- Explore Pablo Picasso's home town, Málaga
- Roam the luxury waterfront in Marbella
- Trek down into Ronda's El Tajo Gorge
- Go on a sherry-tasting tour in Jerez de la Frontera
- Walk the 3000-year-old streets of Cádiz
|Day 1||Arrive in Málaga||Málaga|
|Day 2||Drive to Ronda via Marbella||Ronda|
|Day 3||Guided Walk & Wine Tasting||Ronda|
|Day 4||Explore Ronda||Ronda|
|Day 5||Drive to Jerez de la Frontera via Grazalema||Jerez de la Frontera|
|Day 6||Explore Jerez: Dancing Horses & Sherry Tasting||Jerez de la Frontera|
|Day 7||Day Trip to Cádiz||Jerez de la Frontera|
|Day 8||Return to Málaga, Depart Spain|
Day 1: Arrive in Málaga
Welcome to Málaga! Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Settle in your room and then explore the city since you'll leave for Ronda the next day. A good place to start is the historic Arab Alcazaba, a medieval fortress-palace built in the 11th century for governing Muslims. Set against the hillside of the mount of Gibralfaro, the area was constructed on the base of an even older landmark—a Roman theatre built in the 1st century.
While in the area, you should also visit the magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro, which sits nearby on a hill overlooking Málaga city and port. Dating back to the 10th century, the protective walkway around the ramparts affords the best views over Málaga. Between the two sites, you can stroll along pretty paths filled with greenery, flowers like jasmine and bougainvillea, and orange and lemon trees.
For dinner, sample the local cuisine of fish, seasonal vegetables, olives, almonds, grapes, raisins, and delicious baked goods. Check out the waterfront or the Old Town along Calle Marques de Larios, which offers some excellent restaurant options.
Day 2: Drive to Ronda via Marbella
Pick up your rental car and head west along the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast) to Marbella, long renowned for its microclimate and draw of the rich and famous. Take a stroll along the promenade, working your way down to the Puerto Banus luxury marina. You can walk the "Golden Mile" of glamorous designer shops and upscale restaurants here, stopping at a seafront restaurant that suits your taste and enjoying the view over the Mediterranean.
After lunch, continue your journey and head inland, navigating the hairpin turns as you work your way up and over the mountains to the city of Ronda and your hotel. The capital of the Pueblos Blancos (White Villages), Ronda will be your home base for the next three nights. Drop your luggage off and settle into your hotel before venturing out to explore the town, its spectacular views, and the rural way of life.
Day 3: Guided Walk & Wine Tasting
After a hearty Andalusian breakfast, head out to explore Ronda at your own pace with an official local guide. Visit Spain's oldest and most important bullring, Plaza de Toros, as well as many historical attractions dating from Moorish and Roman times, like the 14th and 15th-century Baños árabes (Arab Baths), Palacio of the Marqués de Salvatierra, and the Casa del Rey Moro that contains steps carved into the cliff wall leading you to the river.
In the afternoon, you'll switch gears and visit a winery just outside of the city for a tour and tasting of the region's best. Here you will glean insight into how this wine-producing area has taken off in the last 20 years, even though wine-making has occurred since Roman times.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: 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 several 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.
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 into 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 5: Drive to Jerez de la Frontera via Grazalema
After breakfast, leave Ronda behind and drive to Grazalema in the heart of the mountains of the same name, with various peaks towering over this captivating and picturesque White Village. Stretch your legs and wander the narrow streets, perusing the shops selling local goods, including leather, cork, cheese, and honey. Take the time to explore the town, perhaps picking up some snacks for the road before stopping to enjoy lunch in a nearby restaurant.
If you have the energy, the surrounding mountainous countryside has many fantastic easily-accessible trails and footpaths for you to explore. Choose a path and discover the native holm oak, cork oak, and Pinsapo forests, offering great views and fresh mountain air. Afterward, continue to your hotel near the capital of the Cádiz province, Jerez de la Frontera. On arrival, settle in and enjoy a relaxed evening in rustic luxury.
Day 6: Explore Jerez de la Frontera: Dancing Horses & Sherry Tasting
This morning, you'll drive into downtown Jerez de la Frontera, commonly called Jerez, for a special visit to see the spectacular dancing horses of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. You'll also be able to explore the academy grounds, set in a 19th-century palace, and visit the saddlery, training area, carriage museum, and academy museum.
After lunch, you'll visit the Sherry Triangle in the west of the city and a local sherry bodega to learn about the production process and what makes the sherry wine so unique.
Day 7: Day Trip to Cádiz
After breakfast, head south to Cádiz to meet your guide for a private excursion in this fascinating ancient port city. Said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, Cádiz is home to well-preserved historical landmarks, charming architecture, and stunning views. Jutting out into the Atlantic on a thin strip of land, your guide will take you throughout the city, covering the main attractions while sharing anecdotes and stories of past and present.
After the walk, make your way to a highly recommended restaurant before returning to your hotel in Jerez. Make your last evening in Spain count, perhaps taking in a flamenco show over a selection of tapas.
Day 8: Return to Málaga, Depart Spain
Make your way back to Málaga and to the airport. If there's time before your return flight home, spend a couple of hours wandering Málaga's historic core, stopping to watch passersby from a café, or visiting Pablo Picasso's former home. When you're ready, head to the airport to drop off your rental with enough time before your flight.