Grab our Southern Spain itinerary to begin planning an unforgettable Spanish holiday! We travel full-time as a family and we just finished up exploring the South of Spain this past summer. We spent a few weeks in Andalusia and have hand-picked some of our fav best places to visit AND narrowed down a best place to stay in each destination too!
The inland Andalusian region is unlike the rest of Spain, in that there is a strong influence of Moorish architecture. It is also the home of flamenco, tapas and bull-fighting. Though you won’t catch our family at a bull-fight, it is still definitely embedded in the local Andalusian culture.
The white lime painted villages pueblos blancos set on mountainside cliffs provide a backdrop like no other. Andalusia just has that something special about it!
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Getting Around the South of Spain
We took our tour of Andalusia and the south of Spain in a rental car. This was our preferred method of travel as it gave us time to get about at our own pace. If you do the same, then our top piece of advice is to rent something small. Roads in the smaller mountainside villages get very narrow and it certainly helps squeezing your way around these little lanes in something equally little!
Ofcourse, the public transport system is also very good. Trains and buses get you very easily from A to B, but you just need to allow longer travel times. We have also used trains to get around Spain and find them relatively well priced and very reliable.
7 Day Itinerary in Detail
Note: Our itinerary starts with a 7 day recommended travel route of the must see essentials in Southern Spain with highlights in each city. However, at the end we provide extra options to increase this itinerary to a 10 day or 2 week vacation. We would obviously stress that if you have the time, these extra destinations are well worth the visit.
Our recommended itinerary kicks off in Malaga. Take a train or fly directly to Malaga. But this is a great little city to start in. Go grab yourself a sangria and catch your breath! Soak in the afternoon sun and prepare yourself for the fun and adventure to come.
Day 1 – Malaga
Your first full day! Book the Hop on / Hop off red bus exploring the city. A 24 hour ticket with access to key sights including the Picasso museum and the MIMMA (the Interactive Music Museum). This is great as it also includes a boat ride on the river.
We recommend you book your stay here Malaga – Living4Malaga Boutique
Today take the 2 ½ hour drive to Seville.
Exploring the shopping in the touristic Santa Cruz district in the afternoon.
- Choose to visit one of the many museums or churches in the city.
- Visit the Plaza de Toros. Just for the record bull-fighting is definitely not our thing, but it is kind of interesting to see from the outside and to see the museum and take a guided tour inside.
- We highly recommend a guided walking tour of Barrio de Santa Cruz – the old Jewish Quarter. Book it here.
Day 3 – Seville
Visit the Seville Cathedral in the morning. Option: visit Giralda and Alcazar which are located nearby. If you want to learn more of the three locations mentioned here, then click this link and consider taking a 3 hour guided tour. Spend the afternoon in the Maria Luisa park.
We recommend you book your stay here Seville – Casa 95 Sevilla
In the morning explore the Triana district, including ceramic workshops, Iglesia Santa Ana, walk Calle Betis and enjoy the river and scenery.
Then it’s time to move on to the next destination. Drive 2 hours to Ronda, visiting Acinipo archeological site on the way (20km from Ronda).
Day 5 – Ronda
Ronda is well known for the mighty bridge, The Puente Nuevo, that connects the old town with the new. Explore the bridge from different vantage points of the city. Eat cheap tapas at Restaurant Bar El Lechuguita or Bodeguita El Coto, small iconic restaurants.
- Visit the Plaza de Toros de Ronda and lookout over the view
- Walk down to the river via La Casa del Rey Moro
- Historic site of the Arab Baths
We recommend staying here in the heart of the old city Ronda – Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel
Drive 2 ½ hours to Granada.
In the evening explore the old town. Visit the view from San Nicolas church across to Al Hambra.
Day 6 – Granada
Its important that you read our full post on The Best Places to Visit in Granada right here for more detail!
Alhambra early entrance to the Nazrid palace and grounds. Book the best three hour guided tour here to avoid the long queues and disappointment of missing out for the day (like we did). Then take an afternoon of leisure and shopping and explore the Albaicin district.
- Visit the science museum.
We recommend the Granada – La Corrala del Realejo for your stay.
A Travel Day Returning back to Malaga where it all began!
Destination Options to Extend the Itinerary
After leaving Malaga and before heading to Seville the following options can be added to the itinerary. In order of travel route, the towns Marbella, Tarifa and Cádiz can be included in the journey to create a 10 day or 2 week Southern Spain Itinerary.
We haven’t spent a lot of time in Marbella as it isn’t really our jam. It’s a great place for luxury stays and shopping, night clubbing, yachting and golf. That is probably not a fair summary!
There is likely a lot more to Marbella than just that. But with limited time, it wasn’t the vibe we were looking for.
We love Tarifa and spent a week here. Book your accommodation within the old city walls as the atmosphere here is lively and fun. Cars cannot drive within the old city, so wander the streets in the evening and sit in a little tapa bar for a late dinner and you’ll be living the Spanish life.
You can head to Tangier, Morocco from Tarifa. Take a ferry for a day trip and you can explore the North of Africa as an added bonus. The ferry is a straight forward process and we made the day trip with a baby. Tangier is vibrant, colourful and a great place to spend the day shopping for carpets and eating!
We recommend one or two nights in Tarifa possibly hopping into Gibraltar for a visit. We personally have not visited here ourselves but have been told that exploring on foot is the best way to visit.
Continuing on from Tarifa, if you follow the coast road north towards Cadiz there are many great beaches and Chiringuitas (beach bars) to stop at. They can be made as a day trip from Tarifa or as a great stop off on the way to Cadiz.
Cádiz is a great place to break up the drive between Tarifa and Seville. An historic fishing port, there is plenty here in the way of culture and intrigue.
We love this post written by Anywhere We Roam on a full list of things to do in Cádiz. But for sure Catedral de Cádiz and Barrio del Pópulo should be high on your list.
Southern Spain Itinerary at a Glance
Below is our absolute ideal 11 day / 10 night travel itinerary, excluding Marbella. This is exactly how we would explore Southern Spain within a two week window.
|Malaga – Living4Malaga Boutique||1 night in Malaga|
|Tarifa – Casa de la Luz||Option – 2 nights in Tarifa|
|Cádiz – Suite Capitan 1||Option – 2 nights in Cádiz|
|Seville – Casa 95 Sevilla||2 nights Seville|
|Ronda – Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel||1 night in Ronda|
|Granada – La Corrala del Realejo||2 nights Granada|
|Returning to Malaga|
Recommended Travel Route
This map provides our recommended itinerary route for Southern Spain, and includes Marbella (2), Tarifa (3), and Cádiz (4)
And there we have it! Our ideal guide and itinerary to Southern Spain. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, drop a comment below, or pin this post for later! And if you liked our photos then be sure to follow our Instagram page.
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