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9 or 10 night Spain itinerary

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May 25th, 2013, 10:00 AM
  #1
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9 or 10 night Spain itinerary

I realize that we have very little time for Spain, and I keep trying to figure out the most logical itinerary. We will be there at the beginning of July, so I am also aware that any day trips will land us in towns during the hottest part of the day. I am now considering 3 nights in Madrid (which includes a day trip to Toledo), 3 nights in Seville (with a stop in Cordoba on the way, storing our luggage..or should we spend the night in Cordoba, do it as a day trip from Seville, or skip it entirely?), 2 nights in Granada, and one night again in Madrid before we fly home. If we can add the extra night, I would put it in Madrid in the beginning. Would there be any point in renting a car for any part of this trip (either for a day trip around Seville...or to drive to Granada...or)?
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May 25th, 2013, 10:36 AM
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Yes, it will be rather warm in July. I'd add one day to your time in Madrid.

You should consider flying out of Granada instead of returning to Madrid. And no, you will not need a car.
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May 25th, 2013, 11:23 AM
  #3
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I should add that we are flying from San Francisco, so that most options of flying back from anywhere other than Madrid either add to the time or the expense.
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May 25th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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The best sight in Cordoba is the mezquita (mosque) which is worth seeing if you do go to Cordoba. Everything else will be somewhat similar in Sevilla in terms of the Andalucian scene, food, architecture, etc. So maybe just a day stop in Cordoba.
The AVE trains are delightful.
You'll be fine with the heat if you do as the Andalucians do- do your sightseeing early, then have a nice long lunch at 1:30/2, then relax in the hotel or take a nap before heading back out when it cools off in the evening for dinner, a walk, tapas....everyone is out late so there is no rush! Enjoy!
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May 25th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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I suggest you do Cordoba as a day trip from Sevilla. No need for car.As Robert suggests, any way you could connect for your flight back to the US by flying from Granada?

And yes, if possible add a night to Madrid.
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May 25th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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There really is no way to fly back from Granada to San Francisco without adding an additional flight. It is possible to fly back from Malaga, but that still makes it more difficult in terms of the airline and times we would need for our flights...plus the time it would take to get to Malaga. Maybe we should skip Granada? I added it because most people suggested it is "a must see." It looks like the train back to Madrid from Granada is around 5 hours, correct?
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May 25th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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No, don't skip Granada! The Alhambra is an amazing sight!

We're from LA. We did a similar tour in reverse - Madrid, train to Granada, train to Seville, then flew to Paris on Clickair and a few days later, home. Three nights in Madrid, two in Granada, three in Seville. we never went to Cordoba, but would like to someday.

BTW, we ate twice at Enrique Becarra in Seville and loved it.

Have fun!
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May 25th, 2013, 03:07 PM
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Granada is the Alhambra. And there's not much else.

Cordoba was the seat of the Moorish Caliphate and is important in the history of Catholics, Muslims and Jews.

Three nights in Madrid with a day trip to Toledo = 1/2 getting over jet lag, 1 day Toledo, 1 day Madrid (which is Chicago-sized) and then bugger off for Seville.

And the train from Granada to Madrid is long due to lack of AVE coverage to Granada - consider a flight.
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May 25th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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"Granada is the Alhambra. And there's not much else" Sorry BigRuss, but I beg to differ.

There's the Capilla Real, Cathedral, Monasterio de la Cartuja, Monasterio de San Jerónimo, El Albaicín and Sacromonte. There's also the Museo Arqueológico, El Bañuelo-Baños Arabes, Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta, Campo de los Mártires, Casa-Museo de Manuel de Falla, Centro de Arte José Guerrero, Casa de los Tiros, La Huerta de San Vicente - Casa Museo Federico García Lorca (from Maribel's Guide to Granada).
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May 25th, 2013, 04:37 PM
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I guess that we also could do the itinerary in reverse: first night Madrid, 2 nights Granada, 3 nights Seville, 3 or 4 nights Madrid (including Toledo). Not sure if that makes a difference, but we would be on the train to Granada when we are the most jet lagged...and we wouldn't need to worry about getting back to Madrid for the flight home.
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May 27th, 2013, 01:15 PM
  #11
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It looks like there are only 2 trains a day from Madrid to Granada. Is that how it will also be in July, most likely? It makes adding Granada to our schedule as the first stop immediately after we arrive more complicated. Does anyone think that renting a car and driving from Seville, to Granada, to Madrid makes sense?
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May 27th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Yes, only two trains a day! One in the morning and one in the afternoon, each way.

You can spend your first four nights in Madrid, take the train to Granada on the morning of the 5th day for two nights, bus or train to Sevilla for three nights and then back to Madrid by train for your final night, if you want to spend 10 nights. You can cut one day in Madrid at the beginning if you can only do 9 nights.

You do not want to drive if you can do everything by rail.
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May 27th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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If you arrive in the morning you may consider heading straight to Sevilla (either via a connecting flight if the fare and schedule work or by train) and spend 4 nights in Sevilla. Then head to Granada (bus or train) for 2 nights. Finally train (or bus) from Granada to Madrid with a stop en route in Cordoba.

I agree that there is much more to Granada than the Alhambra. I don't like Granada as much as Sevilla but there's definately plenty to keep you occupied for a couple of days. 9 days for all of this would be a bit tight.
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May 27th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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The train leaves Atocha station at 9:05 and arrives in Granada at 13:25. If I am reading the schedule correctly, there's no change of trains - and that's what I recall. If you are jet lagged, one way to look at it is, you're now on a train for 4 hours, so you can rest the whole morning. OTOH you can do what Russ says, first few nights in Madrid, then Granada, Seville, AVE to Madrid for the last night.

While I think that the main sight to enjoy (for us) was the Alhambra, there were other things to do in Granada. Seville has more, in my opinion. We were fine with two nights (one whole afternoon and a full day) in Granada and three in Seville.

Make sure that when you get to the station you figure out if boarding is still on the TOP level, and arrivals on the bottom. We almost missed our train because I saw no lines, then went to board on the ground floor and was told, no, upstairs. Yikes.

We did have a car when there, because we drove from Granada (via Ronda for two nights) to Seville; however, when we arrived in Seville we saw absolutely NO street signs. Only way we found the drop-off was because it was Santa Justa train station...otherwise we'd have been totally lost. You do not need not want a car for this trip - you'll do fine with trains.
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May 27th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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Thanks for all the additional input. It seems that no one is actually suggesting that we drop Granada, even though this itinerary seems a bit compressed, and it complicates things a bit.

I think that we can make it 10 nights, although the flight would be arriving in Madrid in the evening...not the morning. So, after spending over 20 hours to get to Madrid, I imagine we won't feel like catching a train a 9 am the following morning. Too bad, because I did think it would be a restful way to spend the first day otherwise.

I envisioned Cordoba as a day trip from Seville or as a stop between Seville and Madrid (though not if we go to Granada first)...rather than a stop between Granada and Madrid. I think I would want to make sure that we are back in Madrid by the afternoon before our flight home the next day.
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May 27th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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Have you looked if you can fly into Granada from Madrid on the day of your arrival?
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May 27th, 2013, 03:45 PM
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Yes, but it would be 3 flights total, with the first one starting in San Francisco. That's a bit much for us....
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May 27th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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I'm not sure I understand your comment about stopping in cordoba en route from Granada to Madrid. It's easy and you could be in Madrid by late afternoon or early evening - plenty of time to make your flight the next morning. However you logistically do it with 10 days I'd recommend 4 nights each in Sevilla and Madrid and 2 in Granada.
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May 27th, 2013, 04:54 PM
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OK. I see what you mean...there are lots of trains between Cordoba and Madrid, so it's not the same situation as Granada to those places. How many hours do you recommend for Cordoba in a 10-day schedule like this one? It seems now I just have to decide which direction to head in first...and whether I want to store luggage in Cordoba or do it as a day trip from Seville. I also need to check hotel/ticket availability for the Alhambra etc.
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May 27th, 2013, 11:11 PM
  #20
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It turns out that I could book the parador at the Alhambra at the end of the trip, so that resolves the question about the sequence....Granada will be two nights before we return to Madrid for the flight. Any opinions about whether it's better to book the morning tickets for the Alhambra or the ones that start in the afternoon and extend into the evening? I'm thinking that we should eat in town for dinner rather than at the parador.

Now I just have to decide whether Madrid is three nights or fours nights at the outset, in addition to the one afternoon/night/morning at the end. That obviously affects whether it's three or four nights in Seville.

Has anyone taken any of the organized tapas tours in Madrid? Thanks for all the advice.
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