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Itinerary Help - 12 days in Andalusia with kids 7/9/12 years

We are a family of 5 traveling to Spain in April. We'll be in Barcelona for 3d/4n over Easter weekend and then take the high-speed train to somewhere in Andalusia (likely Malaga). Then we have 11.5d/12n in Andalusia. I've seen some great tips on this forum for similar time frames but hoping to get some more tailored advice given that we have two elementary/primary age kids and a tween. Below is a very tentative itinerary...nothing is set in stone except our Alhambra visit on Day 5.

D1-D3 (Malaga area)
D1 - Arrive in Malaga, rent a car and drive to an AirBnB somewhere in the greater Malaga area

D2 - Visit one or more parks and beaches near Fuengirola (Aventura Amazonia is probably top choice)
D3 - Day trip to Ronda and possibly Zahara de la Sierra OR day trip to Gibraltar

D4-D7 (Granada)
D4 - Drive to Granada, stop in Nerja for beaches and cave
D5 - Alhambra
D6 - Granada Science Park
D7 - explore Granada

D8-D12 (Sevilla)
D8 - Drive to Sevilla, with stop at Fortaleza de la Mota
D9 - Sevilla TBD
D10 - Day trip to Jerez/Arcos
D11 - Sevilla TBD
D12 - Sevilla TBD
D13 - return car in Sevilla, train to Madrid, flight back home

A few things about us: We currently live in an Arab Muslim country with plenty of exposure to Muslim practices, history, and culture as well as extensive ruins and archaeological sites from Roman times and before. So while we find the Moorish history of Andalusia fascinating, it is not a high priority for us to see all the Moorish/Muslim sites. This is why Cordoba is not included in our itinerary. We are also trying to mix in at least two or three days of doing more kid-friendly things that we don't normally have access to at home, like ziplines, beaches and caves, and big green parks with space to run around and play.

Finally, I'm convinced that I'll want to come back and explore more of Andalusia, so I don't feel the need to catch everything in one go. It's more important for us that we get some time to decompress and enjoy the places we do visit than it is to check off a long list of boxes.

Thanks in advance for any tips.

Posted by
94 posts

I'm a part-time Sevilla resident. Just want to point out that parking in Sevilla will be very difficult. You don't need a car for Sevilla, you can walk to everything if you have a centrally-located lodging. FYI, Sevilla-Jerez is 1hr 15min on COMES bus. Jerez-Arcos is 25-35min on local bus ride, Arcos-Sevilla is 2 hr on DAMAS bus.

Pretty beach town Cadiz (good beach, good waves) is 1hr 45 min by COMES bus. Sevilla-Ronda is 2 hr by DAMAS bus (bus station near historic center), can also take train to Ronda but need to hike up the hill to the old town. Malaga-Ronda by DAMAS bus is 1hr 45 min -- 2hr.

Tickets for all bus rides I mentioned are in the 9-12 Euro range (adult), usually big discount if purchased in advance online, but usually not open for online booking til a few weeks prior.

Sevilla is cotton shirt weather in April, flowers in full bloom, green trees, clear blue sky, and a huge green park with lots of kid-friendly ducks/pigeons to feed, kids' playgrounds, rowing boats, horse carriage rides, and 4-person quad bikes for rent. Isla Magica is a kiddie water park in Sevilla (opens on 4/18) but definitely not Disneyland caliber. https://www.islamagica.es/en/

Posted by
14211 posts

Hi Jeremy. You don't say where you live. The Moorish and subsequent Mudejar architecture and art are almost as different from the typical Arab styles as is the Mogul style. I went to some of the most highly rated sights in Morocco and was disappointed that nothing came close to the Alhambra or the Mezquita in workmanship and detail. So, even if you live in one of the Magreb countries, it's worth seeing these places. There's little about Muslim religion or history, just as seeing churches is mainly about the art and architecture.

Cordoba and Toledo have well preserved medieval centers where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together, often peacefully for relatively long periods and influenced each other.

Lastly, while it may be warm and sunny at the beaches, the water will be very cold in mid April. I suggest you take a few minutes to look at the timeanddate.com site's "past weather" page. Choose any city and you can see the actually daily weather conditions for any month for the past 10 years. That will give you a reasonable idea of the likelihood of rain.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Chani. We live in Jordan, not the Maghreb, though I have spent a lot of time in Morocco as well. I wasn't meaning to suggest a "been there, done that" attitude as we would love to see all the places you mentioned...it's more about prioritization for this particular trip. Also our kids are old enough to visit sites like the Alhambra and have some level of appreciation for them, but young enough that they still need breaks from cultural sightseeing and time to play and be active. Jordan is very brown for about 10 months of the year and we live in the city so really need to incorporate some degree of time in parks and outside cities. I think we will plan to come back and see Madrid, Toledo, and Cordoba (among others) on a future trip(s).

I did review the average weather and daily weather for the last several Aprils. We have no illusions of swimming in the sea but as a family we typically enjoy playing and walking on the beach...so maybe having one day for that is nice.

My basic plan is still the same but I'm pondering some small changes: Day 1-3 in Malaga area but probably a bit east of the city, with one day of relaxation/beach and one day trip to Ronda or Gibraltar; Day 4-7 in Granada with a full day for the Alhambra; Day 8-12 in Seville with a day trip to Doñana National Park and possibly one to Ronda/white towns if we don't get there from Malaga. Also now leaning toward just renting a car while in Malaga and then using trains/buses and our feet the rest of the way. Thanks AshleyMIA for the Seville tip.

Posted by
14211 posts

Hi Neighbor! You definitely have some great Roman and early Christian ruins - I was lucky to take a 5 day tour a year ago including Jerash (amazing!) and Madaba, plus a return visit to Petra. Living in Israel, I have some of the same experience as you. My point is that the Moorish influences are felt everywhere, very different from typical (if there is such a thing) Arab sites. Cordoba and Toledo are wonderful, where medieval Christian influences combine with Moorish ones.

Lots of greenery! BTW are you getting some rain these days - we've had a lot, though more in parts of the country that need it less. For a day trip from Sevilla, Jerez/Cadiz is good if you catch a day that there's a horse show at the Royal Equestrian School - train to Jerez, taxi to/from the horse show and take the train to Cadiz. Interesting old town, lots of beach on the Atlantic and then train back to Sevilla. There's not much else in Jerez besides the horses. If you get there about an hour before the show, I was told (after I'd been!) that you can get close to the horses in the paddocks. Keep an eye out for stork nests (only saw one at the horse venue), you can often see the chicks (they are big) in the nest, sometimes the adults too. Or you can take a bus from the Jerez train station to Arcos and back to Sevilla the same way.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks again to both of you for the info. This will definitely help us figure out our time in Sevilla. The more I hear about it the more I think we won't be inclined to leave as it sounds like a wonderful city.

And Chani - I'm definitely ready for the rain and general overcast weather to be done! The winter in Amman is surprisingly unpleasant from a weather standpoint, especially when it rains.