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12 day itinerary in Southern Spain

Hello all! I'm looking for some itinerary suggestions for the following:

After a week in the Algarve, we will bus to Seville for 2 nights. From there the plan (so far) is as follows:
Day 1: rent a car in Seville and drive to Tarifa via a stop in Arcos, Cadiz or Jerez (I'm leaning towards Arcos). Overnight in Tarifa.
Day 2: ferry to Tangier for a day trip and dinner. Return and overnight in Tarifa.
Day 3: drive to Ronda via a stop in Gibraltar.
Day 4: explore Ronda
Day 5: day trip to Arcos (or Zahara and Garzelema if we hit Arcos on the way to Tarifa)
Day 6: day off
Day 7: day trip to Marbella (Or Estepona? Are there any QUAINT coastal areas nearby? I don't want to see another coastal resort town, ever!)
Day 8: day off
Day 9: drive to Seville to drop car (or Malaga if we can do one way car rental) and fly to Mallorca for 9 nights.

I know RS travelers tend not to take days off. My wife and I prefer to set up in a base for a week whenever possible, rent an apartment, etc. She loves to cook, so visiting local markets and learning/sampling the local cuisine is high on the list.

My questions are: 1) is Ronda a suitable base for a week? I'm not worried about being bored, we love to "live" in an area and soak up culture - thus the "week at a time" philosophy and days off. Am I'm missing a more logical base to work from and see this loop?
2) Transport is a challenge. Renting a car seems a bit wasteful, but we are covering a lot of ground and our preferred mode of transport (train) is challenging in the area from what my homework tells me. Is there a better way to get around? Or is the train ride from Algeciras to Ronda beautiful and worth the headache?

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance,

Posted by
1259 posts

Without wishing to be rude, you do seem to be zig-zagging around a bit.

I've never been to Morocco, but plenty of people on this forum warn against going to Tangier as a short-trip. If you did drop Tangier, then I'd personally drop Tarifa as well since it's not a "top-tier" town in Andalucia unless you plan to go windsurfing.

Even though you have 12 days, you are still excluding Cordoba and Granada. Is that right?

Marbella is a coastal resort town. It's a posher one than Torremolinos certainly, but still that's all it is.

Algeciras to Ronda railway is one of Spain's best - most attractive - railway journeys. Definitely worthwhile, but only if it fits your wider plan. Ronda is a decent driving base for a few days

Tarifa to Gibraltar to Ronda in one day would be a long drive, not allowing much time to see Gib (you really need to park in Spain and walk across the border). The colony is wonderful, well worth visiting, but practicalities need considering.

I'm sorry that is mostly rather negative. How far are you committed to the plan? I and others, I'm sure, would suggest alternatives if you'd be interested.

Posted by
16883 posts

In this example, if I were going to drop something, it would probably be Marbella and that coastal area, rather than Tarifa and Tangier. That's on the theory that you already have plenty of beach time in the Algarve and Mallorca, as well as could access beaches near Tarifa, Tangier, and Gibraltar. I would also give Seville another night. One-way car rental within one country is normally no problem.

Posted by
21301 posts

What time of year is this trip?

If this is your first trip to Andalucía, I think the itinerary is...odd. You will only have one full day in Seville, a large city with a lot of interesting sights. I'd spend 4 nights there. You are skipping the other two top destinations in that area entirely--Cordoba and Granada. You are spending a great deal of time driving around small villages and coastal towns. I haven't been to the coastal towns and will concede that the white villages are attractive--and I quite like Ronda--but I think there's going to be a lot of sameness there.

To spend, effectively, two days to go to Tangier, skip Cordoba and Granada, and not really see Seville is not at all what I would do. Especially after a week along the Algarve. I'd be ready for some actual sightseeing.

As for a one-week base, I think that's a long time in Ronda. Four nights to facilitate day-trips would be about my limit. The driving I don't have a problem with. It's difficult to tackle the white villages by public transportation. For the current itinerary I think a car makes sense. It's the itinerary itself I think you're going to regret.

Posted by
5630 posts

Ronda and Gibraltar are worth visiting, but I spend some days in Costa del Sol and was not fond of that area of Spain.

FORGET Tangier, there are great places to visit in Morocco, like Marakkesh and Fes, but Tangier is NOT worth the trip.

You seem to be focus on the beach areas in Portugal and Spain. Sorry, but those are not at the top of the list for history, art and culture. Seville is great as are Granada and Cordoba.

Posted by
965 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
A bit of an unusual itinerary. But to each their own.
Cordoba and fairly near by Baeza are both good places to visit. If you go to Baeza, go to the Theater Cafe. And bring your camera.

wayne iNWI