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Input on our Andalusia itinerary please!

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My husband and I are traveling to Spain for 13 nights, arriving in Madrid on May 22 and departing on June 4, 2016. We are an active couple in our mid 40s, who enjoy culture, architecture, food, wine, beaches, culture, art, hiking, walking. We like to spend hours walking around towns, sitting in cafes, and enjoying the local culture. We were previously in Spain in 2000, but of course that’s been a while! In this three-week trip we stayed in Barcelona, San Sebastian, Cabo de Gato, Sevilla, and Ronda. We loved all of it, but particularly Andalusia, which we will revisit on this trip as well as spending our last couple of nights Madrid. We will return to Seville and would like to see some of the locations we missed in 2000, such as Cordoba, Granada, and perhaps something new.

After spending time reading guidebooks and postings, I would be grateful for input on our tentative itinerary. Our preference is to limit travel (driving, trains) and stay in just a few locations to have more time to enjoy and absorb the culture. At the same time, we'd like to see several areas.

Here is our current plan...

Arrive Madrid May 22 at 9:30 am. Take the train to Seville some time that afternoon.
Seville, 4 nights, May 22-May 26
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Mardid, 2 nights, June 2-June 4 (our return flight to San Diego is at 12:00)

In the middle, we are considering Cordoba 1-2 nights possibly immediately after Seville. I think the Cordoba spring festival may be going on which sounds fun. I realize we could easily do Cordoba as a day trip but after reading about the town, I think we will like staying there.

Then I thought we’d rent a car, and perhaps head to Jaen and spend 1-2 nights in Ubeda or Baeza, and also see Sierra de Cazorla.
Then 2 nights in Granada (stow car)
Return the car to Cordoba for train (or drive back) to Madrid and spend two nights

My questions are as follows:

Does it make sense to stay this many places even though they are all nearby - should any of these be day trip/s instead?
Assuming we adopt this itinerary, does anyone have opinions about spending 1 versus 2 nights in Cordoba, Granada, and Ubeda/Baeza, and how we should arrange these stops?
Anything I’m missing that would be different and beautiful? We loved Cabo de Gato and also considered returning there, or, to the hill towns. We would like to experience a mix of “cities” and smaller or more off the beaten path locations.
We could also stay another day or two in Sevilla and include day trips, e.g., to Carmona or Sanlucar.
Finally – are two nights sufficient for Madrid?


Any and all feedback is very welcome. Thank you in advance!

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