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Woman visiting Plaza España in Seville

Road trip through southern Spain

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Inland Spain is packed with places just waiting to be discovered. A journey by car in the south of Andalusia can be an unforgettable experience. This urban road trip takes in places that are well worth a stop so that you can get to explore them. 

Seville

A colourful city full of the scent of orange blossom, Seville awaits you with open arms. Here you can wander through the streets and discover well-known sights such as the Giralda, symbol of the city. It's actually the bell tower of the cathedral of Santa María de la Sede, and from the top you'll have views that are unmatched. Very near the Cathedral stands the Real Alcázar, a place that’ll take you on a trip back in time to the 14th century, and where you can marvel at the mix of architectural styles. If you fancy some typical Andalusian dishes and trying some tapas, all you need to do is cross over the river Guadalquivir to the Triana district. A place with lots of charm, and lots of life. Music in Seville is best experienced in the tablaos, where you can watch and enjoy the very best of flamenco. And to see the latest in modern architecture, visit the Setas de Sevilla, also known as Metropol Parasol. Depending on the time of year you choose to come, your visit might coincide with the two big events that take place in Seville each year, the Holy Week celebrations, and the Feria de Abril. 

Views of the Giralda, above the rooftops of Seville

Cordoba

Your next stop is Córdoba, which lies in the north of Andalusia between Seville and Granada. In this city you can visit the spectacular Great Mosque. The whole of the old city has been declared a World Heritage Site. Which means that losing yourself in its winding streets is an absolute must. You can wander as far as the 16-arched Roman bridge which spans the river - it looks especially stunning at night. Here you’ll also see the Torre de Calahorra. During the day, visit the old fortress, the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. If you’re visiting in the spring, you can see the traditional Festival de los Patios, when the city spills over with flowers. But the festive feel doesn’t end there, you’ll always find the art of flamenco music and dance in the many taverns. Here you should try a flamenquín –a pork roll fried in breadcrumbs– and some salmorejo – a cold, tomato-based soup. Two culinary delights that are typical of Córdoba.

Views of the Roman bridge over the river Guadalquivir and the spectacular Great Mosque of Cordoba

Úbeda (Jaén)

Your next stop is: Úbeda, around 56 kilometres from Jaén. After driving through a landscape punctuated by olive trees, you’ll reach a World Heritage City that’s worth taking some time to explore. Taking Plaza Vázquez de Molina as your starting point, your next visit is the Chapel of El Salvador. You can even stay in a palace: the Palacio del Deán Ortega, which today is a Parador de Turismo (a luxury hotel in a historic building). As the day goes by, you’ll become aware of how well the city’s Renaissance architecture has been preserved. You’ll take away with you warm memories of all that you’ve seen, but if you’d like something as well as your photos, olive oil or ceramics from the local potteries are popular souvenirs. 

Views from the courtyard of the chapel of El Salvador in Úbeda, Jaén

Granada

To round off your trip, head to Granada. Standing against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, this city will be the icing on the cake of your trip. The Islamic heritage of Al-Andalus can be felt at every turn. Starting with the city’s greatest treasure, the Alhambra. It’s a complex of buildings, gardens and courtyards, the best known of which is the Patio de los Leones, and very close by you’ll find the Generalife, the summer palace of the Nasrid rulers. From the San Nicolás viewpoint you’ll enjoy spectacular panoramic views. Another must-see is the Cathedral. As well as taking in the wealth of monuments Granada has to offer, you can’t leave town without taking a stroll around the Albaicín district, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sunset views of the Alhambra, Granada