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Andalucia - how many days in each place?

Old Nov 30th, 2002, 03:53 AM
  #1  
Laura
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Andalucia - how many days in each place?

I'm having trouble with my Feb. itinerary -- can some of you please help? It just doesn't feel right. We'll be flying in and out of Malaga and renting a car there:

Gaucin (2 nights)-La Fructuosa
Ronda (2 nights)-Hotel San Gabriel
Jerez or Cadiz (1 night)-Hacienda El Santiscal
Seville (3 nights)-Casas de la Judeira
Cordoba (1 night)-Albucasis or Conquistador
Jaen (1 night)-Parador
Granada (2 nights)-Parador
Nerja (2 nights)-Parador or Paraiso del Mar
 
Old Dec 2nd, 2002, 09:52 AM
  #2  
olga
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Laura,

I think 4 nights in the Ronda/Gaucín area may be a little too long. I´d pick one of the two for staying and the other as a daytrip. Ronda has more stuff to see, but La Fructuosa looks like a lovely place to stay...

I´d personally cut 1 day there and add it to Cordoba or Granada.
 
Old Dec 2nd, 2002, 09:59 AM
  #3  
guy
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I agree, 4 nights in Gaucin/ Ronda may be too much. I would add a day trip to Arcos. How about Toledo? I just got back from a simular trip and Toledo may have been my favorite. If you go, 2 nights min. in Toledo.
 
Old Dec 2nd, 2002, 05:38 PM
  #4  
CathyM
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I also agree - 4 nights in Gaucin/Ronda may be too much. We did 2 nights in Arcos and 1 night in Ronda and it was just right. I don't know if I'd stay the night in Jerez either (could easily be done as a day trip from Sevilla. I'd consider cutting out the overnight in Jerez, cutting back the nights in Gaucin/Ronda and adding a night or 2 on to Sevilla, a city I can't ever get enough of. I've never visited Jaen but have read that the area (Ubeda, etc..) is wonderful so you may also want to add a night here. Cordoba is nice, but can be done as a day trip from Sevilla. Toledo is incredible, but if you're flying in and out of Malaga, it's a little out of the way.

Personally, I prefer to spend more nights in one place and do day trips to cities that are within an hour traveling time. This way you're not moving around too much and become very familiar with the neighborhood surrounding where you're staying.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 01:46 AM
  #5  
Laura
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Thanks for your comments. I revised my itinerary a little, substituting Marbella for Gaucin since it will be an easier drive from the airport, substituting Arcos for Jerez, and adding a night in Seville. Here's how it looks:

Marbella - 1 night (can anyone recommend a place for about 100 euros- low season?)
Ronda - 2 nights (Hotel San Gabriel)
Arcos - 1 night (Casa Grande)
Seville - 4 nights (Casas de la Judeira)
Cordoba - 1 night (NH Amistad)
Jaen or Ubeda - 1 night (Parador)
Granada - 2 nights (Parador or Palace)
Nerja - 2 nights (Parador or Paraiso del Mar)

Now to start booking those hotels ... would I get the best price by checking all the internet booking sites myself, or could a travel agent sell me an entire package for about the same price (since they get commissions)?
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 03:52 AM
  #6  
olga
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Laura,

With just one night in Marbella, I would choose one of the Fuerte hotels in the downtown Marbella seafront,very convenient because they are just a short walk from the pretty old town square and the main sights. There is the El Fuerte and the newer El Fuerte Miramar Spa. You can see their website at www.fuertehoteles.com, where they have pretty good internet specials, should be within your budget.
Then on your way to Ronda you can shop and have lunch at the Puerto Banus luxury marina, with a mix of posh shops and malls and nice bars and restaurants.

The rest of the itinerary looks great to me. I personally do not like to use a travel agent unless I have to, since I work in the travel industry and have a pretty good feel of what´s out there.
There is so much information on the internet and great travel guides like Fodors,Frommers, Rough Guides, etc. that in my experience is more comprehensive than sometimes even the locals' knowledge of their own hometown -at least in my case, I find myself taking tips from these publications on my own country...

Also, for me the planning, browsing and researching is a huge part of the fun of traveling, obviously the same for most readers of this board. However, if I´m not very familiar with the language or the culture of my destination, I´ll check with a travel agent that has first hand knowledge of the area.

In low season, I think you can get good rates from most hotels by yourself.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 05:36 AM
  #7  
julie
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Just starting to think about an end of Feb./beginning of March trip to this area. Weatherwise, could we expect it to be decent enough to maybe sit in some outdoor cafes? Is this time of year long sleeve shirts and light jackets, or would we need heavier clothes? Thanks.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 06:04 AM
  #8  
olga
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Julie, that time of the year is pretty mild, sure you will be able to enjoy some outdoor dining, just bring a sweater or jacket for evenings or chillier days. You will definitely need those in Granada, Ronda and Arcos because it gets colder being higher.

Seville and Córdoba should be pleasant enough, but that time of the year is unpredictable, check again closer to the date you will travel. Sometimes we get a cold or rainy spell, other times
-like a certain weekend in Feb. 2002 when I was able to go to the beach, it was so warm- it will be very springlike. In the Malaga coastal resorts it is almost always sunny and pleasant.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 11:53 AM
  #9  
CathyM
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I've never used a travel agent for hotel reservations in Spain. I usually have a fun time researching the hotels and either book through hotelsearch.com (they don't charge any fees) or I email the hotels directly. If I email directly I created a format of how I set up the email similar to the from Rick Steve's has in his books. I use a translator program and send the email in both Spanish and English. I bring my confirmations with me in case of any problems, but have never had one issue. In fact, whenever I've had a special request (if possible) for a balcony or room with a view the hotel usually has exactly what I requested.

Have you considered the hotel, El Convento in Arcos? It's very special- a small family run place that's just behind the parador and has magnificant views. If I recall correctly it was less than 50 euros per night.

Look forward to hearing more from you on your planning and when you return. I'm especially interested in Ubeda, as I'm considering visiting this area next fall.
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 07:32 AM
  #10  
Jose
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Check rates at www.solmelia.com, may be you can find better rates for that dates. Click on "Tarifa plana".
In Jaen, yo can visit "Cazorla Natural Park", with beautiful villages like "Segura de la Sierra", "Hornos" and "Cazorla". You can spend the nigth at "Parador Nacional de Cazorla".
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 08:31 AM
  #11  
Kate
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Returned from 10 days in southern Spain and Barcelona on 12/4. We had 4 nights in Seville with a day trip to Cordoba. This was far too much time; we were really bored, especially since there is little to do during the daily, 3 hour siesta when everything closes down. Our day trip to Cordoba was a disappointment, and I recommend against spending the night there. (I might even recommend skipping Cordoba entirely. The mezquita gives you a leaflet to tour with--no audio tours, no labels/signs, and we didn't see guided tour info anywhere. Everyone just wandered aournd in semi-darkness (literally) trying to read the leaflet.

On the up side, we stayed one night in the Parador in Ubeda (on Maribel's reco)and enjoyed it a lot. We took Maribel's reco again and stayed at the AC Santa Paula in Granada and loved it. It is W Hotel-ish, not what we were expecting, but a welcome break from all the older, charming places we had been in for the prior 5 nights. (Plus they offer a free mini-bar and free afternoon snacks and drinks.)
Good Luck,
Kate
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 09:11 AM
  #12  
olga
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I have to say I don´t agree with Kate. There is much to do in Seville, even during "siesta" time. By the way, it is not such, it´s just a prolongued lunch break, since that is the time when most spaniards have lunch, amongst other things because kids have a split shift at school and return home for lunch.
I barely know anybody that can afford the luxury of taking a siesta, except retired people and during summer vacation, when it is way too hot to be in the streets in the afternoon in the South.
Anyway, most museums and sights stay open throughout, and so do a lot of the shops and department stores anymore.
There are also plenty of daytrips around Seville within and hour´s drive or bus trip.
About the Mosque in Cordoba, I agree that an audiotour would be useful, but there are tour guides for hire and the brochure is pretty informative. Anyway, I have visited it twice. The first time I didn´t even bother reading the brochure until after I got out. The second time I was with a personal tour guide. I have to say I was far more impressed the first time, somehow I didn´t even have to know the history of the place to apreciate the special atmosphere and contrasts. The dim natural lighting just makes it all the more magical.

But it all depends on tastes, obviously.


 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 12:25 PM
  #13  
kate
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Perhaps siesta is a poor word choice. Regardless, I think it is very important for anyone traveling to southern Spain, particularly in the off-seadson, to know about and plan around the 3 hour break that Spaniards take everyday from 2 to 5 pm. I can't speak about high season, but in the off-season all the shops and most of museums close. I believe southern Spain's one dept store, El Corte Ingles, does stay open, but it's a standard department store that is unlikely to hold one's attention for 3 hours, let alone 3 hours x the number of days you are there.

My recommendation to Laura is to plan your city to city travel between 2 to 5 pm. This is what we eventually learned to do after being told to leave museums at 2 pm and after wandering the completely empty streets.
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 05:29 PM
  #14  
CathyM
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I found a perfect solution to the siesta time in Spain.

I either spent this time traveling, as Kate suggested. I also quickly adapted to the local schedule and found myself taking long lunches, a stroll after lunch and then a short nap to rest up for the late afternoon/evening!
 
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 05:04 PM
  #15  
Linda
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Could Kate or someone who has stayed at the AC Santa Paula in Granada elaborate more on the hotel. I will be staying there in december and am very curous. Also did you get to see the Hotel Casa Morisca which is highly recommended in The Time Out Guide??
 
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 05:04 PM
  #16  
Linda
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Could Kate or someone who has stayed at the AC Santa Paula in Granada elaborate more on the hotel. I will be staying there in december and am very curous. Also did you get to see the Hotel Casa Morisca which is listed in The Time Out Guide??
 
Old Dec 9th, 2002, 09:48 AM
  #17  
Kate
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The AC Santa Paula in Granada is described as a converted convent (or something like that, I can't remember exactly). So, we were expected it to be "charming." It's not. It's very modern, in a really good way. The lobby is dramatically lighted, with an area for drinks. Downstairs there is a large seating area, with comfortable sofas and chairs, overlooking the old courtyard. This is where they have free, self-serve afternoon drinks (sodas, juice, beer) and snacks. There is a nice looking restaurant down there too (we didn't have time to eat there). The rooms (we stayed in the new part) are like a picture from a Chambers linens catalog. The location is great, walking distance to everything, but not in the thick of it. The staff was professional, helpful, and not a bit pretentious. This hotel was a great break from all the charming places we stayed -- can't say enough about it.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the Casa Morisca. However, I can reco a place in Seville and the Parador in Ubeda.

Kate
 
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