The PERFECT 1 Week Itinerary: Andalusia, Spain

The PERFECT 1 Week Itinerary: Andalusia, Spain

I’m thrilled to finally unveil the latest addition to my blog – it’s super simple, one week itineraries for those that want to see the best of Europe at a moderate pace that doesn’t break the bank. Dan and I did this exact route a few years ago and had the time of our lives. Vibrant culture, amazing Spanish gastronomy, natural beauty, stunning architecture, Andalusia has it all. Here’s the step-by-step game plan on you can experience it firsthand! Enjoy! 

AIR

andalusia, spain, itinerary

Fly to MADRID – Take an early flight from the States so you land in Madrid in the early morning (sleep as much as possible on the flight to avoid jetlag!)

Note: If you can fly directly into Seville at a reasonable rate, do so. Seville is not an international airport so this will require a layover in Madrid or Barcelona prior to transfer to Seville – wasting valuable vacay time. I prefer the train because it’s an interesting scenic experience in itself, not to mention, reliable.) 

DAY 1

andalusia, spain, itinerary



Morning | Arrival at Madrid International Airport and Bus Transfer to Atocha train station, there’s an easy bus that goes straight there from the airport. (Bus information HERE).

Afternoon | Lock your luggage away at the safe and reasonably priced luggage storage in the train station. Within walking distance of the station lies the beautiful Parque del Retiro and infamous Museo Nacional del Prado, one of the premier art museums in Europe. Also popular, a stop at Museo del Jamon (Ham Museum) with an astounding collection of cured hams, get a few slices of Iberico for a savory train ride snack.

Train to SEVILLE (Santa Justa station) approx 2 1/2 hours through the Spanish countryside. Get your train tickets here and expect to pay $80-98 pp (like most things, book ahead for deals)

Stay in SEVILLE – 3 NIGHTS at HERE or HERE (aim to be near the Seville Cathedral)

Evening | Settle in and explore Seville’s beautiful Old Town, the 3rd largest in Europe. Enjoy dinner at an amazing tapas bar and finish with drinks on the rooftop of EME Catedral Hotel for gorgeous views of the cityscape. Here are highlights from our visit.

DAY 2

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11AM | Catch this free walking tour, which meets near the Giralda Tower daily. Remember to tip your guide! This is a great way to start your visit in Seville and will help you get your bearings on all the sights. Ask the guide for meal and sangria recommendations!

Afternoon | Tour Sevilla’s famous Alcazar, the oldest palace still in use in Europe. You can bet it’s absolutely gorgeous. Afterwards, head inside the Catedral de Seville for what is likely the most beautiful church in all of Europe. It’s here that you’ll find Christopher Columbus’s tomb. Once you’re finished in the main  narthex head to the far corner to climb the stairs of the Giralda tower for stunning views.

DAY 3

andalusia, spain, itinerary

Morning | Now that jet lag is behind you, head out early for breakfast at La Cacharria. Later, tour he famous Plaza de Toros (bullfighting arena). Bullfighting it a vital part of Spanish history, I agree it’s a little brutal but encourage you to embrace it!

Afternoon | Cut across the Old Town to the beautiful Plaza de Espana. It was here that scenes from Star Wars were filmed, with some editing of course to make the half circle complete.

Evening | Tired from all that walking? Kick back and catch a flamenco show! This is a must in Seville and from my experience one of my favorite memories in Europe. I think the art behind the performance is so captivating and I think you will too! HERE is one show I found that looks pretty awesome.

DAY 4

Andalucia Itinerary - Spain - The Overseas Escape-20Early Morning | Bus Transfer from Seville to Ronda. There are 7 per day which take around an hour and half, I recommend getting on the first. More information HERE.

Stay in RONDA – 1 NIGHT at Parador de Ronda, despite the steeper price at $200/night, I highly recommend this splurge, you’ll never forget your stay, promise! Located by Puente Neuvo bridge views from the Parador hotel couldn’t be more beautiful.

Afternoon | Where Hemmingway and Welles spent their summers, the enchanting white village of Ronda is a diamond in the already spectacular Spanish countryside. Spend the day exploring the charming winding streets of Ronda then venture down to the right of the bridge to the valley below.

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DAY 5

andalusia, spain, itinerary

Morning | Enjoy a slow morning and grab breakfast in Plaza de Socorro en route to the train station. Bidding farewell to the Parador might be the biggest challenge of your holiday, good luck!

Early Afternoon | Take a direct train from Ronda to Granada. Expect to pay around $20 pp, there are 2 direct trains per day, I recommend the 1:30PM.

Stay in GRANADA – 2 NIGHTS at HERE or HERE (The Albayzin is where you want to be!)

Evening | Breathe deeply, you’re in one of the most enchanting cities in the whole world. After check in, make your way up the Albacin, smelling the fresh jasmine in the air, see the Sunset at Saint Nicolas Plaza. From here you’ll see spectacular views of the city and the stunning Alhambra. Did someone say paella? Check La Parrala place out for dinner and send me your leftovers.

andalusia, spain, itinerary

DAY 6

andalusia, spain, itinerary

Morning & Afternoon | One word: Alhambra. Since it’s original construction in 889, the Alhambra has been home to centuries of royalty, each making it more beautiful than the last. The architectural details are marvelous, it’s no surprise that this palace and fortress have been referenced as a “pearl set in emeralds”. Bursting with history, it was here that Christopher Columbus requested financial support from Isabel and Ferdinand for his sail to the New World. UNESCO protected, of course, travelers come from all over the world to see this amazing sight. (Dan and I cherish our visit.) Allot 4-5 hours.

Book entrance tickets as soon as you know you’re going on this trip. It can be a confusing process but basically you’re buying a ticket to enter the grounds of the Alhambra for very specific time, I recommend starting in the morning. Don’t miss it. HERE are details for buying tickets.

Evening | Gorge on tapas and wine! Check out La Botilleria, a well-loved Spanish restaurant on TripAdvisor.

andalusia, spain, itinerary

 DAY 7

You’re last full day in Spain, make the most of your final hours in sangria paradise. Here are some great options for the day:

1 | Rafting – “This one time, when I was white water rafting in Spain…” SaltoRios

2 | Olive Oil Tour – Get whisked from your hotel to the Andalusian countryside for a day of tasting and learning about the local specialty. Olive Oil Tour

3 | Hammam – Original Arab bathes for a day of exotic relaxation. Hammam Al Andalus

4 | Segway Tour – Explore the ins and outs of the city on a sweet set of wheels. If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good Segway Tour and this company has +1,000 stellar TripAdvisor reviews confirming a great time. Play Granada

5 | Night Adventure – Offbeat and super cool nighttime exploration of the Albayzin, including crawling ancient drains and exploring the graves of the Alhambra. Play Granada

Now is the time to check out the dive bar you spotted earlier, people watch in the plaza with a coffee, buy Spanish keepsakes and just absorb your vacation. Enjoy!

andalusia, spain, itinerary

DAY 8


Fly home from Granada (GRX). Taking the train back to Madrid takes nearly 4.5 hours while the flight is just 1 hour via Iberia Air, which flies twice daily at 7:25AM and 5:45PM. To save money, check on the price if you book this cheap flight separately from international flight home – just be aware of where your luggage is!

Happy Travels!

Tags:
  • Lovely as always, my darling! 🙂

  • I love this! I can’t wait for more of these. Planning and finding great itineraries is one of my favorite hobbies! This is an awesome one, I’ve never been to Spain but its at the top of my list right now.

  • Totally coming back to this in the Winter when I’m planning our Spring Spain trip!!! So excited to experience this wonderful country!

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Spain! Thanks so much for sharing your travel tips 🙂

  • …Next time you go to Andalucía, you MUST stop by Córdoba–I swear, it’s my favorite city there (besides Granada)!!…

  • What perfect timing! We had already planned a Andalusia trip for next month going from Seville to Ronda to Malaga to Nerja!

    One question, though – I hadn’t yet booked our bus to Ronda not knowing how much time we’d want in Seville our second day and I took a look at the site you linked to. The only option from Seville to Ronda using them on Mon, August 11 is a bus going through Jerez and then on to Ronda. That makes the journey 1.5 hours PLUS 2.5 hours. Is that what you did? I’d like to find something quicker, but I’m not sure where to look. Any ideas?

  • This is such a fantastic travel guide–I love how organized you are! Thanks for the great tips, now all I need is the vacation time… 🙂

  • Your pictures are GORGEOUS! I absolutely have to make it to Spain soon! And, plus side, it’s such a quick flight from Italy!

  • I wish I had more time in Spain! I didn’t even know Andalusia existed! This itinerary looks amazing.

  • Sounds like a great trip!! I want to do an olive oil tour!! This is a great idea. I have half a post written about our itinerary when we went to Europe but never got around to finishing it 🙂

  • Looks great! I am traveling to Valencia, Spain next March to spend 4 months at a language school. Will definitely refer to this when traveling to the Andalusia region. Thank you!

  • this is incredible! I love the layout of this post!

  • Thanks, dear! 😀

  • Yay! Glad that you found it helpful! 🙂

  • Thanks, dear! When I read about the olive oil tour it made me so bummed that I had missed it. I, for one, love olive oil and might just drink it from the bottle if it were acceptable. (And now I sound gross)

  • Thanks, dear! Now you just have a great reason to go back! Where did you visit in Spain?

  • Yes! Don’t you just love that about Europe? Everything is just a little plane hop away. As always, thanks for your sweet compliment on my pictures, it means a lot. 🙂

  • Thanks, dear! Sigh…what I’d give for more vacation time too!

  • Hmm, the bus that I took from Seville to Ronda was direct and only took about 1 1/2 hours total. I definitely wouldn’t route through Jerez. Be sure to check for transfers out of Prado de San Sebastion in Seville, listed here: http://www.independentrip.com/en/bus-and-train/ronda-seville

    Good luck! Have so much fun! If you have any more questions let me know. 🙂

  • I love this!!! It’s so organized and wonderful! Love the checklist too!

  • just proving again that your blog is a go-to for all the wonderful things in life. plus, this layout!

  • This sounds like such a wonderful trip! Believe it or not, but in 22 years of living in Europe I’ve never really made it to Spain – that definitely has to change! What’s your favorite spot in Spain? I feel like there is so much to discover! And I’m already interested to see what your next itinerary is going to be! 🙂

  • Hmm..all I’m seeing with this company are buses that go from Seville to Jerez de la Frontera before going on to Ronda. Nothing about transfers either. How long ago did you use this bus company? Maybe they no longer offer direct routes. Do you think it would be risky for us to wait until we are in Seville to go to the San Sebastian bus station and purchase tickets to Ronda? I just can’t seem to find any direct routes online. 🙁

  • We started in Barcelona, to Zaragoza (don’t go there), to Madrid and then a day trip in Segovia. Everything was wonderful! (except Zaragoza 🙂 )

  • YES! I would love to see the city. I really just didn’t know how to incorporate it without overbooking. Great advice!

  • Glad you found the Andalusia itinerary helpful! I hope you can scoot over there soon!

  • And I’m excited for you to see it too! Can’t wait to hear about your impressions and see your and Nick’s pictures! 🙂

  • Oh boy, glad we share in the joy of itinerary-making, it’s a tricky little craft! 🙂 Think you’ll head to Spain soon? I’d love to hear where you go when you do!

  • You know how to make me blush. 🙂

  • Oh my – well, I can’t judge because I never made it to Philadelphia even though I lived in DC.. and that’s like an hour and half in the car. I think you’d absolutely adore Spain so I vote you hop a flight down there once you’re settled after the move. My favorite little town in Spain is Nerja, which is on Costa del Sol, but I think Granada might be my favorite all-around. The Alhambra really is just nuts (in a beautiful way). 🙂

  • I really, really, don’t want you to move. You just make me feel so GREAT with each and every comment. So glad we have this little blogsphere to keep in touch. 🙂

    Dare I ask, you are keeping MontgomeryFest rolling after the move, right? (There’s only one answer to that.)

  • Thanks so much deary! You are always so complimentary, I really appreciate it. 🙂

  • No worries, I found this website run by the bus company – https://losamarillos.autobusing.com/venta/inicio?id=86310

    They still have a direct bus that’s 1 hr 45 mins. 🙂

  • Thanks, Margo! One last question and then I’ll leave you alone! Generally, do people working at the bus and train stations speak English as well as Spanish? My Spanish is only so-so and I think I could manage a ticket exchange conversation okay, but I’ll spend a little extra time studying that if necessary. 🙂

  • I can’t wait! We’re going to hit most of the major areas but I’m the most excited about Andalusia!

  • Actually, I would recommend brushing up if you have time. Of all the places I’ve visited in Europe, Andalusia is the one area that I really felt like I had to lean on my high school Spanish classes otherwise I would’ve had trouble. I think a lot of times people may know some English (like for the ticket purchase) but don’t want to bother, so you have to make the effort to speak Spanish. Also, before you go, make sure you download an English-Spanish app on your phone. 🙂

  • what a wonderful guide!! I LOVED Andalusia – we stayed in a tiny B&B where all the guests ate dinner together and it was just idyllic. I remember Ronda being beautiful. you should seriously start a travel agency! x

  • I love how detailed this itinerary post is! I appreciate all the time you put into writing it 🙂

    http://itsjpei.wordpress.com/

  • I’m actually kind of excited to practice my Spanish! I’m sure I’m terrible, but it’s more practice than I’ll get here in London! 🙂 Thanks for your help again. xoxo.

  • This is a little delayed, sorry! Where did you guys stay in Andalusia? I really love the idea of a communal dinner, as you said ‘idyllic’ sounds exactly right. Wow.

    If anything, I’ll start my travel agency as soon as you guys open a restaurant! (because you guys should seriously do that) 😀

  • Sorry this is a bit belated, so happy that you enjoyed the itinerary! 🙂

  • That’s a great post. We’d love to go to Andalusia one day and we thought that it’s not doable in less than 2 weeks. It’ll be our guide for when we go there 🙂

  • My advice for a flamenco show in Seville would be the show in a bar called “Carboneria”. It doesn’t cost any entrance fee, you are only expected to buy something to drink. It’s maybe not the most fancy show in the city and the building is a little bit hidden somewhere in the city center (so you should take a map or you won’t find it), but it’s very authentic, emotional and cheap. I loved it.

  • Great tips! This is a wonderful itinerary. We traveled there in the spring and it was a wonderful adventure. Check out my Kids’ Travel Guide to Spain if you are taking the kiddos. http://theeducationaltourist.com/product/adventures-in-spain-ebook-2/

  • Margo!!! This is so perfect. I’m dreaming of going to the south of Spain over Thanksgiving this year.

  • padmini A Bailur

    This information has been so useful. I just need some additional info. As we are travelling with kids 4 and 1 year old how complicated is it considering lugging one pram everywhere? Thank you

  • A H

    Hi, I am planning a trip to Spain following your itinerary, but am having trouble making bus reservations from Seville to Ronda. It seems that on the link to the site you posted only has a 3 hour bus option from Seville to Ronda. Has this perhaps changed since your trip? Perhaps I need to take a train instead to save time?

  • A H

    I am going through this itinerary and went to La Parrala as per itinerary. Perhaps the chef was off or changed. The food was very salty (even the salad) and hard to finish eating. My suggestion would be to go somewhere else. Also, the bus company link for Seville to Ronda only has a 3 hour bus with transfer option. The direct bus is Los Amarillos which is only 2 hours. Hope this helps.

  • Hayley Hall

    My husband and I just got back from this trip yesterday! We LOVED it! I have dreamed of going to Spain since I was 14, got my bachelor’s in Spanish Language and Spanish Literature, and specifically always wanted to live in Andalusia! We followed your suggestions almost exactly- but stayed in Madrid a whole day, spent 3 days in Sevilla and 3 in Granada (didn’t make it to Ronda this trip!) and it was PERFECT! I would also recommend seeing the Federico Garcia Lorca museum in Granada- a literary fanatic’s dream! Thank you for all of your recommendations! We will be taking another of your “one week itineraries” in the future!

    • Hi dear! Apologies for the delayed reply but this is all SO wonderful to hear! I’m glad you guys had an amazing trip and so happy to have helped along the way! Cheers!

    • Yemma

      can u share ur experience? i’m planning to visit cordoba, seville n granada in a week! 😀

      • Mohsin

        Hi I am planning same route (Cordoba, Seville, Granada) for our 25th wedding anniversary this year. any advice?
        thanks.

  • A.A

    that’s great. Any tips if we want to add Cordoba or change it with Ronda??

  • Reyna Watson

    Many thanks for this. We are halfway through, following many of your suggestions, and so far so good. I am writing this from my balcony-with-a-spectacular-view at the parador in Ronda, preparing for our train trip to Granada this afternoon. Everything has worked out well so far – we booked our bus trip from Sevilla to Ronda with los amarillos here: http://samar.es/ but really it wasn’t necessary – we could have just showed up at the bus station to buy tickets on the day. We have made a mistake though in not booking tickets for Alhambra earlier – we are there for the next three nights, but it is all booked out. It is well worth it to persevere with the difficult websites, and not to give up like I did!

  • littlechilds

    Great blog. I’m doing something similar but in 10 days. I’m having a hard deciding if I should do 1 night in Granada to allow time in Malaga, of scrap Malaga all together and add a day in Granada and Madrid. Thoughts? So far Im doing Madrid—Seville—Day trip to Ronda—Day trip to Cordabo—Granada—Malaga?—Madrid

  • margo

    This itinerary looks great! We are going in late September and have some time flexibility. From Granada, we’re considering an additional day trip or an overnight stay that’s scenic and rustic/active. Is a visit to Las Alpujarras / Sierra Nevada region worthwhile? Any suggestions and insight (on this destination or others) would be greatly appreciated!

    • Desirée Huete Castillo

      Visit Las Alpujarras is advisable. They are very nice people, the most famous: Capileira, Bubión, Pampaneira … Two nights may be right.

  • Claire

    Thank you for sharing your itinerary! I will use it as inspiration to plan my trip to Spain at the end of this month! Claire http://www.claireimaginarium.com

  • Carrie Lord Daus

    Will have 9 days in Spain in early May and are flying in and out of Madrid. We were thinking of adding some beach time, most likely in Nerja. Any other coastal towns you’d recommend over Nerja, and where would you add Nerja or other beaches into this itinerary? Thanks you!

  • Lia Claire

    My fiancé and I just finished this itinerary. It was wonderful! We can’t thank you enough for the hotel and sightseeing suggestions. It took the guesswork and stress out of our vacation planning. We are 27 and 25 and found the hotels to be affordable and appropriate for all ages. We did struggle with our hotel in Granada some. It was a beautiful hotel with a great location, but the comfort of the rooms depends greatly on which room they give you. We had an internal room and probably one of the smallest. We recommend paying for more than just a standard room. We did not and we weren’t very comfortable.

    We chose to skip the train and rent a car from Sevilla to Ronda and Ronda to Granada. We stopped in the white village of Villamartin and loved every second of the drive. It was easy to drive in Spain and it didn’t take much more time to get from place to place. The country is so picturesque.

    We loved the olive oil tour in Granada. We can highly recommend it. We also had the opportunity to do a tasting menu at a private residence called La Oliva in Granada, this was a great meal. Highly suggested.

  • Scheila Kassam

    How and where did you all buy Alhambra tickets in advance?