Europe,  Spain

Road trip in Spain : The Ultimate 1 week Andalusia itinerary

A road trip in Spain was always on our bucket list. And glad we were able to tick this off in Jan 2024. There are many beautiful regions in Spain for road trips. We decided to spend a week driving in the Andalusia region, which is located in the southern part of Spain. We drove through stunning landscapes, from charming white villages known as “Pueblos Blancos” to historic cities. Our road trip began in the charming Spanish town of Seville.

In this travel blog, we will share how we spent a week road-tripping across the Andalusia region of Spain. We savoured scrumptious food and drinks in Tapas, admired beautiful Moorish architecture, wandered around white villages, and more. So, if you’re planning to explore Andalusia, here’s an ultimate 1-week road trip itinerary and travel guide you shouldn’t miss!

Granada in Spain

Renting a car in Spain

To rent a car in Spain, you will need to have both an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a valid driver’s license from your country, along with a passport (For non European union countries). In our case, we had a driver’s license from the United States and an Indian passport. We obtained the International Driving Permit from one of the AAA branches located in New York City, and the entire process was straightforward and quick, taking only 10 minutes to complete. 

It is essential to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with your driver’s license while renting a car in Spain. If you don’t have an IDP, the rental car company may refuse to rent you a car even if you have already made a reservation. It is a legal requirement to carry an IDP for renting and driving a car in Spain. Our car rental was booked through AutoEuropa from Enterprise. We prefer automatic cars, but manual cars are much cheaper if you are okay with driving one.

We rented our with AutoEurope. The other option you can checkout – Expedia and Rentalcars.

Driving in Spain

We had no trouble driving in Spain as it was straightforward. Similar to the USA, you need to drive on the right-hand side of the road. The roads are in good condition and have proper signs. If you are unfamiliar with the road signs, it’s better to learn about them beforehand. The speed limit on the Autovias/Autopistas (Highways) is up to 120 KM per hour. 

Parking in Spain can be a bit challenging, especially in the cities. Make sure to check with your hotel beforehand if they offer on-site parking and be aware that parking is not free. The garage parking is also little bit tricky as the spaces are limited. Also, roundabouts in Spain can be a little confusing, so it’s better to be mindful while driving through them.

You can find more tips on driving in Spain online. We used Google Maps for navigation and it worked perfectly fine. It’s always better to download the offline maps in case of network issues while driving in remote areas.

Visa requirement to visit Spain

We are Indian passport holders, and to enter Spain we needed a Schengen Visa (Tourist visa). If you want to know more about it, we have a detailed video on YouTube – ‘How to Apply Schengen Visa.

For other nationals, please check if you need a visa to visit Spain.

What to pack

We visited in Winters (January 2024). We would suggest to carry layers as in the morning as well as evening the weather becomes chilly, however during the day when sun is up the temperature is pleasant. So definitely carry a jacket, thermals, a pair of gloves, and a beanie. Also, carry an umbrella or raincoat in case it rains.

For charging your device carry – Iphone cable (USB-C) and Universal travel adapter

Budgeting for the Road Trip

Car rental – We got the car rental (Automatic) for $25 per day + $10-15 per day for car insurance + Parking Fee ($10-15) per day . We used AutoEuropa for our car rental booking with Enterprise. The other option you can check for price comparision – Expedia ; Discovercars, and Rentalcars.

Hotels – We visited Spain in off season and spent around $100 – 120 per night. Wherever possible we opted for a stay with breakfast included to save some time and money. We generally use Booking.com or Expedia.com for booking accommodation.

Food – Eating out in Spain is not very expensive especially if you are visiting traditonal Tapas. We spent around $20-30 per meal for 2 people with drinks. Sangria & Vermut (a local drink) costs 3.5 euros only. Tap Water is considered safe in Spain, however in few places we preferred buying water from super-markets which costs around 0.90 – 1.5 euros per 1.5 liter bottle (differs based on location).

Activities – There are entry fees to most of the monuments we visited. So based on your interest, budget accordingly. We used either GetYourGuide or Viator to book tours or activity.

Best way to explore - Road Trip vs Train?

Spain has a good train connectivity in most of the cities in the Andalusia region, except for a few white villages. If you only plan to visit the cities, then you can definitely opt for the train – Renfe or Iryo. 

However, if you prefer more flexibility with your schedule and route, you can consider driving around Andalusia. The countryside is really beautiful and makes for a scenic drive.

Brief road trip itinerary - Andalusia Spain

Day 1 – Seville 

Day 2 – Cordoba (Car pick-up from Seville)

Day 3 – Granada

Day 4 – Nerja

Day 5 – Malaga

Day 6 – Caminito del Rey + Torcal de Antequera

Day 7 – Ronda + Setenil de las Bodegas + Back to Seville (drop-off)

7 day winter road trip in Andalusia (Spain)
Detailed itinerary

We went on a one-week road trip in the Andalusia region of Spain during winter in January. We started and ended our trip at the Seville Train Station, but you can also choose to begin and end your trip at Malaga if you prefer. This road trip can be done any time of the year, but be aware of the weather in each city or village you plan to visit and pack accordingly. You can customize the itinerary to suit your preferences and needs. 

The itinerary is for seven days, and we found it to be sufficient for our style of travel. However, if you want to take it slow, I suggest extending the itinerary to 10-14 days, depending on how much time you want to spend in each city or village.

Day 1 : Seville

Seville is a charming city renowned for its architecture, delicious tapas, talented flamenco artists and beautiful orange trees (we literally saw oranges everywhere). It’s a small but incredible place to explore, and we had the pleasure of spending a day wandering in the old town. If you have extra time, we highly recommend staying for two days to fully explore everything that the city has to offer. Especially during Christmas, the atmosphere at night is festive and stunning. We enjoyed taking a walk around the city at night and taking in all the sights and sounds.

Seville is well connected to all the other major cities in Spain by flights and trains

Here are the top things to do in Seville:

– Plaza de Espana (free to visit)

– Royal Alcazar of Seville 

– Seville Cathedral & Giralda Tower

– Flamenco Show

– Las Setas de Seville

– Torre del Oro

We stayed here – Casa Cathedral

Loved the Flamenco show here – Casa de la Memoria

Food recommendation – Al Wadi, which serves delicious Middle Eastern Cuisine 

Best way to know the city – Take a walking tour or go for a food tour

Seville in Spain

Day 2 : Cordoba

Next day we picked our Rental car and drove one & a half hour to our next city – Cordoba. It is such a charming place. We walked all around the old town. 

Here are the top things to do in Cordoba:

– Mosque Cathedral (Mezquita) (Timed entry)

– Bell tower of Cordoba

– Roman Bridge of Cordoba

– Calleja de las Flores

– Jewish Quarter

– Alcazar of Christian Monarchs

– Palacio de Viana

We stayed here – Hesperia Cordoba

Food recommendation – Bodegas Mezquita, serves amazing Andalusian cuisine.

Best way to know the city – Take a walking tour!

Day 3 : Granada

After an amazing time in Cordoba, we headed next to Granada – a beautiful city with amazing Moorish Architecture. It is about 2.30 hours drive from Cordoba to Granada. 

Here are top things to do in Granada:

– Visit the famous Alhambra + Nasrid Palace (I would suggest to take a guided tour as this place is huge)

– Cathedral of Granada

– Take a walk in the Albaicin & Sacromonte neighbourhood

– Watch Flamenco show in a cave setting

We stayed here – AMC Granda (Note – Parking is a bit tricky here however the location is perfect). 

Day 4 : Nerja

Next day we spent half a day exploring Granada and then headed to the popular region of Spain – Costa del Sol where we stayed in a town called Nerja. It was an hour drive with spectacular views all around. We booked a resort in Nerja to spent some relaxing time on the beach. Watched an amazing sunset as well as sunrise here.

We stayed here – One Marinas Nerja 

Nerja, Spain

Day 5 : Malaga

After a relaxing time in Nerja, we drove to our next city Malaga. We spent half a day roaming around the city and had so much fun. 

Top things to do here –

– Alcazaba & Roman Theater (if you are a history buff)

– Castle (Just visit the Overlook)

– Malaga Cathedral 

– Stop by the beach

Food recommendation – Casa Lola (Visit early as it gets crowded)

We stayed here – Hilton Garden inn (It is little far from the old town & the breakfast is expensive)

Day 6 : Caminito del Rey + Torcal de Antequera (Hikes)

Next day, we started early. First, we drove about an hour to Torcal de Antequera, where we saw amazing rock formations. We did a quick 45-mins hike (Green trail), exploring and admiring the view of unique rock formation.

Then, drove an hour to Caminito del Rey which is popular for its hiking trails. The hike is about 8 kms from the North Access to South Access. The hike and the views were amazing. You can also book guided tours for the hike

After a long but amazing day, we drove to our next destination – Ronda, where we spent the night.

We stayed here – Hotel Maestranza, Ronda

Day 7 : Ronda + Setenil de las Bodegas (White Villages)

Ronda is a beautiful white village (aka pubelo Blanco in spanish). We started our morning walking around the narrow alleys. Ronda is mainly popular for its bridge Puente Nuevo which looks absolutely spectacular. We also visited the bull ring Plaza de toros de Ronda which is quite fascinating. We also wanted to hike down to the bridge but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance. After spending some time in Ronda, we drove for 30 minutes to next the village – Setenil de las Bodegas where a part of the village is situated under a cave. Quite interesting! 

By the end of the day we drove back to Seville where we dropped off the car.

Other things to know before you go!

1. The currency of Spain is Euro. Most of the places in Spain accept credit cards but it’s always good to keep some cash on you. We used credit cards with zero foreign transaction fees. Please check with your credit card company or bank about this before traveling.  Also, if you are using ATMs in Spain to get Euros, use only Bank ATMs. Never use ‘Euronet’ or any 3rd party ATMs as they charge a heavy transaction fees. 

2. You can buy prepaid SIM cards such as Vodafone at the Airports. We did not buy any SIM cards, however, we used our existing US numbers. We use T-Mobile as our provider in the USA which offers an International pass for 7 days with 5 GB data or 30 days with 15 GB data. This international pass includes Spain and it worked fine.

3. In few cities and remote villages, people speak mostly in Spanish. So, I would suggest to learn few basic Spanish words. Also, if you don’t understand what is written on the menu or signboards use the Google Translate app.

4. We would suggest booking hotels that provide breakfast (included in the room price/chargeable). This will save a lot of time in case you want to get an early start in the morning. 

5. If you don’t want to take you car around the city, you can take a local taxi. Just note – Uber or other app based taxi service does not work anywhere in Spain (as of 2024).

 

We had an amazing time driving around this region. Hope you find this blog helpful to plan your epic Andalusia road trip in Spain. Also, let us know in the comments if have any questions. Happy to answer! or if you find our blog useful. Happy to know!

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