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Exploring Andalucia, Spain with family

Exploring Andalucia, Spain with family

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Planning an anniversary trip to Spain

What beats celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary in Spain? Nothing in my book, especially when you're inviting four children and spouses to the party. 

Party of ten please! Exact destination? Andalucia, Spain in late September. 

My dad set out to plan a week long celebration vacation in Spain without breaking the bank. He was on a mission to celebrate 50 years with his bride in a big, mindful way. And boy, did his mission succeed! 

Flamenco, bullfighting, tapas and more

Home of flamenco, bullfighting, tapas, and more, Andalucia (or southern Spain) turned out to be all that we could hope for and more as we partied with my parents.

Basing ourselves in Sevilla, Spain's fourth largest city, exposed us to urban sprawl mixed with old town charm, plus sites within easy walking reach. This city and nearby destinations also tell gads of stories centered around centuries of Moorish and Christian history. 

Our home for the week was a spacious 5 bedroom flat just a 10-15 minute stroll from the Alcazar, Cathedral, and the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood. We stayed in a five-bedroom flat, a great apartment in an exclusive area of Sevilla.

Based on our family's time there, what follows is a suggested itinerary for an 8 day* celebratory adventure through southern Spain.


Itinerary for 8 days in Andalusia

Day 1 & 2: Sevilla

From the San Pablo Airport, hop on the city bus from the airport towards downtown. Immediately find a tapas bar for snacks and a cerveza.

Belly full and feeling jet-lagged, check into your lodging and take a nap if need be before heading back out for cafe americano con leche (coffee with hot cream) and more of the tapas scene in the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood. Drink in Sevilla's lively city center.

Sleep in the second day, then venture out for coffee and a stroll through downtown from a different angle. Consider buying and reserving tickets online or in person to visit the Royal Alcazar your final day. 

Visit Spain's Square: Plaza de Espana, and take a carriage ride or rent a gondala. Head back to Barrio Santa Cruz for the evening and hop around the tapas bars. Take a stroll along the long avenues.


Day 3: Cordoba

Hop into a rental car and head towards Cordoba with your sights set on exploring the Mezquita, a fabulously preserved mosque dating back to the 8th century. 

Avoid scammers trying to aggressively "help" you park your car for a small fee.  You've got this!

Grab lunch at a local cafe, tour the fabulously intact Mezquita, followed by a walk through the Jewish Quarter peeking into patio living spaces.

Find some gelato or pastries before walking across the Roman Bridge nearby.


Day 4: Ronda

One of Spain's glorious white hill towns, Ronda is particularly spectacular due to its two bridges spanning the gorge running right through town. 

Drive here from Sevilla for a fun day trip. The drive itself is gorgeous as it winds through the mountains. Park in the underground lot at Plaza de Socorro.

Must-see sights include the Gorge and the New Bridge (Puenta Nuevo), plus let's not forget the Old Bridge. Tour the best bullring and museum in Spain, followed by some souvenir shopping, and then stroll through Alemeda del Tejo, a beautiful large park overlooking the countryside and the old town. 


Day 5: Swing day

My wise old dad built in a swing day or two, where each couple could go out on their own and opt out of running around as a big group.  

Sleeping in and waking up to another sunny day in Sevilla, consider renting bikes to get around town. Go past the bull ring and cross the river into the Triana neighborhood for tapas that locals long for.

Treat yourself to some gelato and meander through town on your bikes a little longer.

Enjoy some shopping or people watching, then go out for dinner and nice glass of wine. Top it off with a little live band on the street corner and a leisurely night stroll.

Late evenings in Sevilla are hard to beat with countless outdoor cafes and laughter everywhere. Drink it in.


Day 6: Granada

Visiting the Alhambra, the final standing Moorish fortress, is why you're here. 

Driving from Sevilla, roll into Granada in time for lunch. Check into a hotel, since this makes a great overnight stop before heading to the coast. Granada is a bit further from Sevilla, so it makes way more sense to stay overnight* versus going back to Sevilla and then making a separate drive to Nerja.

Reservations for visiting the Alhambra during the day are a must. However, visiting in the evening can be cooler, quiet, romantic, and great for a photography session.

Stroll back down the hill towards Plaza Nueva for cerveza, tapas, and people watching.

Wrap up your day walking up through the colorful, vibrant Albayzin neighborhood on your way to the San Nicolas viewpoint. From here, see the Alhambra glowing at night and enjoy a delicious dinner outdoors at the Bar Kiki overlooking Granada. 

*Consider staying at the Hotel Anacapri before you drive down to the coast the next day.

Day 7: Nerja - a taste of Costa del Sol

No trip to Andalusia is complete without a trip to the coast, or Costa del Sol. Head to Nerja, take a break from sight-seeing while cooling off and playing in the Mediterranean Sea.

We suggest an affordable snorkeling excursion with Nerja Dive Resort, located on Burriana Beach. Once you return from your wet suit adventure, walk across the street to Ayo's for a $6 plate of fresh paella. 

Snooze and sun-bathe on Burriana Beach before heading into town for look out over the Mediterranean from the tip of Europe. The Balcony of Europe terrace provides romantic vistas and sunset selfies. Grab dinner at one of the many restaurants near on the plaza. Head back to Sevilla for one final day.

For a different take on southern Spain, check out this 10 day itinerary that includes Malaga, Cadiz, and Gibraltar.


Day 8: Final day in Sevilla

Sevilla's Royal Alcazar is the perfect way to wrap up your Andalusian vacation. If you time it right, you can ogle the royal apartments too. Be sure to book your visit to the Alcazar ahead of time.

Grab lunch nearby, then peruse the Cathedral. Here lies Christoper Columbus' tomb and bunches of fantastic artwork. 

Once your brain is stuffed with history, shop for souvenirs in city centro.

Enjoy one last dinner at El 3 de Oro Restaurant. Then finish the week with a bang by catching an authentic FREE flamenco show at La Carboneria in the old town.

More European One-Week Itineraries

Ciao Bambino shares great tips for activities with kids in Andalucia.

Wondering where else you can spend one week in Europe? These 20 ideas for your Europe trip by Wanderlust Crew will help you decide how to maximize your time.

Our favorite tour guide book for southern Spain

Looking for more behind-the-back-door ideas for drinking in southern Spain? Grab Rick Steves Snapshot Sevilla, Granada, & Southern Spain.

Have you visited southern Spain? Where did you go and what did you do? Please comment below! 

Feel free to share this post with friends and family considering a trip to southern Spain! All photographs belong to Tanya Raedeke and may not be used without written permission.

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