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3.5 days in Andalucia

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Mar 12th, 2014, 07:54 AM
  #1
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3.5 days in Andalucia

We've officially booked transatlantic flights for May (hooray!) and are trying to nail down the middle piece for our trip. ("We" are two early-30s women, used to traveling together but fairly new to Spain.) At the moment we're leaning toward the following:

- start in London - 4.5 days for me, 2.5 for friend
- fly out of London May 13 - likely to somewhere in Andalucia
- get to Barcelona May 17
- fly out of Barcelona May 21 (set in stone)

So we'll have 3.5 days or so in Barcelona and 3.5 days in Andalucia (not long, I know). One of the main attractions of Andalucia as opposed to Provence (where we've also been considering) is the relative ease of train travel/no strong need for a car. Is it good and reasonable to spend all four of our nights in one town in Andalucia and base from there for day trips? It seems like not, but I'd love to be wrong! Or should we, say, fly into Malaga and stay in a couple of different places before taking the train or flying to Barcelona?

This may be too much, but my first stab -

Day 1: fly from London to Malaga, stay...? If we get in early enough, I'd love to go on to Granada or Cordoba, unless Malaga is worth a night given our circumstances
Days 2-3: some combination of Cordoba and Granada, seeing Mezquita and Alhambra and exploring the towns a bit
Day 4: stay in Granada, OR go to Seville early, one night in Seville
Day 5: fly or train from Seville or Granada/Malaga to Barcelona

Is that completely crazy? Seville isn't a necessity; I've been before, but it was briefly, 15 years ago as a college sophomore, and I would love to go back. But I don't want to spend the time and money doing it if we won't be able to really experience much there. Doing one night in Malaga, splitting the other three between Cordoba and Granada somehow, and flying to Barcelona from there is probably more sane, unless Seville is worth prioritizing over Cordoba and/or Granada in which case the above is entirely blown. Clearly, any thoughts are more than welcome! Thanks in advance!
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Mar 12th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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It's crazy. Fly into Malaga and see the old town and explore there then the next day head to Granada for the Alhambra (GET YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE) and overnight there. Then go back to Malaga via Cordoba, arriving in Malaga in the eveing.

It's a whirlwind but it's doable.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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Ha! Thanks for the honesty, sparkchaser. I did figure Seville was too much to throw in there - it's just so tempting. I was just hoping to be told I was wrong!

Vueling does fly nonstop from Granada to Barcelona, so I considered doing Malaga -> Cordoba -> Granada -> Barcelona. It's twice the price of flying from Malaga, but I need to see how much train tickets back to Malaga would be - it might even out. That would save us a bit of backtracking.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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If flying, you'll need to be at the airport about 90 minutes prior to boarding your flight so that you can check in and clear security. Unless you're an EU citizen, you will not be able to check in online. Also, you need to add the travel time from your hotel in the city to the airport (25-30 minutes).
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Mar 12th, 2014, 12:10 PM
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Agree with sparkchaser. And Córdoba to Málaga is only 50 minutes with the high speed AVE train.

Some recommendations for your time in Málaga:

Stay in great value Don Curro, close to the sea and the great new port and as central as it gets: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/hote...rro.en-gb.html

Dinner at Meson de Cervantes, just off Teatro Cervantes:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Andalucia.html

Tapas at La Campana: http://11870.com/pro/la-campana-malaga
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Andalucia.html

Late night at El Pimpi, an institution in town:
http://elpimpi.com/
video-presentation of El Pimpi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzLkFsVJdhc

Real deal flamenco guitar concert at Teatro Cánovas in Málaga on Friday May 16th. Part of the Flamenco viene del Sur (Flamenco comes from the South) festival: http://www.flamenco-world.com/notici...022014ing.html
The artists, José María Gallardo del Rey & Miguel Angel Cortés: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCGjx55fch8

Malaga city is genuine Andalucian atmosphere, the Roman theater just below the Moorish Alcazaba, the beautiful "one-armed" Cathedral, Picassos birth-house and the Picasso museum, the New Carmen Thyssen museum, great cafes, tapas bars and restaurants, theaters and nightlife. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalis...pleasures.html

and here's the new port in Málaga, two minutes walking from hotel Don Curro: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...Andalucia.html
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Mar 12th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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Wow, kimhe - thank you!! That is hugely helpful.

So Cordoba is basically a day stopover between Granada and Malaga, correct, not (in our particular case) needing a night? I know someone on my earlier thread had mentioned storing their luggage at the Cordoba bus station.

Lastly - are there generally any cost savings if we buy train tickets ahead of time for these routes? Or are the tickets pretty much the same costs regardless?
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Mar 12th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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You can save about 50% if you buy tickets online in advance for the high speed AVE train. renfe.com
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Mar 12th, 2014, 06:01 PM
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> So Cordoba is basically a day stopover between Granada and Malaga, correct, not (in our particular case) needing a night? -- I thought Cordoba worth 2 full days.

It depends on what you want to see and experience, but I must admit that I would spend all of your exceedingly limited time in / around Barcelona. Wait for Andalucia until you can give it the 10 days it deserves. Just my opinion.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 10:22 PM
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Thanks, kimhe! renfe.com was giving me errors every time I tried anything earlier - but I'll keep trying.

Thanks, kja! Honestly I think we'd get antsy with that long in Barcelona. We tend to travel pretty quickly, and don't get overseas very often. I don't want to drive ourselves crazy, but getting a good taste of a couple of regions is preferable (for us) to doing everything in one region. Plus this will give us a nice mix of smaller towns and big cities.

I *am* thinking that we could get to Malaga early enough (possibly 1:30, if we take the correct flight) to where we could head for Cordoba or Granada that afternoon, if that would be better; then we'd stack our Malaga time at the later end and maybe catch the flamenco guitar concert kimhe mentioned!
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Mar 12th, 2014, 10:23 PM
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(Not that one could "do everything" in either Andalucia or Barcelona with six or seven days, of course. But, for example, we spent 4.5 days in Rome - one of which was mainly a cooking class - and that was a good amount of time for us. We were ready to head out.)
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Mar 12th, 2014, 11:11 PM
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kja
 
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Just to be clear -- I wasn't suggesting that you spend all your time in Barcelona. I specifically said "in /around" Barcelona. If nothing in northern Spain interest you, so be it. Still, I honestly don't know what you think you are going to get from trying to see Malaga, Cordoba, and Granada in your limited time - 3.5 days? Flights might not take much time, but you'll need to get to/from airports, pack/unpack, etc. I just honestly can't imagine that being interesting or pleasant. But to each his/her own! Good luck!
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Mar 13th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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I agree with kja. This pace is frantic and wouldn't be enjoyable IMHO unless the point of the trip is to just check off sites. If I counted correctly there are 12 nights in the trip and trying to cover 2 countries and 3 large geographic areas. I'd save Andalucia for another trip when there's more time to return to Sevilla (alot has changed in 15 years), spend a couple of days in Granada, Cordoba and explore the coast or white villages. Granada, Cordoba and Malaga are big cities, they are not small towns. These 4 nights could be spent closer to Barcelona - Tarragona, Girona, Valencia, Cadeques, Begur. Plenty to keep fast paced travelers busy without going to a frantic pace.
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Mar 13th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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Andalucia is on the list because I have a Spanish minor and that's the part of the country that I was always most interested in in my classes. But considering it's taken me 15 years to get back to Spain period, I don't see getting back there any time soon, hence the desire to at least get a taste of the region. I love to travel when I can, but my international trips are usually 2-3 years apart and there are lots of places I'd like to see.

CathyM, I appreciate the specific suggestions about the north of Spain - I will freely admit that I'm not as familiar with what is of interest in that area, aside from Girona. The pace is pretty simliar to our previous trips, but the advice is noted!
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Mar 13th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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I think this could give you a fine, little and hectic taste of Andalucía if you plan it well, and then you can have some relaxing days in Barcelona at the end.
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Mar 19th, 2014, 12:57 PM
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Thanks, kimhe. I appreciate it.

We're still trying to finalize our plan. However, if we were to do Andalucia, we could conceivably fly London to Malaga and then take the train straight to Cordoba that same afteroon (our flight would get in around 13:30, and there are trains leaving throughout the afternoon, so we could arrive in Cordoba before dinner - a long day, but perhaps worth it?). We could then fly direct from Granada to Barcelona for a very similar cost to taking the train and flying from Malaga. If we have little time, would basically skipping Malaga make sense, or is it a city we should explore even with a few days?

So the schedule, if we were to do that, would be something like:

Tuesday: leave London, arrive Malaga 1:30pm; train to Cordoba, arriving early evening
Wed: Cordoba (or possibly head to Granada that evening?)
Thu: Cordoba/Granada
Fri: Granada
Saturday: fly to Barcelona, leaving Granada airport at 9:25am

For anyone who would even consider this, would this make more sense, or would staying in Malaga a night be better?
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Mar 20th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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Bumping just in case.
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