Luxurious parador fly-drive to Andalusia
This 8-day self-drive itinerary starts in the coastal town of Málaga and lets you see the most important sights while staying in the most prestigious Parador hotels in the region. It is a trip with all the comfort you will need, seeing the most important UNESCO sites in Andalusia. From the Alcazar in Seville, the Mezquita Cathedral in Cordoba, and the Alhambra in Granada.
Walk to one the most conserved historic Arabic centre of Spain in Ronda
Pay a visit to the third largest cathedral in Europe and witness the tomb of Columbus in Seville´s cathedral
Be fascinated by the mixed Arab and Catholic architecture of the mosque of Cordoba and the Jewish center
Transport yourself more than a millennium back in time by visiting the Arabic fortress of the Alhambra in Granada
Relax your last day hanging out at the boulevard of Málaga beach
Day 1 | Arrival to Málaga – Ronda | Orientation Ronda
You will land at Málaga airport and from here you will pick up your rental car for this week. You will drive 1,5 hours to the historic town of Ronda. The city is known for its historic Arabic center and a bridge 100 meters tall above a ravine, connecting two city parts. Those a little more adventurous can walk either halfway to all the way down to the bridge for some impressive photos.
You will spend the night at the Parador of Ronda, the former town hall of the city, and has spectacular views across the “Puente Nuevo”, the new bridge.
Day 2 | Ronda – Carmona | A drive along the olive fields with a stop in Seville
The drive from Ronda to Carmona will go along thousands of olive trees along the roadside. We suggest you leave early to Ronda to make a full-day stop in Seville, with its mix of food, architecture, flamenco rhythms, and Andalusian charm. Passion and heat run deep in this sun-soaked city and it is not unusual for impromptu displays of flamenco to flood out onto the street, whilst its festivals – such as the Feria de Abril and Semana Santa – are always a whirlwind of color, fervor, and unbounded jubilation. One thing is for sure, this city knows how to celebrate.
Today, we recommend you at least to take the day to settle in and soak up the unique energy of this city. In the late afternoon, you slowly make your way towards your next accommodation, the Parador of Carmona, only less than half an hour drive. The hotel is a former Arabic castle, with around a millennium of existence. The dining room of the hotel was the former refectory, according to many, the spectacular of its kind in the Parador chain.
Day 3 | Carmona | Exploring Carmona or an excursion to Sevilla
Today you start the morning with an excellent breakfast. You can then either decide to make a small excursion to the historic center of Carmona and relax the rest of the day besides the poolside, reading one of those books you had pending.
You can also opt for spending another day in Sevilla. There is plenty to see, so is its colossal cathedral, which still stands as the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Occupying the site of an Islamic mosque, the vast structure retains its minaret, now converted into Seville’s emblematic Giralda (bell tower), and idyllic orange tree courtyard.
The neighboring Real Alcazar, the oldest royal palace in Europe whose geometric mosaics, ornate latticework, water fountains, and recessed gardens stand as one of the most outstanding examples of Mudejar art in existence. Seville’s vast Plaza de Espana is further evidence of its architectural genius, whilst the vibrant Triana neighborhood is a microcosm of artistic energy with an excellent market, traditional ceramic heritage, strong flamenco connection, and long gypsy and bullfighting history.
Day 4 | Carmona – Cordoba | The marvelous mix of Arab, Jewish, and Christian Architecture
In less than 2 hours you drive from Carmona to Cordoba. Cordoba, the former capital of the Caliphate, is just a short train ride away from Seville. The spectacular mosque transformed into a cathedral after the fall of the Emir in the early 11th century. You can walk for hours through its hallways, its sculptures, and frescos lining synchronized next to each other. The Jewish quarter is one of its most conserved in Spain with one of its synagogues still intact.
Cordoba is also known for its colorful courtyards, decorated with flowers, called patios. There are many courtyards which you can enter see how the locals each have a different style of decorating their courtyards.
The Parador of today is built on the same location as where one of the former Arabic Emirs had his summer palace. Located on a hill the hotel overlooks the city of Cordoba while enjoying a glass of local wine from the terrace.
Day 5 | Cordoba – Granada | Olive fields, hidden castles, and the Alhambra
For today´s drive, there are several surprises on the way. We will give you recommendations while driving along the olive fields where to make a stop and buy one of the world´s best olive oil, for which this region has its fame. We will also give you info on hidden castles and watchtowers that were with keeping the Christians from invading the Arab kingdom.
In just two hours by car, you will be whisked to the city of Granada, another exceptionally beautiful city whose status as the last Moorish kingdom is deeply woven into the fabric of the city. This legacy is no more evident than in the Alhambra, a spectacular Islamic palace atop a hilltop which you will have the opportunity to visit tomorrow. Today, we recommend exploring the city on foot to appreciate its dramatic setting in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and enjoying its gastronomy scene, whose large tapas portions have earned it a place in the hearts of food lovers.
For the next two nights, you will stay at a monastery from the 15th century. The building makes part of the infamous Alhambra, a palace that was home to emirs and kings. Dreamlike in a fairy tale in the palace known for its princes and princesses.
Day 6 | Granada | The Jewel of the Alhambra
Be sure to leave at least four hours today to explore the jewel in Granada’s crown, the Alhambra, whose sprawling complex and unabashed grandeur truly justifies its worldwide reputation. Its Renaissance residential palaces, opulent frescoes, decorated columns, and open courtyards are a lasting monument to the pivotal part the city played in Iberian history, whilst its gardens are an oasis of calm and serenity.
In the afternoon, we suggest venturing into the Albaicin neighborhood, the old Arab Quarter which has retained a strong sense of identity and wonderful bohemian energy. End the day with a visit to the Sacramonte neighborhood, the thriving gypsy quarter which lures visitors to its hillside location for flamenco music and dancing after dark.
Day 7 | Granada – Málaga | Final track to the home of the Spanish painter Picasso
Today you will cover the final 125 kilometers along the Mediterranean coast, arriving in Málaga in time for a lunch of freshly caught fish and cold local beer. Revamped and revitalized, this once overlooked city has become an epicenter of culture and art, laying claim to world-class galleries including the Parisian-offshoot Pompidou Centre and the Picasso Museum, in homage to its most famous offspring. Its old town is a nod to its rich history and cultural heritage, whose network of cobbled streets hides a treasure trove of historic buildings and picturesque plazas. You will also find a 1st-century Roman amphitheater, a beautifully preserved Moorish Alcazaba fortress, and the 14th century Castle of Gibralfaro, whose position atop a 130m affords it some of the greatest views in the city. For those who have met their cultural quota, this multifaceted city also boasts wonderful beaches, excellent Andalusian cuisine, and an abundance of shopping opportunities.
Today you will spend the final night next to the Gibralfaro castle in an amazing Parador with a rooftop swimming pool with a terrace, with spectacular views of the city. An excellent choice to spend the final night in luxury and comfort.
Day 8 | Málaga – Home | Home or extension?
You have the option to fly back home directly from Málaga or to take a train to Madrid, from where you can catch your outbound flight. Should you choose the former, we will arrange a hotel pick-up for you by private taxi to the airport.
However, should you wish to extend the trip further and experience more of Spain’s gems, we would be delighted to tailor this to your wishes.
Total price: From € 895,- / $ 1095,- per person
- 7 Nights in a 2- to 3-star hotel including breakfast (let us know if you prefer an upgrade to a 4- or 5-star hotel)
- 8-Day car hire with all-risk insurance
- Pick-up and drop off from and to the airport
- Insider tips from us from where to go and what to do
- Plane tickets (we can arrange these for you if you wish)
- Travel insurance
- All other food and drinks not mentioned in the description
- Tips and all other private expenses