One week in Southern Spain or Andalusia is a good amount of time to see the main cities with their Moorish history, a couple of important small traditional towns, and maybe even some of the famous Costa del Sol.
Day 1 - Seville
Arrive in Seville ideally the previous evening so that you get 2 full days to see Seville, the most vibrant and textured city of Andalusia. Stay in Barrio Santa Cruz where the main attractions are.
Start early at Seville Cathedral, one of the largest in the world. Time your visit to attend the 8am mass. Be sure to see the courtyard with orange trees, the tomb of Columbus, and the hanging crocodile in the doorway.
Move on to Giralda, the bell tower of Seville Cathedral. The climb up the Giralda is worth it for the history, architecture (moorish and renaissance), and the views of the city. The 32 gently sloping ramps to the top of the Giralda make it a pleasant enough experience.
Finish your morning at the Real Alcazar, the royal palace of Seville, which still hosts the royal family when they visit Seville. Have lunch at Barrio Santa Cruz Jewish quarter, with its charming tree lined squares and patios.
After lunch, walk across to the Maria Luisa Park complex, for a relaxing afternoon amidst gardens, fountains and sculptures. Visit the adjacent Plaza Espana, a large square lined with buildings in a half circle, and a canal crossed by bridges.
Wind up at the Flamenco Museum which takes you through a history and evolution of the art form. It also hosts an intimate and authentic flamenco performance every evening. Check the timings before you go.
Day 2 - Seville
Start your day at the Royal tobacco factory of Seville, now the administrative building of Seville University. You can go on a free, guided tour of the Royal Tobacco Factory, which is the setting and inspiration of the famous musical Carmen.
Walk across the Puente Isabel II Bridge on the Guadalquivir river, to the Triana district. On the way, before crossing the bridge, stop by to look at the bullring Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, and peek into the bullfighting museum if you have the time.
Triana is famous as a working class district with a rich history. The gypsies who originated Flamenco hundreds of years ago, lived in communities in the Triana district. You can see the buildings even today.
If you are keen to see Flamenco with the real local aficionados, duck into one of the local clubs or penas for gritty and passionate performances. These are not on a predictable schedule so keep a look out for posters and flyers in bars and on the street.
Triana is also known for its ceramic tiles (azulejos) and you can buy authentic ceramics at Ceramic Santa Ana.Have dinner along a Triana riverside tapas bar before you head back to your hotel.
Day 3 - Jerez or Cadiz, day trip
Start early for Jerez de la Frontera, a one hour train ride away from Seville.
Jerez is famous as the hometown of Sherry, for authentic flamenco shows, and for the dancing horses of the Royal Equestrian stables. The authentic old bodegas of Jerez are an excellent pace to drop in for a drink and a meal.
Cadiz is only a further 30 minutes from Jerez. The main attraction of this centuries old town where Columbus started his voyage to America, is its history.
A Typically Mediterranean-looking whitewashed town, Cadiz used to be the headquarters of the Spanish Armada. Cadiz has more than a hundred watchtowers, including the iconic Torre Tavira, to vouch for that status.
The iconic Cadiz Cathedral by the sea is a must-see, as is the lively fisherman’s quarter where you can go for a meal. Cadiz has some nice beaches too. Playa La Caleta near Viña has a picturesque location between two old castles Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastián.
Stay the night in Jerez or Cadiz
Day 4 - Ronda
Leave early morning for Ronda.
Ronda has a rich Arab history as a trading town, along with a romantic past full of stories of bandits.
Spend a lazy day marveling at the deep El Tajo gorge that separates the Old and New town of Ronda. Cross the ancient Puente Nuevo bridge that spans the gorge, and be sure to stop along the bridge for photos.
Visit the Plaza del Toros bullring (and museum), 200 years old with many of stories of legendary bullfights. This is one of the largest buildings in Spain yet has just 5000 seats.
Leave Ronda for Granada in the early afternoon to arrive in time for dinner.
Day 5 - Granada
In Granada, stay as close to Plaza Nueva as possible, it is the stop for buses and central to all the main attractions of Granada including the Alhambra. It also has nice cafes and bars. Explore the Granada town and its main attractions on your first day in Granada. Leave aside all of the next day for the Alhambra and Sacromonte!
The Granada Cathedral is famous for its stained glass domed main chapel. The architecture is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance. The adjacent Royal Chapel Capilla Real is the burial place for Spanish Royalty including King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Drop by Alcaiceria the old Arab silk market for lunch. This is also a nice place to shop for souvenirs.
In the late afternoon head to Mirador san Nicolas, the viewpoint with a beautiful view of the Alhambra against the Sierra Nevada range. Watch the sunset and stay until dark before descending to have dinner in the exotic Albayzin quarter. Wander the winding streets that show off Albayzin’s medieval Moorish past.
Drop into one of the many exotic bars of Albayzin, or stop at a Teteria for the most interesting teas. If you have time during the day, spend a couple of hours relaxing at the Hammam Al Andalus, or Arab Baths.
Day 6 - Granada
Plan to start the day with a tour of the Alhambra, and make sure you have your tickets and tour booked in advance. The Nasrid Palace of course, is the main attraction, along with the Generalife Gardens. The palace of King Charles V is usually at the beginning of your Alhambra visit. It may look a bit plain but is a great setup for the stunning rooms of the Nasrid palace.
In the early evening head to Sacromonte gypsy caves, home to many of Granada’s 50,000 strong population of Roma (gitano or gypsy) people. The main street of Camino del Sacromonte is lined with caves and restaurants. Watch a traditional performance of the zambra, a variation of Flamenco with oriental influences, and where the singer also dances.
If you have time, visit the Centro de Interpretación del Sacromonte an open-air folk museum, for an insight into the life, tradition, history and evolution of the Roma people.
Day 7 - Cordoba
Leave Granada in the morning for Cordoba, a bus ride of about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Head straight for the Cathedral - Mosque (Mezquita) as soon as you arrive.
Spend a couple of hours at the Mezquita marveling at the confluence and contrast of the Islamic exterior and the Catholic nave and interior. Wander in the courtyard with orange trees and fountains, climb the bell tower if you have the time.
Walk around the exterior walls of the Mesquite to find a cafe to have lunch, then head to the Jewish quarter still in the Old town. Pass through the Almodovar Gate, which is a UNESCO site, to the Synagogue. Cordoba was once home to the highest Jewish population in Europe.
Explore the neighborhood, many with flowering patios, and make your way to the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge). If you have time, visit the museum in the Calahorra Tower at the far end of the bridge.
Spend the evening in Cordoba. Try "rabo de toro" bull's tail at El Caballo Rojo in front of the mosque. For tapas go to Casa Pepe in Calle Romero in the old quarter. If you are looking for a club to celebrate your week in Andalucia, try Cahira in Calle Conde de Robledo.
Cordoba really has only one attraction the cathedral - mosque. Don't get me wrong it is really fascinating to see it. But with only 7 days' time you will end up spending an entire day including travel to see one attraction.
That 1 day can be better utilized to see other parts of Andalucia. Some options are Malaga, Ronda, or the Alpujarra villages of Sierra Nevada near Granada.
You can divide the 7 days in Southern Spain, as follows:
3.5 days - Focus on Seville
Get a solid understanding and essence of Andalusia culture, history, and architecture. Seville has everything, stay long and soak in the Flamenco, Tapas, Sherry, Ceramics, Architecture.
2 days - Small town Andalusia
Make a day trip each, to Ronda in the interior of Andalusia; and to Cadiz on the coast - from Seville.
1.5 days - One hit wonders in Andalusia
See the Alhambra in Granada (day trip) and the Cathedral-Mosque (Mezquita) in Cordoba (day trip).