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Help Plan 17 nights Madrid, Andalusia, Madrid

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Just booked flights, arriving Madrid May 18, 4pm, departing Madrid June 4 morning. We've been reading and learning - its our first trip to Spain. Surely we see the recommended itineraries and routing for the main cities south of Madrid - but... we hope to fit in some hiking, small villages, beaches and not sure how to fit them in and where. Seems we might need a car to tour the White Villages but not sure.
Would it make sense to head to Toledo for first night May 18, then head south, and tour Madrid at the end since we have to head back there anyway? We do enjoy the smaller villages vs the bigger cities, but do want to see the highlights, some museums in each city and experience Flamenco dancing, etc. We are active hikers, cyclists (may do some day cycle trips). We live in the mountains at home and love to hike near water.

Can you experts out there help us route ourselves, emphasizing which small villages and beach areas to visit, and where to rent/drop off a car. Hiking near Granada has been recommended, also Ronda, Cadiz. Is there a driving route through the white villages with one or two overnights? We are ok to take trains and buses between the big cities/towns.
- Should we stay first night in Toledo or Madrid? Then head by train south (where)
- If possible we like to explore beach areas nearer to the end of our trip.
- Malaga seems too big and congested for our liking. What other beach areas would you recommend? We are intrigued by Cadiz - or ???

Thank you in advance.

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