Planning a southern Spain itinerary can seem a bit overwhelming when you consider all of the incredible places to visit in this vast and diverse region. Boasting vibrant cities, sleepy beach towns and everything in between, heading to Andalucía is never a bad idea.
Known for its diverse landscape, fantastic cuisine, historic cities, and laid-back culture, Andalucía is one of the most popular and sought-after regions in the country. As one of the largest autonomous regions in Spain, Andalucía is filled with a complex history and culture unique to the rest of the country.
If you’re wondering what to see when spending 10 days in Southern Spain, then look no further. We have had the pleasure of spending months exploring this incredible region over several years and have gained a wealth of knowledge about travelling there.
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Best Time to Visit Southern Spain
Before we get into the logistics of our itinerary, we need to discuss the best time of year to visit this sunny region.
A good portion of Andalucía is blessed with over 300 days of sunshine per year and, outside of the high Sierra Nevada mountains, the weather will rarely ever get cold enough for it to freeze or snow.
Because of this, Andalucía (and the Costa del Sol in particular) is a popular winter destination for northern Europeans looking to escape the cold, dark weather of their home countries.
However, while the months between November and March are certainly warmer than virtually anywhere else on the continent, nights can still get chilly and you are more likely to have some rainy days.
However, if you plan to visit Andalucía in the summer months, you can expect some of the hottest temperatures in Europe, with some towns repeatedly being subjected to temperatures over 40°C (104°F).
While many hotels, apartments, and tourist sites are air-conditioned and many of the towns are equipped to handle such high temperatures, it can be uncomfortable to visit during the peak summer months.
Arguably the best time to undertake an Andalucía itinerary is in the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-November. It is during these months where the weather is at its best — mild yet warm and sunny — and tourist numbers haven’t reached their peak.
How Many Days in Southern Spain?
Now that we’ve determined which time of year is best to go to Spain, we need to figure out how many days you need for your itinerary for southern Spain.
While it might seem that one region of a country wouldn’t require all that much time to explore, you would be quite wrong to assume this of Andalucía.
The region is vast, encompassing multiple major metropolitan areas and various sub-regions and provinces. Each city, town or village that you will visit in Andalucía will have its own unique character that will beg you to explore more.
However, if you don’t have a lifetime just to devote to exploring one region of one country (like everyone else), plan to set aside at least ten days for your trip.
In ten days, you can see a lot of the region without being too rushed and really get a feel for the culture and history. While you likely won’t have time to visit every city and town of interest in Andalucía, 10 days is enough to give you a very good feel for the region.
If you have a bit longer to spend, then the absolute ideal amount of time to spend in Andalucía would be about 2 weeks. This will allow you to visit all of the major metropolitan areas of the city and get a little bit off the beaten path.
Getting To & Around Andalucía
Spain is home to a number of different international airports and there are lots of options when it comes to your itinerary.
The largest airport in Andalucía is located in Málaga and there are countless connections across Europe and further afield here. Flying into Málaga is a good option for those following the Costa del Sol route below.
There are also airports in Seville and Granada, though they are less trafficked. You can find connections across Europe – particularly into Seville – however, you may find it easier to fly into Madrid and then take the fast train to Seville, depending on where you’re coming from.
Once in Spain, it is also necessary to figure out how to get from one destination to another as you explore the region.
While many people like to hire a car and head out on a Southern Spain road trip itinerary, having your own rental car isn’t entirely necessary. The stops on this route are all easily accessible by bus or train (though booking trains and buses in advance is a good idea!) and each city itself is quite walkable.
If planning on taking a number of trains, a train pass can be incredibly good value. If you’re from outside of Europe, you can view Eurail Spain Passes here. Alternatively, if you’re from the EU, you can view Interrail Spain Passes here.
Where you might find a car more helpful during this Andalusian route is if you want to go on some more off-beat day trips that don’t have frequent or easy connections via public transport.
If you’re thinking of renting a car in Spain, we recommend using RentalCars.com to find the best rates. It can also be worth taking out a third-party insurance policy with iCarHireInsurance to avoid paying higher fees through the rental car agency.
10-Day Southern Spain Itinerary
Day 1 – Seville
The capital of Andalucía, no itinerary would be complete without a stop in the dynamic and historic city of Seville. One of the most beautiful cities in Spain, Seville has a ton to offer tourists and it is one of the best cities to get to know the unique culture and history of Andalucía.
Seville is the fourth-largest city in Spain and therefore is an easy starting point for a route through southern Spain as it is well connected both because if its international airport and frequent buses and trains from all major Spanish cities.
Due to its size and historical significance, there are also a lot of things to do in Seville that you can easily spend 3 or more full days exploring the city. Plan to spend a couple of days in the city itself, checking out all of the incredible sites.
On your first day, plan to get your bearings – a great way to do this is by going on a free walking tour! Of course, you cannot miss the incredible Seville Cathedral, which takes some time to explore.
Make sure to wander through the gorgeous streets or take a walking tour of Barrio Santa Crus, which was the former Jewish Quarter of Seville. And, finally, end your day by taking in the sunset from the Metropol Parasol – known locally as “Las Setas.”
No visit to Seville is complete without hopping around a few tapas bars and this is an excellent thing to do your first evening in Andalucía!
Where to Stay in Seville
Hotel Bécquer – This centrally located hotel is a great choice if you’re travelling on a mid-range budget but want to be close to all of the action. They have numerous clean, comfortable rooms available and they also have a wonderful rooftop pool and terrace to take the edge off of those warm Seville days.
Monte Triana – Located in the vibrant Triana neighbourhood, this swanky boutique hotel is on of the highest-rated in Seville. Located within a 15-minute walk of all of the top sights of the city and close to some of the best tapas bars in Seville, they have a number of luxurious rooms available.
Onefam Catedral – If you’re travelling solo or have a tight Spain travel budget, this hostel is an excellent choice. It is one of Seville’s highest-rated hostels and it is located within easy walking distance of sites like the Cathedral and the Alcázar. They have a range of dorms and private rooms available and the staff organises social events and activities.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse for more hotels in Seville!
Day 2 – Seville
On your second day in the capital of Andalucía, take the time to dig a bit deeper and enjoy some more of the incredible sites that Seville has to offer.
Start your day by exploring the Mercado de Triana on the other side of the Guadalquivir River – this is a great area to wander through on its own, but the market is something special.
And you absolutely cannot miss the Real Alcázar – this takes a few hours to explore and it is so wonderful and worthwhile. The architecture is absolutely stunning, as are the tranquil gardens to be found here.
You also should ensure to visit the iconic Plaza de España, one of Andalucía’s most beautiful town squares.
And end your day with a visit to a flamenco show – Seville is one of the birthplaces of this artform and there are plenty of tablaos where you can experience it!
Day 3 – Ronda
After spending two full days in Seville itself, now it’s time to head out on a day trip. One of the most popular options is to visit Ronda, a beautiful whitewashed village in the hills of Andalucía.
You can reach Ronda via bus (which is the easiest route if going by public transport), via car in about 2 hours or join an organised day trip.
Ronda is known for the incredible Puente Nuevo, a gorgeous and impressive bridge that cascades over the river gorges it sits above. But there is more to this town than the bridge. You can also tour the bullfighting ring, see beautiful churches like the Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor or even visit the old Arab Baths.
Ronda also has plenty of great bars to have a bite to eat in that serve up traditional cuisine from this area. In general, it’s a great day trip option.
Day 4 – Cádiz or Jerez de la Frontera
On your fourth day in Seville, it’s another great opportunity to head out and explore a nearby town. One of my favourites would be the gorgeous coastal city of Cádiz, which is located only about 1.5 hours by train from Seville.
Here, you can visit the beautiful Cádiz Cathedral and experience the find Camera Obscura at the Torre Tavira. There are also some cool, historic castles to take in, like the Castillo de San Sebastian. Cádiz also has its own unique cuisine with some incredible eateries, so this can be a great opportunity to head out on a food tour.
Alternatively, you could also visit the city of Jerez. This is located just a bit north of Cádiz and about 1 hour on the train from Seville.
Jerez is known as the cradle of sherry and is a fantastic place to visit for fans of this fortified wine. When you visit Jerez, make sure to pop into a bodega or two to learn about (and taste) all varieties of Spanish sherry – from fino to amontillado to oloroso. Of course, there are also incredible places to eat in Jerez, so it’s a great place for foodies!
Day 5 – Córdoba
After spending your first four days of this itinerary in Seville, it’s time to head to another historic city in Andalucía: Córdoba.
While many visitors to the south of Spain tend to only treat Córdoba as a day trip from Seville, the city is much better experienced in the two days I have allotted in this route through Andalucía.
Córdoba is located only about 45 minutes by train from Seville, so you can enjoy a relaxed morning without feeling the need to be rushed and get moving.
Once you arrive in Córdoba, spend your first day getting your bearings in the city and wandering through the incredible and beautifully preserved old Jewish Quarter. Of course, if it interests you, you could opt to go on a walking tour (free or paid) to get more historical context here.
At one point, Córdoba was considered to be the most important city in Western Europe and it was the head of one of the most advanced civilizations of its time during the Moorish rule of Spain.
Therefore, there are centuries, if not millennia, worth of history to explore in Córdoba and though it’s historical centre might be small, it is much better enjoyed at a slower pace.
It’s also a great idea to visit the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos in Córdoba. Though not as impressive as the one in Seville, it’s still worth taking in and seeing more of the Moorish architecture and learning about the history here.
Where to Stay in Córdoba
Hesperia Córdoba – This comfortable boutique hotel, located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, is a great place to stay if you are travelling on a mid-range budget. They have a range of modern, clean and comfortable rooms and also include a rooftop pool to take the edge off of a hot Córdoba day.
Puerta de la Luna – This small hostel is a fantastic option for solo and budget travellers alike. They have great common areas, a range of both dorm and private rooms, and even have a rooftop terrace to chill out on.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Cordoba!
Day 6 – Córdoba
Córdoba is perhaps most famous for its marvellous Mezquita-Catedral, a massive Moorish mosque-turned-cathedral in the centre of town. The monument is one of the most-visited in Andalucía and is a shining example of the Mudéjar architecture so common throughout this region and country as a whole
The Mezquita is certainly a can’t-miss sight in Córdoba, but it does get very busy which is why I recommend trying to get there as early as possible. That is why it’s ideal to visit the Mezquita on your first full day in Córdoba, rather than the day before when you first arrive.
After taking in the Mezquita, take the time to get lost in the gorgeous streets of Córdoba, visit the Mercado de la Corredera which is located below the plaza of the same name, and enjoy the city’s laid-back tapas culture.
This is also an excellent opportunity to take advantage of some regional cuisine that hails from Córdoba – particularly salmorejo, a cold tomato soup that is similar to gazpacho.
Day 7 – Granada
The penultimate stop on this itinerary is the incredible city of Granada, one of the best places to visit in all of Spain.
Tucked high in the Sierra Nevada, in 1492, Granada was the last city to fall to the Catholic monarchs during the Reconquista. Because of this, Granada’s Islamic roots and history seem somehow more pronounced than in other Spanish cities or cities in Andalucía altogether.
Much like Córdoba, Granada is perhaps most famous for its iconic monument: the Alhambra. The fantastic Moorish palace, summer house, and fortress is a sight to be seen and is one of the best examples of Islamic architecture in the world.
From Córdoba, it will take about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Granada depending on the route you choose. So you don’t feel too rushed, spend your first day in the city getting the feel for everything and exploring the Albaicín and the historical centre of the city.
Start off in the central area of Granada, first visiting the gorgeous Granada Cathedral and the nearby Monasterio de San Jerónimo. Then, make your way up the hill to the UNESCO-listed Albaicín.
Getting lost in the incredible Albaicín neighbourhood, which was once the city’s Arab quarter, is one of the highlights of visiting Granada. There is something beautiful to explore around every corner. And, if you want an excellent place to see the sunset, head to the Mirador de San Nicolas – it’s popular for a reason!
Spend your evening bouncing between some of Granada’s bars – here you can get a free tapa with a drink order and it’s one of the best experiences to have while in the city!
Where to Stay in Granada
Hotel Rosa D’oro – This hotel, located in the heart of Granada along the tranquil River Darro is an excellent place to base yourself in the city. They are located within easy walking distance of all of Granada’s main attractions, have a range of comfortable rooms available, and breakfast is included in the room rate.
Hotel Los Tilos – Centrally located close to everything Granada has to offer, this hotel is a great place to rest your head in the city. They have numerous rooms available, a rooftop terrace with excellent views of the city and the surrounding mountains, and breakfast is included each morning.
El Granado Hostel – If you’re travelling solo or on a budget, then this hostel is a fantastic accommodation in Granada. Located in the heart of the Albaicín, they have a range of dorm and private rooms available, numerous common areas, and they organise social events each evening.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Granada hotels!
Day 8 – Granada
On your second day in Granada, it’s time to visit the main attraction – the Alhambra. The Alhambra complex is massive and it will take the better part of half a day to do the area justice, so make sure that you’re aware of that.
After visiting the Alhambra, head to one of Granada’s more unique areas – Sacromonte. This traditional Roma neighbourhood is made up of cave dwellings, and it’s a place where some people living alternative lifestyles still live today.
If you want a truly spectacular view, then hike up to the San Miguel Alto Viewpoint, which is a bit of a trek but well worth it.
End your time in Granada by bouncing around various tapas bars again – it really never gets old!
Day 9 – Málaga
The final stop on this Southern Spain itinerary is in the lively coastal city of Málaga. Málaga is a wonderful city to visit and it is a great place to relax by the coast while still taking in some history.
It’s also located only about an hour from Granada and, as home to a high-traffic international airport, a logical place to end this itinerary.
Spend your first day wandering around and getting to know the city. It has a lively, metropolitan vibe that is definitely different from the cities you’ve visited previously.
Make sure to visit the gorgeous Alcazaba which towers over the city and, also, wander around the Roman Theatre that is located directly below.
Of course, you must visit the Picasso Museum while here. This was the birthplace of the famous artist and it’s worth taking in some of the incredible works while visiting the city.
Where to Stay in Málaga
Hotel Sur Málaga – This centrally-located hotel is a wonderful place to stay in Málaga, situated within easy walking distance to all of the best museums and attractions. They have a range of air-conditioned, clean, and comfortable, rooms available and it is the ideal place for couples. There is also breakfast available for an additional charge.
Madeinterranea Suites – This is a great hotel if you’re after a little bit of luxury on your trip to Málaga. There are numerous spacious and comfortable rooms available, a restaurant on site (complete with room service!), and a fantastic breakfast included in the room rate. They also can organise an airport shuttle.
The Lights Hostel – This hostel is one of the highest-rated and a great option for solo travellers or if you’re on a budget in Malaga. They have a range of dorm and private rooms available and a hearty breakfast available at an additional cost. They also organise social events in the evenings.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Málaga!
Day 10 – Málaga
Spend your final day exploring more of beautiful Málaga. Begin your day at the massive Mercado de Atarazanas where you can take in a lot of delicious local produce. Then, make your way to the Museo del Vino which, if you don’t understand Spanish, means the Museum of Wine!
You can also take some time to lounge at Playa de Malagueta, the main beach in the city. Or, if you want to explore a cool, hip area with lots of street art, then make sure to wander around the lovely Soho neighbourhood.
Have More Time?
If you have more time in the area, then you can continue exploring past Málaga and visit more of the Costa del Sol. There is a lot more to this area than just Malaga or Marbella and it’s worth taking the time to visit some of the smaller coastal towns.
Of course, it’s also very popular to go on a day trip to Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory is easily reached from Málaga and it’s a unique experience to visit!
No matter where you choose to visit on your southern Spain itinerary, you are sure to leave with fond memories of an enriching and historical experience.
Are you planning a trip to Andalucía? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!