Ever wonder how to make the most of your South of Spain adventures? Well, then an Andalucia Road Trip could be everything you are looking for.
Just back from our 1st proper trip this year (#AndaluciaRoadTrip), we want to share with you our Andalucia driving itinerary and all we learned as we road tripped our way across Andalucia main hotspots during 7 days. So here you have it: Our 1 week Andalusia road trip itinerary and guide, along with a few other tips that will help you craft a memorable time in this region.
- 1 Week Andalucia Road Trip Itinerary
- Do you have 2 weeks to spend in Andalucia?
- What to do in Andalucia if you have 1 month?
- Andalucia Road Trip Tips For a Successful Experience
- More Road Trip Inspiration and Articles on Spain Travel?
1 Week Andalucia Road Trip Itinerary
Whether you have just a week or want to take things slower, this 1 week Andalusia road trip itinerary is a great one to start with as it crosses 4 of the region’s 8 provinces: Malaga, Cadiz, Sevilla, and Granada.
We took Malaga as the starting and ending points as our flights arrived and departed from there but any other Andalucia city served by a decent airport would do for that matter.
That said, Malaga is also a great choice because low-cost airlines like Ryanair – the one we used scoring a couple of return tickets for €32 each – have many flights from lots of European destinations. That would be the case of Jerez and Sevilla too.
Given that this is a round road trip, and you will complete a circle by the end after driving almost 1000km, you could really start at any other stop. Other great starting points would be Malaga, Jerez, Sevilla, and Granada.
Here’s a map of the proposed itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival to Malaga
You have made it! Welcome to Malaga and, therefore, welcome to Andalucia. One of the warmest – in weather and locals – regions in Spain and one of the most visited ones too (along with Barcelona, Madrid, and the Canary Islands).
✈ Malaga’s airport is barely 8km away from central Malaga and the place where this Andalucia road trip itinerary starts.
?After picking up your car, we would suggest you head to Gibralfaro, just a 20 min ride from the airport, where you will be able to enjoy the best views overlooking Malaga city.
?From there, down the mountain to the city center to have a first approach to the Andalusian way of life, take some tapas surrounded by cheerful locals and visit some of the architectural wonders of the city, including the cathedral.
⚡ If you get just a bit lucky, you could also enjoy some of the celebrations that regularly happen in Malaga.
Take for instance, what happened to me in 2008 when a couple of friends and me arrived right in time for the feria (the city’s main festivity, in August) and our tranquil trip transformed into an endless party. Or, what we saw a couple of weeks back in the main street: a giant dome of lights covering the whole strip. Quite a background for your selfies!
☾ Malaga is a pretty big city and as such, parking is not its greatest point. That, plus your freedom to sleep wherever you want to thanks to your car, would make us recommend you head somewhere else nearby to rest your head. Torremolinos and Benalmadena, although not the prettiest, are literally packed with hotels and apartments which make them a great budget option for those with a car (you!).
We just went for the first one and booked a basic €25 double room in Torremolinos.
Day 2: From Torremolinos to Tarifa
Here’s when things start to get interesting. Your second day on the road, but the first you will be checking spot after spot for as long as the daylight allows you too.
After leaving your hotel, Airbnb – $30 Airbnb discount – or place where you spent the 1st night, skip the autopista – toll highway – and choose the autovía instead. Also fast, you will be able to stop when you want and will avoid any extra toll charges.
? Located on the Costa del Sol – Sun Coast –, 30 km Southwest of the provincial capital, Mijas Pueblo was mainly engaged in agriculture and fisheries until the tourist boom in the 50s. Today is one of Andalusia’s main hubs of residential tourism.
⚡ While you are there, explore on foot its narrow cobblestone streets and get amazed to the burro taxis – donkey taxis -. If you too are extra sensitive with them, there’s a donkey sculpture you can ‘ride’ without hurting a soul (pictured below).
Once you are hungry enough, head to the main square for a quick, filling and cheap lunch (full menu including a starter, main dish, dessert, tap water, and bread basket from €8).
You might have heard about this town’s corruption and impressive construction boom from the late 80s until the great depression the real state industry experienced when the bubble burst in 2007. Well, if we were to find this reality’s epicenter, this would be Marbella.
⚡ Still, the city has a few interesting spots that deserve a quick stop and will give you some nice Andalucia images. One of them, our favorite, would be the pier by Marbella club.
Quick note: We did not have time to jump the border and actually step into this UK’s territory but we did admire its natural beauty from a distance.
? Before reaching the Southernmost tip of Spain, take a detour to ‘El Higuerón‘ viewpoint to overlook Gibraltar.
⚡ Bonus points if your visit aligns with sunset time.
? This would be 2nd day’s last stop as this windy town by Gibraltar’s Trait, and facing Africa, is the perfect spot to spend the night. Quiet unless your visit in high season (from Easter to Fall, but mostly Summer), its narrow and labyrinthine alleys designed to cut the wind lashing the coast, and its trendy bars will leave you in love.
⚡ Go for some tapas and beers before crashing. You want to save some energy for tomorrow, yet another awesome day.
☾ The amount of diverse accommodation offered in Tarifa is pretty mind-blowing. From hostels to boutique hotels and pensions, this small town has turned to tourism with all its heart.
Pictured here, myself having breakfast at our very own – and hyper cozy – rooftop terrace at one of Tarifa’s most central hostels, called Correos. Doubles from €30.
Day 3: From Tarifa to Cadiz
⚡ Before leaving Tarifa for good, get some sunbeams while walking one last time its historic center.
? A 5 min drive from Tarifa, its main – and quite long – beach will make you stop as the road passes just a couple hundred meters away from the sea. Once a windsurfing paradise, today Valdevaqueros is the main kitesurfing hub in the country along with some of the Canary Islands and the next stop of this Andalusian road trip.
But whether it is windy or just the calmest day ever, the beach is worth some time to get close and personal with its pale yellow fine sand and unique atmosphere, where vans roam for days or weeks in low season enjoying a quiet life by the sea.
? Again a stone’s throw from the previous stop, Punta Paloma is a unique dune area overlooking Tarifa and Valdevaqueros beach that could leave you speechless. As you approach, the road begins to be taken by the sand, in what could seem a beautiful post-apocalyptic scene in the bright Andalusian sun.
⚡ There was a fashion photo shoot taking place when we visited Punta Paloma. Indeed, it is a great place to take some stunning pictures, so get your camera ready!
VEJER DE LA FRONTERA
? Like Mijas, Vejer de la Frontera is a village on the slope of a mountain with a wonderful view of the town itself and its lush surroundings.
To be honest, we stopped at Vejer because lunchtime was approaching and we thought it could be a great place to eat. But truth is that we didn’t find a restaurant for that purpose, instead what we did is discover a picturesque village.
? On your way back to the coastal road, you will find a few local restaurants. Stopping wherever the parking lot is pretty busy (especially filled with trucks) is always a great idea.
Barbate is situated at the mouth of the River Barbate, some 11 kilometers along the coast to the east of Cape Trafalgar, our next stop. Very popular in Summer among Spanish tourists, it has a long history of fishing stretching back to Roman times.
The town does not have the charm of many older settlements but it is well designed and has an attractive central square, called Plaza de la Inmaculada (like me!).
⚡ What we would really suggest you is to drive through it along the coast and reach one of the nearby beaches, where from to admire the upcoming highlight: Trafalgar Cape’s lighthouse! A highlight indeed on this Southern Spain itinerary.
⚡ Roads are windy as the lighthouse comes closer and they are some of the most beautiful we have seen in a long time too, with dense forests in both sides of the road that continue as far as the eye can see.
TRAFALGAR CAPE LIGHTHOUSE
? Historic place as few are because the 1805 naval Battle of Trafalgar, in which the Royal Navy decisively defeated Napoleon’s fleet, took place off the cape.
⚡ It is also one of the nicest places from where to watch sunset between Tarifa and Cadiz.
PUERTO DE SANTA MARIA
? Best known for having been the port from which Columbus sailed on his 2nd trip to the Americas, El Puerto de Santa Maria is a city on the outskirts of Cadiz.
☾ Like we did on the 1st night in Malaga, this one resulted in the perfect spot to spend the night. Easy to reach at night, with plenty of free parking spots available and low rates. We paid €30 for a double room with breakfast included.
Day 4: From Cadiz to Sevilla
? Ever since I visited Cadiz during that aforementioned 2008 trip with a couple of my girlfriends, I was drawn to go back to Cadiz.
Situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea‚ Cádiz is a typically Andalusian city with a wealth of attractive vistas and well-preserved historical landmarks. It is also the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in western Europe. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss in Cadiz.
⚡ Its Old Town, within the remains of the city walls and mainly surrounded by the sea.
⚡ The cathedral square, its interiors and rooftop views from the bells tower.
⚡ The Castle of San Sebastián, a fortress at the end of La Caleta beach on a small island separated from the main city, another gem on this Andalucia trip.
? Now here’s a pretty town on your way North to Sevilla you should definitely check out. We tried to skip it as we were planning to meet some friends for dinner BUT Jerez definitely wanted us to stop and have a look. So fate made us have a flat tire on our way North and our insurance’s technical service took us to Jerez, where our tire was fixed in the blink of an eye. Next time, Jerez, you don’t have to try that hard! We will properly visit you. Promised.
? This city, often seen as Andalucia’s finest, is definitely one of the highlights of this Andalucia Road Trip. And as such, it deserves at least 2 days (in reality, a day and a half) of your time in the region.
Its sights are never-ending, but you will have time to explore them tomorrow. For now, go for tapas and chill as the night comes at any of the city center’s busy squares.
⚡ Sevilla’s bars and bodegas (wine houses or cellars), contrary to Granada’s – where tapas often come for free along with your drink – sell their tapas but their menu is usually diverse, extensive and a fair portrayal of Andalusian cuisine.
Day 5: Sevilla
Now before even stepping out of your hotel, be aware today there’s no car supporting you. Sevilla is better seen and experienced on foot and therefore, if you are ok with that, you will likely walk a lot today.
Instead of analyzing every one of the Sevilla highlights we recommend you to visit in an overdone and boring travel guide style, we’ll leave you with our visual memories of those places. It is up to you to choose them or not but be aware they were our 1st choice for a reason.
⚡ PLAZA DE ESPAÑA
⚡ METROPOL PARASOL (Las Setas de Sevilla)
⚡ THE CATHEDRAL AND ITS GIRALDA TOWER
⚡ ST. CRUZ NEIGHBORHOOD
⚡ SEVILLA’S CITY CENTRE
⚡ AIRE ARAB BATHS
Day 6: From Sevilla to Granada
Slowly approaching the end of the trip, the 6th day of this Andalucia road trip will be a one where you will drive from 3 to 5 hours depending on how many stops you want to take along the way.
?Our first suggestion is that you break the driving time in two the least and, again like we mentioned when we were in Malaga (day 2), take the secondary road and skip the toll highway. Ronda is pretty much in between Sevilla and Granada and makes it for the perfect place to stop, stretch your legs, have some lunch at one of its endless restaurants overlooking the valley and continue your journey towards the East.
⚡ Do take the dust off your hiking shoes and venture through the many trails surrounding the town. Many picture perfect spots await.
CAMINITO DEL REY
? Ah, who could make days last 48 hours or, at least, take us out of bed early enough to make it to the 2nd planned stop of the day: the infamous Caminito del Rey (The King’s Path). Once named the most dangerous hiking trail in the world, it is today a recently restored wonderful path that takes visitors across impossible cliffs and exceptional nature sites.
TORDAL DE ANTEQUERA
? Yet another milestone in the way we had to suppress due to our lack of time (we followed this itinerary in Winter when daylight lasts an average of 6 hours less than Summer, hence our frantic and shortened schedules).
Our idea was to get closer to this area of unparalleled beauty and unpredictable shapes to admire the sunset against the rock formations. We’ll have to wait until you tell us how it is!
? And here it is. Finally, we reached our final milestone, the wonderful city of Granada.
With more history than many (in fact it was a Moorish city before the Spanish Christian kings, Ferdinand and Isabella kicked the last Moorish king and his entourage out of it at the end of the 15th century), its strategic location halfway between the mountain peaks of Sierra Nevada (the only ski resort in the south of the Iberian Peninsula) and the coast as well as the fact that it owns one of the three oldest and renowned universities in Spain – therefore it is a young and dynamic city -, Granada could perfectly be one of the cities I would move to in a heartbeat.
⚡ As fatigue might be kicking in at this point after a long day on the road, we advise you to have dinner and head to your hotel for a good rest. Tomorrow, the last proper day of this Andalucia itinerary will be a great one too and you want to be fresh and ready to make the most out of it!
Day 7: Granada
As we did with Sevilla, Granada is so full of goodness that anything we could say now wouldn’t make it justice. Therefore, once again, let’s leave the images speak for themselves and help you configure your day plan. Make sure you can at least squeeze a visit to the Alhambra and Generalife gardens in your itinerary. They are a complete must and something you shouldn’t leave for a later visit at all. Nonetheless, this monument regularly tops the list of the most visited ones in Spain!