Amazing Andalucia road trip – 7 Day Southern Spain Itinerary

Planning an Andalucia road trip? Get the best tips on what to see in Southern Spain in a week.

Seville, Spain

A road trip in Andalusia. Even the name sounds pretty.

Andalusia is actually Arabic and means ‘land of the vandals’. And when you travel through this part of Spain, it’s easy to see the many Muslim and Arabic influences.

This summer, Thomas, Theo and I packed our bags and flew to Malaga. I’d planned a road trip in Andalusia for us, and since this was my first trip to Spain, I was super excited.

For me, Spain has always been synonymous with tapas, flamenco, bullfighting, margaritas and fiesta. In other words, lots of culture, great food and just a short cheap plane ride away. Spain is basically the most popular destination for Danes. So….  why haven’t I gotten around to visiting sooner? 

While that remains a mystery, let’s take a look at Southern Spain and what it has to offer. Here is our full one-week itinerary for Andalusia.

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Andalucia road trip – 1 week itinerary

Below is the itinerary we followed, except Cordoba which you can also skip if you feel short on time.

The most logical starting point for your trip would be Malaga, but you can begin in any of the towns on the map. Only Malaga and Seville have an airport, though. 

One week Andalucia road trip itinerary:

  • Day 1: Costa del Sol (beaches)
  • Day 2: Costa del Sol (beaches)
  • Day 3: Ronda (cliffside town)
  • Day 4: Seville (Game of Thrones location)
  • Day 5: Seville (Star Wars location)
  • Day 6: Cordoba – Granada
  • Day 7: Granada (The Alhambra)
Road trip in Andalusia
Andalucia road trip itinerary

Best time to visit Andalusia

The best time to visit Andalucia is from to May to October. May and October are the best months in terms of weather and crowds.

Temperatures in summer (July to August) are super hot (34°C), but on the flip side you can enjoy the beaches in Costa del Sol.

How much time to spend in Andalusia

Andalusia covers quite a large area and there’s a lot of things to do and see there. We spent a week, which was actually a bit too short.

A week and a half would have been perfect, and if you want to soak up the towns or beaches a bit more, I would even stretch it to two weeks.

Rent a car in Malaga

You’ll most likely fly into Malaga or Seville, so you should pick up your car here. It’s important that you book the car before your trip to make sure there’s one available.

🏁 I recommend Discover Cars to find and book car rentals. They search all the rental companies for the best prices and you always get free cancellation.

Get Automatic transmission 

Make sure to rent a car with automatic transmission. On those narrow and often steep streets in Andalucia, you’ll be thankful for not having to shift gear manually. Trust me.

GPS

If you have a GPS or can borrow one, bring it! We rented one and it gave us access to maps, gas stations, emergency services, and local weather. A GPS is a must if you ask me.

Andalucia road trip
Our rental
Road trip in Andalusia, Spain
Los familios
Driving in Andalucia

Driving tips on the road

Avoid toll roads

In Spain, they have paid (toll) roads and free roads. The toll motorways are identified by the prefix AP (Autopista Paeje) and the non toll motorways are just A. You can avoid the toll roads if you just follow the A motorways – that’s what we did.

Gas stations

Gas stations are scattered generously around Andalusia, but as a rule of thumb you should fill up when you see a station.

Read next: An epic road trip packing list

Road trip in Andalusia, Spain
Andalucia road trip 7 days

Planning

Planning an Andalucia road trip is actually quite easy. Once you’ve booked the car and hotels, you just need to decide for an itinerary.

Book accommodation and tours in advance

During the summer months I recommend booking accommodation and tours in advance. Personally, I don’t like arriving in a new town without a place to stay. I’d rather spend my time exploring and kicking back.

Weather and road conditions

The average temperature in Andalusia is 36°C (97 °F) in the summer. These scorching temperatures are not ideal to explore cities, but April and May, September and October are lovely month to visit Andalusia.

Roads are really great, but city streets, especially in smaller cities or in historic areas, can be very narrow (hence the need for insurance).

Have a detailed plan

To get the most out of your road trip in Andalusia, you should have a list of things to see and do. I’ve made it easy for you and linked to the towns I’ve written about. You can find them below.

Day 1 + 2 – Costa del Sol

Go to the beach

With more than 325 sunny days per year, Costa del Sol is a great destination all year round. If you’re coming from Malaga, you’ll pass all the beaches mentioned below (except Nerje, which is on the way to Granada).

We stayed in Marbella, which was perfect. It’s fairly close to the other beaches so you can always take a drive up the coast if you’d like.

On that note, here’s a list of the best Costa del Sol beaches for your road trip in Andalusia:

  • Marbella (Playa del Cable) – My favourite because it’s a bit more upscale. Plus, the fine golden sand and calm clean water make it a nice seaside retreat.
  • Fuengirola (Playa Torreblanca) – It’s popular (especially for young people) yet not crowded.
  • Torremolinos (Playa de la Carihuela) – A nice place for families.
  • Nerje (Maro Beach) – The incredibly clear water, idyllic scenery and marine life explain why this beach was chosen as the best beach in Andalusia in 2013 by Antena 3 (a Spanish television channel). Visit on your way from Granada.
  • Benalmadena (Playa Las Viborillas) – will make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean Island. It’s less known, which is already a win if you ask me.
Road trip in Andalucia, Spain
Playa del Cable, Marbella
Road trip in Andalusia, Spain
Road trip in Andalusia, Spain

Where to stay in Costa del Sol

My favourite place in Costa del Sol is Marbella so I recommend this accommodation in Marbella Old Town:

Heart of Old Town Apartment (⭐ 9.2) – This apartment is, as the name states, located in the heart of the Old Town, and it’s just 5 minutes walk from the beach. The apartment is really nice and there’s smart tv so you can watch shows in English (muy importante!) Click here to see the latest prices.

Day 3 – Ronda

Ronda

On your way from Costa del Sol to Seville, you’ll pass through the cliffside town of Ronda. THIS, my dears, is such a unique place that if you could only visit one place in Andalusia, Ronda should be it.

What makes Ronda amazing is the views. The town is built above the deep El Tajo gorge on a steep cliffside.

 From quaint tapas bars and cobbled streets to Spain’s first bullfighting arena, the world-famous bridge and sweeping landscapes, it’s easily one of the most photogenic cities in Spain. Make sure to spend at least 3-5 hours here – it’s such a beautiful place.

Read next: The best things to do in Ronda.

Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain
Ronda bullring – the oldest in Spain

Where to stay in Ronda

If you decide to stay the night before moving on to Seville, you have some great options on your hand:

Apartamentos Turísticos Espinel (⭐ 9.5) is an apartment in the centre of Ronda, surrounded by restaurants and shops, 150 m from the Puente Nuevo. It features a private terrace with city views and free parking. You’ll find Ronda Train Station just 10 minutes’ walk away. Click here to see the latest prices.

Parador de Ronda (⭐ 8.5)– if you want to splurge, this is the place. The hotel has (and I’m not exaggerating) the best location with a private view of Ronda’s gorge and Puente Nuevo Bridge. It’s located right next to the bridge and there’s also a pool. Click here to see the latest prices.

Day 4 + 5 – Seville

Seville

Seville requires more than a day. In fact, you could easily spend 4-5 days here, but two days is perfectly doable, too. Before going there, people kept telling me how hot and humid Seville gets in the summer.

We planned to visit in June, but I decided to go despite their warnings, because hey. Seville is home to Game of Thrones and Star Wars film locations, and I was not about to miss out!

After having visited during – what must have been the hottest summer ever across Europe – I’m SO glad I went. Seville was around 26 degrees, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. I’m sure July and August would be HOT hot hot, but still… it’s worth going to Seville.

In Seville, you’ll find amazing tapas bars, world-famous film locations, bullfighting, culture and Insta-worthy sights.

Read next: Amazing things to do in Seville

Seville, Spain
This is a film location from Star Wars (also known as Plaza de Espana)
Seville, Spain
Dorne from Game of Thrones (also known as Alcazar)
Seville, Spain
Dorne from Game of Thrones (also known as Alcazar)

Where to stay in Seville

Since Seville gets hot in the summer, you’ll want a hotel with air conditioning and swimming pool. Also, I recommend staying in the Old Town because it’s in walking distance of most sights and attractions.

Here is one of the best hotels in Seville:

Hotel Fernando III (⭐ 8.9) offers spacious rooms and a roof top terrace with seasonal pool. The hotel has a beautiful decor and very helpful staff. Click here to get the latest prices.

Day 6 – Cordoba (optional)

Cordoba

Cordoba is another of Andalusia’s popular towns. Highlights include the Mezquita (see photo below), the Roman bridge, Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos and its beautiful gardens, Casa Andalusi (a 17th century house) and just wandering around the Mezquita (this area is called Calleja de las Flores).

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit Cordoba, but if you have time – go for it. If not, head straight to Granada.

Cordoba
Photo by p2WDXU
Roman Bridge Cordoba
Photo by Tony Hisgett

Day 6-7 – Granada

Granada (a must on your Andalusia road trip)

Granada is the perfect place to end your Andalucia road trip. It’s located in the mountains, which means fabulous views and it’s also home to the world-famous Alhambra.

Alhambra is the most-visited site in all of Spain and not without reason. Plus, Granada has a completely different vibe than any other Spanish town we visited. Maybe because it’s in the mountains, who knows. But Granada is a lovely town worth visiting for 1-3 days.

Read next: magical things to do in Granada

The Alhambra
The magnificent Alhambra
The Alhambra
The Nasrid palace inside the Alhambra
The Alhambra

Where to stay in Granada

It’s always best to stay in the city centre and that also goes for Granada. Here are a few of the best hotels/apartments:

Marquis Hotels Issabel’s (⭐ 8.4) is located in the centre of Granada. This fancy hotel with ultra-modern rooms and a spa is a great oasis where you can relax and rejuvenate after exploring the city and Alhambra. Click here to get the latest prices. 

Siloe Plaza (⭐ 8.0) is another great option, also in the city centre. This is a self-catered apartment with a balcony and a stylish vibe. Click here to get the latest prices. 

Andalucia itinerary 7 days

How to visit Andalusia in 2 weeks

Even though you could easily stay in Southern Spain for a month or more, one week in Andalucia is doable, too.

My curated Andalusia road trip itinerary (1 week) is made towards car travel, but you can use public transportation with some extra planning.

How to get to Andalusia

Andalusia has several airports, and Malaga is the most extensive. You can get to Malaga from many European cities, along with domestic flights from major Spanish destinations.

If you’re already in Spain, you can also take the train to Andalusia. Multiple high-speed trains provide direct commutes, which means you can be in Malaga, Granada, or Seville within hours.

Andalucia Spain itinerary

How much does one week in Andalusia cost?

A one week road trip in Andalusia costs between $1000-$2000.

This covers all expenses for the duration of your stay, such as lodging for every night, meals, admission fees, rental car charges, and fuel costs.

We were two adults and one child, and we spent $1400 in total on a mid-range budget.

Andalucia road trip budget

  • Hotels: 30 – 150 USD / night
  • Price per meal: 5 – 15 USD
  • Rental car: 250 – 750 USD
  • Fuel: 100 – 150 USD

💸 Spain travel insurance

I highly recommend having travel insurance because let’s be real — the last thing you want on your trip is for accidents to get in the way.

I recommend Safety Wing — they offer affordable prices, great coverage, and a reliable 24/7 on-call service.

🙋‍♀️ FAQ

Where is Andalucia?

Andalusia (Andalucia in Spanish) is a region located in the south of Spain. It’s bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the east and south, Portugal to the west, and the Spanish regions of Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha to the north.

How many days do you need in Andalucia?

You’ll need at least one week in Andalucia to see the highlights.

However, even with a shorter amount of time, say 3-5 days, you can still get a taste of Andalusia’s culture and attractions by visiting one or two cities, such as Seville or Granada, and some of the charming smaller towns.

Is it easy to drive in Andalusia?

Yes. Driving in Andalusia is easy as the roads are generally well-maintained, and the region is well-connected by highways and secondary roads.

However, if you are not confident driving on narrow, winding roads or in cities with heavy traffic, it can be challenging.

If you’re visiting major cities like Seville or Granada, parking can be difficult to find, so it’s best to plan ahead or choose accommodations with parking.

What is the prettiest city in Andalucia?

The prettiest city in Andalucia is Ronda.

Ronda is known for its dramatic cliffs and views. It’s a very unique place. Another beautiful city is Granada with its impressive Alhambra Palace, delightful Albaicin neighbourhood, and stunning views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

How do I spend a week in Andalusia?

To make the most of a one-week Andalusia itinerary, I would suggest spending time in Costa del Sol, Ronda, Seville, Cordoba and Granada.

Spend time driving or hiking through the charming Andalusian countryside and pass through the white villages. Makes sure to allocate one or two days to relax and enjoy the beaches and the local cuisine in Costa del Sol (Marbella).

Is 7 days enough to visit Andalusia?

Yes, you can see the highlights of Andalusia in one week. But 1,5 week or 2 weeks are even better!

During one week in Southern Spain, you can visit the main cities, explore the countryside, and enjoy the beaches. You do have to prioritise and plan according to the places you want to visit, though.

More Spain posts you might like

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Andalusia, Southern Spain can be seen in a week. Take a road trip in Andalusia by following this itinerary through Seville, Granada, Ronda and Costa del Sol.

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28 Comments

  1. Really a very beautiful travel blog with very very detailed information about travelling that gives you a will power to go travel the world. I like all beautiful pictures in the post. Really looking at them feels like i am in that place at the moment. But thanks for sharing such nature beauty. Keep it up.

    1. Yes, absolutely! Malaga itsn’t a particularly exciting city, whereas Marbella is by the sea with great restaurants, beaches, shopping and a completely different and more relaxed beach-town vibe.

  2. Thanks for this info, where would you park when staying in town/city centres, do most of these places have parking?

    1. We always used public parking. They’re usually placed underground around the centre. Some hotels and apartments have their own parking lot, but mostly you’ll need to use the public parking – which is also very good and safe.

  3. Thanks for a great article! My boyfriend and I are planing a trip to Andalucia in October and were thinking of doing a similar road trip Seville – Cordoba – Granada – Ronda – Seville (we fly in and out of Seville). I was wondering if you were glad you drove? I keep reading that having a car (especially in Seville and Granada is a nightmare).

    1. Oh yes, I’m so glad we rented a car! I don’t know why anyone would say that it’s a bad idea to have a car in Seville and Granada. It was no problem at all – on the contrary! Having a car gave us the freedom to stop whenever we wanted and take it at our own pace. It is possible to do your route with public transportation – it just depends on how you prefer to travel. We just really love road trips 🙂

      Have a great trip!

  4. Thanks for this! I found it the day after booking flights for a seven-day road trip in Andalucia. Should be very useful.

  5. Was confused between Malaga and Marbella as well as Granada and Cordoba because of shortage of time. Seville – Ronda – Marbella – Granada – Seville by car looks manageable – thanks to your blog 🙂

  6. Miriam this is a beautifula and easy to read blog entry. I am lookingeven more forward to my trip to Andalucia in September.

    1. Aw, thank you, Mina! You’ll love Andalusia. It’s so beautiful and charming. If you have time, stop by some of the white towns on the way.

    1. Thanks, Peter. You’re so right. And there’s much more to see than what I could fit into this article. Lots of small towns and beautiful beaches.

  7. Hi Miriam, your article is so informative.. thank you so much.. my husband and I Will be going to a wedding in Salamanca next month (September) So we were thinking of driving from Salamanca to Caceres and then down to Seville and all the way to Marbella.. Are the roads driving from city to city, safe to drive?

    Thank you,
    Silvia Caceres

  8. Hi Miriam,

    I was feeling very overwhelmed with planning our trip to southern Spain until I came to your blog, thank you for such a concise and informative info on Andalusia. My husband and I are planning a trip for early April 2020. we will be flying in from Washington D.C. and have only six days to see the highlights. I was thinking we could fly into Malaga or Seville and stay in one central location e.g. Marbella and explore the places in your blog by longer day trips? Or three nights in Marbella and two in Seville? We are planning on renting a car, I just don’t want to be going to a different hotel every night if we can avoid it. Wish we were able to stay longer! Would love any advice you have, thanks so much.

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thanks for your kind words.

      It really depends on what you like. Do you prefer beach or culture? For me personally, the highlights were Ronda (must-see), Seville and Granada. Unless you want the beaches (which are fine but not amazing), you could stay in Seville (2 days) and Granada (3 days) and then take a day trip from Granada to Costa del Sol. The most beautiful beach Nerje is on the way from Granada to Malaga. Trust me, Granada has such charm, history and atmosphere, and although Marbella is lovely, it’s really just another beach town with a lot of tourists.

      If you’re travelling all the way from the U.S. to experience Spain, you’ll want to spend your time sampling tapas & wine, watching flamenco and exploring world-famous palaces. If it’s beautiful beaches you’re looking for, you should go to Greece, Albania or Croatia.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great trip.

    1. Oh yes! Almost everyone speaks English in Spain. They’re very used to tourists, and if you learn to say hello/good day (buenos dias) and thank you (gracias), locals will love it.

      Have a great trip.

  9. Hello There,
    We are planning a trip to Malaga for a dance congress.
    I thought to rent a car in Seville and drive down to Cadiz and Gibraltar and then along the Costa Del Sol – to your beach recommendations and then Malaga and then up to Ronda and back to Seville the inland route. Do we need an international drivers licence?
    thank you so much , your trip sounded so wonderful.
    Best,
    Suzanne Manvell

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for commenting. If you’re coming from the US, UK, or any EU country, you just need a valid driver’s licence to rent a car in Spain. Also bring your credit card or Mastercard because debit cards are not accepted.

      If you need more tips on renting a car in Spain, you should read this post I wrote. It’s about car rental in Malaga, but it applies for all of Spain: https://adventurousmiriam.com/rent-a-car-malaga/

  10. Well, you’ve inspired both me and my work roommate to visit Andalusia this year. We’ll let you know how we get on.

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