Comments on itin for long winter trip

Nov 30th, 2019, 10:52 AM
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Comments on itin for long winter trip

It's been way too long since we've been to Europe. May well be cold, dreary, and rainy in Europe in Jan/Feb, but it's when we travel - and when fewer others do - which lately seems especially relevant to most favored spots of Europe. We plan to spend most of our time in Spain, where neither of us have ever been.

Here's what we have so far and welcome all comments: Have already purchased flight from DC to London and then return from Madrid to DC. Have also purchased some train tix London-Amsterdam-Paris - as well as lodging in all 3 of those cities. Looking to spend at least a couple weeks in warmer Seville.

Wed. Jan 1- Jan 6 – London (4)
Mon. Jan 6. Eurostar train to Amsterdam.
Jan 6 - Jan 10. Amsterdam (4)
Fri. Jan 10 Train to Paris
Jan. 10 -15. Paris. (5)
Wed. Jan 15. Train Paris to Barcelona. $. 89. 6 1/2
Jan. 15 - 19 Barcelona (4)
Sun. Jan 19 - train to Valencia (4)
Sun. Jan 19 – 23 - Valencia (Albufera)
Th. Jan 23 - train to Granada
Th. Jan 23 – 27 – Granada
Mon. Jan 27. – Train to Cordoba
Jan. 27 – 30 – Cordoba
Jan. 30 – Train to Sevilla
Jan 30 - Feb 15. Seville or maybe 23 or 24th??? we'll need 3 or 4 nights in Cadiz (incl. Donana)
Feb. 15 – Train to Cadiz
Feb. 15 – 19 – Cadiz (and Donana)
Tues. Feb 19 - Seville - Madrid Fly.
Feb .19 - Mar 2 Madrid Toledo/Segovia
Mon. March 2 fly dc

Thanks for any thoughts.

glover is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:08 AM
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Looks like a prefect plan. You're not rushing. Hope you'll have relatively nice weather.

Bon voyage!
BDKR is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 03:54 PM
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Sounds like a very nice trip! I take it that the numbers in parentheses are number of nights, so generally 1 more than the number of days you have in any given place.

The one thing that jumped out at me is how very little time you've allotted to Barcelona. I had 6 nights there, and didn't see everything I wanted to see just in the city, even though I was out an about every possible moment. Much as I love Sevilla, I'd take the time from it, as you seem to have allotted it a disporportionately long time.

Consider spending a night or two (or three!) in Toledo rather than visiting it as a day trip from Madrid.
kja is offline  
Dec 1st, 2019, 02:28 PM
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I agree with kja about Barcelona and Toledo. Barcelona is a large city with many, many interesting sites that are very popular, and quite a few require advance purchased tickets. Not sure if that is the case in February, but you never know. I would recommend at least 6 nights in Barcelona. Also, since you have a lot of time, a few nights in Girona would be nice, too. It's a lovely medieval walled city with a lovely river setting not too far from Barcelona. You can visit it as a daytrip, but staying overnight is so much more enjoyable.

And definitely visit Toledo for a few nights. We spent one night there, and loved it. It was much less crowded at night and so beautiful with all the illuminated buildings. If we visited Toledo as a daytrip, I would have wondered what all the fuss is about.
KarenWoo is offline  
Dec 1st, 2019, 02:51 PM
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Good looking trip
bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 01:22 PM
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Thanks all for this great advice!

Have purchased needed train tickets, Alhambra tix for Granada, and Ann Frank house tix for Amsterdam. Anything else on our itin i ought to be buying in advance? Sadly Da Vinci at the Louvre is sold out.....
glover is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 01:25 PM
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Barcelona: But tickets for La Sagrada Familia.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 04:10 PM
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I agree with kja and KarenWood about adding time in Barcelona and an overnight or two in Toledo.
And I like your slow travel...sounds wonderful to me.

Just a question: Am I reading that you plan to base in Albufera rather than in Valencia itself (??) or is it that you plan to take a day trip for a boat ride, jeep tour, birdwatching to Albufera (??). I suspect it's the latter. We spent 4 nights in Valencia in early March and keep very busy revisiting favorite sights. It's such a vibrant city these days.
On our drive down to Alicante we did stop for coffee in Albufera (at the Parador in El Saler) and didn't find the area very attractive (kind of scruffy) and wouldn't have wanted a night there but we didn't do any birdwatching.
If you go out to Albufera for a paella lunch, I can recommend the Casa Carmina, but if you take a guided tour from the city the tour company will choose the restaurant.
You should have nice birdwatching in Doñana.
Visit by boat and Jeep ? Visitas Doñana

As to online tickets, ditto to the Sagrada Familia and also for the now required timed tickets to the Parc Güell. And you might want to check the concert schedule at the architecturally magnificent Palau de la Música during your stay. On Jan. 15 at 8 pm there will be a special concert of the Orchestra de Guitarres de Barcelona. An addition to an evening concert there are also daytime guided tours of the Palau, which you can book a few days in advance.

I so envy your long stay in Sevilla. Since you have the true luxury of time there you can wait until you arrival to see what the crowds/lines are like at the Cathedral and Real Alcázar. If you find long lines at the Cathedral, you can head to the Iglesia del Salvador at 11 am and buy a joint ticket there for the church and cathedral. *Both don't have to be visited in the same day.
If you'd like to take the 25-minute guided tour Royal Apartments of the Real Alcázar, you should buy those tickets online about 2 weeks in advance to have the best selection of times (mornings only, from 10 am-1 pm). They do sell out since only 10 visitors are allowed in per tour.

During your Paris stay the Grand Palais will be holding two blockbuster exhibits, the first major exhibit of El Greco in France and a Toulouse Lautrec exhibit, a joint collaboration of the Orsay & Orangerie and the Toulouse Lautrec museum in Albi. When we attend these exhibits at the Grand Palais we do order online tickets to avoid the long lines. If those hold any interest...Also at the Musee du Luxembourg there will be a special exhibit: "The Golden Age of English Painting: from Reynolds to Turner." We enjoy these well-curated exhibits and the excellent audio guide. And the lovely Jacquemart-André Museum will hold until Jan 20 a special exhibit: "The Alana Collection: Masterpieces of Italian painting"

Just some thoughts...
Maribel is online now  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 05:54 PM
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Other places to reserve in advance for Barcelona: The Palau de la Música for a tour (as noted by Marible, whether attending a performance or not) and any of the Gaudi buildings (not just the park).
kja is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 09:20 AM
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Thanks so much for all this! Really helpful! Concert at Palau Musica sounds wonderful and looks like there are plenty of tix at the moment. Insider advice would be helpful here. We will be arriving in Barcelona by train just before 5pm. Then need to get to hotel in Exiample. Check in, grab something to eat and then on to Palau for 8pm concert. Doable?
glover is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 11:26 AM
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Depends what you mean by "grab something to eat." Unless it's fast food, you won't get served at that time of evening.

Also depends on if your train is on time, how you plan to get to your hotel and how much traffic there is, how long it will take to get to Palau from the hotel, etc. It would be rushed for me, but it's probably workable.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 11:55 AM
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The Palau does have a bar/café in the Art Nouveau foyer, the Café Palau, so you could grab something there to tide you over until after the concert. *I've used this in the past when I've needed to grab something before a concert there. *It's open from 9 am until midnight.

There's also Tosca Tapas & Vino, located directly across from the Palau, which is open continuously until 1 am.

Last edited by Maribel; Dec 7th, 2019 at 12:06 PM.
Maribel is online now  
Dec 7th, 2019, 12:58 PM
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I think your timing is great. I've been to the places, after Day 19, in Janurary/February, including a visit to Sevilla and Cadiz last winter. Perfect timing. Think about flying back from Jerez so you do not have to retrace your steps to Sevilla; Jerez airport is less than half an hour from Cadiz. I did this last year.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 06:20 PM
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Thanks for the additional info on eating at the Palau, Maribel. And EKS - ran right right off to search for your juicy trip report on Sevilla and Cadiz. Loved hearing that you had mild weather in Jan/feb last year.
but it’s weather, and especially these days, who can say? What a wealth of info I now have re Sevilla food!

Do any of you have favorite recs for Sevilla lodging? We’re planning on 3 weeks there at moment so prefer an apt. Mid range. Have been cruising air bnb and see some that could be nice, but thought I’d ask those of you who know Sevilla better. We’re a couple of well travelled seniors, big walkers, no need
for party scene.
glover is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 06:35 PM
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We're heading to Seville and the Cádiz province again in late February and can echo what ekscrunchy has told you---it's just a great time to be in Sevilla and Cádiz.
I heartily second all of ekscrunchy's Sevilla food recommendations, as they're our favorites as well.

On our last visit to Sevilla we rented an apartment, but this time we'll be in a hotel, but since you'll have 3 weeks, and since you would obviously prefer an apartment, I'd look first in the great food-centric ARENAL quarter for quiet and a less heavily touristed area than the Barrio de Santa Cruz.

Have a wonderful time in Sevilla!

Maribel is online now  
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