17 days in Spain, best itinerary?

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Mar 1st, 2015, 10:14 PM
  #1
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17 days in Spain, best itinerary?

Hello fellow travellers,
We (2 couples) are travelling to Spain between the 4th - 21st June. Basis our liking which is primarily nature, culture, food and lastly history. I've made a tentative itinerary.
Request you to please help me fine tune it.
4 - 7 Madrid with a day's trip to Toledo/Segovia
8 - 9 Seville
10 - 12 Malaga with day trips to Costa Del Sol/ Cordoba and Granada
13 - 15 Valencia
16 - 20 Barcelona with San Sebastian (for an over night maybe)
We are kind of skeptical about the Malaga sector.

Need help with the following:
Best recommended budget BnB/ apartment options?
Is Spain well connected with public transport?
What's the best way to book Eurail?
Is it better to book tickets to various attractions?

Thank you in advance.
S
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Mar 1st, 2015, 11:02 PM
  #2
kja
 
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I must admit that this trip sounds very rushed to me. For example, if you arrive on the 4th, you really have only 3 days for Madrid, and it seems that you are planning to use 2 of those 3 days for day trips, leaving very little for Madrid itself. Only 2 days for Sevilla? You are planning to skip Granada's Alhambra and Cordoba's Mesquite, 2 of the most amazing buildings any where in the world? etc.

I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (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. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.
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Mar 1st, 2015, 11:46 PM
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Are those days or nights in each place? If they are days, account for your travel times because that will eat up some days. Even if the train is only about 2&1/2 hours from Madrid to Seville, add in the time to get from hotel to train station in Madrid and time to get from station to hotel in Seville, and a good part of a morning is gone.

If the days you are showing are the actual amount of time you want in each place, they are not bad, but to get that, you will have to cut one place (or more) to allow for travel time.

If what you are showing is nights in each place, then it is not enough, at least in Seville?

Cordoba is better as a day trip from Seville than Malaga, quick and easy by train. Add a day to Seville for this.

Granada is not a great day trip. People do it, but the area really is lovely and you need a morning and evening to see the Alhambra. A couple of nights stay is better.
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Mar 1st, 2015, 11:57 PM
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Excellent public transport almost all over Spain. In general frequent, affordable and punctual. The high speed AVE Train system is brilliant, from city center to city center in no time, covering more and more of the country. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVE

No need to be sceptical about three thousand year old Malaga city by the Med (not to be confused with the Malaga province with lots of tourist developments along the coast), genuine and laid-back with tons of character, great tapas bars, cafes, terraces, restaurants, concerts, theaters and nightlife. And plenty of intersting sights right in the city center, from the Roman theater to Picasso's birth home. Malaga is also a museum city. http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/home.htm
"Picasso's city of hidden treasures": http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...-breaks-travel
"The emerging fine food scene in Malaga and around": http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...taurants-tapas
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 12:41 AM
  #5
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Thanks a lot for the replies all of you.

kja - I too felt it was rushed after reading other posts in the forum, so I am trying to ease it out with your help.
We are certainly not missing out on Cordoba/ Granda (if you see they currently feature against Malaga in my itinerary)

Sassafrass - these are days. I agree with you about the time wastage between trains. Was wondering if we could take some night trains and save on time?

Kimhe - Thank you for the info, especially bringing light to the Malaga city bit. I was looking at the Province all this while.

Would you recommend the Basque country side over Malaga? So we can then cover Cordoba while at Seville, go to Granada and then head towards Valencia.
Also, if we do go to Malaga are Marbella and Costa Del Sol worth a visit?
I read in some posts that Granada is better that Cordoba if we have to make a choice. Is it so?
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 12:43 AM
  #6
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Can you please help me divide the days I have in hand between the cities? We are keen on visiting Valencia.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 01:38 AM
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The Basque country side and Malaga are two completely different worlds. Depends on your interests and likes. I love both very Andalusian Malaga and very Belle Epoque San Sebastian, but the latter is my favourite place on the planet since the late 80's. http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/

Beautiful and very different landscapes, but you will not find anything much greener than the Basque countryside in June.
Basque Country video intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wfWEFTBLWw
Malaga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqMQz18HDM
Antequera and the spectacular limestone mountain Torcal, 30-40 mins driving north of Malaga city: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWrrOMTfJeM

Note that Barcelona to San Sebastian is some 400 miles. If you want to stay for a day or two, you'll have to fly to Bilbao (1h) and then direct bus to San Sebastian from the Bilbao airport in 70 mins (Pesa bus)

If you decide for Malaga city, you are already on the Costa del Sol. A huge city beach in Malaga and very popular beaches just outside the center in Pedregalejo/El Palo. For a short visit, I would not bother leaving great and genuine Malaga city itself for quite up-scale tourist magnet Marbella, unless you are looking for coctail & beach and fashionable night clubs.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 01:49 AM
  #8
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Thanks Kimhe!!

Please tell me if the following makes sense. (please note that our group isn't much into history so even while we visit the historical places of prime importance at each destination, we might not spend hours learning them)
We land in BCN at 0650 of the 4th
4 5 6 - BCN
7 8 9 - San Sebastian/ Bilbao
10 11 12 - Madrid (with either Toledo or Segovia)
13 14 15 - Seville (one day of Cordoba)
16 17 - Malaga
18 19 20 - Valencia
21 fly out of BCN

May have to skip Granada doing all this.
Please suggest
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 04:57 AM
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Of course a bit hectic, but perfectly doable. Will give you a fine taste of a very diverse country. And I think you do wise in going down to cooler Malaga by the sea after six days in Madrid and Sevilla. The inland can be hellishly hot already in June. The Alhambra in Granada is of course something special, but you'll get the opportunity to see the much older Alcazaba castle/fortress in the centre of Malaga and the spectacular mudejar style Real Alcazar in the center of Sevilla.
Alcazaba in Malaga: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._el_puerto.JPG
By night, as seen from the restaurants and cafe terraces along Calle Alcazabilla: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Nocturna..jpg
Real Alcazar in Sevilla: http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 05:03 AM
  #10
 
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Have you started to look at traveling between these places? You have chosen many locations that either requiring flights between them or long hours of train/bus/car travel. I would still simplify this trip and drop at least one of the locations. If you choose the train or driving, you'll be spending many hours traveling with limited time in any of the cities that you're visiting.

I would also start my trip elsewhere than Barcelona as you have to come back to fly out -- and I wouldn't want to risk getting to the airport from another city.

There are many possible itineraries, but I think it's important to figure out what you're looking for in this trip. You may find all that traveling between places undermines the experience you would like!
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 05:57 AM
  #11
 
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Much as I like the Basque region this is the outlier on this itin

We land in BCN at 0650 of the 4th
4 5 6 - BCN
7 8 9 - San Sebastian/ Bilbao
10 11 12 - Madrid (with either Toledo or Segovia)
13 14 15 - Seville (one day of Cordoba)
16 17 - Malaga
18 19 20 - Valencia
21 fly out of BCN

I'd remove SS and B and spread the time into Seville and Malaga to ensure a long day at Grenada. Note that it will be hot and you will need to siesta and eat late, this knocks your time clock a bit for a couple of days until you get used to it.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 09:05 AM
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As much as I adore Valencia, is there a particular reason you are spending so much time in the city? Don't get me wrong, there is certainly enough to see but on a first trip to Spain it might not be my first choice.

Where are you flying in from? The first day or two can be a daze if there is much jet lag. I personally prefer to stay put for 4 days in my first stop. It also gives me the chance to wait for lost luggage to catch up with me as it has happened more than once, lol.

I also would prefer to go to Granada than to Malaga. I would prefer to go to Granada than do day trips to Segovia or Toledo (though both are gorgeous!)

This is what I would suggest:

4 5 6 7 8 - BCN (tons to do but you could also do day trips from there)

9 10 11 - Valencia (Ave to Madrid)

12 13 14 15- Madrid (with one day trip)

16 17 18 - Seville (one day of Cordoba)

19 20 - Malaga (train or fly to BCN if you can't do open jaw)

21 fly out
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 09:18 AM
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Agree with Mari. Valencia is not a city for a first time visit.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 09:41 AM
  #14
 
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Or, if you don't go to Valencia, you could add a day to Seville and then stay 2 nights in Granada. That way you can see the Alhambra!

Days
4-8 BCN
9-12 Madrid (with one day trip)
13-16 Seville (day trip to Cordoba)
17-18 Granada
19-20 Malaga (as above, train or fly to BCN)
21 fly out
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 05:21 PM
  #15
kja
 
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I still don't see any allocation of time for transportation between cities, packing/unpacking, checking in/out, getting oriented, etc.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 01:28 AM
  #16
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Wow!! Thank you everyone!

We will fly to and from Barcelona (the reason being we got a fab deal on the tickets to we booked even before planning the internal movement).
I have looked at the internal travel (with the current itinerary in purview):
BCN - Basque - flight (if we go ie at 9am)
Bilbao - Madrid (train)
Madrid - Seville - train (morning train 2h30m approx to reach in time for check in)
Seville - Malaga - train (AVANT train 1h55m)
Malaga - Valencia - overnight bus
Valencia - BCN - bus

I will reconsider Valencia basis the feedback.

When you say it'll be hot, what's the worst it could get? As we are from India and the temperature here will be somewhere around 36 deg cel during summer.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 01:57 AM
  #17
kja
 
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I'm really very sorry to say that this plan sounds even worse to me than your original plan. I understand the desire to fit in as many places as you can, but ONLY if doing so actually means more time seeing places than sitting on trains or buses or planes or otherwise in transit. Personally, I'd rather have some time to see the places I visit, rather than dashing about. Just my opinion: YMMV. Good luck!
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 02:02 AM
  #18
 
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If you are from India then you will have no problem.

I have friends in Valenicia and I've seen little to do there, what have found to do?

Missing out on Grenada, hhhm and a night bus?
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 02:15 AM
  #19
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Hi Bilbaoburgler,

we particularly wanted to go there for the beach, but if that's something we can enjoy at Malaga we wouldn't mind dropping it. Like I've said many times before, our internal itinerary isn't final. I am trying to learn from forums what would be ideal.

We are more into culture, food and nature than history.

Thanks again.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 03:13 AM
  #20
 
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A nice, budget B&B in Barcelona. Back in 2011 I thought the downside was breakfasts that were somewhat ordinary and disappointing but other than that it was a good place to stay: clean, quiet and with very nice hosts.
http://www.nisiabcn.com/
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