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1st time Spain- 3 weeks in April Arr Madrid Depart Malaga

1st time Spain- 3 weeks in April Arr Madrid Depart Malaga

Old Jan 31st, 2012, 04:36 PM
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1st time Spain- 3 weeks in April Arr Madrid Depart Malaga

My husband and I (active 62 year olds) are making our first trip to Spain and for that matter Europe in April. At this point we only have air into Madrid( 5 nights booked) and out from Malaga. Planning to day trip to Toldeo from Madrid. Train to Cordoba for 2 nts then train to Sevilla for 3-4 nts. We live in wine country in US and thought of taking a trip to Jerez to tour a bodega but haven't read many positive comments on that. We want to tour Andalucia and stay in Ronda(2nts)visit Granada(2nts) Also thought staying last 3 nts in Nerja before flying back to US from Malaga so we can have a little R&R. We are having trouble figuring out best route after Sevilla to see the White Villages, Granada,etc. maybe Gibraltar (is it worth it?) So many different ways to go about it all. We thought of renting a car and driving after Sevilla to end of trip. It seems like the car will get us to places but will be a hassle in Granda etc. Is it better to bus and how much of a hassle is luggage? Love to hear from all with your thoughts*
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Old Jan 31st, 2012, 04:46 PM
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It sounds like you have the allocation between cities just about right. I don't really suggest changing anything - it's all doable. I think the 3 nights in Nerja is a great way to finish up by winding down on the coast, away from the overdone resorts west of Malaga.

I would recommend taking the train as far as Seville, as you note, and then renting a car when you leave. Ronda and the other white villages are best reached by car, the scenery is, at times, spectacular, and the driving an absolute blast.

Granada is a bit of an issue with the car, but nothing really major so don't let it dissuade you. Get clear directions from your hotel to the nearest public car park and simply drop the car for your two days. You can even plan and check you route with them, or the tourist office.

Granada to Nerja, through the Sierra Nevada will be a great drive and you can putter up and down the coast from Nerja if you feel like it, too.
Aramis is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2012, 06:22 PM
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Thanks so much for the information. We are so looking forward to this trip. I have lots of friends who drive in Europe all the time so they are advising us that it is really not all that difficult.If you think of anything to pass along about these areas we are visiting, please pass it along.
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Old Jan 31st, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Do you have 3 weeks or 18 days in Spain? I count 18 days with the 3 remaining unplanned days?

First of all I think you've got a good allocation of days and have well thought out the pace! So many people try to cram all of Spain into 2.5 weeks and after a while it would seem like a blur.

Driving between cities - it's the driving in the cities and the parking that's a hassle and often more trouble than it's worth. I'd definately pick up the car on departing from Sevilla and depending on how you spend the 3 open days get rid of the car before Granada or keep in Granada to take to the next destination. Just be prepared for driving nightmares in Granada itself.

With 5 nights (although 1 jetlagged) you may be able to do another daytrip from Madrid. You could play it by ear but if you were able I'd recommend Segovia.

Given you have time in your itinerary it's great you could get a couple of nights to visit Cordoba. It's often just a daytrip for most people (as they have more limited time) but is definately worth a couple of days to get to see the city outside of the touristy Mezquita and Juderia.

If you enjoy wine tasting I'd definately spend 4 nights in Sevilla and spend 1 day in Jerez or Sanlucar visiting sherry bodegas (actually manzanilla in Sanlucar). These places are easily accessed by public transportation from Sevilla and it's a good peek into the important sherry culture of Andalucia.

As for the 3 open nights Nerja definately works. Other ideas for some "off the beaten path" type places for these 3 nights: Ubeda (a Renaissance town - quite unique for Spain), Priego de Cordoba (surrounded by olive groves and a beautiful barrio with streets full of flowers - after seeing this town it makes the Cordoba street of flowers look like nothing in comparison), Malaga (great old town and a very Spanish feel, good base for daytrips - including Nerja), and my favorite city Cadiz (surrounded by water, friendly people, great tapas, and a good base for daytrips using public transportation). I wouldn't bother with Gibraltar - personally I think there are much nicer places to visit in this area. Of course with the 3 open days you could just add a day or 2 each to Madrid & Sevilla giving you more opportunities for daytrips from these "base" cities. Or add a day to Ronda for more white village exploring or spend an extra day in Granada (although I think 2 nights is sufficient) if you want to slow down the pace a bit.

Almost forgot - when in April is this trip? The first week of April is Holy Week and Andalucia will be very busy. Two weeks later is the Spring feria in Sevilla - another busy time.

Also, the train tickets are renfe open up approx 62 days before travel and web fares are offered at discounts of 65%. You are at a good time to get the logistics planned so you can take advantage of these discounts. The web fares can go quickly.
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Old Jan 31st, 2012, 10:53 PM
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As immediately above, save yourselves some money on train fares, concise guide - http://tiny.cc/hbguc and lengthy guide, if required, covering known difficulties - http://tiny.cc/5ynb6
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 04:13 AM
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From Granada to Nerja, I recommend you go down to the Mediterranean along the spectacular A-4050 road known as the Moor's Sigh. The name comes from the legenedary sigh of Boabdil, the last emir of Granada, when he at the mountain pass known as Puerto del Suspiro del Moro, for a last time had a look back upon the now lost city. His mother shall then have said: "You cry like a woman over a city you couldn't defend as a man". This scenic route hit the Med in Almuñécar just East of Nerja.

Nerja is an ideal place for some days with R&R before flying home. Be sure to stay in or around seafront Calle Carabeo, the oldest street in town. Here, on the edge of the beautiful Old town, you are close to everything, the beaches, local atmosphere tapas bars, several excellent restaurants etc. Calle Carabeo run along these cliffs. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2622/...de6a8146_o.jpg

I will recommend these hotels in Nerja:
Tranquile and high standard Parador de Nerja: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/nerj...l?dcid=1;dva=0
Small and luxcurious Hotel Carabeo: http://www.hotelcarabeo.com/
Hotel Balcón de Europa, as central as it gets: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/balc...europa.en.html
Traditional and great value Hostal Mena:

I've been in Nerja at least once a year since 2002, and I'm only glad to recommend restaurants/tapas bars etc. depending on what you are looking for: Gourmet Spanish, traditional Spanish, the freshest fish and seafood, genuine local atmosphere tapas bars, bustling and good quality beach restaurants, high standard Italian, Thai, French, Indian etc.

Always updated info about Nerja: http://www.nerjatoday.com/
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