- Step back in time in Barcelona's Gothic neighborhood, Barri Gòtica
- Marvel at the intricate details of the Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada
- Navigate the narrow medieval streets in Granada's ancient Moorish quarter
- Rent a car and drive to the mountaintop village of Ronda
- Feast on tapas while taking in a flamenco show in Sevilla
|Day 1||Arrive in Barcelona||Barcelona|
|Day 2||Half-day city tour; Free afternoon||Barcelona|
|Day 3||Explore Barcelona||Barcelona|
|Day 4||Flight from Barcelona to Granada||Granada|
|Day 5||Visit the Alhambra||Granada|
|Day 6||Pick up rental car - Drive to Ronda||Ronda|
|Day 7||Explore Ronda||Ronda|
|Day 8||Drive from Ronda to Seville, via the Pueblos Blancos||Seville|
|Day 9||Walking tour - Tapas & flamenco show||Seville|
|Day 10||Depart Seville|
Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona
Welcome to Barcelona! Upon your arrival, you'll be greeted by your driver before transferring to your hotel in the heart of the city. Settle in before heading out to explore the neighborhood.
You'll have many options on what to see and do on your first day—and plenty of company. The cosmopolitan and bustling heart of Spain's Catalonia region is popular with domestic and international travelers all year round. With fantastic art and architecture, rich medieval history, clean urban beaches, world-class nightlife, and great shopping you'll be spoiled for choice.
A good place to start is by taking a stroll down La Ramblas, a sequence of promenades that runs from Plaça de Catalunya down to the waterfront. Near the opera house is the vibrant public market called La Boquería, which dates back to 1217 for the ultimate foodie pilgrimage. Centuries later, this is still considered one of Europe's best food markets and provides a great introduction to Catalan cuisine.
Day 2: Half-day city tour - Free afternoon
After breakfast, you'll start your day with a private guided walking tour of Barcelona, which includes its greatest monument, La Sagrada Familia, a spectacular Roman Catholic church and UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. During this half-day excursion, you will see some of the city's most emblematic spots and hidden corners while learning about Gaudí and his jaw-dropping masterpiece, which is still under construction.
Your guide will be on hand to answer all your questions including where to go for lunch! In fact, he or she will take you to a recommended tapas bar or restaurant before parting ways leaving you to enjoy the afternoon exploring Barcelona at your own pace.
Day 3: Explore Barcelona
Today is a free day to explore Barcelona any way you'd like! This enchanting, creative, and much-loved city offers plenty of options from cultural sightseeing to gastronomy tours. If you haven't experienced them yet, you'll likely want to check out notable attractions such as Park Guëll, Casa Milà, Casa Batllò, the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, La Boqueria market, Camp Nou football stadium, the Gothic Quarter, and Tibidabo amusement park.
If you're looking for a nature break, head to Barceloneta Beach situated against the deep blue Mediterranean sea where sun-drenched beaches create a pretty setting for a lazy day on the sand. There are also jogging and biking paths if you want to work up a sweat, or you can take a long leisurely stroll followed by a refreshing dip. Vendors on the beach offer kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and a range of sunset cruises options. Alternatively, head to Barcelona's surrounding mountains for a range of hiking and biking trails with spectacular views.
Day 4: Flight from Barcelona to Granada
It's time to leave Catalonia behind and make your way to Andalusia, in the south of Spain. Meet your driver outside your hotel and head to the Barcelona airport for your short flight to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the city of Granada.
Located in Spain's southern autonomous community of Andalusia, Granada is one of the most historic and beautiful cities in the south. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and have some time to relax and unwind.
In the late afternoon, you'll meet a guide for a city tour of Granada by bike. Or if you prefer a slower pace, you can opt for a walking tour instead. You'll visit all the major sites, including the Plaza Nueva (the oldest square in the city), the Albaicín (the medieval/Moorish historic center), Barrio Realejo (the historic Jewish Quarter) and the 16th century Catedral de Granada, the largest and most opulent Roman Catholic church in the city.
End the day at a local eatery where you'll enjoy some traditional tapas and adult refreshments. Bring your appetite—Granada is known for its huge portion sizes.
Day 5: Visit the Alhambra
Rise early for your full morning of exploring the Alhambra palace complex. What began as a small fortress in 889 CE (built on top of Roman ruins) eventually turned into what you see today with the significant influence of the Islamic Nasrid dynasty. Lose yourself amid fountains, pools, intricate tessellation work, arabesques, and stone and wood carvings. With as many myths and legends as there are arches and fountains, the Alhambra is genuinely captivating.
Afterward, make your way to the city center and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Navigate the labyrinth of streets in the ancient Moorish quarter, Albaicín, shop for souvenirs in the Alcaicería (Arab bazaar), visit the 16th-century Cathedral of Granada and the Madraza (old Koranic school).
Day 6: Pick up rental car - Drive to Ronda
Pick up your car rental at the Granada train station and continue the self-driving portion of your trip. Drive through Andalusia's olive tree-covered mountainous terrain to your accommodation in Ronda, the capital of the Pueblos Blancos (White Towns). Drop your luggage off and settle into your hotel before venturing out to explore the town, its spectacular views El Tajo Gorge and rustic way of life.
Driving duration: 2.5 hours
Driving distance: 111 miles (178 km)
Day 7: Explore Ronda
Take the morning to explore Ronda and its environs with a hike through the stunning landscape. You'll want to have your camera with you as the area is home to spectacular vistas. There are many great hiking and walking routes to choose from, though a great place to start is hiking to the bottom of the El Tajo Gorge and the Río Guadalevín (river).
Reward yourself with a delicious lunch of tapas in nearby Setenil de las Bodegas, before checking out its whitewashed houses built into the surrounding cliffs. If there's time, dip your feet in the refreshing waters of Cueva del Gato and explore other local villages such as Montejaque before returning to Ronda for your final afternoon and evening at leisure.
There are alternative options to take advantage of if you're feeling more adventurous, like visiting Via Ferrata for rock climbing, canyoning, and kayaking.
Day 8: Drive from Ronda to Sevilla, via the Pueblos Blancos
After breakfast, leave Ronda behind and drive to Grazalema, another Pueblo Blanco in the heart of the Sierra of the same name. Other notable Pueblos Blancos to check out are Zahara de la Sierra, Arcos de la Frontera, and Ubrique. Once you have taken enough photos of the beautiful scenery and whitewashed villages, continue your journey north to Andalusia's capital, Sevilla.
Return your rental and hire a taxi to transfer to your accommodation in the historic core of Sevilla's Old Town. Check-in before readying yourself to enjoy an evening on the town.
Driving duration (Ronda directly to Sevilla): 2 hours
Driving distance: 80 miles (129 km)
Day 9: Walking tour - Tapas & flamenco show
After breakfast, you'll head off with a local guide to explore this ancient hotbed of culture.
You’ll visit the Seville Cathedral, a 15th-century Roman-Catholic church that's home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest gothic church in the world, and an awe-inspiring testament to pious grandiosity. You'll also see La Giralda, the cathedral's looming belltower. There's a noticeable stylistic difference between the two structures, as this 12th-century pillar was originally built as a minaret for the Great Mosque back when Andalusia was ruled by the Moors.
You'll then walk to the fashionable Santa Cruz neighborhood, which was once the Jewish Quarter in the city. It's a colorful and well-preserved part of the historic center, with many cafés and tapas bars—the perfect excuse to take a break and enjoy some small plates and local wine. You can also visit markets and local shops where artisans produce intricate silverwork and elegant garment embroidery.
In the afternoon, you'll meet your guide for the evening and learn the history and cultural significance of flamenco before watching the masterful dance for yourself. Take in the classic Andalusian music and dance performance, then join your guide for more tapas and drinks and a discussion of life in Andalusia.
Day 10: Depart Sevilla
After making sure you have all your souvenirs and gifts, meet your driver at your hotel and transfer to Sevilla's airport for your onward journey.