This post is also available in: French
When it comes to traveling, roadtrips are my favourite. I love the freedom, the fact that you can stop wherever you want, whenever you want, the possibility to go to remote places… When I talk about freedom, this means I don’t want to book my accomodation for every single nights in advance. However, when traveling during the high season, this is pretty much impossible in most destinations. Don’t worry, I know a region you can visit in summer which doesn’t require any advance bookings. It all depends on your travel style and the degree of comfort you need.
I’m going to share with you our two weeks itinerary in Andalusia, in the South of Spain. Travel style: roadtrip + camping.
This region of Spain is far less crowded than Barcelona or Madrid. You should have no problem finding a place to sleep from day to day. On top of it, this region is absolutely gorgeous: sand beaches, Moorish palaces, lively cities at night and even deserts. A complete change of scenery compared to the rest of Europe.
Below is our itinerary. Do not hesitate to zoom in to see the various stop-overs, what to do / to see, the campings where we stayed. I’ve built the roadtrip this way so as to enjoy the beach at least every second day. It is extremely hot in Andalusia in August, therefore the beach criteria is very important to take into account.
And because a picture is worth a thousand words, here is our trip, step by step, in pictures. I hope this will make you want to discover places you didn’t know about. Detailed articles will be published on the blog to talk about each step of our trip.
Sorbas (Almería province)
On our first day, we visited the Cuevas de Sorbas, it is a gypsum cave which you visit speleological style with a helmet and a headlamp. We sometimes had to crawl in between the rock walls or slide in a rift. Not for the claustrophobic, but apart from that we had a great time. We did the “Ruta Básica”. It is possible to go on more technical routes. We cannot bring cameras with us (source photo).
After visiting the cave, we went on a small hike in a canyon nearby, the sendero de los Molinos del Rio Aguas. Needless to say that the river was completely dry in August, but the hike was enjoyable, in the middle of cactus trees. It looked like Mexico at one point. The landscape is very surprising considering we are in Spain, Europe. Andalusia is full of surprises !
Parque Natural Cabo de Gata Nijar (Almería province)
This place is the desert on the seaside. Did you know that could be possible ? We absolutely loooooved this region. This Natural Park is unbelievable, beautiful, its coasts are untouched and hide plenty of secret idyllic beaches.
Salobreña – Almuñécar – Motril (Granada province)
You know me, I try to get off the beaten path as much as possible. To reach Granada from the coast, I didn’t want to take the autopista or main road. Instead, I insisted on taking a small back road called Carretera del Suspiro del Moro. A scenic drive, winding road offering spectacular views on the vineyards and the coast afar…
Would you believe me if I told you my car broke down on this road ? I have to be the unluckiest person on earth. Our phones couldn’t get any signal, there were no other cars to be seen, welcome to hell. By walking a few minutes, we managed to get a small signal to call the insurance company. We’re being towed to the village of Motril, where the closest garage is located.
We’ve been stuck in this fisherman’s village for three entire days (the time the car part was delivered). There was nothing to do. At least we were near the beach.
This is a lesson to remember: have a good insurance before heading overseas with your car. Mine turned out excellent: they sent a tow truck, paid the taxi to go from garage-hotel-garage, paid the hotel and meals while the car was on repair. After being stranded for three days, the car is back on track and our adventure can continue.
Granada (Granada province)
We visit Granada for its majestic Alhambra. A place like nowhere else. That being said, apart from the Alhambra, we didn’t like the city of Granada. I couldn’t find any charm to the city and it didn’t offer any other attractions worth visiting. That’s a shame. On a future post, I will tell you all about my feeling of the city of Granada.
Zuheros (Córdoba province)
A typical white village (pueblo blanco) and an enjoyable hike among olive trees.
Córdoba (Córdoba province)
I don’t think this city needs being introduced. We loved Córdoba, its night life, the bars and the free tapas but also the cultural visits: Mezquita, synagogue, Alcázar… To find out all the reasons why you should love Córdoba, read my article here.
Málaga (Málaga province)
We’ve arrived in this town on the first day of the Feria de Málaga (mid-August, lasts 9 days), lucky coincidence. People were dressed in traditional costumes, horse-drawn carriages on the roads, hundreds of street stalls and even a wine vintage specially made for the occasion distributed everywhere in the streets. We’ve really appreciated the general happy atmosphere of the city, its historical monuments (castillo + Alcazaba) and its huge beach right in the city.
Marbella (Málaga province)
This town is very well-known to party-animals (French mostly). We just stopped there for a half-day at the beach and a night on our way to Ronda. There is not much interest apart from that.
Ronda (Málaga province)
Ronda is famous for its dizzingly high Puente Nuevo. It’s a must-see on a trip to Andalusia. I had heard a lot about this little town before going but I was a little disappointed once I got there. I found it too touristy, it has lost its authenticity. It is a bit of a long drive to reach Ronda, so once you’re there, you may want to kill two birds with one stone: have a look at nearby Ronda la Vieja and visit the Acinipo roman ruins (free).
Gibraltar (Cadix province)
Welcome to the United-Kingdom. Yep that’s right, you will need to show your ID card and go through customs to enter Gibraltar. No tapas here, you order fish & chips and you pay in pounds sterling. The not-to-be-missed attraction in Gibraltar is to go up to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. Besides getting stunning views and visiting historical sites, you will get an up close experience with wild monkeys. How cool is that !
Tarifa (Cadix province)
You are no longer in the Mediterranean sea, you are swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Watch out, there is a big temperature difference in the water (and sharks). It’s also less crowded on this side of the Strait. People don’t usually go this far. We loved Tarifa, its atmosphere and its landscape too. We found the best camping in the world here: Torre de la Peña. One mountain side with ocean view and one beach side. We were so good here, we could have stayed a few weeks.
Zahara de los Atunes (Cadix province)
Do not miss out on the Baelo Claudia archeological site on the way (free for European citizens). Roman ruins on the seaside, what an unusual landscape. Then you can chill on the 12 km long beach. There is no way your beach neighbor will bother you here.
We’ve stopped our roadtrip here in Zahara de los Atunes. Indeed, we have traveled quite far into Spain and we need to take into account the return trip back to Lyon (France). Because of the car breaking down, we didn’t visit Sevilla this time. But if it is your first time in Andalusia, you cannot miss this city. Another stop we would have loved to add to our roadtrip: the Parque Nacional de Doñana, in Huelva province. We can spot the Iberian bobcat there.
On the way back to France, we stopped in Salou to spend a day at Port Aventura theme park, just to finish the holiday with thrilling sensations.
This is the end of a 15-day roadtrip in Andalusia. We drove a total of 4 414 km, departing from Lyon (France). It was a wonderful trip, despite the car incident. These are the hazards of any roadtrips and they make good stories to tell back home.
Have you ever been on a roadtrip to Andalusia or any other region of Spain ? Have you traveled through Andalusia using public transportation ? What’s your best Andalusian memory or favourite place ?