5 Days in South Spain: An Itinerary Covering the Best of Andalusia

A big reason for our return to Spain was to experience the sunny, laid-back cities of Andalusia. We debated where to spend most of our honeymoon, and you can’t find a much better combo!

One of the beautiful courtyards in Cordoba, where families hang flowers every morning.

The region, which encompasses the southernmost part of the country, has dizzying alleyways with ancient Moorish buildings especially in such cities as Cordoba and Granada, spectacular flamenco performances such as in Seville, lively festivals in Jerez and popular beaches in Cadiz. And well, the food is good just about everywhere!

A plate of cheese please. Kevin finds his food heaven.

Planning a trip here can be overwhelming at first. But we’ll break it down for you with our 5 day itinerary in Andalusia, where we cover all the must-visit spots and hidden gems.

DAY 1: MADRID TO CORDOBA

We loved traveling by train in Spain – way more convenient than flights.

  • 11:35 AM, Renfre Train – Madrid (Atocha) to Cordoba. Total travel time: 3 hours
    • It doesn’t get much easier than hopping the train, sitting back and enjoying the included wifi and checking out the dining car. And yes, you can even order more cheese!
    • Cost: 75.20 Euros total (or $92.40 USD)
  • 2:30 PM, Arrive in Cordoba and walk to your hotel
    • We recommend staying the the historic Jewish quarter. You’ll be in the most atmospheric part of town AND it’s easy to walk there – like 15-20 minutes. Taxis can only take you close to the city center, since the streets are so narrow.
      • Along the walk to your hotel, we recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Mercado Victoria. We kept wandering around but pick the stall that looks the busiest!

Inside the fancy Mercado Victoria

Meat, cheese and bread. Clearly, the main food groups in Spain!

  • 4 PM, after your quick bite to eat, head towards your hotel and drop off the bags. We enjoyed our stay at NH Collection Amistad Córdoba. You can’t beat the location. 1 night ($244 US total)

Kevin loves wandering the winding streets of Cordoba through the whitewashed buildings

NH Collection Armistad Cordoba, a nice place to be based.

  • 5-6 PM, Visit the Mezquita Cathedral 
    • This should be your first stop on any trip to Cordoba.
    • Our top tip: skip the long line and hit up one of the unmanned booths to the  side – literally there will be no line!
    • This is one of the world’s most impressive buildings — just walking through will leave you in awe. And looking back, wonder how many photos you actually took on your iPhone! It’s like an Instagram dream!

Mezquita Cathedral

The ticket machine where you can pay with cash — notice the lack of people vs the huge line for the ticket booth.

  • 6-8 PM, Wander your way over to the gorgeous gardens at Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and if you have time, the ancient bath museum nearby is pretty fun to see as well.

The view looking down at the gardens at Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos 

Clearly we’re loving these gardens!

  • 8-9:30 PM, wander around town, shop, peek in the courtyards and grab dinner. Cordoba is known for its leather and I bought a belt! There are so many fantastic places hidden inside courtyards and along the cobbled streets. For dinner, we liked the energy at Bodegas Campos or El Patio Cordoba.

One of the beautiful streets in Cordoba.

Candy shops with free samples. You know where I can be found!

El Patio Cordobes Restaurante was hopping!

  • 9:30-11 PM, Still have energy? You know that we do! So we decided to enjoy a traditional Moroccan style spa (after a failed attempt to see Avengers: Infinity War that ended up NOT being in English).  Full disclosure, we saw this movie once we got back to the US and it probably would have made just as much sense in Spanish as it did in English!

Kevin looks so relaxed! Enjoying our late night spa time and massage.

DAY 2: CORDOBA TO GRANADA TO RONDA

Driving to Granada in our rental car, just a 2 hour ride

  • 10 AM, Pick up rental at Hertz (25 min walk from hotel)
    • Location: Avenida Via Augusta, Córdoba, Andalusia 14011
    • 3 days rental, automatic (since I can’t drive shift!)
    • Cost: $293 USD or 238.53 euros
  • 12 PM, Arrive in Granada (2 hour drive)
  • 12:30-3 PM, Visit Alhambra Palace, access to the Nasrid Palaces is only allowed within the hour indicated on your ticket.
    • Tickets are released 3 months in advance and you should definitely book tickets well in advance.
    • Total costs for 2 tickets $37 USD
    • Allow plenty of time to walk to the palaces, at least 30 minutes (or you’ll end up sprinting to make your entry time like us!)

      Kevin demos our heavy sprint — where we nearly missed our entry window since we didn’t allow time to walk from the parking lot.

Alhambra Palace, inside the Nasrid Palaces

Clearly we loved the Alhambra and were amazed by the stunning building and the gardens.

  • 3-4:00 PM, Walk from the Alhambra to the Albayzin Moorish Quarter, full of narrow streets and with the atmosphere of being in Morocco.

Hiking our way up to the Mirador nearby the Moroccan neighborhood.

Kevin found it!

The viewpoint from the Mirador to The Alhambra in the distance. Amazing!

  • 4:30-5:30 PM, Grab a light snack at a traditional Moroccan restaurant to take a break from all the cheese and ham you’ve been eating! We recommend Restaurante Arrayanes.

Inside Moroccan-style Restaurante Arrayanes

Enjoying the sampler with hummus and other dips

  • 6 PM, Leave Granada and drive to Antequera, just 1 hour away by car, for a quick dessert at La Antequera.
    • Be sure to park at the Carpark Antequera Centro (Calle Diego Ponce, 19, 29200 Antequera, Málaga, Spain), which has a surprising viewpoint you can access from the rooftop. A hidden gem in the city and only available for those who park there and can scan the receipt!

Dessert stop! My dessert obsession in Spain: called Pionono, a spongy outside cake and custard filling and drenched in syrup. Mmm!

Follow the signs for the Mirador in the parking lot to get a 360 view of the city of Antequera

  • 7:30 PM, Drive from Antequera to Ronda (1 hour drive)
  • 8:30 PM, Check into the best hotel on our entire vacation, Hotel Monteilrio – 1 night
    • Cost $223 USD total for the suite facing the gorge (well worth the splurge)
    • Must-do: Eat at the hotel restaurant Albacara, the best meal and atmosphere on our trip.

Talk about a view — looking out our balcony from our hotel room.

Kevin can’t help but scream!

Look at that view from the restaurant on site. Make sure to grab a table and relax.

DAY 3: RONDA, GIBRALTAR AND CADIZ

Bullfighting ring in Ronda

  • 11 AM, Check out Plaza de Toros, one of the most famous bullfighting rings in the country. We didn’t want to witness an actual bullfight. But we wanted to learn more. This museum gives a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a bullfighter that you can follow at your own pace (with an audio guide).

I get into the spirit and act brave (especially since there is no bull!)

I loved the section displaying the old posters.

  • 12:30 PM, Depart Ronda and drive to Gibraltar (2 hours drive)
    • Park your car in Spain and walk across the border to this British overseas territory. Just don’t forget your passports!
    • We recommend taking a double decker bus directly to the main square in town, then walking to the Gibraltar Cable Cars to explore the Gibraltar rock!

Like being back in London, while visiting Gibraltar.

Kevin hanging out on the upper deck of a traditional red double decker bus. So much fun!

The cable cars, the must-do first stop

  • You can spend as much or little time as you want. We bought the pass that allowed us to check out the caves and all the little stops on top of the mountain.
  • We spent a good 4 hours here! But talk about good exercise. And you may get in extra steps running away from all the aggressive monkeys that hang out on the rock!

This monkey totally photobombed my shot!

Gorgeous view from inside one of the military barracks on top.

Precarious bridge crossing high above the town.

Exploring a cave on the mountain on the rock of Gibraltar – wow, we were definitely taking our time on this part of the trip!

Not done yet, after HOURS of walking Kevin wants to explore this old fortress with its many, many stairs. I almost lost it.

  • 7 PM, Head to one of the English pubs in town for a well-deserved dinner. I was so hungry anything could have tasted 5 star. Even the tourist traps probably. But skip all the hokey places and head to The Clipper. The food was amazing especially the chicken curry.

  • 8 PM, Hit the road and drive to Cadiz (1 hour 30 minutes by car). Once there, grab a drink and get some deep sleep! We LOVED the tapas, the lively energy and drinks at Cumbres Mayores.

    Enjoying the drinks and light tapas at Cumbres Mayores

DAY 4: JEREZ AND SEVILLE

One of the many bull silhouettes along the roads in Andalusia

  • 10 AM, Drive to Jerez (30 minutes)
    • Jerez, means “sherry” in Spanish. This town is the hot spot to try the sweet, syrupy alcohol. We recommend heading straight to Bodegas Tradicion for a 2 hour sherry tasting tour in English (starting at 11 AM).
    • Location: Calle Cordobeses, 3, 11408 Jerez de la Frontera
    • Cost: $44 USD for two people

Sherry tasting at Bodegas Tradicion

The sherry tasting includes snacks for pairing. Bonus!

  • 2-5 PM, We were lucky enough to time our trip to the Feria del Caballo (horse festival in Jerez). 
    • This is the mother of all festivals in Andalusia — open to the public with everyone donning their best clothes, and well, a lot of horses and drinking. Sounds like a safe combo, right?
    • The center of activity is in the Parque González Hontoria in the north of the city located on Avenida Alvero Domeq by the intersection with Paseo la Roseleda.
    • A highlight is to relax in one of the many “casitas” (or “stands”), order a drink and watch the horses and all the action pass you by.
Feria del Caballo (horse festival) in Jerez, generally held the first week of May. A must visit!

Feria del Caballo (horse festival) in Jerez, generally held the first week of May. A must visit!

Traditional dress – everyone is ready to dance at the Feria del Caballo

Lounging at one of the Casitas (or “Stands”) at the horse festival in Jerez.

  • 5 PM, Depart Jerez for Seville (1.5 hours)
  • 6:30 PM, Check into Corral del Rey for 2 nights.
    • Be sure to request a room that is NOT on the ground floor — unless you are a heavy sleeper. There is absolutely no insulation. We ended up moving rooms after the first sleepless night.
    • Cost: $723 USD for 2 nights.

Corral del Rey, our hotel in Seville.

  • 7-9 PM, Explore Seville, it’s really walkable. We loved the food and sidewalk cafe atmosphere at Baco. And of course, ordered more ham and cheese! We are so predictable.

Kevin is excited – more ham! Eating al fresco at Baco in Seville.

A plate of cheese please. Kevin finds his food heaven.

  • 9-10 PM, Take in a chilling flamenco performance at Casa de Memoria, considered the best in town.
    • Located just next door to the dinner spot we recommended.
    • Address: Centro Cultural Flamenco, Casa de la Memoria (C/ CUNA, 6)
    • Cost: $45 USD for 2 people.

Flamenco at Casa de Memoria.

I can’t help but jump into the Flamenco spirit! And perform on stage (after everyone leaves!)

  • 10-11:30 PM, The night is still young! Spaniards love to party. We get caught up in the energy and grab a drink and some small tapas outdoors at the bustling El Pasaje. Get the chicken tikka masala! Not Spanish at all, but delish!

Enjoying the lively spot El Pasaje for late-night snacks!

DAY 5: SEVILLE

Exploring the many gardens in Seville.

  • 10 AM – 6 PM, Explore Seville on your own. Take a free walking tour or just relax.
    • One of our highlights was checking out the Moorish architecture at Real Alcazar. And we totally recommend going into the garden labyrinth.
    • We spent most of our time in a cafe and enjoying the cool ice cream in the shape of a flower at Amorino.

Inside the Real Alcazar in Seville.

Kevin enjoys the labyrinth at Real Alcazar, which isn’t all that complicated (since it came up to our waists)!

  • 6-9 PM, Take a Spanish Cooking Class at Taller Andaluz De Cocina
    • Hands-on Spanish class with 4 course menu, including Paella. One of our favorite activities on the trip!
    • Location: Triana Food Market, stalls 75-77. Plaza del Altozano s/n
    • Cost: $62 USD per person.

Enjoying the cooking class, and learning all the classic Spanish dishes.

Showing off our Paella at Taller Andaluz De Cocina

Summary
5 Days in South Spain: An Itinerary Covering the Best of Andalusia
Article Name
5 Days in South Spain: An Itinerary Covering the Best of Andalusia
Description
Looking to do a driving tour through Andalusia, south Spain? Check out our road trip hitting up all the best spots across Cordoba, Ronda, Gibraltar, Jerez, Cadiz and Seville.

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