Sugar-cube villages snoozing in the Spanish sun. Flamboyant flamenco dancers. The sweet scent of citrus blossom wafting about you. Fiery red geraniums spilling out of colorful pots. Tasty tapas tantalizing your taste buds. What’s not to love? Our two weeks in Andalusia were full of color, warmth, and memorable moments. If you’re thinking about visiting, read on for the ultimate two-week itinerary for Southern Spain!
With diverse landscapes, many historic cities, beautiful pueblo blancos, and ritzy seaside resorts, Andalusia can keep you happily occupied for much longer than two weeks. But in two weeks, you can explore the major cities, get a taste of the Costa del Sol, explore some of the lovely countryside, and be enchanted by the white villages of Andalusia.
This 2-week itinerary for Andalusia assumes you’ll start in Seville and end in Córdoba, but you can start the loop in Malaga or Córdoba as well.
TWO WEEKS IN ANDALUSIA: A SOUTHERN SPAIN ITINERARY
With its famous Costa del Sol on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Andalusia is a very popular destination for travelers seeking the sun and blue flag beaches. The Sierra Nevada offer a mountain playground for outdoor enthusiasts. And visitors that love history, culture, and art have access to a wealth of treasures in Andalusia, including the world-famous Alhambra Palace.
Here, then, is the ultimate Southern Spain itinerary for two weeks in Andalusia!
Day 1: Seville
Andalusia’s capital city, Seville, is your base for the next four days. With stunning architecture everywhere you look, and a relaxed fun vibe, Seville will charm you into wishing you could spend a lot more time here! It’s the perfect place to begin your two weeks in Andalusia.
THE ROYAL ALCáZAR OF SEVILLE
On your first day in the city, visit the Royal Alcázar of Seville and the Seville Cathedral, two of three sights that make up Seville’s UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Royal Alcázar is still used as a residence by the royals of Spain when they visit Seville. You will swoon over the architectural detail and love exploring the beautiful gardens.
SEVILLE CATHEDRAL AND LA GIRALDA
The Cathedral of Seville is huge. It’s the largest Gothic church in the world. Inside, admire the religious art and be awed by the gold Capilla Mayor. Step out into the lovely Patio de los Naranjos and head to La Giralda, the bell tower of the cathedral. Walk up the ramp to the top for panoramic views of the city.
BARRIO SANTA CRUZ
Spend the evening wandering through the alleys of Barrio Santa Cruz, the charming Jewish Quarter. Sample some of Seville’s renowned tapas. Here’s where you will find the best flamenco performances as well.
Day 2: Seville
Cross over the Guadalquivir river to the Triana neighborhood, where you can browse the famous market and ceramics shops. If you want to take some pretty tiles or plates home, this is your chance to shop!
Next, pick a couple of smaller museums or palaces to visit. We loved our visit to Casa de Pilatos with its decorative tiles in bright colors.
Our second pick for the day, the Palace of the Countess of Lebrija, contains a lovely collection of Roman mosaics. Later, walk over to the Metropol Parasol, the giant wooden structure the locals call Las Setas — the mushrooms. From the top floor, you’ll get great views of the city.
In the evening, enjoy a flamenco show. Combine it with tapas by opting for an organized tour, or do dinner and then watch a performance without distractions.
Day 3: Seville
More sights on tap today, but as you walk through the city, admire the gawkworthy architecture on every street. Browse store windows with their colorful displays of fans, ceramic plates, and flamenco dolls.
MARIA LUISA PARK
Start the day with a visit to one of the museums around the Maria Luisa Park. You have many to choose from! Then stroll around the park itself. This green oasis has shaded parkways, benches where you can just relax for a bit, and beautiful tile-edged fountains. It’s a great place for a picnic lunch!
PLAZA OF SPAIN
Next, walk over to the Plaza de España, Seville’s enormous town square. Don’t miss the tiled displays along the perimeter of the building complex, one for each province of Spain. The azulejo displays are colorful and depict scenes from the history of each province.
End your exploration of Sevilla with a walk around the city to see the lit buildings and take in the sights and sounds of the vibrant Andalusian capital by night.
Day 4: Day Trip to Jerez and Cádiz
Day trips can be the ideal way to explore more of Andalusia while maintaining your base in a large city. In our two weeks in Andalusia, we squeezed in multiple day trips to smaller cities and villages.
We did a guided tour of Jerez and Cádiz from Seville and loved it. You can drive yourself if you have a car, or take the train, if you want to visit independently. If you are taking the train, visit either Jerez or Cádiz, so you are not spending a lot of your day traveling. Jerez is one hour from Seville by train, and Cádiz is about 40 minutes from Jerez.
JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA
In Jerez, visit a sherry bodega. The white palomino grapes from which sherry is produced are native to the region. Wander the historic center. If you love history and culture, pick from a large number of palaces, churches, and museums. Visit the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, where you can watch a performance.
In Cádiz, stroll the waterfront promenade and take in the views of the water and the famous Cádiz Cathedral, with its Baroque facade. Cadiz is an ancient city, founded by the Phoenicians. In fact, it is reported to be the oldest city in Europe still standing! Wander through the narrow streets of the Old Town and admire the lovely plazas lined with magnificent buildings. Don’t miss the Tavira Tower: climb to the top for fabulous views.
Return to Seville for the night, and plan to head out early the next morning to your next destination: Granada.
Note: If you arrive in Seville in the late morning or early afternoon, flip the plan for days one and two. The Alcázar really requires several hours if you like art, architecture, or history. You’ll want to savor everything without rushing.
Where to Stay in Seville
Plan to stay in the historic center, so that you can walk to most places.
We stayed at the Gran Melia Colon. This is a lovely hotel, just a 10-minute walk from the Seville Cathedral The furnishings are contemporary, and the location quiet. We chose the included breakfast, which was sumptuous and excellent quality.
For the ultimate in luxury, splurge on a stay at the Hotel Alfonso XIII. It’s almost right next door to the Seville Cathedral, and reminiscent of an Andalusian palace.
Day 5: Granada
Granada will be your base for the next four days. You can’t plan a Southern Spain itinerary without including the the world-famous Alhambra palace-fortress complex! Granada also has a stunning location close to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It takes 2.5-3 hours to travel from Seville to Granada, so if you leave in the early morning, you’ll have lots of time to explore on the day you arrive.
Start with a stroll around the Alcaiceria Market near the Granada Cathedral. Here you will find little shops selling silks, spices, and souvenirs. Test your haggling skills if you like something and want to buy.
BARRIO DE ALBAICíN
Next take a bus or walk (uphill!) to the historic Barrio de Albaicín, part of the Granada UNESCO World Heritage site. Get lost in its narrow alleyways. The pretty whitewashed houses dressed up with colorful potted geraniums will make you want to stop often for photos.
At around sunset, head to the Mirador de San Nicolas, for the coveted photos of the Alhambra against the backdrop of the mighty Sierra Nevada.
End your day with a very special experience: a night tour of the Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra. Our night visit to the Alhambra is one of my most favorite memories from our two weeks in Andalusia.
Day 6: Granada
Spend the larger part of this day exploring the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens, which together make up a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There is a lot to see in the Alhambra complex, especially in the Moorish palaces. Discover quiet courtyards with still reflecting pools. Admire the arabesque detail on the walls of the rooms. Marvel at the lacy arches with their intricate designs. Wonder about the time and effort it must have taken to create each room. Stand at a window and look out over the city of Granada, much as the rulers of Granada might have done centuries ago.
Apart from exploring the Nasrid palaces, which are so popular that entry is only by timed slot indicated on your ticket, walk around the old fortress, and pop into the Renaissance Palace of Charles V, which was never finished and only got a roof in the 20th century!
Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Parador or grab a quick bite at the cafe. Then make your way to the Generalife Gardens, the country estate and gardens of the erstwhile rulers of Granada.
The buildings here are more rustic, but you’ll get great views over the city from numerous spots in the gardens. Enjoy wandering around, admiring the colorful plant displays, formal fountains, and impressive topiary. Wisteria and blossoming trees make the gardens particularly attractive in the spring.
BARRIO DE SACROMONTE
In the evening, walk or take a taxi or bus to the historic Barrio de Sacromonte, where you will see the famous cave dwellings of the Roma people. Enjoy a performance of zambrano, a type of flamenco that originated here.
Day 7: Day Trip to the Alpujarras
One of Granada’s attractions is its beautiful location. What better way to enjoy the charming surroundings than to take a day trip! We hired a car and driver for the day and toured the Alpujarras, but you have other options as well. You can do a hike in the Sierra Nevada, or take a scenic drive through the mountains. Or you can explore the bucolic Lecrin Valley.
On a day trip to the Alpujarras, drive to Lanjaron, famous for its healing waters. Then visit a string of three pretty white villages: Pampaneira, Bubion, and Capileira. You can walk from one to the other for n active excursion.
Don’t forget to pop into the little chocolate factory in Pampaneira. The chocolate is delicious and you can watch it being made. Next, head to Trevelez, the highest village in the Alpujarras, before returning to Granada.
The scenery is stunning and the little villages very picturesque. You will love your day in the hills.
Day 8: Granada/Malaga
There’s more to see in Granada. On your final day in the city, explore the Granada Cathedral and the Capilla Real next door, where the Catholic Monarchs are buried. Then visit the Basilica de San Juan de Dios. You have to pay a modest fee to enter, but the glittering gold interior is worth seeing.
In the afternoon, drive or take the bus or train to Malaga, the next stop on your itinerary. The train takes about 2.5 hours, and a direct bus about 2 hours.
Malaga is a vibrant port city with a happening gastronomy scene. It also makes an excellent base from which to explore the Costa del Sol and the pretty white villages of southeastern Spain.
After you get settled in, walk to the waterfront. Stroll the lively promenade at Muelle Dos, with its fountains and little gardens. Watch the little craft in the water and browse the shops at Muelle One, or go across the street for a stroll in the Parque de Malaga. Then settle in for a fine dining experience at Restaurante Jose Carlos Garcia, a Michelin-starred restaurant, or enjoy some tapas at one of the many cafes or bars before heading back for the night.
Where to Stay in Granada
In Granada, we stayed at the Hospes Palacio de los Patos. This hotel has a classic building, a remodeled 19th century palace, and a modern wing, with very contemporary rooms. The gardens are gorgeous. The hotel is about 10 minutes from the Albaicin. We loved our stay here!
Day 9: Day Trip to Estepona and Casares
Plan on getting an early start as you have two towns on your itinerary for today, as well as a visit to the Alcazaba of Malaga upon your return in the evening.
Estepona is a relatively laid back Costa del Sol resort destination with a picturesque old town. If you don’t have a car, take the bus from Malaga to Estepona. At Estepona, walk the beautiful waterfront promenade, the Paseo Maritimo de Estepona. Or walk along one of the blue flag beaches.
Then head to the old town, where whitewashed houses line pretty alleys. Each street has a unique unified color and design for its colorful flower pots, so they make for beautiful photos. End your wanderings at the Plaza de las Flores de Estepona, the main plaza, which has lots of bars and cafes for lunch.
After lunch, take a taxi (it’s worth the splurge!) to Casares, one of the prettiest white villages in all of Andalusia. Negotiate a fare for the trip to Casares and back, along with a reasonable wait time…it will take you about two hours to explore all of Casares. Or you can take the afternoon bus, and take the evening return to Estepona.
Casares hugs the side of a hill, and when you first come upon it as you drive up the road, you will be enchanted. The dazzling white sugar cube houses with the red roofs against the backdrop of a bright blue sky is the stuff of picture postcards.
From the bottom of the hill, make you way up to the main plaza, where many of the structures date back to Moorish times. Then continue up to the hill to the very top, where you will come upon the ruins of an old castle and church. From here, you get panoramic views of the countryside and the little houses of the village below. It’s an uphill trudge, but the views are worth it!
THE ALCAZABA OF MALAGA
Back in Malaga, visit the Alcazaba, the Moorish fortress located on a hilltop. Malaga’s fortress is much more rustic than Seville’s Alcazar or Granada’s Alhambra, but it is nevertheless worth exploring. Check visiting hours prior to your visit: they vary by season. We spent about a couple of hours here. The views of the city from the Alcazaba are stunning.
Day 10: Day Trip to Nerja and Frigiliana
Today you’ll visit two charming white villages and explore some famous caves! Get an early start again, because you’ll want to have some time in the evening to visit Malaga’s Gibralfaro.
Nerja is easily accessed from Malaga by bus if you do not have a car. Located on the Costa del Sol, Nerja is an extremely popular destination. Start at the Balcon de Europa, from where you can get fabulous views of the water and coastline on either side.
Next, drive or take a taxi to the Cueva de Nerja, about two miles outside the town. Discovered by accident, the caves are large and contain stunning stalactite/stalagmite formations. You’ll start with a 10-minute presentation and then tour the caverns with an audio guide, available in multiple languages. The tour takes about 45 minutes. Visiting the caves is an absolute must-do when you are in Nerja.
Back in Nerja, explore the old town, where you will find the whitewashed houses characteristic of the region, and a lovely little church in the main square. Or spend some time at one of Nerja’s beaches. After lunch, drive or take the bus to Frigiliana.
The pretty village of Frigiliana is made for wandering. And taking photos. Perched on a mountaintop, the village offers panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. If you are up for the hilly climb, walk all the way up to the old Moorish castle at the top of the hill.
If you don’t want to explore on foot, take the little red sightseeing train from the parking lot for a ride up and down the hilly streets before snagging patio seats at a cafe for a drink.
The Gibralfaro is Malaga’s old Moorish castle, set high up on a hilltop. You can walk up, but we took a taxi to conserve time. Walk around the walls at the top and admire the views, and pop into the visitor center to learn about the history of the castle. There was a lighthouse at the peak once, before the Moors made it into a fortress. The walk down is easy and pleasant.
Where to Stay in Malaga
In Malaga, we stayed at the contemporary Vincci Selección Posada del Patio in Malaga Center. It’s about a 15-minute walk to the old town, and there’s a bus stop right outside. Taxis are plentiful as well. Our room was spacious and bright, and we loved our stay here!
Day 11: Malaga to Ronda
Ronda can be done as a day trip from Malaga if you have a car or opt for a guided excursion. If you are taking public transportation, it can be a little more challenging, cutting down on the time you have in Ronda. We splurged on an early-in-the-day one-way private transfer that allowed us to stop at the white village of Setenil da las Bodegas, and spent the night in Ronda.
However you visit Ronda, make sure it’s part of your itinerary for Andalusia. Its location, on the El Tajo gorge, is stunning. Start by crossing the Puente Nuevo, the bridge over the gorge that links the old and newer parts of Ronda. Walk down the staircase path at the Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora to the viewpoints below, for unobstructed views of the bridge and the gorge, with the little river running through it.
Spend the rest of your day exploring the old town. The squares, with gorgeous architecture all around, are great for people watching. Explore the Mondragon Palace, with its beautiful gardens and displays of azulejos. Walk through the gardens of the Palacio del Rey Moro y la Mina.
Where to Stay in Ronda
Splurge on a stay at the Parador, you won’t regret it! The views are spectacular (you get your own balcony to enjoy them!), and the rooms spacious. It’s located right next to the gorge at the entrance at the old town. The restaurant is wonderful: we had dinner here and my husband and I both loved our choices.
Day 12: Ronda to Córdoba
On day 12, take the train or drive to Córdoba, the final destination on your two-week Southern Spain itinerary. Many travelers accord only one day to Córdoba, but we spent two wonderful days here touring its famous monuments, sampling the gastronomic offerings and wandering the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
After you settle in, make your way to the Mezquita, the enormous mosque-cathedral of Cordoba. Marvel at the stunning interior, where row upon row of double horseshoe arches with red and white striped tops create an unforgettable picture. Admire the beautiful mosaic and tile displays, adorned with precious metals and stones. Gawk at the cathedral, built right into the middle of the mosque, because its builders could not bear to tear down the beautiful structure.
Next, head to the Puerta del Puente and walk through the historic gate to emerge at the Roman Bridge. Game of Thrones fans will recognize the bridge as the Long Bridge of Volantis. Walk to the opposite end of the bridge to see the Calahorra Tower up close, then head back to the historic center.
Then wander through the Jewish quarter with its maze of alleyways, where you will almost certainly get lost. The Sinagoga here is one of only three medieval European synagogues still standing. Peek into the pretty patios with their greenery and floral displays. Sample the tapas or enjoy a sit-down dinner.
If you like water, light, and sound shows, take in the Light of Cultures show at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos in the late evening, if it’s being offered when you visit.
Day 13: Córdoba and Medina Azahara
Medina Azahara lies outside the Córdoba center, so you need transport to get there. If you don’t have a car, there’s a tourist bus that’s very convenient. Or you can choose a guided tour.
The ruins of a lavish Moorish palace-city built by the first Caliph of Córdoba, Medina Azahara is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s the largest archaeological site in Spain. Construction of the city started in the year 936 and the Caliph moved into his residence a few years later, although construction on the complex continued. Medina Azahara was looted during a civil uprising in 1010, after which it sadly fell to ruins.
Although you can wander around the ruins on your own, to get a sense for the layout and design of the complex and gardens, a private guide is totally worth the expense here.
Once you get back to Cordoba, head to the Alcázar. Tour the fortress and take in the great views from the ramparts and then stroll through the beautiful gardens, with its fountains and topiary.
If you have an early morning flight home, take a late evening train to your departure city. If you don’t fly out until later the next day, enjoy the Juderia in the evening. Spend the night in Córdoba and take an early morning train to your departure city.
Where to Stay in Cordoba
We stayed at the Hospes Palacio del Bailio, an absolutely gorgeous hotel in the historic center. We were upgraded to the Don Quixote suite on arrival. My favorite stay in Andalusia! With beautiful murals on the doors and walls, and a view to the scented patio garden outside, this suite was just perfect.
Day 14: Say goodbye to Andalusia!
You have completed your two weeks in Andalusia. Fly home or continue your travels to another beautiful destination.
Getting In and Out
We flew in and out of Madrid, because that was the least expensive and most convenient option for us. From Madrid, it’s just a 2-hour train ride to Seville, on a high speed train. But Malaga and Seville are two major international gateways right in Andalusia, and you could research flying into one of these cities, and possibly flying out of the other to avoid backtracking.
A car would definitely be useful and Andalusia is perfect for a road trip, but you do not need to drive yourself to enjoy an expansive southern Spain itinerary. We explored Andalusia for two weeks without a car, using a combination of trains, buses, guided tours and the occasional splurge on a private transfer where it made sense.
Spain’s high speed trains, run by Renfe, are wonderful. First class is really nice! But the standard option is comfortable as well. Buy tickets in advance for better deals on fares, especially on high speed routes.
Long-distance buses are air-conditioned and comfortable. We bought our bus tickets for longer journeys ahead of time and shorter ones on the spot. The local buses serving the little white villages are an experience I found delightful.
When to Visit Andalusia
Spring is undeniably the best time to visit southern Spain. Citrus blossom starts to open in late March, and all through the following weeks, the heady scent of citrus blossom is everywhere. We visited in April, and enjoyed the wafting scent everywhere we went: on the streets, in patios, and in gardens. Now, whenever I smell citrus blossom, my mind immediately goes back to our two weeks in Andalusia.
Daytime temperatures are pleasant in April and May, and also in September and October, so any of those months would be great for a trip to Andalusia. Check for local festivals when planning, depending on whether you like them or want to go at a quieter time. Seville, for example, hosts the Feria de Abril two weeks after Easter, and accommodations during this time can be both scarce and expensive.
Winter temperatures are lower, so you’ll need warm layers. Christmas is a fun time to be in Andalusia, with Moorish-themed parades and sweet treats. Summers are extremely hot and best avoided.
Have you visited Andalusia? What was your most memorable experience? Comment below to respond! If you haven’t, I hope you feel inspired to plan a trip!
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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO ANDALUSIA:
CORDOBA: 8 Best Things to Do in Cordoba
MALAGA: The 6 Most Awesome Things to Do in Malaga
WHITE VILLAGES OF SOUTHEAST SPAIN: The Best Day Trips from Malaga
GRANADA: Three Wonderful Days in Granada
SEVILLE: Three Fabulous Days in Seville
ANDALUSIA: The 9 Best Day Trips from Seville
BEST OF ANDALUSIA: The 5 Most Amazing Sights in Andalucia
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