The Classic 10-Day Andalusian Road Trip Itinerary
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
I'll be the first to admit that this 10-day road trip through the south of Spain will not even begin to scratch the surface of all that Andalusia has to offer. The Muslim, Christian and Jewish influence in the region has created an architecturally and historically diverse region that is home to so much more than just amazing wine and food. If you have the time, add a few days in each city or take time to stop at more off-the-beaten-path destinations. So, vamos! We're going on a road trip.
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An Andalusian 18th-century palace serves as the setting for this ultra-stylish boutique hotel, located in Málaga's dynamic Jewish quarter, a multicultural and dynamic neighborhood steeped in history.
Charming Moorish-style hotel in Cordoba with a rooftop terrace and sauna.
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Day 1: Arrive in Malaga
Fly into Malaga (AGP) airport. If this is your first entry into Europe, this today is the perfect day to take it easy. Check in to your hotel, get a kick of caffeine at Mia Coffee House, or change into your swimsuit and head down to Playa de la Malagueta for a quick dip in the Mediterranean or to lounge in the sun. Gaucho Grill is beachside on the bay and has great Argentinian-style steaks.
Day 2: Malaga
If you came to Spain for the beach - indulge yourself. This will be your best opportunity for sand and waves during your trip. If you'd like to see some sights in Malaga, I recommend Alcabaza, Catedral de la Encarnacion de Malaga, Picasso Museum Malag and Teatro Romano de Malaga - that will give you more than enough to do today. Of course, do as much or as little as you please! Casa Ovi is a great place for lunch regardless of what you do today. El Tinetro is phenomenal for dinner - it's a simple beach restaurant (chiringuito) where the wait staff carries oversized dishes from the kitchen out on large platters while yelling their names. Does something hit the spot? Call the staff over for a serving and enjoy. They'll figure out the bill at the end.
Day 3: Alhambra
Do your best to get an early start because Alhambra awaits. Run down to Delicotte Specialty Coffee + Tea for your morning espresso before you pick up your rental car and his the road. Your journey from Malaga northeast to Granada should take you about 1.5 hours to 2 hours, depending on the stops.
Grab lunch at El Huerto de Juan Ranas, where you can enjoy Andalusian seafood dishes with a spectacular view of Alhambra, building your anticipation. Try to get to Alhambra by 2pm. Buy tickets at the gate (no need to buy ahead of time!) and be sure to triple-check your entry time to the Nasrid Palaces, a not to be missed Moorish-style royal quarters and courtyards that is totally mesmerizing.
Alhambra is expansive and requires a lot of walking. A guided tour is perfect for those wanting to fully grasp the details of Alhambra, but for most of us, a self-guided tour that allows you to wander at your own pace is perfect. You absolutely must stay for golden hour, which is best enjoyed from just outside of the Jardines del Generalife. It's been a long day. Treat yourself to a nice meal at FM, offering fresh dishes direct from the local fish market.
Day 4: Granada
Today is the day you really get to know Granada. Go shopping at Bib-Rambla Square. Sit in a cafe and just enjoy the company of your fellow travelers. Strike up a conversation with a barista. Eat some chocolate churros and have a coffee. Indulge. Enjoy. You can shop at La Alcaiceria, the Moroccan souk, where you can expect to be dazzled but also a bit hassled. If you want to opt out of shopping, you could opt into a flamenco show. Skip a casual day in Granada altogether and head about an hour's drive away to The Sierra Nevada, where you can escape the city and hike, paraglide, or go on a 4WD tour. Don't schedule dinner. Walk around and take in the city. Find a bar with tapas, or get a recommendation from the bartender when you have a pre-dinner glass of wine at a small cafe.
Day 5: Ronda
You take off from Granada towards Ronda sometime in the morning and only after you have brunch at Perspectives Cafe & Honest Food. Drive about halfway to Ronda and stop in Antequera. Grab a late lunch if you're hungry, and then stretch your legs at the Archaeological Dolmens of Antequera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site made of three megalithic structures and very much worth a visit. Carry on to Ronda mid-day - you've got a very photogenic bridge to see. Park your car in town and hike down or drive most of the way to Mirador de Puente Nuevo, giving you an incredible viewpoint of Ronda and Puente Nuevo, the iconic bridge stretching the Gaudalevin River gorge. Bardal has not one but two Michelin stars and is worth a splurge if you're a foodie looking for a truly memorable culinary experience in Spain.
Day 6: Seville
Drive from Ronda to Seville, about 2 hours. As with much of Europe, Seville is an excellent destination to explore on foot. There is a free walking tour from Pancho Tours that meets at Hernando Colon St 38 at 10:30 am or 5:00 pm and will take you outside of the city's most notable highlights. If you can make the 10:30am tour, do it. This will help you maximize your time in Sevilla. You'll have a really good feel for the city after your tour.
When the tour ends, grab sandwiches from a local vendor (highly recommend a Serranito de Cerdo) and enjoy a picnic lunch on the steps of Plaza de Espana (which is also absolutely beautiful at night!). Or have an Aperol Spritz or two instead at the rooftop bar at Hotel Doña Maria, an amazing place to watch the sun go down behind the Catedral de Sevilla. Once it gets dark, walk 5-10 minutes to PETRA for dinner, where you will grill your own meat on a tabletop hot stone in a Mediterranean-style setting.
Day 7: Seville
You've got a lot to do today, so please caffeinate appropriately. Stop at Jester for coffee and an acai bowl. You saw the city's highlights on foot yesterday, so today's the day to go inside! Don't miss Royal Alcazar, Giralda + Seville Cathedral, Torre del Oro. Wander around Barrio Santa Cruz and linger at a tapas bar. Mercado de Triana is located near Isabel II Bridge. El Librero Tapas Y Quesos and L'Albufera have excellent paella, so stop there for dinner. Stop at the historic Confiteria La Campana on your way back to your hotel, a dessert shop that's been satisfying sweet tooths since 1885. La Campana also doubles as a great place for a quick breakfast tomorrow morning.
Day 8: Cordoba
You've made it to Cordoba (1.5-2 hours from Seville), where the Mosque-Cathedral awaits, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is truly a marvel. Stroll across the Roman Bridge of Cordoba (which is even more stunning at night), and visit Plaza de la Corredera for a lunch on the plaza. Surely you have stumbled upon and said yes to churros by now, but if you haven't now is your chance! Mojaelchurros is this pops-out-of-nowhere churro shop that churns out whimsical, super Instagrammable churros - churros y chocolate or churros with toppings of candies and cookie crumbles, the choice is yours.
Day 9: Cordoba
The word of the day is: WINE. Hire a driver for the day because you're having *all* the wine. Head south to Bodegas Lagar Blanco and Alvear, two fantastic Andalusian wineries. And, if the word of the day is not WINE, maybe it's NATURE! Parque Natural de las Sierras Subbeticas is nearby too where hiking or biking will make for a perfect day away from the city. The courtyard at Restaurante El Rincon De Carmen is warm and intimate - the perfect place to toast to your last night in Spain.
Day 10: Travel home
Finish your trip with a two-hour drive back to Malaga to catch your flight home. Don't worry - this is definitely a "see ya later" situation.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out The Heart and Soul of Venice: Where to Eat, Stay & Explore.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Spain, and our larger series on road trip travel.