10 days in Spain


Nov 3rd, 2011, 05:27 PM
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10 days in Spain

We will be traveling to Spain in the spring and trying to come up with a 10 day itinerary. Options we're looking at: Barcelona, Madrid, Cordoba OR Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada. Basically are Barcelona and/or Granada a must see?
maig is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2011, 05:34 PM
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IMHO the musts are SEville, Granada and Cordoba. Madrid is worth a couple of days on a longer trip but really reminds me i Chicago - a large modern city with tons of grey skyscrapers - but without the heart of New York.

Bouncing around is a sure way to spend too much time traveling and very limited time actually doing/seeing anything. I would do either Andalusia - or Madrid/Barcleona. 10 days really isn;t time for more than either one.
nytraveler is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2011, 06:04 PM
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"Tons of gray skyscrapers" in Madrid??????Where???

I guess some people have never seen Retiro, Salamnca district,Plaza de Oriente, Paseo Del Prado. Plaza Mayor...

Madrid is a great, old city with some of the best art museums in Europe.
danon is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2011, 07:03 PM
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I am also puzzled by the comment of tons of sky scrapers!?
I agree with Danon.

Before you completely commit to those areas/cities I would research/ consider N Spain/ Basque Country. That was my favorite trip.

Loved Seville.
I think Granada is a must do simply to visit the Alahambra- It is considered one of the 10 wonders of the world - It is massive and a castle that was constructed over many centuries,..ok - you probably know all of this but make sure you go - it is a feast for the eyes!
annesherrod is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2011, 08:04 PM
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Honestly with only 10 days I don't think you have time for the first option. The second option would probably be my preferred one.

10 days would be just enough for a Madrid & Barcelona combination but I wouldn't try to include Cordoba.

With option 2 I'd probably spend 4 nights in Madrid w/a daytrip to Toledo, 4 in Sevilla w/a daytrip to Cordoba and 2 nights in Granada. This assume you have 10 nights in Spain not 10 days including travel time to/from Spain. This option is somewhat moderately paced but if you don't plan another trip in the mid term it would work.
CathyM is offline  
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Nov 4th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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4 nights in Seville, 2 in Granada, 1 in Malaga and the rest in Madrid. Cut out Malaga if you want to spend 4 nights in Madrid in order to do a daytrip to Toledo or Segovia. You can also make a daytrip to Cordoba from Seville but you'll miss a day in my favorite city.
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Nov 4th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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I found that a day trip to Cordoba was enough for me.
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Nov 4th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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We recently visited the Alhambra (for the second time) and I have to say I was underwhelmed (but I have to add that last fall we went to the Topkapi palace in Istanbul) My acutal point is I think the Alcazar in Seville is pretty much equal to the Alhambra. Now it didn't help that on our recent visit the signature site of the lion fountain had been removed for renovation and scaffolding covered one of the other main areas but still I think if you visit Seville and add Cordoba for the Mezquita you can skip Granada (which I think is still harder to get to, at least from Madrid).

I do think Barcelona is a much more interesting city than Madrid.
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Nov 4th, 2011, 10:51 AM
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1) Madrid and Toledo go together and Madrid has a lovely old centre (very unlike Chicago and with a vibrant beating heart of pleasant people (so also unlike NY)). Madrid is also a great place to learn to roller blade (but that's another story) while the art is fantastic and the 1920s buildings just go on and on.

2) Cordoba, Seville and Malaga go together with a Granada link to the side, moorish architecture, castles and modern art. Good train links most of these to Madrid.

3)Barcelona is a bit stuck out on the side but the buildings are very pleasant and the local wineries are amongst my favorite

4)The north coast, Picos d'europa, Rioja, Bilbao go together (Art, walking and wine).

Each of these can consume at least 4 days. I would like Barcelona but would tend to drop it if I could do two of the the other bundles
bilboburgler is online now  
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Nov 4th, 2011, 04:36 PM
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totally agree about kind and pleasant Spanish people ( so unlike rushed and bitchy New least in my experience)
It is really unfair to give advice about a city without ever having experienced it.
At one time someone suggested Malaga was an awful town full of British pubs (!). Apparently, the person has never seen the lovely, old Andalusian town.
danon is offline  
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Nov 4th, 2011, 05:09 PM
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I believe that Barcelona is the most interesting city in Spain and is definitely a must-see. Stay somewhere in the Eixample neighbourhood, particularly on or near Passeig de Gracia. You will be near most everything that you would like to see, and will have easy access to public transportation (including to the main train station and airport). Explore the narrow,twisted streets of the Medieval Barri Gotic, with the stunning Gothic cathedral and the Basilica of Santa Maria de Mar. Stroll down Las Ramblas from Placa Catalunya in the city's centre to the port, and take in all of the street performers and the great variety of people you will see. Stop at la Mercat de la Boqueria to grab a bite to eat from a very interesting array of choices. Be sure not to miss the Sagrada Familia church--Moderniste architect Antoni Gaudi's magnum opus. You can take-in even more of this architectural style in the Eixample. If museums are your forte, Barcelona has the Picasso Museum (Picasso spent much of his young life here), the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Art Museum of Catalunya. If you are a sports aficionado, catch an FC Barcelona football (soccer) game. You will see the immense local support for this team, and how football has become an obsession here. You can see the 1992 Olympic Stadium and Museum on Montjuic, a former fortress, which also offers spectacular views of the city. Other great panoramas can be obtained atop Mount Tibidabo and from Parc Guell. If you are a food connoisseur, you are sure to enjoy the modern, creative twists on Catalan classics, the wide array of international restaurants (particularly in the neighbourhood of Gracia), and the fusion cuisines that have become all the rage in the gastronomic world. Good restaurants are found throughout the city, but particularly in the Eixample--also the neighbourhood with the best shopping. Barcelona is conveniently situated close to some of Spain's greatest wine regions--Priorat and Penedes--whose wines are on par with any in the world. If it warm when you go, be sure not to miss the beaches.

After Barcelona, I would recommend Madrid with its Prado and Reina Sofia art museums. It is the capital and largest city of the country and is very elegant and typically 'Spanish.'

Next, the southern region of Andalucia (sometimes spelled Andalusia in English) also has much to offer. You will see the strong Moorish (Arab) influence manifested in such spectacles as the Mosque of Cordoba,the Giralda and Cathedral of Sevilla (Seville), and the Alhambra of Granada.

Spain is a fascinating country, and in traveling through it, you will find a diversity of architecture, landscapes, food, and even languages. Take in as much of this country as you can, but don't in any circumstance miss Barcelona.
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Nov 4th, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Go to Sevilla and Granada . Save the other cities for another trip. You won't regret going to Sevilla and Granada.
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Nov 5th, 2011, 05:58 AM
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As CathyM suggests, I would have opted for the second option. Alhambra in Granada can be a huge experience, but with ten days I would have done Madrid, Sevilla and Córdoba. Would give you a knock-out introduction to Spain and its diversity, leaving you craving to return for a longer stay where you would have more time to explore other parts and cities.

Madrid, Córdoba and Sevilla are all connected through the high speed AVE train system, making travel between three of Spain's most fascinating cities very fast and pleasant.



Some fresh Córdoba impressions:

The "other" Córdoba around Plaza de las Tendillas, the Plaza Mayor-like Plaza de la Corredera, the Roman ruins etc can be highly recommended. All very close to the main tourist attractions but a totally different and more local atmosphere. Bustling outdoor cafés long into the night.

Several fine bodegas/tabernas in this area. Here you'll find great local places on every corner. Just had some excellent meals in a couple of them. Taberna Salinas comes recommended in the Michelin guide, and we were perfectly happy after two raciones, a bottle of wine and a couple of brandys for some 35€.

Bar Santos in Calle Magistral González Francés, 3 along the eastern side of the Mezquita is a laid-back and small respite in this heavily touristy area. Wonderful Jamón Ibérico.

Felt immediately at home in Plaza de las Tendillas. The thousands of people gathering here for the midnight eating of the grapes on New Years eve is traditionally directly televised on national tv. The clock on Plaza de las Tendillas has got no bells. Since 1961 the hours has been chimed in by recorded flamenco chords from the guitarist Juanito Serrano. Great atmospehere and good spirit well into the small hours, at least in the week-ends.

We lived in modern Hotel Córdoba Centro, just excellent, some 300 meters north of the Mezquita, next door to the main Tendillas Plaza. Some 60€ for a double.
kimhe is offline  
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Nov 5th, 2011, 06:53 AM
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We took a similar trip for 11 days to Southern Spain which still remains a favorite of ours. Madrid-(Toledo)-Seville-Rhonda (Zahara/Grazelema)-Granada (Nerja).

We began in Madrid, day tripped to Toledo, took a very cheap flight to Sevilla on Iberia ($33 one way) and spent 3 nights in Seville, which is a vibrant city where you could spend many more days enjoying. From Seville we rented a car and drove south to see the white villages I had read so much about. We passed through Jerez (sherry country) to Arcos de la Frontera and then on to Rhonda where we stayed in the parador overlooking the beautiful gorge. From Rhonda we day-tripped to Zahara de la Frontera and then to Grazelema via the high mountain road, which was a highlight of our trip. The next day we departed Rhonda for Granada via a stop in Nerja for a nice beach stop. Then on to Granada where we would end our trip with a visit to the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens which I highly recommend to all. Just beautiful!

For us, it made sense to focus on one area to avoid lost vacation days to airport transfer and travel times.

Here is my report from '03:
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