Destinations | Europe

Southern Spain Road Trip itinerary 2 weeks

24 May 2021 | Destinations, Europe, Spain

Looking for an epic southern Spain road trip itinerary? I got you covered. In this Spain travel guide, I will provide you destination spots, and will help you to enjoy your trip to the fullest. 

You will discover a wonderful mix of Moorish, Gypsy, and Christian tradition on a road trip of a lifetime, with passionate Flamenco dancers along the way. 

 ** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links which means that purchases made through these links reward Bey of Travel a small commission without any additional charge for the purchaser.** 

Southern Spain road trip

14 Day Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary

 

Welcome to Andalucia! 

Let’s get comfortable – but buckle up because this southern Spain road trip is one for the books, I promise! Before I share the sightseeing stops, here are some quick travel tips to prepare for your road trip. 

Planning a road trip to Southern Spain: Travel Tips 

This southern Spain road trip starts in Seville, which is the largest city in Andalucia. 

Arriving in Seville Spain:

If traveling from overseas, you can easily fly to Seville and then pick up a car rental.

From American Airlines, Qatar Airways, to Vueling – they all fly direct to Seville Airport. You can also connect to Seville from northern or central Spain. Air Iberia flies from San Sebastian or Barcelona to Seville. There is also a high-speed train connecting Madrid, the capital city of Spain to Seville. 

If connecting from Portugal, you can fly or take a bus from Lisbon to arrive in Seville. 

Car Rental:

You can book your car rental online here. There are a lot of rental agencies to choose from, including vehicle styles from full-size cars, SUVs, minivans, and trucks at the Sevilla Airport branch.

Costs for a rental car start at $33 USD per day for a midsize vehicle. Do remember to bring your international driver’s license, and get car insurance. For your road trip, don’t forget to pack light snacks, an awesome playlist, and download maps/itinerary spots ahead of time. 

I also recommend packing hiking shoes, and swimsuits as there are beaches and trails that you can enjoy along the way. 

Southern Spain road trip

Southern Spain Itinerary 2 weeks: At a glance 

  • Day 1-3: Seville
  • Day 4: Cordoba
  • Day 5: Osuna
  • Day 6: Ronda
  • Day 7: Malaga 
  • Day 8: El Caminito del Rey Tour
  • Day 9: Nerja 
  • Day 10: Gibraltar 
  • Day 11-12: Cadiz 
  • Day 13: Jerez de la Frontera 
  • Day 14: Return to Seville, with day trip stops

 

You can easily customize this 14-day road trip itinerary to a shorter version. I do recommend keeping Seville as the starting point and the return, and from this city you can venture to other parts of southern Spain. 

I have included the distances for all stops as part of the road trip itineraries. 

Southern Spain road trip

Stop 1 Southern Spain Itinerary: 3 days in Seville 

We started our southern Spain road trip in Seville which is the hottest city in Europe. With mild winters, warm summers, and lovely spring and autumn weather, Seville is one of the prettiest cities in Spain

Seville is thoroughly Spanish, but you won’t find the typical bustle of other major cities like Barcelona or Madrid. The Sevillians are friendly and open people who enjoy life in a slow but intense way.  

Seville is the beating heart of steamy Andalucia, where bars swing open their shutters at 7 am and restaurants serve Andalusia’s best tapas until midnight.   

To fully enjoy Seville, plan three days for your visit. You need plenty of time to see the top attractions in Seville, like the Plaza de España, Real Alcázar de Sevilla, the Metropol Parasol and so much more. Read this detailed guide on how to explore the best of Seville in 3 days. 

Southern Spain road trip

Things and attractions to check out in Seville

 

Plaza de España: This gorgeous plaza or square was built for the 1928 Exposition, and is one of the most visited places in Seville. Entry to the complex is free. 

Real Alcázar de Sevilla: Real Alcázar is the beautiful royal palace in Seville. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I highly recommend exploring the palace grounds on your trip. You will love the architectural influence of the Moors and Renaissance come out in the palace corners. Do remember to book your tickets online in advance. 

Seville Cathedral: This cathedral is also a UNESCO Heritage site, and you can combine a ticket to the royal palace and the cathedral of Seville. It is located a short walk away from Real Alcazar.

Tower of Gold: Torre del Oro or the Tower of Gold is a medieval watchtower located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river. The tower is home to a maritime museum today.  

Metropol Parasol:This is a newer addition to the skyline of Seville (construction completed and opened in 2011). Located at the La Encarnación square, this wooden structure is a unique attraction in the old quarter of Seville and is one of the coolest photo spots!

Where to stay in Seville for 3 days?

Hotel Fernando III is centrally located and you can enjoy their lovely rooftop swimming pool with a cocktail in hand.

If you visit Seville in the summer, a hotel with a pool is definitely recommended. 

During these months temperatures quickly rise to 45 degrees, so you’ll need to make time for more than just a splash in the refreshing water during the daytime.

Seville in the spring and autumn months are beautiful with blooming orange trees and is one of the best times to visit, and embark on this southern Spain road trip itinerary. 

Tip: Download the Cabify app. Uber isn’t available in many Spanish cities, but you can use Cabify instead. Ideal if you prefer not to drive yourselves or plan on drinking during a night out.

read next | Seville Travel Guide

Stop 2 Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary: Cordoba in one day

Distance from Seville: 142.5km/ 88.54 miles (Time taken: 1.50 hours)

The second stop on our southern Spain road trip is Córdoba. The city is only a 1.5-hour drive from Seville. It’s a surprising town where you can explore everywhere on foot, and the delicious local food makes it an ideal day trip.

For this road trip itinerary, I recommend staying in Cordoba overnight and continue on from here. 

With its imposing arches, high columns, and tropical gardens, the Mezquita is the radiant center of Cordoba. Mezquita is the Spanish word for mosque, which refers to the building’s original function. 

When the mosque was built in the 8th century, it was the largest mosque in Europe. 

The building has changed functions several times since the 13th century. After the Reconquista, in which the Muslim population was expelled from Spain, the building became a church. A cathedral was also built there during the 15th century.

Due to the housing of several religions over time, the Mezquita of Cordoba has a unique history. The historic center of the city with the cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be visited almost every day of the year. 

Stay overnight in Cordoba: Maciá Alfaros is located near the center and has a lovely swimming pool.

Southern Spain road trip

Optional stop for your Southern Spain itinerary: Granada

Distance from Seville: 250.3km/ 155.52 miles (Time taken: 2.65 hours)

Instead of Cordoba, you can add Granada to your road trip itinerary and spend 1-2 days there. Doing so, you can still complete this trip in 2 weeks (just take a call for day 14 if you wish to spend time exploring extra destinations at the end. More details below).

Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains are the highlights for Granada. On your road trip enjoy a scenic drive through Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park on the CA-9104 road.

Southern Spain road trip

Stop 3 Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary: Step back in time in Osuna 

 

Distance from Seville: 87.3km/ 54.24 miles (Time taken: 1 hour)

Osuna is an hour’s drive from Cordoba. It’s a beautiful city, which became world-famous through the filming of Games Of Thrones in the bull arena. It is the perfect stop during your time in Andalusia to enjoy real authentic Spain. 

Spot beautiful grand baroque mansions that were built between the 14th and 16th centuries. You can get all the main sights ticked off in just one day.

 

Things and attractions to check out in Osuna

Colegiata de Osuna: This 16th century St. Catholic Church contains a rich collection of Baroque art.

Plaza de Toros: Visit Plaza de Toros – the bullring. I am sure you’ll immediately recognize this place from Game Of Thrones!

Monasterio de la Encarnación: This former monastery is now Osuna’s religious art museum. The church has an impressive Baroque altarpiece and the patio has some beautiful 18th century Seville tile work. Entry is only possible with a guided tour (in Spanish), led by one of the resident nuns.

Stay overnight in Osuna: Palacio Marques de la Gomera is located in a striking 18th century building in Osuna. It features spacious rooms with traditional décor. 

The property has its own restaurant and a charming courtyard.

Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Stop 4 Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary: Enjoy a beautiful sunset in Ronda

Distance from Seville: 129.1km/ 80.15 miles (Time taken: 2 hours) 

Distance from Osuna: 73.9km/ 45.91 miles (Time taken: 1 hour)

 

The town of Ronda is the next stop on our southern Spain itinerary, just a short hour’s drive from Osuna. This is a city I have wanted to tick off my Spanish bucket list for years. 

The road there takes you through countless sunflower fields. (I see you dreaming of beautiful sunflower fields with a breathtaking sunset in the background, but sadly nothing could be further from the truth. The fields here are unfortunately not as beautiful as those in Provence, but they’re at least as much fun to drive through!)

Thanks to the unique location and stunning panoramic views, Ronda charms all its visitors. There’s certainly a reason famous writers like Ernest Hemingway and Rainer Maria Rilke fell in love with this old town. 

The romantic atmosphere attracts visitors from all over the world, who enjoy this picturesque town and its renowned Puente Nuevo every day.   

Southern Spain road trip

Things to do in Ronda

 

Puente Nuevo: This spectacular bridge is undoubtedly the main attraction of the city. The world-famous bridge was built to replace the lower Puente Viejo bridge. Under the leadership of architect Martín de Aldehuela, hundreds of men worked on the bridge for 42 years, 50 of which tragically lost their lives. Today, you’ll be surprised by the views here. 

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent: Known as one of the most beautiful squares in Ronda, Plaza Duquesa de Parcent was home to the most important buildings in the city, during the Moorish occupation of Ronda. Today you can still discover various monuments and historical palaces that are definitely worth a visit.            

Church of Santa Maria la Mayor: Like many other Christian places of worship in Andalusia, this church also rests on the remains of an old Moorish mosque. 

Construction started in the 16th century and was only completed in the 1800s. This has meant that the church comprises different architectural styles. For example, the church preserves the old mihrab of the Moorish mosque, three Gothic hubs, a Renaissance-style chapel, and various Baroque features.         

Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Beautiful viewpoints to add to your Ronda day trip

  • Mirador de Ronda: This beautiful viewpoint in Ronda is located along with the promenade Blas Infante. From here you can enjoy a beautiful view of the valley of Guadalevín, a significant part of the region of Ronda, at a height of 200 meters. This viewpoint is one of the most popular, and you’re guaranteed beautiful photos.             
  • Mirador de Aldehuela: This lookout point is located near Puente Nuevo, right next to the monastery of Santo Domingo. It offers spectacular views of the Guadalevín River, the bridge, and the hills of the Serranía de Ronda.          

 

Stay in Ronda for the night: Hotel Bodega El Juncal is the ideal place to end your Ronda day trip. This beautiful hotel guarantees sweet dreams. 

It has a beautiful swimming pool with a view over the surrounding mountains, and numerous birds drop by for a drink. The staff are super helpful, and the rooms are clean.

Restaurant Tip: At the restaurant Bar El Lechuguita you can experience authentic Spanish tapas. It’s a small restaurant with cozy outdoor tables. As well as being super tasty, it’s also super cheap. You can thank me later!

read next | VALENCIA TRAVEL GUIDE

Stop 5 Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary: Explore Malaga 

 

Distance from Ronda: 102.5km/ 63.69 miles (Time taken: 1.30 hours)

Welcome to the Costa del Sol! 

In the 1960s and 70s, countless holiday homes were built here along the ‘sun coast’. At the time it was very chic to spend your holiday here, but over time the region’s reputation diminished due to mass tourism. Despite that, there are still plenty of beautiful spots to discover during your southern Spain road trip. 

Beautiful sandy beaches, perfect temperatures, a hip harbor area, an old cozy city center, and tasty cheap restaurants: Málaga has it all. It’s quite a big city, but still ideal to explore by bicycle. 

Personally, we weren’t the biggest fan of Malaga, but it is the ideal base for many activities during your holidays in Andalusia.

Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Things to do in Malaga Spain

 

Mercado Central de Atarazanas: You should definitely tick off the local market, Mercado Central de Atarazanas. It’s the best place to find the freshest fish and eat the most delicious tapas.

Alcazaba: The Alcazaba towers over the city. The fort is a mini version of the Alhambra in Granada, but definitely worth a visit as it’s certainly less crowded. For an even better view of the city and the harbor, continue your walk up to the Castillo de Gibralfaro, built to protect the Alcazaba.

Pedregalejo: The Pedregalejo district is the perfect place to eat all kinds of fresh fish near the sea. After a nice long walk along the beach, you’ll stumble across this neighborhood. This area is all about small fish restaurants where families and friends gather to enjoy simple but delicious dishes.

SOHO: Soho has been labeled as the Barrio de las Artes (the arts district). This was once the neighborhood where the bourgeoisie lived until the neighborhood started to deteriorate fifty years ago. Now you will find art galleries and trendy restaurants, and it’s the central spot for cultural events.

 

Stay in Malaga for the night: Salles Hotel Málaga Centro is centrally located, so you can reach everywhere on foot. On the roof terrace, there’s a lovely swimming pool with comfortable sunbeds and a bar.

Restaurant Tips: El Balneario – Baños del Carmen is a traditional fish restaurant by the sea, which also does some of the best tapas in Andalusia. You can relax in a romantic setting and eat fresh fish for the day. Moreover, it is a lovely beach hike from the town to the restaurant. 

At Casa Lola in the center, you can indulge in Spanish tapas at its best – definitely worth it!

Southern Spain road trip

Stop 6 Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary: Go on a Caminito Del Rey Tour

 

Distance from Malaga: 62.7km/ 38.95 miles (Time taken: 55 minutes)

After the tour, return to Malaga

 

We paused our southern Spain road trip for an adventurous walk on the El Caminito del Rey. It’s a hike that has been on our Spanish bucket list for years, but we were always too late to get tickets. This time we were well prepared and booked our tickets online for the Caminito del Rey tour beforehand!

El Caminito del Rey used to be known as one of the most dangerous roads in the world, partly due to the 100 meter deep cliffs. The history of the rock path goes back to 1901 when a power plant was constructed near the neighboring waterfalls of El Chorro and Gaitanejo. This narrow path along the El Chorro river was partly constructed for the transport of building materials. In 1921, the dam of Conde del Guadalhorce was opened at Ardales by King Alfons XIII. 

The king himself had trod this dangerous path, and it, therefore, was given the name ‘Caminito del Rey’ (King’s Path) as a reminder. Since then, the Caminito del Rey has served as a donkey transportation path for years.

In 1992 the path was closed because it had become so dangerous, due to the many holes, broken railings, and missing pieces. Daredevils continued to try the Caminito del Rey tour anyway – and the path obtained a deadly reputation. 

In 2015, the path reopened after years of restoration work and the Caminito del Rey tour is now definitely the most beautiful hiking trail in Spain. You can walk 8 kilometers on the largely wooden path with the many handrails, stairs, and steel cables, no longer having to worry for your safety.

The walk does not disappoint. It is a super pleasant well-marked trip, with beautiful fauna and flora along the way. Definitely try to spot some of the huge eagles flying high above the canyon!

Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Things to know before starting your Caminito Del Rey Tour

  • Buy your tickets online and on time! The Caminito del Rey tour often sells out weeks in advance, so buy your tickets online beforehand.      
  • The walk itself is 5km long, but you’ll walk around 8km in total including the distance from your car to the starting point and back to the bus station at the end.  
  • Make sure you take enough water and sunscreen!     
  • Good footwear is definitely required (no slip-on sandals).          
  • Children under 8 years old are not allowed to participate.          
  • You must wear the supplied helmet during the tour.       
  • Park your car in the acesso norte parking lot (close to restaurant El Kiosko Ardels). From here, you walk for about 20 minutes through the pedestrian tunnel to the control point. 
  • At the end of the Caminito del Rey tour, take the shuttle bus back to the starting point. (A ticket costs €1.55, and the bus runs every hour on weekdays, every half an hour on weekends and during the summer months. We bought our tickets with bus transport included.)       
Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Stop 7 Southern Spain Itinerary: Playa de Maro in Nerja

Distance from Malaga: 56.4km/ 35 miles (Time taken: 45 minutes)

Stay in Nerja, or return to Malaga

 

It’s time to chill out! 

 

A southern Spain road trip is breathtaking, but let’s not forget that the temperatures here can rise to around 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. A sea breeze is more than welcome – and you can get a breath of fresh air on one of the most beautiful Spanish beaches, Playa De Maro, in the coastal town of Nerja. 

Playa De Maro is a very popular place in the summer. How could it not be… turquoise waters and a pebble beach define this perfectly preserved bay in the Natural Park Los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo. 

Due to the fishing ban, marine life thrives here and is easy to spot. With a sea kayak, you can paddle through natural caves and epic waterfalls from Burriana beach to Maro. I highly recommend it! 

The beach offers toilets and a bar, as well as an outdoor shower to rinse off the saltwater from the Mediterranean Sea. Be sure to bring your snorkel goggles!

Tip: Come early so you can park your car as close to the bay as possible. We were parked in the village and had to walk about 1.5 kilometers to the beach. I can already hear you thinking, that’s a piece of cake… think again, as the walk back slopes upwards which becomes quite a challenge in 40 degrees. Sweaty backs assured!

Southern Spain road trip

Things to do in and around Nerja

 

Rio Chillar – Nerja River Walk: The beach not your thing? The Rio Chillar might be for you. It’s a lovely walk through the riverbed, providing you with an opportunity to cool off in a sportier way. 

The hike is immensely popular, so start your adventure early in the day to avoid the crowds. In total, it’s 16km (8km there and 8km back), but you can turn back whenever you want. There are several parking spaces along the street ‘Calle Mirto’ (see map).

Frigiliana: After a day of water fun, Frigiliana is the perfect town to enjoy a beautiful sunset and some tapas. The village is located six kilometers above Nerja, and presents itself as ‘villa de las tres culturas’: the village of three cultures.

Moors, Christians, and Jews have lived here peacefully together for centuries. The history of the Moorish times can still be found here most in Barrio Alto, the highest part of the village. It’s the perfect spot to stroll through the car-free streets with countless shops.

Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Stop 8 Southern Spain Itinerary: Day trip to Gibraltar 

Distance from Malaga: 135.5km/ 84.19 miles (Time taken: 1 hour 40 minutes)

Return to Malaga

 

On day 10 of your Southern Spain road trip, head to Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory. I recommend spending a day there and then returning to Malaga for the night stay. 

If you’re planning to rent a car in Spain, you should mention in advance if Gibraltar is on your schedule. This may incur additional costs from your rental company. 

Gibraltar was conquered by an Anglo-Dutch force in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession, and subsequently became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain. The peninsula thrives on tourism, with the rock of Gibraltar being the main attraction.

In the car on the way to Gibraltar, you can spot countless fields full of olive trees. They’re certainly trees to be envious of… in my mind, I wonder if our two olive trees at home will ever get as tough as these ones. 

If you’re still looking for a souvenir to take back home, now’s the time to stock up on a supply of olives and olive oil! 

Southern Spain road trip

Stop 9 Southern Spain Itinerary: Relax by the sea in Cadiz 

Distance from Malaga: 235.4km/ 146.27 miles (Time taken: 2.50 hours)

Before continuing our journey towards Cádiz, we stopped at Playa Bolonia in Tarifa. 

The beach is part of the El Estrecho Natural Park. On one side of the vast beach, there lies a beautiful pine forest, and on the other, there’s the crystal clear water of the Atlantic Ocean.

At low tide, you can swim in natural pools on the south side, while looking across the Strait of Gibraltar towards Africa. There are many cozy beach bars and restaurants, and it’s known as a surfer’s paradise in Spain!

Arriving in Cadiz

We continued our journey towards Cádiz, a town that I have always wanted to see in real life. The location of this city is special. It lies on a long, narrow peninsula that must be entered via an old gate during your drive to the city. 

Cadiz is completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. When you arrive, take a drive around the peninsula so you immediately have a good understanding of ​​the city. Except for the Cathedral, Cádiz does not have many cultural highlights.

If you have enough time make sure to stop in this cozy seaside resort. Even though there’s not much to do, the city does have plenty of charms. 

You can also eat the best tapas in Andalusia, and Plaza de la Tiza is a pleasant square with several nice tapas bars. In Calle Colombia, you can also discover lots of lovely little cafes and restaurants.

Southern Spain road trip
Southern Spain road trip

Stop 10 Southern Spain Itinerary: Jerez de la Frontera 

Distance from Cadiz: 36km/ 22.36 miles (Time taken: 30 minutes)

Return to Cadiz

Jerez is the city of sherry and the Andalusian horse. Motorcycle enthusiasts will know the city from the Grand Prix circuit. With 200,000 inhabitants, it’s the fifth-largest city in Andalusia. The old center is not too big, meaning you can discover everything on foot.

Arguably even more beautiful is Arcos de La Frontera, a super stunning white village in a beautiful hilly landscape. 

From the viewpoint Plaza El Cabildo, you can spot the special location of the town on the perpendicular mountain wall, and of course, you’ll have a breathtaking view over the valley. Arcos is a very traditional village, where you will be catapulted back in time.

Southern Spain road trip

End of Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary: Return to Seville with optional stops

Distance from Cadiz: 121km/ 75.18 miles (Time taken: 1.35 hours)

 

End your 14-day road trip in southern Spain with a return trip to Seville.

Cadiz to Seville is 1 hour and 20 minutes by road. I do recommend stopping at one of these attractions before arriving in Seville.

 

Must see attractions near Seville on road trips

Roman Archaeological Site of Itálica (distance from Seville 11.7km/ 7.27 miles): 

The Roman Archaeological Site of Itálica is a twenty-minute drive out of Seville. This beautiful site, known as the Dragon Pit film location from Game Of Thrones, is definitely worth a visit. 

The site was a Roman settlement dating back to 206 BC. Later, Itálica was founded as a town under the rule of Emperor Augustus and was the birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Book your tickets in advance.                

Playa de Rompeculos, Huelva (distance from Seville 118.2km/ 73.75 miles):

Do you want to escape from the bustle of the city (or just seek cooler temperatures)? Playa De Rompeculos is a 90-minute drive from Seville. It’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful Spanish beaches. 

To get there, you have to hike for twenty minutes through the Doñana National Park. This beautiful beach will make you forget all your problems. Sandstone cliffs formed from petrified sand dunes frame the 100-meter beach, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Cadiz. It is one of the few beaches in the area where dogs are allowed.

 

So that’s a wrap! This southern Spain road trip was pure enjoyment! 

For me, Andalucia is by far one of the most beautiful regions in the whole country. Real authentic Spain, where joy and quality of life come first.

I hope you found this post interesting. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

Pin: 10 road trip stops in Southern Spain

Southern Spain Road Trip

related posts

2 Comments

  1. leen kriekels

    so beautiful pictures !

    a beautiful region to visit !

    thanks !

    Reply
    • Stéphanie Beyens

      Thank you for reading! You are the sweetest!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This