On The Road itinerary in Southern Spain
Let's start with some information.
Practical aspects of this tour in Spain
Usually when I show you an itinerary I tend to describe you every day what to do. This time, however, I want to give you some simple general indications because an itinerary of this type can take different routes according to the cities you prefer to visit. For example, you could spend more time in seaside towns rather than inland towns, or vice versa. In practice there is no logical and natural path to follow. You could also finish the itinerary not necessarily in Zaragoza.
I limit myself to show you what I did so that it can inspire you.
Rental: rented through Rentalcars . Beware that if you deliver to a place other than where you pick up the car, you will have to pay for the drop-off (it happens with any rental service), that is an increased fee that substantially covers the inconvenience that "is caused" to the car rental company deliver the machine to a different place.
Recommended period: Spring or early autumn
Departure and Arrival: Seville with arrival in Zaragoza
Cities visited: Seville, Cadiz, Tarifa, Gibraltar (GB), Ronda, Granada, Toledo, Madrid, Zaragoza
Excursions made: Sierra de Cazorla to discover the source of the Guadalquivir
Possible deviations: Malaga, Cordoba (if you want you can read what to visit in Cordoba)
The section of the itinerary in Andalusia
You can finish this trip wherever you want but you definitely have to starting from Seville. I have been to this beautiful city twice in my life and every time I have had the same feeling: once clean city, solar and systematically hot. I believe it the pearl of Andalusia, impossible not to fall in love with it. There are many things to see in Seville and indicatively they serve from 2 to 3 days to visit it.
A city with a strong Arab connotation due to its past. It is bathed by the Guadalquivir river which flows and embraces the city. Seville is one safe city and fascinating. In the evening it becomes even more beautiful and turns around without any problem. To discover this evening charm just go for a walk around Plaza d'España, you are delighted.
As I told you, better organize this on the road itinerary in non-summer months. Temperatures in August reach impressive levels and this affects people's lives. The siesta is also due to this aspect, the impossibility of leading a normal life in the hottest hours. The Sevillian warmth is found not only in the climate but also and above all in the Andalusian soul. Its major representation is one flamenco show; one of those things not to be missed.
The next step was Cadiz, about 1 hour and a half from Seville. Unfortunately, due to an unpleasant weather day, I couldn't appreciate it to the fullest.
From Cadiz I headed to Tarifa, a city very popular with surfers and kitesurfers or windsurfers.
ATTENTION: You want to discover Tarifa ... here is my post written especially for you: Tarifa: wind and tapas in the deep south of Spain
If it is a beautiful day without haze it is possible to see the Moroccan coasts. This is the European point closest to the African continent, is just 14 km. I visited it in October and it was not particularly populated, probably this was due to the fact that it was out of season. It seemed to me a very young city, with many design clubs. I consider it a fantastic destination to visit in the summer.
From Tarifa I moved to visit Gibilterra. Ok, that's right, I told you southern Spain and not England. Being two steps away I could not exclude it from the itinerary. I parked in Spain and took a bus to England. Said so it is strange, but actually that is what happens. But first you have to wait for the planes to land ...
Yes, I said planes! There landing strip cuts the access road to Gibraltar in two.
The next stop in Gibraltar was Ronda.
It is impossible to forget this small but important town that has marked the history of a Spanish tradition that I abhor: the bullfight. I dare say the only Spanish aspect that sees me completely disagree.
Despite this, it is one of the city symbol of andalusia and all of southern Spain, a must see along an on the road itinerary in southern Spain. The road to reach it is uphill because you have to go to 700 meters high. I have dedicated one half day in Ronda and it surprised me a lot. The main places of interest are the Plaza de Toros, which is the place where bullfights take place, and the Puente Nuevo, the symbol of Ronda. This is an eighteenth-century bridge that connects the two parts of the city. For its nature, for how and where it was built, it leaves you speechless.
From Ronda, first passing on mountain roads, then taking a smoother road, I arrived in Granada. This southern Spanish city is famous… for tapas. No kidding, stop, here you can see theAlhambra, a place declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1984.
Until the thirteenth century it was a built fortress on a hill in Granada. After the arrival of the first king of the Nasrid dynasty, the Alhambra was transformed into a real fortified palace with red walls. A city within a city. Inside, a mosque, gardens, palaces, a self-sufficient city from which you can see one of the most particular neighborhoods of Granada: the Albaicín.
This part of Granada is the most characteristic. Narrow lanes reminder of the Moorish era. Discover the Albaicín, according to some, it also means entering an area that in some ways can be dangerous. During the day I visited it quietly, getting lost in its colorful alleys, perhaps it is less suitable for the evening.
Earlier I was talking about caps. In Granada I found a more traditional way of serving them. While they are usually paid for separately, in the bars of this Andalusian city they are given for free. I also remember that the more rounds of drinking you did, the better the tapa was brought. In all honesty I think that after a bit of drinking, for obvious reasons, each tapa is identical to the previous one, but when traveling you have to adapt to local customs ... I have adapted to perfection.
From Granada to Tarragona via the Sierra de Cazorla
After two days in Granada, I almost by chance chose to go to source of the Guadalquivir on the Sierra de Cazorla. On the way to Toledo I wanted to discover "El Nacimiento del Guadalquivir". So the route took a nice detour towards the nature. A couple of hours by car in the open. I remember perfectly when I stopped with my travel companion in an open space with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. The birds of prey flew in the sky and their sounds echoed in the valley. Very beautifull!
By itself, the source of the Guadalquivir is perplexing. Considering that the river that reaches Seville is quite impressive, one imagines that the source is of considerable proportions, but this is not the case. After all, it is a source.
After the parenthesis in the middle of nature, I continued the itinerary by car reaching Toledo and visiting it quickly enough to then reach Madrid.
Toledo was a former capital of Spain that I recently had the chance to visit better. It's a city practically intact because in the past it was never attacked by force. Its peculiarity is that it is completely surrounded by the Rio Tajo which at the time protected it from enemy attacks. However, it was a double-edged sword since it was enough to besiege the city and then occupy it after the surrender due to lack of food. I've written a couple of very interesting articles on what to see in Toledo and what are the 5 things to do absolutely.
On a road trip to Spain, Toledo must not be missing.
In my opinion, southern Spain ends here; reaching Madrid we are in the central part of the country. My itinerary included 3 days in the capital and the last one in the beautiful Zaragoza before taking the plane.
If I had to redefine an itinerary, I would certainly avoid reaching Zaragoza, it makes no sense. If anything, you could start from Madrid, or recreate the itinerary by inserting the alternatives I am talking about in the next part of the post.
Possible detours to the main itinerary
A good alternative southern Spain itinerary could lead you to enter Malaga after Ronda. You could relax on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, visit the city by going to the Pablo Picasso museum rather than discovering the Gibralfaro Castle.
Another important possible addition to the itinerary is Cordoba. I recently had the pleasure of visiting it and only the Mezquita would already be a valid reason to spend a night there. Cordoba is less taken into consideration than Granada and Seville, it actually has a lot to offer. I wrote a post about it on what to see in Cordoba if you need it to organize your day.
So here is the possible revised itinerary.