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As James Brown would sing, "Please, please, please!" - I really need help from all lovers of Spain!

As James Brown would sing, "Please, please, please!" - I really need help from all lovers of Spain!

Mar 18th, 2007, 04:51 PM
  #1  
kc1
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 98
As James Brown would sing, "Please, please, please!" - I really need help from all lovers of Spain!

I appreciated the replies to my previous post regarding help with a 1 week itinerary in Spain, but I will now try to be more specific with my dilemma.

We are 2 couples, aged 60 (but young at heart)who have only 1 week (yikes!) to get a taste of the best of Spain. When I took on this task to plan the trip, I foolishly did not realize how much Spain had to offer. I realize that we will need to return to Spain one day soon, and do it properly, but for now I would like to offer my travelling companions a trip that they will rave about and remember with fondness. We all love good food and wine, beautiful sites, charming accommodation, history, and the opportunity to mix with the locals.

We are spending 3 days in Barcelona with a very large group before a cruise that also ends in Barcelona. So we will be travelling from Barcelona, and returning to Canada 8 days (7 nights) later from Madrid. This will be in early October.

After much research, the following cities and towns are on my wish list, in no particular order: Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Salamanca, Toledo, Segovia, and Madrid.

So my question is: is 8 days enough time to do justice to visiting these places, and if so, what would be the best way to accomplish this, as far as methods of transportation and where to plan overnight stays?

Or would we be wiser to just concentrate on Seville, Cordoba and Granada, and then head to Madrid for our flight home?

Or should we miss Andulusia, and head staight to Madrid, and spend our time there with day trips and overnight visits to Salamanca, Toledo, and Segovia?

So please, please, please, as you can see I need the help of all those who have visited Spain and love it. I will certainly appreciate any of your thoughts and suggestions that will help clarify my decision.

kc1

kc1 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 04:57 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 96
there is some good Spain information here
http://tinyurl.com/2abe7c
realshalott is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:10 PM
  #3  
 
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There's no way you can cover all those places - and I don;t mean that you won;t see enough - I mean you won;t even be able to do all that travel.

Pick either Andalusia by car - or stick to the northern parts and Madrid to see ANYTHING.

My personal preference is Andalusia - but I don't like Madrid - the only european city I can say that about in almost 70 trips. But - when we were there it was incredibly hot, hotel AC was minimal (didn;t expect to need it in April) and, frankly, we were bored after 2 days.

But we found Andalusia fascinating - much different than anything else in europe - and could have spent much more time there. (We did 16 days between Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Marbella/day trips.)
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:33 PM
  #4  
rsn
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 133
I am planning a trip to Spain also for this summer and so I sympathize with your planning woes! There are just too many places to see (and I will have 3 weeks to travel)! I am by no means an expert, but I can certainly share some things that I have learned during my planning process. If you want, you should look at my query - "2 twenty-something lovebirds going through Spain for 3 weeks in July" (not sure how to link it here so you can click my name and it will come up).

The following is just a suggest itinerary to show you what you could see in such a short time. Maybe it can help to give you some ideas?

I would probably suggest that you fly from Barcelona into Andalusia. check "Click Air" for cheap flights.

day 1 - fly into Malaga in early morning - get rental car and drive to Granada and see the Alhambra - spend night in Granada

day 2 - drive to Cordoba and spend the day in Cordoba

day 3 + 4 - return rental car and spend 2 days and nights exploring seville

day 5 - take the AVE train to Madrid and spend 2 days in Madrid before flying back to Canada

Again, these are just suggestions! Good luck with the planning!
rsn is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:40 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,400
I like rsn's suggested itinerary. Andalucia, Madrid, and your 3 days in Barcelona will give you a good taste of what Spain has to offer. You will want to return.
I did a similar trip in 2005 with my mother (Madrid-Sevilla-Granada-Ronda-Cordoba-Madrid). I love Madrid, by the way.
If you'd like to see how we did it, you can check out my travelogue:
http://www.wired2theworld.com/spain2005.html
Kristina is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:06 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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you can fly into granada, and not rent the car until you need it.

flying into málaga is out of the way, unless you are doing something along the way i am not aware of. this is wasting a lot of precious time you donīt have.

i would leave barcelona later on day 3, after doing both city tour bus routes, to give myself 2 nights in granada.

set up one fabulous meal in each city, and the second day more relaxed. it should work out fine if you donīt mind skimming the surface..

good advice to stop in cordoba on way to sevilla.

take a carriage ride in sevilla first thing to get an overall view of the city, and then go to two or three top sites in 2 days.
lincasanova is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:17 PM
  #7  
 
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If you have three days in Barca, that is a good first step. we did Madrid, Seville, Malaga and Barca in about 2 weeks. Look into flying from Barca to and from wherever you go - Iberia has very cheap fares. I would personally go back to Seville in a heartbeat. That and Barca were my absolute favorite places; Madrid was ok - prado and the palace are worth the trip. However, with limited time, I'd do Barca and Seville.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:23 PM
  #8  
 
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I visited many parts of Spain over the years, but my heart belongs to Sevilla. Please don't miss it!
louanne is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:28 PM
  #9  
nbujic
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You can fly from Barcelona to Granada with Vueling for 40 euros .
Stay in Granada 2 nights and one day to see Alhambra ( book tickets well ahead of time).
From Granda either drive or take a bus to Seville for 2-3 days, after Seville go to Cordoba for a day .From Cordoba , late the same day, take a fast train AVE to Madrid for the last 3 days.
I like Madrid too
 
Mar 18th, 2007, 07:51 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 67
Agree with nbujic, fly Vueling to Granada, but then take train to Seville, don't bother with driving, difficult to park in Santa Cruz area where you want to stay. It's close to the Cathedral and the Real Alcazar, whose gardens rival the Alhambra. See the Mezquita in Cordoba, that's also worth a night. Toledo is okay, could be a day trip from Madrid if you have extra time. But you must see one of the three great art museums and the Palacio Real in Madrid.
lostinplace is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 09:11 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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KC: Hello from Victoria, BC:

I hate making choices, so I tend to do it all I am assuming you can rent a car and have 8 FULL days and IF you want to do it all, here it is

Day 1: Fly from Barcelona to Madrid (first flight is at 0530); pick up car at airport, drive to Toledo, explore Toledo, drive to Salamanca; stay overnight in Salamanca
Day 2: Explore Salamanca; drive to Segovia in the evening; stay overnight in Segovia
Day 3: Explore Segovia; drive to Madrid in the evening
Day 4: Explore Madrid; evening train to Seville; stay in Seville
Day 5: Explore Seville; drive to Granada in the evening; stay in Granada
Day 6: Explore the Alhambra; drive to Cordoba in the evening; stay in Cordoba
Day 7: Explore Cordoba in the morning; drive to Seville/take train back to Madrid
Day 8: Explore Madrid … if you can drag yourself out of bed!


Yes, it can be done but I would NEVER do it, and I am renowned for my insane driving itineraries. You should chose between:
- Madrid as a base and seeing Segovia, Toledo, Salamanca
- Andalusia, where you can have multiple bases over 8 days

Given you will be seeing Barcelona, I think I would opt for the contrast of Andalusia and spend at least one day exploring the museums of Madrid (among the best in the world).

I am sure you can do trains and buses, but I love driving in Spain, so I will assume you will rent a car. If you don’t hire a car, your times will be constrained; you will not be able to do so much.

I might draw up the following as a preliminary plan and adjust, based on how much you want to move around and how much you want to achieve in one day. MY pace tends to be OTT for most travellers:

Day 1: Fly from Barcelona to Granada (IB has a flight at 0730, arrives @ 0845; you can get fares from about 50 Euros per person one-way); Explore the Alhambra for almost a full day, with lunch at the Parador; stay in the Alhambra Palace (LOVED IT!) or the Parador, inside the Alhambra

Day 2: Explore the rest of Granada; Drive to Ubeda in the late afternoon/evening; stay in Ubeda (loved the Palacio de Ramblas and the Parador looks divine)

Day 3: Explore Ubeda and drive to Cordoba in the late afternoon; stay the night in Cordoba;

Day 4: Explore Cordoba all day and then on to Carmona in the evening; stay in the Parador

Day 5: Explore Carmona in the early morning; in the afternoon drive the white towns of Andalusia; spend the night in the parador in Arcos de la Frontera

Day 6: Continue the drive around the hill towns and end up in Seville, drop car off, stay the night

Day 7: Explore Seville; late train to Madrid

Day 8: Concentrate on one or two wonderful museums (The Prado & The Thyssen-Bornemisza are my favorites) and a very long lunch, tapas and dinner.

This is a basic plan for discussion and there are many possible variations. For example: You might want to drop the Baeza/Ubeda detour and spend more time in Western Andalusia; You might want to spend more time in Seville and drop the day in Madrid.

Hope this helps as a starting point for discussion with your travel companions.

Regards Ger


OReilly is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 12:09 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I can emphathize with your decision pain and I find some of the suggestions interesting.

All I would offer is that you try to have very specific sights in mind to see within these destinations with the small amount of time if you do decide to visit all of these places.

You aren't going to have a lot of time to wander around.

Dukey is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 12:32 AM
  #13  
 
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I would primarily combine Barcelona and Andalucia with a day for the museums & tapas in Madrid ( stay near them).

You really can not miss Seville as several have mentioned and stay in the Santa Cruz area.Live on tapas and see flamenco,cathedral, Alcazar etc. You also can not miss the Mezquita in Cordoba ( have a traditional and yummy lunch near by at Caballo Rojo),see the old town. It is just a 40 minute very easy Ave train ride away from Sevilla.

We just did a quick tour of Andlaucia with a party of 6 with 2 octogenarians and a 6yo and we all had a blast.Look to my blog for pics and ideas of how to get much in ,great food in short time:
http://www.soultravelers3.com/blog/blog.html

We also really loved Ronda and had a great meal at the Parador there with spectacular views and adored the bullring.

We also did Granada as a day trip from a beautiful white village near the sea.We did the awesome Nerja cave and a great meal on the La Jolla like beach ( feet from azure sea) just below the Balcony of Europe ( and view of Africa across the sea).We used a guide to take us there which made it all easier and saw the Alhambra as well as the cathedral.

Our guests loved Andalucia but wish they did not even go to Madrid ( altho they did love the Prado).We also did the Horse show in Jerez,toured a sherry bodega and had a fabulous lunch at a four star hotel ( all close together) in half a day.

So with just 2 nights in Seville we got a good taste of it along with Cordoba and Jerez, had great food, great flamenco and were not over booked.

We stayed in Marbella as a base only because they had a nice large time share for almost free. It was lovely and worked for us.We loooved the Armadeus hotel and its location in Seville.They also really enjoyed our village and all the village people that we have gotten to know living here.

Good luck and have fun!!
WTnow is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 02:28 AM
  #14  
 
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i like www.gtahotels.com, and www.rumbo.es, or www.lastminue.com for airfares and hotels.
lincasanova is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 09:25 AM
  #15  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,707
I loved all the locations you are considering, but agree with others that it would be unwise to try to see all of them in your time frame. As others have said, you could do Sevilla, Granada, and Cordoba OR you could do Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, and maybe Salamanca (although that might be pushing it, depending on what you want to see and do in each of these places). The Andalucian option would mean seeing some of Spain's finest Arabian-influenced buildings and gardens - wonderful! Seeing Madrid, Toledo, and Segovia would mean seeing cities with a wider array of architectural styles and the incredible art collections of Madrid - also wonderful! You could probably do either area with trains or buses. To decide between them, you might consider not only what you most want to see on this trip, but the season (Sevilla can be dreadfully hot in summer) and the exact days involved (many things are closed on Sunday afternoons and/or all of Monday). Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 04:00 PM
  #16  
kc1
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 98
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who took the time to give me some advice!!

I have a couple of questions regarding some of the comments. One is regarding the weather...we will be travelling during the first week of October. I thought that the extreme "heat" of Seville would not be a problem at that time? What should be expect weatherwise?

In one portion of the Andulusia itineraries recommended by some, there were suggestions of possible routes to take, and I would like to enquire about the advantages and/or disadvantages of each.

1. Granada - Cordoba - Seville
or
2. Granada - Seville - Cordoba

I thought that Cordoba was on the way to Madrid from Seville, but I have never been any good at reading a map (which my husband has to remind me every time we watch "The Amazing Race", ha, ha).

In both cases, we would be heading to Madrid next for a day or so before catching our flight.

I will have my fellow travelers take a look at all of your thoughtful suggestions, and will keep you posted regarding any decision we make.

Again, thanks so much, you are all awesome!

kc1
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Mar 19th, 2007, 04:17 PM
  #17  
 
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Yes, Cordoba is on the AVE (high speed) train line between Sevilla and Madrid. It probably makes more sense to go there after Sevilla on your way to Madrid. We only spent one night there but I thought the Mezquita was one of the trip highlights.

I would think weather would be lovely in October in Sevilla; it was when I was there.
Kristina is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 08:10 AM
  #18  
kja
 
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Hi, kc1 - Sorry I raised the question of weather - I hadn't noticed that you said you were going in October! I was in Spain in early October, and found the weather to be perfect! Comfortably warm and sunny during the days, comfortably cool in the evenings.
kja is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 08:36 AM
  #19  
 
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Hi, kc1,

Here's what I would do:

Fly Vueling to Granada. Spend two nights. Visit Alhambra and Albacin Hill, dine around the Cathedral.

Pick up a car. Drive to Ronda or Arcos and spend one night in any of the "white villages" on your way to Seville. Drop the car in Seville and spend 2 nights. See a flamenco show here or in Madrid. Take the high-speed train to Madrid stopping in Cordoba for a few hours to visit the Mezquita.
Spend 2 nights in Madrid. See the Prado and Palacio Real (tour) as a minimum.

Alternatively, skip the one night in the white villages, take a train or a bus from Granada to Seville. Spend 3 nights in Madrid and take a full day trip to Toledo.


Leave the rest for your next trip.

Best,

-e
enroute is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 07:18 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Was there last Sept., Granada was cool at night, Seville perfect, and Barcelona warm and humid.
lostinplace is offline  

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