Self Drive Tour of Southern Spain: Andalucia

A 7 day trip to Spain 
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Dare to experience the joys of Andalusia, the birthplace of so many famous Spanish traditions: festivals, siestas, bull fights, tapas. After a few days, you will be under the spell of another land that is so far away from everyday reality. The kingdom of the ancient Moors, Andalusia basks in the southern Spanish sun and overflows with unimaginable beauty. From the elegance of Seville to the grandeur of Granada, and the beauty of the Costa del Sol, this magical place will delight and enchant you.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Seville, Córdoba, Antequera, Granada, Málaga, Mijas, Marbella, Ronda

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1 - Welcome to Spain! Arrive in Seville

Upon arrival at the airport, you’ll pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel in Seville. Your hotel is situated in the very heart of the old town, where all the important monuments are within walking distance. Full of authentic Andalusian ambience, Seville is the city famous for tapas, Flamenco and siestas. Today you may begin to explore Seville. Discover the charm found amidst its cobblestone streets, elegant palaces and whitewashed houses dripping with vibrant bougainvillea. Visit the must-see monuments including the cathedral, the world’s largest Gothic church. It took almost two centuries to complete the construction of this grand cathedral. Take notice of the cathedral’s tower, La Giralda. This tower is the only surviving architectural feature of the original building that was the grand mosque during the Moorish era. The tower served as the building’s minaret. Then spend some time just soaking up the city’s lively atmosphere. When in Seville, do as the locals do. Enjoy your meals at later hours, take a nap in the afternoon and stay up for the fabulous nightlife.

Day 2 - Travel from Seville to Córdoba

This morning after breakfast at your hotel, you may either continue sightseeing in Seville or head out directly for Córdoba. After a short drive from Seville to Córdoba, you will arrive with plenty of time to begin exploring the city. Surrounded by its medieval walls, Córdoba is a city that lives and breathes history. Once the capital city of Al Andalus, Córdoba was a bustling metropolis during the Middle Ages. During the 10th century, Córdoba was a cultural capital that rivaled Constantinople. In that era, the city also surpassed Paris and Rome in population and cultural achievements. Córdoba was a city of poets and scholars, including the famous Jewish philosopher Maimonides. Córdoba was a place of multicultural diversity where Muslims, Jewish and Christians lived together peacefully under Moorish rule.

After checking into your hotel, you may begin sightseeing in Córdoba. First stop should be the La Mezquita, formerly the city’s great mosque. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, La Mezquita is one of the grandest Islamic buildings of all time. The monument was originally built in the 8th century. You must first enter the Puerta del Perdón grand gates and then walk through the pleasant Patio del los Naranjos (Courtyard of the Orange Trees) before arriving at the grand building. Once you enter, you will be awestruck by the sheer immensity of the space and splendor of the design. With over 1,000 marble pillars supporting row after row of graceful archways, La Mezquita is a triumph of Moorish architecture. The seemingly endless rows of delicate arches and columns symbolize the infinite nature of divinity. La Mezquita represents Islamic Córdoba at its finest. After the Reconquista, a cathedral was supplanted inside the center of the mosque, creating an interesting blend of styles. After visiting the Mezquita, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. You may stroll through the ancient streets of the old Jewish quarter to uncover its enchanting ambience. Later this evening, try a typical Spanish restaurant for dinner.

Day 3 - Córdoba - Antequera - Granada

After breakfast this morning, start out on your journey. Your first destination is the beautiful village of Antequera, an ancient city that has fascinating Roman ruins. A treasure trove of historic monuments, Antequera is packed with palaces, convents, churches and elegant houses. Be sure to visit San Sebastián Church with its baroque Mudéjar tower featuring a winged figure called Angelote (which translates to "big angel") and is the symbol of Antequera. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in the city and be sure to sample the traditional Jamón Iberico (cured Spanish ham). After lunch, you’ll continue driving to Granada. This evening, take advantage of the opportunity to have tapas in Granada (tapas are light appetizers usually served with a small glass of Spanish wine). Go on a festive tour of the local scene from one tapas bar to the next. Enjoy meeting the locals while discovering Granada’s diverse and vivacious culture. 

Day 4 - Granada - Málaga

Begin the day with one of the most amazing sights on this trip: the Alhambra, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This spectacular sight deserves a visit of at least a few hours so you can explore the expansive grounds. The last Moorish fortress in Andalusia, the Alhambra was the summer residence of the Nasrid Sultans. Set on a hill high above the city of Granada and looking out to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Alhambra is a lush oasis of splendid palaces. The crowning glory of the complex is the Generalife Gardens—flourishing with vegetation and designed with typical Andalusian courtyards. You’ll see many lovely fountains and small channels flowing with water. The Moors considered the Alhambra to be their oasis, and the fountains and running water were a symbol of Moorish richness. After visiting the Alhambra, spend some time exploring the historic center of Granada, which has many lovely squares and is perfect for people-watching or just soaking up the Spanish sunshine.

In the afternoon, continue on to your next destination. After a scenic drive, you’ll arrive at Málaga on the sunny Costa del Sol coastline. Málaga has a pleasant historic center with lovely villas and palm-lined gardens. With over 300 days of sunshine a year and wide sandy beaches, Málaga is a wonderful vacation destination. After you arrive and check in to your hotel, you can spend some time at the beach or explore the sights. The city has an excellent Picasso Museum that showcases the work of the city’s famous native son. Located in a 16th-century palace, the museum has a collection of over 200 pieces representing a wide selection of Picasso’s artistic styles. For dinner this evening, enjoy a meal of regional cuisine and be sure to sample the fresh fish.

Day 5 - Málaga - Mijas - Marbella - Ronda

Departing from Málaga this morning, you’ll drive to the village of Mijas, famous for its donkeys that were once an important mode of transportation. One of the typical Andalusian “Pueblos Blancos” (whitewashed villages), Mijas features a cluster of little houses stacked at the foot of the Sierra de Mijas Mountain Range. The village is surrounded by a pine forest and has the benefit of lovely seaside views. Once you settle in to your hotel, you may begin exploring this charming village. You can even take a donkey ride through the old town. Then enjoy a traditional lunch of local Andalusian specialties. A lively place to visit, Mijas is famous for its cuisine as well as for its deep-rooted custom of festivals and fairs.

After visiting Mijas, continue on to the exclusive beach resort of Marbella. This beautiful town on the Costa del Sol is a fashionable summer destination for the rich and famous. Be sure to visit Puerto Banus, the exclusive shopping and restaurant district located on Marbella’s marina. Admire the fancy yachts and then go for a seaside stroll. The village of Marbella also has a quaint medieval quarter with cobblestone streets and pleasant courtyards. You may hang out in Marbella for the afternoon before continuing on to Ronda, where you’ll be staying this evening.

Day 6 - Ronda - Seville

Ronda is a historic town located in a dramatic setting on the edge of a ravine. One of the oldest towns in Spain and the birthplace of bullfighting, Ronda has an impressive bullring. The city has retained its historic charm and traditional culture, such as a pilgrimage every year to honor the Virgen de la Cabeza. The most impressive and unmissable sight of Ronda is the Puente Nuevo, the incredible bridge that spans the deep El Tajo Gorge.

Continuing on from Ronda, you’ll return to Seville this afternoon. Visit the Real Alcázar that once served as the palace of a Moorish Caliph. The Alcázar was converted to a Christian palace after the Reconquista and is still an official residence of the Spanish monarchy. Admire the exquisite geometric patterns crafted from colorful tiles, so distinctive of Islamic design. Some of the decor was embellished during the Christian rule, but for the most part the palace has retained the original Islamic look and feel. Take a pleasant stroll through the Alcázar’s gardens and relax in one of the courtyards. Another must-see site in Seville is the Seville Barrio de Santa Cruz, the most fashionable district of the city. This neighborhood was once the city’s Jewish quarter. As you wander through the narrow medieval streets and pass by lovely patios and courtyards, you may stumble across churches that were once synagogues. Tonight celebrate the conclusion of your fabulous vacation with a special dinner and then watch a festive Flamenco performance at a tablao Flamenco, a typical performance venue—the ultimate Andalusian experience.

Day 7 - Tour Concludes with Departure from Seville

The tour concludes today after breakfast. You’ll drive your rental car back to the airport and drop it off in time to catch your return flight home.

Price

Price 

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