The most famous pueblos blancos, Ronda and its bridge

Must See Andalucia 7 Day Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary

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Andalucia is one of those travel destinations that a lot of people have preconceived ideas about. Bullfights, Moorish architecture, the magic of the countryside. Beyond what the word Andalucia might stir up in your imagination, this southern province of Spain has so many lesser-known sights to discover.

Planning Your Trip to aNDALUCIA lAST mINUTE?

Planning your trip to Southern Spain? Below are some places to stay, things to do, and more. Make sure to book ahead when planning your trip to Andalucia as some experiences will have zero availability on the day of, like the Alhambra or Caminito del Rey.

Best Tours and Experiences in Andalucia
  1. Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces Ticket, Granada (advance tickets are a must!)
  2. El Caminito del Rey Entry Ticket (these sell out!)
  3. Seville Cathedral and Giralda Skip-the-Line Ticket (most popular sight in Seville!)
  4. Seville Royal Alcazar Tickets (avoid an hour in line, unlike me)
  5. Seville Food Tour: Tapas, Wine, History & Traditions
Top Hotels in ANDALUCIA
  1. La Casa Mata Central, Malaga (great location, very affordable)
  2. Boabdil Guesthouse, Ronda (favourite place I stayed!)
  3. Las Casas de El Arenal, Seville (central, rooftop terrace)
  4. Verona, Granada (great location)

Looking to travel around Andalucia independently? Click here to check Spain rental car rates!

Seven days in Andalucia is hardly going to be enough time. At almost every single place I went to, I wished for longer. In a week, you can see some of the cultural highlights of Andalucia including Seville and the Alhambra. You also will have time to experience the countryside of Southern Spain, which in my opinion is the real highlight of this trip.

7 Day Southern Spain Road Trip Itinerary

Length: 8 days, 7 nights
Start and End Point: Malaga, can start in Granada or Seville
Cities: Ronda, Seville, Granada
Hikes: Caminito del Rey, El Torcal de Antequera

Top 5 Experiences to Have in Southern Spain

  1. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
  2. Hike the world’s (formerly) most dangerous hike, El Caminito del Rey
  3. Soak up the atmosphere of the white villages (pueblo blancos) of Cadiz
  4. Wander Seville’s streets and indulge in tapas and sangria
  5. Visit the Alhambra and see the Moorish architecture and gardens
Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park road
View of the roads through Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, Spain

Renting a Car in Andalusia

While you could do this itinerary using day trips and getting between cities with buses and trains, a car will give you a lot more flexibility.

I recommend and use Discover Cars. It compares local Spanish and international companies so you can get the best deal. If you don’t have full coverage, you can also add this to your booking so you’re covered.

Even though it can be tempting to go with the cheapest price, don’t go with a company with low ratings. In Spain, I used Hertz and was very happy with the car and the service.

Driving in Spain is fairly easy and straightforward, although city driving can be a little confusing if there are road construction closures. My mistake in Spain was using the GPS that came with the car. It was not at all updated so it had me going in circles in Malaga. I highly recommend having Google Maps for at least the cities saved in your phone as it will be more up-to-date.

When to Visit Southern Spain

This trip would be suitable for any time of the year as southern Spain is one of the warmest places in Europe. It gets very hot and crowded in the summer so I would head there either in the spring or autumn. This could also be budget-friendly as accommodation and car rental may be cheaper in the off-season.

I visited in October and the weather was quite pleasant. Most of the time it was suitable to be wearing a light sweater or t-shirt. Some places were crowded but it was easy to find yourself away from the crowds.

One Week in Spain Itinerary

Day 1: Malaga

Depending on your flight schedule you can either arrive the day before hiking the Caminito del Rey or the morning of and drive directly to the hike.

For me, this was hardly a travel day. I arrived very late into the Malaga airport and went straight to the guesthouse where I was staying. This was honestly one of the most frustrating drives I have ever done. The GPS in the rental car was not up to date and kept trying to direct us down roads in the center of Malaga that clearly had do not enter signs. Highly recommend using Google Maps here.

The Malaga Airport is a really great budget option to arrive into if you are coming from outside of Spain as Ryanair flies into here. If you are arriving from somewhere else in Spain, it might make more sense to take the high-speed train to Seville or Granada.

If you have more time in Malaga, it is one of the best beach cities in Europe as it is on the sunny Costa de Sol.

Day 2: El Caminito del Rey Hike

Make sure you have your Caminito del Rey tickets booked in advance for your hike. I booked a time around 2:30 pm so I would have lots of time to have breakfast and drive from Malaga to the hike. If tickets are unavailable, you can join a tour to ensure that you get to hike the Caminito del Rey, it is not to be missed. If you aren’t renting a car for this trip, there are tours with the bus from Malaga included, like this one.

Caminito del Rey looking towards the aquaduct bridge
Caminito del Rey, Spain

I enjoyed my breakfast at Gloria Hoyos before going to a local grocery store to grab lunch supplies. There was limited options for where to eat on the way to Caminito del Rey so it would be best to have food with you.

The drive to El Caminito del Rey is gorgeous. It passes through beautiful scenery and white villages. The hike itself is stunning. With boardwalks clung onto the sides of a steep canyon with towering mountains, it is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience. It was once claimed to be the most dangerous hike in the world but it is now newly renovated with new boardwalks. You can see more photos and read a detailed guide to hiking the Caminito del Rey here.

After spending approximately 2-3 hours on the hike, drive to Ronda. I was able to arrive just before sunset and check into the Boabdil Guesthouse. This guesthouse was so comfortable and was a fantastic place to stay while visiting Ronda.

After check-in, walk to the famous Puente Nuevo bridge to see the sunset and the bridge light up at night before having dinner in Ronda.

Sunset ronda bridge in andalucia in the evening
Ronda at night, Spain

Day 3: Ronda and Pueblos Blancos

Spend the morning exploring Ronda and seeing the town. It was nice to walk to all the viewpoints of the bridge as well as walk down below it to get a view of just how large the bridge is.

The most famous pueblos blancos, Ronda and its bridge
Ronda, Spain

After exploring Ronda, head out on your day trip of the Pueblos Blancos, or white villages, of Andalucia. There are so many villages to choose from but I chose the route that made the most sense to end up in Seville at days end.

After leaving Ronda, I checked out the village of Setenil de las Bodegas. This village is known for its cave buildings. Head towards Grazalema and have lunch here. After, take the scenic drive through Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park on the CA-9104 road. Grazalema was probably my favourite white village that I visited and I would class the drive through the park as a drive of a lifetime. The final village of the day is Zahara de la Sierra, which has a castle above the village. Check out my post on the Pueblos Blancos for more details on the best views in Ronda and more information on the route I drove.

The gorgeous geranium covered buildings of Grazalema, Spain
Grazalema, Spain

Finish up your day trip to the pueblos blancos by driving to Seville. I stayed in an apartment here, La Casa de San Lorenzo, which I highly recommend as it was large and close walking distance to the main sights of Seville. Another good option in Seville is the very affordable hotel, Pensión Córdoba or Las Casas de El Arenal, a beautiful boutique hotel.

Day 4-5: Seville

With two days in Seville, you should be able to see the main sights. I left my itinerary for Seville with lots of space in it to explore the city and not just be inside buildings all day. You can check out my complete guide to two days in Seville here.

Real Alcazar, Seville, Spain

Spend your first day in Seville exploring the historical buildings of the Seville Cathedral and Giralda and the Real Alcázar. The cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is definitely worth a visit. The walk up the Giralda bell tower gives you views over the city and is definitely a must-see. If you are not a huge fan of architecture, you can skip the Real Alcázar, as you will see plenty of Moorish architecture at the Alhambra in Granada. I enjoyed seeing both palaces but it can feel a bit repetitive if it isn’t your thing.

I highly recommend booking skip-the-line tickets for both the Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcazar as I ended up having to wait an hour in line to buy tickets.

The first day in Seville is a good day for exploring the streets of the city and getting a chance to try lots of tapas and Spanish drinks. My favourite place for tapas ended up being Bodego dos de Mayo. If you end up near it, the Metropol Parasol (Setas de Seville), is a great place to get views of the city and watch the sunset.

The Metropol Parasol is perfect for a view of the Seville skyline at sunset. This large wooden structure is located close to all of the sights and worth a visit while you are in Seville.
View over Seville’s old town from the Metropol Parasol.

On your second day in Seville, try to make time to explore the neighbourhood of Triana before heading to the Plaza de Espana. The Plaza de Espana is one of the top sights to see in Seville. The gorgeous tile details and bridges are a highlight. It was one of my favourite things that I did in Seville. There were street performers where you can watch flamenco dancers and have a relaxing afternoon. You can easily spend hours in Plaza de Espana and Maria Luisa Park. It’s a huge area and there are lots of photo opportunities.

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

Day 6: Torcal de Antequera

Day six will have you spending the night in Granada. While you can drive straight to Granada, I found it was worth the detour near Antequera to see the Torcal de Antequera. This mountain-top park has unique-looking karst formations. It was a nice break in highway driving that took us up into the Sierra del Torcal mountains. You have an opportunity to do either a short 45 minute hike through the formations or a longer hike here. If you’re short on time, you can just park and walk to the lookout point at the park.

Torcal de Antequera, Spain

You should arrive in Granada with plenty of time to find a nice tapas restaurant. One of the unique things about Granada is that every time you order a drink, they give you a tapa with it. I stayed at Hostal Verona here and it was a reasonable walking distance to everything and quite affordable.

Day 7: Granada and the Alhambra

I devoted the entire day to visiting the Alhambra. This is the one thing you really have to plan in advance and book your tickets for. I had my tickets booked for an early entrance to the Nasrid Palace, for 10:30 am, and it worked perfectly. I recommend taking the bus or taxi up to the Alhambra because the walk is quite long and steep. I have a full guide to the city of Granada here.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra is a huge palace complex that does take a few hours to see properly. There are endless photographs you can take here and it offers views over Granada. The fountains and gardens here are gorgeous as well. I did find that some places get very crowded with other people, especially the start of the Nasrid Palace.

Inside the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

After exploring the Alhambra, walk down the steps to the city and have a late lunch. The steps down are actually quite scenic and offer up lovely streets views of Granada. The Malvasia Taberna is a fantastic restaurant to have lunch at that is not too far from the Alhambra. There are lots of tapas restaurants nearby that looked good as well.

One of the most popular places to watch the sunset is from the Mirador San Nicholas. It’s quite the walk up steps through tiny alleyways to find it. The mirador offer up great views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains behind it. At sunset, it is packed with people so you might want to arrive a bit early to secure your spot. The neighbourhood that this view point is in, the Albayzin, is full of cobbled streets and is a good location for tapas bars as well as souvenir shops.

View of the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Day 8: La Rijana

Depending on your flight or train schedule, you may have time for a beach visit today. My flight was from Malaga in the late afternoon so I had time to drive from Granada and stop to see the Mediterranean.

There are many beaches that you can visit on the way to the airport. Playa la Rijana was a gorgeous beach framed with cliffs and was a good place to end this southern Spain road trip. Keep an eye out for jellyfish, there has been a problem with beaches near here having an abundance of them. You can see more photos of this gem on the Costa Tropical here.

If you have extra time before your flight, there are plenty of things to do in Malaga.

La Rijana Beach, Spain

Where to Stay in Andalucia

Andalucia has some really good options for accommodation at a great price. Compared to other places in Europe, I found the rooms and apartments to generally be more spacious. In addition to traditional accommodation, Spain also has some really wonderful vegan and eco-friendly hotels.

Malaga I stayed at La Casa Mata Central in Malaga. Super budget-friendly and in a good location.

Ronda I stayed at Boabdil Guesthouse and loved the location and the rooms which were spacious and super comfortable. I would have happily stayed longer than one night.

For a hotel, Hotel Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel is a good option for Ronda. The rooms look gorgeous as it is in a restored historic building and there is an option for breakfast, which is important as breakfast is nearly impossible to find in Ronda.

Seville I rented an apartment, La Casa de San Lorenzo. The location was fantastic as it was walking distance to everything. The apartment was enormous and has everything you need, including a washer and dryer.

Las Casas de El Arenal a beautiful boutique hotel with a terrace in a fantastic location.

Granada
I stayed at Verona and loved how affordable it was. It was just a short distance to the sights and although the room was a bit small, it was still quite reasonable.

What to Eat in Andalucia

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can find some great food options in Spain.

Tapas in Andalusia, Spain

Tapas are truly the highlight here. I think almost every meal I had was made up of tapas. And they come in surprisingly large portion sizes too! I know that meat tapas are quite popular but the vegetarian ones are very yummy. There are some unusual flavour combinations like eggplant with cane sugar honey or fried asparagus with a mayo dip. Some are definitely outside of my usual food comfort zone but it is a lot of fun to try the different options.

Churros are a must-try in Spain. They are best when dipped in chocolate. I wasn’t the biggest fan of them but they are still an experience to try, most people love them.

Tinto de Verano is often outshined by the classier and more expensive sangria, but it is delicious. It’s essentially red wine mixed with either Sprite or Lemonade Fanta. It’s fizzy and refreshing and a popular summertime drink.

Gazpacho is one of those things I did not understand before visiting Andalucia. I get it now, freshly made gazpacho is delicious. It makes for a great lunch on hot days. While you can find it all over Spain, gazpacho originated from Andalucia.

One Week in Andalusia, Spain

One week in Andalusia is just enough time to visit some of the hotspots in this region. There is tons to see and do so with more time, you could fit in a visit to Cordoba and spend time relaxing on the beaches of the Costa Sol near Malaga. Overall, I was very happy with this itinerary for my first visit to Spain and left me wanting to explore more of Andalusia and Spain.

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27 Comments

  1. I have been absolutely dying to visit Spain, and Andalucia is at the top of my list! Great itinerary and tips, I’m usually pretty lazy with booking activities in advance but I’ll make sure I book the Alhambra and hike in advance.

  2. Is it bad that the food photos enough make me want to visit? Spain seems like one of those places I’d fall in love with, though it’s pretty easy for cities as some of the one’s you visited to catch my heart. I’m always seeing Spain/Portugal itineraries, but seems like Spain probably has so much to offer that it deserves its own trip.

  3. This looks awesome!! I’ve only been to Madrid and Barcelona, but have been aching to get back to Spain. The Caminito del Rey is definitely on my list of day hikes, and this is a region I neeeeeed to get to for the good food. Thinking of cycling this itinerary, so I’ll keep it bookmarked!!

  4. HOLY SHIZ your pictures are amazing! This is the prettiest Spain road trip I’ve ever seen! What camera do you use?! Gahhhhh this is giving me serious wanderlust.

  5. Driving really does seem like the perfect way to go. You saw some absolutely beautiful places. I especially love Maria Luisa Park in Seville with the water going right through the park. Just lovely.

  6. I keep saying I need to visit Spain and yet I end up booking flights elsewhere. Reading this has motivated me to not put it off any longer. Looks incredible!

  7. Southern Spain looks so beautiful! Spain is a country I overlooked for many years, but the more pictures I see of it the more I want to go!

  8. My friend and I just followed your itinerary for an 7/8 day road trip in Andalucía – we finished today and had the best time! Late November seemed like a good time to travel here as places were a bit less busy and there are lots of beautiful autumn colours. Particular highlights for us included Ronda and the drive to Seville through some of the pueblos blancos and the natural park; roaming the streets of central Seville; and of course the Alhambra in Granada. Having been to Cordoba on a separate trip I would recommend to anyone with a day extra to add this in as la Mezquita is one of the most amazing buildings I’ve ever seen. Thanks so much for all your tips and tricks, this was a wonderful trip and we were glad to have your guide to follow!

    1. Hi Susanna, thank you so much for your comment! I’m so happy my guide was useful for your trip. It sounds like you had a wonderful time in Andalucia. How lovely that you got to experience the autumn colours there. The highlights of your trip are mine too, it was such a beautiful area to road trip around. I’m hoping to make a visit to Cordoba on my next trip to Spain, I’ve heard great things about it!

  9. I am planning a trip to southern Spain at the end of June ( I know it’s gonna be hot and hopefully the EU crowds are less than Aug/Sept). A couple of questions: Did you have to seek out vegetarian tapas and such or readily available in many restaurants? Also, we wanted to get to some good beach front places to relax but I am reading that Malaga is too touristy and crowded? Any quiet, nice beach towns you can recommend? Thanks.

    1. Hi Mehul, I didn’t need to specifically search out vegetarian tapas. Luckily, Spain is quite easy to be vegetarian and there were always a few things on the menu that I could eat. Malaga is going to be more touristy as it does have a cruise ship port as well. Cadiz is another option but again it has a cruise port. Check out Estepona, Nerja, or Marbella for a beach town, they won’t be quiet as this coast is very popular, but they are great alternatives to Malaga. Have a wonderful trip to Spain!

  10. We just completed your 7 days route from Malaga to Ronda, Seville, Granada, and back to fly from Malaga and it was a wonderfull trip everywhere we went made even more beautifull by the spring flowers dotting our drive from Ronda to Seville and then Granada. I would suggest adding Mijas as one of the white villages to visit out of Malaga especially on Sunday with their farmers market. Mijas donkey ride was one of our trip highlights 🙂 . We were also lucky to visit Seville during the April Seville Fair (Feria de Abril) which features traditional flamenco dancing, horse and carts rides for all ages.
    Thank you vey much for your recommendations and planned route. We really enjoyed our Andalucia trip.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It’s great to hear that this Andalucia itinerary worked well for you, how special to be there during spring flower season. Mijas looks like a nice place to visit, thanks for the recommendation.

  11. Amazing Southern Spain road trip. I followed this itinerary and did not regret. Informative, accurate and well organized.

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