Andalusia is quintessential Spain. Think orange scented air, clear blue skies, the swish of flamenco skirts, and a heady mix of Gothic and Moorish influences. It is also a huge province which is full of the lofty mountain, stunning coastline, magnificent festivals, snow white villages, grand cities, and a pulsating culture. This is one of the most popular areas of Spain and most of the magnificent cities like Seville, Ronda, Granada, and Cordoba are located here. With gorgeous weather and so much to do, this region is an explorer’s paradise and an Andalusia road trip is once in a lifetime travel experience.
What makes an Andalusian road trip so popular?
A great connection of brand new highways with minimum tolls make an Andalusian road trip an extremely pleasant experience. You can just keep driving from one point to another with minimum hassle and take detours to see something which catches your eye. That, I can promise will happen a lot because Andalusia in Spain is a stunningly beautiful region. During our Andalusian road trip, we made many unplanned stops, took plenty of detours, and kept things flexible to enjoy the experience to the fullest. This is perhaps a bit difficult if you are not self-driving because, despite the well-connected bus and train network, most of the Andalusian hinterlands are accessible by your own wheels.
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The best time for an Andalusia Road Trip
The Spanish summer months are extremely hot and busy. Though most people will advise against visiting Spain in summer due to a high peak in tourism, Andalusia is thankfully big enough to get lost in. Thus, June to August is the best time to embark on an Andalusia road trip and you will see endless acres of blooming sunflower fields. Having said that, do bear in mind that Spanish summers can be extremely hot, with the exception of Ronda and other high elevation areas. The spring months of the end of March and April are very pleasant and autumn (September to November) is gorgeous too.
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How to Reach Andalusia
Andalusia being a large region has several domestic and international airports. Granada, Almeria, Cordoba, and Cadiz have domestic airports, while international travelers can fly directly into Seville and Malaga. Most international travelers start their journey in Madrid and then drive approximately 4 hours to start their Andalusia road trip in Granada. P.S – Spain is a part of the European Union and Indian passport holders require a Schengen visa for an Andalusia road trip.
Things to remember for an Andalusia road trip
- Renting a Car – Car rentals are easily available and you can actually book one online. You can pick it up at the airport, but make sure you understand the fees being charged. International travel insurance that covers accidents and damages abroad are absolutely necessary.
- Double check the insurance and hidden costs – Spanish historic cities can be quite cramped. So you might end up with a few scratches and dents while parking. So cough up a bit extra and make sure you have the excess cover car insurance. A word of advice to only rent cars that comes with all-inclusive insurance.
- Automatic Transmission – You don’t want to battle with manual gears on the steep streets of Andalusia. So opt for the automatic transmission.
- GPS – During our Andalusia road trip, GPS worked well most of the times. Most self-driving travelers rent one and it gives access to maps, gas stations, emergency services, etc. You will definitely need GPS in large grid-like cities like Granada and Almeria.
- Choose the A motorways to avoid toll taxes – In Spain, there are the paid (toll) roads and free motorways. The toll motorways go by the prefix AP (Autopista Paeje) and the non-toll motorways are just A. To save money, avoid the AP and just follow the A motorways.
- Gas Stations – You will find plenty of gas stations during most parts of your Andalusia road trip. However, on long less-traveled stretches like to Almeria, gas stations are hard to come by. So fill up the car whenever you see a gas station.
- Book accommodations ahead and know what you want to see – This is especially important during summer months. Andalusia can sell out pretty fast, so book the accommodations ahead and have a rough idea of what you want to see. Plan the route ahead, so that after a long drive, you can rest a bit and not worry about finding a place to stay.
Our 1 week Andalusia road trip itinerary
Spain was a part of our Germany, France, Spain road trip and we started our Andalusia road trip in Almeria. We drove to Almeria from Girona via Cartagena and it was a long, yet extremely beautiful drive. We explored Andalusia from there and our itinerary was quite offbeat.
Style – Offbeat, Nature (beach, mountain, desert), Culture, City Escape, History
- Day 1 – Girona (Catalan province in Spain) to Almeria (Andalusia province in Spain) via Cartagena
- Day 1 – Almeria City Tour
- Day 2 – Almeria Cabo de Gata National Park
- Day 3 – Using Almeria as a base, explored Nijar and one of the Pueblos Blancos/White Towns
- Day 4 – Almeria to Granada via Tabernas Desert
- Day 4 – Granada (City Tour of Areas like Albaicin, San Geronimo Monastery, Cathedral Granada, and Calle Caldereria Nueva)
- Day 5 – Alhambra Complex and evening Flamenco Show
- Day 6 – Carrera del Darro and relax
- Day 7 – Leave Andalusia and head off to Cuenca (Cuenca province in Spain)
Alternative Andalusia road trip itineraries
Presenting two more itineraries for Andalusia road trip. We had enough time on our hands so could take it easy and go offbeat. However, for those on limited vacation time, check out the following itineraries to get the best of Andalusia.
Andalusia Road Trip Alternative Itinerary One
Style – Culture, City Escapes, History, Popular
- Day 1 – Start in Madrid and drive 3-4 hours to Granada
- Day 1 – Granada City Tour
- Day 2 – Granada Alhambra, city tour and flamenco show (in summers you can hike the Sierra Nevada)
- Day 3 – Granada to Ronda via the beautiful white village of Frigiliana. This is a 2 hours drive
- Day 3 – Ronda city tour which must include Puente Nuevo, Mondragon Palace, the Acinipo Ruins dating, and the Cueva del Gato for an icy refreshing dip in the cave’s turquoise coloured pools.
- Day 4 – Ronda as a base and go on a day trip to Cadiz for tea-houses or Cordoba for the magnificent Mesquita mosque-cathedral (other day trip options are Marbella, Malaga, and even Gibraltar)
- Day 5 – Drive to Seville from Ronda. It is a 2 hours drive. Must visit places are the famous Real Alcázar de Sevilla, the Cathedral where Christopher Columbus is buried, Torre Giralda.
- Day 6 – In Seville, see the Torre del Oro, the “Tower of Gold”, the Plaza de Espana and its beautiful tile panels and canal, the Palacio de las Dueñas, and the Metropol Parasol, a wooden architectural structure in the form of giant mushrooms.
- Day 7 – Drive back to Malaga and fly out. It is a 2.20 hours drive. Alternatively, drive over to Algarve in Portugal in just 2 hours
Andalusia Road Trip Alternative Itinerary Two
Style – Family Friendly, Culture, History, City Escape, Nature (Beach)
- Day 1 – Start from Malaga and base yourself at any of these Costa del Sol beaches (Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Nerje, Benalmadena)
- Day 2 – Costa del Sol beach base
- Day 3 – Ronda
- Day 4 – Ronda to Seville via Cordoba
- Day 5 – Seville
- Day 6 – Granada
- Day 7 – Granada and drive back to Madrid for your international flight
Follow our baby’s first road trip. Check out our journey so far.
Have you been to Andalusia? What was your itinerary?
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