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10 Days in Andalucia (and maybe Portugal Coast) in November


My partner and I will be picking up a car in the early afternoon on Nov 4th and returning the car there the morning of Nov 14th for our flight home. We want to explore Andalucia (Sevilla, Granada, White Hill Towns) and (it may be too much) perhaps part of the Algarve like Faro and Tavira closest to the Spain border. I'm thinking Cape Sagres may also just be just too far for the round trip.

As far as our timing constraints we just have the following:
- An event in Cadiz the evening of Nov 11th. We don't necessarily need to stay there that night as we'll have a car.
- To meet with some friends we'd probably prefer to do Sevilla in the last several days like around the nights of Nov 10th, 11th, 12th as we'd likely need to be in Madrid the night of the 13th since we have an flight ~ 11:00 on the 14th.

Any thoughts or suggestions about an itinerary, places to stay, eat, or if we're missing anything? Was thinking Ronda or Arcos de la Frontera sound like a nice basecamps in the White Hill Towns for a couple of nights.

Thanks in advance for the help. Glad this community is here!

Posted by
2339 posts

I would probably just stick to Spain, and with only 10 days, I wouldn't even go so far east as to Granada. Honestly there is so much to see in Sevilla, Cadiz area and nearby environs like Huelva. Since you will have a car you will have much more freedom.

I would take a look at El Rocío, located in the heart of the Doñana National Park, just south of Sevilla. El Rocío is a white-washed time-warped Andalucian cowboy town, with its old taverns and dusty streets the town feels like something from the wild west. El Rocío makes for a great base to explore the Doñana National Park, a wild and beautiful wetlands of the Guadalquivir river, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Virtually unknown to foreign tourists, it's an authentic slice of the little known Andalucian cowboy culture.

Posted by
19492 posts

Are you flying into Madrid as well as out of that city? Are you arriving on November 4 after an overseas flight or are you coming in from elsewhere in Europe?

It seems that you have nine full days and ten nights. All the Spanish places you mention are worthwhile, but I'd try to fit in Cordoba. I definitely don't think you have time for the Algarve, and comments on this forum have led me to conclude that November isn't a good time to be there, anyway. Furthermore, the sightseeing in Andalucia is, in my view, a lot more interesting than what you have on the Algarve.

Seville is by far the largest city in Andalucia and needs more time than the others. I like settling in somewhere rather than shifting hotels frequently, but I'm not sure it makes sense to side-trip by car from Seville to Cadiz when you are also interested in seeing the white villages. They are closer to Cadiz than to Seville.

I haven't driven in Europe, much less in southern Spain, so others can give you more-specific advice, but I think you need 3 full days in Seville (4 nights), 2 nights in Granada (maybe 1-1/2 days) since the Alhambra can take up a large chunk of one day and a full day in Cordoba (2 nights would be great). That adds up to 8 nights and doesn't yet include time in Ronda/Arcos or Cadiz, so something has to give.

Posted by
4 posts

We'll be arriving from Lisbon after a week and a half in Portugal. It was just much more affordable to rent a car out of Madrid than doing a one-way rental from Lisbon. So we should be fully adjusted to the time zone and ready to roll.

Posted by
1111 posts

I'm confused. So you are coming from Madrid? Or from Portugal? It might help if you could post your full schedule because obviously it's going to make a difference if you are coming from Portugal anyway.

If you are picking up your car in Madrid on the 4th and have to drive back on the 13th, I don't quite see how that will give you ten days in Andalucia. In my maths that's eight full days. So I totally agree with the others that it would be way too much to include the Portugal coast in that.

Your last couple of days seem to be set, you want to spend those in Seville. If you are staying in Seville on the 11th, it seems that you want to drive down to Cadiz from there (1.5 hrs each way). So really, the only days we are talking about here are Nov. 5 to Nov 9.

My personal favorites in Andalucia were Seville, the Mezquite in Cordoba, and the Alhambra in Granada. If you are coming from Madrid anyway, you might consider going to Granada first (one or two days), then move on to Cordoba (one or two days), and on to Seville from there. I'd add at least another day on to Seville if possible, especially if you are spending the 11th going to Cadiz and maybe exploring that region.

So we should be fully adjusted to the time zone

Make sure you adjust to the time zone when you cross the border between Portugal and Spain. :-)

Posted by
2557 posts

You mention renting a car out of Madrid, but can't you fly to Seville from Lisbon and rent a car there instead? It is a bit late to change, but TAP flies the route rather affordably. You can then drive the car back to Madrid, no problem.

Posted by
58 posts

For what it's worth, I just returned from 2 weeks in Andalucia covering Sevilla, Ronda, Nerja, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, and Segovia. Flew in to Madrid then caught cheap/easy flight to Sevilla where the remainder of the trip was by bus and train. No regrets not having a car as it appeared to be a pain for 80% of our itinerary. For a 2nd trip to that area we would probably opt for a rental car to exploure farther out.

Posted by
14454 posts

I'd take the train from Barajas Airport to Cordoba (need to change at Madrid Atocha station) for at least 2 nights, then pick up a car for the next part of your itinerary and drop it when you get to Sevilla. You won't want or need a car in either of those cities, you'll just pay for extra rental days and (probably) expensive parking. Or you could train from the airport to Sevilla, then rent the car so you'll have it for Cadiz and spend your penultimate nights in Cordoba. I like Ronda as a base more than Arcos.

I count 9 nights (sans Madrid). That's 3 in Sevilla, 2 in Granada, 2 in Ronda, and 2 in Cordoba. Now that I look at it more carefully, you'd be driving from Cadiz to Cordoba or Sevilla late at night so you wouldn't be able to return the car until the next morning - and if Cordoba, you'd be arriving at your hotel late for your first night.

An alternative if [1] you're going to Granada for the Alhambra and [2] it is high priority: long day trip from Ronda to Granada (just about enough for the Alhambra - get tickets soon). Google maps says it's over 2 hours each way under ideal conditions, adding 1N to Ronda. Then stay in Cadiz or Jerez on the 11th and drive to Cordoba early for 1N.

You're kinda boxed in by the evening of the 11th in Cadiz and a morning flight from Madrid on the 14th. What time do you expect the event in Cadiz to end? Is 10th-12th the only time you can meet your friends in Sevilla?