Discover the 7-day itinerary for your Christmas holiday: a road trip around the south of Spain
Andalusia is the second largest region in Spain, covering about 600km. We recommend at least a seven-day trip if you want to visit the most famous Andalusian cities.
Prepare to see the impressive 'white villages', stroll through Islamic castles, climb to the top of cathedrals and fortresses, and see the locations where Game of Thrones and Star Wars were filmed.
You'll also be enthralled by the passionate art of Flamenco, taste some tapas and sherry wine, meet the locals and learn about their way of enjoying life. To allow you to follow your own pace, we recommend that you rent a car. With RentlineCar you will have an amazing week.
Day 1: Malaga
We suggest you start your journey by discovering Malaga. It is one of the most important cities on the Costa del Sol. Malaga's airport hosts many international flights.
Morning in the historic city centre
After a hearty breakfast in the Plaza de la Constitución, you can head out for a walk. Make your first stop at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación). It is also called "La Manquita", which means "the one-armed lady" in Spanish, because the second of the cathedral's envisaged towers was never erected.
One of the options for visiting the cathedral is to climb to the roof level to see the city from above. Then you can walk to the Roman Theatre and the Alcazaba fortress-palace, built during Muslim rule.
Once up here you can explore another historic structure, the Castel Gibraltar. It's accessible by bus 35 and stops on Alameda Principal Avenue. This is where one of the best viewpoints in the city awaits you, by the way, from which you can even see the coast.
Afternoon: museums and shopping on Larios street
When it's time for lunch, you can head to one of the city's typical restaurants, such as the El Pimpi restaurant-bar, for a specialty salad, flamenco with Iberian ham or the popular Andalusian "pringa" meat dish. Then, towards evening, visit one of the museums.
That could be the Carmen Thyssen Museum or the Picasso Museum. Did you know that this is the town where the famous artist was born? You can visit the house where Picasso was born, and other places associated with his biography.
Fancy a spot of shopping? You have the perfect opportunity to stroll down the famous and lively Larios Street, where there are many shops.
Evening at the Port
If the weather is fine, you can take an evening swim at La Malagueta beach. If not, stroll down the Palmeral de las Sorprezas, which brings you to the port area known as Muelle Uno. Here you will find the original colourful "Cube" structure belonging to the Centre Georges Pompidou. Continue your walk to admire La Farola, an ancient lighthouse built in 1816. The many shops and restaurants will keep you busy this evening. And enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets that can be seen in Malaga.
Day 2: Ronda
We recommend you to rent a car directly in Malaga to continue your journey by driving. Just an hour and a half, and you're in Ronda, one of the most amazing and picturesque places in Andalusia.
A view of the 98 m high bridge
The fastest ways to get to Ronda are along the A-357 and A-367 northbound roads. But if you want you can extend your route a little further by heading south. This will allow you to stop in Marbella, famous for its beaches, sporting ports, luxury shopping and restaurants such as that of renowned chef Dani Garcia.
When in Ronda, be sure to check out the Puente Nuevo Bridge over the Tajo Gorge. The bridge is 98 metres high and was built between 1751 and 1793. The gulf below is impressive. What else is there to see in Ronda? The bullfighting arena (one of the oldest in Spain), the Alameda del Tajo (a park with an impressive observation deck), the palatial gardens of the Moorish King's House, the Arabian baths... And don't forget that a stroll through Ronda's cafe bars and traditional tapas bars is a treat in itself.
Possible evening excursion
The romantic atmosphere of Ronda's atmospheric, dimly-lit evening streets is alluring. But if you want to discover more in the evening, go to one of the typical "white villages" of Cádiz. For example, this is Setenil de las Bodegas. It only takes half an hour by car to reach the village. The houses there are built into the surface of a rocky cliff. It's a very picturesque place and the photos from there will be incredible.
Another 'white village'? Arcos de la Frontera is about an hour's drive from Ronda. This village is situated on a mountain and its snow-white houses, steep and narrow streets and spectacular viewpoints leave no one indifferent. This is the real Andalusia.
Day 3: Jerez de la Frontera and Cadiz
Only half an hour away from Arcos de la Frontera is Jerez de la Frontera. There's no better place to learn all about the famous Andalusian horse breed.
Have you ever seen a pure Spanish horse?
The Royal Andalusian Riding School. This riding school offers themed tours where you can watch the horses training with their riders and attend a show entitled "How the Andalusian Horses Dance».This riding school organises themed tours where you can watch the horses training with their riders and also attend the show "How the Andalusian Horses Dance".
This is a real dance performance where the riders are dressed in costumes typical of the 18th century. Jerez is also famous for its Wine and Brandy route. Take advantage of the fact that you've visited these places and taste the drinks in one of the local wine cellars.
An evening in Cadiz
If you're not too tired, it makes sense to go to Cadiz. It's just over half an hour away by car. The Atlantic coast welcomes us, so you might as well go for a swim, weather permitting. If not, explore the city, considered the oldest town in the West.You'll love the old La Viña and El Populo districts, and the Cathedral of Cadiz...
And of course, we advise you to try fried fish under the sun of La Caleta beach. Here you can also watch the sunset. It's an unforgettable experience! Cadiz is a true magic of light!
Day 4: Seville
Today is truly the "responsible" day of our itinerary. In the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia you will be able to visit historical monuments that are part of the World Heritage. And of course you'll love this very special city, one of the most beautiful in Spain. It's less than an hour and a half by car from Cádiz to Seville. Our advice: if you have the opportunity, take your time and devote at least two days to Seville.
Cathedral, Giralda Tower and the Royal Alcázar
The perfect place to start the day is in Plaza del Triunfo, where the Cathedral, one of the largest Christian churches in the world, towers above us. Beneath its vaults rest the remains of Christopher Columbus.
The Giralda tower, almost 100 metres high, will make you look up: at one time it was considered to be one of the tallest towers in the world. Imagine being able to climb to the height of this structure, the symbol of Seville.
Directly opposite is the Royal Alcázar of Seville. This is a palace complex occupied by rulers of different eras. Its gardens are considered to be fabulous. Fans of Game of Thrones will be amazed to find themselves in the very Palace of the Kingdom of Dorn.
Santa Cruz and Plaza España
When it's time for lunch, make a beeline for the Santa Cruz neighbourhood. Here you will not only have a meal but also feel the spirit of the city. There are narrow streets, little squares where you can sit down and relax and bars that serve traditional tapas and dishes like gazpacho, potatoes and sauce, Seville menudo, fried eggs, marinated fish and more.
In the evening, go to the Plaza Española, which was built for the 1929 World's Fair in Seville. To this day it's still acknowledged by many as the most beautiful public square in the world. Did you know it was the setting for an episode of Star Wars? Just next door is Maria Luisa Park. How about exploring the park in a horse-drawn carriage?
Cross the Triana and have dinner
On the banks of the Guadalquivir River you will find another symbol of Seville. It is the Golden Tower (Torre de Oro). The evening illumination makes it even more beautiful. You can stroll along the Muelle de Nueva York promenade for an aperitif cocktail. Another quarter of an hour's walk brings you to the Bridge of Triana.
One of Seville's most unique neighbourhoods awaits you on the other side of the river, the Triana. Here, you can end your day with a nice dinner on one of the terraces with beautiful views. Another plan you might like is to sample the tapas bars, moving from bar to bar and ending your gastronomic stroll just before midnight.
By the way, if you go to the Triana in the afternoon, be sure to buy a souvenir from one of the local ceramics shops. Mudejar tiles, like those that decorate most of Seville's streets, are on offer.
Another option is to watch the sunset, without passing through the Triana, at the famous 'Mushrooms of Seville' (Parasol Metropole). Created by architect Jürgen Meier, this art object is a special platform with a panoramic view of the city and claims to be the largest wooden construction in the world.
In this way, you get to know Seville in its modern incarnation. Afterwards, there will always be an opportunity to revisit the local traditions, attending one of the many night time flamenco performances.
Day 5: Cordoba
About 140km from Seville, and you're in Cordoba. This is another of Andalusia's must-see tourist destinations, thanks to its historical monuments such as the Córdoba Mosque.
Among the columns
It couldn't be any other way. A great way to start your day in Cordoba: cross the Roman bridge and visit the Córdoba Cathedral Mosque, one of the most important historical monuments of Western Islamic architecture. You'll wander between the many columns of the cathedral, pass under its two-coloured arches, you'll emerge into the "Courtyard of Oranges"..
An unforgettable experience! This is one of the most significant works of art in the history of mankind. You can also opt for a night tour called "The Soul of Cordoba".
From here, you can go to the Fortress Alcázar of the Christian Kings to stroll through the vast gardens of this historic complex and listen to the sound of its fountains. Don't forget that you can visit this unforgettable site in the late afternoon thanks to a performance of Magical Nights at the Alcázar.
When it's dinnertime, favour one of the city's traditional restaurants. Here, try the local specialities, such as the cold salmorejo soup, the meat "flamencoins" or the braised oxtail. Similar typical restaurants await you in Tendillas or Corredera Square.
Evening: Jewish quarter and flowers
It's time to take a leisurely stroll through the maze of Jewish Quarter streets and see the synagogue, the Sephardic Jewish Museum House or Tiberiades Square.
Of course, while in Cordoba, you have to see the local courtyards full of flower pots and enjoy the many colors and floral fragrance. In all its glory, the patios are revealed in May, during the annual Courtyard Festival. But really, there's nothing stopping you from admiring them all year long.
To unwind at the end of the day, visit one of the famous Arabian baths. In the late afternoon, check out the "Passion and Charm of the Andalusian Horses" show put on by the Royal stable in Cordoba. See the Roman Bridge and the halls of the Cathedral of Cordoba.
Day 6: Alhambra in Granada
Granada: The last city on our route, located about 200 km from Cordoba. It is home to one of the most beautiful historical architectural complexes in the world, the Alhambra. In order to have enough time to explore it without rushing, we recommend spending two days in Granada.
Discover the Alhambra
This architectural and park ensemble is hugely popular with tourists. That's why we advise you to book your entrance tickets in advance. Allow at least half a day to explore this palace and park complex, which represents the power and strength of the Muslim ruling Nasrid dynasty.
The most important sites in the palace complex will definitely catch your attention. These include Charles V Palace, the Lion's Courtyard and its fountain, the Myrtle Courtyard, the Two Sisters' Hall and the Queen's Boudoir.
Generalife and Gardens
If you buy a comprehensive admission ticket to the Alhambra it also allows you to visit the Generalife Palace, used by the Muslim rulers as a resting place, and its beautiful gardens. It is an unbelievable pleasure to walk around these gardens.
If you want to visit the Alhambra at night, it's also possible. A guided tour with special lighting is waiting for you.
After such a busy day, you can relax and refresh yourself in the establishments of the Realejo neighbourhood. Stop by the Arabian Tea Parlour on Caldereria Nueva, or try the traditional hammam, with its hot pools and massages. This will help you soothe away fatigue.
Day 7: Granada
A visit to the Alhambra is unforgettable. But there are many other interesting places to visit in Granada. So our advice: save another day for sightseeing in this beautiful city.
Stroll through the historic centre
Granada's historic centre is impressive. See it for yourself, starting with the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, where Catholic kings are buried. Continue through the Plaza Nueva and along the avenue of Los Tristes (the avenue of Sorrow, named for its proximity to the cemetery). The avenue runs parallel to the Darro River.
Lunchtime? You're in luck! You're in Granada, and this is one of the cities in Spain where you can get the best tapas. All you have to do is choose from a plethora of bars and cafés.
An evening in the Albaycin neighbourhood
A stroll through the streets of the neighbourhood past the typical houses. Like the Alhambra and the Generalife, you understand why this area is a World Heritage Site.
If you're walking around, check out the San Nicolás Lookout, which offers some of the most beautiful views in Spain. Here you can sit down to see the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the sunset light... And all this to the guitar tunes of street musicians who add a magical note to this unforgettable atmosphere...
Sacromonte: dinner and a flamenco performance
Perhaps this area of the city with its houses that seem to be "embedded" in the mountainside, will surprise you the most. To learn more about the culture and way of life of the area's dwellers, closely linked to the art of flamenco, a performance in one of the natural cave niches that the Flamenco community uses as a stage would be great. It will undoubtedly be an excellent finishing touch to your trip to Andalusia.
Tips & Advice
For a more relaxed pace of travel, we recommend spending two weeks travelling around Andalusia with Rentline Car. If you have the opportunity to make the trip more intense, Andalusia has plenty of places that you will surely enjoy.
For example the Arab fortress in Almeria and the natural park Cabo de Gata Nijar, also in Almeria, the World Heritage cities of Ubeda and Baeza in the province of Jaén, the Doñana National Park, which covers three provinces: Huelva, Seville and Cadiz, the Roman colony of Italica in Santiponce (Seville), the palace town Medina Asaara in Cordoba or the Royal Route in Malaga. And these are not all interesting destinations.
Some of Andalusia's cities are directly connected to Madrid and Barcelona
The AVE high speed train will take you there in comfort. You may also benefit from a special Renfe Spain Pass. If you don't want to rent a car, the Al-Andalus train is a great alternative. It's a real palace that moves along the rails.
- Even in big cities like Cordoba or Seville you can easily walk from one interesting tourist attraction to another. All the more so in the older, historical parts of these cities.
- Andalusia can get quite hot during summer. Although you can plan your trip for any time of year, you'll probably find it more comfortable during the spring months.
- If you intend to travel during the summer months, we particularly recommend that you book accommodation, tours and entrance tickets for the most important historical and cultural sites in advance.
Share your experiences of your trip with the hashtag #rentlinecar and tell us how it went!
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