If you’re looking for an unforgettable road trip with your family, look no further than Andalucia Spain. This stunning region in southern Spain is home to endless breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and interesting historical attractions. An Andalucia road trip with kids is truly a must for any family visiting Spain.
We spent three months traveling through the Andalucia region, visiting many southern cities in Spain. During that time, we did as much as we could to experience the region to its fullest. We were so surprised at the many things to do in Andalucia for families!
But whether you’re spending one week in Spain or multiple years, you definitely want to visit Andalucia as part of your southern Spain itinerary. From ancient castles and world-famous cities to stunning mountain scenery and gorgeous beaches, there’s something for everyone in Andalucia.
To help you make the most of your trip, I’ve compiled a list of my family’s fifteen must-sees during an Andalucia road trip with kids. Read on to find out what they are!
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Why you want to do an Andalucia road trip
Road trips are a great way to explore a country. And for families looking for a beautiful and historic region of Spain to road trip through with kids, Andalucia is the perfect place!
Andalucia is located in the south of Spain, and is home to some of the country’s most stunning beaches and mountains. What’s more, Andalucia has a rich history that you and your family can explore while on your road trip. As an aside, an alternate spelling of the region is Andalusia, so I’ll use the two spellings interchangeably here in this post.
Some of the cities in Andalucia that families should visit during their Andalucia road trip include Granada, Seville, Malaga, and Cordoba. Each of these cities of southern Spain has something unique to offer visitors.
Additionally, there is so much nature and activities for families to experience as part of their southern Spain itinerary in Andalucia. It’s really the best place for worldschooling families who love learning about culture and history and who enjoy the outdoors.
Need planning help? Check out my 8 steps to planning a family vacation.
Things to know before your south Spain road trip
Before embarking on an Andalucia road trip, take some time to brush up on the fascinating history of Andalucia. Additionally, get yourself acquainted with getting to Andalucia, and getting around the region as well. Also, be sure to make a budget for your south Spain itinerary, and brush up on your Spanish as well.
Here are some useful things to know about Andalucia before you begin your south Spain road trip.
History of Andalucia
One of the ways we travel responsibly is by learning about the history of the places we visit. And the Andalucia region in southern Spain certainly has a long and rich history. The area was home to the Phoenicians, Romans, Vikings, Visigoths, and Muslims at some point throughout history. These groups all made their imprint on the culture of the Andalucia region.
The name Andalucia is derived from the Arabic word al-Andalus, which means “the land of the Vandals.” Andalucia was part of the Caliphate of Cordoba, which was a Muslim dynasty that ruled much of the Iberian Peninsula. Its origins tie back to the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus, Syria.
In 1492, Andalucia became part of Christian Spain. The Castille and Leon kingdoms in Northern Spain had merged, and Andalucia later became part of that new kingdom. The conquering of Andalucia was part of the Castilians’ campaign of Reconquista, the expansion of Spanish power throughout the Iberian peninsula. The Moors were essentially driven out of southern Spain.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Andalucia played an important role in Spanish exploration across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. Seville, and later Cadiz, were important ports for sending ships across the Atlantic to the American continents and receiving goods from those areas.
Today, Andalucia serves as a popular tourist destination for the Spanish, as well as nationals from other European countries. The area gets sunshine all year round, and has many beautiful beaches to entice visitors.
Getting to your Andalucia road trip
For families planning to fly into Andalucia, you’ll want to fly into an Andalucia airport that’s near the places you plan to visit in the area. The main international airports are located in Seville and Malaga. There is also a domestic Andalucia airport in Almeria, as well as in Cordoba, Granada, and Jerez de la Frontera that are convenient to many places to visit in south Spain.
Besides flying into an Andalucia airport, you can also take a ferry into Andalucia or take a train. If traveling to Andalucia from Morocco, you can opt to take a ferry into Cadiz. From inland Spain, you can take a train into cities like Malaga or Cadiz, where you can start your Andalucia road trip.
Renting a car for your road trip Andalucia adventure
If you’re planning on doing a road trip Andalucia experience, you’ll definitely want to get a rental car. This allows you to travel among the cities of southern Spain with relative ease.
You can go with international brands like Hertz or Europcar. Or you can book with smaller local brands. We went with a car rental company called CarGest that was based out of Malaga.
Keep in mind that the Spanish drive on the right side of the road. In order to drive during your Andalucia road trip, you’ll need to be over 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license and an international driver’s permit. Be sure to get your international driver’s permit before you leave your home country for your south Spain itinerary.
Budget and costs for visiting cities in southern Spain
Even though Spain uses the euro as their currency, the cost of most things in Spain is relatively affordable to travel in compared to other parts of Europe. While lodging in Spain can range from $60 to $150 per night, food costs are relatively inexpensive. This can be beneficial if you’re trying to keep costs down during your Andalusia roadtrip.
A meal of tostada y cafe, a common Spanish breakfast consisting of Iberian ham on a toasted baguette slice and coffee, can cost as little as 3 euros. Our family of four generally spent between 20-40 euros per meal. This would include a dish and a drink for each of us.
Language considerations for a south Spain road trip
Spain’s main language is Spanish, so be sure to learn some Spanish before your trip to Andalucia. Keep in mind, if you learned your basic Spanish phrases from a Latin American country, you’ll be able to get by, but there may be a few differences in the Spanish that you encounter in Spain.
For starters, Spanish speakers in Spain use the “vosotros” form for “you all”, rather than “ustedes”. Additionally, there are words used in Spain that are different from words used in other Spanish-speaking countries: aparcamiento versus estacionamiento; alquilar versus rentar; coche versus carro; boligrafo versus pluma.
To prepare for speaking Spanish during your Andalucia road trip, use the Amazon affiliate links below to buy one of these Spanish language books:
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Logistical tips for your Andalucia road trip with kids
The best way to enjoy your Andalucia road trip is to be prepared and take your time. It’s also helpful to try and experience the local culture as much as possible as you’re experiencing all the places to visit in south Spain. Andalucia is so rich in culture and history!
Here are some additional logistical tips to help you and your family enjoy your road trip south Spain experience.
Recommended days for your road trip southern Spain itinerary
To fully enjoy this Andalucia road trip itinerary, it’s best to set aside three to four weeks. That way, you can spend at least two days in each of the southern cities in Spain that I highlight here, and a day to enjoy the smaller cities and activities.
Many of the places to visit in Andalucia are along the coast. But there are some inland cities and destinations to visit too. Here is a sample itinerary for a 21 day southern Spain road trip. I recommend expanding this multiple day Andalucia road trip route to a month, so you can spend a few extra days in each of the cities:
- Malaga (Days 1-2)
- Aventura Amazon (Day 3)
- Caminito del Rey (Day 4)
- Cadiz (Days 5-6)
- Seville (Days 7-8)
- Cordoba (Days 9-10)
- Granada (Days 11-12)
- Hiking in the mountains (Day 13)
- MiniHollywood (Day 14)
- Frigliana (Day 15)
- Almuñécar (Day 16)
- Coastal hikes (Day 17)
- Torre Del Mar (Day 18)
- Nerja Caves (Day 19)
- Beach time (Day 20)
- Malaga (Day 21)
If you’re pressed for time, with your south Spain itinerary 8 days or fewer, I suggest only visiting the cities in southern Spain in order to make the most of your Andalucia road trip. Here’s a suggested itinerary for one week in Spain.
- Malaga (Day 1)
- Cadiz (Day 2)
- Seville (Day 3)
- Cordoba (Day 4)
- Granada (Days 5-6)
- Malaga (Day 7)
Alternatively, you can localize yourself around Malaga and spend your one week in Spain visiting the city sights and doing day excursions to Caminito del Rey, Granada, Nerja, and Frigliana. Feel free to be creative with your Spain itinerary.
Lodging ideas for your Andalucia road trip
Andalucia is full of beautiful cities and small towns where you can stay during your Andalucia road trip. In the major cities, you’ll be able to find lodging through Booking, Expedia, or Airbnb.
We prefer Airbnb because it gives us a chance to experience living in a city like a local. But if you prefer hotel stays for your Andalusia roadtrip, there are many wonderful hotels to stay during your south Spain road trip.
Road trip south Spain packing tips
When it comes to packing for your Andalucia road trip, you’ll need the basic travel essentials. Whether you’re packing for a week in Spain or five months in Spain, you’ll want to pack things like clothes, shoes, and light sweater or jacket.
We recommend bringing along your bathing suit if you want to go swimming on the beach or experience a traditional Moroccan hammam bath. And if you’re planning to do some Andalucia hiking, remember to bring good shoes for the outdoors.
If you’re doing your Andalusia tour in the summer, you’ll need to pack warm weather clothes, because it will be hot. For winter travel, bring along plenty of layers because the temperature can fluctuate between cold and balmy.
You’ll also need to get a good bag or backpack for traveling with kids during your Andalusia road trip. If you’re a carry-on only type of traveler, we recommend these bags:
If you’re looking for a larger capacity bag to check on your flight, we recommend this bag:
Major cities of southern Spain to visit on your Andalucia road trip
Andalucia has so many amazing cities to explore! Many of these places to visit in south Spain are packed with multiple layers of history and culture, influenced by all the civilizations that have touched this area.
I highly recommend spending more than a week in Spain in order to get the most out of your visit to Andalucia. The following is a list of our favorite southern cities in Spain that you can visit on your Andalucia road trip.
Malaga is a coastal city that is full of art and history. It’s one of the best places to visit in Andalucia to kick off your Andalusia road trip. The city is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. It’s also the hometown of famous actor, Antonio Banderas (he owns a theater called Teatro del Soho in the southern part of Malaga!).
Families will love this city for its beautiful beaches, as well as the beautiful plazas and pedestrians walkways. Malaga has several museums, including a Center Pompidou art museum.
As for history, the old town part of the city is home to the Roman ruins of a theater that you can walk through. And there’s also the Alcazaba and the Castillo del Gibralforo, old fortresses that were built by the Moors.
Points of interest in Malaga during your Andalucia road trip:
- Mercado Central
- Jardín Botánico
- Malaga Park
- Playa la Malagueta
- Malaga Museum
- Picasso Museum
- Home of Picasso
- Centre Pompidou
- Museum Carmen Thyssen
- Teatro Romano
- Castillo del Gibralforo
Book these Malaga tours in southern Spain for your Andalucia road trip:
The city of Cadiz was one of the ports used by the Spanish during their colonial period. It served as a port for bringing goods from and to Latin America, and eventually became the home port for the Spanish Navy.
But even before that, Cadiz was already an important city. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Western Europe, inhabited by Phoenicians, Romans and Moors. Today, Cadiz is one of the best places to visit in southern Spain for families wanting some history during their Andalucia road trip.
The city is known for its many watch towers. And at Torre Tavira, one of the towers in Cadiz, there is a camera obscura that allows you to get 360 degree views of the city!
Points of interest in Cadiz for your Andalucia road trip:
- Teatro Romano
- Torre Tavira
- Castillo de Santa Catalina
- Parque Genovés
- Mercado Central Cadiz
- Muralla de San Carlos
- Paseo de Vendaval
Book these Cadiz tours in southern Spain for your Andalucia road trip:
Cordoba is a great place for families to learn about the influence of Islam in southern Spain. The history of Cordoba dates back to Roman times. But when Cordoba was ruled by the Moors later on, it became an important center of Islamic culture and learning.
The Mezquita-Cathedral of Cordoba, which was originally a mosque, is a testament to Cordoba’s Moorish past. The city also has a historic Jewish quarter. Today, Cordoba is a popular tourist destination for people of all ages.
Cordoba also has beautiful private courtyards, called patios, that are filled with colorful flowers and plants. Many of these patios are open to the public during the Festival de los Patios in May. This festival is a great opportunity to see Cordoba’s traditional architecture and culture.
If you’re looking for a city with a rich history and plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy, Cordoba is definitely worth a visit!
Points of interest in Cordoba for your Andalucia road trip:
- Mezquita-Cathedral de Cordoba
- Barrio de la Juderia
- Mercado Victoria
- Templo Romano
- Patios of Cordoba
- Plaza de la Corrodera
- Hammam al-Andalus
- The Roman Bridge
- La Casa Andalusi
Book these Cordoba tours in southern Spain for your Andalucia road trip:
Granada is a city steeped in history. The Moors occupied Granada for centuries, and the city’s Moorish influence is still evident today. Granada was the last Muslim city to be conquered during the Reconquista.
Granada is a popular tourist destination, and there’s plenty to see and do here during your Andalusia road trip. One of the city’s most popular attractions is the Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This Moorish palace and fortress is truly breathtaking.
Streets like Calle Elvira and Calle Caldereria Nueva are famous for their Moroccan style stores, restaurants, and teterias (tea shops). If you’re looking for things to do in Andalusia that’s a bit more lively, Granada is well-known for its great flamenco shows. Additionally, you can enjoy a Moroccan style bath at Hammam al-Andalus in Granada.
If you want an easy way to access some of the tourist sites of Granada, consider getting a Granada card.
Points of interest in Granada for your Andalucia road trip:
- Alhambra and the Generalife
- Hammam Al-Andalus
- Museo de Patio
- Calle Calderería Nueva
- Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte
- Mirador de San Nicolás
- Tablao Flamenco Jardines de Zoraya
- Granada Cathedral
- Museo San Juan de Dios
Book these Granada tours in southern Spain for your Andalucia road trip:
With its rich history and culture, Seville is another one of the best places to visit in Andalucia families as there is plenty to see and do in the city. Seville was founded by the Romans who called it Hispalis. It later fell under Muslim power before falling under the rule of the Castilians.
Seville played an important role during the age of Spanish colonialism. The city was the departure point for many Spanish sailors heading out to the North and South American continent. Today, Seville is a vibrant city with a lively nightlife and plenty of cultural attractions. It’s an important city to include on your Andalusia tour.
The Guadalquivir River flows through the city and is a popular spot for locals and visitors to relax. To the west of the Guadalquivir River is the neighborhood of Triana, known for its great restaurants, pottery, and flamenco culture.
In the central part of Seville, the Seville Cathedral is a popular point of interest, and is an example of Islamic mosques that were converted to cathedrals by the Spanish. The Giralda bell tower of the cathedral actually used to be a minaret of the mosque that once stood in its place.
Points of interest in Seville for your Andalucia road trip:
- Triana neighborhood
- Setas de Seville (also known as the Metropol Parasol)
- Seville Cathedral
- Royal Alcazar
- Plaza Espana
- Guadalquivir River
- Flamenco performance
- Roman Aqueduct
- Columnas de Hercules
Book these Seville tours in southern Spain for your Andalucia road trip:
Smaller cities to visit on your Andalucia road trip
While Andalucia is certainly filled with many historic and beautiful cities, there are also a large number of smaller cities and towns that are worth visiting. Take a look at some of my favorite smaller cities that you can visit during your Andalucia road trip.
If you’re looking for beautiful and charming places to visit in southern Spain with your kids, Frigiliana is a great choice. This tiny village is located in the province of Malaga, Andalusia, and is known for its whitewashed buildings and stunning mountain views.
The main attraction is the Casco Historico, or historic center. This area is full of narrow streets and whitewashed houses, many of which have lovely flower gardens. You’ll also find some great small shops and restaurants.
Frigiliana is also a great place to incorporate hiking into your southern Spain itinerary. A short hike goes up to the ruins of the Castillo de Lizar. But there are plenty of other great trails that wind their way through the hills around Frigiliana. These trails offer amazing views of the village, and on a clear day, you may be able to look across the Mediterranean Sea and view the coast of Morocco!
Here’s a Frigiliana and other white towns tour you can book for your family:
7. Torre Del Mar
Torre del Mar is another one of the charming coastal places to visit in southern Spain. It’s located in the province of Malaga and it’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in southern Europe. Lining the beach is a paved walkway that stretches about two miles.
The pathway along Torre del Mar is a great place to bike. Several bike rental shops are located along the Paseo Maritimo Levante, and families can rent bikes by the hour.
There are also plenty of playgrounds and restaurants along the beach at Torre del Mar. If you’re looking for a chill activity to do with your kids, Torre del Mar is a perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Almunecar is another beautiful town in southern Spain and is a perfect place to visit with kids. Families visiting Almunecar can experience the Cave of the Seven Palaces, visit the El Majuelo Botanical Park, and walk through the Castillo de San Miguel.
The Paseo San Cristobal runs along the coast of Almunecar, and has some great restaurants for families to enjoy an afternoon meal near the beach. For some fun beach play, families can visit Playa San Cristobal.
Planning to visit other parts of Europe? Read my Europe posts for ideas!
Other South Spain road trip activities to do
Besides visiting cities during your Andalucia road trip, there are also specific activities that I highly recommend for families. Here are my favorite activities for families to do during your South Spain road trip.
9. Nerja Caves
If you’re looking for an interesting day trip to take with your family during your Andalusia tour, Nerja Caves is a great option. Located near the town of Maro, the Nerja Caves, also known as the Cueva de Nerja, is a network of caverns that were formed over millions of years by the erosion of limestone. These caves are home to some amazing geological features, including stalactites and stalagmites.
Nerja Caves are open every day from 9:30am to 4:30pm every day. A visit to the Nerja Caves will make for an interesting and educational experience for kids, who will love exploring the different chambers and learning about how these caves were formed.
10. Mini Hollywood in Tabernas
Another option for things to do in Andalucia is to visit Oasys: MiniHollywood. This place is a wild west town in Tabernas, Spain that families can visit to step into a Wild West experience. MiniHollywood is located in the province of Almeria in southern Spain, and it’s easy to get to by car.
The attraction was originally built in the 1960s as a set for spaghetti Western films (films about the Wild West that were directed by Italian filmmakers). These films were shot in southern Spain because the landscape and weather resembled that of the American West.
MiniHollywood was used as a backdrop for many famous spaghetti Westerns including For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and A Fistful of Dollars. Parts of Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were also filmed at MiniHollywood.
Today, MiniHollywood is an amusement park with shops, restaurants, a cowboy show, a film museum, and a zoo. If you’re a fan of Wild West movies (or even if you’re not), MiniHollywood is a fun and kitschy place to spend the day with your kids.
11. Zip lining during your Andalucia road trip at Aventura Amazonia
Just outside of the city of Malaga is Aventura Amazonia. It’s located in the town of Marbella and touts itself as the largest adventure park in Andalucia. If your family is into zip lining and climbing, then you’ll need to include this place in your itinerary for southern Spain.
Aventura Amazonia is essentially a ropes course park with zip lines. There are circuits to suit varying levels of difficulty. Kids and adults will both have fun at Aventura Amazonia, as there are circuits that are easy for young kids, and there are more challenging courses for older teens and adults.
Safety is important at Aventura Amazonia, and before every session, participants go through a training and orientation to learn how to clip on and off the course. The park uses a special magnetic clip, so at every point that you’re on a circuit, you will always be clipped onto the line.
12. El Caminito del Rey
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Andalusia, consider a visit to El Caminito del Rey, located near the famous white town of Ronda. This one way hike, also known as the “King’s Walkway,” is a narrow platform walkway that goes along the Guadalhorce River and ends at El Chorro dam.
The Caminito del Rey was once considered the most dangerous in the world, because of its height (at times as high as 100 meters above the river), the narrowness of the walkway (only one meter wide), and the lack of side rails. In 2015, it was restored and is now safe for visitors.
The trail is approximately 8 km long, and requires timed entry. You’ll need to purchase your tickets ahead of time online. Tickets cost 10 euros per person without a guide, and 18 euros per person with a guide. Children under the age of 8 are not allowed to go on the Caminito del Rey due to safety concerns.
Families looking for adventure definitely need to include this walk on their Andalucia road trip.
13. Hike in the mountains during your south Spain road trip
The Andalucia region is a great place for hiking during your south Spain road trip. The Sierra Nevada, the main mountain range in Andalucia, located near Granada, offers plenty of Andalucia hiking opportunities for families. But there are also trails you can access near the cities of Frigliana and Malaga that are also worth doing.
Wikiloc is an excellent resource to use to find trails in the area. It will give you information about the trail such as distance, elevation, type of trail, and level of difficulty. There’s also a map of the trail, so you can see where to start and end. Hiking in Andalucia is a great way to experience the beautiful nature of the area.
Here’s an Andalucia hiking tour you can book from Malaga:
14. Enjoy some coastal Andalucia hiking
If Andalucia hiking in the mountains is not your thing, you can also try some hikes along the Andalucia beaches and coast. Wikiloc has some fun hikes along the coast that are perfect for families.
Here are a few hikes to try along the Andalucian coast:
- Trails around Cerro Gordo near La Herradura and Almunecar
- Torre Vigía del Cambrón, Fortaleza or Castillo Árabe, and la Bóveda Medieval in Salobreña
- Torre de Calaceite (Torrox Costa), Torre Macaca and La Torrecilla (Nerja)
15. Visit the Andalucia beaches time during your Andalucia road trip
By far, the best reason to take an Andalucia road trip is to enjoy the beautiful Andalucia beaches of the region. Almost every city along the Andalucia coast has amazing beaches to visit.
As you’re driving through this region of Spain, build in some time during your itinerary for southern Spain to experience things to do in Andalusia on the beach.
Want to explore more of Spain? Check out my Spain posts.
Making your Andalucia road trip memorable and fun
There are so many things to see and things to do in Andalucia. You will surely have no trouble packing your Andalucia road trip itinerary with activities and seeking out all the best places to visit in Andalucia with your kids.
For our family, even though we spent almost three months in Andalucia, we felt like we barely scratched the surface. There were still so many places we didn’t get to visit, and things we didn’t get to experience.
My advice for families planning an Andalucia road trip is to take your time. This will give you the best opportunity to experience Andalucia to its fullest, and make lasting memories with your family. But even if you only have a week in Spain, you can still enjoy many things in Andalucia.
Have you done an Andalucia road trip with your kids? Where did you go, and what was your favorite part? Share your top south Spain road trip travel tips and your itinerary for southern Spain with us in the comments below!
Are you visiting Andalucia as part of a bigger family travel adventure? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.
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