This brisk six-day road trip includes stops at some of Spain's most historic locales. It's a celebration of rich Spanish culture as you drive from Madrid to Seville and partake in a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Spanish cuisine. As if that's not all, you'll drive to Granada and tour one of the most magnificent Moorish palaces in Europe, the Alhambra.

Highlights

  • See Madrid's famous sights on a guided tour
  • Travel to Seville and visit the most historic landmarks in Andalusia
  • Tour of the Alhambra, Granada's 9th century Muslim fortress

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour Madrid
Day 2 Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy Madrid
Day 3 Pick up Rental Car - Drive From Madrid to Seville - Córdoba Tour Seville
Day 4 Cooking Class in Seville Seville
Day 5 Day Trip to Ronda - Stop in Arcos de la Frontera Seville
Day 6 Depart From Seville  
     

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Madrid - Evening Tapas Tour

The Fountain of Cibeles, in Madrid
The Fountain of Cibeles, in Madrid

Welcome to Spain! 

Upon arrival at the nation's capital, you'll enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in before heading out to explore. You'll definitely want to see some of the highlights like the Puerta del Sol, one of the most historic and expansive plazas in the city. There's also Madrid's famous Fountain of Cibeles. Located in the city center it features a sculpture completed in 1782 and depicting Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility, riding in a chariot pulled by lions.

In the evening, you'll really dig into Madrid's culture on a food tour. A local expert guide will lead you on a two-hour walking excursion that stops at some great tapas bars. On this tour, you'll visit Barrio Las Letras, which is known as the "literary quarter." This historic neighborhood in the city center was once home to Spanish lit legends like Cervantes and Quevedo. Besides visiting some historic sights around here, you'll also stop on Calle Huertas for a bite at one of the many tapas bars that line the street.

Day 2: Private City Tour - Discover Madrid's Royal Legacy

The Royal Palace, Madrid
The Royal Palace, Madrid

Enjoy a half-day tour of Madrid led an expert local guide today. Madrid has a long history, and today the city adorns itself with that history in its architecture, public spaces, and culture. An organized tour is ideal, and your guide will reveal insight into how different time periods influenced Madrid's neighborhoods and buildings, as well as point out the most interesting sights.

One area you'll visit that's awash in splendor is the Madrid de los Austrias. It was built in the 16th century during the reign of the Hapsburg Dynasty's first ruler, Charles I. Located in the city center, it's home to one of the grandest plazas in Spain, the Plaza Mayor, which was once the heart of Old Madrid.

Also here is the Royal Palace, which was the official home of the Spanish monarchs until 1931. You'll tour both the grounds and interior of this 3,418-room monument to opulence, entering the parade ground, the bedchambers of Charles III, several salons, the Royal Chapel, and the Hall of the Crown, which displays Charles I's crown, scepter, and throne.

Later you could visit El Retiro Park. This 308-acre expanse of verdure is the green lung of Madrid, abounding with sculptures, fountains, and a man-made lake perfect for taking a boat trip. There are also must-visit gardens here including the Jardín de Vivaces ("Garden of Vivacious Plants"), Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (inspired by the Andalusia region), and a garden home to over 4,000 roses. The best time to see these blooms from May through June. 

Day 3: Pick up Rental Car - Drive From Madrid to Seville - Córdoba Tour

The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

In the morning, you'll pick up your rental car and embark on a five-hour drive south from Madrid to Seville, the capital of Andalusia. It's a long drive, but you'll stop along the way for a guided tour of Córdoba, a city that dates back to Roman times. There's quite a bit to see in Córdoba, as it's a historical hodgepodge of Moorish, Gothic, and Jewish architecture. 

On the walking tour, you'll visit many historic sights, including the breathtaking Mezquita (Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba), a pagan temple that was converted into the great mosque of the Ummayad caliphate. Later it was transformed into a Catholic church.

You'll also meander around the winding streets of the Jewish Quarter. Within this historic neighborhood is the Córdoba Synagogue, which dates to 1315. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the building served different functions. At one time or another, it was a hospital, a chapel, and a nursery school.

After the tour, you'll continue on to Seville, where you'll check into your hotel and will have the evening free.

Day 4: Cooking Class in Seville

Learn how to prepare traditional Andalusian tapas
Learn how to prepare traditional Andalusian tapas

After breakfast, you'll enjoy a cooking lesson in Seville. But this isn't any cooking class—it's a gastronomic odyssey in which you'll learn the secrets to traditional Andalusian cuisine under the one-on-one tutelage of a professional chef. 

First, you'll meet the chef who will lead you to a local market. Here you'll browse the many stalls abounding with a variety of seafood, meat, fruits, and vegetables. After picking up the requisite ingredients, you'll head to the cooking workshop where your chef will teach you how to prepare a delicious meal. Accompanied by a glass of Andalusian sherry, you'll learn much about authentic Spanish recipes as you prepare your lunch from scratch.

After class is dismissed, you will sit down and enjoy your labor of love on a terrace table with views of Seville's magnificent Gothic Cathedral, and share a glass of wine with your chef.

Day 5: Day Trip to Ronda - Stop in Arcos de la Frontera

An 18th-century bridge connects two sides of Ronda

After breakfast in Seville, you'll embark on a day trip through some of Andalusia's most enchanting locales. Take in the views as you drive through olive groves, rolling meadows, cork forests, and around mountains, passing the region's "white villages"—ancient hilltop towns famous for their whitewashed buildings. 

Your destination is Ronda, a historic city located atop a gorge in the Málaga province. It's a two-hour drive south from Seville, but you'll stop along the way in Arcos de la Frontera, one of the aforementioned white villages. On a tour with an expert guide, you'll meander the narrow cobbled streets, marveling at the Moorish towers and castles. Also, there are many points in town in which you can enjoy sweeping vistas of the Andalusian countryside below.

After the walking tour, you'll stop at a local restaurant for a traditional Andalusian lunch paired with local wines. You'll then continue on to Ronda, arriving in the afternoon. This is one of Andalusia’s most beautiful towns, famous for being built alongside a gaping river gorge that drops 393 feet (120 meters) straight down. The gorge bisects Ronda's old and new towns, which are connected by an 18th-century triple-arched bridge that affords great views.

You'll have time to explore Ronda on your own, taking in the views and visiting the medieval buildings and ancient Moorish architecture. Also here is the Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullring in Spain. At the end of the day, you'll drive back to Seville.  

Day 6: Depart from Seville

Farewell, Andalusia!

In the morning, at the appropriate time, a driver will transfer you to the airport where you'll catch your flight home. We hope you enjoyed your trip!

Map

Map of Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip: Madrid to Andalusia - 6 days
Map of Ultimate Southern Spain Road Trip: Madrid to Andalusia - 6 days