In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a road trip. And a road trip in Southern Spain is full of potential for adventures!
I love waking up without a plan other than which direction you’re going to drive in, pulling off the main road when you see something interesting, or spending a day driving the backroads where you might come across a cute cafe, a gorgeous view or, if you’re in Canada, some of the best beef jerky you’ve ever tasted being sold on the side of the road.
The one thing that makes a road trip even better is doing it in a campervan. This way you can park up at a campsite or secluded spot and spend the night somewhere beautiful. You’ve also got everything with you all the time. See a beautiful river you just have to swim in? Your swimsuit is in the van! Found a scenic spot for dinner? Whip out the camp stove and get cooking!
If you’re keen to try #vanlife yourself then there’s no better place to do it than in Southern Spain. You can expect beautiful weather, great food and more National Parks than you’d believe. Take a look at this southern Spain road trip itinerary below. It takes you through some of the best places to visit in Spain and is sure to give you some ideas for when you’re planning a trip to Spain.
The following books are great resources for your Spain trip:
Choosing your campervan
Getting the right campervan holiday can make or break your experience and trip to Spain. You don’t want to be breaking down on the side of the road every other day, nor do you want to have to bring all your own camping gear on the plane. If you’re hiring a van in Europe then make sure to check out Blacksheep.
About Blacksheep vans
Blacksheep was created in Lyon, France in 2011 by two long-time friends who bonded over their passion for nature, outdoor sports and road trips. After a van trip across Australia, they noticed a gap in the market for campervan rentals in Europe. Seven years later, Blacksheep Van now has over 20 agencies and has opened up 5 new agencies in Spain and Portugal. They believe in helping people discover a new and different way of travelling through reconnecting with nature and embracing outdoor sports and activities. Oh, and they too believe that you don’t have to go far to experience true adventure; it can be just outside your backdoor!
Why choose Blacksheep?
Blacksheep offer six different types of campervan for you to take on your campervan road trip across Europe. From the two-person Campervan Mini to the six-person Campervan Classic, there’s the right campervan for your trip.
The best part is that the campervans come with everything you need for life on the road making it one of the best ways to travel in Spain! This includes camp stoves, bed, kitchen utensils and enough water to get you started.
Road trip in Southern Spain itinerary
The south coast of Spain is absolutely beautiful and is perfect for exploring by campervan. If you’re looking for a self drive Spain itinerary then here it is! I think this route makes for one of the best road trips in Spain (but maybe I’m biased).
Below, I’ve picked out some of the top places to visit in Southern Spain. It’s a great Spain trip itinerary if you’re planning to spend 2 weeks in Spain and wondering where to go in Spain. It can be lengthened by adding in a few days for beach relaxation (perhaps around Almuñécar) or shortened by removing a few hiking days if you only have one week in Spain.
Getting to Málaga
Black Sheep has an office in Málaga which is easy to get to from the airport since it’s right next to the Málaga Costa del Sol airport.
Flights to Málaga run very frequently and you can often get return tickets for under £100. Bargain!
I always book my flights through Skyscanner as they make it super easy to find cheap deals (like those under £100 for a return ticket!) for when you visit Spain.
Days 1-2: Arrive & explore Málaga
Say hello to your temporary new home! Pick up your campervan from Black Sheep and do a quick supermarket shop to make sure you’ve got some road trip essentials. Spend the rest of the day and the following exploring Málaga.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Puerto de Málaga: wander around the port and enjoy a refreshing drink whilst gazing at the fancy yachts
- The Castillo de Gibralfaro: Discover the Moorish palace from the 10th century
- Alcazaba: Málaga’s most iconic landmark and the best-preserved Moorish fortress-palace in Spain
- El Pedregalejo: About 30 minutes walk from the town centre, this is one of Málaga’s coolest neighbourhoods with many excellent restaurants.
- A walking tour: Join an evening walking tour of Malaga
Day 3: Málaga – Montes de Málaga Natural Park – Axarquia
Hit the road and head 5 kilometres north of Málaga to Montes de Málaga Natural Park.
This park is almost 5000 hectares big and the mountains climb to 1000m above sea level. It’s a popular escape for those living in the city of Málaga and you’ll quickly understand why.
Spend your day exploring the park on foot and try the Pocopán trail. It’s an out and back route which takes you from Llano de las Contadoras to the Pocopan outlook where you get a great view of the park from above. The whole hike is 2.7km and will take about 1.5 hours to complete.
If you fancy something shorter try the Torrijos trail which takes you from the Lagar de Torrijos Ecomuseum to the Chaperas Creek (0.7km).
Upon leaving the park head east to Comares. Comares is a traditional Spanish mountain town with great food, cobbled streets and stunning views. It’s a great pit stop to stretch your legs!
Aim to spend your evening in Axarquía. The main reason for stopping here to experience the night sky as Axarquia is virtually free of light pollution.
On a clear night, you can see The Milky Way, constellations you’ve never seen before and thousands and thousands of twinkling stars. If your road trip is around mid-August you might even be able to catch some of the Perseids meteor showers!
Wrap up in your duvet or blanket and enjoy the show from the back of your van.
Day 4: Axarquia to Maro
Head south and follow the coast to Maro. Maro is perfect for kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. There are places you can hire both and then hit the water on your chosen vessel.
Hug the coastline and admire the beautiful cliffs of La Herradura. If you keep going you’ll also come across the Maro waterfall which is worth checking out. Keep your eye open for La Cueva de la Virgen; a beautiful natural swimming pool with cool blue waters. You won’t be able to resist a swim!
Head into Nerja to grab some more foodie supplies or enjoy a dinner out.
Day 5: Nerja to Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park
Head north of Nerja to the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park. This park is huge and is made up of three mountain ranges. Spend your day hiking and exploring these surroundings.
One of the more popular hikes to try is the trail up Pico del Cielo. This 10km hike begins at the caves of Nerja so you can check them out too before you begin!
If you’re feeling hot then take a refreshing water hike down the Rio Chillar. This hike is considered a “summer classic” and so expect it to be busy during the weekends and public holidays.
If you can, try and do this hike midweek. As you walk up the river you’ll come across some pools to swim in – perfect for a summer cool down!
Days 6 – 9: Sierras de Tejeda to the Sierra Nevada
It’s time to explore the Sierra Nevada, National Park. This gorgeous park is not only great for hiking, but there are beautiful Spanish towns, wine and spas to discover too.
Things to do in the Sierra Nevada National Park
- Explore the town of Capileira. This white town is the second highest village in the whole of Spain. Visit the Eras de Aldeire for views across the Poqueira gorge and surroundings.
- Hike the Los Cahorros gorge which features hanging bridges across the Monachil River. There are beautiful rock pools, waterfalls, and tunnels to explore here.
- Wander and keep your eyes open to spot wild boar and ibex
- Try the Jamon Serrano in Trevélez; the highest village in Spain. In the local village bars, you’ll probably see this tasty Spanish ham hanging from the ceiling – be sure to try some!
Days 9 – 10: Sierra Nevada – Granada
Head into the city of Granada. Granada is home to Islamic architecture and Arab-flavoured street culture. Fill yourself on tapas and enjoy Spanish wine at the bars with this city part of your road trip.
While you’re in Granada make sure to check out the Alhambra, Basilica San Juan de Dios, Mirador San Nicolas and the beautiful courtyards throughout the city.
Days 11 – 12: Granada – Alhama de Granada
Not to be confused with the Alhambra in the city of Granada, the Alhama de Granada is a picturesque village outside Granada. It’s nestled into the rocks like an eagle’s nest and is also home to some relaxing thermal baths.
Take the 30-minute walk down the gorge to El Ventorro to enjoy the village’s surroundings. The walk will also help you work up an appetite for the incredible tapas on offer!
Day 12: Alhama de Granada – Torcal de Antequera
Begin the journey back west towards Málaga. But there’s one more point of interest along the way: Torcal de Antequera
Torcal de Antequera is known for its stunning Karst landscape (like Bryce Canyon in Utah). There are also plenty of fossils to be found in amongst the rocks. Take one of the hikes around the park and leave plenty of time to take in the unusual rock formations.
Spend the night nearby of head straight back down to Málaga to end your southern Spain road trip.
Where to camp during your southern Spain road trip
Blacksheep make it super easy to find somewhere to stay during your Spain travel itinerary with their app. The app will show you campsites and show you how to get the most from your chosen van. Whilst it’s currently only available in French, it’s super easy to use with plenty of videos – you shouldn’t have any problems!
You can also take a look at iOverlander.com (which we used during our US road trip). I’m sure you’ll find some super scenic spots
So, what are you waiting for?
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