Discover the highlights of Andalucía, from the Mediterranean coast in Málaga to the Atlantic coast in Cádiz. On this eight-day self-drive tour you will drive through whitewashed villages built into cliffsides, sample some of the country's best wine and sherry, explore ancient Moor and Roman ruins, and eat delicious local cuisine. Marvel at southern Spain's stunning landscapes, passionate people, and colorful culture.

Highlights

  • 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

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Málaga Málaga
Day 2 Drive from Málaga to Ronda via Marbella Ronda
Day 3 Walking tour and wine tasting Ronda
Day 4 Explore Ronda Ronda
Day 5 Drive from Ronda to Jerez, 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  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Málaga

Malaga - a 'happening' city with loads of great museums, beaches, food and secrets to explore!
View over Málaga and the "La Manquita" cathedral

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Málaga. Upon arrival in Málaga's Pablo Picasso Airport (or train station), you'll be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the downtown core of the city. Take a little time to settle and get your bearings before heading out to explore your surroundings. Head to the Alcazaba, a medieval Moorish palace, for views over the city. Stroll along the waterfront and find a bite to eat, discover La Malagueta (bullring), or visit any number of museums for further insight into the region's history and culture.

Day 2: Drive from Málaga to Ronda via Marbella

The yachts, the rich & famous, the sports cars - Marbella & Puerto Banus is great for people watching!
Marbella's Puerto Banus is excellent for people watching

Pick up your rental car and head out of Málaga, west along the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast) to the coastal town of Marbella, long renowned for its micro-climate and its draw of the rich and famous. Take a stroll along the promenade working your way down to the Puerto Banus luxury marina. Here you will walk the "Golden Mile" of glamorous designer shops and upscale restaurants. Find a seafront restaurant that suits your taste and enjoy 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 mountaintop city of Ronda and your hotel. The capital of the Pueblos Blancos (White Towns), 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.

Driving duration (Málaga to Ronda): 2 hours
Driving distance: 77 miles (124 km)

Day 3: Walking tour and wine tasting

Spain - Ronda - Palacio de Mondragón and traditional homes
Discover the Palacio de Mondragón (now a museum) that faces traditional Andalusian homes

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 historic 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 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 regions 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. 

Day 4: Explore Ronda

Puente Nuevo, Ronda
Puente Nuevo (bridge) connects the two halves of 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 a number of 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 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 from Ronda to Jerez, via Grazalema

Grazalema village, Spain
The "Pueblo Blanco" of Grazalema

After breakfast, leave Ronda behind and drive to Grazalema in the heart of the Sierra of the same name with various peaks towering over this captivating and picturesque Pueblo Blanco (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 Grazalema, 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 a number of 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.

Driving duration: 2 hours
Driving distance: 72 miles (116 km)

Day 6: Explore Jerez: Dancing horses & sherry tasting

Spain - Jerez - Outside the Tio Pepe Bodega
Vines grow outside the Tío Pepe Sherry Bodega

This morning, you'll drive into downtown Jerez de la Frontera, commonly referred to as 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 to a local sherry bodega to learn about the production process and what makes the sherry wine so unique.

Day 7: Day Trip to Cádiz

Cadiz, Spain coast
The 18th-century Cádiz Cathedral dominates the skyline and is a focal point for locals as much as visitors

After breakfast, head south to Cádiz to meet your guide for a private tour of this fascinating ancient port city. Said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, Cádiz is home to a plethora of well-preserved historical landmarks, charming colonial 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 histories of past and present along the way.

After the tour, make your way to a highly recommended restaurant before making the short trip back to your hotel in Jerez. Make your last evening in Spain count, perhaps taking in a flamenco show over a selection of tapas. 

Driving duration: 40 minutes
Driving distance:  23 miles (37 km)

Day 8: Return to Málaga - Depart

Málaga, Spain
Say adiós to Málaga

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 to visit Pablo Picasso's former home. When you're ready, head to the airport to drop off your rental before boarding your flight.

Driving duration: 2-3 hours
Driving distance:  183 miles (222 km)

Map

Map of Andalucía Self-Drive Tour: From Málaga to Cádiz - 8 days
Map of Andalucía Self-Drive Tour: From Málaga to Cádiz - 8 days