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Andalusia 12 day trip in March - itinerary and hotel input needed

Andalusia 12 day trip in March - itinerary and hotel input needed

Old Feb 18th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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Andalusia 12 day trip in March - itinerary and hotel input needed

Hi, I am planning a trip for mid March ( i.e., in about two weeks) to Southern Spain and would really appreciate your input. This trip just became real now, so there’s a lot of work to do to put it together in a short period of time.
we will already be in Europe before we get to Spain,and are thinking of the following itinerary
Day 1 - arrive Seville
Day 2 Seville
Day 3 -Seville
Day 4 - train to Cordoba
Day 5 - Cordoba
Day 5 - rent car in Cordoba, drive to Cadiz or Jerez de Frontera
Day 6 Cadiz or Jerez de Frontera
Day 7 - Arcos or Rondo
Day 8- Arcos or Rondo
Day 9, 10, 11 Drive to Granada
day 12, return rental car and train to Seville or Madrid

Input please!
also, where seeking hotel recos. Should we stay at the paradors in Arcos, Rondo or Granada?

where is the best food in the area.

thanks in advance for your help.
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Old Feb 18th, 2022, 03:54 PM
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Looks fine to me, and I like your 2 nights in Córdoba, as there's much now to see and enjoy at night, including a sound and light tour of the Mezquita--it's much more enjoyable after the bus loads of day trippers have departed and the Judería tourist shops have closed.

But I would hesitate to drive from Córdoba to Cádiz or Jerez just because parking in both is problematic. From Córdoba to either city one can take the 9:06 Alvia train or the Alvia at 2:54 pm. It takes 1 hr. 45 min. to Jerez and 2 hr. 23 min. to Cádiz.

Much of Cádiz is pedestrian, and while there is a convenient underground parking garage in Jerez at Plaza Mamelón, much of the inner core of Jerez is a true Moorish maze with a very, very narrow and confusing street pattern (learned from experience), and street parking really sometimes non-existent, and rental cars parked on the busy Andalusian city streets are often not "treated kindly".

I love both cities. We usually stay in one and take the handy and quick MD or cercanías trains to the other. It gives us much more freedom.

From Jerez to Arcos there is a bus, but for the white towns, I do always suggest a car so that you can stop and visit other white towns along the way. For the pueblos blancos we always have a car, although Arcos is quite a challenge with any vehicle larger than a compact (been there, done that).

I've stayed in the Arcos Parador and the views are wonderful. In Ronda there is plentiful underground garage parking. The Parador and the 2 Catalonia hotels have their own private guest parking. Ronda's Parador room with the best views is room 219 with double balconies. I've stayed there and at the Catalonia Reina Victoria plus at a lovely and stylish B&B, Aire de Ronda in the lower section of town, where we did park on the street with no mishaps.

I've also stayed at Granada's Parador (but not recently), which is actually within the Alhambra complex grounds. It's one of the most expensive and highly coveted, difficult to book due to only having 50+ rooms, but a stay there can be quite memorable. And I've dined there. Other 4-star and 5-star hotels on the Alhambra hill are the Hotel Alhambra Palace (have stayed here) and the newer Aurea Washington Irving (formerly Eurostars, although now the Aurea luxury collection of the Eurostars group).

Some like to stay on the Alhambra hill (the romance factor), while others prefer to stay downtown to enjoy the tapas scene at night, although you can do that as well by taking a taxi or the handy red #32 minibus from the Alhambra hill to downtown. It's a matter of personal preference, I think.

From Ronda to Granada I would yes, keep the car, but return it at the rail station before entering the city center since you won't want a car in Granada. There are very strict traffic regulations in Granada's historic quarter.
See
Restricted Areas. CGIM. Mobility Area. City of Granada.

Now...food, that's a whole other post!



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Old Feb 18th, 2022, 04:34 PM
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Since you asked about food
Here are my favorite casual (as in non-Michelin star) dining spots:

SEVILLA
for tapas/small plates:
Eslava
La Azotea--the one on Jesús del Gran Poder--the one on Mateos Gago is fine but gets very heavy tourist traffic since it's "restaurant row" so service can be slow
La Barra de Cañabota and La Barra de Inchausti both for the city's best seafood
Bodeguita Romero for its signature pringá sandwich and other classics
Casa Morales, back room with table sitting, decorated with huge wine vats, a love-able "time warp"
Casa Román in the Santa Cruz quarter for the best Iberian ham

and anything new that my friend Azahar recommends on her excellent web page, we go to the ones rated with 5 oranges
https://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/barrios/.

For more special, gourmet dining in a mansion, Sobretablas, near the Plaza de España in the Porvenir neighborhood with award-winning female chef and sommelier, both from El Celler de Can Roca. It boasts a Repsol sun.

RONDA
For Michelin star dining, Benito Gómez's Bardal; for tapas, his informal Tragatá

GRANADA-- the city of the free tapa served with each drink
Taberna la Tana, a wine-centric heaven
Los Diamantes II for fried fish and other seafood, always packed but seating in a small back room, the one III on Plaza Nueva is larger
Taberna de Jam just for Iberian ham
all 3 located in the small area

Saint Germain
FM for Andalusia's best seafood (not cheap and out of the city center)
Los Manueles Bib-Rambla for sit down dining
Cunini, a classic seafood house

CÓRDOBA
El Churrasco for grilled meats in the Judería
Casa Pepe de la Judería for classic Córdoban fare, like salmorejo and eggplant with honey (very popular with tourists but with locals alike)
Taberna Casa el Pisto on Plaza San Miguel, outside of the tourist zone and a charming, typical, flower filled, classic taberna that locals love
El Bar de Paco Morales for inventive, contemporary fare from the Michelin starred chef of Noor, outside of the Judería
La Cuchara de San Lorenzo, creative



Last edited by Maribel; Feb 18th, 2022 at 04:54 PM.
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Old Feb 18th, 2022, 04:59 PM
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Oh my goodness, Mirabel, your answers are fabulous and just what I needed. I will be back in touch with more questions after I digest your suggestions.
one immediate question, would you recommend staying in Cadiz or Jerez de La Frontera?
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Old Feb 18th, 2022, 05:08 PM
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It really depends on your personal tastes or preferences.

The ancient city Cádiz, founded by Phoenicians, of course, is larger, with more museums, archaeological remains and a very friendly populace and is often a stand in for Havana in movies (actually recently was) and doesn't "pretty up" for tourists. It was, pre-covid, a cruise port and has great beaches, but you'll be traveling in March.

We go to Jerez often in late February, early March for the International Flamenco Festival, when the city is very buzzy. In addition to flamenco, Jerez is all about sherry and Carthusian horses. Both cities have a great food scene.
The Casa Palacio de María Luisa in Jerez is a new and very lovely mansion hotel. And the Parador de Cádiz is also very nice, with sea views.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 18th, 2022 at 05:10 PM.
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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 06:36 AM
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“From Jerez to Arcos there is a bus, but for the white towns, I do always suggest a car so that you can stop and visit other white towns along the way. For the pueblos blancos we always have a car, although Arcos is quite a challenge with any vehicle larger than a compact (been there, done that).”

we will be renting the smallest possible rental car with an automatic transmission. Thoughts about making it through Arcos streets? Hotels with Parking? Parking lots?


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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 09:11 AM
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Arcos' narrow streets are challenging with a larger car. You will need to pull in your side mirrors. You can see several youtube videos "immortalizing" this experience. The Parador and other hotels will those magnificent views sit at the top of the town and reaching them by car can be a stress-inducing experience

A note from the Parador management:
"Regarding parking, we recommend to all clients when we confirm the reservation that it is best to call the transfer service, which is a taxi company that will pick you up from the guarded municipal parking lot at the entrance to Arcos and take you up to the Parador. Driving through the old part of the city is very difficult if it is the first time."

The Parador, I believe, will inform you of the special reduced rate they have for their guests at this car park and its location. And the taxi ride up from there will be inexpensive, maybe 5 euros. There's also a minibus.

The public parking lot in the square facing the Parador gets full very quickly, especially at mass time (it faces the church) and to reach it you need to maneuver up, up, up and through these extremely narrow streets and can very possibly in the process scrape your car.


This is one reason why we've chosen lately to visit Arcos, parking in the underground garage in the lower town, then move on for our overnight/s in Ronda, with easier underground parking.

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Old Feb 19th, 2022, 10:27 AM
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Here's a video of driving in Arcos to give you an idea-
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 04:13 PM
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Here’s an updated itinerary with some embedded questions. All input appreciated. All reservations can be canceled or amended as needed. There’s a few days that need to be filled in.

Day 1- arrive Seville apartment booked is Logia Seville, Lirio, Old Town Seville
Day 2 and 3 - Seville
Day 4 - depart Seville, train to Cordoba - Hotel Hospes Palacio de Bailio
Day 5 - Cordoba
Day 6 - depart Cordoba, possibly rent car at this point
Days 6,7, 8 dates are open, suggestions needed
Day 8 arrive Jerez de La Frontera, Hotel Bodega Tio Pepe
Day 9- Jerez de La Frontera
Day 10 depart JDLF, drive to Arcos, stay at Parador
Day 11 - depart ARCOS, arrive Ronda, stay at Hotel La Fuente de La Higuera
Day 12 - Ronda and hill towns
Day 13 - Depart Ronda to Granada . Drop car off upon arrival at Granada
Granada accommodations: trying to decide between Hotel Casa 1800 and Apartmento Aljibe Rodrigo del Campo 1C. Would prefer to stay in an apartment and open to suggestions
Day 14 and 15 Granada (Maribel, I booked the private tour you mentioned!!!)
Day 16 depart Granada, train to Madrid

questions:
1. How do the hotel choices look? Any changes you would make?
2. must dos in Seville? Any private guides you can recommend?
3. Same questions for Cordoba?
4. Where should we go when we are exploring the White Towns? Sights and restaurants?
5. Restaurants - any places where you have to book far in advance? ANY PLACE to not miss?
6. Winery or sherry tours?
7. Where to stay in Madrid.

thanks for all your help!


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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 04:57 PM
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1. Hotel choices
Seville--
don't know the apartment but do know the location, not in the Santa Cruz quarter (the very crowded tourist zone) but next to the Casa de Pilatos, which is a quieter location but still walkable
Córdoba--
the Hospes Palacio de Baílio is the most elegant in town, not in the historic Judería, where the Mosque Cathedral is located but it has its own garden, restaurant, pool and even Roman ruins.
Jerez--
personally, I would not stay at the Bodega Tío Pepe because it's not as well run as the Casa Palacio María Luisa (you asked!)
Arcos-
Please please please watch the entire video above about parking in Upper Arcos. Park down in the lower town at Parking el Paseo on the Plaza de España where the Parador has reduced rates and taxi up.
Ronda--
I do know Fuente de la Higuera and it's a beautiful property outside of town, an oasis and nice retreat
Granada--
I know the Casa 1800 well and it's very well located. The apartment is not far for walk-ability. It seems to be new, as there's only 1 review in English on Booking.

2. "Must dos" in Seville:
Cathedral + Giralda, Iglesia del Salvador (get a joint ticket), the Alcázar (book online), Casa de Pilatos for the tiles (downstairs in the garden-don't bother with the upstairs), Palacio de las Dueñas (fascinating former residence of the Dutchess of Alba), a walk through María Luis Park to the Plaza de España, take the elevator at sunset to the top of Las Setas (the largest wooden structure in the world) at the Plaza de la Encarnación, a walk down past the Plaza de la Maestranza bullring and over the bridge to Triana, if you have time. A flamenco performance at night, Casa de la Memoria or Casa de la Guitarra or Tablao Álvarez Quintero
Private guide: do you want a licensed professional guide for your cultural visits or do you want to food and wine (tapas) guide?

3. For Córdoba
Mosque-Cathedral day visit and perhaps sound and light night visit, "the Soul of Córdoba (only 80 tickets sold for each visit--google it and see later on if there will be a performance during your stay), Alcázar (gardens only), the patios open to visitors in the San Basilio quarter ,(google it), the synagogue is tiny and takes just a minute to see, wandering the medina-like streets of the Judería at night. Private guide if you want or need it (but the Mosque has a good audio guide): Isabel Martínez Richter, an archaeologist who also is recommended by Rick Steves. Her email: [email protected]

4. You'll have plenty to do in the 2 white towns that you have on your itinerary: Arcos and Ronda. From Arcos to Ronda you can stop at Zahara de la Sierra with castle ruins at the top of the town, and sitting on a reservoir (embalse). Pretty town. From Ronda you could drive down to Grazalema, not far.

5. If you want fine dining at one of the ones I have references (don't know which one), it would be advisable to book but for tapas places, no.
If you love shellfish, you might want to go to La Barra de Cañabota or La Barra de Inchausti in Seville or the Bar FM in Granada. It has a cult following by seafood lovers from all over the country.

6. Winery tours, where? Sherry bodega in Jerez: Tradición with an impressive art collection

7. Where to stay in Madrid? Depends entirely on your personal style (boutique?, Old World style or contemporary? corporate?, your price range (very important--the Rosewood, Ritz and Four Seasons rates start at 650 ) and whether you want to be near the Museum Triangle. I would not stay at Madrid's Hospes, as I think there are better 5-star options.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 04:58 PM
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My very long post just went into "moderation". Check back in a few minutes and maybe it will appear.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 06:21 PM
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Moderation???
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 06:23 PM
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Yes, sometimes if posts are too long, they go to the Moderators for approval, or something like that. I've only been "moderated" once. My post will eventually come out of purgatory. If not, I've copied it and will post again later on.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 06:54 PM
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I've sent it to you in a PM but it should appear here eventually.
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Old Feb 20th, 2022, 10:06 PM
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Maribel, any suggestions for the extra two nights in the middle of the itinerary? You have such great ideas!
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Old Feb 21st, 2022, 11:29 AM
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packmybags,
Before I answer the 2-night question, just a question of my own--are you flying into Seville and that's the reason you're beginning there and then "backtracking" northeast to Córdoba before heading south to Jerez?

I assume so. If that's the case, then for your 2 nights between Córdoba and Jerez you might consider Priego de Córdoba, another just beautiful white town in the Córdoba province (it will be a slight detour east but not far). Its much smaller Judería, historic quarter, is as pretty to my eyes as the capital's. There is beautiful countryside surrounding this village in the Sierra Subbética.

if you're up for another rural stay, here I'd choose the CASA OLEA, a small luxury B&B, country house hotel. It gets a 9.8 on Booking.
https://www.casaolea.com
It's also an i-escape collection hotel, whose rural hotels we've used often in the past.
https://www.i-escape.com/casa-olea

And read the Telegraph review of it here-
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/d...cordoba-hotel/


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Old Feb 21st, 2022, 12:08 PM
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My long post finally escaped purgatory at #10.

You asked about wineries:
Ronda has several that you can visit. I would choose FINCA DESCALZOS VIEJOS because of the beauty of its surroundings.
https://www.descalzosviejos.com
https://www.wineronda.com/dv

Our friend, Shawn Hennessy ("Azahar"), the owner of the food and wine touring company Seville Tapas, wrote this article about Málaga province wineries in Decanter-
https://www.decanter.com/wine-travel...lovers-446009/
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Old Feb 21st, 2022, 02:19 PM
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Maribel,

Here are some of the logistical issues:

1. We were originally planning to fly Vienna to Seville. However, on Monday, our travel day, I see that there are no nonstop flights, and now that we have figured that out, the following options are available:

a. Fly on the following on Iberia Air. Depart VIE 7:20 Arr MAD 10:25 then Depart MAD 11:45 Arrive Sev SVQ 12:55. My question about this is whether we will need to wait in any sort of COVID line to show we are vaccinated to enter Spain or whether this can be done by preregistration before we fly. My husband and I are US citizens. How reliable are the flights/connections with this airline?

b. Or, we can fly VIE to MAD and then take the fast train to either Cordoba or Sevilla

c. We need to be in Sevilla to rent the car, that’s the only place I can rent an automatic transmission with drop off in Granada. That’s why we backtrack in one of the options.

What are your thoughts about the flight with one stop or the flight and then train.

So, the itinerary options are:

Vienna to MAD – train to Cordoba - Cordoba (3 nights) – train to Sevilla (3 nights) –rent car - Open (1 nights) – Jerez de la Frontera ( 2 nights)- Arcos (1 night) -Ronda (2 nights) – return car) - Granada ( 3 nights) -train to Madrid – Madrid ( 2 nights) – fly home.

Is three nights too much in Cordoba? I could not easily move my Sevilla dates up using this option.

OR

Vienna to Sevilla by plane – Sevilla (3 nights) – train to Cordoba - Cordoba (2 nights) –train to Sevilla, rent car - Open (2 nights) – Jerez de la Frontera ( 2 nights) - Arcos (1 night) -Ronda (2 nights) – return car in Granada - Granada ( 3 nights) -train to Madrid – Madrid ( 2 nights) – fly home.

I like your suggestion for Priego de Cordoba and Casa Olea very much.

With all the above in mind, would appreciate your thoughts.
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Old Feb 21st, 2022, 02:23 PM
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And now I see that Casa Olea is not available for any of the nights I can stay there ...
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Old Feb 21st, 2022, 02:24 PM
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And now I see that Casa Olea is not available for any of the nights I will be in that area
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