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Andalucia or Costa Brava for first timers?

Andalucia or Costa Brava for first timers?

Old Jul 10th, 2018, 11:29 AM
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Andalucia or Costa Brava for first timers?

We will be traveling in Spain late May/early June with tween children - about 12 to 13 days total in-country. None of us has been to Spain before. We'd like to fly open jaw in and out of Barcelona and Madrid (no preference on which order) ó the question is adding a 3rd region to the mix. We've narrowed it down to Andalucia or the Costa Brava. Which would you recommend with kids that age? We like the sound of all the history and especially the Alhambra in Andalucia, but the Costa Brava beaches sound appealing too.

Is Andalucia a region that we simply should not miss on our first time in Spain, or is the Costa Brava equally special? Would there be enough in both places for the kids to do? Figueres and the Dali museum are not high on our list; it would be more about the coast itself and some of the beautiful smaller towns.

We also considered San Sebastian/Basque country, but it seems harder to get to and I understand the weather can be dicier that time of year.

Usually we prefer to travel by train as much as possible, but we are open to renting a car for either region if needed.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Jul 10th, 2018, 11:54 AM
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Usually we prefer to travel by train as much as possible,>

Andlusia best by train for where most folks want to go - cities like Cordoba, Seville, Granada - Malaga for great beaches and historic old city. Costa Brava best by car as public transit not nearly as good.

12-13 days:

Maybe fly into Madrid
spend first few days there
take high-speed train to Seville - 3 nights
train to Cordoba - Granada - Malaga and fly home from there.

For lots on trains check Renfe - Spanish Railways official site; www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Jul 10th, 2018, 01:16 PM
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Thanks PalenQ. I should clarify, Madrid and Barcelona are both musts for us. Malaga is not as much of interest for this trip.
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Old Jul 10th, 2018, 01:50 PM
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HI. Our first trip to Spain was about 16 days long. We started in Madrid and then took the train to Barcelona. After six nights there we rented a car and drove to the small town of Begur in Costa Brava. We did a couple of day trips from there- Girona and Figueres. Then two nights in Cadaques before driving back to Barcelona the night before our flight home. It was a great trip and highly recommend! This past March we went to Madrid and Andalusia but we had three weeks. I must say that Andalusia was the trip of a lifetime-
​​​we absolutely loved it! But I donít think you have enough time for Barcelona, Madrid and Andalusia. Save Andalusia for next time!
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Old Jul 10th, 2018, 05:00 PM
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With 12 to 13 days, I personally would NOT try to add Andalusia to a trip that also includes Barcelona and Madrid -- Andalusia itself could easily take all of that time. And even if you decide to "limit" your trip to Barcelona and Madrid and the reasonable day trips from those locations, you will, I think, need to be very selective to fit those two regions in to your time.

With children, I'd think the Costa Brava a reasonable option -- you might look at Tossa de Mar -- but do a bit of research to decide whether you'll need a car for what you want to do in the area. Any good guidebook should prove useful; I found the Rough Guide of particular value for that part of the world.
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Old Jul 11th, 2018, 10:24 AM
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Thanks for the feedback on Andalusia. We're unlikely to get back to Spain anytime in the near future, so I want to try and maximize our time even if that means not exploring some regions as deeply. I was planning on 4 nights in Madrid, 5 in Barcelona and 4 in whatever 3rd destination we choose. I know that's not tons of time for each of the two main cities and allows for only one day trip farther afield from each.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 06:39 AM
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I loved Andalucia more than the Costa Brava, or Barcelona, or Madrid.

It took until my third trip to Spain, to finally make it to Andalucia and it was an extremely rushed trip of 1 week. Here is my trip report but there are other trip reports covering that area much better than mine. I traveled with my 2 little daughters:


5 days in Andalusia


Andalucia took me by surprise. I had no idea I would fall so hard for that area of the world. We are going back in 3 weeks.

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Jul 12th, 2018 at 06:50 AM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 06:42 AM
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4 nights in Madrid, 5 in Barcelona and 4 in whatever 3rd destination we choose>

How about Barcelona 5 nights - Madrid 4 nights - Seville 3 nights - day trip to Cordoba?
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 10:50 AM
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Audalusia, especially Seville, can be very hot in the summer -- which begins in June if not earlier. Travel in this kind of weather takes more time. So you won't see as much as you might in other seasons.

Given your short time, I'd add inland Andalusia to your bucket list and stick to the cooler coast.

Every trip I take I have to cut out at least one thing I really want to see. That's the life of a tourist.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mimar View Post
Audalusia, especially Seville, can be very hot in the summer -- which begins in June if not earlier. Travel in this kind of weather takes more time. So you won't see as much as you might in other seasons.

Given your short time, I'd add inland Andalusia to your bucket list and stick to the cooler coast.

Every trip I take I have to cut out at least one thing I really want to see. That's the life of a tourist.
I agree. I'm going to Spain for 2 weeks in October because of the weather. We were thinking about doing something like the OP, but ended up dropping Barcelona because it just spread us too thin. For late May/early June, I think sticking to the coast is probably a good idea.
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Old Jul 12th, 2018, 11:53 AM
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https://www.holiday-weather.com/seville/averages/june/

Yes even in early June hot as Hades but nearly no rain!
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