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A tour of Spain including smaller towns avoiding driving.

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Mar 9th, 2012, 09:15 AM
  #1
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A tour of Spain including smaller towns avoiding driving.

We are blessed to have visited Spain many times, mostly driving. A few trains here and there. But now I was thinking not to rent a car.
I came up with the following itinerary and I am asking advise to see if it is inconvenient or doable within reason.
We shall land in Madrid, after a few days,
train to Caceres, 3.30 hs -3 nights in Caceres
Caceres-Merida-1 hour -2 nights in Merida
Merida-Zafra-1 hour- 2 nights in Zafra
Zafra- Seville- one week in Seville

Seville Jerez 1 hs
Jerez- Cadiz 40 minutes, staying in either place,probably Cadiz, need advice on this,
Coming back, probably Cadiz to Cordoba, 2 days in Cordoba
then Cordoba Madrid, probably AVE a couple of nights or even one in Madrid, Flyhome

I have to check which will be the best way to buy train tickets, may be simply the Tarjeta Dorada, with its 40% discount which seems a good option.
At the end of the day, we will have of course less freedom to drive around, but there is always the possiblity to catch a bus/train from one of the towns we will be in and visiting a nearby city, like from Caceres visiting Trujillo, a place we like.
I always dream of a local excursion let us say from Caceres to Guadalupe, another place I love, like getting along with a group of locals going for a short visit to Guadalupe.
This way a lot of agravations getting in and out to, from cities and towns will be avoided, As I said we have coped with thisdriving' in and driving out many times, it is not the end of the world but
isn't a simple taxi drive from the station to the hotel a great feelling? No parking problem.
Any advice will be very welcome.
Graziella5b is offline  
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Mar 9th, 2012, 10:13 AM
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Sounds dreamy. I've never been to Caceres or Merida but I'm sure it will be a great trip. I would stay in Cadiz but I love the ocean. Not much else to say.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Thank you for the encouragement, I have stayed both in Caceres and Merida, and I am are eager to return, mu advice to other travelers: do not miss them. Actually , there is so much to see in Spain,.
I am thinking aloud,
probably the key to have a good trip this way is to have only a small suitcase. suitable to put away in the train, also to move around in the towns or cities, in my experience I have arrived to train stations in Spain, Italy and so forth, and not a taxi in sight.
I have noticed that in Paris for instance people take buses with their suitcases, some even big,
as it was a newspaper. Not that I have the least intention to take buses from the station to the hotel, but one has to be prepared for any eventuality. Once I almost frost in Burgos waiting for a taxi at the station, I did not had the foresight to call the hotel and ask for a car, but if it has not been for a Spaniard young guy who was so nice and polite, that is why I like Spain, to give me his place in the queue I would have become an ice statue in the land of the Cid.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 06:31 PM
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I have alot of experience traveling around Spain, often to smaller locations, using public transportation. The trip you are planning is very similar to the trip I did last spring. If you are a slow to moderate paced traveler this plan works very well.

A couple of comments:

Madrid to Caceres - the bus is much more frequent and nicer than the train. I'd use this option. Definately do a daytrip to Trujillo - it's about 45 minutes and frequent by bus. Unfortunately it's impossible to visit Guadalupe as a daytrip using public transportation - the schedules just don't work out.


Zafra - this is the only place in all the ones you mentioned that I've had trouble finding a taxi. I planned this one ahead (as I also have found out the hard way) and my hotel arranged for a taxi to meet me at the bus station. Returning I walked to the bus station - it was just 10 minutes and I knew the route after staying a couple of nights. Zafra to Sevilla is also more frequent by bus - train takes longer (I think) and is not very frequent).

Cadiz-I'd definately stay in Cadiz vs Jerez but I am biased very much towards Cadiz. Cadiz is a great place to base for a few days even without a car. There is frequent and transportation to Jerez, El Puerto, Sanlucar, Arcos, Vejer, Medina Sidonia....to name a few

Cadiz to Cordoba - best by train. A few run direct each day but you may have to change in Sevilla. Cordoba is a great city to spend a couple of nights - most people simply don't have time and have to do as a daytrip (which I still recommend if time is an issue). But glad to see you have the time for a full visit.

What time of year is this trip? The reason I ask is if there are festivals in some of the smaller towns I prefer to stay a couple of nights during these times as you really get the local character of a place.

If you haven't planned your hotels then I have some great suggestions too!
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Mar 10th, 2012, 06:30 AM
  #5
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HICathyM, thank you for the valuable and precise information. I shall love recommendations regarding hotels in all those towns, please also include your favorites in Madrid and Barcelona.
I do not have the dates as yet, but will check the local festivals.
When you say you are biased towards Cadiz, does it men you like it very much.(
I was looking into HOtel Argantonia, it is only a short walk to the Renfe station, just a general question is it save to walk in all those place from the Renfe Station to the hotels.
( except for Madrid , Seville , Barcelona which being big cities are far)
Of all those place I have never being neither in Zafra nor Cadiz and I looking forward to know them.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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I visited the area some years ago. One day-trip will be enough for Trujillo, a very nice main square with the Pizarro statue; and some churches up the hill above, all walking distance and sot so steep.
Guadalupe: it is a small charming town with the impressive Monastery. First visit was at 9,30 or 10,00 AM, but the man did not start the tour till a busload of japanese arrived, about half an hour past (I presune the driver was spaniard). It is worthy visiting early as there is no crowd. You can be back to Caceres by lunchtime.
Zafra I enjoyed a lot, the Parador is housed in part of the castle (which is on flat grounds, and not on top of a hill as Oropesa). The local tourist office offered guided walking tours for free, including the castle and its walls, and a pitarra (local wine) cellar. They were very kind, and only four of us in the tour.
Everything walking distance.
Have a nice trip, and write a report, I need to update. ;-)
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Mar 12th, 2012, 08:59 PM
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Hi CathyM, my question was buried among new posts, if you could recommend hotels for those cities I shall be very greatful. TKS.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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Graziella- promise to get back to you soon. I'm leaving for Spain on Friday and am in the midst of getting ready right now.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 12:41 AM
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I stayed at the Paradors. Wasn't impressed by the one at Trujillo, but the Zafra is really worthy, especially lunch in the courtyard. I read now that you cannot do Guadalupe as daytrip. I rec. the Parador there too, just in case.
Cathy M shall no doubt provide updated info.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Thank you both Cathy and Josele, I realized that the Parador in Zafra must be worth going, or at least having lunch in the courtyard. I loved staying once at the Parador in Guadalupe, a magical place, the town and the Parador, and as I recall I had the best meal in all the Paradores. surely a question of opportunity.Through the years we have enjoy many Paradores, now that we do not plan to drive and that price of Paradores have gone up, most like we will stay in small hotels.
Regarding Trujillo I agree with Josele, actually it was full and they refered us to a very nice hotel, less expensive and awfully nice, the Hotel Victoria.
Thank you Cathey M , I am looking for your recommendations whenevr is convenient for you.
Muchas gracias.
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