain was virtually complete. The king of Navarre, Garcia Sánchez, was ʿAbd al-Raḥmān’s cousin, and he owed his throne to the caliph’s support. Sancho I, the king of Leon, was deposed by his own nobles but regained the crown in 960 entirely as a result of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān’s intervention. By the time of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān’s death in 961, the Christian kingdoms had been thoroughly subjugated. Ambassadors from Leon, Navarre, Barcelona, and Castile all traveled to Cordóba to pledge homage and pay tribute to the caliph.

The decline of the Spanish Umayyads

ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III was succeeded by his son, al-Ḥakam II (961–976), a lover of learning who gave protection to writers and thinkers who were not strictly orthodox. During his largely peaceful reign, the library of Cordóba boasted a collection of more than 400,000 books. Al-Ḥakam came to the throne relatively late in life, and his heir, Hishām II (976–1013), succeeded him at age 12. The young caliph would spend his reign as a puppet; his mother had supported the rise of Abū ʿĀmir al-Manṣūr (Almanzor), a courtier who could trace his descent to the initial Muslim conquest. Manṣūr possessed keen political instincts and, with skill, tact, and efficiency, came to establish himself as the de facto ruler of the caliphate. With his father-in-law, the general Ghālib, he overthrew the previous ḥajib (chief minister) in 978. A rupture with Ghālib led to the latter’s defeat and death in battle in 981, and that year Manṣūr adopted the honorific al-Manṣūr bi-Allāh (“Made Victorious by God”).

Manṣūr gave the African territories local independence under Umayyad suzerainty, maintaining the caliphate’s influence in the Maghreb while reducing the drain on his own treasury. He introduced military reforms that professionalized the army, and he recruited a new cadre of skilled Berber troops. Manṣūr showed no hesitation about using this force, and he carried out dozens of punishing campaigns against the Christian states of northern Spain. He sacked the capitals of virtually every Christian kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula, and in 997 he razed Santiago de Compostela. Although Hishām II retained the nominal title of caliph, in 994 Manṣūr began to style himself as al-Malik al-Karīm (“Noble King”) as a reflection of the power he wielded. He died at Medinaceli on August 10, 1002, while returning from a campaign.

Manṣūr’s eldest son, ʿAbd al-Malik al-Muẓaffar, continued the so-called ʿĀmirid dictatorship, ruling for six years before his premature death in 1008. His younger brother, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Sanchuelo, lacked the political skill to operate the delicate machinery that his father had constructed. He lost control of the Berber generals and angered the Arab aristocracy by having himself proclaimed successor to the caliph. In 1009 a revolution in Cordóba led to the deposition of Hishām II and murder of Sanchuelo. No Umayyad could control the Berbers, who sacked the capital and began to demand land in Al-Andalus. The uprising would usher in some 20 years of unrest.

In 1016 the Ḥammūdids of Ceuta intervened and set up their own caliphate but spent nearly a decade fighting among themselves. Finally, in November 1031 the leading families of Cordóba abolished the caliphate and declared a republic. The provinces of Al-Andalus became independent taifas (principalities) whose rulers pretended to be ḥajibs of a no-longer existent caliphate.

Follow the trace of Al-Andalus Legacy in these routes through Spain

Follow the trace of Al-Andalus Legacy in these routes through Spain

Our suggested route explores the heritage, history and culture of al-Andalus, the Islamic Andalusia of the 8th to 15th centuries. Follow these routes to marvel at unique sites like the Alhambra in Granada and the Great Mosque of Cordoba, and visit charming villages far from the usual tourist circuits.

Below, we present four of the routes that make up the Routes of the Al-Andalus Legacy, which are recognized as certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.


The easiest way to follow them is by car. You can also use public transport as there are bus lines that link the different locations along the route. The mild climate of Andalusia means that you can enjoy the trip at any time of year. Spring is, perhaps, the most recommendable time, although each season offers its specific advantages for this experience.

The Route of the Caliphate


This route is an adventure of the spirit: from Cordoba to Granada, two turning points in history, two unrepeatable moments, two golden centuries.

Cordoba, the zenith, the dazzling light that made the other cities of the West pale in comparison. Granada, the decadent refinement of a whole civilisation on the brink of destruction. And in between, the castles, the cities that began as staging posts or milestones of a turbulent rugged exchange, and then camps and bases to besiege Granada. This route passes through 24 municipalities and is more than just a history lesson. It is also a pleasure for the senses.

Route of the Nasrids


This route takes you deep into the history of the ancient kingdom of Granada which was ruled by the Nasrid dynasty from the 13th to the 15th centuries.

The remains of fortifications and castles located along the route recall the territorial struggles between Muslims and Christians that took place in the area. It starts in the town of Navas de Tolosa, passes through cities such as Úbeda, Baeza and Jaén, and ends in Granada. The route passes through 27 towns, as well as beautiful natural areas such as Sierra Morena, Sierra Magina and the Sierra de Cazorla y Segura.

The Washington Irving Route


This route follows the 1829 journey of the American Romantic writer Washington Irving, who was fascinated by the richness and exoticism of the Hispanic-Muslim civilization.

The route runs between Seville and Granada, the two obligatory stops on the Romantic journey that popularised the image of Andalusia in Europe, attracting a multitude of artists, writers, sightseers and all kinds of travellers. The route runs along the main trading route between the southern Christian territories and the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. It unites the capitals of the two traditional regions of Lower and Upper Andalusia; two plains, the Campiña and the Vega, and 23 municipalities with an extraordinary wealth of landscapes and heritage, places, towns and cities rich in historical, legendary and literary allusion.

Route of the Almoravids and Almohads


From the 11th to the 13th century, the Almoravids and Almohads ruled over the territory of Al-Andalus.

Through this route you will discover its architectural heritage, mainly castles and defensive elements. It spans 400 kilometres from the city of Tarifa and, along two branches, reaching Granada, passing through various towns inland and along the coast of Malaga and Cadiz. Jerez de la Frontera and Ronda are just two of the 29 towns you will visit during the journey.

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