Visitors to Spain are usually bowled over by the big names of Barcelona, Madrid and Alicante but there is plenty to be discovered if you branch out and spend some time in some lesser visited areas of this wondrous country such as the Andalucía region.
There is a wealth of things to see and do from Seville to Granada and what better way to make the most of your time than with a road trip? We've got a suggested itinerary that will allow you to see the best of the two cities and everything in between, and the best part is you can do it at your own pace.
We don't want to get too ahead of ourselves though. The fabulous city of Seville has plenty up its sleeve, so it makes sense to start your adventure by exploring the largest city in Andalucía.
You can get a true introduction to the Spanish culture by visiting the Seville bull ring, La Real Maestranza, which is one of the largest in the country and certainly one of the most attractive. You can visit the arena and accompanying museum without witnessing a bull fight should you wish. Just a short distance from here lays the spectacular Seville Cathedral which is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and the third largest church in the world. The Real Alcazar will easily keep you occupied for a few hours with many relics, lush gardens and impressive architecture to be appreciated. Be sure to reward yourself with a wander through the charming streets of the Jewish Quarter too which is regarded by many as the finest part of the city.
With several museums, flamenco performances, open air markets, art galleries and much more still left to see you can easily fill a few days exploring this fantastic city.
Once you have had your fill of Seville, arrange Seville car hire, jump in and get ready to start the road trip. Our suggested route takes you up past the historic town of Carmona and onto Cordoba before heading across to Jaen and back down to Granada.
Having left Seville, you will arrive in Carmona after just 35km of driving. Carmona is a wonderfully well-preserved Spanish town which rests atop a ridge over the surrounding Andalucían plains with the peak of San Cristobal visible to the south. With its white washed houses and abundance of historical buildings and churches, Carmona is a delight to visit. It prides itself on the trade of olive oil and wine so be sure to pick some up as a souvenir. Stretch your legs and take a walk in the surrounding countryside before seeing some of the most impressive sights including the Roman Amphitheatre, the Church of Santa Maria and Seville Gate amongst much more.
From here, hit the road again and head up to Lora del Rio; the gateway to the Natural Park of Sierra Norte de Sevilla which you should certainly consider spending some time exploring. Home to plenty of wildlife within a beautiful setting of shady trees and enchanting paths it is a great place to be at one with nature for a few hours.
Following the route of the river, travel just 25km upstream through orange groves and you will reach the town of Palma del Rio. This is another great spot from which you can enjoy the surrounding countryside as it's the perfect base to enter the Natural Park Sierra de Horcnachuelos. Go for a walk amongst the woodland and keep your eyes peeled for some endangered species such as the lynx. You could even camp here for the night if you wished.
Once you're ready to get back on the road, the next stop on the route will be the popular city of Cordoba. An Iberian and Roman city in ancient times, the history of the city is evident by its UNESCO World Heritage Site listing and there is a plethora of buildings to visit such as the great Mosque of Cordoba, the Roman Bridge and more. Cordoba truly qualifies as a Spanish gem and you can easily spend a good few days soaking up all it has to offer.
After this, the journey to Jaen is the next to be accomplished with your hire car. It is known as the world capital of Olive Oil, referred to as liquid gold by the locals! You will spot Saint Catalina's Castle on your approach into the city which is of course, well worth a visit. Other sights to see include Jaen Cathedral, Villardompardo's Palace and the Arab Baths underneath with several other delights too.
Once you leave Jaen, the road trip will unfortunately end once you reach Granada but you will see plenty of countryside on the journey with the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains as the backdrop on your approach. It's not all bad though as once you arrive in the fabulous city that is Granada you will have the array of activities on offer here to experience.
In the city itself you won't know where to begin. With the Granada Cathedral, the Royal Chapel of Granada and the Generalife to visit for starters your time here is sure to be action packed. After this spend some time in the historic Albayzin district, stop by at the Charterhouse and the Alhambra. In such close proximity to the mountains too you will have to dedicate some time to the slopes of course!
This is just a rough guide of how to experience the lesser travelled Andalusia region and hopefully it is has given an insights into the wonders of this region and lead you to consider a trip here in future.