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Needs for a rental car in Andalusia

I am planning a trip to Andalusia and looking to visit following places:
Malaga -> Ronda -> Cadiz -> Lagos (Portugal) -> Seville -> Cordoba -> Granada -> Malaga Airport
In each place I am planning to stay 2-3-4 nights and maybe do some side trips. For which portions of my trip I should rent a car and for which it is better to rely on public transportations, trains, taxis, uber, etc. Obviously, I would need a car to go to Lagos and come back. Anywhere else a car would be handy and provide freedom vs to be handicapped with parking? Should I rent a car online - any good local agencies? My trip starts on September 10.

Posted by
8020 posts

We always book our European car rentals through AutoEurope. com, based in Maine. They stand behind you if there are any problems.

Posted by
15075 posts

Ronda is a good base to explore the white hill towns, for which you will need a car. You don't need a car in Cadiz. You can day trip to Jerez by train. A car is a disadvantage in Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada. Can you rearrange your itinerary to go from Ronda to Portugal to Cadiz? Trains will get you from Cadiz to Sevilla to Cordoba to Granada. Depending on the time of your flight, you may want to spend your last night in Malaga.

You'll probably be driving on the toll road in Portugal. Tolls aren't expensive but stopping along the way to pay them (and maybe finding a lane that accepts payments) will slow you down.

Posted by
49 posts

That you for your responses. I am now trying to make changes based on maps and interests.
I decided to go this way:
Pick up a car
Malaga (3 nts)
La Linea (Gibraltar) 1 nt
Tarifa (1nt)
Cadiz (2nt)
Arcos de la frontiera (1nt)
Ronda (2nt)
Drop of car in Seville
Seville (4nt)
Cordoba (2nt)
Granada (2nt)
Nerja (1nt)
Fly back from Malaga Airport
How does this itinerary look?

Posted by
4730 posts

Are you intending to visit La Linea or Gibraltar? La Linea has absolutely nothing going for it, it's a deprived border town with nothing of interest and certainly doesn't warrant a visit let alone an overnight stay. The only benefit to be gained from La Linea is the option to park near the border and cross over to Gibraltar on foot thereby avoiding the long traffic queues.

Gibraltar has more to offer in terms of sights than La Linea.

Posted by
49 posts

La Linea is totally for the Gibraltar visit. Rick's guide pointed out that it is better to stay on the Spain side when visiting Gibraltar. So idea is to park the car there, go to Gibraltar (or drive there, don't know) and return back and the next morning go to Tarifa. By the way, are those day trips to Morocco still exist?

Posted by
4730 posts

I've always parked in La Linea when visiting Gibraltar. There's an underground car park a short walk from the border checkpoint and, once through, I've picked a tour guide. These have only been day trips so it might be a better option to drive into Gibraltar depending on where you're staying.

As far as I'm aware there are ferries still sailing to Tangier but I wouldn't waste your time. If you think La Linea is bad then Tangier is a lot worse. Save your time, effort and money by sticking to Spain. You might be in Morocco but it certainly isn't a good representation of the country.

Posted by
49 posts

Thank you, JC. What about Tarifa? Is it worth visiting or an overnight stay?

Posted by
4730 posts

I didn't really get to experience much of Tarifa, I spent a lot of time driving around the immediate port vicinity searching for a parking spot and missed the first ferry as a result! From what I did see of the town it's not somewhere I'd choose to visit. It's popular for windsurfers due to the winds and waves but that seems to be it. Personally I'd skip it and visit Estepona en route to Malaga.

Posted by
21334 posts

I've never read a comment from anyone about going to Tarifa for sightseeing purposes. It's always just to catch the ferry to Morocco (which I agree is not a good use of a valuable vacation day).

Posted by
15075 posts

When I was planning my first trip to Spain, I considered the daytrip to Tangier. When I read that going to Tangier to see Morocco is like going to Tijuana to see Mexico, I nixed it. A few years later I went on a guided tour to Morocco. I compared a number of companies and itineraries for a 2 week tour. None of them included Tangier. Morocco is an amazing place to visit, apparently Tangier is not.

Posted by
24 posts

We just returned from a trip to Andalusia and rented a car whilst in Malaga; pick up and drop off at train station - seamless. Easy 1.5 h drive to La Linea and parked - 5 min walk to Gibralta border. Also did a day trip to Ronda and area (again 1.5 hr drive away) and a day trip to Caminito do Rey. Definitely worth having a car; we rented through Enterprise and got a good rate; excess insurance through rentalcover.com. Took a train to Granada, then Seville, Cordoba and Madrid spending 3-4 nights in each. I would agree with your 2 nights in Granada and Cordoba Cordoba. Your itinerary looks pretty good to me. Enjoy!

Posted by
49 posts

Thank you for your responses. After your comments, I decided to drop going to Morocco. I reshuffled my schedule a little bit and will drive to Lagos from Seville for 3 days. Any experience crossing borders in a rental car?

Posted by
4198 posts

Pre Covid there was no problem crossing the border. With regard to the car, there should be no issue, but last I knew Portugal required an antigen test. No idea if that requirement is still in effect. A friend of mine drove into France for the day last week and had no problem. Hopefully Portugal is the same.