Last updated on May 9, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Andalucia

Epic Andalucia Road Trip | A unique Southern Spain itinerary

Planning the Andalucia Road Trip well in advance is a must. Consider that this is the largest region in the country with so many interesting things to do and places to visit.

To help you out I have organised this Southern Spain road trip itinerary that in 14-17 days in Andalucia will allow you to experience the best of the region. It covers the most popular destinations and a few little gems.

Take it as an inspiration or just copy and paste it for your next trip, you will not be disappointed.

But let’s jump straight away to the key points and the map

Amazing inland landscape of Spain
Amazing inland landscape of Andalucia

Andalucia Road Trip – Itinerary key points

Here below is my suggested road trip in Andalucia that starts from Malaga, a popular airport for low-cost airlines.

DayLocationDriven KmActivities/HighlightsAccommodationNotes
1-2Malaga0Explore historical sites, vibrant restaurant scene, and nightlifeEl MuseoPerfect blend of history, culture, and beach relaxation
3-4Granada140Visit the Alhambra, explore the Albayzin district, enjoy local cuisinePalacio Gran VíaExperience the rich history and stunning architecture of Granada
5-6Cordoba170Visit the Mezquita, explore the old town and Jewish QuarterH10 Palacio ColomeraDiscover Cordoba’s blend of cultures and historical wonders
7-9Sevilla140Visit the Plaza de España, Alcázar, enjoy flamenco showsH10 Casa de la PlataCultural vibrancy and historical beauty of Sevilla
10-12Cadiz & Jerez120On the way from Sevilla to Cadiz stop at Jerez de la Frontera for a day visit.
Explore Cadiz’s old town and local market
Relax on the beach, try water sports, and visit La Caleta Beach
Los ClavelesPlenty of history and beach time
13-14Estepona – Costa del Sol160Early morning departure, stop at Casares, visit Historic Centre Estepona, relax by the beach and Esplanade walkApartamento en Playa del CristoEstepona to Malaga Airport is 80Km
ExtraRondaNAIf you have 2 spare days, add at least a night to Ronda, a unique town sitting on the El Tajo Gorge, just 1 hour from the Estepona/MarbellaCatalonia RondaIt can be done also as a day visit from Costa del Sol
The perfect road trip in Andalucia to visit some of the best places in Spain

The best time to visit Southern Spain without the heat but still enjoyable weather is in spring and autumn. On my last trip there in early October, for example, temperatures were between 25°C and 30°C during the day, of course, always sunny.

In this part of Spain, summer can be really hot with consistent days of sun and temperatures over 40°C, especially from mid-July to mid-August. The coast has still a nice sea breeze but the interior can be literally burning.

For this Andalusia road trip itinerary, I suggest renting a car in Malaga. You can use public transportation but it would take much longer. Add at least another 3-4 days.

I usually rent my cars from DiscoverCars, an aggregator website that compares local and international dealers giving the best deals around. I love it because it works like Airbnb, with every provider ranked based on customer feedback. Moreover, they offer 8 Euro/day full insurance which is a no-brainer.

Typical direction sign you find in the airports for the car rental (Aiquiler de coche)
Typical direction sign you find in the Malaga airport for car rental (Aiquiler de coche)

Driving in Andalucia is pretty straightforward, people are generally very relaxed and easygoing. And honestly, whenever I rent a car in Spain I have such a great time because, besides the amazing destinations, there is so much to discover along the route.

2-week Andalucia itinerary – Places to visit on a map

This is the map of the 14-day Southern Spain itinerary which you can expand with Ronda and other destinations I suggest later in the article to even 3 weeks.

Andalucia Road Trip Itinerary Map
Andalucia Road Trip Itinerary Map

If you do not have 2 weeks then I would suggest bypassing Cadiz and Jerez for a 10 day trip, and for a 7 day trip make it just to Cordoba, Granada and Seville.

Day 1-2 Malaga – The start of your Andalusia Road Trip

Malaga, the birthplace of Picasso, is a cosmopolitan city rich in culture and history, kissed by over 300 days of sun making it one of the best destinations in Spain.

I loved my time in Malaga and it is now my go-to place for a long weekend in spring and autumn, when it’s warm, not as busy with tourism and accommodation prices are at rock bottom.

Another great thing about Malaga is that there are plenty of low-cost airlines flying there and ticket prices are usually a third or even less of flying to Sevilla, the capital of Andalucia. After all, the Malaga-Costa del Sol airport is the 4th busiest in the country.

Renting a car in Malaga is also very convenient with plenty of choices and options, even if you are hiring a vehicle without a credit card or at a very young age, usually a problem in other destinations.

For all these reasons, I usually start my exploration of South of Spain with a stay in Malaga and I organise my loop through the region, like the one in this article, but honestly, there are so many options and places to explore and stay in Andalucia.

In the city my favourite activity is just to get lost in the maze of tiny squares and narrow lanes of the Historical Centre, stopping for coffee and tapas at one of the many cafes and characteristic bars.

Start from the lovely Plaza de la Constitución and Calle Marques de Larios. Venture in the historic Calle Molina Lario and spare some time for a visit to the Cathedral.

For a change, have a walk in Soho, the up-and-coming arty district next to the Port, with plenty of street art all around, boutique galleries and local bars that get busy at lunchtime.

The Picasso Museum is of course a must-visit for art enthusiasts, showcasing an extensive collection of the artist’s work. A simple but effective tip here is to buy the tickets in advance because queues can be really long. You will get an entry time and you just need to show up and enter.

For a taste of local life, the Atarazanas Market in a 14th-century Moorish shipyard is another must-visit. There are plenty of opportunities to buy local products plus the possibility to have lunch and/or drinks in a beautiful setup.

Entrance to the Mercado Central in the Historical Centre of Malaga
Entrance to the Mercado Central in the Historical Centre of Malaga

I have summarized in the table below other things to do and places to visit in Malaga.

AttractionWhyWhatHow for ChildrenHow for AdultsAdditional Info
Castillo de GibralfaroHistory and viewsRuins of 1300s Moorish castle & fortressDemanding walk upLovely morning walkBest for a 360 degrees view of the city
AlcazabaViews and cultureMoorish fortress with restored interiorsInteresting for grown-upsA window to the past Moorish cultureThere is a combined ticket for Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro
Centre Pompidou MalagaWorld-class art in a unique settingContemporary art and exhibitionsHighlyHighlyA branch of the famous French museum
Carmen Thyssen MuseumTo explore Spanish art history19th-century Spanish paintingsInteresting for grown-upsInsightfulFocus on Andalusian artwork
Malaga Park (Parque de Málaga)Tranquil green space in the cityTropical plants, fountains, walkwaysGreat for a walk/runPeacefulHistorical botanical garden
Interactive Music Museum (MIMMA)Engaging musical experienceMusic exhibits, interactive displaysFunEnjoyableHands-on musical instruments
Malaga Automobile and Fashion MuseumFor car enthusiasts and fashion loversVintage cars, haute coutureEducational for grown-upsFascinatingCombination of automotive and fashion
Roman TheatreA glimpse into ancient historyRoman ruins and historyEducationalHistoricalAncient theatre from 1st century BC
Mercado Central de AtarazanasLocal market experienceLocal foods, spices, and cultureVibrantAuthenticRestored 14th-century shipyard
La Concepción Botanical-Historical GardenFor nature and garden loversTropical plants, historical gardenGreat for a walk/runRelaxingExotic plant species and historical ambiance
Caminito del ReyA unique adventureOne of the most spectacular walks in the worldGreat for grown-upsAmazing walkBook months in advance because it’s rare to find a free spot.
11 more things to do in Malaga
View of Malaga from the Gibralfaro Castle
View of Malaga from the Gibralfaro Castle

Day 3-4 Granada

Drive east in the early morning to Granada through the coastal route for around 140 km; it will take you around 2 hours.

You can also plan a stop in Nerja to see the amazing cliff and boutique beaches along one of the best areas to stay in Costa del Sol.

Driving into Granada, you cannot miss the Alhambra’s imposing silhouette. This palace complex is a symphony of intricate artisanship and serene courtyards, each telling tales of the Nasrid dynasty.

Of course, Alhambra is the number one reason to visit this city, however, there is so much more than that. By the way, also in this case remember to book your tickets to the Alhambra well in advance – they sell out quickly, and rightfully so.

The Albayzin district is another must-see, with its narrow lanes and tiny squares. The Mirador de San Nicolás offers a breathtaking panorama that will stay in your memory for a long time, the perfect place for a sunset photo, with the Alhambra right in the background.

Granada’s Cathedral is a masterpiece, standing proudly in the heart of the city, as well as the nearby Royal Chapel, where the Catholic Monarchs rest.

Plaza Nueva and Calle Elvira are the places to start your tapas and drinks adventure with Casa Castañeda being one of my favourites.

The Alhambra in Granada
The Alhambra in Granada

Here are another 4 places that you can include in your Granada’s visit.

AttractionWhyWhatHow for ChildrenHow for AdultsAdditional Info
SacromonteFor a unique cultural experienceTraditional cave houses, flamenco showsInteresting for grown-upsVery interestingHeart of Granada’s Roma community
Science Park (Parque de las Ciencias)Engaging and educational visitInteractive exhibits, planetarium, butterfly houseInteractiveNot a mustOne of Spain’s largest interactive museums
Arab Baths (Hammam Al Andalus)To experience traditional relaxationMoorish style baths, massage servicesNA (Adults only)RelaxingOffers a glimpse into Moorish bathing culture
Corral del CarbónTo step back into Moorish GranadaAncient corn exchange, cultural eventsDepends on the activitiesHistoricalOldest surviving Moorish monument in Spain
4 more things to do in Granada

Day 5 and 6 Córdoba

The drive from Granada is about 170 km, taking approximately 2.5 hours through the beautiful Andalusian landscape. There are two ways to get there, however, the best road is the the N-432, certainly a more scenic route.

Córdoba has had an interesting past with a unique blend of cultures. It was once the largest city of Roman Spain and later the heart of the western Islamic empire.

The Mezquita, an architectural marvel, stands as the city’s crown jewel. Once inside, the forest of columns is a testament to Córdoba’s rich Islamic past. Remember to book your visit in advance to avoid the long queues.

Have a stroll through the Jewish Quarter, a labyrinth of narrow streets, white-washed houses, and flower-filled courtyards. The lovely Calleja de las Flores, with its picturesque view of the Mezquita’s bell tower, is the place to go for the most characteristic photo.

Córdoba’s Roman Bridge, linking the city across the Guadalquivir River, offers stunning sunset views. As the day winds down, head off to the lively Plaza de la Corredera, a great spot for evening tapas and to soak in the local vibe.

For a taste of local life, don’t miss the Mercado Victoria, a gastronomic market where the fusion of traditional and modern Spanish cuisine comes alive. Here, sampling local specialties and mingling with the locals is an experience in itself.

The Mezquita in Cordoba
The Mezquita in Cordoba

Here are another 3 places that you can include in your visit to Cordoba

AttractionWhyWhatHow for ChildrenHow for AdultsAdditional Info
Alcázar de los Reyes CristianosHistorical explorationMedieval fortress, gardens, and Roman mosaicsEngagingHistorical Ancient royal residence
Palacio de VianaArchitectural beautyRenaissance palace, 12 patios, art collectionsIt can be boring for the little onesVery interestingKnown as the ‘Museum of Patios’
Cordoba SynagogueHistorical significanceOne of Spain’s few surviving medieval synagoguesGood for a quick overviewTo highlight the blend of culturesImportant Jewish heritage site
3 more things to do in Córdoba

Day 7-9 Sevilla

In this Andalucia travel itinerary, you cannot miss Sevilla, the heart and capital of Andalucía, a mere 140 km from Córdoba. Driving there, especially via the scenic A-4 route, is a prelude to the city’s charm. Sevilla, with its flamenco rhythms and architectural splendours, is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.

Entering the city, the Giralda Tower of the Cathedral, a symbol of the city’s history, will greet you. The Cathedral itself, a monumental testament to Gothic architecture, is certainly a must-visit. Be sure to climb the Giralda for a panoramic view of the city. This would certainly make a great first day in Seville.

But there is so much more. Strolling through the Barrio Santa Cruz, Sevilla’s old Jewish quarter is like walking through a painting, with its narrow alleys and tiny courtyards. Each corner here tells a story, full of romance.

The Real Alcázar, the royal palace, is an exquisite example of Mudéjar architecture. Its gardens are a tranquil haven, perfect for a leisurely afternoon escape. As usual for the most famous attractions of Andalucia, book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.

A visit to Plaza de España is a must. The semi-circular complex, with its tiled alcoves representing different Spanish provinces, is a unique place that you will remember for a long time.

But Sevilla is not all about old and ancient attractions. This is a city famous also for its modern architecture with the Metropol Parasol (Las Setas), a unique wooden structure, being a must-stop on your 3-day itinerary of Sevilla.

Sevilla’s Triana district, known for its flamenco culture, is vibrant in the evenings. Crossing the Triana Bridge at sunset, with the city lights reflecting on the Guadalquivir River, is magical.

For a local gastronomic experience, the Mercado de Triana offers a taste of authentic Sevillian life. Here, tapas and local delicacies blend with the daily hustle and bustle of city life.

Plaza de España in Seville
Plaza de España in Seville, one of the best places to visit in Andalucia

Here are another 6 places that you should add to your itinerary of Sevilla.

AttractionWhyWhatHow for ChildrenHow for AdultsAdditional Info
Casa de PilatosHistorical explorationA blend of Renaissance and Mudéjar architecture, beautiful gardensEducationalArchitecturally richA splendid example of an Andalusian palace
María Luisa ParkNatural beautyVast gardens, ornamental features, and relaxing walksEnjoyable for a walkA peaceful breakA lush green oasis in the city
Hospital de los VenerablesArt and historyBaroque architecture, Centro Velázquez art centerIt can be too overwhelmingGreat if you are into artA hidden gem with significant art collections
Flamenco Dance MuseumCultural immersionFlamenco history, performances, and interactive exhibitsEntertainingCulturally enrichingA deep dive into the world of Flamenco
Torre del OroHistorical landmarkMilitary watchtower with panoramic views and maritime museumGood fun If you are running out of attractionsOffers a glimpse into Sevilla’s naval history
Mercado de FeriaLocal market experienceTraditional market, local foods, and vibrant atmosphereVibrantAuthenticOne of Sevilla’s oldest markets
6 more things to do in Sevilla

Day 10-12 Cadiz and day trip to Jerez de la Frontera

Embarking from Sevilla, a scenic 100 km drive brings you to Jerez de la Frontera, a city renowned for its sherry and flamenco. Try to make it there by mid-morning to have a half-day fully dedicated to this lovely city.

A visit to one of its famed bodegas, like Bodegas Fundador, offers an insightful glimpse into the art of sherry-making. The Alcázar and the Cathedral are also must-visits, showcasing the city’s historical past.

The first time I visited Jerez, I thought a few hours would be enough for it. It turned out that I spent actually two full days there and I could have spent a third one too. But if you do not have spare days, then in the late afternoon set off for Cadiz, just 30 minutes away.

Visiting the Alcázar in Jerez de la Frontera
Visiting the Alcázar in Jerez de la Frontera

Every trip to Spain should include some beach time and Cadiz was the highlight of my last trip to Andalucia. It was in early October and still so warm to have interesting walks in the historical centre during the morning and relaxing afternoon at the lovely beaches, some of the best in southern Spain.

The city’s history unfolds at places like the Castillo de San Sebastián and the Roman Theatre, free to enter. For a moment of tranquillity, the Parque Genovés is a lush, green oasis with fantastic views over the Ocean.

The local market, Mercado Central, is a bustling hub of fresh seafood and vibrant energy. Here, the essence of Cadiz comes alive in every bite of tapas. This is my go-to place for lunch, bargain prices and great quality in a vibrant atmosphere.

As the sun sets, head to La Caleta beach, a picturesque spot nestled between two castles. It’s the perfect place to watch the day turn to dusk, with the sound of waves in the background.

Entering the town of Cadiz, on the Ocean coast
Entering the town of Cadiz, on the Ocean coast

Here are another 4 places that you should check out once in Cadiz

AttractionWhyWhatHow for ChildrenHow for AdultsAdditional Info
Cadiz Museum (Museo de Cádiz)Historical and artistic explorationArtworks, archaeology, and ethnographyNot suggestedCulturally enrichingDiverse collections from Cadiz’s history
Santa Catalina CastleArchitectural beauty and historyHistoric fortress, exhibitions, sea viewsA good fun to run aroundYes/ScenicOffers stunning views of the coastline. Free
Tavira Tower (Torre Tavira)Panoramic city viewsCamera obscura and rooftop terraceSomething differentPanoramicHighest point in old Cadiz
Falla Theater (Teatro Falla)Cultural and architectural interestHistoric theatre with regular performancesKid activities may be in the programEntertainingIconic red-brick building of cultural importance
4 more things to do in Sevilla

I wrote a full guide about Cadiz and the best areas and hotels to stay in that you should check out before booking your accommodation.

Day 13-14 Estepona – Costa del Sol

Leaving Cadiz, a drive through the Andalusian countryside brings you to the quaint hilltop village of Casares, about 2 hours away. Have an early start and try to make it there by 10-11 am.

Casares will greet you with its picturesque white-washed houses and narrow winding streets, inviting exploration. The main square, a hub of local life, is ideal for a leisurely lunch, offering traditional Spanish cuisine.

A walk up to the castle is a must. There is only one street up from the main square, so you can’t miss it. One huge tip here, do not try to make it inside the village by car, the streets are really narrow. Park the car outside in one of the few dedicated areas, just follow the signs. They are usually free of charge.

After soaking in the charm of Casares, continue your journey to Estepona, just 20 minutes away, a coastal town blending traditional and modern comforts.

In this ultimate road trip in Andalusia, I left the last 2 days to Costa del Sol and Estepona with its beautiful historic centre, the colourful murals and the flower-adorned streets. Strolling through its lanes, you’ll find artisan shops and tapas bars, plenty of great places to spend the evenings.

The beaches in Estepona, particularly Playa del Cristo with its calm shallow waters, are perfect for families with kids. The palm-lined promenade, dotted with cafes and playgrounds, is ideal for an evening walk.

If you are lucky enough to be there on a Wednesday, you should check out the city market where you can sample and buy the local products. A place popular not only with travellers but also with locals.

Walking around Estepona
Walking around Estepona

Conclusion to this Southern Spain itinerary

This is quite an intensive Andalucian road trip, however, it allows you to visit the best of Southern Spain, including a few little gems.

Having another couple of spare days would allow you to extend your itinerary to Ronda, a spectacular old town sitting on top of a gorge, with a unique set-up. It’s just a one-hour drive from Estepona or Marbella, so you may also think to take a day trip there.

With two days in the Ronda area, I would also add a visit to Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the most spectacular villages in Spain built inside the rocks. You can also take the spectacular CA-9104 Road to Zahara de la Sierra, another characteristic village with white-washed houses perched on a hill.

Finally, the Malaga Airport is around 80km east from Estepona. Allow at least two hours for the drive to be safe and check out Google Maps for the traffic conditions. There is also a highway to cover the distance, however, it is quite expensive though much quicker.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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