Andalusia is in the south of the Iberian peninsula, in south-western Europe, immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha; west of the autonomous community of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea; east of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean; and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. Andalusia is the only European region with both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. The small British overseas territory of Gibraltar shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádiz at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The main mountain ranges of Andalusia are the Sierra Morena and the Baetic System, consisting of the Subbaetic and Penibaetic Mountains, separated by the Intrabaetic Basin. In the north, the Sierra Morena separates Andalusia from the plains of Extremadura and Castile–La Mancha on Spain's Meseta Central. To the south the geographic subregion of Upper Andalusia lies mostly within the Baetic System, while Lower Andalusia is in the Baetic Depression of the valley of the Guadalquivir.
The name "Andalusia" is derived from the Arabic word Al-Andalus (الأندلس). The toponym al-Andalus is first attested by inscriptions on coins minted in 716 by the new Muslim government of Iberia. These coins, called dinars, were inscribed in both Latin and Arabic. The etymology of the name "al-Andalus" has traditionally been derived from the name of the Vandals; however, a number of proposals since the 1980s have challenged this contention. Halm in 1989 derived the name from a Gothic term, *landahlauts, and in 2002, Bossong suggested its derivation from a pre-Roman substrate. The region's history and culture have been influenced by the native Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines, Jews, Romani, Muslim Moors and the Castilian and other Christian North Iberian nationalities who reconquered and settled the area in the latter phases of the Reconquista.
Andalusia has been a traditionally agricultural region, compared to the rest of Spain and the rest of Europe. However, the growth of the community especially in the sectors of industry and services was above average in Spain and higher than many communities in the Eurozone. The region has a rich culture and a strong identity. Many cultural phenomena that are seen internationally as distinctively Spanish are largely or entirely Andalusian in origin. These include flamenco and, to a lesser extent, bullfighting and Hispano-Moorish architectural styles, both of which are also prevalent in other regions of Spain.
Andalusia's hinterland is the hottest area of Europe, with cities like Córdoba and Seville averaging above 36 °C (97 °F) in summer high temperatures. Late evening temperatures can sometimes stay around 35 °C (95 °F) until close to midnight, with daytime highs of over 40 °C (104 °F) common. Seville also has the highest average annual temperature in mainland Spain and mainland Europe (19.2 °C), closely followed by Almería (19.1 °C).
Its present form is derived the Arabic name for Muslim Iberia, "Al-Andalus". However, the etymology of the name "Al-Andalus" is disputed, and the extent of Iberian territory encompassed by the name has changed over the centuries.