Southern Spain itinerary, 10 days between Andalusia and Castilla

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For most of of people Southern Spain is commonly called Andalusia, so it seems obvious that the two words are somehow synonymous. Everyone knows this Spanish region that has actually exported its brand to the world. It is recognizable by many reasons.

We can find the classic Spanish in the ideals originating from Andalusia. Flamenco, tapas, the habit of dining late, siesta. In conclusion, all things you know. I can safely say that thanks to these factors I fell in love with Andalusia and Spain in general.

However, I don’t like to summarize southern Spain in Andalusia. The itinerary that I want to suggest to you also includes another region that for one part can be considered in the south: Castilla.

This road trip in Southern Spain is very interesting. It allows you to discover how the Spanish territory is differente and how customs and traditions vary according to the same regions. The further north you go, the more the typical Andalusian customs fade and the schedules become less different than “ours”.

Road trip Itinerary in Southern Spain

Let’s begin with some information for this 10 days road trip in south Spain.

Details of this tour in Southern Spain

Usually when I show you an itinerary I aim to describe what to do every day. For this Spain road trip, instead, I would like to give you some simple directions.

This type of itinerary can take differenth path according to the cities you prefer to visit. For example, you could spend more time on sea cities rather than inland ones, or vice versa. Basically there is no logical and natural route to follow. You might also want to finish the route not necessarily in Zaragoza.

I will just point out what I have done so that it may inspire you.

Days: 10/12

Rental: car rented through Discover Cars (CLICK HERE for the offer in Spain). Please note that if you deliver to a different place from where you take charge of the car, you will have to pay the drop-off. It’s an extra fee that basically covers the inconvenience that “causes” the car rental company to deliver the car in a different place.

Recommended period: Spring or early autumn.

Departure and Arrival: Seville, arrival in Zaragoza.

Cities visitedSeville, Cadiz, Tarifa, Gibraltar (GB), Ronda, Granada, Toledo, Madrid, Zaragoza.

Excursions made: Sierra de Cazorla to discover the spring of Guadalquivir.

Other ways you could take: Malaga, Cordoba (if you want, you can take a look at the best things to do in Cordoba)

Andalusia: where the southern Spain itinerary starts

You can end this trip wherever you want, but you definitely have to start from Seville. I have been in this beautiful city twice in my life. Each time I had the same feeling: a clean, sunny and consistently warm city. I consider it the gem of Andalusia, it is impossible not to fall in love with it. There are many things to do in Seville and it takes about 2 to 3 days to visit it.

A city with a strong Arab flavour due to its past. It is bathed by the Guadalquivir River which flows and embraces the city. Seville is a safe and fascinating city. In the evening it becomes even more beautiful and you can visit it without any problem. To discover this evening charm just go for a walk near the Plaza d’Espana, you will be amazed.

As I told you, it is better to organize this road trip in non summer months. In August the temperature reach impressive levels and this impacts on people’s lives. The siesta is also due to this aspect, the inability to lead a normal life during the hottest hours. The Sevillian heat is found not only in the climate but also and above all in the Andalusian soul. Its greatest representation is the flamenco show. This is one of those things not to be missed at all.

The next stop was Cadiz, about 1 and a half hours from Seville. Unfortunately, due to an unpleasant day from the weather point of view, I could not appreciate it at its best. Definitely worth a visit.

From Cadiz to Tarifa and Ronda

Tarifa, a city that is very popular among surfers, kitesurfers and windsurfers.

Please note: If you want to discover Tarifa… here’s my post written just for you: Best things to do in Tarifa in Spain.

If it is a beautiful day without haze you can see the Moroccan coast. It is the closest European location to the African continent, just 14 km away. I visited it in October and it was not particularly crowded, probably this was due to the fact that it was off season. To me it seemed to be a very young city, with a lot of trendy places. I think it’s a great place to visit in the summer.

From Tarifa I moved to visit Gibraltar. Okay, it’s true, I said southern Spain and not England. Being two steps away from it I couldn’t exclude it from the itinerary. I parked in Spain and with a bus I moved to England. It’s weird when you say it like that, but that’s actually what happens. But first, you have to wait for the planes to land.

Yes, I said planes! The airstrip cuts the access road to Gibraltar in two.

The next stop of my Southern Spain itinerary after Gibraltar was Ronda.

mappa aeroporto gibilterra

From Ronda to Granada

It’ impossible to forget this small but important town that has marked the history of a Spanish tradition that I dislike: bullfighting. I dare to say that this is the only Spanish aspect that I completely disagree with.

In spite of this, it is one of the symbol cities of Andalusia and the whole of southern Spain. A must see along a road trip itinerary in southern Spain. The road to reach it is uphill because you have to climb over 700 meters.

I spent half a day in Ronda and I was very surprised. The main places of interest are the Plaza de Toros, the place where the bullfights take place, and Puente Nuevo, the symbol of Ronda. This is an 18th century bridge that connects the two parts of the city. Because of its nature, how and where it was built, it leaves people amazed.

ronda ponte spagna del sud itinerario on the road

I spent half a day in Ronda and I was very surprised. The main places of interest are the Plaza de Toros, the place where the bullfights take place, and Puente Nuevo, the symbol of Ronda. This is an 18th century bridge that connects the two parts of the city. Because of its nature, how and where it was built, it leaves people amazed.

ronda plaza de toros spagna del sud itinerario on the road

The beautiful Granada

From Ronda, first by passing by mountain roads, then by taking a smoother road, I arrived to Granada. This city in southern Spain is famous… for its tapas. No, I’m joking, here you can see the Alhambra. This place was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Tip: do you want to visit the Alhambra -> Discover HERE the TOURS and TICKETS.

Until the 13th century it was a fortress built on a hill in Granada. After the arrival of the first king of the Nasrid dynasty, Alhambra was transformed into a real fortified palace with red walls, a city within the city. Inside, a mosque, gardens, palaces, a self-sufficient city from which one of the most peculiar neighborhoods of Granada can be seen: the Albaicìn.

alhambra granada interni spagna del sud itinerario on the road

Albaicìn and Tapas in Granada

This part of Granada is the most characteristic. Narrow streets reminiscent of the Moorish era. Discovering the albaicin, according to some, also means accessing an area that in some ways can be dangerous. During the day I visited it quietly getting lost in its colourful alleys, maybe it is less advisable to visit it in the evening.

I was talking about tapas. In this itinerary in Southern Spain, you’ll eat many tapas, but in Granada I found a more traditional way to serve them. While they are usually paid separately, in the bars of this Andalusian city they are offered for free.

I remember, moreover, that the more you drink, the better the tapa that was brought. In all honesty I think that after a few drinks, for obvious reasons, each tapa is identical to the previous one, but when you travel you have to adapt to local customs… I adapted myself perfectly.

From Granada to Toledo crossing Sierra de Cazorla

After two days in Granada I decided nearly by accident to reach the spring of the Guadalquivir on the Sierra de Cazorla. On the way to Toledo I wanted to discover “El Nacimiento del Guadalquivir”. So the route took a nice detour towards nature. A couple of hours by car in the middle of greenery. I remember perfectly when I stopped with my traveling companion in a clearing with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. The birds of prey were flying in the sky and their cries echoed in the valley. Lovely!

The spring of the Guadalquivir leaves one puzzled. Considering that the river that reaches Seville is quite impressive, one imagines that the spring is of considerable proportions. But this is not the case. After all, it is just a spring.

After the break among nature, I continued the route by car to Toledo and visited it quickly enough to reach Madrid.

Discovering Toledo

Toledo was the former capital of Spain and recently I had the chance to explore it better. It is a virtually unspoilt city because in the past it has never been attacked. Its uniqueness is that it is completely surrounded by the Rio Tajo which at the time protected it from enemy attacks.

However, it was a double-edged sword because it was enough to besiege the city and then occupy it after the surrender due to lack of food. I wrote a couple of very interesting articles about what to do in Toledo and what are the45 must-do things in Toledo.

On a road trip to Spain, Toledo is not to be missed.

toledo panorama spagna espana panoramica

From Toledo to Zaragoza

Southern Spain in my opinion ends here. Once we reach Madrid we are in the central part of the country. My itinerary included 3 days in the capital and the last one in beautiful Zaragoza before getting on the plane.

If I had to redefine an itinerary, I would certainly skip Zaragoza, it makes no sense. In case you could start from Madrid, or you could recreate the itinerary by inserting the alternatives I’m going to mention in the next part of this post.

Possible deviations from the main itinerary

A good itinerary of alternative southern Spain could include Malaga after Ronda. You could relax on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, visit the city by going to Pablo Picasso’s museum or discover the Gibralfaro Castle.

Another important possible addition to the itinerary is Cordoba. I recently had the opportunity to visit it and only the Mezquita would be a valid reason to spend a night there. Cordoba is taken less into consideration than Granada and Seville, but actually it has a lot to offer. I have written a post about the best things to do in Cordoba if you need to organize your day.

So here is the possible revised itinerary.


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