All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.Martin Buber
After a weekend in Barcelona it was time for the much awaited bit of the surprise I had planned for Amoli – our first road trip outside UK. They say “Travel liberates Your Soul” and that’s what I personally needed the most when some dark clouds where hovering over my mind and heart. So here is a Perfect 7 Day Itinerary for an Andalucía Road Trip.
Day 1: Arrival at Malaga and Drive to Andújar National Park
After a splendid weekend at Barcelona we were arrived early at Malaga. I had booked a car – our first left hand drive and after some jittery few minutes we were on our way. We were soon out of the city limits and heading north through Olive country. The olive crop is abundant in Jaèn and lines both sides of the roads and stretches as far as the eye can see.
After a quick lunch break at a local services we head towards the perimeter of Andujar National Park to our hotel – La Caracola Casa Rural. Located midst the beautiful nature of this was an absolutely stunning locale for this perfect family driven rural accommodation.
An evening safari with our guides from IberianLynxLand was promising but not fruitful and we settled into a sumptuous meal and a relaxing bed.
Read more details in our 4 day Safari diary – Click here.
Day 2-3: Lynx- Where are you?
Spotting a territorial cat like the Lynx is a hard job and one that needs bucket loads of patience. For the next 2 days we kept heading back to the same vantage points to see everything from Wild boars, Spanish Eagles, Red and spotted deer’s and much more but not the elusive Lynx. On Day 2 we did catch a glimpse of the Lynx from the telescope a long distance away relaxing in the bushes but nothing more than that. Despair was setting in now!
Read more of our Lynx Safari experience – Click here.
Day 4: And Finally – A long Amazing day
So it was our final half day of looking for the elusive Lynx- Our hopes had diminished and honestly turned quite pessimistic at this point. However the gods were on our side this day.
Yes!! We did see the elusive Iberian Lynx Cat. The cat was spotted sprinting between the bushes downhill while we aimed our lenses and then there it was – slowly walking uphill before turning back to give us that perfect picture. What an amazing moment – We had finally seen the Iberian Lynx – one of the most endangered cat in the world.
It was all happy faces and after a good group pic we bid goodbyes to the IberianLynxLand team who have been absolutely amazing and friendly over the last few days. The wildlife safari on the mountains of Andujar National park was simply surreal – Read more in detail.
We made our way through the winding roads towards Cordoba. A beautiful drive through Spanish countryside and we were at Cordoba – one of the best towns we have been in this Road trip. The Roman Bridge of Cordoba which stands strong on its first AD foundation has a lot of historical significance and is definitely worth a stroll.
One building puts Cordoba on the world map – the mesmerizing multi arched Mesquita. It’s one of the most significant Islamic buildings and an impressive example of Spanish Islamic Architecture. We bought the tickets at the vending machines and had an amazing time gazing at the beautiful red and white striped marble arches. We then head out and made our way exploring the narrow alleyways of the town – it’s a labyrinth of white buildings and is simply spectacular.
The daylight at this time of the year (April) is until 9 PM which meant we drove to Seville and made our way to the much heard of Plaza de España. This is one of the best city squares which I have ever visited and it was quite lively with the evening crows as the sun set.
We then walked around the town and made our way to the Seville Cathedral before having a tedious time finding a restaurant which serves Paella. Luckily we found quite an amazing pub but they wouldn’t serve the Paella as the wait times were over an hour! Had a quick meal and made our way back to hotel and crashed on our beds for the day.
An absolutely jam-packed day wherein we started with spotting the Lynx at Andujar national park and then spending an amazing afternoon at the medieval town of Cordoba and finishing our day at the bustling modern city of Seville.
Day 5: Picturesque Arcos and Puente Nuevo
A pleasant morning and we drove through beautiful Spanish countryside to one of Andalucía’s most beautiful Pueblos Blancos (white villages) – Arcos De la Frontera. This place is simply amazing – orange tree lined streets as you walk uphill midst the white washed building to the Plaza del Cabildo. Lined with fine ancient building the mirador offers some of the most spectacular views over the Río Guadalete. On one of the corners of the Plaza you would find the Parador Hotel – pop in for a coffee which costs just 1.8E and it’s really worth it as the Hotel balcony offers great views while you relax.
After spending a couple of hours in this beautiful setting we made our way to Ronda. The drive in Andalucía is simply amazing with the landscape leaving you spellbound. Also the food along the service stops on these roads is absolutely yum and very cheap. Mid Afternoon we reached Ronda – perched over a 500 foot ravine is the largest Pueblos Blancos in Spain. The dramatic El Tajo gorge cuts the city into the old and new side.
We made our way to the Plaza de Toros – The Bullring – one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain. The ring could hold up to 5000 spectators.
The famous Puente Nuevo connects the old and new side of the town. Perched 400 feet over the Guadalevín River – this is a truly an Engineering marvel and offers unforgettable views of the El Tajo gorge. However the best views I would recommend is from down below the gorge from a mostly discreet location on an unpaved road. You can either drive or walk to this place [N36.742582, W5.170114] and offers magnificent views of the Bridge and the gorge.
Finally bid adieu to Ronda and made our way to one of the best locations we have stayed through all our travels – Hotel El Horcajo. Located midst the mountains of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, this was the perfect setting for winding down a perfect day.
Day 6: Caminito Del Rey and Granada
A relaxing sleep midst the beautiful nature of Sierra De Grazalema National park and we were then on our way to one of the most beautiful hikes of Europe – Caminito Del Rey. Pinned along the steel walls of a narrow gorge, this was in the past dubbed as the “Most Dangerous hikes in the world”. The Tickets for the 7.7Km walk needs to be booked well in advance and when I planned for the same there was no availability online for the next 8 months. However someone did say me that they do sell tickets at the gate if you arrive early and so was it. A 30 minutes wait and we were onward on our hike. The unique experience of strolling over walkways 100 metres up the sheer cliff face is close to none.
After an enthralling experience we then drove to Granada as the landscape changed from olive plantations to the Snow covered mountains of Sierra Nevada. Checked into our hotel and then made our way to one of the most famous visited monument in Spain and one of indescribable beauty– The Alhambra. As with many Spanish attractions the tickets were sold out which was a slight disappointment. However we were keen on getting the most sought out pictures of the Alhambra from a distance with the snow peaks in the background. So we wound our way uphill to Mirador de San Nicolas which offers these breath-taking panoramic views of the Alhambra.
This was our last night in Spain and I had promised Amoli her elusive Paella and Sangria. I did keep my promise!
Day 7: Drive back to Malaga Airport.
So finally we bid adieu to Spain driving back to Malaga from where it all started. The Spanish countryside is one the bests I have driven into and those olive plantations, amazing landscapes, white towns, lovely people and the sun beating down are still fresh in my memory.
More flavors of our road trip –
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