We don’t care what you say, Spain is the best country in the world for taking a road trip. It’s big enough that you can drive for days, but populated (and food-crazed) enough that you will almost always find a nice little place to stop for lunch. So we decided to go for a drive – here’s our suggested itinerary for a trip through Andalucia from Malaga to Seville.
Day 1: Malaga
Arrive, find somewhere to park (beware – this can be difficult in the centre of town) and settle into your hotel (we stayed at the Vincci Posada del Patio). Head for lunch at local favourite Los Mellizos for excellent fresh seafood. Spend the afternoon seeing the sights in Malaga – check out the alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Castle.
Day 2: Malaga to Ronda
Head out of the city and South towards the coastal resorts of the Costa del Sol. Just after Marbella, take the A-397 towards Ronda, which winds up into the hills of Central Andalucia. Make sure your petrol tank is full, as there are no petrol stations and no towns for the majority of this stunning climb.
Spend the afternoon and evening wandering the streets of Ronda’s old town or taking in the sights – the Tajo gorge is unmissable, and the bullring and bullfighting museum are well worth a look. There are a good number of hotels, but two of the most spectacular options are right next to the gorge: the Parador and the Hotel Montelirio.
Day 3: Ronda to Seville
Enjoy winding your way through the Sierra de Grazalema national park, an especially beautiful place in late January/early February when the orange blossoms are out. Again, if you are low on petrol fill up in Ronda as garages can be few and far between outside the main towns. Head North West on the A374 and take the A2300 turn off to your left just after the hamlet of Montecorto. This will take you through some stunning countryside alongside the turquoise blue Zahara-El Gastor reservoir and eventually up to the picture-perfect hill village of Zahara de la Sierra. It’s worth the climb to the top of the town and the 13th century Moorish castle, if only for the views out over surrounding countryside (and a look at the Nasrid look-out network of castles – Olvera, Algodonales, Cote and Matrera). The village centre is also a lovely place to stop for lunch or a drink, or just peoplewatch in the handsome main square.
From Zahara, we took the winding CA-531 over to the white village of Grazalema – another good-looking hill town famous for its woolen goods and riotous July fiestas.
Take the A-372 Westwards from Grazalema and eventually the terrain levels out and mountains turn into farmland. This same road will eventually lead you to Arcos de la Frontera – one of the most famous white villages (although in our experience lacking in the charm of some of the smaller places). Nevertheless, this is a fair place to stop and stretch your legs – for tapas try Bar la Carcel or Taberna Jovenes Flamencos, although be aware that opening hours for most places can be erratic (or non-existent) out of season.
From Arcos, it’s an easy, well-signposted drive to Seville (although entering the city can be disorienting – consider using a sat nav if you have one handy). And here ends this edition of the Gusto Road Trip Guide.
Don’t forget to also check out our essential tips on car hire in Spain.