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Andalucia honeymoon itinerary

Hello! My fiancee and I are going honeymooning in Andalucia in May 2023, and then flying to Barcelona for a few days (I've been before but she never has). This gives us 10 days in Andalucia (not counting the flight). Our travel goals/interests are: definitely see Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, visit at least 1-2 small towns, have a relaxing day at the beach, have one day of hiking in nature, eat lots of good food, see beautiful architecture. We don't care about nightlife or shopping. Right now I'm thinking:

1-3: Seville
4: Bus to Cordoba
5: Rent car, drive to Ronda
6: Drive to Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema for a hike. Afterwards, drive to Malaga in the evening.
7: Malaga
8: Day trip to Nerja. Return car after getting back to Malaga.
9: Train to Granada
10: Granada

Does this seem like a good itinerary? I'm wondering if this is the best order to do these in, or if Arcos de la Frontera or Cadiz would be better than some of the options here, or if others suggest a better place for a beach day or a hike. Thanks!

Posted by
368 posts

Congratulations! I would cut Malaga completely with olny 10 nights it is not worth the time. If you must see the beach and have the car then go to the Nerja area from Ronda and add any additional time to Granada. There are tons of wonderful Airbnbs near Nerja with more worthwild beaches than in town. Cala Del Canuelo is one. Park at the top and walk or bus and up down hill. There are two places to eat on this semi private beach. Granada should be seen over a weekend as that is when all the locals are out dancing and wedding parties are in the street. So you may need to switch the direction of your towns. A wonderful hike, and very different, is Camino del Rey. You do not need a guide there is no way to get lost. The tickets can be reserved on-line. Park at the end and bus to the start rather than the other way round, so at the end you can get into your airconditioned car and drive off. The southern moutains will be beautiful that time of year, I'm sure you will enjoy them. J

Posted by
6741 posts

Other than the driving to Malaga in the evening, it seems workable. It would be easier to stay in Ronda after the hike rather than drive tired to Malaga on some winding, mountain roads, then possibly having to find your hotel when it’s dark. It does stay light fairly late, so it may not even be an issue.

Also, you could save some time by picking a hiking area east of Ronda, e.g., In Parque Nacional Sierra de las Nieves. Grazalema is 40 minutes west of Ronda so you’d be traveling west to hike, then doubling back through Ronda to continue east to Malaga.

If the purpose of the hike is to get away and be in nature, the Caminito Del Rey might not be what you’re looking for. While the walk is nice, it is heavily touristed, and very structured. You start at point A and end at point B, all while wearing a hard hat and dodging all the other people doing the same walk. There are plenty of free walks where you can go where you want without having to deal with many others. It’s not that the Caminito Del Rey isn’t pretty or worthwhile, but I don’t get the impression it’s what you’re looking for.

Posted by
1542 posts

Slow down and enjoy the honeymoon.
Ditch Malaga and Nerja.
Hit the beach in Barcelona, far better experience.
More time in Granada, wonderful place to stroll.

Posted by
27362 posts

In a very recent thread (sorry that I don't remember which one) it was reported that multiple pipes have been discovered pumping raw sewage into the ocean near Nerja. I think you can find that post either via the Search function here (which is klutzy) or via Google.

I believe you've got a lot of moving around planned. Five hotels is a lot over the course of 10 days. If Day 1 is the day you fly into Seville (quite possibly sleep-deprived and jetlagged, plus exhausted from the wedding if it will have just taken place), you are short on time there.

Posted by
7007 posts

A few comments along your plan:

  • Day 4: the train to Córdoba is much faster and thus recommended.
  • Day 6: maybe spend 2 nights in Ronda. This will avoid parking a car full of luggage in a remote area for a hike - a high-risk situation for theft in Andalucía, alas. And see the point below, you do not need 3 nights in Málaga anyway.
  • Day 8: definitely skip Nerja. I do not understand why it is hyped by guidebooks. The beach is average, the town is overdeveloped, and there are better caves in the United States. Nearby Frigiliana has one instagrammable cute street and that's it.

This leaves the issue that you have 5 bases in 10 days: 3-1-2-2-2 nights.
Some travelers mind, others do not. If you feel the need to reduce the packing and moving hassle, you could treat Córdoba as a day trip from Seville and spend a 4th night in Seville accordingly.

Any other fix would involve skipping a location altogether: you could skip Málaga but many people really like it (I'll confess my own memories are hazy) and I do not think that you need to.

Posted by
15649 posts

Are you flying into Sevilla? I ask because if you fly to Madrid, you can take the train to Cordoba for 1-2 nights first. Then train to Sevilla.

Why bus, not train, to Cordoba? The bus takes at least 2 hours, the train about 45 minutes. I recommend an overnight because I love Cordoba and there's a lot to see there. If don't want to spend the night, take a very early train from Sevilla, leave luggage in the bus station across the street from the train station, then return to the train to rent a car.

If you eliminate Malaga and Nerja, you have more time. Are you going to Barcelona on Day 10 or Day 11? You need 2N in Granada at a minimum. If you pick up the car in the morning, you'll have time to visit Arcos for 1/2 day (enough) before driving to Ronda. You can use a day there to visit other hill towns if you like. Leave early and you'll have time to stop at Fuente de Piedra Lagoon (aka Pink Lagoon because of the flamingos - do check first to see if they are there in numbers, if not, skip it), and hike in El Torcal (interesting rock formations on the way to Granada. You may even have time to stop to see the prehistoric dolmens outside Antequera.

I believe the beaches in Barcelona are among the best.

Posted by
6741 posts

Here’s a link to an article relating to what acraven mentioned as well as the treatment of sewage along that entire coast. The Nerja treatment plant is operational but concerns still exist. Personally, I’ve only stepped into the Mediterranean anyplace twice since about 1978 due to the dumping of raw sewage and never near a larger city.

Posted by
5258 posts


Is completely agree with Marbleskies advice:

Slow down and enjoy the honeymoon

Please clarify how much time you’ve allocated to Andalucía.

Does 10 days mean 11 nights, or 10 nights?
I think it’s easier to think of nights instead of days. So… If you have 10 nights, that gives you 9 full days to experience Andalucía.

Are you flying to Madrid, or Sevilla?
Are you flying to Barcelona from Sevilla, or Granada?

With 9 days, my suggestion would be cutting out a few of your destinations and concentrating on 3 bases.

My choices would be Córdoba (3N), Sevilla (4N), and Granada (3N)

The order of travel would be determined by where you’re planning to fly in/out of, of course.

Wishing you a wonderful honeymoon!

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone for the advice so far!

To clarify a few points:

  • We're flying into Seville from the East coast of the US, but I didn't count that day on the list, so it's essentially Day 0.
  • I put "Bus" to Cordoba because I misread the Google Maps - I'll go with the train!
  • We're flying to Barcelona the morning of Day 11

So it sounds like, from lots of your suggestions, that I should cut out Nerja (since we'll visit the beaches in Barcelona) and possibly Malaga, adding another day to Seville and to Granada.

Posted by
5258 posts

Thanks for the update:

So it sounds like, from lots of your suggestions, that I should cut out Nerja (since we'll visit the beaches in Barcelona) and possibly Malaga, adding another day to Seville and to Granada.

Since your trip will start in Sevilla, and you may be experiencing jet-lag, do consider adding an extra day there.

Córdoba is my favorite city in Andalucía, and I do hope you stay there instead of visiting as a day trip. .

Yes, definitely take the train to Córdoba, since it’s faster.
You can then take the train, or bus, to Granada as travel time is almost the same, but the bus has more time options.
We took the ALSA BUS from Córdoba to Granada, and then a taxi to our hotel.

Make sure you book your Alhambra tickets 3 months in advance for best time selection.

You may check train schedules here:

Happy planning!

Edited to add:
I’m curious.
How many nights have you allocated to Barcelona?

Posted by
102 posts

If you do drop Malaga and/or Nerja, another hiking option between Ronda and Granada is the Paraje Natural Torcal de Antequera. We stayed in Antequera 2 nights, and took a guided hike that we arranged at the local TI. The guide picked us up, drove us up there, and then we hiked for a while before returning to town. It was fantastic! Plus, I think guides can use other routes not open to the general public. We were there in June, but it would be very beautiful in May with the wildflowers in bloom!

Posted by
7175 posts

For me, I’d forego the beach, and enjoy the hike and hill towns.

  1. Seville (3N)
  2. Seville
  3. Seville
  4. Train to Jerez (1N)
  5. Rent car, drive to Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema for a hike. Afterwards, drive to Ronda (2N)
  6. Ronda
  7. Drive via Sentenil & Olivera to Cordoba (2N) Return car
  8. Mezquita
  9. Train to Granada (2N)
  10. Alhambra
Posted by
1542 posts

Stick with only Seville, Granada and Cordoba and take the time to stroll through these destinations. Remove the plural from "honeymooning" and keep to the singular of creating romantic memories from your honeymoon journey. Truly, allow yourselves to learn each destination offers a far greater menu of opportunities to explore well beyond what the majority of tourist know.

Spain is our favorite destination we often visit and each time learn, slowing down creates opportunities to explore more.

TIP: in each destination go "hiking" after 9 p.m. in the narrow lanes of these historic cities. May is a beautiful time to allow your senses to enjoy Spain.