Many years ago I was watching the famous movie The Mask of Zorro with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, when I heard Elena saying that she rode the horse at night across Andalusia. I did not know anything about this place, but I was sure it was stunning, and I promised myself that I would tour Andalusia one day. It turned out that I was right 🙂 This part of Spain exceeded my expectations, so here is my Andalusia itinerary: I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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My Andalusia itinerary is below, but before I get to it, here are some things to know.
NB: this Andalusia itinerary is a part of 3 weeks I spent in Spain. The full itinerary is here.
My Andalusia tour route: Cordoba – Granada – Malaga – Ronda – Seville.
When to visit: summers are excruciatingly hot in Andalusia, so I would advice to go there in March-April and October-beginning of November. Besides comfortable temperatures it means less tourists. I went to Andalusia in the second half of October and it was around 30° Celsius every day. Yes, it is a high temperature, but it did not feel hot. Of course, water in the seaside cities and resorts will be cold (to my taste) but I saw people swimming in Malaga nevertheless.
Places I included in my Andalusia tour: I went to Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Ronda and Seville. I spent 3 days in Cordoba, Granada and Seville, 2 days in Malaga and 1 day in Ronda, or 12 days (excluding travel time).
I started exploring Andalusia by visiting Cordoba. This little gem in the south of Spain is best known for its huge mosque and picturesque courtyards filled with flowers. Frankly, I would have loved to stay one day more in Seville and Malaga. If you have two weeks, these places are just perfect.
Still, I have some suggestions to add to your itinerary if you have more days. I really wanted to visit the famous Cadiz with its magnificent buildings! If you have time, go there! Nerja is a seaside town not far from Malaga and will make a perfect day trip with its beaches. Mijas is another white village of Andalusia close to Malaga. Party and beach aficionados will love Marbella. Frankly, the opportunities are endless 🙂
How to move around Andalusia: yes, you guessed it, I explored the area by bus 🙂 Of course, it is much better to rent a car and stop wherever and whenever you want, but I don’t have a driver’s license, so I have to resort to public transport. Don’t worry, the bus network is very well organised and have never had any problems.
It is my understanding that ALSA is the main bus company in the south of Spain, so I booked all my tickets in advance on their website. The process is very easy, just select the date and your destinations. However, there is a booking fee if you buy tickets online. I like to have everything under control, so I booked everything a month before my trip and printed the tickets. I think prices get higher closer to the travel date. Drivers do not speak English, so knowing a couple of phrases in Spain to say that you bought tickets online will certainly help. Show your ticket to the driver and get in! And that’s it!
ALSA buses are comfortable, they have WCs and – very important – Wi-Fi on board.
I took ALSA buses between Cordoba, Granada and Malaga. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any service between Malaga and Ronda, Ronda and Seville, so I had to look for another bus company. And I found one: Los Amarillos. The English version of their website is not entirely in English, but is manageable, and the disadvantage is that tickets online can be bought only a week in advance, so I bought them when I was in Spain. Anyway, Los Amarillos service was good, but there is no Internet connection on board.
Andalusia itinerary: Cordoba
I started my Andalusia tour by visiting Cordoba. As I flew to Madrid, I had to take the train to Cordoba. So, at around 11 AM I was in the city.
I fell in love with Cordoba immediately! It is a lovely city with narrow streets, amazing architecture and flowers, flowers everywhere!
I was there in October and it was too late for the famous Patio Festival when people decorate their courtyards and compete with each other. Traditionally, it is organised during the first two weeks of May, so consider this planning your trip. There still were flowers in October, many of them, so I can only imagine how beautiful it is in May.
When it comes to timing, I think 3 days are enough for Cordoba.
Places not to miss in Cordoba:
– the famous Mezquita, of course! This grand mosque with a cathedral and chapel inside is truly stunning!
– el Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos or the Royal Alcazar of Christian Monarchs, the former residence of region’s rulers. This place is surrounded by magnificent gardens, and it is always crowded 🙂
– Viana Palace with its 5 centuries of history. The house is stunning, but the main reason to visit it is to walk its patios and gardens full of flowers.
– traditional houses of Cordoba: Casa de las Cabezas and Casa Andalusi.
– Torre de Calahorra for a lesson in history and views of Cordoba.
Here is the itinerary:
Mezquita – Catedral de Córdoba
Galeria de la Inquisicion
Capilla Mudéjar de San Bartolomé
Walls of Cordoba
Jardines de Agricultura/Jardines de Victoria
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Baños del Alcázar Califal
Windmills of Cordoba
Puerta del Puenta
Torre de La Calahorra
Puente de Miraflores and Miraflores Park
Palacio de la Merced
Palacio de Viana
Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba
Roman temple of Cordoba
Plaza de la Corredera
Calleja de las Flores
Casa de Las Cabezas
For detailed info on things to do in Cordoba go here.
Andalusia itinerary: Granada
In the afternoon of the 4th day in Cordoba I left for Granada. It rained the whole day, so there was not much to see, except finding a nice restaurant and enjoy Spanish cuisine. That’s what I need 🙂 And I spent the next 3 days exploring Granada.
I had heard about Granada long before I visited it, and the movie Assassin’s creed convinced me that I should definitely go there.
Places not to miss in Granada:
– Alhambra, the famous Alhambra, of course, with its beautiful gardens and stunning palace. By the way, Alhambra was featured in the movie 🙂
– Cartuja Monastery. I did not expect a monastery to be THAT beautiful. It did not promise anything special from outside, but wait till you get to the main cathedral.
– the Cathedral of Granada with majestic white columns.
– the Cathedral of San Juan de Dios. In my opinion, in many aspects it is much more beautiful that the main cathedral. And it has a noble cause of supporting poor people and a school of disabled children.
– Ermita de San Miguel Alto. Go here for the best views of Granada and Alhambra from above.
Here is the itinerary:
Abadía del Sacromonte
Ermita de San Miguel Alto
Mirador de San Nicolas
The observation deck of Mezquita Mayor de Granada
Palacio de los Olvidados
• Palacios Nazaries
• Palace of Charles V
Paseo de los tristes
Palacio de los Cordova
La Cartuja Monastery
Puerta de Elvira
Basílica de San Juan de Dios
Monasterio de San Jerónimo
Royal Chapel of Granada
For detailed info on things to do in Granada go here.
Andalusia itinerary: Malaga
In the evening three days after my rainy arrival to Granada I left for Malaga. When I arrived, it was 10 PM already. I had 2 days in the city ahead.
Oh, this magnificent Malaga! I included it to my itinerary only because I needed to fill in the 2 days I had left empty. And I ended up falling in love with it.
Malaga is famous as the birthplace of Picasso, and there a couple of museums with his works. I am not into arts, so I happily missed them 🙂
Places not to miss in Malaga:
– the beach, of course! Even if the water was too cold, I still loved those hours spent at la Malagueta just sitting and relaxing.
– two famous fortresses of Malaga: Alcazaba and Gibralfaro.
– the Cathedral of Malaga. And don’t forget to climb its roof for stunning views.
Here is the itinerary:
Santa María de la Victoria Basilica
Capilla del Agua
Plaza de la Merced/Torrijos Monument
Picasso Museum Málaga
Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga
Parroquia de los Santos Mártires
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón
Plaza de la Constitucion/Fuente de Genova
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista
Mercado Central Atarazanas
Teatro Romano – Alcazaba
Castillo de Gibralfaro: Mirador del Gibralfaro
Parque de la Alameda
Puerto de Malaga/ La Farola
Playa la Malagueta
For detailed info on things to do in Malaga go here.
Andalusia itinerary: Ronda
Many-many years ago I saw the pictures of the gorge in Ronda and I was determined to see it with my own eyes. Naturally, I couldn’t miss it. So I took an early bus to Ronda as I intended to spend only one day there. Frankly, it is not the gorge that deserves attention, but the stunning views of the landscapes.
Here is the itinerary:
Puente Nuevo of Ronda
La Casa del Rey Moro
Puente Viejo and Puente Arabe
The ancient walls of Ronda
The Mondragon Palace
Puente Nuevo again
For detailed info on things to do in Ronda and my tips go here.
Andalusia itinerary: Seville
I left Ronda in the evening of the same day and arrived in Seville around 9 PM. It meant that I had full three days to spend in the city, but I wish I had one more.
I came to Seville to see its main square, and besides that I did not know much about the city. Let me tell you now: it is stunning! And the square is not the most beautiful place in Seville. I think its palaces and casas deserve more attention.
Places not to miss in Seville:
– palaces and casas: Lebrija Palace, Duenas Palace, Casa de Pilatos, Casa de Salinas.
– Plaza de Espana, of course 🙂
– the Royal Alcazar. And don’t miss the royal quarters.
– the Cathedral of Seville with its famous tower Giralda. It is 105 meters high, so the views from above are stunning!
Here is the itinerary:
Basílica de la Macarena Museum
Muralla de Sevilla
Monasterio de Santa Paula Museum
Palacio de las Dueñas
Las Setas De Sevilla
Palacio de Lebrija
Casa de Pilatos
Iglesia de San Ildefonso
Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Torre del Oro
Palacio de San Telmo
Plaza de España
Parque de María Luisa
Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla
Iglesia del Salvador
Catedral de Sevilla: La Giralda, Puerta del Perdón y el Patio de los Naranjos
Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes
Plaza del Triunfo
Patio de Banderas
Juderia – Santa Cruz
Casa de Salinas
On my fourth day in Seville I left for Salamanca.
For detailed info on things to do in Seville go here.
Have fun and enjoy Andalusia!