Driving itinerary for Southern Spain

 

On the southern coast within the Costa Del Sol (Coast Of The Sun) in the autonomous region of Andalucía is the port city of Málaga, the 6th largest city in Spain. Though more well known for it's high rise hotels, resorts and sandy beaches, the cities history spans nearly 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras make Málaga's historic centre an open air museum. Highlights include the two hilltop citadels, the Alcazaba and the partially ruined Gibralfaro, both remnants of Moorish rule. From their high vantage point both offer fantastic views over the city, the port and the long coastline.

1. Malaga

48 km, 1 hour from Malaga.

 

Heading north from Malaga, in the Sierra Del Torcal mountain range is the 17 square kilometre (6.5 square mile) nature reserve of Torcal De Antequera. Known for it's unusual land formations, the area is considered one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe, with the entire nature reserve having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Torcal De Antequera

 

114 km, 1 hour 30 minutes from Torcal De Antequera, or 126 km, 1 hour 40 minutes direct from Malaga.

 

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains is the beautiful city of Granada. Among the narrow cobbled streets that snake around the hilly terrain, Granada is known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation, and none are more impressive than the world renowned, Alhambra.

Built around the 13th century, the Alhambra is a sprawling hilltop fortress complex that encompasses royal palaces, viewing patios, reflecting pools, fountains, orchards and landscape gardens. One of the countries most visited attractions as well as one of the most famous buildings on the planet, the Alhambra is a jewel of man made construction within stunning natural surroundings. Certainly one of the most incredible fortified palaces on the continent, shortlisted as a candidate for one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World, it has unsurprisingly been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Granada

 

61.5 km, 1 hour from Granada.

Between Granada and Cordoba on the slopes of La Mota is the small city of Alcala La Real, a lovely stop off between these two better known points. Much like its larger neighbour, Granada, the city is one of narrow streets and steep hills dominated by a large Moorish fortress, its centre is a place of small whitewashed houses and large ancient churches.

4. Alcalá La Real

 

113 km, 1 hour 40 minutes from Alcala La Real or 201 km, 2 hours 15 minutes directly from Granada.

In the city of Córdoba, directly north of the southern port city of Málaga is one of the finest pieces of architecture in the world, The Mosque Cathedral Of Córdoba, sometimes referred to as The Great Mosque Of Córdoba or The Cathedral Of Our Lady Of The Assumption. Starting out as a Catholic church in the 7th century, when Muslims conquered Spain in 711 AD it was transformed into a grand Mosque, which it remained until 1236 AD when Spain was returned to Christian rule. Considered one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture, it's incredible interior is certainly one of the most artistically decorated and impeccably designed buildings on the planet. Easily one of Spain's most renowned landmarks, one of the countries most visited attractions, The Mosque Cathedral Of Córdoba has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Mezquita-Catedral De Córdoba

 

141 km, 1 hour 45 from Cordoba.

 

In the south west of the country, famous for orange trees and flamenco dancing is the beautiful city of Seville, the fourth largest city in Spain, the capital and largest city of the autonomous region of Andalucía, and the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. Home to the third largest old town in Europe as well as the third largest church in the world, Seville is one of the countries major tourist cities. With an array of attractions and impressive landmarks, the city is also home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

For a more in depth look at what there is to see i this beautiful city, click here for the Must See Places In Seville... 

6. Seville

 

121 km, 1 hour 20 from Seville.

 

In the extreme west of the country, situated on a thin strip of land along the Atlantic coast is the city of Cadiz, regarded as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of Western Europe, with remains dating back some 3,100 years. Typically Andalusian, it holds a wealth of attractive vistas and well preserved historical landmarks. Within the remnants of the ancient city walls is the old town, where old winding alleyways connect large plazas between its various quarters.

7. Cadiz

 

104 km, 1 hour 15 minutes from Cadiz or 183 km, 2 hours 10 minutes from Seville to the port city of Algeciras. From Algeciras a ferry to Ceuta takes around 45 minutes.

Separated from the Spanish mainland by the Strait Of Gibraltar, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, bordered by Morocco on the African continent is the Spanish Autonomous city of Ceuta. Dominated by Monte Anyera, a hill that runs along its western frontier with Morocco, Ceuta is home to two ancient forts, a long coastline and modern shopping streets throughout its centre.

8. Ceuta

 

21 km, 30 minutes from Algeciras or 197 km, 2 hours and 15 minutes directly from Seville.

 

At the tip of the Iberian Peninsula within the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is the monolithic limestone Rock Of Gibraltar, also known as one of the Pillars of Hercules. Rising an enormous 426 metres (1,398 ft) high on the Mediterranean coast, it is undoubtedly one of the most famous monolithic rocks in the world. Most of the upper area of the rock is covered by nature reserve, home to around 300 Barbary macaques, which along with the labyrinth of tunnels and the Moorish Castle attracts a large number of tourists every year. Though the Rock Of Gibraltar is not within Spain, it is on Spanish territory that visitors can get the best view of it.

9. Gibraltar

 

110 km, 1 hour 45 minutes from Gibraltar or 123 km, 1 hour 50 minutes from Malaga.

Once a traditional whitewashed village of Andalusia, in 2011 to celebrate the premiere of the Smurfs movie the entire village of Juzcar, including the church, was painted smurf-blue. Though the agreement with Sony included repainting every building back to its original white, a referendum held by the villagers resulted in the village remaining blue. Because of this, Juzcar has seen its tourism increase by more than ten times.

10. Juzcar

 

24 km, 30 minutes from Juzcar or 102 km, 1 hour 30 minutes from Malaga.

 

Directly to the west of Malaga is city of Ronda, famous for the Puente Nuevo, meaning New Bridge. Construction began in 1751 AD and took 42 years to complete. Spanning a 120 metre (390 ft) chasm that divides the city, with a height of 98 metres (321 ft) within absolutely beautiful natural surroundings, the Puente Nuevo is one of the most iconic, dramatic, picturesque and famous bridges in the world.

11. Ronda

 

18 km, 30 minutes from Ronda or 96 km,1 hour 25 minutes from Malaga.

Directly north of Ronda is the small town of Setenil De Las Bodegas, famous for it's whitewashed houses built into the overhanging rock. Extending along the Rio Trejo Gorge, in places it appears as if enormous boulders rest on the buildings themselves. The towns hilltop castle was once an Arab fortress, which today offers visitors fantastic views over the town and the surrounding countryside.

12. Setenil De Las Bodegas

 

52 km, 1 hour from Setenil De Las Bodegas or 75 km, 1 hour 15 minutes from Malaga.

 

North west of the southern port city of Málaga is the small village of El Chorro, meaning 'The Cascade', one of the most popular rock climbing locations in the country due to it's proximity to Desfiladero De Los Gaitanes, meaning 'Gorge Of The Gaitanes'. The gorge is famous for a walkway called Camino Del Rey (King's Pathway) which hangs 100 metres (328 ft) above the river below. Pinned along steep walls of the narrow gorge, the pathway was re-opened in 2015 after extensive repairs following a series of deaths. Though what stands there today is effectively a brand new walkway, it still holds the reputation of being one of the most dangerous in the world.

13. Desfiladero De Los Gaitanes

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