9 Nights In Spain Itinerary Help

Old Feb 8th, 2011, 08:13 PM
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9 Nights In Spain Itinerary Help

My best friend and I will be traveling to Spain for nine nights in late September. I'm planning way ahead, because I'm excited about it! I'm trying to work out a reasonable itinerary, both of our first times in Spain although we've both traveled Europe fairly extensively.

I like museums, historical sights and strolling towns and shops. Nightlife and beaches, not so much my thing.


I'm having trouble putting my itinerary together to make the most of my time. We'll be using trains for transportation.

I have nine full days (I leave on the tenth day) I'd like to spend

Three day in Madrid including a trip to Toledo
One day in Cordoba
Two days in Salamanca
One day in Zaragova
Two days in Barcelona



I'm flying in and out of Madrid. I considered flying out of Barcelona, but it seems silly, because I'd have to be on a 10AM flight, to take me to Madrid to catch a 5pm flight, where as if I fly out of Madrid, I have the day to spend before the 5pm Flight.

I'm not sure it's realistic to fit this particular array of cities in. I got so far as Cordoba and then didn't see an easy way to spend the next day, as everything needs to go through Madrid train wise.

I'd love any advice as to scheduling, or if there's a city that just doesn't need to be here, or something that is easier hit on my loop but just as interesting or more worthy of my time.

I'm a little scattered on this!

Thanks in advance.
terrajarret is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2011, 01:54 AM
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You proposed itinerary is "scattered" with Salamanca - 3 hours NW of Madrid and Cordoba - 4.5 hours south of Madrid as spider legs on what is otherwise a straight line trip from Madrid to Barcelona - and back. Logic suggests one of them should go and if you were only going to spend 1 day in Cordoba, that seems like the logical one to drop.

Granada is a definite option once you are down in Cordoba, but adding it in would necessitate dropping Salamanca. You can get to Barcelona from Granada without going back through Madrid but it is a long trip (there is an overnight train) and then Zaragoza is out of the way.

Coming back to Madrid to depart instead of leaving from Barcelona seems puzzling unless I am misunderstanding something. It will take you 9-10 hours to get back to Madrid from Bracelona. Unless you were going to do that on a night train, it seems to be the about the same amount of time you describe as "losing" if you were to take a 10 am flight home from BCN instead of a 5 pm flight from MAD. If it takes you that difference in time to get back - what have you gained except a lot of time on a train?
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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I agree that you're spreading yourself too thin. Too many places (five) in a nine days — actually six if you count a day trip to Toledo from Madrid. You're going to be spending far too much time in train stations and on trains.

If you like museums, you'll love Madrid, starting with the Prado. But you plan only two days there, with that other day in Toledo. Only two days in Barcelona? I've never been to Salamanca, Zaragoza, or Cordoba, but I think at least one of them should be eliminated. And, yes, flying out of Madrid when the last point of your journey is Barcelona is not wise.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 05:23 AM
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Ah, I wasn't completely clear, sorry!

These are the places I would like to go and the amount of time I'd like to spend in them, not necessarily the order I have to do them in.

Is it possible that I've been getting misinformation? I was looking at train travel times and saw Cordoba as 1.5 hours south and Salamanca as 2.5. hours north. If those are both almost double, I could see where things would be different. I was also assuming to use Madrid as hub and take the high speed train from Barcelona.


Also, I understand that I'm not going to experience Madrid to it's fullest in three nights with one in Toledo, but I'd prefer for this vacation to be a little less about big cities and a little more about getting in a few smaller towns with character. (I feel like maybe the answer is going to be drop Barcelona, but I'm going to have a lot of protest from my travel companion)!

Maybe my question is better phrased as such:
I have ten days/nine nights in Spain. I'm flying in and out of Madrid and using the train to get around. Considering that the places I listed are the "types" of towns/cities I"m interested in. Is there a loop that includes Barcelona and Madrid that makes since? Or am I going to have to drop Barcelona.

Sorry for the prolific manner that I used to get that through!

Thanks!
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 05:57 AM
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You don't say, but it sounds like you're planning to travel via train/public transport?

Zaragoza is on the AVE line between Madrid and Barcelona . So if you're interested in Zaragoza you could stop on the way from or to Madrid and spend a day (or two?) there. I have never been to Zaragoza, so I can't comment about how much there is or not to see.

So a possible itinerary could be :

4-5 nights Madrid (including the last night )-Day trip(s) to Toledo and Segovia
1 night Zaragoza
3-4 nights Barcelona

I would fly into Barcelona (direct if available from whher you are or connection in Madrid) and then after my days there , AVE train to Madrid , with an overnight in Zaragoza.
4 nights Barcelona

Of course, other itineraries appropriate for 9 nights can be designed, but only you know which of these cities are of more interest to you. I can tell you I have been to Salamanca and Cordoba and found them very interesting, specially Salamanca. Cordoba I wouldn't stay more than a day. Salamanca at least a couple of days.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 06:01 AM
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Forgot to say that Cuenca (which is supposed to be a lovely not very big town) is now on the AVE, only one hour from Madrid. This could be another day trip from Madrid. I haven't been to it, but from what I know about it it sounds like the kind of town you would like to walk around in.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 02:53 PM
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Is there a reason why you're not interested in Andalucia other than Cordoba?

I'd focus on just 1-2 places (Madrid & Barcelona would make a great 9 day trip) otherwise you're just going to see bus & train stations.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 03:09 PM
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what CathyM said... or Madrid and Andalucia.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 04:26 PM
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My mistake _ I had meant to say 1:45 hours to Cordoba.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 05:42 PM
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"My mistake _ I had meant to say 1:45 hours to Cordoba.'"

What travelers sometimes forget is not just the train travel time, but the time to get to the train station from one's hotel, time needed to purchase the ticket, find your train etc.
After arriving in another city one has to get to town/hotel from the train station. ...also may take a while.
For example: Madrid -Segovia is only 1/2 hour by AVE, but the train station for Segovia is in the north of Madrid, and the station in Segovia is 4 km. out of town.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 07:25 PM
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Cathy, I'm not not interested. I'm just not sure what else to look into. I've looked at lots of travel books, but it's a little overwhelming.

I'd really rather not spend all of my time in big cities, I live in NYC and I get enough of urban life, so the idea of spending half in Madrid and have in Barcelona is unappealing, but I feel like if I'm IN Madrid I should give it a day or two, but I'd like to balance it with some other places that aren't big cities.
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