If you are planning a visit to the south of Spain, also known as Andalucía, then first of all, you are on the right track for a fantastic holiday. Andalucía is such a beautiful part of Spain and should be part of everyone’s must-visit in a lifetime.
It can be a little overwhelming though to find out what cities to visit (because you do want to see more than one place now you are there, right?). I have made it easy for you by listing my favorite cities in Andalucía. And better yet, they are all located within a short distance, so if you have 10 – 14 days you can make a great road trip. And better yet; there is only about 2 – 3 hours drive between each city, so the days on the road are not endless. Almost too good to be true, right?
Málaga is the natural starting point when visiting Andalucía as it has the biggest airport and most international flight connections.
The city itself is nice with an ancient fortress to visit and nice beaches, which are the pros of this city. There is much more culture in some of the other Andalucian cities than Málaga, but a couple of days here is perfect as a start before you head of to Seville and Granada.
If in Andalucía a visit to the British Gibraltar is recommendable. It’s crazy to meet true British accent when talking to the locals, paying in Sterling or Gibraltar Pounds and have to cross a runway of the local airport to get into town. The city is located at the foot of a huge rock, where wild monkeys live and from where you can see the Strait of Gibraltar where hundreds of ships pass every day.
Gibraltar really is an experience, but just for a day. If there, then do yourself a favour and book a guided tour with Carl Mesilio from Gibraltar Inside Out Rock Tours. He gave us a complete private tour of the town including anecdotes of living so far away from their fellow nationals and having to go to the UK for high school, serious illness and so on.
The best way to describe Ronda is rocky! This beautiful village is located high on a mountaintop and divided into two by a deep cliff. It is quite a car ride to get there, but it is worth it. The people, the nature and the food & drinks are amazing.
Seville is the absolutely most beautiful city in Andalucía and maybe the most beautiful city in Spain. There is a special feel about Seville, which has a whole lot of charm, amazing food, stunning squares and very good shopping (it is the capital of Andalucía where many aristocrats live).
If you want to take it easy, opt for a tour in a horse carriage that will take you through the immense park María Luisa and through the old part of the city centre.
Spend three days here at least to really get to know the city and try the many delicious tapas bars.
Córdoba is known for having the largest mosque outside of the Arab world. It was built as a Catholic church, turned into a mosque, turned into a cathedral and is now named mosque-cathedral, which makes it quite unique with a very special architecture. It is a must see when in Andalucía. As Córdoba is conveniently located between Seville and Granada it is the perfect stop on the road from one city to the other.
Granada is home for the impressive La Alhambra, a palace and fortress dating back to year 889. The city is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, giving an impressive constant view to the mountaintops (with snow in winter). There has been a great Moorish influence in whole Andalucía, but especially in Granada you will feel it thanks to the neighborhood Albaicín with its fine Moorish constructions and shops.
We visited Andalucía in winter (January), which was nice as there wasn’t that many tourists around (it is very crowded in summer). The temperatures ranged between 14 – 22 degrees celcius, with the warmest weather in Seville and the coldest in Ronda. I believe that the best time to visit would be in spring or fall, where the temperatures are a bit higher (the houses are not built for cold weather, so it was quite chilly during the nights, even in the hotels).
However, if you don’t mind bringing a jacket for the chilly nights, a visit in January is recommendable, as it is the low season and you can get flights, car rental and hotels at a very low price (we paid like 80 euro in total for 12 days car rental! Total bargain!). And again; the sun is almost always shining in Andalucía so you will get that southern feel no matter what time of the year you visit.