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Andalusia 6 nights in Dec with family - need help planning

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Sep 5th, 2013, 09:03 PM
  #1
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Andalusia 6 nights in Dec with family - need help planning

Hello-
Planning a short trip - 6 night - through Andalusia on our way to Pakistan.
Family of five with 3 kids 12 and under. Arrive Malaga Dec 23 and depart Madrid Dec 29th
Would like to hit all the historical places: Gibraltar, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, Seville etc.
Want to get a taste of the culture and want the kids to appreciate a different way of living.
Love natural beauty and definitely need down time to relax before getting to Pakistan.
Not sure how to map out the order of cities, whether to do day trips or stay in a different city each night. Should we rent a minivan, get trains, hire a private tour guide, a combination? We will have extra luggage for the Pakistan part of the trip with us as well.
Will things be open on Christmas day? Is it hard to find halal food?

Please help me get started - much appreciated.
waheed is offline  
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Sep 6th, 2013, 08:27 AM
  #2
 
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Don't try to cover too much, Andalucía is huge. Málaga city itself is great. Within 300 meters in the city center you'll find the newly excavated Roman theater, the 8-11th century Moorish Alcazaba, the 16th century cathedral, Picasso's birth-place and the Picasso museum and the brand new Carmen Thyssen Museum. http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/home.htm

A couple of articles about Málaga, one of my absolute favourite cities in Spain:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalis...pleasures.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...el?INTCMP=SRCH

Beautiful landscapes in the Axarquía region east of Málaga. East of Málaga you also find small Nerja along the coast. Famous for the spectacular caves where people lived some 25-30 000 years ago: http://www.cuevadenerja.es/index.php?lenguaje=en
About Nerja: http://www.nerjatoday.com/

When in Nerja you are only 1,5 h drive from Granada with the world famous Alhambra. http://www.andalucia.com/cities/gran...hamhistory.htm

For a smaller city between Málaga/Nerja and Granada, take a look at the old SPA town Alhama de Granada: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...d-of-town.html
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Sep 6th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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We were in Andalucia for 18 days over Christmas two years ago, and are going back this Christmas for another 2 weeks. We flew to Madrid and drove to Nerja, stayed in a small town near there.

Even though we were there for 18 days we did not see nearly as much as we wanted to. It will take you a full day to travel to Madrid from the Costa del Sol. So less is more.

I would suggest renting a car and driving up the Costa del Sol until you hit the newly completed motorway, you can stop at one or two of the lovely white villages that make the area famous (I am thinking Frigiliana).

You will want a full day for Granada, if not two days. Get your tickets for the Alhambra well in advance, they sell out quickly. It is easy to spend a full day there alone.

We went to Gibraltar as well, it is in the opposite direction from Malaga and will take another full day at least to explore. The tram stops running early in the winter and you will have to walk down if you miss the last car.

With 6 days and wanting to have some down time, you can visit 2-3 cities at best and even then you will be a bit rushed. It takes hours to get from place to place, even when you have your own transport. It may be best to just visit Malaga, drive up to Granada or Cordoba, and sightsee along the way--because I assume you will also want a couple of days in Madrid.
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Sep 6th, 2013, 10:20 AM
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Arrive Malaga Dec 23 and depart Madrid Dec 29th
Would like to hit all the historical places: Gibraltar, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, Seville etc.


Five places, six days (at most) one of which is Christmas. Think about that for a moment. Now, think about it again.

Want to get a taste of the culture and want the kids to appreciate a different way of living.

I don't see how you are going to accomplish that since most of your time will be spent getting from point A to point B.

"taste of the culture" you probably won't get it. You'll hear people speaking Spanish and run into British and German expats wintering. Plus you'll be running from site to site. Sure you'll see pretty white villages but you'll be too busy to explore them and siestas will be out of the question.

Love natural beauty and definitely need down time to relax before getting to Pakistan.

Your proposed trip is lacking in relaxation and down time.


Will things be open on Christmas day? Is it hard to find halal food?

Pretty much everything is shut down on Christmas. Finding halal will likely be a challenge.
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Sep 7th, 2013, 02:28 AM
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About Christmas in Sevilla from a local: "I can't think of a better place to be this time of year." http://www.exploreseville.com/events/chris-holiday.htm

Great info about Christmas in Andalucía.
http://www.andalucia.com/living/christmas.htm

Many Muslims living in Málaga, and several restaurants serving halal. Here are some:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...In.Malaga.html

Arab Restaurante Al-Yamal is excellent: http://www.restaurantearabeal-yamal.net/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Andalucia.html

And look out for villancicos (flamenco inspired Christmas songs) in the streets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ltDBAXXnqI
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Sep 7th, 2013, 04:22 AM
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You just do not have enough time to cover all these places. I am exhausted just reading our plan! We spent 7 months in a small Andalusian town last winter prior to coming to South America, spending xmas in Sevilla which was fantastic. The xmas lights and festivities are superb.

As has been said, malaga is a great city. My plan would be to start with a couple of nights in Malaga, get the train to Sevilla spend a few nights there over Xmas before getting the train to Madrid for your last night before your flight.

Only you can say whether carrying around your luggage for Pakistan will be a hassle but driving into Sevilla and other cities your self can certainly be a real pain!

Halal food will be relatively easy to find in restaurant in both cities.
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Sep 7th, 2013, 07:25 PM
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I have been in Andalusia and is simply stunning.
Skip Gibraltar and i think you have no time for Toledo.
A Good Plan is 2 days in Seville 2 days in Granada 2 days in Cordoba. I have been in all of them.
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Sep 8th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Petros, your idea is fantastic with a couple of minor details missed: They have 6 days total, and they fly into Malaga and out of Madrid. Your itinerary doesn't allow time for travel to Madrid, and depending on what time they get into Malaga they are probably going to have to overnight there. So thinking 1 night in Malaga and 1 night in Madrid, there are only 4 nights left.

I would really try for just one city visit between Malaga and Madrid if you want any down time at all.
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Sep 8th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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I'm sure you're aware that the days will be short during your stay. 23 December is one of the shortest day of the year, with the sun rising at 08:27, setting at 18:06, giving you less then 10 hours of day light. Granada will be getting darker earlier because of its location. It will be cool, but the skiing should be decent.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 09:55 AM
  #10
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Thanks for all the advise. I have been waiting for 15 years to travel in Andalusia but reality has won over my excitement.
I have decided to skip Gibraltar, Malaga, and Toledo.
2 nights in Granada, 2 nights in Seville, 1 night in Cordoba, and 1 night in Madrid.
Another option is 2 nights in Granada, 3 nights in Seville, and 1 in Madrid. Less hotels and more options for day trips.
My flight out of Madrid is late at night so will get an extra day there.
Going to take the bullet train from Cordoba to Madrid.
Will most likely rent a mini van for the rest of the trip. This way we can make stops along the way. It seems driving between cities is easy but within city limits not always necessary.

Now trying to find nice hotels that accomodates families. Have a few good options just trying to narrow it down.
Thanks!
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Sep 26th, 2013, 09:14 PM
  #11
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Should I go to Granada first or Seville?

We arrive on Dec 23 will basically eat dinner and sleep.
Planned to go to Granada first and cover Alhambra on the 24th.
Since most of Granada will be closed on Christmas thinking best to move onto Seville - but one day is not enough for Granada. Should I just go to Seville first?

What order should I cover the cities in - thinking about the amount of time spent of the road?
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Sep 27th, 2013, 01:29 AM
  #12
 
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Hi Waheed

I just came back from Spain, spent 3 days in Malaga, 3 in Seville and did a day trip from Malaga to Granada to see the Alhambra. I loved Malaga. There were loads to see and do and since you are flying into Malaga you should consider spending a night there. The weather might not be that good then, but I thought the city was child-friendly. It is was also easy to find halaal food or I opted for fish.

2 days in Seville is enough - you can cover the Plaza de Espana, the Cathedral and the Alcazabar in one day. 2 days in Granada would also be ample as you will spend at least a day at Alhambra. I am not sure of halaal food as I went to supermarkets and bought rolls and cheese, etc because I thought the food was a bit pricey. Madrid could be done in a day, but it might be taxing on the children. It depends on the kind of things you like to do, but I enjoyed the tour of the palace. I struggled to find halaal food in Madrid and because I did not speak Spanish, the language barrier prevented me from finding halaal places to eat. I spent 4 days in Madrid and did the day trip out to Toledo. You can leave Toledo for the next time.

oh and Spain is dead on a Sunday and Christmas will definitely be quiet. My parents were in Andalucía over Christmas and said everything was closed.

Enjoy your trip!
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Sep 27th, 2013, 01:31 AM
  #13
 
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I forgot to mention that even though I just did the 3 cities in 6 days, I was extremely tired because of all the walking around and the travel in general.
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