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Andalucia in Jan - Weather, Itinerary, Day Trips

Andalucia in Jan - Weather, Itinerary, Day Trips

Old Jan 8th, 2018, 03:23 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2018
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Andalucia in Jan - Weather, Itinerary, Day Trips

Hello! I am headed from Portland OR with my college-aged daughter and my mother for 2 weeks in Spain. We will mainly be in Seville, Granada and Cordoba. I'm a bit worried about weather in January, as my mother wants sun (though none of us like resorts or beaches). I just shaved a day off of our Granada stay as many in these forums suggest that there is not as much to do there and fewer opportunities for day trips than from Seville. I'd like to see some of the villages in the Alpujarras but not if there will be snow -- and because of our time constraints, this is probably best done as a day trip from Granada, weather permitting. We are slow travelers, generally, willing to see less and soak up the history/cuture/art/atmosphere rather than running from place to place. Not interested in golf courses or modern seaside resorts. Would love some advice on the following itinerary -- length of time in each city and (sunny but cultural) day trip suggestions (train/bus/car?):

2 nights Madrid (the flight from Portland, OR is loooong and my mom is 75);
5 nights Seville, with day trips to Jerez/Cadiz and Ronda;
3 nights Granada;
3 nights Cordoba (longer than most stay here but I've heard it is lovely);
1 night Madrid before flight home

Thanks for your help!
jenashmac is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2018, 03:48 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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We are also slow travelers and spent 4 nights in Cordoba. Ours was a 3 week+ trip, so longer than yours, but we had not run out of things to do and were not ready to leave.

We rented a car for our last day and took a day trip to the castle at Almodóvar del Río and Madinat al-Zahra. The latter should be easy to reach by bus. But with only two full days I think you'll stay busy in town.

We saw a fantastic flamenco performance at Arte y Sabores:
https://cordobaflamenca.com/producto...rte-y-sabores/

Good luck with the weather, can't help you there!
Nelson is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2018, 04:00 PM
  #3  
 
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It will be cooler in Madrid, in the mid to upper 40s for the next week or so. Expect some rain (like Portland). After that, who knows, but I don't expect it to be warm.

They had snow in Granada yesterday, blanketing the Alhambra, but normally it's fairly nice, so I would expect some sun.

Sevilla should be in the low to mid-60s next week and should be getting slowly warmer after that, but you can never tell. Last year in late January it was short sleeve weather.
Robert2016 is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2018, 04:39 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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We spent 2 nights in Córdoba and could have used 3 nights. It was one of our favorite cities. The Mezquita is amazing, we loved the Alcazar, and the Palacio Viana. Enjoyed walking across the Roman Bridge at night with spectacular views of the illuminated Mezquita. Had one of our best meals at Regadera, and also enjoyed a meal at Mercado Victoria.

We didn’t have time to see the Synagogue, and would have enjoyed more time wandering around the Juderia.

Ditto for Granada. Could have used an extra day there just to wander and linger.

So your allocation of nights is fine. Except it would be nice to have an extra night in Madrid, if possible.
KarenWoo is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2018, 05:39 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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Should be a nice trip!

IMO, Ronda doesn’t make a particularly good day trip from Sevilla – it’s about 2.5 hours each way. But if that works for you, go for it!

I think 3 nights in Granada should be nice! Reserve your tickets for the Alhambra as soon as you can. (Do you mean to go THIS January? Then if the Alhambra is a priority, you might want to check your options even before booking your flights.) Try for both day and evening if you can.

And I’m one of those who adored Cordoba; I hope you agree!

Even in the summer, I found the bus into Las Alpujarras a bit on the frightening side; I would NOT want to try it if there is any question about weather or road conditions, but that’s just me. Too, if I recall, the trip to the Poqueira Gorge was about 3 hours each way from Granada, and given the schedules, I think it would be difficult to go and return on the same day. You’ll need to check into your options if it’s a serious interest.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2018, 06:05 PM
  #6  
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Thanks to all! My one concern is Granada, if we don't do the Alpujarras as a day trip is 3 nights too many - should I add a night to Cordoba and try to see Toledo, or Ubeda & Baeza? I wish reservation policies were more flexible -- if it is raining (or snowing) it would be nice to be able to pivot, but perhaps that could be also done with other day trips. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
jenashmac is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2018, 06:08 PM
  #7  
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@kja I sent the last response before I saw yours -- that is very helpful, thank you! My mom would HATE that ride, so I'm really glad you mentioned it. And yes, this January! I was thinking of booking an Alhambra tour, is that easier than getting box office tickets? That was my expectation, but I'll start looking...
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Old Jan 8th, 2018, 06:21 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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I don't know about Alhambra tours. Personally, i'd try for the regular tickets first, and then, if you can't get them -- and it is VERY late to do so -- go for whatever gives you the chance to see it. It truly is magnificent!

I spent 3 nights in Granada -- 1 full day at the Alhambra, 1 day plus for the rest of the city's treasures; I could easily have used more time. But of course, it depends on what you want to see and experience.

As noted above, I think your time for Cordoba makes sense.

As for Toledo, well, that's another very special place, one to which I devoted 2 full and very busy days, and I would have loved more time there. But you don't really have time for the area in / around Madrid on this trip, so maybe you'll be able to return there one day? You could easily spend 10 or 11 days just in that part of Spain (Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Cuenca...)

If you really want to shift a night from Granada, you can use public transportation to visit Ronda for a night or two. I'm not advocating that option; just drawing it to your attention.

When planning, have you considered how routine closures might affect your timing? Many things in Spain are closed on Monday, and often for all or part of Sundays too; and many things in Spain will also be closed daily for a very long mid-day break.

If you haven't already done so, I recommend: Get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting lost/oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2018, 08:26 AM
  #9  
 
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We thought Ubeda & Baeza were wonderful. But that's why we rented the car in Cordoba, spent a couple nights in Ubeda en route to Cazorla. However, without a car it's a about two hours by train from Cordoba to Baeza, then longer to Ubeda. Not sure it's worth it for you.

My $0.02: immediately see if you can get Alhambra tickets for your dates. If not then it makes sense to tweak your Granada portion. Alhambra general tickets:
https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en/

If you do get Alhambra tix then maybe just stick with Plan A.
Nelson is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2018, 11:32 AM
  #10  
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All great suggestions, thanks so much. Adding all of this to our shared Google doc (which is now approaching the length of a guidebook in itself) for discussion. I did manage to get Alhambra tickets, and I am going to look into staying in Toledo on the front end instead of Madrid -- looks like it is less than an hour by train. We'll be exhausted by the time we get there, but hopefully will able to soak up some of it before heading to Seville. I think we'll have to do Segovia, Avila, Salamanca another time -- has anyone been to/have an opinion on whether we could fit Ubeda & Baeza into this itinerary?
jenashmac is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2018, 11:33 AM
  #11  
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Must have just overlapped posting with you, Nelson... Thanks for the advice! And I did get tix!
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Old Jan 9th, 2018, 05:05 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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Congratulations on getting tickets for the Alhambra! Were you able to get day and evening visits?

Going to Toledo straight upon arrival can make sense -- but remember that you need some time at the airport to make it through the technicalities, then to claim your luggage, get into the city and to the train (or bus) station, get to Toledo, and then get to your hotel. I tend to do things like that, on the theory that I'll be tired anyways and might as well push on, but you had mentioned some concerns about your mother....
kja is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2018, 08:42 AM
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Yes congrats on getting got the Alhambra tix! That can be a stumbling block for some people. Guess you can print at home now too (?), a recent development.

kja said it nicely, but I also think that heading to Toledo can make sense, especially since you seem interested in smaller towns. Madrid is fine, with fabulous museums, food, and other sites, but so has Toledo in a more compact and walkable setting.

Be aware that you must take the train back to Madrid, then transfer at Atocha when you head to Cordoba, but it's easy.

I have some Toledo photos here:
http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/spain-2015/

And check out maitaitom's trip report for ideas:
http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/spain-2015/
Nelson is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2018, 03:47 PM
  #14  
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All great suggestions, thanks so much!

We are now going directly to Toledo instead of staying in Madrid on the front end; Kja, I'm just going to hope that it all goes smoothly re logistics on the way there but your point is a good one. Interesting about Cadiz, I am definitely looking for historic character and culture so if it is not worth it we'll cut that out of our itinerary. Chani, thanks so much for your advice about the Royal Equestrian School, that sounds fabulous, we'll definitely go there, and given everyone's concerns about the Ronda day trip I think we'll either try to do it from Granada or just pick something closer to one of the other main stops. Nelson, thanks so much for the photos and the suggestion re flamenco and I will definitely check out the trip report!

The last thing I'd be interested in is if anyone had any recommendations for specific tours/guides in the various places.

Our itinerary now is:

2 nights in Toledo at Entre Dos Aguas Boutique Hotel
5 nights in Seville at Hospes Las Casas del Rey de Baeza Hotel, with day trip to Jerez
3 nights in Granada at Rosa de Comares
3 nights in Cordoba at Apartamentos Casa del Aceite (so my daughter can do laundry before heading to Florence for a study abroad semester)
1 night in Madrid before our flight home to Portland

I'm still figuring out transportation between each, I know there is a high-speed train for parts of the journey and for others we may be on the slow boat.

Thanks to all for your interest and advice!
jenashmac is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2018, 06:28 PM
  #15  
kja
 
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You don't need a tour or guide in any of these locations unless you want one.

For transportation, you might consult rome2rio.com -- just be sure to check all the links to which it directs you, as the main web site is not sensitive to seasonal variation.

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
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