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Travel in southern Spain

We are planning a trip to Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, and Malaga in the fall. We have traveled in Northern Spain and spent time in Madrid but have never visited the above cities. I am wondering how much time would be recommended for the above cities. Presently I am considering 2 nights in Sevilla, 2 nights in Cordoba, 3 nights in Granada and two nights in Malaga. We will not have a car. I was also wondering if it made more sense to spend more nights in Sevilla and day trip to Cordoba or vice versa.

Posted by
25540 posts

Seville is a large city with a lot of sights; 2 nights there is likely to be seriously insufficient. I'd suggest 4 as a reasonable minimum. Although I like Malaga, I think Night 3 and Night 4 in Seville will be more meaningful to you than 2 nights in Malaga if that's your only way to pad the time in Seville.

I think Cordoba's a great place to spend a couple of nights. If you make Cordoba a day trip from Seville, you'll have less than a full day there due to the travel time. Many people do it, but I don't think it's ideal.

It would be great if you could add at least two more days to your trip.

Incidentally, what time of year do you plan to take this trip? That part of Spain gets deathly hot in the summer and can be unpleasant in May and September as well.

Posted by
2 posts

we are planning to be there mid to the end of September. adding a day or two to our trip is definitely a possibility

Posted by
55 posts

we are planning a very similar trip in the fall, mid-to-late October, although it will be nearly twice as long, and are grappling with the same issue of how many nights in each location. the main difference is that we are flying into the airport at Jerez, so will spend a few nights there at the beginning of the trip, and are planning to add in a couple of nights between Granada and Malaga, in the countryside for some relaxation and hiking.

here's the preliminary tentative schedule: Jerez: 3 nts; Seville 4 nts; Cordoba 2 nts; Granada 3 nts; Sierra Nevadas 2 nts; Malaga 2 nts. we're planning on the 3 nights in Jerez as a way to get over our jet lag, and will also do a day trip to Cadiz or Sanlucar from there.

Posted by
5811 posts

I’d drop Malaga and add the time to Sevilla too. The rest seems fine. I’d definitely keep the nights in Córdoba.

Posted by
137 posts

We spent five nights in Sevilla, two in Córdoba and three in Granada in 2017 (when tourism numbers were a bit lower than they are now). That was close to perfect for us although I would have liked another night in Granada.

And we recently spent four nights in Malaga. I liked Malaga, but agree that spending that time in Sevilla might’ve better.

Posted by
1433 posts

If you can add 2 nights to your trip, that would be great and you can still include Malaga which we enjoyed very much.

Based on our trip to Andalusia in September 2017, this is what I would do:
Seville - 4 nights (There is a lot of important and cultural sites in Seville, and it’s a gorgeous city to wander and explore. It’s larger than the other cities on your itinerary and definitely deserves more nights.)
Cordoba - 2 nights (don’t visit as a day trip from Seville. You will be missing out on a lot. Cordoba is lovely at night when the day trippers have left and the city is illuminated.)
Granada - 3 nights is good
Malaga - 2 nights is good (I wish we had a 3rd night but I wouldn’t drop a night from somewhere else to add a night to Malaga.)

We visited from mid September to very early October. Regarding heat, most places were in the 80’s except for Seville, which was in the low to mid 90’s. Malaga will give you a respite from the heat. And it’s nice to have the coastal ambiance that Malaga will give you.

Posted by
12 posts

We loved our visit to southern Spain last week, I thought I'd offer a few tips:

Apart from the Mezquita and a fascinating old Jewish quarter, Cordoba really paled in comparison to Granada. There's just not that much to see there. I'd suggest a day trip from Seville.

Hire a guide for The Alhambra. It's a huge mind-boggling space. I studied up and thought I was well-prepared, but finding our way around was difficult. The signage also totally lacks context and any description of what you're looking at and how it was used in its day. In hindsight, a guide would have been worth every penny, even though the staff there is just wonderful and, obviously, the place is astonishing and unforgettable.

Andalucia is extremely difficult to navigate for walkers, None of the towns do street signs. Plan your walks carefully and don't depend too much on maps. Getting lost is a lot of fun...until it gets frustrating. Locals are friendly and helpful. They know their town is a real maze for visitors.

Posted by
5811 posts

Street signs everywhere in Spain are on the sides of buildings at a level between the ground and first floors. Not every corner has a sign and they are not always obvious. If driving, you’ll be past a street before you see the sign.

Planos turísticos obtained from the tourist office or online are very helpful for getting around, but my guess is most people use a maps app nowadays.

It is interesting to get others’ observations from their trips; easy to navigate vs easy to get lost, guide vs no guide, etc. Just points out how everybody interprets the same thing differently.

Posted by
1894 posts

Although I loved Granada three nights seems a bit too long and I would add one night to Sevilla which has a lot more to see.

Posted by
25540 posts

I totally disagree about Cordoba not having much to see. Three nights isn't too long there, but Seville does need more time.

This is a slightly edited list of sights in Cordoba from a March 2019 handout prepared by the local tourist office:

Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
Museo Julio Romero de Torres
Museo Taurino [bull fighting]
Banos del Alcazar Califal [baths]
Palacio de Viana
Casa de Sefarad
Casa Andalusi
Casa Arabe
Patios de Leyenda/Casa de las Cabezas
Patio, San Basilio 44
Patio, Zoco Municipal
Patio, Trueque 4
(There are additional patios)
Museo Bellas Artes
Museo Arqueologico
Museo Torre de la Calahorra
Centro de Creacion Contemporanea
Capilla Mudejar de San Bartolome
Caballeriza Reales (horse show)
Galeria de Inquisicion
Puerta del Puente
Cementerio de la Salud
Posada del Potro Centro Flamenco
Jardin Botanico
Medina Azahara (ruins outside town)