alcazaba de malaga, spain

The Ultimate Andalucia Road Trip, 7 to 14 Days Itinerary

There are many reasons why you should visit Andalucia, also known as Andalusia – its beautiful coasts, impressive buildings, rich culture, and delicious cuisine among other reasons.

So if you’re planning a visit, this Andalucia road trip itinerary is all you need.

I’m going to tell you what cities you must visit, the unmissable things you need to do in each city, and restaurant and accommodation recommendations so you don’t need to worry about planning much.

On top of this, I’ll give you my local insight, as an Andalusian, and tips to make the most of your trip.

Andalucia road trip itinerary

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Andalucia road trip for 10 days

Click on the map below to open it in Google Maps. You can access directions to each of the locations mentioned in this Southern Spain road trip.

Malaga (2 days)

Malaga is the perfect destination to start your road trip in Andalucia. Malaga airport (AGP) is one of the top 10 biggest airports in Spain, which means you’re very likely to find a flight to Malaga from your origin destination.

Costa del Sol and Malaga are known for their beautiful sandy beaches, but the city has many cultural activities too – from visiting museums like Picasso Museum Malaga to learning about the Moorish influence in the city while exploring historical buildings like Alcazaba or Gibralfaro Castle.

There are incredible things to do in Malaga in one or two days, and here are my recommendations on what to do during these two days in Malaga.

malaga port view

Day 1 in Malaga

Prepare yourself for a day packed with activities in the city centre of Malaga. First, enjoy traditional churros con chocolate at Casa Aranda, a cafe that is approved by locals and tourists.

Then head to La Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress-palace that takes you back to the Muslim period in the city. Wander the beautiful patios filled with scented jasmines, walk on the walls for some breathtaking views of Malaga’s port and city centre, and contemplate the detailed Nasrid architecture.

From La Alcazaba go to Castillo de Gibralfaro. This castle is situated at the top of the hill, so you have two options: walk or take the bus. I always choose to walk to the castle because you get to walk through beautiful gardens and stop by Gibralfaro viewpoint – the best viewpoint in the city.

After your visit to the castle, eat Malaga’s traditional food at El Pimpi, a restaurant bar that serves delicious dishes and when you choose to sit on their terrace, you can get a lovely view of La Alcazaba. I recommend ordering pescaíto frito (fried fish).

Spend the rest of your day visiting Malaga Cathedral or Picasso Museum Malaga, wandering Larios Street and watching the sunset at Muelle Uno, Malaga’s port.

alcazaba de malaga, spain

Day 2 in Malaga

If you have a sweet tooth, have breakfast at La Bella Julieta. They have a good selection of sandwiches as well as cakes and pastries.

Depending on the time of the year you visit Malaga, you can do different activities.

If you’re visiting Malaga in summer, spend the second day at one of the best beaches in Malaga. In case you don’t want to go too far, visit La Malagueta beach which is located a few footsteps from the city centre.

Have food at one of the traditional beach bars or Muelle Uno restaurants if you fancy international food.

If you’re visiting Malaga in winter, go to Los Montes de Málaga for a hiking adventure or visit Jardín Botánico La Concepción, a botanic garden that has a good range of plants from all over the world and panoramic views of the city.

When opting for Los Montes de Malaga, you can try Plato de Los Montes, a traditional dish that consists of marinated pork loin, chips, fried green peppers and egg, chorizo and morcilla (similar to black pudding).

Alternatively, you can relax at Hamman Malaga baths and get a massage.

Where to stay in Malaga

room mate valeria hotel malaga

Room Mate Valeria is my top choice. This 4-star boutique hotel is located very central, just a few minutes walk from Calle Larios and the port.

It offers modern and comfortable rooms that have been decorated with elements that represent the nature and city of Malaga.

The hotel also has amazing communal areas including an Andalusian-style rooftop bar that overlooks the city centre.

It’s the perfect accommodation for 2 days in Malaga.

Nerja (1 day)

Less than an hour’s drive from Malaga, you’ll find the beautiful whitewashed town of Nerja.

Nerja is one of the most popular and best day trips from Malaga, and there is no doubt why – the beaches with crystal clear water, lively atmosphere and sights make this town unique.

nerja coast view

Start your day in Nerja by visiting Nerja Caves which attract many national and international tourists. The caves have outstanding stalactites and other natural elements that you won’t find anywhere else in Spain.

Then head to the town centre to explore its lovely streets filled with local independent shops and bars that will lead you to the famous Balcón de Europa.

Balcón de Europa is my favourite viewpoint in Costa del Sol. The views you get from this viewpoint are magical as you can see the contrast of beach and mountain landscapes while enjoying the noise of the waves.

On both sides of the viewpoint, there are two small beaches: Playa el Salón and Playa Calahonda. These beaches are cosy and beautiful, but they can get very busy during the summer months.

If you want a more tranquil beach to spend the rest of your day in Nerja, then I recommend visiting Playa de Maro located 10 minutes by car from Nerja.

Aren’t you a big fan of laying at the beach? After Balcón de Europa, go to the nearby town of Frigiliana. Although there aren’t many attractions in Frigiliana, it’s considered one of the prettiest towns in Southern Spain.

things to do in Nerja like visiting la dorada boat

Where to stay in Nerja

Hotel Balcón de Europa is a great option if you want to stay central and enjoy a comfortable room with views of the sea and direct access to the beach.

Granada (2 days)

Granada is a must-see destination in Andalucia, not only because of the Alhambra but other architectural buildings, tapas culture, and lively atmosphere.

You want to spend more than a day in Granada to discover all the incredible things that the city has to offer. Two days is the ideal time to see Granada main’s attractions.

inside the alhambra in granada

Day 1 in Granada

Start your day by having breakfast at Café 4 Gatos located in the beautiful quarter of Albacín. The café has a wide range of sandwiches, toast and special breakfasts that can be accompanied by freshly squeezed orange juice or coffee.

Not only does the cafe offer delicious breakfasts but outstanding views of La Alhambra.

After breakfast, head to Granada’s main attraction, La Alhambra, an impressive Moorish palace complex that is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Alhambra consists of three main parts, the Alcazaba, the palatial zone and the Medina. All these areas are surrounded by beautiful patios and gardens that you can explore at your own pace, so don’t rush your visit.

One of the most popular parts is the Court of the Lions (El Patio de Los Leones), a courtyard surrounded by outstanding marble columns and a central fountain that has twelve lions in white marble.

Regardless of the area, you’re visiting, you’ll be surprised by the detailed and unique Nasrid architecture, sculptures, and arches.

Most visits last approximately 3 to 4 hours, however, you can spend less or more time depending on your interests.

No matter what time of the year you visit it, make sure to book your Alhambra tickets in advance.

After the Alhambra visit, have a tranquil meal and go to Carrera del Darro, the most beautiful cobblestone street in Granada which also offers lovely views of the Alhambra.

To finish your day, you can’t miss visiting Mirador de San Nicolás. This magical viewpoint is the perfect place to watch the sunset and enjoy the lively atmosphere of Granada. Sometimes you can even see locals playing flamenco.

Day 2 in Granada

Get ready for another day packed with activities by having breakfast at Casa Ysla which offers the best piononos, Granada’s traditional small cakes, delicious cakes and pastries. I absolutely loved having breakfast at this bakery/cake shop.

Go to The Cathedral of Granada to see the former Great Mosque of Granada. The interior of the cathedral is incredibly beautiful and next to it is The Royal Chapel which is the burial place of the Catholic Kings.

Another place that is worth visiting is Corral del Carbón which is only a 3-minute walk from the cathedral. It’s the most preserved Andalusian citadel in Spain.

After these visits, you can have some tapas at many of the bars you can find in the area or book a food tour with a local guide that will take you to the best places.

Spend the rest of the day at Hammam Al Ándalus Turkish baths, visiting Sacromonte (famous for its caves) or attending a flamenco show.

Where to stay in Granada

Hotel Casa 1800 is my top choice of accommodation in Granada. This boutique hotel is situated in the heart of Granada, a few minutes from the old town and shopping area.

It has comfortable and modern rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, safe among other amenities.

If you’re after a special stay, then you need to book the Deluxe Room that offers cosy terraces to enjoy breakfast with an incredible view of the Alhambra.

Cordoba (1 day)

2 hours drive from Granada is the beautiful city of Cordoba. You’ll love the city if you’re passionate about art and history as there are must-see attractions with exquisite architecture.

One day in Cordoba may not be enough to visit all the places in the city and its surroundings, but it’s perfect to explore its main sights.

The most known building in Cordoba is La Mezquita, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

cordoba mosque

The first thing to do in Cordoba is visit La Mezquita. The earlier you go, the more chances to explore this beautiful architectural gem with fewer crowds, especially if you want to take photos. The full visit will take you around 2 and 2 hours and 30 minutes.

However, you can also add the Bell Tower to your itinerary, but just be aware that the entrance is every 30 minutes, and the fee is 2 euros.

Then wander around La Judería, the Jewish Quarter. Here you can visit Casa Andalusí, a house/museum that will transport you to Morocco. This is also the perfect place to window shop and buy a souvenir.

Go to Taberna Casa Pedro Ximénez for lunch where you can taste traditional dishes in Cordoba like flamenquines, salmorejo or rabo de toro.

Finally, there is no visit to Cordoba without going to Palacio de Viana, a 15th century palace that is also home to 12 beautiful patios. Wandering around the palace and patios is an experience – the scent of orange and jasmine and the beautiful mosaics and architecture.

If you have spare time, walk across Puente Romano, and explore Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs or Patios San Basilio.

Where to stay in Cordoba

Hotel Soho Boutique Capuchinos & Spa is one of the best accommodation options. It’s located only 13 minute walk from La Mezquita and other Cordoba attractions, and the facilities and room are incredible.

The rooms have all the amenities you need – comfortable beds, a mini-fridge, air conditioning, TV, safe and Wi-Fi.

The hotel also includes a modern Spa, parking, a terrace bar and a café.

📌 Have a look at Hotel Soho Boutique Capuchinos & Spa here

Sevilla (2 days)

Sevilla, the capital of Andalusia, needs to be included in your Andalusia road trip. This charming city is packed with breathtaking architectural buildings and culture.

It’s the largest city in the county so you must spend a minimum of two days in Sevilla to be able to explore the unmissable attractions.

plaza de espana in seville spain

Day 1 in Sevilla

Commence your day by having a delicious breakfast at Bar Alfalfa. Then head to Seville Cathedral, the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Explore all the unique parts of the cathedral including the Giralda Tower and the orange tree courtyard. However, don’t go to the tower if you don’t like heights or you suffer from claustrophobia. The path to go up is very narrow.

Another must-see attraction is Real Alcázar where you can spend 2 hours exploring the impressive areas of this palace – including its spacious gardens. The Moorish architecture inside Alcazar is something to admire!

Have lunch at Bar Antojo, an incredible tapas restaurant not very far from the city centre. They serve delicious and generous tapas. Their patatas bravas is one of my favourite dishes!

Finally, go to Plaza de España, situated in Parque de María Luisa (Maria Luisa Park). This is the most beautiful square in Southern Spain with about 50,000 square metres in which you’ll find beautiful features like towers, bridges, a small canal, and impressive Andalusian tiles.

One of its unique things is the 48 small spots with benches, one for each province of Spain. Tourists love taking photos of themselves with friends and or family on the benches.

Other popular activities in the plaza are riding horses and renting a small boat to row in the canal.

Alternatively, you can also book a cruise through the Guadalquivir River. This is a fun way to discover Seville and see the city from a different perspective. Many of these cruises also welcome you with snacks and drinks, what else could you ask for?

a view of the guadalquivir river in seville

Day 2 in Sevilla

Have a more relaxing second day in Sevilla. Start by having breakfast at La Mala Brunch, one of the best cafes in Seville, which has mouthwatering savoury and sweet dishes like pancakes and bagels.

Then head to Setas de Sevilla which consists of an impressive sculptural wooden structure where you can visit an archaeological museum and walk through the rooftop to get incredible views of the capital.

For this attraction, you can either choose the morning or evening session, but you can really spend as much as you want there.

Later, spend some time exploring the unique neighbourhood of Triana. This neighbourhood has plenty of things to see and do. You can visit Triana Ceramic Centre, see Capilla del Carmen, wander its streets and walk through Isabel II Bridge.

When visiting Triana, Calle Betis is a must. This street is surrounded by a good selection of restaurants and bars as well as venues that host live flamenco music.

And another unmissable spot in this area is the colourful Mercado de Triana (Triana Market) where you can enjoy some tapas in the bars or experience the atmosphere of a Spanish market.

Where to stay in Sevilla

Hotel Las Casas de La Judería is one of the best accommodations in Seville because of its central location and the beautiful design of the building.

The hotel offers 27 traditional-style Sevillian houses that are connected by passageways and patios. By staying at this hotel, you can also enjoy amazing facilities like a rooftop pool and a spa.

Cadiz (1 day)

Cadiz is a lively and beautiful city that must be on your itinerary. Cadiz is considered the oldest city in Europe because of numerous archaeological discoveries and it’s one of the most vibrant coastal destinations in Andalucia.

historical buildings in Cadiz Spain

Start your day by visiting the city’s most popular attraction, Catedral de Cádiz. This cathedral took over 100 years to build, and it’s unique because you can appreciate the mixture of architecture.

Not very far from the cathedral, if you love archaeology, you can also visit the Roman Theatre.

After this, head to Iglesia de Santiago Apóstol, a church that can’t be missed during your day trip to Cadiz.

For lunch, there is no better place than Cadiz Central Market which has a gastronomy section where you can taste Cadiz’s traditional dishes and products. You can’t leave the market without trying tortillitas de camarones (shrimp fritters).

Later, go to Torre Tavira and climb 173 steps to reach the highest point where you can experience the Camera Obscura and enjoy one of the best panoramic views of Cadiz.

Spend the rest of the day wandering Cadiz city centre, walking along El Malecón and watching the sunset at the beach.

Where to stay in Cadiz

Are you looking for a central hotel in Cadiz? Hotel Spa Cádiz Plaza is an excellent choice. The hotel is close to the beach and main attractions.

It’s a boutique family hotel so expect a welcoming and warm experience. They offer rooms for all types of stays – family, couples, and friends. No matter what room you choose, all rooms are equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, a minibar, and other amenities.

📌 Book your stay at Hotel Cádiz Plaza here

Tarifa (1 day)

1 hour and 30 minutes from Cadiz, Tarifa is the perfect destination to finish your road trip

The city is popular among kitesurfers due to the perfect wind condition of the beaches. It’s considered one of the best places for kitesurfing in Europe!

However, it’s also a charming place where you can discover many prehistoric remains.

tarifa beach in cadiz

Start your day by visiting Baelo Claudia, an ancient Roman city that is worth visiting. You can learn more about the old city and see its incredible ruins which are almost intact.

After this, get lost in the beautiful and narrow streets of Tarifa. Visit the San Mateo Eliza Church and have some delicious tapas at Bar Ola Ola Tarifa. 

Walk the promenade to the Isla de las Palomas, an island opposite Tarifa, and finally, spend some time relaxing at the beach. 

Where to stay in Tarifa

The Riad Tarifa is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Tarifa. What makes this hotel unique is that it is built in a 17th-century building.

By staying at The Riad, you’ll get the essence of the Moroccan riads. Its bedrooms are decorated with ancient elements and have everything you need for your short stay.

The hotel also has two courts to relax, a fountain and a rooftop with views of the city.

Here is a summary of your 10 day itinerary to Andalucia:

Day 1 and 2 – Malaga

Day 3 – Nerja (optional: visit Frigiliana too)

Day 4 and 5 – Granada

Day 6 – Cordoba

Day 7 and 8 – Sevilla

Day 9 – Cadiz

Day 10 – Tarifa

Are you looking for a 7 day itinerary to Andalucia?

If you only have 7 days to explore Andalucia, then follow this itinerary:

Day 1 – Malaga

Day 2 – Nerja and Frigiliana

Day 3 and 4 – Granada

Day 5 and 6 – Sevilla

Day 7 – Cadiz

muelle uno malaga

Are you looking for a 14 day itinerary to Andalucia?

If you want to make your trip longer, then follow this itinerary:

Day 1 and 2 – Malaga

Day 3 – Nerja

Day 4 – Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas

Day 5 and 6 – Granada

Day 7 – Cordoba

Day 8 and 9 – Sevilla

Day 9 and 10 – Cadiz

Day 11 – Conil de la Frontera

Day 12 and 13 – Tarifa

Day 14 – Estepona or Marbella

When to visit Andalucia

You can visit Andalucia all year round because every season has something to offer.

Some destinations such as Malaga, Cadiz and Almeria are popular during the summer because of the beaches and warm temperatures. However, if you want to explore places, avoid the summer months (July to September) as temperatures are very high and make it difficult to sightsee.

The best times to visit Andalucia are late spring and early autumn as there are fewer tourists and temperatures are pleasant.

Winter months are cooler but relatively warm in comparison to other European destinations. If you want a different Christmas, then you’ll want to visit Southern Spain.

During late November, December, and early January you can enjoy the Christmas lights and attend the Three Kings parade on the 5th of January, a unique experience for children and adults.

If you love winter outdoor activities, Sierra Nevada is the best place to go for skiing. But you can also visit incredible national parks across Andalucia like Doñana and Sierra de las Nieves.

Christmas in Spain

Tips for driving in Spain

The best way to move around Spain is by car as it’s faster than public transport, it gives you more freedom and you can access more places.

But there are a few things you need to know about driving in Spain:

  1. Spanish people drive on the right side of the road like many European countries except the UK, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus.
  2. If you have a European or international driving license, you can drive in Spain without any problems. However, international driving licenses are only valid for a year, after that, you’ll have to get a Spanish one.
  3. Don’t forget to get driving insurance. This is very important to be covered in case of a car accident or technical issue.
  4. If you’re bringing your car to Spain, you must ask for a temporary circulation permit for the vehicle at Customs. This permit is only valid for 6 months, after that, you need to register your car in Spain.
  5. If you’re renting a car in Spain, you must know that the minimum age is 21, and many car rental companies want you to have a driving licence for 1 or 2 years. Also, if you’re under 25, expect higher rates.

In addition to all these tips, I would avoid going on a road trip in August as this is the busiest month in Andalucia.

Locals often get their holidays in August, and tourists, who look for the sun, come to Spain in August.  This means that roads are busier and it’s more difficult to find a parking space. Traffic is even worse in coastal towns!

Are you going on an Andalucia road trip this year? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear your plans.

If you have any questions about travelling to Southern Spain, email me or send me a DM on Instagram. I’d be very happy to help you plan your road trip.

Safe adventures!

Cristina xx

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Frequently asked questions about visiting Andalucia

Where should I base myself in Andalucia?

Málaga is a good base to start your road trip. Not only does Málaga have one of the largest airports in Spain but it’s quite easy to travel to other Andalusian cities.

If you aren’t renting a car, Malaga is connected to other cities by train and bus, and public transport is generally cheap.

Do I need a car in Andalucia?

You don’t need a car to travel around Andalucía but renting one does make things easier. You aren’t restricted to specific times, and you have more freedom to travel to less accessible or remote locations.

What is the most visited place in Andalucia?

Sevilla is the most visited destination in Southern Spain, but Granada and Málaga are also on top of the list.

If you’re looking for less touristy destinations in Andalucia, have a look at Andalusian cities like Almeria, Jaen and Huelva. They’re less popular, but you’ll be surprised how beautiful they are too!

Is Andalucia expensive?

Andalucía is very affordable in comparison to other counties and cities like Madrid and Barcelona. However, if you’re on a budget you want to avoid eating or staying in touristy locations.

For example, staying in Marbella is much more expensive than staying in Torremolinos.

In addition to this, avoid travelling to Andalusia during the peak season (i.e. Easter and summer) and bank holidays to get better accommodation and flight deals. If you do a quick comparison, you’ll easily realise the difference in prices!

Things to do before visiting Andalucia

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  1. This looks absolutely magical! I loved Spain more than I thought I would – so a road trip would really get me out of the big cities for my next visit. Definitely saving!

  2. I love this! Totally pinning to add on my bucket list of places to visit. It’s detailed and has all I would need to know once I start planning a visit. 🤗

  3. Travel A-Broads says:

    Great itinerary! I’ve yet to visit Spain but would love to one day! Those beaches look beautiful and the architecture looks incredible. I’ll definitely have to refer back to this before planning a trip here! Xx Sara

  4. ANUKRATI DOSI says:

    I can’t wait to visit Andalucia after reading your post.

  5. Loved this detailed guide – I’ve always steered away from Spain as the “lager and ships” beach resorts are just not me, but you’ve made Andalucia shoot right up my bucket list!

  6. Elle Burne says:

    This all looks amazing, but especially Cordoba! I am now regretting only visiting Barca and Madrid on my last visit to Spain – I shall have to go back ASAP!

  7. This looks like a magical part of Spain to visit. I can’t wait to get there one day! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. This Andalucia road trip looks dreamy!! Each one of your stops is so beautiful!

  9. We haven’t been out of the country in so long and all of your Andalucia photos are giving major wanderlust! Thanks for sharing.

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