2 weeks in Spain

Jan 15th, 2019, 11:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 139
2 weeks in Spain

My wife and I plan to visit Spain for a couple of weeks in late May, 2019. We have driven much of Europe and love to see the country side and small towns. My initial thinking is to start in Madrid for 3 nights/4 days (we are not museum fans) then
pick up a car from the airport heading first for El Escorial and Segovia, then
down thru Toledo and Cordoba to Seville (2 more nights total 5)
followed by 4 days/nights in the Cadiz, Arcos, Ronda, Malagna, Gibraltar area, 2 days -1 night to drive to Barcelona (now 10 nights); 3 nights Barcelona, then drive back to Madrid airport to return car and fly back to Miami. We do have some flex in time, but we have found that we tire after a couple of weeks +or-.

Your comments/input on this trip would be appreciated, as well as the best location(s) in the south of Spain to pick off the most sights on day trips. Our love is experiencing the culture, old historical sights/structures, and those off the beaten track beautiful small towns.

rmgood is offline  
Jan 15th, 2019, 12:56 PM
Join Date: May 2016
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A long drive

So you are planning on driving from the Málaga area all the way to Barcelona in one day? Have you looked at a map? It's a very long haul. I would drop the car off in Málaga and take the train, or even fly, to Barcelona.
Robert2016 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2019, 01:40 PM
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We did a RT in 1985 starting in the Pyrenees and returning there, it was a car lent to us by friends in France, but the timing and what we saw with the exception of Toledo and Barcelona in terms of geography might give you some ideas as to what to see:
Michael is online now  
Jan 15th, 2019, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I did a 2 week trip to Spain in October. You can click on my name to see my trip report, which might give you some ideas.

We covered a lot of the same ground that you are planning to cover. We opted to leave Barcelona for a future trip, and I think you may want to do the same if you are committed to flying in and out of Madrid. If you could do open jaw, Barcelona would make more sense.

I enjoyed the part of our trip that we had a car, but we only used it for a couple of days, basically to get from Seville to Granada, via the pueblos blanco and Gibraltar. I think you may find that a car will be a liability when you are in Seville and Malaga.

I also think you might want to consider doing something I wish I'd done in hindsight: go to Toledo on arrival day, spend two nights there (for recovery on the first day and sight seeing on the second), then start your trip south from there (although if you do that by train, you would backtrack to Madrid Atocha to proceed to Cordoba). Then, hit Madrid, El Escorial, and Segovia at the end of the trip.
twk is offline  
Jan 15th, 2019, 02:44 PM
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Yes, return car in Malaga and take high-speed train going up to nearly 200 mph on many segments -you do not need a car in Barcelona - and cars are a hassle in large cities - then take bullet train to Madrid. This would save you a few days of car rental and fuel for those stretches - and this lets you out of not doing that grueling more than all night drive which would leave you wiped out your first day in Barcelona. Cars are useless in Madrid too.

Booking train tickets early yourselves online can mean really cheap tickets of 49 Euros or so - do you own check at Renfe though many folks seem to have troubles using it - www.seat61.com has tons of info on booking your own discounted tickets - general info Spanish trains at www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts. And discounted seats are sold in limited numbers so early bird gets worm - believe you can book up to three months in advance but not sure about that.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 15th, 2019, 07:33 PM
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I’m sorry, but I’m not following your timing: How do 3 nights in Madrid yield 4 days? How can you visit El Escorial, Segovia, Toledo, Cordoba, and Seville with just 2 nights and 1 day? Is it actually possible to see Cadiz, Arcos, Ronda, Malaga, and Gibralter in 2 days, with just 1 night somewhere in there? I must be missing something….

To be honest, you couldn’t pay me to drive from anywhere in the south of Spain to Barcelona -- and I like driving! YMMV. And if you do decide to include Barcelona, do you have to backtrack to Madrid to fly home?

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Jan 16th, 2019, 09:19 AM
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Yes, an overly ambitious itinerary and driving after all-night flight from airport to Segovia with stop in El Escorial is not wise after jet lag and perhaps not much sleep - very dangerous they say like drunk driving.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 17th, 2019, 11:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 139
I appreciate all the input. I always hear my plans are too aggressive, but they work out great. My wife and I move along..

The drive back to Barcelona - One night, 2 days...Is there not anything to see on that drive? No small towns and pretty countryside?

3 nights yield 4 days if you arrive early in the AM as most flights from the East Coast U.S. do... In order to acclimate to the time zone change, We typically get in 8 hours sightseeing day one.

I do not plan on using a car in Madrid; I plan to pick one up when leaving; then in cities like Barcelona, park it at the hotel until time to leave. That has worked out great on all other trips. Any reason it would not on this trip? Is spain that much different than Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, etc?

Last edited by rmgood; Jan 17th, 2019 at 11:59 AM.
rmgood is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 01:03 PM
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The drive back to Barcelona - One night, 2 days...Is there not anything to see on that drive? No small towns and pretty countryside?>

Boring countryside on direct route - and long drive - I know that you love driving a lot but really since cars are useless in Barcelona why not return car in Andalusia and blast to Barcelona by trains going up to nearly 200 mph and then blast by AVE train to Madrid.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 17th, 2019, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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<<The drive back to Barcelona - One night, 2 days...Is there not anything to see on that drive? No small towns and pretty countryside?>>

<< Is spain that much different than Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, etc?>>
Spain is a lot better.

Since the main part of your trip (8 nights) is the typical Madrid/Seville/ Barcelona boilerplate, you are getting the usual train answer.

We have been to Spain 5 times in the past 4 years and we always drive, however, we have yet to set foot in Madrid proper, half a day in Toledo was enough and, two nights in Seville were enough that could not pay me enough to visit Barcelona.

If this was my trip, I would replace Segovia with Salamanca, and leave Madrid for the end of the trip.

Stay off the main highways, try not to cover more than 300 kms in a day and you can have the type of a trip I think you would enjoy.
cdnyul is online now  
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