April Planning for Spain

Old Jan 6th, 2023, 02:41 PM
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April Planning for Spain

This is a partial duplicate of of a second, later post. For the complete, detailed topic, please see post #2.

Last edited by Moderator1; Jan 7th, 2023 at 08:53 AM. Reason: removed duplicate at OP's request
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 04:08 PM
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Spain in April - Suggestions?!

Forgive me if this is a double post….we won’t even go there…!!!

We will be traveling to Spain in April, 21 days/22 nights. I reached out to a frequent Spain contributor and was advised that Barcelona would take a bit more time than we thought, so Barcelona will be saved for a future trip. Here is the schedule that I think will work best. Not too rushed, enough time to see the big sights and a bit of time to take it all in!

1st night - (1 night) Madrid at the airport, Clement Hotel
2nd-5th nights - (4 nights) Córdoba, need hotel suggestions
6th-11th nights - (6 nights) Sevilla - Acogedor Apartment - the week before Feria de Abril - with day tip to Ronda
12th-15th nights - (4 nights) Granada - FerAla Suites
16th- 22nd nights- (6 nights) Madrid - Catalonia Hotel - (1 night) Toledo, somewhere in the week, need hotel suggestions

We will be in Madrid during Memorial Day, May 1 - should we make this our travel date to or from Toledo? I ask that as I understand most businesses are closed with the exception of the tourist based businesses.

We would also like to find a Guide to take us on a private city tour. A guide in each location. Or we can hop on and hop off a bus if that’s the best way to get acquainted with the city. And a bike ride tour in each of the spots and anything else someone might think would be a fun break. We aren’t planning on renting a car. We thought we’d do all travel by train, buses, taxis… Uber…. Would a car be a useful in certain areas? We’ve kinda settled on the hotels/apartments listed after the city, but nothing is written in stone. We still need a hotel for Córdoba and for Toledo.

We having really looked into any sights and what it takes to visit them…yikes! Thought we’d get the itinerary down first… baby steps!

Again, any thoughts, suggestions or comments are all welcome!

A big thank you upfront! Can’t wait to see what comes!!!
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 05:21 PM
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We have merged your two threads
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 06:02 PM
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Perfect!
Thanks for the help!
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 07:58 PM
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This sounds like a great plan. We really enjoyed our stay at the Balcon de Cordoba in (surprise!) Cordoba. If you decide to stay there, I highly recommend booking dinner there. It was delicious and served on their balcony with a beautiful view.
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 08:23 PM
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Thanks, KT! I’ll look up Balcón de Córdoba. Appreciate the suggestion!
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 12:02 AM
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Map for guests of the Catalonia Las Cortes hotel
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...LuCM4MFXaSEOjY
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 05:41 AM
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Thanks for the map!
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 12:26 PM
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lymichie,
Just a question first about night 1:
Did you consider after arrival to go directly by train to Córdoba from Atocha station rather than overnight in Madrid?
I assume that maybe your flight arrives late with multiple connections and you'll be too tired to press on (I know that sometimes we are, flying from the US West coast).
Another airport area hotel getting solid reviews is the Hotel MAYDRIT. It's a bit better reviewed on booking.com than the Clement.
https://www.hotelmadridmaydrit.com/en/.

For Córdoba, I can certainly second the rec. of the Balcón de Córdoba, a lovely boutique hotel in the heart of the Judería.
My "runner-up" would be the Casas de la Judería.

I'll have 3 nights soon in Córdoba to revisit favorite sites (Mosque, Palacio de Viana, the patios of the San Basilio quarter , Julio Romero Torres Museum, Alcázar, to attend the evening Sound & Light show ("Soul of Córdoba) and for a day trip to the archaeological site of Medina Azahara. And there are modern day hamamms in Córdoba, Sevilla and Granada if that appeals.

https://tickets.mezquita-catedraldec...oul-of-cordoba
https://cordobaecuestre.com/entradas...os-en-cordoba/
https://www.turismodecordoba.org/dai...zahara-cordoba
https://www.turismodecordoba.org/the-patios-of-cordoba
https://cordoba.hammamalandalus.com/en/

I don't know your Sevilla apartment but I'll check it out while there soon for 8 nights. Ditto to your suites in Granada's Albaicín, which look lovely.

For Toledo, a nice boutique property in the center: the Hotel Boutique Adolfo right next to the Plaza Zocodover (but "adults only").
https://hotelboutiqueadolfo.com
My "runner up"--the interesting and new Entre Dos Aguas, former home of famed flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía. (I'm a big fan).
https://www.casaentredosaguas.es

You'll have museum closures on May 1 in Toledo as well, so I would go there on another day.

Which Catalonia in Madrid?
If it's the Catalonia Las Cortes in the heart of the Barrio de las Letras, you'll be very happy there. A Fodorite favorite and a good value. I'd choose a larger room rather than an entry level that run small. The jr. suites have their original ceiling frescoes. And Revulgo's map is great. I follow it myself.

Bike rides in Sevilla: See by Bike (but there are other companies since biking in Seville is easy)
https://seebybike.com

Private, professional licensed guides, if you need them, that I've used: (but private guide services are expensive in Spain)

Madrid:
Madrid Museum Tours (for the Prado)
https://madridmuseumtours.com/en/
Across Madrid (for the same--this one I haven't used but has been reviewed here on the forum)
https://www.acrossmadrid.com/en/abou...choose-us.html

Córdoba:
For Córdoba-
Isabel Martínez Richter, an archaeologist, Rick Steves recommended
https://www.cordoba24.info/english/h...dtfuehrer.html


For Granada-
Margarita Ortiz de Landazuri, who has also given tours for Rick Steves--excellent, especially for the Alhambra
Alhambra tours - Guided visits to Alhambra - Services

For Seville-
Concepción Delgado of Sevilla Walking Tours, who does tours for Rick Steves, for the Real Alcázar & other monuments
Shawn Hennessy of Azahar Sevilla, for first rate tapas tours
https://sevillawalkingtours.com/opinions/
https://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilleta...rs/tapas-tour/

For traveling between cities, the high-speed trains work very well. For your planned itinerary, Córdoba-Sevilla-Granada-Madrid-Toledo, there's no need for a rental car.
Purchase tickets in advance for significant discounts at www.renfe.com, the National Rail Network
Or for Madrid-Córdoba, Renfe will soon have competition on the southern line, starting March 31---IRYO, a venture from Air Europa and Italian rail with spiffy, red Frecciarossa trains.
https://iryo.eu/en/home.

Hope this helps!








Last edited by Maribel; Jan 7th, 2023 at 12:30 PM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 02:09 PM
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Just another thought about night #1,

When our itinerary through LHR gets us into Barajas exhausted in the evening, and we leave for the south via train the next morning,
rather than move to an airport hotel with nothing really noteworthy around it,
we somehow find the energy to hop in a taxi (flat rate, €30) and spend the night in a Madrid hotel within walking distance of Puerta de Atocha rail station for our next morning's AVE trip to Andalucía.

You might (or might not) want to consider this.

Nice, boutique-style hotels within walking distance of Puerta de Atocha:
Only You Hotel Atocha, directly across the street
the brand new Radisson RED (a complete remake of the former Hotel Paseo del Arte)
Atocha Hotel Madrid Tapestry Collection by Hilton, a bit further up on Calle Atocha

They all have nice on-site dining if you're too tired to go out--- with the Only You having a roof top terrace, the Tapestry a pretty interior garden and the RED a restaurant supervised by Michelin-starred Basque chef Eneko Atxa, an unusual Japanese-Basque hybrid.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 02:42 PM
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I second Maribel's recommendation of Las Casas de la Juderia. When we were there in 2017, the hotel provided an honor bar in its lovely courtyard. We were traveling with friends, and we met them in the courtyard every evening for drinks before we went out to dinner. It was fun to socialize here before heading out for the evening. The hotel is located in a very convenient location in the Juderia (old Jewish quarter) and a few minutes' walk from the Mezquita and Alcazar.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 05:20 PM
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Hijole!!!
What WONDERFUL and generous replies!!!
Gosh, I’m so excited, I have to read and reread Maribel reply’s!
And thank you KarenWoo for your thoughts!
This might take a bit of time to digest… THANK YOU!
I’m going to sit down tomorrow and spend the day with all of the info!!!!
Muchas gracias, que amable!!!
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 05:58 PM
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lymichie,
Have fun with your planning!
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 05:04 AM
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i can't compete with Maribel's depth of knowledge, but I do have another recommendation for a hotel in Toledo, namely https://www.hotelsanjuandelosreyes.c...l-toledo-spain

It's just along the street from the monastery of the same name, close [within walking distance] to quite a few other sites, including the wonderful Cathedral, and has a great restaurant. Very comfortable and reasonable too. Just my two penn'oth.
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 05:44 AM
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annhig,
All information is appreciated! I’m going to check this hotel as well. Can never have too many options! And can never pass up a restaurant recommendation…
Thank you!
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 12:55 PM
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lymichie,
About May 1 Madrid museum/monument closures:

The following will be closed on Monday, May 1-
Prado
Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Thyssen
MAN (Museo Nacional de Arqueología)
Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas
Sorolla
Royal Palace

But there'a always walking in beautiful Retiro Park or renting a row boat on its artificial lake, the Campo de Moro gardens, sunset at the Templo de Debod, a walk through the always bustling San Miguel Market and the adjacent Plaza Mayor, the Royal Botanical Gardens next to the Prado, chilling out at Madrid Río Park next to the Manzanares River, etc...
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 04:06 PM
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Oh, doesn’t renting a boat sound fun?!
Thanks for the list of May 1 closures, we’ll make certain to get to those sites early in our Madrid stay.
We noted your thoughts on private city guides… we will do a bit more research to see how it’s best done.
I like to have a tour our first day to get a bit of a feel/familiarity with the city.
It’s been suggested, the Hop-on Hop-off buses are a good way to see the sites…
We’re taking your advice and will head into Madrid upon landing rather than stay at the airport.
Start the trip with an evening walk around Madrid and find the Puerta de Atocha rail station!
Can’t thank you Maribel, KT, Revulgo, KarenWoo and annhig, enough for the help!
This is just such great fun!
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Old Jan 8th, 2023, 04:14 PM
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The HOHO bus isn't really needed to see the sights of Old Madrid, since Old Madrid is very walkable, especially since you're staying at the very conveniently located for a first time visitor Catalonia Las Cortes in the Barrio de las Letras quarter.
There is another route of the HOHO that gives a tour of modern Madrid, up to the Bernabeu stadium, but you can take the metro to reach Bernabeu if you want to take the stadium tour. Metro stop is right there. If any in your family happens to be Real Madrid fans.
https://www.realmadrid.com/en/tickets/tour-bernabeu

Last edited by Maribel; Jan 8th, 2023 at 04:51 PM.
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Old Jan 9th, 2023, 12:07 AM
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BTW, for lunch within walking distance from the Bernabeu stadium, Viavelez is recommended https://restauranteviavelez.com/
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Old Jan 9th, 2023, 05:53 AM
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Maribel, you realize we’re going to have to take the HOHO bus just because you named it the HOHO bus
Thanks for the heads-up on the routes. I didn’t realize there would be more than one route for the city.
I thought the route would be quite wide sweeping taking in all of the highlights.
We do want to pop up to the stadium so the modern city route we’ll take.

Revulgo, the Viavelez looks lovely! That will be perfect; tour the stadium, lunch and hop back on the HoHo bus!
What a trip this is going to be!!!
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