Please sign in to post.

Drive from Granada to Cadiz/El Puerto de Santa Maria (Ronda then or daytrip?)

My husband and I are leaving next week for 2-1/2 months in Spain. (We have Feb in El Puerto de Santa Maria/Cadiz and March in Leon. Before El Puerto, we have a week in Benalmadena on the Costa Del Sol. After that, we rent a one-way car to go to Granada for 3 nights, 1/29-2/1 Sat-Mon, then we plan to take 2 days to drive to El Puerto, arriving Wed. 2/2.

Given that we know it will be pretty low-key that week on the Coast, we thought we’d visit Ronda on a day trip. But I’ve also seen in the posts on the Pueblos Blancos – and see from the possible routes on Michelin – that Ronda is an “easy” drive from Granada. My hunch is that it would be better to make it a long daytrip from our stay on the coast, as it seems we’d be giving Ronda short shrift to only “swing through” on the trip to Cadiz. So confirmations/negations of that “hunch” would be welcome!

More importantly, we have other choices to make for that drive. We’d really like to get at least a peek at the Rock of Gibraltar, but from there we have a choice: Take the E5 down to Tarifa, then over to Cadiz on the southernmost route, going through Vejer de la Frontera and Chiclana de la Frontera. OR go a bit north on the A381 through Los Barrios…Alcala de los Galuzes…Medina-Sedonia (all of which look pretty tiny) ending in Jerez de la Frontera before we jog down to El Puerto.

As for picking between these 2 routes, rather than traveling through the Pueblos Blancos, our hunch there is to instead catch the easternmost villages in a sortie of a couple of days once we get to EP. (Opinions on that hunch welcome as well!)

Rick’s got zip in his guidebook on this chunk of Spain, so we’d love to hear from anyone who’s familiar with these two different routes and which would be a better use of our car and time. Must sees? Don’t bothers? Good places to eat/stay overnight?)

Muchas gracias in advance!

Posted by
3885 posts

I’m trying to figure out what the draw is to Puerto de Santa María. It has a decent church, and a castle with irregular open hours, but that’s it. Usually, the people who visit there were once stationed at nearby Rota Naval Base. Ronda could be done as a day trip from Benalmaderna. Maps has the drive as about 1.5 hours. Due to the time of year weather could play a factor. The interstate type roads in that area are limited to the coast, so once off of them don’t expect to drive faster than about 42mph. As a day trip that time of year you won’t have much chance to visit other white villages.

So nice all you want to do is see the Rock, you can get a great view of it from La Línea de la Concepción without having having to cross the border into it. From there, the E5/N340 is only a two lane road, at least part of the way, so you could get stuck behind trucks or tractors, slowing your progress.

To me, the more scenic route would be the route by Álcala de Los Gazules and Medina Sidonia. Both towns are very small, but so are Vejer de la Frontera and Chiclana de la Frontera. None takes long to see. From what I remember of Medina-Sidonia it has a castle ruin and that’s it. As trivia, those Spanish dolls in the Flamenco dresses are made in Chiclana. I took my mom to the factory decades ago. Also, there used to be a barrel factory in Chiclana that made small souvenir sherry barrels.

For day trips, from Puerto, Arcos de la Frontera is about an hour drive. You could do a long day trip around many of the white villages from Puerto. If staying in Puerto check to see if the ferry is running over to Cadiz. I’m not sure if it runs year round. The road between Chiclana, Cadiz, San Fernando isn’t very scenic. Decades ago, that entire area of the coast, over to almost Puerto, was all salt farms.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the input, Jaime!

The draw for El Puerto is to be able to afford to be on the beach for daily walks -- and a lower-key beach without the massive tourist industrial complex of the Costa del Sol. (The week we have in Benalmadena is basically free, so!) It seems to be a good jumping off place for sorties in all directions, from the national parks that flank it to Sevilla, Jerez and the pueblos blancos. We also have a line on affordable Spanish lessons there.

Thanks again!

Posted by
3885 posts

Fair enough. I never thought of Puerto as a beach town and I know it won’t be busy that time of year. If you get bored in Puerto you can take the short drive to Rota or Chipiona. Both have beaches you can walk on. We I lived in Rota, I remember some fairly cool and windy winter days that were not conducive to beach walking.

Since you have a lengthy trip and a rental car, consider taking just over 2 hour drive over to El Rocio and the Doñana National Park. It’s supposedly like an old west town. While I haven’t been to it, I believe it is Carlos in Barcelona who frequently recommends it. I have it on my Extremadura trip’s list of places to visit. Other longer day trips could be to Zafra, Jerez de los Caballeros, or Mérida.