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Andalusia --counter clockwise loop?

My girlfriend and I will spend most of May in Spain. Our plan is to arrive in Seville on May 3rd for the Feria, rent a car to see other areas in Andalusia, and then take a train to Cordoba, Madrid, and points beyond (TBD)

The best route I've come up with is this loop: Seville - Cadiz - Gibraltar - Nerja - Granada - Ronda - Arcos - Seville. Here's the time we see ourselves spending in various places:

  • The Coast, somewhere between Cadiz and Nerja (2-3 nights)
  • Gibraltar (as a day trip, or just stopping for a few hours on coastal drive)
  • Granada (4)
  • Ronda (2)
  • Arcos (1-2)

Thanks for any suggestions

Posted by
50 posts

Last April, my husband and I did a quicker trip than you're planning, and we went Sevilla-Arcos-Ronda-Granada and then back to Sevilla. We don't understand Rick's attachment to Arcos, so if we had to do it again, we'd skip it. On the flip side, we loved Ronda! (Both Arcos and Ronda have amazing views of rolling hills.) We only spent 1-1/2 days in Granada, which definitely was NOT enough!

That doesn't directly answer your question, but that's my input. It will be an amazing trip, because you will be in Spain!

Posted by
1505 posts

You have proposed one of the few rationale timelines seen for an itinerary! Have fun!
BTW: stop by AAA and for $20 buy t he International Drivers Permit which is required by law for driving in Spain. The odds of you being asked for it are low, unless you get stopped by the police, but the fine is over 200 euros cash paid on the spot (serious). Think of it as cheap insurance.
Also, do not attempt to drive into old town Granada. Guaranteed ticket via video cams and a nightmare to attempt.

Posted by
984 posts

Suggestion for Gibraltar - leave your car in La Linea and walk across the border - whether present heightened 'tension' still exists or not.

Posted by
106 posts

Really helpful advice, everyone. One thing you helped me see is we'd be paying for 3-4 unnecessary days of car while in Granada.

I'm not sure how extensive the public transport is in this area. Are either of these options feasible?

  • drop the car off in Granada. Use train and bus for the Ronda - Arcos - Seville stretch

  • move Arcos and Ronda before Granada. Drop car, and bus/train straight to Seville

Thanks again!

Posted by
17 posts

Public transportation to and from Ronda isn't overly efficient. When I went to Ronda, I took the bus in from Málaga, and there were only a few a day. We missed our original return bus and had to catch the next one, 3 hours later. Honestly, you don't need 2 days in Ronda. I was there as a day trip, and felt that was sufficient time. It's overrun by tourists, so just a heads up. Gibraltar is more efficiently reached from a location further south and east, and again, you can get there using public transportation. Again, I went there from Málaga, which is closer to Nerja than Cádiz. Arcos is in the Cádiz province so if that's a necessity, go from Cádiz.

Sevilla - Cádiz - Arcos - Nerja - Gibraltar - Ronda - Granada - Sevilla.

You can bus or train Granada to Sevilla quite easily with ALSA.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi, Perhaps you could do Gib and then Ronda and then make your way to Nerja and Granada. I also agree that you can do Gib and Ronda as day trips. You can always call the border control in Gib or even look online if you want to find out how long the que is to enter. Or as someone else said you could park your car and walk over. I would maybe base yourself in marbella for a night. You could do Gib for the day then drive up to Marbella and perhaps stay a night there. Ronda is only 30 minutes from Marbella and you could do it as a day trip. From Ronda make your way to Nerja which isnt far and then on to Granada.

Posted by
2393 posts

We drove to Gibraltar and were glad we did. We enjoyed the drive up the rock at our own pace and were able to stop where & when we wanted.
Have to agree - ditch the car in Granada
You might consider:
Sevilla - Arcos - Cadiz - Gibraltar - Ronda - Nerja - Grenada - return the car and train back to Sevilla
Enjoy the Feria! Does GF have the dress???

Posted by
79 posts

I have to agree that you should skip Arcos. We just arrived back home from 12 days in Spain, basically evenly divided among Madrid, Seville and Granada. One of our days in Seville was spent in a rental car to see some of the WHite Hill Towns. We only got to see Arcos and, frankly, the best thing about it was the cookies we bought from the nuns at the convent. Wish we had spent the extra day in Seville, which we adored.

Posted by
106 posts

Hey...thanks everyone for the tips! It looks like we'll go with a modified version of this plan.
We'll drop Arcos, or rent a car and do it as day trip from Seville.

Christi-- we'll be traveling through Italy for a month before we get to Spain. Kind of a challenge to pack a dress along ;-) But if the GF really wants one, I have a hunch we'll be able to find something in Seville!

Posted by
15542 posts

I took the train from Seville to Jerez. From Jerez I did a day trip by train to Cadiz and a 1/2 day trip to Arcos by bus. I enjoyed both, and was happy to have stayed in Jerez (both the sherry and flamenco capitals). From there I rented a car, drove through other pueblos blancos to Ronda then continued via Antequerra to Granada where I returned the car. I stayed for 3 nights in Ronda to explore the pueblos blancos (some hairy driving in the towns - and that from someone who used to drive regularly in San Francisco). I loved Ronda but it was February and there were a lot of tourists. I can imagine that in May it would be very crowded with visitors and not nearly so enjoyable. You can easily stop at the Pink Lagoon (so-called because of all the flamingos) on the way to Antequerra - another lovely old town, before Granada. I had 3 full days (4 nights) in Granada and felt it was one too many. I returned to Madrid from Granada by train.

Posted by
2393 posts

We went to Jerez and watched the horses at the riding school! What a fantastic afternoon and such magnificent animals.

Posted by
59 posts

Just to add my two cents, I would highly recommend an overnight stay in Ronda, if you can fit it in. The town and its famous bridge are lit up spectacularly at night. And watching the sun set over the valley and mountains to the west, as viewed from the high plateau that Ronda sits on, was a real highlight of the trip I made with my wife last year. Send me a PM and I'll send you my photos of what I've written about here.