Andalusia Itinerary: 8 incredible days in the South of Spain

by | Jul 11, 2021 | Europe, Itineraries, Roadtrips, Spain | 0 comments

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

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Are you thinking about visiting Spain? Then this Andalusia Itinerary is just for you! This 8-day road trip in the South of Spain includes whitewashed villages, incredible architectural monuments, golden beaches, Andalusian culture. And of course heaps of tips on where to get delicious Spanish food.

Here’s why you should put this Andalusia Itinerary on your bucket list now!

Andalusia boasts over 1.000 km of coastline with golden beaches, sand dunes, and dramatic cliffs. The inland is a mix of spectacular mountain ranges, Europe’s only desert, ancient forests, and rolling hills, dotted with olive orchards, citrus groves, and whitewashed villages.

The culture in Andalusia is influenced by its Moorish past, whose remnants can be found until today. In addition, the region is also the home of flamenco. And let’s not forget about the food! Andalusian food features traditional tapas, fresh seafood, Gazpacho, and of course the world-famous Sherry wine.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Day 1 | Malaga – Granada

Distance: 135 km

Once you’ve arrived in Malaga and picked up your rental car, hit the road and head straight to Granada.

The town is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range containing the highest peak of the Iberian peninsula, Mulhacén. The highlight of any trip to Granada is without a doubt the Alhambra, a Moorish fortress and one of the most famous buildings in Spain.

But there’s also a lot to see and do in Granada besides the Alhambra. I would recommend saving the Alhambra for the morning and spending the rest of your day wandering around Granada’s old town, visiting the beautiful cathedral or Granada’s oldest quarter, the former Arabic quarter of Albiacín. 

Another great thing about Granada are the free tapas you get with every drink you order. So once you get hungry, just pick one of the many tapas bars and restaurants in the old town. Some of the best places for (free) tapas in Granada include:

Day 2 | Granada – Alhambra – Ronda

Distance: 135 km

If you didn’t visit the Alhambra the night before, now is the perfect time for it. The Alhambra is an ancient palace and fortress located on a hill west of Granada. It got its name from the reddish walls and towers surrounding it: al-qal’a al-hamra, meaning red for or castle in Arabic.

Exploring the Alhambra will most likely take you between 3 to 4 hours. The whole complex consists of different parts, including fortresses, splendid palaces, and lush flower gardens. You can buy the ticket and time slot for the Nasrid Palaces here. 

We picked an early slot for the Nasrid Palaces and went there first so that we could explore the rest of the Alhambra without checking the time. 

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Once you’ve seen it all, it’s time to leave Granada and head to Ronda, one of Spain’s oldest towns. It sits on top of dramatic cliffs and is split in half by the over 100-meter-deep El Tajo gorge.

The highlight of Ronda is the stunning Puente Nuevo (the New Bridge), which was completed in 1793 after roughly 40 years of construction. It connects Ronda’s newer part with the old Moorish quarter “La Ciudad” and was built in addition to two other bridges Puente Viejo and Puente Romano.

There are various viewpoints in and around town for spectacular views of the Puente Nuevo.

Ronda Bridge Viewpoint is the best place to admire the bridge, town, and cliffs from afar. The Mirador de Aldehuela is located at one end of the bridge. It offers fantastic views of the gorge and the houses built right at the edge of the cliffs. For another different perspective, head to the Jardines de la Cuenca, Ronda’s hanging gardens.

Where to stay in Ronda

For the full experience, book a room at Hotel Don Miguel right by the bridge, overlooking the Tajo gorge. Here’s where you can start your day with a coffee on the terrace with a perfect view of the Puente Nuevo. And for a delicious Tapa dinner, head to the Restaurante Las Maravillas

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Day 3 | Ronda – Pueblos Blancos – Jerez de la Frontera

Distance: 140 km

The white towns (Pueblos Blancos) are a group of picturesque, whitewashed towns in Andalucia. There are different itineraries covering different white towns, but for this Andalucia road trip, I’d recommend visiting the following three villages on the way to today’s final destination, Jerez de la Frontera.

Setenil de las Bodegas

While most of the Pueblos Blancos were built on hills or cliffs, the white houses of Setenil nestle in and over the rocks of the Guadalporcún river valley. The two best places to marvel at the houses built into the rocks are the Cuevas des Sol and Cuevas de la Sombra. You can find parking spaces here or here.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Olvera

Located on a hill, overlooking green hills, fields, and olive groves, Olvera is one of the prettiest Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia. Despite this, Olvera isn’t a popular tourist destination, making it a great spot to escape the crowds.

The most iconic landmarks of Olvera are the Arab Castle and the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, throning side by side at the top of the town. Head up to the church and the castle for amazing views over Olvera and the surrounding hills.

For a beautiful photo of Olvera, its castle and church, visit this viewpoint: 36°55’44.5″N 5°15’41.4″W.

Arcos de la Frontera

The last one of these three Pueblos Blancos might be the one in the most dramatic location. Arcos de la Frontera sits atop a rocky limestone ridge, with its houses sitting right at the cliff’s edge.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Once you are done exploring the Pueblos Blancos, it is time to hit the road to Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez is THE place to experience the Andalusian culture. It is the capital of Andalusian horse culture and equally famous for Sherry and Flamenco.

Nevertheless, Jerez de la Frontera is not a touristy city and still feels somewhat like a hidden gem.

Where to stay in Jerez de la Frontera

Casa Alameda Jerez del Banco is located in Jerez’ old town, in close proximity to the cathedral and Bodegas Tio Pepe. The accommodation consists of three studios, each with a little kitchenette and lounge area.

Day 4 | Jerez de la Frontera – Cadiz (40 km)

Spend some more time exploring Jerez de la Frontera before heading to the coast. You can learn more about Sherry while touring one of the many bodegas or visiting a Tabanco, Jerez’s local bars specializing in sherry and wine. Or you could visit a show at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art if you’re in Jerez on a Thursday.

Once you’ve seen it all in Jerez head towards the coast to Cadiz. On the way, you can take a little detour to Rota. The ancient town is located on the Atlantic coast, close to the two national parks Natural Park of the Bay of Cádiz and the Doñana.

After a stop at the beach, continue to Cadiz. Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe and used to be one of Europe’s most important ports for trading with America.

The city was built on a peninsula and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The Moorish old town of Cadiz is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets, colourful houses, and small squares, where you can easily wander around and get lost for hours.

Where to stay and eat in Cadiz

We stayed at Hotel Las Cortes de Cadiz in the old town. This beautiful hotel’s highlight is undoubtedly the rooftop terrace with a perfect view of the golden roof of the Cadiz Cathedral. The hotel is located a short 5-minute walk from Plaza San Antonio, where you can drop your car off at Interparking San Antonio.

For the best coffee in Cadiz, head to Top Coffee Shop and Juice Bar or  La Vaca Atada. And of course, you can’t visit Spain without indulging in mouthwatering tapas at least once (or more like daily). I’ve read many great reviews about the tapas served at Taberna Casa Manteca. Unfortunately, it was closed when we visited Cadiz, but if you’ve ever eaten there, please tell me about it in the comments.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Day 5 | Cadiz

We ended up liking Cadiz so much that we decided to stay for an extra day. You can spend more time wandering around Cadiz’s old town, visit the Cathedral and Cadiz market, or wander through the Genoves and Alameda Apodaca parks. If you’d rather relax by the beach, head to La Caleta Beach located between Cadiz’s two castles. It’s the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day. As it is relatively small, it can get crowded in summer, however.

Where to go for drinks with ocean view in Cadiz

Quilla restaurant is a great spot for sundowners. You can find it just across the street from La Caleta beach. If you’re even just a little peckish, you absolutely must order their cod croquettes. You’ll thank me later, believe me!

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

 Day 6 | Cadiz – Bolonia Beach – Tarifa

Distance: 120 km

Make sure you stop at Bolonia Beach on the way from Cadiz to Tarifa. Bolonia Beach is 4 km long and of fine white sand, fringed by the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Atlantic. The real highlight of Bolonia beach is the Gran Duna, an over 30 m high and 200 m wide dune.

Once you are done exploring the dune and beach in Bolonia, it’s time to head to Tarifa, the southernmost point of continental Europe, where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet.

Tarifa is the last stop before Morocco, only 14 km separate the town and the African continent, and it offers beautiful views of the Moroccan coast and the Rif mountains. It is often referred to as the “wind capital of Europe”, making it a popular destination for windsurfers around the world.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

 Day 7 | Tarifa – Malaga

Distance: 160 km

You can’t leave Tarifa without a stroll through the quaint old town. As soon as you step through the Puerta de Jerez, the only remaining medieval entrance to the old town, you’ll find yourself in a maze of cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and pretty squares.

As you wander through the streets, you’ll come past little boutiques, cool bars, and cozy cafes. For a great cup of coffee and breakfast, head to Cafe 10. After a delicious breakfast and some more exploring in Tarifa, it is time to head back to Malaga, the last stop on this Andalusia itinerary.

Once you arrive in Malaga, head straight into the old town. If you got some time to spare before dinner, you could walk up to the Mirador de Gibralfaro and visit the Castillo de Gibralfaro, or the Alcazaba and the Roman theatre.

The Alcazaba is one of the best-preserved Moorish fortresses in Spain and one of Malaga’s most iconic landmarks. The best place to grab some food is the Calle Granada in the old town. There are various restaurants and bars, and it’s usually teeming with life and bustling locals and tourists alike.

Where to stay and eat in Malaga

Exe Malaga Museos is located right in the heart of Malaga near the Cathedral of Malaga. Its rooftop terrace with an outdoor pool offers incredible views over the roofs of the city.

For me, a good cup of coffee in the morning is definitely essential. If you feel the same way, I’ve got you: at Paneteria Cafeteria Granier you’ll not only get a good cappuccino, but also delicious pastries, good combo deals, and even a free treat with your coffee (at least we did).

Day 8 | Departure

If you have a few hours to spare, you can spend some more time exploring Malaga. You can stroll along the palm tree-lined promenade of Malaga Port, visit the Botanic Garden with over 2.000 different plant varieties, or visit the Castillo de Gibralfaro if you didn’t have time the night before.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

How to get to Andalusia

The main international airport in Andalucia is Malaga Airport, with almost 60 airlines connecting the airport with other Spanish cities, Europe, and even some countries outside of Europe. Malaga is also the starting point for this 1-week Andalusia itinerary. However, you could also fly to Sevilla, Granada, Jerez de la Frontera, or Almeria and tailor the itinerary accordingly.

Alternatively, you can also get to Andalucia by car or train. The Spanish Railway Network RENFE operates trains throughout the country and also in Andalucia. With the Alta Velocidad Espania (AVE) it would take you less than three hours to get from Madrid to Malaga. Or you could even catch an overnight train from Barcelona to Granada.

Make sure to book your train tickets in advance, especially if you’re traveling during the high season in July/August.
2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

How to get around in Andalusia

For this 1-week Andalusia itinerary, the best way to get around is by car. Driving in Andalucia is great. There are many beautiful backcountry roads, as well as good highways. In addition, you’ll be able to stop for photos wherever you like – and trust me, you will want to stop often.

There are various car rental companies at Malaga airport, including Budget, Hertz, Avis, or Sixt. Especially in the old towns of the places along this itinerary, the streets are often pretty narrow. I would suggest paying a little more for an automatic car so that you can focus solely on the driving part.

All places mentioned in this 8-day Andalusia itinerary

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2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

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Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.