The Perfect Road Trip in Andalusia... Flamenco, Tapas, and Cultural Masterpieces
Charles V Palace, Granada — by Barbara Rumi
This 7-day adventure in the southern Spanish region Andalusia, takes you to the cities Cordoba, Granada, and Seville, passes through beautiful landscapes of olive trees up to picturesque villages like Ronda and the gleaming 'Pueblos Blancos'. This is the Spain of a vibrant culture, varied landscapes, and excellent gastronomy.
Discover its magic, energy, and beauty.
Day one - Seville
The tour starts in the capital of Andalusia, Seville. The airport of Seville lies ten kilometers north-east of the city and has direct connections with many European capitals. From Madrid, there are as well many nonstop flights to Seville (flight duration 1 hour). At the airport, I suggest renting a car and drive to your hotel. Seville has a large array of hotels from luxurious and boutique hotels to hostels and B&Bs.
After your check in, head to the Giralda Tower, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville, and climb the stairs for stunning views. The Cathedral itself is the largest in Spain. The great altar, the royal chapel, and the tomb of Columbus are the showpieces of this converted mosque that you cannot miss!
The impressive Cathedral of Seville — by Barbara Rumi
From here you reach within a 10-minutes’ walk the bullring, Plaza de Toros, the largest and most famous bullring in Spain. This amazing arena has a rich history and is used every year in April for the 'Feria de Abril' when many top bullfighters are present. Only the museum is open to the public, but you can book a guided tour to explore in detail this magnificent building.
Plaza de Torros, Seville — by Barbara Rumi
Seville is famous for its flamenco. If you’d like to know more about the flamenco dancing history and culture, visit then the Flamenco Dance Museum or opt to see a live show which is a great experience!
Enjoy dinner at a tapas bar and finish with drinks on the rooftop of the EME Cathedral Hotel for gorgeous views of the cityscape.
Day two - Seville
Today you have more time to explore the town of Seville. First head to the Real Alcazar (the Royal Palace), a World Heritage site, famous for its unique Moorish style architecture that dates back to the 14th century.
The Royal Palace, Seville — by Barbara Rumi
From here continue to the beautiful Plaza de Espana, that was used as a backdrop for filming scenes from the movie Star Wars. Have a walk in the nearby parks, or just stroll around and take in the architecture.
Have lunch at Bodeguita Romero, that serves one of the best tapas of Seville. Then step in the car towards Cordoba; this is a one hour ride. Spend the night in this fascinating city.
Day three - Cordoba
During the 11th and 12th centuries, Cordoba counted about 3,000 mosques, the “Grand Mosque” (Mezquita) was the central mosque. Upon the arrival of the Christians, the mosque remained mostly intact. In the middle, a cathedral was built, and the minaret was converted into a bell tower. The Mezquita retained its position as the most important place of worship. Take time to visit this magnificent mosque-cathedral and admire its pillars, ceiling, interior and beautifully decorated doors.
The breathtaking Mezquita of Cordoba — by Barbara Rumi
The Jewish quarter -situated around the Mezquita- brings you into an entirely different atmosphere and is one of the most pleasant parts of the city of Cordoba. It boasts narrow streets with charming shops and delicious restaurants.
The characteristic streets of the Jewish Quarter in Cordoba — by Barbara Rumi
Choose here a place where to have lunch and absorb the vibrant city life. Later find the most famous street in this district, Calle Judios, and visit the synagogue; it's one of the few in Europe that dates to the medieval period.
For dinner, try to book a table at the Bodegas Mezquita Cespedes, right next to the Mezquita. They offer a vast range of authentic tapas dishes, well prepared and served by a friendly staff.
Day four - Granada
After breakfast, you move on southwards to Granada. It will take around 2.5 hours to reach this beautiful town of which 200 kilometers will go over the highway.
Upon arrival, I suggest leaving first the car at your hotel and then walk into town for lunch in one of the typical restaurants and take a relaxing break after your morning drive.
Enjoy the rest of the afternoon wandering the city and visit its numerous beautiful squares, historic neighborhoods and significant buildings - such as the Royal Chapel, the Cathedral, and the Charles V Palace. If you don’t manage to see it all, you will still have time on day five to come back here.
Day five - Granada
The morning of this day is dedicated to visiting the magical Alhambra. It is not only the most important landmark of Granada but also of Moorish art in Spain. The Alhambra was built to defend the city and to provide a safe residence for the king. What was once a real town-within-a-city including schools, shops, and mosques is today a paradise with beautiful palaces, exquisite interiors, and plenty of fountains.
Alhambra de Granada, truly magical — by Barbara Rumi
View on the city of Granada — by Barbara Rumi
Be aware that the Alhambra limits the number of daily visitors, so it is almost impossible to get tickets upon arrival. Instead, book in advance (ideally 60 days before your trip) to get the best time slot for your visit.
In the afternoon visit the Albaicín, the neighborhood of Granada that has retained its old charm with its narrow alleys and traditional houses in Moorish architecture. The Albaicín is especially famous for its spectacular views of the city and the stunning Alhambra.
Day six - Ronda
Today the tour continues, up to one of the most spectacularly located cities in Andalusia, Ronda. It is a pleasant drive (of about 2.5 hours) in the countryside of Andalusia.
About halfway, stop in the town of Antequera, a traditional Andalusian village full of history. Strolling the cobbled streets in the historic center is like making a journey almost 5,000 years back in time. The old town counts many historical and cultural sights from Roman baths, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains to baroque bell towers.
The charming village of Antequera — by Barbara Rumi
Have lunch in the traditional restaurant Arte de Cozina, situated in the servants' quarters of a mansion from the 17th century. You will love the skillfully prepared and lovely presented dishes.
From Antequera, it is about a 1.5 hours' drive to Ronda, one of the oldest cities in Spain, built on a rock by the Moors. Ronda is split in two by the River Guadalevín, which has created a deep gorge (over 100 meters deep) into the mountainous area. The two parts are connected by bridges, the most famous one is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), that was built in the 18th century and from which you can make the most spectacular pictures of the gorge.
Hotel Parador de Ronda, spectacular postion at the edge of the cliff — by Barbara Rumi
I recommend spending the night at the Parador de Ronda, located at the edge of the “Puente Nuevo” bridge. The views from this hotel couldn’t be more beautiful. Enjoy this exceptional stay!
Day seven - Pueblos Blancos and Seville
Today you will make your way back to Seville with a stop at the wonderful white villages or 'Pueblos Blancos' of Grazalema and Arcos de La Frontera.
Today’s route goes through the hills of Andalusia offering beautiful panoramas. You will pass boundless olive trees, spectacular gorges, rushing rivers, and flowery fields. Your first stop (after a little hour) will be Grazalema.
Grazalema, one of the most beautiful 'pueblos blancos' — by Barbara Rumi
Aside from the natural park surrounding the village, Grazalema is mostly famous for its textile industry. The tradition of making wool blankets and ponchos continues here to this day. In the little town, it is still possible to purchase locally created blankets, scarves, and other pieces of clothes that are handmade. A beautiful piece of souvenir for home!
Continue your tour for another little hour to Arcos de la Frontera. The Arab influences are clearly visible in this picturesque village. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets in the old town and peek from time to time into the private tiled courtyards filled with plants, pools, and families spending time together outside.
The narrow alleys with whitewashed houses in Arcos — by Barbara Rumi
Take your time to absorb the quiet life here of the locals and have lunch in one of the typical tavernas that serve delicious tapas. I can recommend the popular Taverna Jovenes Flamencos with a typical Andalusian décor and great dishes or Bar La Carcel, a low key tapas bar with good food.
The last part of the trip is your 1.5-hour ride back to Seville from where you fly back home.
Sun and beach lovers might want to enlarge this trip with a few days of relaxation at the Costa de la Luz, home to gorgeous long sand beaches and few crowds!
Breathtaking sand beach at Isla Canela, Costa de la Luz — by Barbara Rumi
Andalusia is Spain at its most vivacious that can be experienced at any corner of the street, as well as in the numerous 'ferias and fiestas' where you can taste local dishes and immerse in flamenco dance and music.
This article was originally published on @barbararumi