Andalucia walking & self drive holiday, Spain

“A beautifully thought out two week, tailor made holiday itinerary for those who want to drive through Andalucia but have plenty of serious hiking along the way too. ”


Self-drive itinerary | Independence & guided experiences | Boutique hotels & family-run B&Bs | Highlights & backstreets of Seville | Peaceful walking in Sierra de Aracena | Special tasting menu lunch | Stay in coastal white village | Chance to spot whales, dolphins & flamingos | Wild beaches of the Costa de la Luz & Cabo de Gata | Visit Ronda & Cordoba | Guided tour of Granada old town | Visit the Alhambra | Walk through silent olive groves | Explore mainland Europe's only desert

Description of Andalucia walking & self drive holiday, Spain

Andalucía in all its glory. For walking there are ancient drovers paths leading through dramatic river canyons, between stately cork oak and olive trees and across open valleys, with the gentle clanging of sheepbells drifting in and out of earshot.

For culture and history you have the great cities of Córdoba, Granada and Seville, all bound up in tales of Moorish empires, the Christian reconquest and back even further to Roman times. Countless peaceful white villages await along the route, little changed from their Moorish roots.

Sample the world's best jamón ibérico and olive oil at source and in its natural surrounds, then taste your way around the various types of sherry at one of the many historic bodegas around Jerez. Bounce between lively tapas bars in Seville and enjoy seafood fresh out of the Atlantic on the Costa de la Luz.

There's still time to follow coastal paths between empty, beautiful and wild beaches, tour the marshlands of Doñana in search of greater flamingos, go out in a boat in search of whales and dolphins and explore mainland Europe's only desert at Cabo de Gata.

You'll stay with our local partners in a mixture of boutique city hotels and rural B&Bs and farmhouses. A warm welcome, a good night's sleep and an excellent location are guaranteed, because we've visited them all and given our seal of approval.

If you've enjoyed reading about this trip, please do get in touch if you'd like to see the full itinerary and plan a trip to Andalucía, made personal to you.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Fly to southern Spain today, preferably direct to Seville. Seville is no place to have a car, so take a taxi to your charming hotel in the heart of the historic centre.
Day 2:Explore Seville. Stretch your legs today as you discover the layers in history in this attractive city. The enormous cathedral offers splendid views from the 'giralda' tower; the Alcazar and the Barrio Santa Cruz are within a short stroll. (b)
Day 3:To the hills. Pick up your hire car this morning and set off on the fairly short drive to the Aracena hills. Settle into your charming posada, where your hosts give you a warm welcome. Enjoy a drink on the terrace as the sun goes down, before a home-cooked meal showcasing local ingredients. (b,d)
Day 4:Guided sierra walk. After a typical breakfast of bread, fruit, olive oil and honey, set off directly from the hotel with one of your hosts. One lovely option takes you along a river gorge and through the cork oak meadows, where the famous pigs of the area are fed. Relax back at your hotel with a dip in the pool this afternoon. (b)
Day 5:Visit the Doñana National Park. Travel south towards Vejer, stopping en route in the wonderfully atmospheric village of El Rocío en route to visit the bird-rich wetlands of the Doñana National Park. (b)
Day 6:Explore the coast of Cadiz. Take a whale tour in Tarifa or see the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia.
Day 7:Stop off in the wonderful city of Ronda on your way to the heart of Andalucia, the Sierra Subbetica.
Day 8:Walk through olive groves around your farmhouse or do a longer circular walk through a nearby river canyon and across an open valley. There are many walks to choose from.
Day 9:Cordoba. Perhaps visit this wonderful city, under an hour drive from your hotel.
Day 10:Pack up and make your way to Granada today. You can take a guided walking tour of the Albaicín neighbourhood of Granada this afternoon.
Day 11:Visit the Alhambra. Explore the gorgeous patios, gardens and fountains of the Alhambra Palace, one of the most iconic Moorish buildings in Spain.
Day 12:Drive down to the coast at Cabo de Gata and stay in a tiny village near the cape. (b)
Day 13:Explore Cabo de Gata. Have a wonder around the beautiful coastal scenery today at your own pace.
Day 14:Walk along the coast. Hike to the top of an extinct volcano for wonderful views along the coast, or relax on one of the lovely beaches such as Los Genoveses. (b)
Day 15:Travel home. Drive to the nearby airport of Alemeria. Drop off your hire car before your flight home.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

On this holiday your hotels are owned and run to the direct benefit of both their local communities and environments. In Mairena the hotel sources its food locally from small, independent producers. By staying in local hotels of this nature, and eating in local restaurants, you will be contributing to the purchase of local produce, and thereby helping to maintain the agricultural output which so defines the area.

We have selected the hotels, particularly in the Alpujarra and Cabo de Gata, based in no small part on their sustainable credentials. The majority of the energy for the hotel in Mairena is produced by solar power, while the water is mainly sourced from the property’s own well. In Cabo de Gata your hotel again has a very low impact on the environment. It also runs largely on solar power. Waste water is recycled and used for the toilets as well as for any watering of the garden that is required in this arid area. Given the potential for water shortage in these parts, the hotel does not have a swimming pool. The buildings have been constructed using only sustainable materials, for example they have used cork for insulation purposes. Low energy lighting is used throughout and can also be controlled centrally to ensure sustainable usage.

The Impacts of this Trip

We are passionate about helping our clients see a slice of the ‘real’ Spain, and this holiday has very much been designed with that in mind. We are extremely mindful that in visiting and enjoying authentic areas, our clients should both understand any issues facing their hosts and contribute positively to the destination with their visit.

The large majority of this holiday (other than the two nights in Granada) is spent amongst small rural communities, who have had to contend with emigration to the cities, unemployment and falling produce prices. When our owner was researching this trip, he was intrigued to find that the excellent local olive oil is still produced with a traditional press – one of only two remaining in Andalucia - which produces the oil in the same way used since Roman times. However, this pays so little that many of the farmers take payment in oil rather than wages. Visitors to the village help to sustain interest in such traditional practices and give them a chance to survive.

Mairena is the sort of place where everybody knows everybody else, and we make sure our clients are well informed and received during their stay. The local guides we employ on this holiday ensure that our clients get the best experience from their local knowledge, and consequently support local businesses. Similarly, in Cabo de Gata, we provide clients with detailed information on locally owned restaurants.


1 Reviews of Andalucia walking & self drive holiday, Spain

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 07 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our time spent in the Sierra de Aracena and Sierra Subbética were a pleasant surprise. As less visited areas of Spain, they are beautiful and relaxing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It can be tailored to your needs. We had time restrictions as to number of days travelling and needed the tour to begin in Madrid. The tour was customized
for this.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We definitely used local guides, ate at local restaurants, bought from local merchants. Some of the hotels were "green" rated.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was with a pleasant series of emails that we planned our trip with David; once we had outlined our tastes and limitations or restrictions, everything fell into
place. Even given that we were on the short end of the time required to book such a trip, everything was wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Spain. There was a pleasant balance between city touring and country exploration, expert guides, comfortable lodging and great food. I have been singing their
praises. We hope to be able to travel with this agency again as it truly was the type of holiday we appreciate.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Anne,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post a review of your trip with us on the Responsible Travel site. It's wonderful to hear you had such a good time, and
thank you for letting your friends know about us, that's a wonderful compliment!

I'm particularly pleased that you liked Aracena and the Sierra Subbética so much, these are exactly the type of more hidden corners of Spain that we love to
share with our clients. Our key goal with all our trips is to get you closer to the county and its people, it sounds like we were pretty successful on this front,
which is very pleasing.

Of course we'd love to have you travel with us again, so please do get in touch when you're thinking of heading back to Spain (or Portugal). We have lots of
ideas that I think you'll love and, as you say, are always happy to tailor these to each client.

All the best,


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