There has been excellent trip reports covering Andalusia lately. I was hesitant to post because how brief our time was in Andalusia was and how fast paced it was. However, I remember reading and enjoying trip reports when I was planning our Andalusian trip. Maybe another family or person would benefit from my trip report.
About us: we are a family of four (daughters are 5 years old and 22 months) and we love to travel. We live frugally at home to be able to travel every 4-5 months. This year we had a wonderful time in Capri, La Dordogne and the Greek islands. But when I saw a roundtrip ticket fare of $300 in economy to Barcelona from our home town, on Lufthansa, I booked three tickets immediately for a week October 11th to October 18th. My husband and I had not even cleared it with our jobs at that point.
I always book directly with the airlines, but this deeply discounted fare was from secretfying.com that directed me to Citiair. Booking with them was not straightforward, and even called my sister, who had used Citiair, "are they for real?". In the end, it did work out: Lufthansa had even a baby cot for my 22 months old on the way there. On the way back the flight was only a third full: my husband and I and my eldest daughter had entire rows by ourselves. We were able to lie down flat.
The way we packed: one carry-on for all and my husband had a medium size backpack. We had 4 outfits for everyone, sweaters and bathing suits. We also brought an ergo baby carrier and a pockit stroller (folds in the size of a big laptop computer).
We had been to Barcelona two years ago and had rented an apartment for a week in the Barrio Gotico. And while we did enjoy our stay in Barcelona, our trip to Andalusia was simply far above what we experienced in Barcelona. Andalusia just suited us better: from the spectacular landscape, the flamenco shows, the amazing Moorish and Catholic architecture... We enjoyed our bonus trip so much that we are bringing my parents there in 2018.
So with unfavorable parameters (round trip into Barcelona, not in Andalusia; only 7 days, so really 5 full days on the ground) we came back from a vacation on a new high of having tremendously enjoyed Andalusia. That said, I would not recommend our itinerary to most people.
This is what we did:
Landed in Barcelona. Immediately took a flight down to Granada. Arrived at 8pm. Check in at the Alhambra Palace Hotel (beautiful rooms, great terrace, walking distance to the Alhambra). My husband ran a bath for the children and put them to bed. I went for the night tour of the Nasrid palaces. Thank you for everyone who suggested both a night tour and a day tour! I loved every moment of it!
Morning and early afternoon at the Alhambra. The weather was perfect in October. There was so much to see and explore. Wow! How incredible! I loved the incorporation of water in the architectural design. The children were just happy to run in the gardens and discovering fountains after fountains. We had a late lunch at the hotel and took the 5pm train to Ronda.
The train station in Granada is under construction but the bus to Antequera and then train to Ronda is easily done. The sun was setting while we were on train and the Andalucian landscape was simply spectacular. It was one of my most enjoyable train experience.
We checked in into the Parador in Ronda (again thank you for previous posters to putting this hotel on my radar). The location on the cliff was perfect. We went for a evening walk on a road along the cliff. There was music in the air. The children were dancing around a gazebo. We found a playground: "Look Mommy there is even a trampoline!" They had fun playing with little Spaniards while my husband and I talked with the local parents. We finished the evening by having some tapas outside at the Parador admiring the Puente Nuevo.
After an excellent breakfast at the Parador, we encountered the day crowds. But walking down our now familiar path, after the Bull statue, the crowd thinned out. The children wanted to play again at their favorite playground.
At 2pm we had reservations at El Quinque restaurant for lunch and a flamenco shows. Thank you again for the suggestion! I found this gem in a trip report from Fodor. The children were mesmerized. It was perfect!
El Quinque is next door to the Parador. We had already check out this morning. We picked up our carry-on but we were unlucky in getting a taxi. After walking to the taxi stand, calling multiple times, and the Parador staff trying their best, we decided finally to just walk to train station. It was not far. 15 minutes.
We took an afternoon train to Córdoba. This little city was a last minute addition when we decided to throw caution to the wind and do multiple one night stops. It ended becoming my favorite city in Spain.
We stayed at La Casa del Aceite, a wonderful apartment. It was spacious, had a small kitchen, and I love the light in their courtyard.
We walked around the old city: the small pedestrian streets, the Moorish courtyards, the street lamps reflecting on the river. Food and ice cream were our only goals that night. And wandering.
We took a free city tour with Pancho tours. The guide was average and it was hard to hear her. But it was nice not to think about how to get to the major landmarks. I stayed in the back with my youngest daughter taking pictures, enjoying this guided stroll. Near the wall of the Mezquita, an old man had two pet small pigs on a leash, one pink, the other black. It provided a solid hour of entertainment to my youngest daughter as this kind man let her walk them and showed her how to pet them.
After seeing the Mezquita, I suggested to my parents to do two locations in Andalusia over a week: Granada for the Alhambra and Córdoba for the Mezquita and the way of live.
We checked out of La Casa del Aceite and took the fast train to Sevilla.
Based on the recommendations from this website, I chose Las Casas de la Judería and what an interesting hotel! We went to the pool on the rooftop and relaxed for a few hours.
In evening we wondered out slowly again, taking in the sounds and sights of Sevilla. We had dinner at Las Casas de la Judería.
We had another free tour today with Pancho and this time the guide was great. I love pedestrian cities and this was not an exception.
We bought flamenco dresses for my daughters (even though it was not the season, we found touristy ones, which my daughters adore and will wear randomly now that we are back).
I took the eldest to see a second flamenco show at La Casa del Flamenco. It gave me chills, it was that good. My daughter found some friends to watch the show with her, two little French girls, who were also wearing a flamenco outfit.
We toured the Alcazar today. It made me smile to hear some people put on briefly the Game of Thrones on their phone when we walked in.
In the afternoon we took the direct train back to Barcelona (5.5 hours). We stayed near the airport the Barcelona Airport Hotel. The following morning we flew back with a almost empty aircraft and had the luxury to spread out.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a line.
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