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Help with itineray to Madrid-Seville-Granada

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My husband and I are planning a trip to Madrid, Seville and Granada this January for 8 days. We are planning to fly into Madrid from the US. My question is, do we
1) spend that first day/night sightseeing in Madrid to help get over jet lag and see parts of Madrid?
2) do we take the train directly to Seville from airport for 3 nights (with a day trip to Córdoba)?
3) or does it make more sense to start with Granada for 2 nights since the bus is the best option to get Granada from Madrid and save the faster train from Seville to Madrid for travel before return flight?

So, do we go Madrid-Seville (Córdoba)- Granada-Madrid or vice versa?

I am also interested in a nice hotel for Granada & Madrid in an ideal location for sight seeing. My husband and I are interested in architecture, some museums, dining, wineries, and spending time in interesting bars. Thanks for any advice or help you can offer.

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    If you are flying out of Madrid, then you will almost certainly want to be in Madrid the night before your flight, so you can save a change of hotels -- and maximize your time for sightseeing -- if you put ALL of your time in Madrid at the end of your trip. You might be tired by the time you reach your first destination other than Madrid, but you'll have jet lag either way, and you can do worse, IMO, than to being dealing with jet lag by sitting on a train or bus.

    "Seville ... for 3 nights (with a day trip to Córdoba)" -- IMO, that isn't much time! For comparison, I gave Sevilla 4 nights and Cordoba 2 nights. But it really depends on what YOU want to see and do. If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (always a worthy investment, IME, or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. Be sure to remember that MANY things in Spain are closed during a long siesta, many things will be closed all day on Mondays and on Sunday afternoon and evening, and in January, daylight hours will be more limited than at most other times of year.

    Also, consider whether 2 nights in Granada is enough for your interests, given that it can take 2 nights, and the better part of a day, to see the Alhambra. I personally recommend a day-time visit, starting as early as you find reasonable. During the day, you can visit the entire Alhambra, but you will do so with MANY others, so be prepared for crowds. (FWIW, the audio guide met my needs.) In the evening, you can visit the magnificent Nasrid Palace (only) with just a few other visitors. When I was there, everyone who was there spoke very, very quietly, and I found it absolutely magical! Do be aware that advance reservations for the Alhambra are critical.

    I would plan your route once you finalize an itinerary and have determined whether things you want to see are open when you would be in each place.

    With only 8 days, I would find it difficult to see everything that I would want to visit in Sevilla, Granada, and Cordoba, so one additional thought: Since Madrid has an international airport, it is easier for many of us to reach than anywhere in Andalusia. So, much as I enjoyed Madrid -- and I did! -- you might consider putting all but your last night in Andalusia, so that you can take fuller advantage of your time there. Just a thought!

    Hope that helps.

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    Thank you! This is incredibly helpful. I am now leaning towards heading directly to Seville from Madrid airport for 4 nights (with day trip to Cordoba) then go to Granada for 2 nights & head to Madrid for one full day/night before our flight home. If you can recommend any ideal hotels close to sight seeing, that would be fantastic. We tend to enjoy smaller boutique hotels and it can be moderate/higher priced. Thanks so much.

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