Andalusia Road Trip-A South of Spain Itinerary
In the South of Spain, also known as the region of Andalusia/Andalucia, there is a vibrant region full of charming towns and beautiful landscapes. You can enjoy flamenco performances, a dance that was born in the region; Moorish architecture; mountain views; beaches; and Spanish cuisine-all in this area. An Andalusia road trip is a wonderful way to explore the South of Spain and see all that it has to offer!
A one week Spain itinerary will be jam-packed with highlights but be enough for everything. We could tour Andalusia for another week and still not get to it all. With that said, here are the best things to do on a 7 day-South of Spain Itinerary.
Andalusia Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1-Arrival in Malaga
We flew in and out of Malaga airport (AGP). Andalusia also has airports in Seville, Jerez, Granada, and Almeria. Malaga is the largest and has the most options for flights, but depending on where you are coming from you may be able to find a better deal flying into one of the other airports.
Once you arrive in Malaga there are many options for things to do. You can simply wander the town; head to one of the nearby beaches like Magalueta; spend time in the park; visit the Picasso Museum; tour the Alcazaba, a Moorish palace; or head up to Castillo Gibralfaro for a great view over the city.
Malaga is a great family destination in Spain. Just outside of Malaga is a SEAlife aquarium, Tivoli World amusement park (check the schedule-its not open daily in the off-season), Selwo Marina (a dolphin and sea life park), and Aqualand (a waterpark).
Distance from Malaga to Granada: 149 km, 93 mi
Driving Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Time to head out to the next destination-Granada in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. You might be surprised to see snow-capped mountains just beyond the palm trees of Granada. It is quite a sight!
After arriving and getting checked into your accommodations, spend some time wandering some of the different neighborhoods. Go see Plaza Bib-Rambla with its fountain in the middle. Just down a few alleyways is the impressive Granada Cathedral.
For your first evening in Granada, plan to make your way through the Albaicin neighborhood to catch the sunset at Mirador de San Nicolas which gives you an astounding view of the Alhambra with the mountains just behind it. This viewpoint is no secret, plan to be there with lots of other people, but the views are worth it! You could also attend a flamenco show for a fun evening of entertainment.
Day 3-The Alhambra
No Andalusia road trip is complete without visiting the Alhambra, a UNESCO world heritage site and sprawling Moorish palace that was also home to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This is also the place where the royal couple gave Christopher Columbus his endorsement for his expedition.
Ideally, you will arrive when the palace opens for your best chance of lower crowds and happy attitudes if you are with children. There is so much to explore here, you will have to decide how much your group can manage. The can’t miss part here is the Nasrid palace which requires a timed ticket to enter. Kids will likely enjoy the gardens and Generalife areas the most. Without a doubt, this is one of the best places to visit in Southern Spain. Booking a guided tour is one way to get tickets to the Nasrid Palace if the tickets are sold out for your dates. Your guide will also provide you with more understanding and details about the history of the palace and the architecture.
Depending on how long you choose to stay, you may have time to do another activity in the afternoon. We took our children to the Parque de las Ciencias in the afternoon as a reward for being good-ish at Alhambra in the morning.
Parque de las Ciencias is one of the best things to do in Spain with kids! We spent the whole afternoon here and still didn’t see it all. You could easily spend a whole day here! Our kids loved all the hands-on exhibits, live animals, and outdoor play. If you’re in Granada with kids, you shouldn’t miss this place! Even if your group is adults only, you would have a great time visiting.
Distance from Granada to Seville: 248 km, 154 mi
Driving Time: 2 hours 40 min
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Spain is Seville, the capital of this region. Seville oozes charm and character. One of my favorite things to do here was to wander the streets admiring the colorful buildings and decorative doors.
For your first evening in Seville, visit Metropol Parasol just before sunset. Metropol Parasol or “Las Setas” is a modern-looking structure built in 2011 by a German architect. Take the elevator to the top and enjoy panoramic views of Seville. There is a small restaurant at the top where you can grab a pizza and some drinks and watch the sun go down.
Day 5-Real Alcazar
Another UNESCO World Heritage site and Moorish palace is on tap for Day 5, but I promise you won’t be bored of it after visiting Alhambra. Real Alcazar is just as stunning and is equally and intriguing. The upper floors of this palace are still used by the Spanish Royal family as their official residence in Seville.
You might recognize parts of this palace from the movies Lawrence of Arabia and Kingdom of Heaven and from the show Game of Thrones. All of them had scenes shot here. The palace has expansive gardens with many colorfully tiled nooks and fountains. Keep your eye out for peacocks wandering the property as well! You can also book a guided tour to lead you through the property and explain the history.
When visiting Andalusia with kids, we found it helpful to visit a kid-oriented place in the afternoons after we visited a place geared more toward adults. So after a morning at the Alcazar, we walked to the aquarium.
The Seville Aquarium is along the riverfront and follows Magellan’s journey around the world to show you the different types of sea life he encountered on his journey. The aquarium is small enough that you can complete your visit in about an hour/hour and a half.
Day 6-Cathedral and Plaza de Espana
Seville’s cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and boasts La Giralda, a 343-foot bell tower and former minaret from the Mosque that formerly sat on this site. Buying a ticket in advance is a must for visiting, and even then you may expect to wait in line to enter the cathedral.
After visiting the cathedral, walk over to Plaza de Espana to see this half-mile long grand architectural centerpiece to the city. You will be in awe over the expanse, the colorfully painted tilework, decorative mosaics of every province of Spain, and the canal that runs through it. You can even rent a boat to cruise the waterway! Star Wars fans may recognize it as the City of Theed and if you wander, you may stumble on some live music and flamenco performances.
The Plaza is adjacent to Maria Luisa Park, a great place for strolling and playing. You can also take a carriage ride starting in the plaza and going through the park.
Make some time for treating yourself and the kids to churros! You’ve earned this treat after making it to the end of a week in Andalusia with kids!
Day 7-Departure From Malaga
Distance from Seville to Malaga: 207 km, 129 mi
Driving Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Make your way back to Malaga to head out of Spain. If you have time before your flight you can squeeze in more of the Malaga sights mentioned earlier. Malaga is a large airport, so allow time to get through check-in and security. If you have lounge access, the lounge in Terminal 3 is great! It’s large, has areas for kids to play, and plenty of food options.
Best Time to Visit Southern Spain
Southern Spain is a perfect destination in Spring or Fall. We visited at the end of October and we had sunny days for the whole week with very comfortable temperatures. Seville was the warmest destination with day time temperatures in the 70’s all day. We never needed jackets.
Granada was much cooler, even cold in the morning. We definitely needed coats for the mornings and when the sun went down, but nothing too heavy. Malaga was very mild and we only needed a light sweater in the mornings and evenings.
I would highly recommend you do not visit this region in July and August! Temperatures in Seville can be easily over 100 degrees during the day and only cool down to the mid 90’s at night. Visiting these spots would be near unbearable in heat like that. Granada would be more tolerable, but still with high temperatures and high summer crowds I think it’s best to choose another time of year.
The winter in Andalusia is known to be mild but can be rainy. Therefore I think the best times to visit Andalusia are September-October and April-June. Be sure to keep in mind religious holidays like Easter, as well as national holidays when you are planning your visit. Holidays can affect business’ opening hours, crowds, and hotel prices.
Transportation in Southern Spain
Renting a car is my preferred method of getting around to different places with kids in tow. I like the flexibility self-driving allows for your schedule. It is easier to manage if you are having a late morning or want to adjust your itinerary slightly.
Parking was a challenge in each city. Streets are very narrow, sometimes precariously so. It was difficult to find a parking garage close to our apartment in Seville, so we had to park the car with hazard lights on and drop me off with the luggage while my husband parked the car. Parking was also not cheap at roughly 20 Euros a night. This could be mitigated by staying at hotels with parking included but we opted to stay in apartments.
Driving between each city was easy, the autovias (freeways) were easy to navigate and well constructed. We came across one toll during our week there. It was less than 3.50 and we were able to pay by card. Remember also to keep your speed down. There were several signs for speed cameras on the autovia. Nothing sours a vacation like getting a speeding ticket!
The final expense of renting a car is fuel. We filled up one time at 75 Euros. Don’t forget, fuel is expensive in Europe!
Southern Spain has many airports in the region. Malaga Airport is the largest, but there are also airports in Granada, Seville, Jerez, and Almeria. Budget airlines RyanAir flies into Malaga, Jerez, and Almeria. Check flights to several of these airports, you never know where you might find a deal. I like to use Skyscanner when looking for flights in Europe.
This region is well connected by rail and it is possible to do this southern Spain itinerary by train. I would encourage you to do the math to compare taking the train versus renting a car or taking the bus. Don’t forget to compare the duration of the different train journeys because some tickets take longer than others.
Children under 4 can travel free, but can not occupy a seat. So if you want your 4-year-old to have a seat, you will need to buy them a ticket at a 40% discounted rate from the adult ticket.
You can use Trainline to compare fares and purchase tickets.
When you arrive in each city, you will then need to figure out how to get from each train station to your accommodation, so factor that in when you are deciding on the best mode of transportation for your trip. In Spain you are required to use a car seat for babies, you will not be allowed in a taxi without one.
It is also possible to travel the region by bus. The tickets are generally cheaper than train tickets however, the time can be significantly longer. You can compare routes and fares at Omio.
Southern Spain FAQ
What is the currency?
Spain uses the Euro. Most businesses we came across accepted credit cards but it is always wise to have cash on hand. When paying with a card if you are given to option to have it charged in Euros or your country’s currency, choose Euros. You will get a better rate on the conversion.
We never use a currency exchange either. We simply pull money out of an ATM. Make sure you know your bank’s policy on International Transaction Fees and ATM fees.
Is Southern Spain safe?
Yes! We found each place to be very safe. Always keep an eye and close hand on your bags when you are at the top tourist sights, as that is where pickpockets are known to prey.
Do I need to be able to speak Spanish?
As with any place, knowing a few keywords and phrases in the local language helps. In most places we went, we were able to communicate in English or by using our limited high school Spanish skills. With the help of Google translate, you should be fine even if you don’t speak any Spanish.
Should I bring a stroller?
Yes! Most places we went we were able to use our umbrella stroller easily. You can not take a stroller into the Alhambra, so you should also bring a baby carrier if possible or be prepared to have children walk.
What about Siesta time? Will I be able to find a place to eat?
Siesta is an afternoon/evening period where many places close down for a few hours. Even though we did see many restaurants closed during the 4:00-7:00 window, we were always able to find a place that was open in order to get something to eat.
When traveling with small children it is important to keep this time frame in mind and plan accordingly so you don’t end up with hungry kids melting down. Either have snacks on hand, or make sure you know the hours of restaurants you’d like to eat at.
Ready to plan your trip?
Check Booking.com for accommodations
Our family had a wonderful time visiting Southern Spain. We would’ve loved to have more time in order to visit some of the other nearby places like Cordoba, Ronda, Gibralter, and Nerja. That’s always the dilemma of travel it seems-there’s never enough time! I have no doubt we will be back to explore Andalusia again. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have any hidden gems to share from your travels in the region!
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