Andalucia itinerary help

Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 09:42 AM
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Andalucia itinerary help

After reviewing a stack of guide books and the internet, I need some help? We have 15 nights in Spain in December 2017. We fly from Chicago in and out of Madrid. I want to get to know a little chunk of the country and have come up with the itinerary below. We like to hunker down and get the feel for a place and we want some city, some "country". We have 5 nights Seville due to a great hotel deal but maybe we should ignore the deal. I would love edits and comments especially about the white towns. I think Granada is just too much for this trip.

Thank you so much!!!!!!
Madrid -3 nights - explore and flight recovery
Train to Seville
Seville - 5 nights
Rent car
Cadiz - one night. See Jerez de la frontera on way from Seville
ARcos de lady frontera - 2 nights
See zahara on way
Ronda - 2 nights. - see Mijas and beach town by Marbella????? To dip toe in Mediterranean
Córdoba - 1 night
Madrid - 1 night to catch flight next day
spain2017 is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 10:00 AM
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Are your flights booked already? If not, can you get an open-jaw (multi-city) ticket: fly into Madrid and out of Malaga? It would save the backtrack to Madrid.

Fares are usually about the same for open-jaw, though routing could change.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 10:19 AM
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You should definitely make every effort to get to Granada to see the Alhambra. I'd dump the so-called white villages. Not very interesting. Avoid Mijas at all cost. It's a real tourist trap. Marbella's OK, but the Med is icy in winter.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 10:56 AM
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Spain! How exciting! I went last summer and did a similar trip, it was amazing!

Having said that, I think 2 nights is too much in Ronda. We did it as a stop driving from Malaga and Seville and the 3 hours we spent there were enough for us. Especially if you are skipping the Alhambra in Granada to do it. The Alhambra is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my travels. Obviously, everyone has different tastes, but I think Granada is a must see.

I also would do Cordoba as a day trip from Seville versus moving hotels for one night there.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 11:14 AM
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I have no idea what kind of hotel deal you have, but I can't imagine letting that influence me so much on my travel plans. Of course, there is nothing wrong with staying in Seville for 5 nights.

Staying only one night is ok for a tiny spot, but for places like Cadiz and Cordoba, you will probably do better by taking two nights from Seville and adding them, one each for Cadiz and Cordoba.

The white villages are not 'so-called.' They really are white unless I am missing something.

I like a nice mix of city and countryside. Go to a producer of olive oil out in the countryside and do a tasting. Spanish olive oil is fantastic, and makes a worthwhile and inexpensive souvenir.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 11:28 AM
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This is so helpful. Our tickets are purchased round trip Madrid so we will have to backtrack. So it sounds like another night in Córdoba could be good. Are we too long in the white villages - I love the olive oil tasting idea! You are right about the hotel in Seville - but I hear that is such an amazing place, we will like the time there. Are we short changing Madrid? We are not into overly touristy places so sounds like Mijas may be off the day trip list. Maybe 1 night Ronda and two nights Córdoba? Does anyone have Ronda vs Arco de la frontera comments?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 04:25 PM
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Since you already purchased your flights, then consider moving on from Madrid to Sevilla immediately upon your arrival. You may be tired, but you’ll be tired anyway! That would let you eliminate one change of hotels. Might not work, but worth checking….

Are you skipping Granada and the Alhambra? To me, it is one of the world’s great gems (not just a highlight of Spain). Visiting the Alhambra really requires 2 nights; to see other parts of Granada (and IMO, they are well worth seeing!), give it 3 nights.

I can imagine 2 nights in Ronda if – and ONLY if – you are using it as a base to explore someplace else. Much as I loved Ronda – and I did! – there simply is not that much to do there.

I thought Cordoba easily worth 2 nights. And even if you stay only 1 night, it is delightful after daytrippers leave.

IMO, you most certainly are shortchanging Madrid! I wanted 4 days there, plus 2 in Toledo and 1 in Segovia and 1 in Avila and 2 in Salamanca, etc. BUT you canNOT see everything in the time you have, and Madrid is easier to visit on a subsequent trip (since you can fly directly there) than any of the other places you are considering. So my advice would be to shortchange it on this trip so you can take advantage of your time in Andalusia.

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 03:21 AM
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Suggest you get that Mediterranean toe dip in 3000 year old and genuine Málaga city, the regions "city of culture with its so-called 'mile of art' being compared to Madrid, and its dynamism and fine dining to Barcelona":

Have even had cold swims in Málaga in December, and Málaga is more special than ever in the weeks before Christmas:

Málaga to Madrid is 2 h 30 mins with the high speed AVE Train, and Málaga is also just 50 mins from Córdoba (AVE) and 90 mins from Granada (ALSA bus).
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Old Feb 25th, 2017, 08:38 PM
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Under no circumstances should you skip Granada. As others have noted, the Alhambra is one of the great sites of the world. I absolutely LOVED it and I have a beautiful photo of it that I took from the San Nicolas viewpoint at dusk hanging in my bedroom. And besides the Alhambra, there is the Capilla Real which is the resting place of Isabella and Ferdinand (you can see their actual coffins down in the crypt, which is both eerie and fascinating for history buffs). I also recall walking through the Albayzin district with all of the balconies draped in geraniums and bourganvelia (sp.) and stopping for wine and tapas at a fun little bar in the district. Like kja noted, I would give Granada 3 nights to allow you 2 full days. But even 2 nights gives you enough time to fall in love with the Alhambra and then add a couple other sites.
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Old Feb 26th, 2017, 05:46 AM
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Second MinnBeef's suggestion to add the cathedral and the Capilla Real to the Granada part.

The huge Cathedral down in the city center was built for Isabella and Ferdinand - the so called Catholic Monarchs and arguably among the most influential kings and queens in history - after they took Granada and Alhambra from the last emir of Moorish Spain in 1492 and ordered the expulsion from Spain of all Muslims and Jews. The same year Columbus sailed overseas on a mission from Isabel and "discovered" the New World.

Isabel and Fernando are buried in the adjoining Capilla Real/Royal Chapel together with their daughter Juana la Loca (The mad), her husband Felipe el Hermoso (the beautiful) and their infant son. The Cathedral leaves no doubt that they meant business!
Capilla Real:
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Old Feb 26th, 2017, 08:21 AM
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Do not miss Granada and the Alhambra, one of the architectural highlights of Europe. I would only go to the white towns for a couple of nights and spend 2 in Granada.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 05:55 AM
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Why Cadiz for only one night? I think it's a great city but a little out of the way for only one night. Beaches are beautiful and the laid back atmosphere of the place lends itself to taking it slowly. If you are not going to stay at least three nights then I would skip entirely.

Cordoba is a perfect day trip from Sevilla, particularly if you have five nights in Sevilla.

Instead of Cadiz, maybe you could spend a couple of nights in Malaga (although I prefer Cadiz). You could day trip to Nerja to "dip toe in Mediterranean".

Zahara de la Sierra is a beautiful white village - Al Lago is a wonderful place to stay.

Madrid - 3 nights
Seville - 5 nights (incl. day trip to Cordoba)
ZDLS - 2 nights
Nerja/Malaga - 2 nights
Granada - 2/3 nights
Madrid - 1 night (if you have an early flight you could party all night before your flight)
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