51 days in stay

Mar 2nd, 2014, 04:50 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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51 days in stay

G'day Folks,

Our family of four are heading to Spain this July and we have about 50 days! Below is the current plan and we're hoping for some feedback!

We'll be without a car in Barcelona, but at this stage planning on having a car for the rest of the trip. At first we thought 50 days was loads, but its full already! One of things missing is the northwest, including Santiago and I'm wondering if we should be trying to fit it in? Or not rush things any further!

Any feedback, comments, suggestions very welcome.

7 nights Barcelona
5 nights San Sebastian
1 night Bilbao
2 nights Oviedo
2 nights Salamanca
6 nights Madrid
5 nights Granada
3 nights Cordoba
4 nights Sevilla
8 nights Vejer de la frontera
4 nights Ronda
3 nights Cartegena
2 nights Valencia - then drive to Montpellier
partrg is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 04:54 AM
  #2  
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Of course, that should say '51 days in Spain'. I can't find a way of editing my post - is it possible?
partrg is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:07 AM
  #3  
 
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Personally I think 7 nights in Barcelona is too much. I know others will disagree, but I found 4 nights plenty. I freely admit to not being a Barcelona fan. I found it very crowded, even in November, and whilst we were not victims of crime it was all around, and I was exhausted just keeping my wits about me.
hetismij2 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:13 AM
  #4  
 
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I would agree with hetismij about Barcelona, unless you are planning on spending some time on the nearby coast too.

I would also suggest that you have given too long to Madrid, unless you are planning on taking day trips [Toledo? Segovia?]

One huge omission is some time in the countryside - the Picos di Europa, the white villages of Andalucia - IMO your trip is very biased in favour of cities. if you have kids with you [even if you don't] you have time to mix your trip up a bit, I think, rather than just concentrating on cities which can become very samey after a while.
annhig is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:21 AM
  #5  
 
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I had the opposite reaction to Barcelona than hetismij2. There were only 3 sights that were crowded - Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and La Pedrera. We were at La Pedrera first thing when they opened so didn't experience a lot of people in the house but the crowds (especially the large groups of teens) made the sightseeing unbearable to me. I didn't mind that there were lots of students but they were not looking at anything. They spent their time flirting and texting.

You can buy tickets to these 3 sights ahead on the internet so you don't have to wait in line. If I had to do it again, I would visit La Pedrera and Casa Batllo on different days (they are close together so it made sense to see them on the same day) and would choose a weekend when there are no school groups. Go first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.

I went in April and nothing else was crowded; some venues were almost absent of tourists. I also didn't see any pickpocket attempts and after a couple of days I forgot to be vigilant (fortunately I was not robbed). We went to the Ramblas area several times, a primary spot for pick pockets.

I spent 7.5 days in Barcelona with a day trip to Montserrat and enjoyed the time there. We could have spent less time and seen everything we did but we traveled leisurely and visited some out of the way spots.

You could cut your Barcelona time to 4 or 5 days and see the highlights.

PS - You can't edit your post. Just post again to clarify, as you did.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 05:38 AM
  #6  
 
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Twelve nights total for the white towns seems a bit much. i'd cut back on Vejer in favor of Leon and Santiago. I would also cut time in Barcelona and especially Madrid - overnight in Toledo, don't day trip.

Also, what does the rest of your trip look like? Are you not going to Portugal? And you do know about the 90 day Schengen limit, right?
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:15 AM
  #7  
 
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This could be a great "Tour of Spain"! Madrid and Barcelona are the two biggest and almost antithetical cities that gives you an idea of the immense diversity of Spain. So I think it's a good plan to spend some serious time in both Barcelona and Madrid and let both cities get a bit under the skin. Both are wonderful with tons of things to do, see, experience, eat and drink.
http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do
http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/

The rest seems like a fine mix of very diverse cities and areas. You could of course include more countryside (plenty of opportunities in The Basque Country and in Andalucía), but probably wise to let the North-West and Extremadura wait for another time.

And one important thing: The Salamanca-Ronda part makes it 32 consecutive days in inland Spain in July/August with temperatures around 100F on average (apart from the Vejer part). I suggest you'll need more time on the coast, fabulous beaches in the Cádiz region, and Cádiz city itself is 3000 year old Gadir.
kimhe is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 06:29 AM
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You absolutely should visit the northern atlantic cast of Spain - since it's the only part that's really comfortable in the summer - and where most Spaniards who can afford it will be.

Andalusia, while fascinating is hellishly hot (the average high in Seville is over 100 and can hit 120) and Madrid is also VERY hot. (We visit Spain in April - which is hot enough for the beaches but hot yet hellish).

If you do continue with this trip be sure all of your hotels have excellent AC and good pools.

If I had a choice I would either make your trip 3 months earlier - or head to someplace with a decent temp - like Switz/Germany instead.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 08:05 AM
  #9  
 
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You've received excellent advice from folks who know Spain better than I do (though I would also be worried about the heat that time of year) . . . I'll just comment about you title. Don't worry - since your thread is tagged for Spain folks will understand what you meant. Those who are most knowledgable about Spain will see your thread and respond.
janisj is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 09:09 AM
  #10  
 
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Keep in mind that each time you move you lose time IN places and spend it BETWEEN places.

When you write 2 nights in X, that means you only spend one FULL day and some portion of a second day in that place. The more often you move, the less time IN places.

A good rule of thumb to use when planning is the Rule of 3s which in terms of travel means, 'never spend less than 3 full days/4 nights in a place unless it is just an overnight stop between A and B. Note the 'less than', it is a minimum. Even using that as a guideline can result in 25% of your time being spent moving. Think about what you consider a good balance of time lost to moving would be and plan accordingly.

Personally, I prefer to move only once a week or less. I'm a proponent of 'slow travel' and exploring in depth rather than jumping from well known tourist spot to well known tourist spot. The experience you would have spending a week in Oviedo for example and exploring around that area would be far different than you will get spending just 2 nights and 1 full day there.

It always amuses me when someone writes, 'I think that is too long' for a given place. No amount of time is ever 'too long' and every trip is always 'too short'.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 02:34 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Should be a wonderful trip!

I thought Salamanca deserved 2 full days, so you might consider adding a night there.

Does your time in Madrid include Toledo, Segovia, and/or Avila? FWIW, I thought Madrid worth at least 4 full days, Toledo worth at least 2 full days, Segovia worth at least 1 day, and Avila the better part of a day.

I thought 3 nights sufficient for Granada.

I thought 1 night sufficient for Ronda. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there (which included an overnight), but I was ready to move on after less than a full day.

I'm glad you are giving yourself 2 full days for Cordoba.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 03:24 PM
  #12  
 
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I have spent considerable time in Barcelona and I am never bored.

And I agree you are spending far too much time in the south. Nothing is more over rated than more one or two white towns. Four days in Ronda is 2 too many. Consider near Madrid Toledo, Segovia, Avila, and Cuenca.
IMDonehere is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 04:49 AM
  #13  
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Thanks so much to everyone for your very helpful comments!

I should have mentioned that some of the bits of the itinerary were already locked in (Barcelona, San Sebastian, Granada), but we've modified the bits in between SS and Granada based on the comments here.

We like the idea of spending more time in Oviedo and exploring around there (maybe Picos de Europa, Cangas de Onis and Playa del Silencio?). We now have 1 spare day before having to be in Granada that we could add to any of the spots in between SS and Granada - any suggestions? Is more than one night worthwhile in either Segovia or Toledo? We'll definitely trim down the time in Ronda and the road trip back to Montpellier is still very vague and open for suggestions, but we've gained a few days here by spending less time in Ronda. I haven't heard about many highlights on the road from say Malaga all the way up to France??

Our whole trip is 87 days and we'll be in an out of Schengen countries during this time. We're planning on exploring Cadiz and other beaches whilst staying in Vejer. We're used to the heat, so hopefully its not too bad! Thanks for the tips re: pools and AC and will definitely look for places with those.

The new plan now looks like this (comments ideas etc still very welcome!):

7 nights Barcelona
5 nights San Sebastian
4 nights Oviedo
2 nights Salamanca
1 night Segovia
4 nights Madrid
1 night Toledo
5 nights Granada
3 nights Cordoba
4 nights Sevilla (then to Marrakesh for 1 week)
8 nights Vejer de la frontera
1 night Ronda
3 nights Cartegena
2 nights Valencia - then drive to Montpellier
partrg is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 05:40 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,362
Well, I would not go to Morocco in July, and if I did I would certainly not spend all my time in Marrakesh.... I still think you should visit Portugal as well as Spain, and would do that rather than Morocco. probably the north, around Porto and Coimbra rather than Lisbon since it will be summer.

When you say somewhere is locked in, do you mean you have reservations you can't cancel without penalty?
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 02:57 PM
  #15  
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Yes, flights for Morocco are already booked, but by the time we get there it will be September! So hopefully a little more pleasant. Do you think just day trips from Marrakesh, or other places in Morocco? Thanks again.
partrg is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 03:00 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I would certainly try to get to Fez, which I much preferred to Marrakesh, but not a day trip. You could also consider Essaouira - not so Moroccan, but cute - could be a day trip although I stayed a couple of nights. If you want to do the desert that's also not a day trip.
thursdaysd is offline  

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