The Best Southern Spanish Cities You Need to Visit

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The entire stretch of Spain’s southern coastline is the autonomous region Andalusia.

This region is home to many of Spain’s important cities, including Granada, Málaga, Seville, Córdoba, Jaen, Huelva, Cádiz, Ronda, Tarifa, and Velez Blanco.

There are also some popular tourist destinations like Marbella, Nerja, and Almunecar.

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More than anything else, Andalusia is a truly fascinating place filled with beautiful beaches, great food, and Moorish architecture.

When to Visit Southern Spain

The south of Spain is often at its best in spring, early summer, and early autumn (avoiding July and August).

Visiting southern Spain
Best time to visit southern Spain

During these times, the temperatures will be pleasantly warm while not being oppressively hot (especially Seville!).

To Put It Simply – If you’re interested in seeing the sites, you won’t find it comfortable to do this in July and August.

Avoiding these months is also beneficial as there will be fewer people around. The prices are cheaper, and the crowds are thinner.

How to Get There

For most international visitors, the best option is to fly to Malaga and travel from there.

Flying to Madrid and taking public transport (or hiring a car) is also a viable option. There’s also an international airport in Seville.

Spain is well-served by public transport, but you’ll often find the coach system better than the rail as the destinations offered are more plentiful.

So, where should you go in this region?

Here are the top seven cities we think you should visit in southern Spain.

1. Malaga

Malaga is top of our list of southern Spanish cities because it has so much to offer.

Malaga southern Spanish city

Being on the Costa Del Sol, it has some great beaches and beach facilities.

Unlike other resorts on this stretch, it doesn’t have the ‘Brits abroad’ feel. Instead, it’s a popular place for all sorts of people.

With its international airport, Malaga is also really accessible too.

In Terms of Attractions – Malaga has a fabulous historical center while also being a city that’s vibrant and full of culture.

Not to be missed are the Picasso Museum (Pablo Picasso was born in the city), the cathedral, and the Alcazaba.

2. Ronda

Not far from Malaga is another great city: Ronda.

Lots of people choose to visit this place as a day trip (and for a change of scenery) from their coastal trip.

Ronda southern Spanish city

However, Ronda is a fabulous place in its own right and is worth at least one or two nights’ stay to give you the chance to explore it fully.

As the evening comes (and the day-trippers leave), Ronda is very pleasant by night.

One of the best things to see here is the Puente Nuevo, the bridge that Ronda is famous for.

This bridge boasts phenomenal views of the valley. You can even go on a hike to see the bridge, which is a better way of seeing it.

As well as the impressive bridge, you have a historical city with beautiful, cobbled streets, Arabic Baths, and fantastic squares.

3. Sevilla

The capital of Andalusia is a city not to be missed.

It’s a glorious capital and Spain’s third-largest city. Seville is historic, grand – and very hot in the summer.

Sevilla southern Spanish city

It boasts a wonderful bell tower and cathedral as well as a bustling and charming city center full of fantastic heritage and great museums.

Many believe Seville to be the origin of flamenco and so you can catch performances of this traditional dance in the city.

There is so much to explore here but one district not to be missed is Triana in the south of the city.

Here, you have Las Setas, which is a wonder of modern architecture. It’s also a great place to see the whole city from afar.

Weather-wise – You’re looking at average high temperatures in July and August in the top 30s (Celsius), with the temperatures rarely dipping below 20 degrees overnight.

Even during the coldest winter months, the temperature averages a mild 15 or 16 °C during the day.

4. Granada 

We can’t talk about the best southern Spanish cities without mentioning Granada.

Granada is home to the Alhambra, which is a Nasrid Palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Granada southern Spanish city to visit

It boasts beautiful Moorish architecture, incredible city views, and wonderful gardens.

As well as checking out the Alhambra and Generalife, it’s worth exploring the district of Sacromonte, which has an amazing abbey and cave dwellings.

There are also some fantastic viewpoints from the Albaicín district that are worth exploring at sunset.

Granada is also famous for being one of the only remaining cities to offer free tapas with drinks in its bars.

This city is a great way of trying out the old Spanish tradition of going for tapas.

5. Jerez 

Jerez, or its full name, Jerez de la Frontera, is a beautiful destination in the south of Spain.

This is another ancient city that a real gem.

Jerez  southern Spanish city to visit

Jerez is centered around an 11th-century Moorish fortress called the Alcázar de Jerez.

It’s a great city for those who like exploring churches and cathedrals. There’s also a great horse farm as well as the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.

Finally, you can’t visit Jerez without sampling the city’s most famous export – sherry.

In Spanish – The word for sherry is jerez due to it being made here. There are lots of places to see sherry being produced – and to taste it too, of course!

6. Córdoba

Córdoba is a beautiful Andalusian city that deserves recognition.

It is situated on the river Guadalquivir, which passes through Seville too.

Córdoba southern Spanish city to visit

It was a Roman settlement originally but is most famous for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Mesquita-Cathedral, a fantastic feat of Moorish architecture.

This former mosque-turned-cathedral has an interesting history, which makes it a wonderful cultural icon for not just Córdoba, but for the whole of Spain.

The mosque’s minaret became a bell tower in the 1200s when the structure converted to a Christian place of worship.

7. Cádiz

Last but by no means least is the beautiful city of Cádiz.

Close to both Seville and Gibraltar, Cádiz is a great place to explore.

Cádiz southern Spanish city to visit

Cádiz has a fabulous cathedral as well as lots of important towers, castles, museums and squares that are worth visiting.

There’s also a Roman Theater and a great market where you can buy delicious, local produce.

Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say that Spain has some amazing cities in the south and each one we’ve mentioned has charm and plenty of things to enjoy.

As well as these seven cities, don’t forget to explore some of the local towns and villages too – if you’re down near Cádiz or Jerez, you can easily do a day trip to Tarifa to explore its amazing beaches.

Fancy going further afield? Take a ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta, a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa.

Wherever you go, you’re bound to have a great time.

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