Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

We began our Southern Spanish road trip leaving by car from France. We took the coastal roads through France and down into Spain via Barcelona and Valencia. We were on our way to Andalucia or as we spell it Andalusia.

Because we were driving we planned our itinerary for the south coast of Spain making sure we made some stops that appealed to us. This was of course the perfect opportunity to see Gaudi’s work in Barcelona and try an authentic Valencian Paella. We chose this route for our southern Spain road trip as we wanted to miss Madrid and its horrendous traffic.

Courtyard with garden  of Casa de Pilatos, Seville, Andalusia, Spain

It also gave us the chance to visit some other Southern Spain cities we had been researching. For example, in Cartagena where we got to see some brilliant Roman Ruins. We also made detours to the Tabernas Desert which is Europe’s only inland desert and we enjoyed some small Spanish villages with great tapa and beer.

If you can stop by Caravaca where you can partake in the Wine and Horses Festival, or take in a Semana Santa Celebration in any city in Andalucia. Or go at Christmas time when everything sparkles.

Southern Spain a history

Andalusia’s history began around 4000 BCE, the coastline was colonized by the Carthaginians and Greeks in the 5th century and during the 9th century, the Phoenicians founded Cadiz. The Romans arrived in 210BCE and culture flourished then the Moors crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and invaded and named the area Al-Andalus.

The Moorish period in Andalucia was widely considered a ‘golden age’ and the Arabs introduced crops such as sugarcane, almonds, and apricots with elaborate irrigation systems. Agriculture, mining and industry flourished and Andalusia became a melting pot of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Berbers and Spanish. This was a tolerant time and all cultures were allowed to grow and flourish.

Medieval bridge with antique gate, built in the 12th century. Besalu, Catalonia

This vibrant mingling of cultures gave the region some incredible monuments such as the Alhambra, and Mudejar architecture, and Cathedrals such as Jaen’s and Seville’s.

Andalusia is traditionally divided into two historical subregions: Upper Andalusia or  Andalucía Oriental), consisting of the provinces of Almería, Granada, Jaén, and Málaga, and  Western Andalusia or Andalucía Occidental, consisting of the provinces of Cádiz, Córdoba, Huelva and Seville.

Almeria Cabo de Gata beached boats in San Miguel beach of Spain

Getting to Andalusia

Our road trip through Southern Spain took 3 weeks although that did include driving through France. You can fly into any one of the 9 international airports which serve as regional gateways. Five are located within Andalucia; Malaga, Seville, Almeria, Granada and Jerez, and four are located just outside Andalucia; Gibraltar, Faro, Murcia, and Alicante.

We have flown into Almeria, Murcia and Alicante airports all of which are very easy to manoeuvre and rent a vehicle from for your Andalucia road trip.

Xyuandbeyond is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. You can read my privacy policy here.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Southern Spain itinerary – what to do in southern Spain

Because we were driving to a housesit in Palomares we chose to head to Granada first and then drive down to the coast. These are the cities we managed to visit on our south of Spain itinerary.

You will need at least 3 weeks in Andalucia if you want to see all these beautiful locations. However, you could pick and choose your Andalusian itinerary and hit the highlights with lots of city tours, or perhaps you prefer simple beach holidays that are entirely up to you and the time you have to spend touring Andalusia. If you get a chance take the time to visit a Spanish Olive Oil Mill and pick up some super oil to take home with you.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

 Palomares, Vera and Mojacer

Since we knew this area very well after spending many months there housesitting this was an easy visit for us. We stayed in Mojacer which is a busy place in the summer months with both Spanish and European visitors.

Palomares is a quiet town with a lovely village square where you can enjoy a beer and tapa and chat with the locals and English speakers who have permanent homes here. Palomares became famous in the 50s when the Americans accidentally dropped hydrogen bombs on the place.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Luckily no one was hurt, the bombs didn’t explode and the Americans are still ensuring the safety of all citizens to this day.

Vera is a beach community that has lots of restaurants and bars to enjoy along the beach. There is also a naturist section of the beach and naturist accommodation available. We often had breakfast in Vera and saw many a dangly bit walking along the quiet streets.

Mojácar’s 17 kilometres of beaches stretch from the edges of Garrucha to a few kilometres from the start of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park Mojacer is actually a village in two parts.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

The beautiful whitewashed village that clings to the side of the cliff is Mojacer Pueblo and the area that runs along the beaches is the Playa these are around km apart but there are good transportation options to get between the two.

Mojacar pueblo remains true to its Moorish past and can only be really explored on foot. There is an elevator above a parking site on the edge of the pueblo, which will take you up to the old town where you can explore its beautiful streets on foot.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip


Almeria is a relatively unknown destination in Andalusia although the Spanish have been coming here for their beach holidays for years.

Almeria is famous for the Alcazaba a Moorish Fortress which is the second-largest Muslim fortress in Andalucia after the Alhambra. As a fortress, it contained houses, extensive gardens, a mosque and beautiful peaceful squares where there was always a water feature. The best part is entry to the Alcazaba is free for European citizens, and €1.50 for everyone else.

From Almeria, you can also visit Europe’s only inland desert Tabernas and see where many a Spaghetti Western was filmed. Or take a drive to the Cabo de Gata National Park which has some stunning beaches and shall we say unique coastline and switchbacks. 

Road to Carboneras from the Cabo de Gato Southern Spain Road Trip


The must-see in Granada is of course the Alhambra and the Alhambra with its Nasrid Palaces and the outstanding Generalife Gardens. The biggest tip I can give you is to book your tickets online as only 6000 people are allowed into the complex in a day.

a view of La Alhambra in Granada, Spain

You can find all my tips for visiting the Alhambra here

With its stunning backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is a rich complex city with Moorish and Christian influences and architecture.

There is an outstanding array of restaurants, cafes and bars many of which will feature the glorious rhythms of flamenco guitars and beautiful flamenco dances.

What to see and do in Granada

Granada is well worth spending a few days in and enjoying some incredible walks – not to mention the tapas bars and taking in the history of flamenco. These are just a few of the things to do in Granada.

Plaza Bib Rambla:  This is the main meeting square in Granada that once held the largest book burning in Europe. This took place during the Inquisition when Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, the confessor of Queen Isabel, used Plaza de Bib-Rambla to burn 80,000 books from the library of the Madrasah of Granada, the city’s first university, by stating that they were all copies of the Koran.

Plaza Bib Rambla is known for the Gigantones Fountain, a permanent flower market that sells an array of varieties, depending on the season, and many restaurants and cafes, where churros with hot chocolate are customary.

Flamenco:  Watch a traditional Flamenco performance located in one of Granada’s most spectacular venues. Take your seats in the atmospheric cave restaurant of El Templo del Flamenco, tuck into a delicious 2- or 5-course dinner, and be entertained by a thrilling live flamenco show.

Traditional flamenco dresses at a house in Malaga, Andalusia, Spain.

The Albaicin and Sacramonte:  Take a walking tour of the medieval Moorish quarter of the UNESCO-listed Albayzin and then head to the neighbouring gypsy enclave of the Sacramonte. This area is famous for its traditional cave houses and flamenco heritage.

Visit a hammam:  Enjoy the opulent Arabian baths at Hammam Al Ándalus located in the heart of the historical Old Town. Enjoy relaxing amid candle-lit walkways and beautifully designed pools; then indulge in a massage or submerge yourself in the soothing waters of a thermal bath and inhale the scented aromas of the steam room while sipping fresh mint tea.   

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Catedral de Granada & the Royal Chapel:  The Catedral was commissioned by Queen Isabella on the site of the Main Mosque, which later on became the Santa María de la O Church. The building was begun in the 16th century and the exterior is Gothic but the interior is a stunning Renaissance structure on a Gothic floor plan. The Cathedral’s treasures are kept in what used to be the Chapter Room. Today it holds ornaments and priceless treasures.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

The Royal Chapel was commissioned by Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand as their final resting place. It is built in Gothic style and is incredibly beautiful, holding many treasures from Spanish history.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Where To Stay In Granada

Casa de Reyes: Situated in the heart of Granada a short walk to the Cathedral this guest house is 8 minute’s walk from Elvira Street, famous for its tapas bars. Just beyond lies Granada’s Albaycín district, the medieval Moorish Quarter and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Alhambra Palace:  The Alhambra Palace is located just outside Alhambra’s ancient walls, offering spectacular views over the city of Granada. It has an in-house restaurant and a bar with a terrace and stunning views over Granada. A bus stop directly opposite the hotel will take guests to Alhambra or the city centre. It is a 10-minute bus ride to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Albayzín, the medieval Moorish quarter.

Archway in the Generalife gardens of the Alhambra palace of Granada, Spain


The provincial capital Jaen is known as the World Capital of Olive Oil, because it is the biggest producer of oil, and it has the largest number of protected castles, fortresses and natural spaces in Spain.

Jaen was a stronghold on the Castilian-Muslim borders during the Reconquest and the city is dominated by the Arab Fortress that stands on the Santa Catalina Ridge.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

What to see in Jaen

Santa Catalina castle:  The castle is home to an interesting Visitor Centre with information about its history. The Santa Catalina Castle is of  Mudjedar design extended and modified after being conquered by Ferdinand III.

The Santa Catalina Castle or Alcázar Nuevo is a walled, almost triangular, enclosure defended by six towers. Inside, there is a Tourist Information Centre, offering visitors the chance to discover the history of the castle and the city. It has magnificent views over Jaen and a Parador which is a government-owned hotel you can stay at.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Jaen Cathedral: Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin the cathedral is home to the Holy Veil, which according to tradition was used by Saint Veronica to wash Christ’s face. The cathedral was built on the site of a mosque and was built in a Gothic style and then restored in the Renaissance period.

Arab Baths Cultural Centre – Villardompardo Palace: The palace was built in 1592 on top of the Arab baths dating back to the 11th century. Declared a National Monument they are known as the Baños de Alí (Ali’s baths), and are considered the most important in the city.

The Arab Baths Cultural Centre reopened in 2014 and now offers a varied programme of exhibitions, concerts, lectures and demonstrations.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Museum of Naïf Art and the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions: The Museum is based in the Villardompardo Palace. The museum is divided into two main sections – the first is dedicated to Fine Art with an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures depicting the works of famous artists of Spain and beyond, and the Archaeology section has one of the most important collections of Iberian art in Spain and it covers the first settlers, the Moors, the Romans and the Jews.

Where to stay in Jaen

Parador de Jaén: On top of the Santa Catalina hill, this 18th-century castle has been beautifully renovated and inside the Parador Jaén, you can travel back in time to the 18th century with high, arched ceilings, wooden beams and beautiful, tiled floors throughout. Be enchanted by the decor which is in complete harmony with the historic structure, using classical-style furniture with an Arabic influence.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip


Cordoba is another point on your Southern Spain road trip that is full of Moorish and Christian history but it was also home to a large Jewish population with a beautifully preserved heritage.

What To Do In Cordoba

Alcazar of Cordoba: Built in the 8th century the Alcazar is a massive fortress and royal palace. The complex of buildings and gardens had reached major significance during the Middle Ages when Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella lived there.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Medina Azahara:  Just outside Cordoba lies the Medina Azahara, a spectacular Moorish palace that’s still being excavated (those parts are closed to the public).

Viana Palace: This impressive palace, situated in the Plaza de Don Gome, is surrounded by twelve splendid patios and a marvellous garden. Inside, the numerous palace rooms house a wide range of collections (paintings, dinner sets, mosaics, tapestries, decorative tiles, firearms, and so on).  

Plaza de Las Tendillas: Cordoba’s main square is the place to sit and enjoy a drink or a meal and people-watch.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Mosque-Cathedral (La Mezquita): The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984 and is the most important and sacred in the Islamic west. It was a cathedral and is now a stunning mosque combing architectural elements from both Muslim and Christian builders.

The great Mosque consists of two different areas, a courtyard with its porticoes and the minaret that stands under the Renaissance tower.  The interior space is arranged with columns and arcades.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Cordoba Synagogue: Unique in Andalusia the  Córdoba Synagogue is located in the Jewish quarter. Built between 1314 and 1315 it served as a  temple until the final Jewish expulsion. 

To the front is the main room. With a quadrangular ground plan, it is decorated with  Mudejar atauriques. The wall that supports the women’s gallery opens with three arches decorated with beautiful plasterwork.

Where to Stay in Cordoba

Pension el Portillo: Pensión El Portillo is situated in the historic centre of Córdoba, 500 m from the city’s Mezquita Cathedral. This guest house features a traditional Andalusian patio and rooms with balconies.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Set in a 19th-century building, the Portillo’s rooms are bright and have simple, traditional décor. Córdoba Synagogue is a 5-minute walk away and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos Palace is one kilometre from the Portillo.

La Calleja de la Mezquita: In the heart of Córdoba, set within a short distance of Cordoba Mosque and Cordoba Synagogue the apartment is fitted with 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with city views.

Popular points of interest near the apartment include Roman Temple, Viana Palace and Merced Palace.


There’s A LOT to see and experience in Seville it is the cultural heart of Spain and the best place to experience the mixture of cultures in the country. Seville is the birthplace of flamenco both the dance and the guitar rhythms of this beautiful tradition.

What To Do In Seville

Flamenco Show – El Palacio Andaluz: No trip to Seville is complete without seeing this art, listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. 

See the best national artists take to the stage as you enjoy a unique flamenco adaptation of the well-known opera ‘Carmen’ at one of the most well-loved flamenco tablaos in Seville. Get ready, as the gentle strumming of guitars slowly fills the room; this is the unmistakable sound of the beginning of an unforgettable flamenco show.

Book your Flamenco show tickets here

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Seville Cathedral And The Giralda: Seville is home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can climb the Giralda, from where you will enjoy one of the best panoramic views of the city. In the Crypt you will find the tombs of several kings of Castile and of Alfonso X the Wise, and even the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

SEVILLA, SPAIN, JUNE 25, 2019: Tomb of Christopher Columbus inside of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See in Sevilla, Spain

Real Alcázar De Sevilla: The Alcazar is a series of Palaces with architecture from the 11th century up to the present day including Islamic, Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance.  There are stunning gardens that began over 1000 years ago filled with ponds, sculptures, fountains and scented trees and flowers.

The Real Alcázar of Seville was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, together with the Cathedral of Seville and the Archivo de Indias. The Alcazar includes the Palacio del Yeso, with its Hall of Justice, the Múdejar Palace built by King Pedro I and the Gothic Palace. Among its patios, the Patio de las Doncellas stands out, with beautifully tiled baseboards.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Maria Luisa Park: You have to visit the Park simply for its beautiful ponds and fountains, decorated benches and of course the Plaza de España.

Plaza De España: One of the most stunning squares to be found in Europe the Plaza de Espana was designed in 1928 and includes a canal where you can rent a boat, or simply sit by its fountains and view the towers and bridges. There is a  wall covered in stunningly decorated tile work representing Spain’s 48 provinces.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

 Barrio Santa Cruz: The Barrio de Santa Cruz is the former Jewish quarter of Seville. In this area, you will find the Alcazar Palace and the Giralda Tower of the Cathedral.

Nowadays, this district and old town, with its many white houses, is the tourist centre of Seville. Here you will lots of small shops and plenty of restaurants and cafes.

Where to Stay In Seville

Exe Sevilla Macarena: Located opposite the Macarena Basilica, Hotel Sevilla Macarena faces Seville’s ancient city walls. It offers a rooftop pool with panoramic city views and air-conditioned rooms. The hotel is set around a typical Seville-style patio, where there is a cafeteria. The Hotel is set 500 m from the Guadalquivir River, and the Seville Cathedral is a 20-minute walk away.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

El Rey Moro Hotel Boutique: Situated in the heart of Seville’s best area the picturesque and authentic Barrio de Santa Cruz, the hotel is an attractive, converted manor house dating back to the 16th century.

The Barrio de Santa Cruz is a charming area of the city with narrow, cobbled streets and plazas lined with orange trees. It is centrally located and is within walking distance of many of the major attractions, such as the cathedral and the Alcazar.

Jerez de la Frontera

With a history that dates back to the time of the Moors, Jerez de la Frontera has a charming Old Town (Casco Antiguo) with a partially restored Moorish castle and palm-fringed plazas and a cathedral that was originally a mosque.

Jerez de la Frontera, is well known for wine, horses and flamenco, along with its historic centre that has been declared a Historic-Artistic site. Jerez is also famed for its superb Sherry due to the white chalky soil of the Jerez area, which is ideal for the cultivation of Palamino grapes which produce these fine sherries.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Visit a Sherry Bodega: The city is the centre of the province’s sherry dynasties, such as Domecq and Gonzalez Byass. It is a legacy that dates back some 250 years to when Scottish and Irish entrepreneurs, decided to set themselves up in the wine trade.

Royal Spanish Riding School: Home to the beautiful Spanish Andalusian horses used in the incredible dressage shows.  The “Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre” riding school was founded in 1973 and 14 years later was officially recognised by the King of Spain as a Royal Spanish Riding School.

The creation of its own breed of horse, the Cartujana, began in medieval times and they are named in honour of the Carthusian monastery of Santa María de la Defensión in Jerez. Its monks were the ones who created and bred this variety for centuries.

Alcazar: Situated directly opposite the Tio Pepe headquarters, the other side of the Alameda Vieja park, is Jerez’s mighty Alcazar. Dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, this was the Moors’ chief defence against Christian invaders, who finally took the city in 1264. Impressively conserved are the Arabian baths, a mosque, defensive walls and towers.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Jerez Cathedral: Originally built as a church between 1695 and 1778, the San Salvador cathedral is unique in Andalusia, its bell tower stands on a separate site, which was previously occupied by a smaller church (and, before that, a mosque); its lower half dates from the 15th century and the top half from the 17th.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Plaza de la Ascunción:  This plaza is one of old Jerez’s loveliest spaces and home to two of the city’s most beautiful buildings the 15th-century Iglesia Dionisio and opposite is the former town hall building dating from 1575.

Andalusian Flamenco Centre:  The Andalusian Flamenco Centre is located in the Santiago neighbourhood, one of the most important flamenco areas of Jerez. The Centre provides resources for researchers, students, and flamenco enthusiasts in general.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip


To get to Cadiz you have to cross the incredible Puente de la Constitución, bridge. This absolutely charming city has a stunning old town and some gorgeous beaches to keep both history and sunshine buffs happy.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

What to see in Cadiz

Cadiz Cathedral: The Cathedral can be seen everywhere in Cadiz due to its glorious Golden Dome. Built in 17ss it took a century to finish the Cathedral and combines Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance along with Neoclassical architecture. Take the stairs up to the Tower of Poniente the bell tower where you can see panoramic views over the whole city.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

The Roman Theater: Dating from the end of the 1st century BC, it was discovered by chance in 1980. It’s the oldest in Spain as well as one of the largest, with a capacity of 20,000 people. It is small but free to enter.

Castillo de Santa Catalina Castle: This is Cadiz’s oldest military structure and is a National Asset of Cultural Interest, the Castillo de Santa Catalina Castle. The sea-facing part of the Castillo de Santa Catalina Castle is shaped like a three-pointed star. The part facing inland, however, has two half-bastions and a moat, with one permanent bridge and another lifting bridge, lending the overall castle a pentagonal shape. A visit to the castle will give you some incredible views over the Atlantic

La Caleta Beach:  La Caleta beach can be found between the castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina and it is the most popular beach in Cadiz. There are restaurants, beach bars, flamenco clubs and even a decadent spa in the surrounding area.

La Caleta beach playa in Villajoyosa of Alicante in Spain also Vila Joiosa at Costa Blanca

The Central Market:  You all know I love a market and seek them out wherever I am travelling. The Central Market, like any market around the world, is the hub and social gathering place of the city. Here you will find the freshest meats, vegetables, fish and fruits. You can even spend the evening here enjoying tapas and drinks while the sun goes down. Don’t forget to pick up some superb Spanish Olive Oil when you are there.

Plaza de España of Cádiz:  The Plaza de España is the widest open garden square in the old town. It is built from the old Plazuela del Carbón after the demolition of the defensive walls of San Antonio at the beginning of the 20th century. It was completed in 1929 when the Monument to the Cortes de Cádiz and the Constitution of 1812 was adopted.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Where to stay in Cádiz

Parador de Cadiz: A short walk from the beach of La Caleta this modern hotel offers terraces with city or sea views and a pool. Parador Cádiz offers fine, regional cuisine in its à la carte restaurant and you can enjoy traditional tapas in the bar. The hotel also has extensive function rooms for events and celebrations.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Hotel la Catedral: Hotel La Catedral is set in Cádiz’s charming Old Town, right next to Cádiz Cathedral. Its rooftop terrace has a small outdoor pool with jets and amazing views of the cathedral and the Atlantic Ocean.

The hotel’s restaurant serves traditional dishes from Cádiz, using fresh local produce, including a set lunch menu on weekdays. There is also a bar with outdoor tables in the square.

Where to visit in Cadiz Province


What is most striking in Ronda is the immense 360 feet gorge that divides the town in half. The stunning Puente Neuvo bridge spans the El Tajo gorge and was constructed over 34 years during the 1700s. This is the iconic view of Ronda that Instagrammers love.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Things To Do In Ronda

Puente Nuevo: The New Bridge this bridge was built in the 18th century to join the two parts of Ronda separated by the El Tajo gorge. There is a museum within the bridge that details the bridge and Ronda’s tumultuous history. 

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

The Palacio de Mondragón: The Municipal Museum of Ronda Palace of Mondragón, also known as the Palace of the Marquis of Villasierra, is a significant civil monument in Ronda. The legend says that it was the residence of the great king Abbel Malik or Abomelic, son of the Moroccan sultan Abul Asan. The Museum houses a collection of artefacts found in the area that tells the history of the region.

Plaza Del Socorro: This large square in the Mercadillo district boasts beautiful façades from the 1800s and 1900s.

The Almocábar Gate: The gate to the city was built at the end of the 13th century during the Muslim occupation, it was the most important access gate to the Alcazaba and the city of Ronda. It is made up of three successive gates as well as two semicircular towers. 

In the square in front of the Puerta de Almocábar, on May 20, 1485, the Castilian troops gathered, under the command of the Marquis of Cádiz, an event that put an end to the Arab domination of Ronda and its mountains.

The Plaza de Toros de Ronda:  The bullring is home to the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda, Spain’s oldest and most noble order of horsemanship the order traces its heritage back to 1485. This was the year that the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella defeated the Moors in Ronda.

The museum in Ronda’s Plaza de Toros, the Museo Taurino, contains many of the most important outfits and bullfighting regalia from the last two centuries, as well as an extensive collection of weapons used by the Real Maestranza during Spain’s many wars..

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Cuenca Gardens: The Cuenca Gardens were built in 1975 and are named after Ronda’s sister city in Ecuador. To get to the gardens there is a winding staircase to the top of El Tajo where you will find jaw-dropping views of the gorge and valley. Surrounded by palm trees, Cyprus planting and evergreens this place is simply breathtaking.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip
©Elliot Brown

Where To Stay In Ronda

Hotel Andalucia: Set in a quiet part of Ronda, only 5 minute’s walk from the historic centre, Hotel Andalucia offers free Wi-Fi and a cafeteria with an outdoor terrace. The Ronda Train Station is just 150 m away from the property.

Catalonia Reina Victoria: Overlooking Ronda’s spectacular Tajo Gorge, the renovated Catalonia Reina Victoria Wellness & Spa offers an outdoor pool, a spa, extensive gardens and an à la carte restaurant with panoramic views. The Victorian-style Catalonia Reina Victoria Wellness & Spa was built in 1906 and fully renovated in the summer of 2012.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

The White Villages of Andalucia

On your road trip to southern Spain, you’ll find villages in gorgeous natural settings, where you can take photos of the whitewashed houses hung with pots of colourful flowers, gaze at the mountain landscapes, and explore traces of an Islamic and Christian past.  

If you’re holidaying on the Andalusian coast think about exploring the pretty coastal towns and soaking up the sun on the Mediterranean beaches, set aside a few days to visit the white villages further inland. There are many you can visit, but some of the most famous include Ronda of course and here are two more.

Frigiliana: worth the trip to stroll around its narrow streets and passageways that evoke the Moorish past, and visit the only existing traditional molasses factory in Europe. You can take in the fabulous beaches of Nerja and enjoy some glorious sun.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Casares: we recommend going up to the Arab castle at the top of the village. This land has been home to Iberians, Phoenicians, and Romans. Casares is a pleasant white village to stroll around. Visit Blas Infante birthplace, Iglesia de San Sebastian, near the square or climb up via Puerta Calle Arrabal, to the Castle, ruined church, Iglesia de la Encarnación now Centro Cultural Blas Infante.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

Grazalema: Located in a high valley over 800m in the Sierra del Endrinal and dominated by the magnificent rocky outcrop known as Peñon Grande, the pretty mountain village of Grazalema is the most popular base for visitors to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. The park is a vast protected area of rugged limestone mountains, which are famous for being the rainiest place in Spain. 

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

In the heart of the village is an attractive main square, the Plaza de España, which is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. In the square, you will also see the 18th-century church of La Aurora. Up Calle Mateos Gago from the square is the 17th-century Iglesia de San José, a former Carmelite convent with paintings by a disciple of Murillo.

Car Rental in Andalusia

You simply can’t do an Andalusia road trip without a car which luckily in Spain means driving on the same side of the road as you do in North America. However, you may need to be able to drive a manual as it will cost you less. You may be able to find a great deal on renting a car in Spain on RentalCars so take a look.

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip

The Best Time to Visit Andalusia

In planning your south of Spain itinerary I would avoid the very hot summer months and plan your Andalusian road trip in the spring or fall. This will also be less expensive as they are shoulder seasons.

A road trip through southern Spain is an incredible experience that offers breathtaking landscapes, rich history and culture, and delicious cuisine. From the vibrant city of Seville to the stunning beaches of Costa del Sol, southern Spain has something for everyone. Whether you are exploring the winding streets of Granada or taking in the views from the Sierra Nevada mountains, this region will leave you with memories that last a lifetime. So pack your bags, grab your map and hit the open road – your adventure awaits!

You might also like:

Spanish Food: 40 of the best foods in Spain

Visiting Caravaca de la Cruz

Semana Santa celebrating holy week in Spain story

Salobreña Spain a charming whitewashed village in Andalucia

8 Unique places to visit in Spain

Fabulous holidays on the Costa Almeria Spain

Pin it for later

Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

    View all posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top