Ronda old bridge


In a nutshell: You’d love to travel around Andalucia rather than be based in one location, but not on a package holidays. Will you need a driver and vehicle for the whole of your Andalucian itinerary ? Not necessarily, but here and there it certainly makes a difference. Complement that with a local travel designer that can recommend the best updated restaurants, sites, fiestas and local experiences to hone and tune your itinerary accordingly. Naturally, it will cost you more. Is it worth the difference ?

Disclaimer: all photos in this article were taken by our team over the last few years. We’ve been exploring Andalucia since 2010 and settled here in 2021.


What is the best month to travel to Andalucia ?

Is there such a thing as the best time of year to visit Andalucia ? Not really. How’s that ? Well, it certainly depends on what you look to do once here. Avoid the crowds ? Then better stay away during March/ April and November/December, but especially more so during Easter / Christmas.

As a rule of thumb, it’s the coast that sees its maximum affluence during July/ August – and so you’re almost guaranteed the best rates in summer the further you move from Andalucia’s beaches, including hotels, flats or airbnb’s in Granada, Cordoba and Seville.

Lucky guests on a visit to the Alhambra, September 2022

Good weather usually spreads from April to November, although the last few years have witnessed late winters with very mild temperatures even in December.  Avoid at all costs small towns and villages on weekends and public holidays. Yes, that bridge in Ronda

How many days you need for Andalucia ?

7- 8 days should be enough to cover the main sites and even allow for some off the beaten track locations and experiences. 10- 14 days is better for those of you that want to take their time and not feel hurried.

How to get to Andalucia ?

Seville and Malaga are the two main airports, with Malaga being the best connected internationally. It’s also more central to the other locations in Andalucia, including Cordoba, Granada, the White Villages and Ronda.

Inside the synagogue, historical center of Cordoba, January 2022

If you want to add Andalucia after a private tour of Morocco, flights from Marrakech to Malaga are very convenient.  We’d also recommend the 1 hour ferry ride from Tangier into Tarifa ( Blue Village, anyone ?).

Where can you base yourself in Andalucia ?

Granada seems like the obvious choice. With the Alhambra and the Albayzin/ Sacromonte districts already yielding you enough to see and do for 2 days, day trips to Cordoba, Ronda and Malaga can be accommodated, all of them within 1H30 – 2 hours of driving from Granada.

The white villages of the Alpujarra are also worth a day trip or detour. Ronda is equally well placed, especially if you wish to cover the western Andalucia, some 1 hour drive from Malaga and its airport and 2 hours drive from each Granada, Cordoba, Seville and Jerez.

White village in the Alpujarras, July 2022

What is the best way to get to Andalucia ?


Many ( most ) of the visitors to Andalucia choose to rent a car ( when not part of a group or package holidays). It’s easier to access the local culture and sites/ monuments than other nearby countries like Morocco or Tunisia. Your Waze, Google maps and other travel apps already pack plenty info on local monuments and sites. However, driving a rent a car around comes with some caveats:

  • Very confusing public parking signaling. Depending on the city or locality you are in, you will find: dotted blue lines, yellow X’s, red dotted lines,  white continuous line, etc. Understanding most of these is common sense, others… not so much. Fines for parking wrong start at 100 euros/USD… ouch !
Flamenco dancer, Granada young talents competition, November 2023
  • Private parkings – there’s a lot of those. And thank goodness ! In the 60’s and  70’s when most residential Spain was built, Franco and his architects bothered little about underground parking spaces. Expect to pay between 2 and 4 euros per hour and an overnight can cost you between 20 and 30 euros;
  • Many cities come with restricted driving areas or lanes. For example, only authorized vehicles can drive around central Granada or Cordoba between 8 AM and 10 PM. It might take a few fines before figuring out that some lanes are for cars, some are for only buses and taxis, and some are for all of the former. When not sure, drive slowly so you don’t miss any traffic signs.

One of the bridges of Ronda, November 2023


If we needed any more proof, the pandemic has shown the importance of the genuine travel agent or travel advisor when you travel privately. But don’t take our word for it and read why Forbes thinks that a travel agent is more important than ever.


Trekking in the Sierra Nevada, close to Granada, June 2020

 It’s not that easy to plan the perfect itinerary: a balance must be struck between activity and relaxation, simplicity and grandeur, planned ahead and spontaneous. Then, your particulars come in: your age, whether you are into culture and history or adventure and outdoors ( or a combination thereof), your culinary preferences, the places you shouldn’t miss, the desired pace of the tour and so on.

Whether self driving or being driven by someone else, try not to spend more than 3- 4 hours per day inside the vehicle. That way, spend time on site doing and seeing things, enjoy the accommodations, but also cover a reasonable distance.  

Roman theater, Cartagena, April 2024


The perks of booking a private southern Spain tour is that you can change anything ( within reason) on short notice. Imagine arriving in Cordoba on a sweltering hot day – not the ideal conditions for an olive oil tasting. Unlike package holidays, you don’t have to do it – you can choose to instead relax at the guesthouse and lounge in the shade by the pool.

UNESCO dolmens of Antequerra, January 2022


Booking terms with a small private agent are more flexible than with a group tour. The deposit tends to be around 30 % of the total and in case of cancellation, unless cancelling last minute, the agent will not charge you more. They accept credit card payments, which offers an additional insurance protection for the guests.

The recent pandemic has shown that small travel agencies were much more flexible than large operators, be that airlines or hotel booking engines when it comes to reimbursing or offering travel credits.

Semana Santa street procession, Granada April 2023


When traveling privately, you’re more likely to overnight in local boutique hotels and lodges rather than the chain resorts and your typical Marriott. More often than not, they are run by people with a passion for their region. And it shows. A local agency should be familiar with each property, but also know which one would fit best your particulars, whether you are on honeymoon, on a southern Spain family holiday, traveling with a group of friends or a couple looking to enjoy their healthy retirement.

View from the terrace of Casa Higueras, Moclin, June 2023


Lonely Planet, Rick Steeves or Trip Advisor are all good starting points, each in its own way, to select the sites and activities when planning a southern Spain itinerary. But more often than not it takes locals to keep these sites and experiences updated. Why ? Because things change.

No, not the Alhambra… although it might get a fresh paint every few decades. But you don’t need a travel agent to veto the Alhambra. You might need one though to book you a great private guide to visit and contextualize it. Or secure you a table at the best flamenco tablao in Granada on that same evening.

Scuba diving at UNESCO protected site of Cabo de Gata, July 2023

It is above all, the local encounters that make a difference. How about learning first hand how to shape ceramics in a century old workshop just outside Granada ? Or trek the White Villages and learn about the different trades and techniques the Moors left behind from a local ?  


If you choose to have someone drive you around Andalucia, then you’ll find out about local culture from a local resident. You’ll partake of his/ her way of life, perhaps even get invited to a family meal. Most importantly, you’ll have all his attention and trove of knowledge to yourself and so you can ask all the questions that you might have at any moment.

View from Mulhacen peak, 3482 meters altitude, July 2020


As you are an intrepid traveler, you know by now that you don’t always get what you see online. Even though Trip Advisor and other similar sites have revolutionized the way we travel nowadays, fake reviews and altered images have ruined quite a few vacations.

With a private Andalucia tour, you’ll get a local travel adviser that travels regularly across Andalucia, scouting, anonymously trying out and testing new and established guest houses, restaurants, things to do and out-of-ordinary experiences. And they’ll post about it, so ckech their socials or blog.  They keep their accommodations and activities constantly updated based on previous guests feedback. They don’t trust magazines or press releases – instead they rely on a network of insiders and heard- it- through- the- grapevine’s.

Olive oil tasting at La Organic, Ronda, November 2023


Traveling privately is no doubt more costly than on a package holidays. If you are used to travel privately overseas with large luxury travel companies, you might want to consider locally based travel agencies that are just us good ( most likely better) and save costs. And then, why not make sure the money you spend in Andalucia stays in Andalucia and benefits the locals ?  

A great local travel designer will adapt to your budget and make it so that you get the best value for money. But we also encourage you to contact at least 3 different local agencies and compare rates. Don’t forget, the cost is not everything- make sure you compare what you get for your buck.

Hopefully by now you’ve learnt more on how to best enjoy your Andalucia holidays and all there’s left to do is book the trip. Bienvenidos !

Carnival in Alhama de Granada, February 2024

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