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  • Writer's pictureDanae Bianco

10 days in Andalucia - Our itinerary through Southern Spain

Updated: May 14


Sevilha. Real Alcazar de Sevilha. Andalucia. Espanha

Seville Real Alcazar


Andalucia is one of the most beautiful regions in Spain.


To the south of the Iberian peninsula, strolling through cobblestone streets where Islam and Christianity alternated for centuries resulting in a beautiful fusion that impresses at every corner; in which each town brings you an amazing myriad of palaces, churches, mosques converted into churches, towers and monuments; that's where we spent a few days, absorbing art and history and eating lots of tapas washed down with white wine (and fresh orange juice for the kids).


It was July, sunny and hot – very hot indeed – and we were on a road trip through Spain and Portugal (I haven't posted about it yet, but this 14 days Spain and Portugal itinerary was pretty similar to ours, excluding Barcelona and Madrid).


I had already fallen in love with the south of Spain back in the 90s, when I was there backpacking on a very limited budget, which, in addition to beautiful photos on paper, left me wanting more. For me, the decision was more than obvious: take my husband and daughters for an immersion in history, art and flavors in Andalucia.


It was a really quick road trip, only ten days long, we could have stayed much longer - at the end of this post, as I always do, I put my suggestions of what to do if you have a few days more or less to explore this region.


As we didn't have all the time that Andalucia deserves, we had to make choices, and we selected just the best.


 

👉🏻 So here it is, our 10 day Andalucia itinerary throgh Southern Spain:

 

 Other posts to help you travel around Spain:

 

Ronda, Andalucia, Espanha. Puelbos Blancos
Ronda, view from the Mirante de Ronda

1st and 2nd day – Ronda


How to get to Ronda


We were finishing our road trip through Portugal in the Algarve. As I couldn't find a rental company that allowed us to could pick up the car in one country and return it in another, we had to return our rented Portuguese car in Portugal - we returned it in Faro, about 28 miles (45km) west of the Spanish border.


In Faro we took a bus to Seville. There is no border control, the driver barely looked at our passports before boarding and that was it, in 2 1/2 hours we were at the bus station in Seville. From there, we took a taxi to the airport, where we picked up our rental car and left for Ronda.

From Seville to Ronda it's about 80 miles (130km), easily covered in 1h45 by car.

Later, we left Ronda for Granada, which is 112 miles (180 km) east and took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes by car.


Ronda, Andalucia, Espanha.
Ronda, canyon of the Guadalevín River, in the background Puente Vieja


What to do in Ronda


Ronda, one of the “white towns” (pueblos blancos) of Andalucia, is one of the most incredible towns in Spain due to its geographical location. It is on the edge of the cliffs of the canyon of the Guadalevín river, which runs through the center of the town.


The Puente Nueva ("New Bridge"), the bridge that crosses the canyon, right in the center of town (left photo below) is impressive and yields beautiful pictures - despite the name, the bridge was completed in 1793 and represented an impressive architectural feat at the time.


There are several viewpoints in town, and a nice tour is to walk along the streets that follow the edges of the canyon, with strategic stops for photos, coffees and ice cream. This symbiotic integration between city and canyon is incredible and that alone would be enough to justify a trip there.



(1) Puente nueva, (2) Arco de Felipe V, (3) Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor


Where to stay in Ronda


Ronda is a small town, I recommend staying in the central area. It is a pleasant town to walk around, you can do everything on foot, enjoy the bars, restaurants and shops – our car was in the garage the whole time, we only used it on the day we were leaving, when we went to the Mirador La Hoya del Tajo on our way to Granada.


We stayed at a very good apartment, in the central area of town (unfortunatly not listed anynore) but if you prefer to stay in hotels or b&b, there are plenty of options - if I could choose three, it would be Catalonia Ronda (great location and an unbeatable view from the pool and bar on the rooftop), Hotel Ronda Nuevo (right in the historic center) or the Casa Palacio VillaZambra (a historic house, right on the edge of the canyon). For those who prefer bigger and newer hotels, with more structure and a good pool, the Catalonia Reina Victoria looks like a great option.


If you don't want to stay a night in town (although I higly recommend you stay at least one night), you can visit Ronda as a day-tour from Seville - or from Granada.


Check availability and rates here:



Alhambra de Granada, vista dos Jardins de Generalife
Alhambra de Granada, as seen from the Jardines de Generalife

3rd and 4th day – Granada


How to get to Granada


From Ronda, we drove to Granada, 112 miles (180 km) in about 2h15min by car.


Driving in Spain is easy, the roads are great, driving on the right lane (as in the USA), the signs in Spanish are easy to understand, it is super easy.



The world famous Alhambra, one of (if not the most) most visited tourist attraction in Spain, is located in Granada.


It doesn't matter if you've already seen one or thousands of photos and videos of the Alhambra, you will be impressed when you enter the gardens and palaces. I dare say that the more photos and videos of the Alhambra you've seen, the greater the emotion you'll feel when you're finally there.


The Alhambra complex includes several buildings, towers, walls, gardens and a mosque, but it is the intricate stone carvings and decorative elements, the delicate filigree work, the magnificent tiled ceilings, the graceful arches and the serene courtyards of the Nasrid Palaces that will leave you speechless.




We stayed in Granada only 1 day and a half. We arrived one day after lunch and, after going to the Alhambra ticket offices (I'll describe the saga in detail below), we strolled through town – we visited the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel (where are the remains of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon), we strolled along Plaza Bib Rambla and enjoyed the late afternoon at a restaurant in a small square close to our apartment. The next day was dedicated to making the most of the Alhambra, and after that we left early for Córdoba.


Other interesting areas of Granada to walk around and enjoy are the Albaicín, the Moorish quarter and the Sacromonte neighborhood.


We could have stayed at least one more day in Granada to better enjoy the town and all it has to offer.



La Alhambra de Granada. Pateo de Los Leones. Detalhe. Andalucia, Espanha
Detail of the Patio de los Leones, in the Nasrid Palaces, Alhambra.

Alhambra and Generalife Map

Where to stay in Granada


On this trip, we opted to stay in an apartment – with the kids already grown up, it's always good to have more space, so in recent trips I always try to prioritize apartments (we usually rent throught Airbnb). We stayed in an Airbnb in Barrio del Realejo, an excellent location.


If you prefer staying at a hotel, my choices would be Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol, a small hotel, in a historic house with a spectacular view of town, orthe Casa Morisca Hotel, also in a historic house (is it an impression or do I love hotels in historic houses?). A more budget friendly option would be Hotel Párraga Siete, in a super central location, close to several bars and restaurants, or Porcel Navas, also around the same region.


Check availability and rates here:



Mesquita-Catedral de Cordoba. Interior. Espanha.
Cordoba Mezquita

5th and 6th day – Cordoba


How to get to Cordoba


We left Granada early towards Cordoba, it's about 125 miles (200km), covered easily in just over 2 hours.


What to do in Cordoba


Córdoba has two main attractions, which I recommend you definitely not miss (and which, perhaps, were the ones that motivated you to include this town in your itinerary): the Mosque-Cathedral and the Alcazar of the Christian Kings (Alcazár de los Reyes Cristianos).


The Mosque of Córdoba is one of the most outstanding examples of Islamic architecture, and you've probably already seen a photo of its characteristic interior, where columns joined by red and white arches project seemingly into infinity. The arches are beautiful, but the Mosque is much more than that.


Its construction dates back to a 6th century church, transformed into a mosque in 786 AD and since then undergoing several expansions and alterations over the centuries. It represented a milestone for the time, for abandoning the vertical focus usually applied in Islamic religious constructions and adopting a horizontal proposal.



In 1236 it was converted into a Christian church, with the construction of several structures inside, including a central nave, choir, dome and tower. Even so, to this day it is considered one of the greatest icons of Islamic architecture and art in Europe.


The visit to the Mosque is impressive. Through the Patio de los Naranjos, you enter a mosque, a little dark and with a relatively low ceiling, until, suddenly, you find yourself inside an immense cathedral, with everything usually found in Gothic and Renaissance cathedrals of the same period.


I recommend picking up, right at the entrance, the information leaflet and the audio guide (there is also a children's version), essential to understand the different parts of the Mosque, with its history, characteristics and purposes, knowledge that makes the visit much more pleasant and interesting.


By the way, I recommend that you seek, in any place you visit, as much information as possible, mainly about the history of the place and the people involved in it, which makes not only your visit more pleasant, but also makes you leave the place a different person than the onw who entered it, with more culture, knowledge and repertoire for understanding the world. If a guided tour is your thing, here are some options.


Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, Cordoba, Spain
Alcazár de los Reyes Cristianos, Cordoba.

Another must-see attraction is the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, a castle-fortress built in the 13th-14th centuries and where the Christian kings, Isabella and Ferdinand, met and commissioned Christopher Columbus. The palace gardens are a must. Nearby there are the Baños del Alcázar Califal, worth visiting.


The Jewish quarter (Judería), near the Mosque, is a labyrinth of cobblestone alleys and squares, white buildings with yellow-framed windows, iron doors, and tree-lined courtyards. A delightful area to walk around and stop for a drink or dinner - although it is dominated by tourists and with more souvenir shops than might seem possible.


By the way, speaking of tree-lined patios (and especially if you are visiting the town in the summer, as we did), I recommend stopping for a moment in some of them, as in addition to being beautiful and pleasant, they are great for cooling off from the absurd heat that dominates the area in summer and spring months. It is worth visiting the Palacio de Viana, the Asociación de Amigos de los Patios Cordobeses and the Patios de San Basilio.


Also close to the Mezquita, it is worth walking along Puente Romano and if you are a fan of flamenco, don't miss the Centro Flamenco Fosforito.



Where to stay in Cordoba


As we did in the other stops in this trip, in Córdoba we also stayed in an Airbnb. A two-bedroom apartment, very well located and super comfortable – the best apartment of this trip (the one in Ronda was also great, but this one was more spacious).


If you belong to the hotel team, there are plenty of options, check it out here, but my choices would be Hotel Patio del Posadero, which is located in a beautiful 15th-century house with a delightful patio, or Hesperia Cordoba, with a more modern and clean decor. In the budget friendly range, the Cordoba Carpe Diem looks like an option.


Check availability and rates here:


Seville Real Alcazár, Spain
Seville Real Alcazár


7th to 9th day - Seville


How to get to Seville


From Córdoba to Seville, it's about 87 miles (140km), which we did easily in 1 hour and a half. Arriving in Seville, we returned our rental car at the airport and took a taxi to our Airbnb, which was centrally located.


Seville is the capital of the Andalucia region, the largest of the towns we visited. It was the last stop of our trip precisely because it has the largest airport in the region, resulting in a better (and cheaper) flight back home - we flew Air Europa, connecting in Madrid.


We picked up and returned the rental car in Seville, so we didn't have to pay any extra fee - those exorbitant fees that rental companies charge when you pick up car in one place and return it in another – it was a relief, as these fees tend to be quite high (in Portugal, we had to pay, as we picked up the car in Lisbon and returned it in Faro).


Plaza de Espanha, Sevilha.
Plaza de España, Sevilha

What to do in Seville


We stayed in Seville for 3 days (2 full days and 2 half days), it was enough to see the main attractions of town. Considering that we only had 10 days (in total) for travelling in Southern Spain, it was a good amount of time to stay there; if there were no time restrictions, the town has a lot to offer and there would be no shortage of things to do there for a few more days. You can easily discover the city on foot, as we did.



Seville Cathedral, Spain
Seville Cathedral

The Cathedral and the Giralda tower are one of the main attractions. Even if you are not Catholic, or not so connected in any religious or spiritual matters, Seville Cathedral will still be inspiring. If you, then, are one of those – like me – fans of history and architecture, you will be dazzled by the building and everything that surrounds it.


Built between 1434 and 1517 on the remains of an ancient mosque, it is considered (depending on the source) the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.


It is really worth climbing to the top of the Giralda tower, which was adapted from the minaret of the mosque on which the cathedral was built. Views of town are amazing, as so the size of the iron bells up there.


Inside the Cathedral, you cannot miss the monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus, nor the Capilla Mayor and its stunning altar. In short: whatever your faith, or lack thereof, a visit to the Cathedral is a must.


(1) Christopher Columbus tomb ; (2) Giralda Tower; (3) Cathedral and the town, as viewed from Giralda


Another must-see in Seville is the Real Alcazar. After visiting the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar dos Reyes Cristianos in Cordoba, I confess that I thought “oh no, another Christian-Islamic fortress-palace to visit”. Well, you may also think that it will be more of the same, but I tell you: leave your laziness aside and go, because you will be surprised by the Real Alcazar. The place is amazing. Game of Thrones fans will recognize quite a few movie sets, so you can imagine the quality of what awaits for you inside the walls of the Alcazar.



As we were traveling with children, we couldn't miss a visit to Seville Aquarium. "Oh no, another aquarium?!" you might think, just like I thought. I confess that I was a little lazy to go... But it's worth. The aquarium is really cool and I'll tell you why.


Did you know that it was from Seville that the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan departed, the one that made the first circumnavigation of the planet? (I didn't know). 240+ men departed in 5 ships in 1519, and only 18 of them returned to the same port, in just on ship in 1522. The aquarium recreates this historic navigation, displaying the various maritime environments that the fleet encountered along the way and all the challenges of this feat. I simply loved it. Here is the link to the official website of the aquarium.


Close to the Aquarium is Parque de Maria Luisa, which is very pleasant to walk around, and Plaza de España, one of the town's postcards and always pleasant to walk around and enjoy some of the street artists that perform there.


Parque de Maria Luisa, Seville


In Seville, sooner or later, you will come across the Metropol Parasol, also called ”Las Setas” or “Mushrooms”, a wooden structure designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann and completed in 2011, at Plaza de la Encarnación. The upper part of the structure is perfect (although probably full of people) for a stroll while enjoying the sunset.


The city has so much to offer, whether you have 3 days in Seville or a week, wheter you visit Seville with kids or not, you'll have plenty to do and discover.



Where to stay in Seville


In Seville we rented an appartment through Booking - Zentral Suites & Apartments (the ad is of an apartment management service, ours was the 2-bedroom apartment at Morgado 5; in the same ad there are others appartments with different locations and sizes). The location was good, the beds were very comfortable and having two bathrooms was a plus, but of all the places we stayed on the trip, this was my least favorite. Either way, it's still worth it.


There is no shortage of hotel options, Las Casas de El Arenal and Casa Romana Hotel Boutique would be my choices, with good value for money.


Check availability and rates here:


Praça de Espanha, Sevilha, Andalucia
Plaza de España, Seville

Day 10 – Return home


On the last day, we still managed to enjoy a little bit of the morning in Seville, stop for a delicious coffee, walk around the central region, have a quick lunch and then go to the airport to catch the flight back home.


We fly AirEuropa, connecting in Madrid. It was absolutely peaceful. Seville airport is relatively small and quite full, but the flight left on time.


two girls at the Alhambra, Granada.
Alhambra, Granada.

Detailed Itinerary


Here is the map of our trip in Google MyMaps, with our detailed route, just click and save it to your Google account. When you plan your next trip to Spain, you already know where to start ;-)


On the map you can see details of everything we did, where we stayed and the places we visited. There are different layers, with different colors, one for each area we visit. The blue line is the route we drove


In this post I explain how to create and how to use these maps, it's a very good resource for planning trips, saving places, calculating routes and distances, I really love to use Google MyMaps on my trips!



If only we had more time...


I would have loved to have had a few more days (maybe weeks?) to walk around and get to know the south of Spain better. Costa del Sol, Malaga, Cadiz, Sierra Nevada, Baeza, Ubeda, the list goes on. One town more beautiful than the other, you can spend months there, whatever the time of year.


If we had just one more day, it would be dedicated to Granada. A second day would be in Córdoba or - if you like driving and don't mind going through a place quickly, you may include a stop to explore all the fun things to do in Malaga, on your way from Ronda to Granada.


With three more days to travel, one of them dedicated to Granada and the other two would be either in Sierra Nevada (if in winter) or in Malaga (rest of the year).


If we had less time...


Excluding places we love from such an amazing trip is really difficult. But with less time available, the charming Ronda would have been left out for another opportunity.


Could we do everything we did in a week? Yup. Do I recommend it? No, I don't. Running through a thousand places - places so rich in culture, history, art and delicious food - would only leave you stressed and frustrated. So, if time is short, take a good look at what we've done, look for other sources, research well and make your choices.


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The best of Andalucia, Southern Spain, in 10 days. Seville, Ronda, Cordoba and Granada


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