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14-Nights Spain - Starting in Madrid + Andalucia

14-Nights Spain - Starting in Madrid + Andalucia

Dec 17th, 2018, 04:09 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2018
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14-Nights Spain - Starting in Madrid + Andalucia

We've been researching and thinking about this, my wife and I have already been to Barcelona but neither of us has been to Andalucia. I'd like to focus on Andalucia and since we have to fly into Madrid want to have some time there as well. This a 14-night trip to Spain flying into Madrid and I'm looking for your recommendations for an ideal itinerary. I have a family of 5 including my wife and myself along with three sons (ages 15, 14, 10) and all of us are active and athletic. We are okay with taking buses, trains, flights, and/or renting cars. My formula for family travel happiness involves planning just 1 activity per day (such as hiking, biking, touring places, or general sightseeing) and allowing for us to determine the other half of the day even though it usually results in a good siesta (especially if it's hot). Sandwich everything in between with lots of local foods--we are foodie-lite (we live for great food but not necessarily the Michelin star type-just great local cuisine). My kids will eat everything and will explore way more food than me.

Keep in mind, at the end of the two weeks, we'll be heading to Lisbon so we could stop for a day or two in the Algarve on the way to Lisbon. Or we will take a bus, train, or flight to Lisbon from Seville or Malaga. I know we want to see Toledo, Sevilla, Granada, and some small Spanish towns along with some beaches. Thoughts? Advice? Changes? B&B or Hotel Recommendations? THANKS!

Night 1-3: Madrid (day trips to Toledo and/or Segovia)
Night 4: Cordoba (or is it better to base out of Sevilla and do a day trip to Cordoba? Or should we drive to Cordoba once we get the rental car?)
Night 5-7: Sevilla (rent a car for a 1-week and depart Sevilla)
Night 8: Arcos or Ronda or stay somewhere on the way
Night 9-11: Granada (Maybe a B&B outside of town and explore other areas such as Nerja)
Night 12: Malaga or somewhere towards the West (Can stay in Malaga or nearby longer or move West to an area near Cadiz)
Night 13-14: Cadiz (or extend at Malaga or another town; or a smaller Spanish town like Zahara for the beach)
Day 15: return rental car and head to Portugal
jeremyaz1 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 04:27 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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With 14 nights and a wish to engage in just 1 major activity per day, your itinerary seems quite ambitious to me, but maybe it would work for you.

3 nights in Madrid gives you about 2 days there – the amount of time I wanted just for Toledo, and I’m a traveler who is up and about every moment of every day I’m on the road. That said, many people visit Toledo as a day trip. If you do that and also take a day trip to Segovia (both worthy destinations), will you actually have time to do / see what you want in Madrid?

No reason WHATSOEVER to have a rental car for Cordoba – it is on the high speed train line out of Sevilla. Many people visit Cordoba as a day trip; I felt hard pressed to see what I wanted with “just” two very full days there.

Your time in Sevilla seems very short to me.

I don’t think I say a reference to when you will be traveling, which can make a huge difference. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to check the climate data on weatherbase.com and/or timeanddate.com

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 06:15 AM
  #3  
twk
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Night 1-3: Madrid (day trips to Toledo and/or Segovia)
Night 4: Cordoba (or is it better to base out of Sevilla and do a day trip to Cordoba? Or should we drive to Cordoba once we get the rental car?)
Night 5-7: Sevilla (rent a car for a 1-week and depart Sevilla)
Night 8: Arcos or Ronda or stay somewhere on the way
Night 9-11: Granada (Maybe a B&B outside of town and explore other areas such as Nerja)
Night 12: Malaga or somewhere towards the West (Can stay in Malaga or nearby longer or move West to an area near Cadiz)
Night 13-14: Cadiz (or extend at Malaga or another town; or a smaller Spanish town like Zahara for the beach)
Day 15: return rental car and head to Portugal
I spent 15 nights in Spain this October. You can click on my name and see my trip report if you want to get some ideas from that.

I think you've generally got some good ideas, but might want to refine them a little. We used Madrid as a base, and made daytrips to Toledo and El Escorial, but if I were doing my trip over, I would have spent a night or two in Toledo (seems like it might be a good place to spend your arrival day, and spend 2 nights) and take that off of my Madrid stay. But, if you really want to focus on Andalucia, there's nothing wrong with the time you have allocated to Madrid.

I think a rental car is useful for seeing the hill towns and the Costa del Sol, but you don't want to pay rental car rates for days where your car is parked while you stay in Seville, Granada, or Cordoba (didn't make it to Cadiz, so I'm not sure about the utility of a rental car there). I would try to refine your itinerary so that you don't end up having a rental car while you stay in those 3 cities. Seville was a good place to pick up a rental car (not hard at all getting the car at Santa Justa station, and getting out of town), and Granda was a pretty easy place for us to return it with Hertz or Thrifty (the Hertz/Thrifty office is just off the freeway at Hotel Center).

As to the hill towns, my suggestions is to see as many of them as convenient, but I don't think they require much, if any, time spent in town. Architecturally, they are not that different from the Santa Cruz barrio in Seville or the Albacin district in Granada, so walking around and spending time in these towns isn't all that exciting. What is interesting is to see their situation--to see Zahara perched on its hill with the castle looming over it, or to see Arcos flowing down its hill. If you do want to spend a night, Ronda is probably the place to do it, as there is more to see and do in this hill town than most others.

We didn't spend a night in Nerja, but if I was looking for a beach town, I think that would be my choice. I didn't find Marbella to be worthwhile (we were mainly using it as an overnight base, wanting to take a daytrip to Gibraltar and see some of the coast). We skipped Malaga, but a lot of folks really like it; we just figured 3 Andalucian cities was enough, and wanted to stay in a smaller town, but Marbella really didn't satisfy that as well as I would have liked.
twk is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 07:23 AM
  #4  
 
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Are you going in the summer?
if you are, you must be avare of 100 + temp. and that most
towns in Andalusia “shut down “ in afternoons..
danon is online now  
Dec 18th, 2018, 11:30 AM
  #5  
 
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book your Madrid to Cordoba or Seville train tickets as early as possible at Renfe - Spanish Railways site - www.seat61.com has lots of helpful things on doing that - general info Spanish trains and where to go - www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts. I also think your itinerary is fairly ambitious.

Not sure how you're going to Portugal but there is good bus service from Seville to the Algarv and Faro - also to Lisbon.
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 18th, 2018, 08:23 PM
  #6  
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We're going in the summer and arrive into Madrid at 9am on June 19th. As for the 1 activity, I try to plan one activity and have others ready to go depending on how the kids feel. Some days we can handle many activities and several tours, other days the kids just need a break. Both my wife and I have been to Madrid so we don't have too many must-see items. Neither of us has been to the south of Spain. I should point out that we're from Scottsdale, AZ -- so we're used to the heat provided that we have air conditioning or a pool/ocean nearby.
jeremyaz1 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 10:44 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by jeremyaz1 View Post
we're from Scottsdale, AZ -- so we're used to the heat provided that we have air conditioning or a pool/ocean nearby.
According to weatherbase.com, the average relative humidity in Scottsdale in June is 18 percent. In Seville, its 53 percent -- 83 percent in the morning.
kja is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 06:28 AM
  #8  
twk
 
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Originally Posted by jeremyaz1 View Post
We're going in the summer and arrive into Madrid at 9am on June 19th. As for the 1 activity, I try to plan one activity and have others ready to go depending on how the kids feel. Some days we can handle many activities and several tours, other days the kids just need a break. Both my wife and I have been to Madrid so we don't have too many must-see items. Neither of us has been to the south of Spain. I should point out that we're from Scottsdale, AZ -- so we're used to the heat provided that we have air conditioning or a pool/ocean nearby.
We rented an apartment, and all of the ones we looked at had air conditioning, but I think you'll find that the afternoon siesta is a real thing in Andalucia in the summer time. Expect to sweat a lot. The compensation for that is that you can probably eat a lot, too, without gaining weight, but not everyone likes to go through that much physical stress on vacation.
twk is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 06:31 AM
  #9  
 
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Didn’t mean to be negative..( we live in a cold climate), June weather may be different than what I experienced in
August ( many years ago.) Hotels with good AC and pool is a good idea.

BTW, Malaga is a very nice town on the beach .
danon is online now  
Dec 19th, 2018, 11:25 AM
  #10  
 
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Well at least good for swimming if going to say Malaga. But there is a reason for the long noon siesta in that area - can get really hot but June is not nearly as bad as mid-summer/
PalenQ is online now  
Dec 19th, 2018, 03:55 PM
  #11  
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With all the warnings about going to Andalucia during the summer perhaps, it would be wise to do scale down the duration of days in the south. Maybe something like the following itinerary would be wise:

Nights 1/2: Toledo (Arrive 9 am Madrid airport take a direct van to Toledo)
Nights 3-7: Seville (plus day trips if desired)
Nights 8-14: Basque Region (Bilbao and/or San Sebastian)
Nights 15-21: Portugal (no need to focus on this--I know it puts a wrench in the logistics)
Nights 22-23: Madrid (suggested to end the trip with a couple days at start city)

I'm getting worried about the heat impacting our days and heading to the north to enjoy 72-degree temperatures would be a treat.
jeremyaz1 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 04:11 PM
  #12  
 
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I assume you will be driving to Seville from Toledo.
.(the train connection is throug Madrid)
I liked SS, Bilbao and Santander ..many nice beaches ..
Madrid is a great city .
danon is online now  
Dec 19th, 2018, 04:42 PM
  #13  
kja
 
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Under this plan, your time in Toledo is short, but not unreasonable. Your time in Sevilla is exceedingly limited and you won’t see any of the rest of magnificent Andalusia. Your time in the Basque area of Spain is not unreasonable, if a bit short. You will be spending a lot of time in transit. If you ever go back to Spain, and want to see any of the treasures you can’t fit in with this plan – and you will have to skip MANY treasures, then you will have to retrace all that wasted transportation time. Personally, I’d skip Sevilla for this trip, adding your time there to Toledo or Madrid (or Segovia) or the north. But it’s your trip; I’m just offering my thoughts in the hope they prove useful.
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