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Critique My Itinerary, Please! 11 Nights in Spain

Critique My Itinerary, Please! 11 Nights in Spain

Mar 16th, 2012, 01:12 PM
  #1  
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Critique My Itinerary, Please! 11 Nights in Spain

Hi, Fodorites!

I've been on two very successful trips to Europe thanks to the help of these forums. (Wish I found you years ago!) I'm hoping some of you will be so kind as to critique this itinerary for me.

I'm most fuzzy on the last few days when it comes to the day trip to Morocco--would you stay somewhere close to Tarifa, or in Tarifa, the day of this day trip? Should I rearrange those final days? Any and all ideas are welcome.

Also, we'll be in Madrid during Pentecost Weekend--is this a deal breaker? Will things be shut down?

My husband and I will be traveling together on this trip, just the two of us. We've never been to Spain before. We love good food, relaxing, and nature.

I omitted a trip to Barcelona because I feel we can't spend enough time there to make it worth it on this trip. We'll be in France at some point in the next couple years and can visit then. Is this foolish? Would you add Barcelona?

How's this look? Too fast? Any input on the hotels? Must-sees? Favorites from your own trip?

We typically bring along a list of places we'd like to see, as well as recommendations from the Fodorites, and then we see what we're most in the mood for once we get there. So, what should I add to the list?

Th: Overnight flight. We'll sleep on the plane and show up relatively well-rested.
Day 1 F: Stay Madrid, Hotel Europa
Day 2 S: Stay Madrid
Day 3 Su: Stay Madrid **Pentecost Sunday**
Day 4 M: Stay Seville, Hotel Las Casas de la Judería
Day 5 T: Stay Seville - While in Seville: Day trip to Jerez de la Frontera wineries? Cadiz? Drive through the White Villages
Day 6 W: Stay Seville
Day 7 Th: Stay Seville **Bank Holiday in Gibraltar - don't go there today**
Day 8 F: Stay Tarifa? Go to Gibraltar & Tangier during the day--too much for one day?
Day 9 S: Stay Granada, Hotel Anacapri
Day 10 Su: Stay Granada - Day trip to Sierra Nevada?
Day 11 M: Stay Madrid, no hotel booked yet--suggestions for ease of getting to the airport? Our flight is just before noon, so not too early.
T: Home to Chicago

Thanks so much, everyone! I really appreciate your input.
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 01:51 PM
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You cannot do Gibraltar and Tangier in one day. Won't happen. Too much time and travel, need to clear customs into Morocco, and catch ferries, etc. And Tangier can mess with your sense of timing as a day trip because Spain and Morocco are on completely different schedules in the summer. When I was in Tangier, it was two hours behind Spain because Morocco didn't follow daylight time (no Spring forward) and was on Greenwich Mean Time (one hour earlier than Spain). You want to go to Morocco, go to Morocco. But Tangier would not be on a go to Morocco itinerary.
BigRuss is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 01:57 PM
  #3  
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BigRuss--Thank you, this is just the kind of input I need.

So no Gibraltar and Tangier in one day, got it.

Now, what do you mean when you say "Tangier would not be on a go to Morocco itinerary"? I don't know much about Morocco, so I put Tangier in the itinerary based on what Rick Steves has to say about it in his Spain guidebook. He advises to do a day trip to Tangier, Morocco, from Tarifa. Is this bad advice? Where would you go instead of Tangier on your one day trip to Morocco?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your time and help!
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 02:12 PM
  #4  
 
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Instead of Tangier or Gibraltar, from Seville go to Cordoba on the way to Granada.
Bedar is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 02:14 PM
  #5  
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Bedar--Thank you for your input! Have you been to Tangier? Was it not worth the day? I'm very intrigued by it, since it will be so very different from what we're experiencing on the rest of the trip, so any input is appreciated.
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 02:17 PM
  #6  
 
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Hi Haven17, I have no suggestions for you, but do have a question. We will be in Madrid in the fall and have booked the Hotel Europa which is right on the Plaza de Sol, as I understand. Can you let me know if the closeness to the square was bothersome with street noise, etc. when you return? Thanks.
jrretired is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 02:18 PM
  #7  
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Jrretired--You got it! I will make a special note of it.
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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Haven 17 posts;

"Th: Overnight flight. We'll sleep on the plane and show up relatively well-rested."

You lucky dogs - I still can't seem to master the sleeping on the plane trick.


"Day 1 F: Stay Madrid, Hotel Europa
Day 2 S: Stay Madrid
Day 3 Su: Stay Madrid **Pentecost Sunday**"

3 days is good. If you like museums you may find yourself wanting another as you either can't see all that you want or something else gets "dropped". I'm nots ure what happens on Pentecost Sunday.


"Day 4 M: Stay Seville, Hotel Las Casas de la Judería"

Very nice hotel in a superb spot.


"Day 5 T: Stay Seville - While in Seville: Day trip to Jerez de la Frontera wineries? Cadiz?"

I was disappointed in Jerez. Nicely situated, but not as interesting as I had hoped. I was not interested in the sherry and did not tour anything associate with it.


"Drive through the White Villages"

As long as you have Ronda on the list, and make it the first stop - because you probably won't want to leave to see any others, you'll be fine


"Day 6 W: Stay Seville
Day 7 Th: Stay Seville **Bank Holiday in Gibraltar - don't go there today**
Day 8 F: Stay Tarifa? Go to Gibraltar & Tangier during the day--too much for one day?"

We considered the Moroccan day-trip, but the logistics dissuaded us. We did not want to stay around Gibraltar and were headed back towards Granada like you. We thought it was too much effort for a day trip and did not want to stay one night so far from where we had come or were going.

If you decide not to do Morocco, I would very strongly suggest using the time for Cordoba, too. The Mezquita is breathtaking - a must see like Venice, The Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Alhambra (see below) etc.. The tld town is very nice too


"Day 9 S: Stay Granada, Hotel Anacapri
Day 10 Su: Stay Granada - Day trip to Sierra Nevada?"

Look into Baeza and Ubeda for that day trip, although Granada could keep you happy for 1.5 days, especially with Alhambra taking up most of one of them.


"Day 11 M: Stay Madrid, no hotel booked yet--suggestions for ease of getting to the airport? Our flight is just before noon, so not too early."

There are lots of good airports within 5 km of MAD with shuttles. Use booking.com and the map feature or look for hotels in "Barajas", the name of the suburb. We stayed recently at the Axor Barajas. A brief stop, for sure (8:00 a.m. flight) but very nice and efficient. You should be able to find something for around $100.


"T: Home to Chicago"

Sweet city - I have to get back for a visit soon
Aramis is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 04:44 PM
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For your last night in Madrid, I'd stay in the centre by the Puerto del Sol or Plaza Mayor area. Your flight isn't until noon which means you could easily get to the airport in time. Plus you could spend some extra time in Madrid rather than be out by the airport.
emily71 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 05:00 PM
  #10  
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EXCELLENT info, emily71 and Aramis. Thank you so much! I'll be back tomorrow with more details and updated plans.

Thank you thank you thank you!
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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I wouldn't waste time going to Jerez. Same as Aramis I was disapointed with this town. We did visit one of the sherry bodegas and it was ok but nothing outstanding. Your time would be better served by doing a day trip to Cordoba.

Agree with staying in madrid city center instaed of by the airport for your last night.

Enjoy!
cruiseluv is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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I stayed in Tarifa and really, really enjoyed it. It has its moorish walls and lots of charm. I did take the ferry from Tarifa to Tangier. I went as part of a tour that i signed up for when i was there in Tarifa. Glad i did it because i was able to see Morocco. It was hectic over there...bascially vendors were trying to sell you everything. Did enjoy some mint tea while there. You are that close...go for it, if it's something you want to do.

Enjoy
dmelo1 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 09:20 PM
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love seville and you probably won't want to leave... but may want to spend one less day there and, instead of driving to white towns and back, just leave seville and hit the white towns on your way to the next part of your trip.

btw-- in seville, we LOVED the chocolate and churros at 'picatoste' which was recommended and we never would have gone to otherwise because it looks like a chain. sit at the counter and enjoy amazing thick and deliciious choc and fresh churros--- really better than the fancy places we tried-- for a great price. (maybe 5or6 euro) also-- we saw people lined up for icecream 2 blocks away-- but ate it instead every night at fiorentina artesana on calle zaragoza 16. different flavors every night and the sweetest owner.
kawh is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 09:27 PM
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Are you allowing time in Granada for the Alhambra? It is fantastic!

Day trips from Madrid to Toledo (30 min) and Segovia (45 min) would be, IMHO, much finer experiences than Gibralter, although one visit there is interesting. Cordoba is a great place for a day trip from Seville. With those three super interesting and beautiful places to visit without long, costly travel, I would not bother with Tangier on this trip.

I also didn't find Jerez to be so great. I enjoyed Cadiz a lot but, am a big history buff and Nelson fan, so that was important to me.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 11:07 PM
  #15  
kja
 
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I haven't followed all this entire thread carefully, so forgive me if I've missed some of your revisions.

> Day 10 Su: Stay Granada - Day trip to Sierra Nevada?

Did you have a specific place in mind? I went to hike the stunning Poqueira Gorge, which was (as I recall) about 3 hours each way from Granada. I'm glad I went (and spent a night) but I certainly wouldn't recommend it as a day trip! And I wouldn't recommend it for someone with this little time in the area unless you had a very specific interest in the Sierra Nevada - there is simply too much you will give up for the travel time there and back.

> Day 11 M: Stay Madrid, no hotel booked yet--suggestions for ease of getting to the airport? Our flight is just before noon, so not too early. ... T: Home to Chicago

Must you fly out of Madrid? An open jaw might have advantages.

> I omitted a trip to Barcelona because I feel we can't spend enough time there to make it worth it on this trip. ... Is this foolish? Would you add Barcelona?

I think you have made the right choice here! Leave Barcelona for another trip.

> Day 5 T: Stay Seville - While in Seville: Day trip to Jerez de la Frontera wineries? Cadiz? Drive through the White Villages

Sound ambitious to me. I didn't go to Jerez de la Frontera or Cadiz and, of the White Villages, I visited only Ronda. I was glad to have the better part of a day in Ronda (including an overnight stay). I believe it is several hours (3?) from Seville.

> Day 8 F: Stay Tarifa? Go to Gibraltar & Tangier during the day--too much for one day?

I haven't been to Tarifa, Gibraltar, or Tangier. I didn't - and wouldn't - consider giving up Cordoba for any of them. Cordoba is truly a unique gem - especially, but not only, because of the Mezquita. I believe that most people visit the Mezquita as a day trip from Seville (but I spent nearly 2 full days in Cordoba and didn't see everything I wanted to see). Do give some thought to visiting Cordoba!

> per Sassafras: "Are you allowing time in Granada for the Alhambra? It is fantastic!"

Agree! I'm one of many Fodorites who recommend seeing the Alhambra twice - once during the day and then again during the evening. For more info, check your guide books or use this board's search function to read the many, many comments on this topic.

> also per Sassafras: "Day trips from Madrid to Toledo (30 min) and Segovia (45 min) would be, IMHO, much finer experiences than Gibralter

As noted above, I haven't been to Gibralter, but I loved my nearly 2 full days (including 2 nights) in Toledo and my nearly full day (including a night) in Segovia. Depending on your interests, you could easily spend ALL your time in and around Madrid (Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Avila, maybe Salamanca....) or ALL of your time in and around Sevilla (Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Ronda, etc.) The choices can be difficult, but the good news is that you should end up with a wonderful trip no matter which of these options you select!

> My husband and I will be traveling together on this trip, just the two of us. We've never been to Spain before. We love good food, relaxing, and nature.

With these interests, you should enjoy your trip very much. Do let us know!
kja is offline  
Mar 17th, 2012, 09:50 AM
  #16  
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Such wonderful, informative replies. Thank you, everyone! I'm going to spend some time considering all of them, revising the itinerary, and I shall be back later with updates.

I really appreciate all of this input. Thank you so much!
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2012, 11:21 AM
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Yes, I've been to Tangier. In fact, I lived in Morocco for 5 yrs. As dmelo1 said, by all means go there for a tiny taste of the country, and it will be tiny. Then again, perhaps it will encourage you to explore it further on another trip. Good to go with a group, as she did. You will be in Spain for only 11 days which is a rather short time and why I suggested a stop in Cordoba instead. And, forget Gib. Nothing much there except the Barbary apes for which the hassle on the border is not worth it. Better to look at the Prudential drawing of the Rock from afar. Up close the main street is simply tourist trash.
Bedar is offline  
Mar 19th, 2012, 10:16 AM
  #18  
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Thank you, Bedar.

I think we'll skip Gibraltar for sure, now. I appreciate your input.

I have a new question--I'm getting a lot of feedback on another forum because my itinerary doesn't include Barcelona. I feel I can't really give it enough days in this short trip, and was planning to visit Barcelona whenever we go to France in the near future. Is this a mistake? Would anyone add in Barcelona and skip another spot?

I usually fly open jaw, but for this trip the only direct flights I could get were in and out of Madrid. The layovers added between six and eight hours to our travel time, so I'd rather spend those hours traveling through Spain than sitting in the Newark airport, for sure.
Haven17 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2012, 09:08 AM
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There are Barcelona fanatics out there ! Better to visit it on your trip to France. Again, you only have 11 days. Enjoy Madrid and Andalucia instead. Hey, Barcelona isn't Spain according to the Catalans and so ...
Bedar is offline  
Mar 21st, 2012, 09:30 AM
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There is so much to see in Andalucia that it would be a shame to shorten in for a superficial trip to Morocco.

Morocco deserves more than a day trip. The places you would most enjoy are NOT a day trip distance for Spain. Compare Tiajuna, Mexico over the border crossing type atmosphere.

I agree Córdoba should not be missed, or should be exchanged for that day in Morocco.

I enjoye Jerez, but I love horses, so the horse show was the main attraction for me.

Here you have the schedule of the shows and attractions.

http://www.realescuela.org/default.cfm

I think you have WISELY realized you can't see it all in a trip of this length. Leaving Barcelona out this time seems wise to me, given that you are planning for the future.
lincasanova is offline  

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