10 Top Destinations in Southern Spain
Andalusia is an autonomous community that covers most of southern Spain. It has a diverse landscape, with a long Mediterranean coastline and its own mountain chain, and is known to have the hottest average temperatures in Europe. Andalusia is a rough translation of an Arabic word meaning “vandals”, due to the fact that it was raided and claimed by many different cultures and nations because of its prime location.
This has created a series of cities and towns with a very multicultural architecture, cuisine, and history. They are home to a celebratory culture full of festivals and flamenco dancing, tapas and sherry. Here is a look at some of the must-see destinations in southern Spain:
10. Jerez de la Frontera [SEE MAP]
Dominic / Flickr
This small city is believed by many to be as quintessential Andalucía as anyone can find. Though larger cities like Cadiz and Seville will advertise this honor, Jerez is well known on several fronts without much lip service at all.
It is the center of Spanish horse culture, and home of the invention of fortified sherry wine. Eleven European palaces and one looming Moorish palace and fortress are available for tours. During one of the many festivals here, there is ample opportunity to see traditional flamenco dance in the city where it was invented.
9. Donana National Park [SEE MAP]
horseman7869 / Flickr
The Doñana National Park is located in the fertile river delta where the Guadalquivir meets the Mediterranean Sea. It is an ecological paradise of sand dunes, marshes and plains that serves as a refuge for many species of wildlife. Birders will be treated to views of thousands of different African migratory species.
More local endangered species can also be seen by lucky people, like the Iberian lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle. As it was once a home for nobility, the visitors centers and marine museum are all housed in repurposed castles and manors, and are worth seeing as well.
8. Marbella [SEE MAP]
Olli365 / Flickr
Once a small white village of fishermen, Marbella is now one of the most cosmopolitan beach resorts on the Costa del Sol. The beaches with its fine sand and the Mediterranean with its clean blue water are the main attractions here, although there are numerous historic attractions well worth exploring too.
An ancient walled city boasts virtually the same footprint as it did during the 16th century. When not sunning on Marbella’s palm-tree-lined beaches, visitors can walk the Golden Mile to view some of the most luxurious homes and resorts in Europe. The area around the yacht-filled marina Puerto Banus boasts the city’s best boutiques, restaurants and bars.
7. Cadiz [SEE MAP]
cudipeich / Flickr
This is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in all of Western Europe, and was founded over three millennia ago by Phoenician sailors. A visit here means seeing long coastlines of public beaches, waves on crashing seawalls, and examples of thousands of years of architecture.
The must-see time to visit is during Carnival, which is the third-biggest celebration of this kind in the world. During the rest of the year, guests flock here for seafood, surfing and flamenco dancing.
6. Malaga [SEE MAP]
Paolo Trabattoni / Flickr
From the outside, this city has a subdued and modern shell. The historic, Gothic heart of town is another world completely. This is the birthplace of Picasso, and has a large collection of museums to enjoy. Those seeking older historic sites will enjoy the Roman theater, and Azcalba, the Moorish castle.
The grand 11th Century Gibralfaro castle is a must-see for those who love lavish manors. Malaga is well-known for its tapas bars and has a reputation of being one of the tastiest cities in the region when it comes to this kind of cuisine.
5. Sierra Nevada [SEE MAP]
othermore / Flickr
This mountain range in Spain is one of the southernmost ski destinations in all of Europe. It also contains the highest mountain of continental Spain, Mulhacén at 3,478 meters (11,411 feet) above sea level. The range towers over the city of Grenada, and offers a number of fun activities for travelers.
In addition to winter slopes, visitors here can enjoy the National Park that serves as a biosphere reserve, an astronomical observatory and telescope, and access to a number of adventure guide services. During summertime, these mountains are a mecca for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
4. Ronda [SEE MAP]
Located in and around the deep El Tajo gorge, Ronda is one of the oldest cities in Spain. It’s nearly impregnable position made it a stronghold against Catholic troops in the 1400s. Completed in 1793, the Puente Nuevo bridge spanning the 30-story high gorge is one of the city’s most impressive features.
The city’s architecture received its influence from the Romans and Moors who once ruled the area. Ronda is also home to the Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullring in Spain, an arena that has attracted writers ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Alexandre Dumas.
3. Cordoba [SEE MAP]
© Typhoonski / Dreamstime
The architectural splendor of Cordoba is well-known, and comes from a multitude of cultures. Of worldwide renown is the Mezquita, or great Mosque-cathedral of Cordoba. Both the exceptional design as well as the combined religious histories bring a steady stream of international visitors.
The middle-aged architecture that comprises the Jewish Quarter stretches out from the Mezquita, and offers a lovely stroll through the past, as does a trip across the Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir River. Spring visitors will especially enjoy their trip here, as this is when several citywide fiestas fill the streets.
2. Seville [SEE MAP]
© Aladin66 / Dreamstime
This is the largest tourist destination in southern Spain, and home to many attractions. The cathedral here, adorned with a Moorish bell-tower, is the third largest church in the world by some measurements, though some say the world’s largest by measurement of volume. A host of museums, ancient architecture, palaces and churches are available to explore in Seville, along with the usual big-city amenities of excellent food and cultural activities.
One fun must-see here is the diary of Christopher Columbus, which is housed in the Museum of the Indies. Finally, a two-week visit here in April can be amazing- the somber Santa Semana (holy week) and celebratory Feria de Abril that follows is a world-renowned celebration.
1. Granada [SEE MAP]
aesedepece / Flickr
This city at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was founded as a Celtic settlement and has been inhabited for over 2500 years. Its breathtaking location near mountains is one of the loveliest in Andalusia. Granada’s most famous attraction is the fortress/palace complex known as Alhambra, which was a Moorish palace for the emirs when the city was under Islamic rule.
The adjacent Muslim neighborhood and many other cathedrals and castles are also worth the trip while here. Tapas and flamenco lovers will find that both are easy to find and quite excellent.
Map of Southern Spain
© OpenStreetMap © MapTiler © Touropia
18 Best Cities in Southern Spain
Southern Spain has established itself as one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, with people taking on trips from all over the world.
It’s not just the sandy beaches and scrumptious cuisine that lures people in. Even those who aren’t the sun-lounging kind feel the magic pull towards the Spanish south.
What makes Andalusia so inviting is the fact that you always have a choice of coastal holiday vibes or inland adventures.
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Even if you’re far from the busy cities along the coast, where beach-goers crowd the paseo Maritimo during the summer, you’ll always find views of the sea inland.
And this is exactly what makes some of the best cities in southern Spain so exciting – more often than not, you’ll find yourself enjoying the best of two worlds.
Top Best Cities in Southern Spain
Short Cultural Background about Southern Spain
There truly is no best time of year to visit Spain – especially the south.
When the people of most European countries are getting out their winter parkas, the people of Andalusia are just about ready to trade their t-shirt for a hoodie, their sun hat for a scarf.
Though most people associate Spain with summer holidays, there are plenty of reasons to visit the colorful cities in Andalusia during the spring, autumn, or winter season too.
If you’re worried this might make you miss out on all the fiestas the Spanish are famous for, no need – there are plenty of festivos on the cultural agenda all year round.
There’s the Ronda Romantica feria in May, for example – a reenactment of Malaga’s romantic period set against the backdrop of the dramatic mountain city of Ronda.
If you’re planning a trip to Spain, you might also want to come in January, when the children excitedly await the reyes magos, the three kings, who bring their Christmas presents.
As you can see there is always a good excuse for a trip to Spain – whether you’re looking for culinary discoveries, mountain adventures, or beach vibes – you can find it here in the south.
And if you are planning to visit Andalucia in winter, know that this might be the best time to do it since the weather is just perfect and the cities are not crowded.
Best Cities in Southern Spain
One of the best cities in southern Spain is definitely Malaga – which works out great seeing as this is where you’ll most likely land.
Malaga airport is just a ten-minute drive from the city center, so whether you’re staying there or further down the coast, be sure to build a visit into your itinerary.
With an unbeatable selection of museums and restaurants, the famous Feria de Malaga in August, and plenty of beaches for you to hit, it’s no wonder the city has become so popular.
Where to stay in Malaga:
- Luxury: Gran Hotel Miramar GL
- Mid-Range: Mariposa Hotel Malaga
- Budget: Soho Boutique Las Vegas
As one of the most beloved cities in southern Spain, Ronda prides itself on cultural offerings for all types of holidaymakers: from honeymooners to whole families, solo travelers, and groups of friends.
Home to El Tajo, a deep and beautiful gorge dividing the city, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views in Andalusia from here.
This truly historic city has maintained its authenticity and makes you feel as though you have traveled back in time.
Once a year – in May, to be exact – you can relive the region’s romantic era during the Ronda Romantica festivities, which means that the whole town is in traditional costume.
Surrounded by lush natural parks and wonderful hiking trails, Ronda is also a great choice for those looking to disconnect from it all.
At the end of October there the Wine and Chestnut Festival which is part of the best Southern Spain Halloween traditions.
Where to stay in Ronda:
- Luxury: Parador de Ronda, Ronda
- Mid-Range: Hotel Don Miguel, Ronda
- Budget: Hotel Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel, Ronda
Currently, working on your list of places to visit in Spain? There are three fabulous reasons why Marbella should absolutely make the list.
For one, the location is perfect. It’s nestled right between the charming beach town of Estepona, and the sand dunes of Cabopino, one of the best beaches on the coast.
Secondly, it’s a shopper’s and a foodie’s paradise: full of fun little boutiques, innovative restaurants, and funky little cafés.
And thirdly, it’s a great place for celebrity sightings: from the Obamas to Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria, they’ve all been here and some have even settled. Marbella is by far one of the best cities in Southern Spain.
Where to stay in Marbella:
- Luxury: GRAN HOTEL GUADALPIN BANUS
- Mid-Range: VIME La Reserva de Marbella
- Budget: Senator Marbella Spa Hotel
One of the cities to visit in Spain is of course Seville. You cannot possibly boast about having been to Andalusia without visiting its capital.
This is the perfect place for those who love the big city life and to spend their day out sightseeing and learning about culture – and there’s plenty of that in Seville.
If you’ve always wanted to catch an authentic Flamenco show and learn more about the style Andalusia is known for, namely, Sevillanas here’s your chance.
It’s also a real mecca for pop-culture fans. Thanks to the city’s idyllic backdrop, TV series and movies such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars have been shot here.
- Luxury: Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento, Sevilla
- Mid-Range: Palacio Pinello, Sevilla
- Budget: Hotel Alcántara, Sevilla
Any list of cool cities to visit in Andalusia, not including Granada, was obviously put together by someone who doesn’t have the first clue about the best cities in southern Spain.
Granada is truly one of a kinda perfect fusion of Spanish and Arab elements present not only in the city’s remarkable architecture (Alhambra, Generalife, Albayzín) but its shops and cuisine.
This is one of those dream places to go – whether you’re looking for a cultural or culinary fix, a shopping spree, or a dive into nature via the Sierra Nevada and El Negratin.
It’s also a great location from which to commence on a little road trip – heading up towards Cazorla, Jaén, and Úbeda, or down towards Malaga, Estepona and Tarifa.
Where to stay in Granada:
- Luxury: Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection
- Mid-Range: Eurostars Puerta Real
- Budget: Room Mate Leo
6. Jerez de la Frontera
A top city to visit in Spain, especially if you’re a fan of Sherry and Formula 1, is Jerez de la Frontera, just a half-hour drive from Cadiz.
We highly recommend spending a night here, so you can truly aprovechar from what this city has to offer – and trust us when we say this is one for the travel bucket list.
Why? Because here you will get a real insight into the traditional bodegas and their Sherry, as well as the art of Flamenco, the city being recognized as the Andalusian Centre of Flamenco.
If you are a fan of horses, you will also want to visit the prestigious Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian art to catch a marvelous show and come face to face with a Carthusian horse.
Where to stay in Jerez:
- Luxury: Hotel Casa Palacio María Luisa, Jerez de la Frontera
- Mid-Range:Hotel Soho Boutique Jerez & Spa, Jerez de la Frontera
- Budget: Hotel Doña Blanca, Jerez de la Frontera
For many, a very particular vision pops to mind when they think of southern Spain cities: hidden courtyards and patios full of potted plants decorating the walls and floors.
If you’re a plant-nut longing to see some of the most beautiful courtyards in the best cities in southern Spain, then you can’t go wrong with starting your journey in Córdoba.
Head there in May for the Feria de Los Patios for the ultimate showcase of plant-rich patios, then spend the rest of your stay exploring the Alcazar, the Mosque-Cathedral of Malaga, and more.
And for one last kick of flowery delights, head to the old town and walk through the Calleja de las Flores – a street full of flowers, prettier than you could have ever imagined.
Where to stay in Córdoba:
- Luxury: Hospes Palacio del Bailio, Córdoba
- Mid-Range: Soho Boutique Córdoba
- Budget: Casa Turística Patio Cordobes
It’s not just that Cádiz happens to be one of the best cities in southern Spain – it’s also one of the most attractive regions of Andalusia, and its incredible light is only one of many reasons why.
The city itself, in all its historic glory, is one of the most iconic places in the south of Spain, especially when it comes to the annual carnival celebrations.
El Carnaval de Cádiz is known all over Spain – it stands at the center of this celebration, the way the city of Köln does in Germany.
The region is also extremely popular among surfers and other water sport enthusiasts with its sandy beaches, strong winds, and the Atlantic ocean.
Where to stay in Cádiz:
- Luxury: Senator Cádiz Spa Hotel
- Mid-Range: Tandem Palacio Veedor de Galeras Suites
- Budget: Extraordinario Piso Junto Playa Y En Pleno Centro
Looking for a fun city to visit? Then check out Estepona, a small little city located between San Pedro and Casares, the white mountain village famous for its views and homemade wine.
Estepona is a real beach town with great chiringuitos such as Palm Beach, and further outside of town, Sonora.
Having undergone a bit of a facelift in recent years, it is now home to some amazing street art gracing multiple-story buildings, the Orquidario, and hundreds of potted plants.
Though the city’s aesthetic is still typically Andalusian, the general vibe here is quite international, being one of many coastal tourist places that turns tourists into residents.
Where to stay in Estepona:
- Luxury: Elba Estepona Gran Hotel & Thalasso Spa
- Mid-Range: H10 Estepona Palace
- Budget: ApartaUnMomento y Disfruta
The Costa del Sol is full of lovely little towns and cities that beg to be visited for a day or two – or even a whole week.
Nerja is the kind of city you will happily spend a week holidaying in because it offers the perfect medley of vacation classics: the best beaches, a fantastic location, and lots of great restaurants.
What more could you want? How about mysterious caves? Or a big, open plaza atop the Balcon de Europa with meditative views over the Mediterranean sea? It’s all right here in Nerja.
Where to stay in Nerja:
- Luxury: La Puerta de Nerja Hostal Boutique-Adults Only, Nerja
- Mid-Range: Carmen Rooms
- Budget: Apartamentos Plaza Cavana 5, Nerja
When people discuss the Spanish pueblos de encanto, there’s one that will always come up in the conversation: Frigiliana.
Frigiliana, Spain is a typical white village in the mountains of Malaga, encompassed by the natural park Sierras de Almijara, Tejeda y Alhama.
With views of the Mediterranean sea and just a short drive from Nerja, where there are plenty of beaches to enjoy for lounging, swimming, or water sports, Frigiliana makes for a perfect holiday spot.
Where to stay in Frigiliana:
- Luxury: Hacienda Vistamar
- Mid-Range: Hotel Rural los Caracoles, Frigiliana
- Budget: Hotel Rural Almazara, Frigiliana
Underrated Cities in Southern Spain
Chances are you will have heard of most of the cities we listed for you above. But don’t forget there are more cities in Spain to visit, some of which are rather underrated.
Here are a few gems you should definitely make the time for!
12. Villanueva de la Concepción
If you’ve been hiking El Torcal for the entire day, you’ll be happy to know that there is a nice little city awaiting you at the foot of this national park: Villanueva de la Concepción.
Here you can replenish your energies with a menu del dia or a little tapa and a cold glass of cerveza before making your way back to your hotel in the evening.
Where to stay in Villanueva de la Concepción:
- Luxury: La Posada del Torcal
- Mid-Range: Apartamentos A Poniente
- Budget: Apartamentos Villa Torcal
13. La Herradura
One of the best places to visit in Spain – especially if you’re a fan of nice beaches – is La Herradura, the shore 70km west of Malaga named after its horseshoe shape.
Plan your trip around La Virgen del Carmen – the Queen of the Sea – which sees fleets of little fisher boats lighting up the Mediterranean at night, as they carry her statue out into the sea.
Where to stay in La Herradura:
- Luxury: Beautiful House with splendid sea views
- Mid-Range: La Caleta Bay, La Herradura
- Budget: H Boutique Peña Parda, La Herradura
After exploring some of Andalusia’s fun cities to visit, take a break in Archidona where you can walk the wetlands of Las Lagunas de Archidona.
If you’re up for it, you could also take on the hike up towards el monte de los enamorados.
Where to stay in Archidona:
- Luxury: Cortijo Sabila, Villanueva del Rosario
- Mid-Range: Cortijo Fuente de Alonso Gomez
- Budget: Escua
The Alpujarras region in the mountains of Granada is an absolute must when holidaying in Andalusia, especially during the spring and fall season, when you truly get to appreciate the environment.
This is where you’ll find Bubión, one of the three villages – the others being Capileira and Pampaneira – declared a Conjunto Historico Artistico due to their artistic, historical heritage.
Where to stay in Bubíon:
- Luxury: Puerta Bubión Apartamentos
- Mid-Range: Cortijo en Bubion “Casa Ibero”
- Budget: Apartamentos Turísticos Rural Los Tinaos
16. Priego de Córdoba
There are so many natural springs to be found around Priego de Córdoba, it has been dubbed “City of the Water”. But it could just as well have been named “City of Olives”.
As it turns out, the olive oil you’ll taste here is unlike any other oil you’ve tasted before – it has even been given its own denominational label.
For a taste of the prize-winning oil, be sure to take a bottle of Venta del Barón home as a tasty souvenir. It was named the best olive oil in the world for three consecutive years.
Where to stay in Priego de Córdoba:
- Luxury: Hotel Patria Chica
- Mid-Range: Villa Turística de Priego
- Budget: Hosteria de Rafi
Without a doubt, one of the best cities in southern Spain is Cazorla – a fairytale-esque place at the foot of the Sierra de Cazorla, a magical mountain and forest environment.
This is the place you should head to if you’re in need of some time away in nature or to play GeoCaching with friends.
Where to stay in Cazorla:
- Luxury: Coto del Valle de Cazorla
- Mid-Range: Villa Turística de Cazorla
- Budget: Hotel Sierra de Cazorla & SPA 3*
If you’re headed to Granada on a weekend trip, don’t forget to make a stop in Almuñecar – especially if you want to get some beach time in before getting lost in the Alhambra.
Almuñecar is known for its lovely beaches, charming old town, and many tapas bars, so be sure to treat yourself to this beach city vibe for an afternoon.
Where to stay in Almuñecar:
- Luxury: Apartamento Góndolas
- Mid-Range: Hotel Victoria Playa
- Budget: Hotel Helios – Almuñecar
What to eat in Southern Spain
Spain’s cuisine is already a thing in and of itself. When it comes to traditional Andalusia cuisine, though, every food lover out there heavy breathes.
Indeed, the combination of extraordinarily fresh ingredients, Moorish, Sephardic, and Phoenician influences, as well as the vast diversity, put Andalusian cuisine among the best in Europe.
You can’t get by holidaying in some of the best cities in southern Spain, without trying some true culinary classics including:
- – one of Andalucia’s most famous dish
- Chipirones – Cadiz – Cordoba , Gambas al pil-pil – Malaga , Mantecadas -Seville , Ajoblanco – Granada
Map of Best Cities in Southern Spain
Short FAQ about the best Cities in Southern Spain
What is the most southern city in Spain?
The most southern city in Spain would be Tarifa. Tarifa is the ultimate surfer’s paradise on the coast of Cádiz.
When should I visit southern Spain?
There’s never really a bad time to visit southern Spain! Just keep in mind you’ll usually get some rain during the Easter season, and scorching temperatures between July and August.
Where are the white towns in Spain?
There are many white towns in Spain. In Andalusia you will find Frigiliana in the Malaga region, and Casares and Manilva near Estepona.
10 Best Places to Visit in Southern Spain
BEST OF ANDALUCIA: BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTHERN SPAIN
Flamenco dancer in Seville © World Travel Connector
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Best places to visit in Andalucia
You are thinking of visiting the south of Spain and now you are wondering where to go in southern Spain?
Are you thinking of passionate flamenco, spectacular bullfighting, joyous fiestas, majestic Sierra Nevada, picturesque white villages, glorious Moorish heritage, delicious tapas, sweet sherry wine, recharging sunshine, stunning sandy beaches of the southern coast of Spain, elegant Andalusian horses … ?!
Yes, that’s all Andalusia! And Andalusia is one of the best Spain destinations.
Jerez in Andalusia in Southern Spain © World Travel Connector
Want to see the best of Andalusia? Want to visit the best destinations in the south of Spain? Want to experience true Andalusia?
Street ceramic mosaic in Seville in Andalucia in Spain© World Travel Connector
Visiting the next 10 most beautiful places in southern Spain grants the best experience of authentic southern Spain.
The next 10 places in Andalusia cover not only southern Spain cities but also famous white villages (pueblos blancos). Undoubtedly, Seville, Granada, Malaga, and Cadiz are some of the most beautiful cities to visit in Spain. But traditional Andalusian white villages are must-sees in Spain too.
After reading this post you won’t question anymore what to see in Spain and where to go in Spain. The answer will be obvious.
10 Best places to visit in Southern Spain:
Plaza de Espana in Seville © World Travel Connector
You can’t travel to southern Spain and not visit Seville.
Royal Seville is the capital of Andalusia, a top tourist destination in Andalusia, and a must-see in southern Spain.
Seville is one of the most famous cities in Spain and one of the best Spanish cities overall. But above all, Seville is one of the most beautiful towns and romantic cities in the World. Seville represents a sublime mix of Andalusian, Islamic, Gypsy, and Jewish cultures with an aristocratic vibe.
So, it’s easy to understand why these days Seville is a popular starting point for the Camino de Santiago Via de la Plata route.
Plaza de Espana in Seville © World Travel Connector
Seville is the hometown of the world’s largest Gothic cathedral – the Seville Cathedral and the seat of one of the most extravagant royal palaces in the World – the Alcázar of Seville.
Royal Alcázar of Seville © World Travel Connector
To feel the spirit of royal Seville means to visit Real Alcazar Palace and Gardens, to climb the graceful Giralda tower of Seville Cathedral for splendid views of Seville, to walk the magnificent Plaza de Espana, take a break in the captivating Parque de Maria Luisa, and in the evening to head to the vibrant neighborhood of Triana for toothsome Andalusian tapas, and watch the best flamenco in Seville.
Royal Alcázar of Seville © World Travel Connector
But the best time to visit Seville and to see Seville in all its glory is during two events: Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Feria de Abril (Seville Fair).
Seville Cathedral © World Travel Connector
During the Holy Week spectacular religious processions go through Seville for a week, and during Feria de Abril Seville celebrates the joy of life by socializing, dancing, eating, and drinking for seven days.
Alcázar of Seville © World Travel Connector
- visit Real Alcazar Palace and Gardens (lately especially famous as a filming location of the Game of Thrones);
- check out Seville Cathedral, the tomb of Cristopher Colombus, and climb Giralda tower (a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Seville);
- stroll the old Jewish quarter of Barrio Santa Cruz;
- visit Church of the Savior;
- admire Plaza de Espana and Parque de Maria Luisa;
- go up to Metropol Parasol, also called “Las Setas”, the largest wooden structure in the world for sunset views of Seville;
- have tapas in the vibrant neighborhood of Triana;
- visit Bullfighting Museum;
- witness world-renewed processions during Holy Week in Seville;
- attend Feria de Abril (the Seville Fair), a week-long event of dancing, drinking, eating, and socializing that takes place two weeks after Holy Week.
Where to stay in Seville:
BUDGET: For You Hostel Sevilla – is a fabulous hostel in downtown Seville. The hostel is in a beautifully renowned 18th-century old house. It offers both private and dormitory rooms.
MID-RANGE: Puerta Catedral Indias Lofts – is a wonderful apartment complex in the heart of Seville and within walking distance to all famous Seville attractions. The apartments come with the best views of the Old Town of Seville.
UPSCALE: Hotel Casa Del Poeta – is an exceptional 4-star hotel in the historic center of Seville. Staying in this luxury hotel grants lifelong memories of Seville.
Alhambra in Granada © World Travel Connector
Seville is aristocratic, but Granada is arty.
You might easily fall in love with the grandeur of Seville, but you can also end madly in love with the bohemian spirit of Granada.
Alhambra in Granada © World Travel Connector
Arty and bohemian Granada is located in Darro Valley in the foothill of the legendary Sierra Nevada.
Granada was the last bastion of the Arab caliphate. It is home to the Moorish masterpiece of Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens.
Although the Alhambra Palace is the most visited site in Spain, Granada is not only about the Alhambra. Granada is also celebrated old Arabic quarter of Albayzin, popular caves of the gypsy quarter of Sacromonte, charming narrow cobbled streets, cozy Andalusian tapas bars, and much more!
Albaicín neighborhood in Granada © World Travel Connector
Needless to say, Granada is not only one of the best places to visit in the south of Spain. It is also one of the best cities in Spain to visit!!
Albaicín neighborhood in Granada in Andalusia © World Travel Connector
Best things to do in Granada Spain:
- and Generalife Gardens;
- stroll Carrera del Darro, the main cobbled-stone street in Granada along the Darro River;
- walk around the old Arabic quarter of Albayzin;
- watch the sunset from Plaza de San Nicolás in Albayzin;
- enjoy an authentic flamenco show in the gypsy quarter of Sacromonte;
- visit Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel;
- have some free tapas in Granada (yes, tapas are free in Granada!);
- pamper yourself with a spa treatment at Hammam Al Andalus;
- have aromatic tea with Moorish pastries in one of Granada’s famous teterías (teahouses);
- hike Sierra Nevada National Park
Where to stay in Granada:
Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba © World Travel Connector
Historic Cordoba was the capital of Moorish Spain.
Today Cordoba is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Spain. In fact, Cordoba is a historic gem in Andalusia with a supreme romantic vibe.
Cordoba is one of the top Andalusia destinations!
Cordoba is the home of world-renowned Mezquita-Catedral, a must-see in Spain. When you see La Mezquita, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cordoba, you have to be in awe of it. Medieval Cordoba was praised for religious tolerance between Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
Today Cordoba is also well-known for elegant Roman mosaics, bewitching Arab courtyards with stunning fountains and exotic flowers, trees, and aromatic plants.
Cordoba is famous for its courtyards © World Travel Connector
Wandering Juderia, the Old Jewish quarter in Cordoba, and admiring patios along Calleja de las Flores (Alley of the Flowers) in Juderia is a special delight. Visiting Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos palace with gardens and walking the historical Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir river means going back to medieval times in a glimpse of an eye.
A patio in Cordoba in Southern Spain © World Travel Connector
The best time to visit Cordoba is May when Fiesta de Los Patios (the annual Courtyard Festival) happens. During the festival, Cordobese patios filled with blooming geraniums are open to the public, while streets in Cordoba are all filled with flowers’ scents.
Cordoba should be on any list of cities to visit in Spain!
Mezquita in Cordoba © World Travel Connector
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba © World Travel Connector
- visit La Mezquita, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cordoba;
- wander Juderia, the Old Jewish quarter in Cordoba;
- admire patios along Calleja de las Flores (Alley of the Flowers) in Juderia;
- see Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos palace with gardens;
- walk the historical Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir river;
- enjoy classic Andaluz dishes (don’t forget to try salmorejo!);
- in May visit Fiesta de Los Patios, the annual Courtyard Festival, and Contest when Cordobese patios filled with geraniums are open to the public and when streets in Cordoba are full of blossoms and scents.
Where to stay in Cordoba:
BUDGET: Mayflowers Hostel – is a beautiful hostel with a superb location in the heart of Cordoba and within walking distance of main tourist attractions.
MID-RANGE: Hacienda Posada de Vallina – is a fabulous 3-star hotel in the Jewish Quarter and with easy access to the most famous sites in Cordoba.
UPSCALE: Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba – is a superb palace-like 4-star hotel with beautiful rooms and courtyards in the center of Cordoba.
Cádiz in Andalusia in the south of Spain © World Travel Connector
Cadiz is a marvelous Andalusian city on the Atlantic ocean with a breathtaking seafront promenade.
Cadiz is the oldest city in Spain. But, above all Cadiz is one of the most beautiful south Spain cities.
Cadiz is one of the best places to visit in Southern Spain for great seafood, pretty beaches, and friendly people.
For history buffs, let’s say that Cadiz was founded by Phoenicians 3.000 years ago and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. Worth mentioning as well, the first constitution of Spain called La Pepa was established in Cadiz in the 19th century.
Cádiz in Andalucia © World Travel Connector
Cadiz in Andalusia is best known for the great seafood and some of the best European urban beaches. Cadiz is one of the best beach towns in southern Spain. Check out La Caleta beach, Santa Maria Del Mar beach, or La Victoria beach in Cadiz and you will find out some of the best beaches in southern Spain.
To be in Cadiz means to enjoy long walks along the Cadiz seafront, indulge in great Spanish seafood in traditional Andalusian taverns, or hang out with locals at the central market (Mercado Central) while tasting fresh local food.
Cádiz Cathedral © World Travel Connector
Things to do in Cadiz:
- stroll Cadiz seafront promenade and admire great views of Cadiz and the Atlantic ocean;
- walk Plaza de San Juan de Dios, the main square in Cadiz;
- visit Cadiz Cathedral built in Baroque and Neoclassical style;
- taste traditional Spanish food at Mercado Central (the central market in Cadiz);
- enjoy extraordinary tasty Spanish seafood tapas;
- visit San Sebastian Castle (a UNESCO site) and Santa Catalina Castle;
- stroll Barrio El Pópulo, Cadiz oldest quarter;
- take a break in Genoves Park, the largest public garden in the city;
- take a walk to beautiful Alameda Apodaca park;
- see Monument to the Constitution of 1812 at Plaza de España in Cadiz;
- take a sunbath or swim on La Caleta beach, Santa Maria Del Mar beach, or La Victoria beach
Where to stay in Cadiz:
Jerez in Andalusia in Southern Spain © World Travel Connector
Jerez is the heart and the essence of Andalusia.
Jerez de la Frontera is the birthplace of flamenco and the hometown of Andalusian horses and sherry wine. Yes, this is the place where sensual and passionate flamenco music was born and where noble Andalusian horses are bred.
Jerez in Andalusia © World Travel Connector
Jerez is the perfect place to indulge in authentic sherry wine and some extraordinary mouthwatering tapas bites in old sherry stores called ‘tabancos‘ where wines go directly from the barrels to your glass. Take ‘ruta de tabancos‘ for an authentic sherry experience! Jerez is one of the best places to visit in Spain in May when Feria del Caballo, the annual fair of flamenco, sherry wine, and Andalusian horses takes place.
Jerez in Andalusia in Southern Spain © World Travel Connector
Unquestionably, Jerez is one of the most authentic cities in southern Spain and one of the unique places to visit in Spain.
Me at Feria de Jerez © World Travel Connector
Things to do in Jerez:
- take a wine tour in Jerez;
- visit Alcazar the Jerez, the Moorish fortress;
- take a peek into the life of Spanish aristocracy at Palacio del Virrey Laserna;
- watch a 90-min show of Andalusian horses at the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre;
- attend Feria de Jerez (also known as Feria del Caballo), the annual fair of sherry wine and horses in May.
Where to stay in Jerez de la Frontera:
Ronda in Andalusia
Ronda is the most spectacular and dramatic Andalusian town sitting on the cliff above the El Tajo gorge.
Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting with the Plaza de Toro, the oldest bullring in Spain. Ronda is one of the most picturesque towns in Andalusia and one of those unforgettable must-see places in Spain. The impressive Puente Nuevo bridge over the gorge and Banos Arabes, one of the best-preserved Arab Baths in Andalusia, are sites not to be missed in Ronda.
Ronda has been especially loved by writers, artists, and alike. Just to say, Ernest Hemingway and Alexander Dumas praised the beauty of Ronda.
I strongly recommend checking out Ronda by yourself on your southern Spain vacation!
Things to do in Ronda Spain:
- visit the 18th century Puente Nuevo bridge;
- walk stunning terraces of Jardines De Cuenca for stunning views of the gorge and the bridge;
- visit Plaza Del Toros, the oldest bullring in Spain;
- take a wine tour on the wine routes to visit some of the vineyards and to taste amazing Andalusian wines;
- visit Banos Arabes, the Arab baths.
Where to stay in Ronda:
Iznajar in Andalucia © World Travel Connector
Iznajar is an unspoiled, traditional whitewashed, and red-roofed hilltop village in Cordoba Province in Andalucia.
It is one of the most beautiful villages in Southern Spain with gorgeous views of 32 km long Iznajar lake, the largest lake in Andalucia. Even more, Iznajar is an entrance to Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park. If you want to see a genuine whitewashed and off-the-beaten-track Andalusian village, you should unquestionably put Iznajar on your itinerary. Especially if you are an outdoor lover. You can swim, sail and do some other water sports on Valdearenas Beach on the Iznajar lake.
Things to do in Iznajar in southern Spain:
- stroll picturesque narrow streets of Iznajar;
- visit the old Moorish castle in Iznajar;
- visit Iglesia de Santiago, the 15th -16th-century church;
- enjoy swimming and watersports in the lake
Where to stay in Iznajar:
MID-RANGE: Casa Las Tinajas – is a lovely small hotel with a gorgeous patio and a seasonal pool near the center of Iznajar. The cozy hotel is renovated in a mix of traditional and modern styles.
8. ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA
Arcos de la Frontera is one of the most must-see places in Southern Spain
Arcos de la Frontera is one of the most beautiful traditional Pueblos Blancos (white towns) in southern Spain sitting on a huge plateau with typical Andalusian narrow and steep streets.
Along with Ronda, Arcos de la Frontera is one of the most dramatically situated towns in Andalusia. And it is only a short drive from Ronda too. This fairy-tale hilltop town offers one of the best views of the awe-inspiring Andalusian countryside.
Things to do in Arcos de la Frontera:
- head to Plaza de Cabildo square to start your visit of Arcos;
- go the castle of Arcos built in the 11th century by the Moors;
- enjoy Arcos’s narrow streets with numerous wonderful patios and stunning balconies;
- visit Church of San Pedro;
- see San Miguel cultural hall;
- head to Mirador of the new rock (a great lookout point);
- visit Casa del Conde del Aguila built in the late Gotic and Mudejar style.
Where to stay in Arcos de la Frontera:
Ubrique is a typical Andalusian whitewashed town © World Travel Connector
Ubrique is a remote traditional Andalusian white town (pueblo banco) in the valley of Rio Ubrique between two natural parks: Grazalema Natural Park and Los Alcornocales Natural Park.
If you are after authentic Pueblo Blanco in a supreme natural setting, you should head to Ubrique. Visitors of Ubrique probably would never guess, but this rather sleepy and utterly beautiful Andalusian town is world-renowned for the leather industry supplying Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and other world’s top designers.
Malaga on Costa del Sol in Andalusia © World Travel Connector
Malaga is the capital of Costa del Sol and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.
Costa del Sol is about the sparkling sun, sandy beaches, and world-known flavorsome food from Spain. And Malaga, the capital of Costa del Sol proves it the best. Undoubtedly, Malaga is one of the best Spain vacation spots and one of the best cities in Spain for leisure and pleasure as it is one of the most beautiful beach cities in Spain.
Malaga in southern Spain © World Travel Connector
Malaga proudly holds more than 30 museums, among which Museo Pablo Picasso is probably best known. For striking views of Malaga, head to the 11th-century Gibralfaro Castle and Moorish fortress of Alcazaba.
Malaga © World Travel Connector
But Malaga is also one of the best destinations in Spain for foodies. If you want to make the most of your holidays in Malaga, visit one of the numerous Michelin star restaurants, traditional tapas bars, and upscale cocktail bars in Malaga.
A boat in Malaga Bay, Spain © World Travel Connector
Bodega in Malaga, Spain © World Travel Connector
- visit Alcazaba, the Moorish palace from the 11th century;
- visit La Manquita, Malaga’s Cathedral;
- see Theatro Romano (Roman Theatre);
- admire Picasso’s work at the Museo Picasso (Picasso Museum);
- check out Picasso Museo Casa Natal;
- taste fresh food at Mercado Ataranzas (Ataranzas Market);
- take a tapas tour in Malaga;
- enjoy traditional Araba baths at Hammam al Andalus;
- swim at Playa Malaguetta (Malaga Beach);
- do some sightseeing in Malaga by bus;
- take a day trip to Gibraltar
Where to stay in Malaga
BUDGET: Alcazaba Premium Hotel – a 2-star hotel near La Caleta Beach, Picasso Museum, and Alcazaba in the center of Malaga. The hotel rooms come with high ceilings, comfortable beds, and lovely balconies.
MID-RANGE: Hotel Eurostars Málaga, – is a 4-star hotel with spacious and modern rooms in Malaga. The hotel is within a 5-min walk to Malaga train station and a 20-min walk to the city center.
UPSCALE: Gran Hotel Miramar, – is a superb 5-star hotel with a spa center, gym, seasonal pool, and beautiful garden in a top location in Malaga. This beachfront hotel provides spacious and magnificently decorated rooms.
RECOMMENDED READ – ANDALUCIA TRAVEL GUIDES
MAP OF BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTHERN SPAIN
Southern Spain map: Best places in Southern Spain to see
The best way to visit all these places in Andalucia is to take a road trip. If you are interested in how to visit them all in one trip, you should read: The Ultimate Southern Spain Itinerary