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Andalusia/Madrid Itinerary Critique Please

Andalusia/Madrid Itinerary Critique Please

Apr 30th, 2019, 07:40 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Andalusia/Madrid Itinerary Critique Please

Hello, We are leaving soon and thought I'd get some input. I already rec'd help setting up the itinerary! So, please answer questions and go at it with any ideas/input/suggestions. Active well-traveled senior couple. I've been to all these places 40 years ago; husband has never been. We loved BCN 2 years ago so we're going back to Spain. Not early risers. We know we won't see everything. We are purposely avoiding Seville during the Fair.

Fly Iberia LAX to Madrid (overnight) /connecting flight to Granada
Day 1 - arrive Granada early evening, staying Posada de Quijeda in Albaycin for 3 nights
Day 2 - either wander on our own using guidebook or do tips-only tour of historic area. Many companies -- any particular suggestions? Will also consider Albaycin/Sacramonte walking tour one of the evenings.
Day 3 - Alhambra tix booked - 12:30 Nasrid Palace admission. We will go earlier and see some of Alhambra before and after Nasrid Palace. Suggestions on order of visit appreciated!
Day 4 - Pick up rental car at train station, one way to Seville (didn't want to take bus or train/bus combo). Considering stopping at Ronda on way, but may wait to make that decision depending on weather, how we feel, etc. It would be a short stop. Do you recommend? If anyone has driven this route please chime in! Return car to Seville Train Station (hints?) Check into Casas de el Arenal for 4 nights. Maybe flamenco show that evening or another evening? I have list of highly rated flamenco from TA but suggestions welcome.
Day 5 - Private Jewish tour booked for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Real Alcazar booked for late afternoon. (busy day)
Day 6 - Day trip to Cordoba by train (not booked yet), leaving approx 10 a.m. and returning on 10:27 p.m. train so we have time to visit some patios during the evening time of festival (6-10 p.m.) after seeing Mezquita, Casa Seferad, synagogue and other sights during day.
Day 7 - Back in Seville, cathedral rooftop tour booked for late afternoon. During day will wander sights we haven't seen including Triana. See flamenco show if we haven't already.
Day 8 - Train from Seville to Madrid already booked, arriving about 2 p.m. Staying across from Retiro Park at Petit Palace Savoy Alfonso XII. Maybe late afternoon walking tour of historic area or DIY orientation wander. Lots of tips only tours - recommendations?
Day 9 - Maybe historic area walk if didn't do on arrival. Whatever museums we can get to on this day and day 11 (Prado, Sorollo, Thyssen, Reina Sophia) with senior discounts. Have heard shortest lines are hour or two before free admission times. Wander various neighborhoods and markets.
Day 10 - day trip to Toledo on our own by train (not booked yet). Plan to spend 6-8 hours seeing the basic sights. Back to Madrid for dinner.
Day 11 - see whatever museums we haven't seen and wander other markets/neighborhoods.
Day 12 - 7-hour train ride to Avignon TGV (booked) to pick up rental car to visit family in Drome (Nyons) for 6 nights and then TGV to Paris for 3 nights, fly home to LAX on Air Tahiti Nui 787 -- subject of NY Times front page article for shoddy manufacturing.

So, there it is! Go at it and all input and recommendations appreciated. Thank you.
alison is offline  
Apr 30th, 2019, 08:46 PM
  #2  
 
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Two places to eat in Cordoba: Casa Mazal I *think* is run by the same folks as Casa Sefarad. Sephardic cuisine. The other is Bodegs Campos where the ajoblanco is great as is dogfish and fried cod. This place has a more formal dining room, but we ate twice in the rustic taberna.

In Granada, tapas are generally free btw. They come with a drink and are generous. In the Albaicin we ate at El Ladrillo, 35 Calle de Panaderos, which as a great patio. Known for its seafood. Also in Albaicin is Placeta de San Miguel, a cozy little square ringed by at least three good places. You could do a tapas crawl here. Meson El Yunque has great berenejas con miel , fried peppers and avocado salad. Across the way is cafe bar mirador de la lona where we had marinated peppers and tuna, and also there is El Aljibe. At 7pm many of the restaurants are closed as tight as a drum. People eat very late.

I adore Cordoba. It has so many unique features. And the Mezquita is one of the super highlights of Europe. We went twice, morning and late afternoon. Looks different depending on the light. Outside of Cordoba are the ruins of the Medina Azahara, worth checking out.

Ok, now I'm hungry again.
shelemm is offline  
Apr 30th, 2019, 08:58 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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Do you have tickets for an evening visit to the Alhambra? Magical, and quite different IME from the day time visit.

Although many people visit Cordoba and Toledo as day trips, I'm very glad I stayed overnight in them -- each easily has enough to accommodate 2 or more days of sightseeing. I'm not sure you have any leeway to add time to either, but thought I'd mention it.

The museums in Madrid are extensive. I spent a full day in the Prado (on a day when it was open late!) and about 4 hours in the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia. (I missed the Sorolla.) I'm not sure you would want that much time in any of them, but wanted to alert you to their scope so you could plan accordingly.

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Apr 30th, 2019, 09:03 PM
  #4  
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shelemm your restaurant recs are duly noted and appreciated.
kja I know your feelings about spending more time -- from reading your comments on my planning thread and on other threads. We just aren't able to spend that much time and "go deep." We know we will only hit the highlights. I would have LOVED to spend a night or two in Cordoba but we really wanted to limit the hotel stops -- thus the day trips to Cordoba and to Toledo. And our time in Granada doesn't allow for day and night visits to Alhambra. So we picked day! As with every trip I've taken, always appreciate your thoughtful input.
Everyone else, keep 'em coming!
alison is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 11:44 AM
  #5  
 
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If you have the time while in Seville, I recommend visiting Casa di Pilatos. It is beautiful, and a hidden gem. It was quiet when we were there in September, so it was nice to get away from the crowds.
KarenWoo is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 12:09 PM
  #6  
 
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Book your TGV train to Paris now too - www.oui.sncf for early bird discounts - www.seat61.com has great tips on doing this - general train info BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. seville-Cordoba you can always buy a regional train ticket at station for cheap price or book AVE in advance but lose your flexibility on coming and going.

I found Seville's old World's Fair grounds interesting to poke around - seeing remnants of once fancy edifices - rather maudlin:

https://www.google.com/search?

and be sure to get an International Drivers Permit - required in Spain. Local AAA $20 or so.


q=seville+world%27s+fair+grounds+today+images&tbm= isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjhxcb4gvvhAhULHDQ IHdPRB78QsAR6BAgJEAE&biw=645&bih=613
PalenQ is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 01:32 PM
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We also prefer day trips whenever possible..( not early riser either)we took a taxi from the train station in Córdoba to the mosque..saved time.
Toledo gets very crowded on Sundays..
tickets for early trains sell out a couple of days in advance any day of the week.
Your hotel in Madrid is in great location...close to the museums and across beautiful Retiro
( don’t get a room overlooking the park...it is a very busy street...ask for a quiet room!)
Visit ( just north of Retiro ) elegant, upscale barrio Salamanca ...best stores and grat restaurants, leafy streets , some beautiful buildings., not touristy..mostly well off locals
Seniors get discount at museums any time of the day.
Prado is huge..pick “ your” painters.. Raina as well..
I am in Madrid right now.
danon is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 03:16 PM
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We also really enjoyed Salamanca, a university town so bit lively when students are around. A longish train ride or drive but worth it.
PalenQ is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 03:30 PM
  #9  
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KarenWoo Casa de Pilatos is on the list. Just don't know how much time we will have!
danon we are planning day trip to Toledo on a Sunday. I had heard it was crowded every day, but that day works out best for our schedule and seems like a good day to avoid the Madrid museums anyway. Yes, I'm following availability of train tix and think i can wait a bit. But since they are semi-flexibie will likely go ahead and buy the Cordoba and Toledo day trip tix just to have one less thing to do while traveling. Have great time in Madrid and report back with any current must-knows! Oh and about the hotel, we first had a room overlooking the park but were concerned about noise. The manager arranged for a room that has "partial" park view but less noisy and hopefully high floor. Hopefully that will do the trick. Thanks for confirmation this was a good hotel choice.
PalenQ Way ahead of you! TGV tickets bought well in advance at great rates! thx. And husband getting international driving permit for Spain (I won't be driving there as manual transmission). For France conflicting info on requirement so I'm not sure about getting one for me for France. ?????


alison is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 03:40 PM
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It's the law in France that you need an IDP.
StCirq is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 03:51 PM
  #11  
 
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I have not bought an IDP for years but is not the one you buy good for several countries?
PalenQ is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 03:52 PM
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thx, alison
I visit Madrid every year...
I was in Toledo in Oct. ( Sunday) with a friend ...the lineup for the cathedral was huge..
I had seen it before on earlier visit , my friend was not in the mood to wait ..so we moved on.
danon is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 12:22 PM
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Regarding the drive from Granada to Seville... You could actually use the car to do your Cordoba day trip. Drive from Granada is 2.5 hours max, then 1.5 hours to Seville. This would leave more time for Seville.
If you'd rather use the car to visit smaller places, then Ronda is a bit out of the way. Zahara de la Sierra, a white pueblo, is closer to a main road and would make a very worthwhile detour and stop. So would Setenil de las Bodegas. Or, if you are not in the mood for a detour, then small Estepa and slightly larger Osuna are interesting stops too and they are right on the main highway.
balso is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 02:02 PM
  #14  
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balso thx so much for the alternative ideas for stops between Granada and Seville. And good idea for taking car to Cordoba. However, we want a really long 12-hour day in Cordoba and wouldn't get that by car. We figure that if we don't stop at Ronda and maybe go directly Granada to Seville or short stops you suggested we will have an additional late afternoon/evening in Seville.
alison is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 02:34 PM
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Let me suggest a short trip from Seville: To Jerez de la Frontera and or Cadiz and back on day trip. I took train to Jerez and toured two sherry producers and caves (sherry being a British corruption of 'Jerez') and the practice session of behemoth Andalusian Horses in the local arena - two unique things - Jerez itself did not seem like much - I also paid a brief visit to Cadiz the same day to at least see a nice old town and beaches but wish I'd had time to come back some day but failed in that.
PalenQ is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 04:23 PM
  #16  
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PalenQ thx for the suggestion about other day trips from Seville. We knew when we structured the itinerary that we would just hit the highlights. With only 2 full days in Seville since we are spending a full day in Cordoba we won't make any other day trips. So much to see....so little time!
alison is offline  
Aug 30th, 2019, 06:03 PM
  #17  
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Had a great time. Thanks everyone for your help. Here's a link to my TR:
TR: Andalusia and Madrid May 2019 (LONG)
alison is offline  
Aug 30th, 2019, 06:12 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting us know.
kja is offline  
Oct 25th, 2019, 07:42 AM
  #19  
 
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Seems like a well described plan & itinerary. I would add to visit Lavapies neighborhood and La Cebada food market while in Madrid
Javiadrados24 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2019, 12:28 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Shelem: thanks for Granada restaurant recos. As to the tapas...how does it work... if we order non-alcohol drinks, does tapas come w it? I know most people drink beer or wine but my fav is actually water and I dont have the tolerance for much alcohol.
mmyk72 is offline  

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