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Initial Trip Planning - Spain

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Flying into Madrid...
April 2016
Would like to spend a week in a small city/town - base of operations for touring Andalucia by train/bus.
(train from Madrid to ?)

I thought Seville would be ideal, but understand that a large festival (Spring Feria) would be during our stay. Have been eyeing Cordoba, now.

Am I being unnecessarily resistant to staying in Seville (noise, crowds, etc.) during fair? Thoughts on Cordoba for base of operations? Other?

From Cordoba (or Seville) we could head out on day trips to places like Montilla, Montoro, Malaga, Puente Genil, etc. to get a good feel for life in southern Spain.

We typically rent an apartment, cook many meals in, though eat out some....a relaxing, but informative (historical, museums, etc) time.

We were in Madrid 15 years ago, but thinking of also spending a couple of nights there before flying out (or upon arrival)...day trip to Toledo, Avila, etc.

(for example, last spring we spent 10 days in city of Tours, France - using trains, buses to see the Loire Valley, ending with a couple days in Paris)

Any and all thoughts would be appreciated as we begin planning this journey.

with regards,
Bruce

will be posting a similar post in Portugal forum, as we plan to head there from Madrid for a week

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