December Trip to Spain- Itinerary

Oct 8th, 2019, 10:32 PM
  #1  
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December Trip to Spain- Itinerary

Family from Florida traveling to Spain for 8 full days- arriving on December 23rd evening, and leaving January 1st afternoon. We are flying
in and out of Barcelona. We are really interested in history, architecture, and culture, by the way.
We want to visit Barcelona (4 days), Sevilla (3 days), and Granada (1 day)- does that sound reasonable or too hectic?

First of all, I know that our trip is right in the middle of Christmas and many things are closed on the 24th and the 25th- which is the best city to spend Christmas in? Are there sites/things to do open in any of these 3 cities that might make it better to stay in one of the cities during that time than others?

Also, does anyone know the cheapest way to get from Barcelona to Andalucia area (granada/sevilla)- is it just best to take a plane there and back?

Any other general suggestions? Thank you all in advance!

meghana1 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 10:55 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by meghana1 View Post
We want to visit Barcelona (4 days), Sevilla (3 days), and Granada (1 day)- does that sound reasonable or too hectic?
WAY way way way WAY too hectic, IMO! Coming from Florida, you should expect to lose part or all of a day to jet lag. That gives you 3 days for Barcelona, which can easily take 5 or 6 days, even in the long days of summer. IME, most first time visitors to Sevilla want at least 4 days there, plus a day or two for Cordoba. And seeing the Alhambra really requires at least 2, if not 3, nights in Granada. And as you note, you'll lose a few days to the holidays. (Sorry, I can't answer your question about where you might want to be at those times.)

With 8 days, consider 5 or 6 days in Barcelona and a few days nearby, whether as day trips or by moving. Examples: Tarragona, Besalu, Girona, maybe Valencia if you limit what you want to see to just highlights.

OR with 8 days you could see some of the highlights of Andalusia -- 2 or 3 nights in Granada, 3 or 4 nights in Sevilla, a night or 2 in Cordoba, or -- depending on your interests -- maybe a night or two in Malaga.

Whatever you do, note that days will be short (it's winter!) and that many places in Spain are closed on Mondays and for very long mid-day breaks. Plan accordingly!

For how to get from place to place, consult rome2rio.com and be sure to click through to all the underlying links, as the main webpage is not sensitive to seasonal variation in schedules.

And if you don't already have them, I strongly recommend the Michelin Green Guide and the Rough Guide for these areas.
kja is offline  
Oct 8th, 2019, 10:58 PM
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If you are flying in/out Barcelona, I would explore northern Spain and perhaps southern France rather than Andalusia. But if you head south, then I'd take the train and book tickets in advance for the best price. I'd also have your time in Barcelona at the end so you are in your departure city. Lastly with 8 full days, you won't have that many full days in each place because of travel time. Personally, I'd stick to two places or maybe three if they are only a very short distance apart.
dreamon is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #4  
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We really want to visit Granada and Sevilla, and feel like we should spend at least some time in Barcelona, considering that is where we are flying to. How about 3 days Barcelona, 2 days Granada, and 3 days Sevilla - we do have the extra 2 half days too.
meghana1 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 12:06 PM
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It's always nice to have more time but as a taste of Spain, I think that would be fine, although you will have a fair amount of travel time. I'd take the train to Seville on arrival in Barcelona, then Granada, then Barcelona (although could switch Granada and Seville). I'd put it into a spreadsheet with dates and travel times so you can see more precisely how much time you have in each place. renfe or loco2 would give you train times. And Alsa bus also available between Seville and Granada I think.
dreamon is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 07:09 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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Plotting your trip on a spreadsheet is a great idea! I use a calendar, but the point is the same: Mark your transportation times, including a couple of hours on either side for getting to / from your lodging, checking in / out, packing / unpacking, and getting lost / oriented. Figure out what you would want to see in each place, check opening hours, and mark them on your calendar, too. As already mentioned, if you'll cross multiple time zones, plan on losing a chunk of time on your first day to jet lag. Then think about whether you want just a taste of each location, even if you have to skip a LOT in each place; or rather you would prefer to see a couple of places in greater depth, even if you have to skip one possible destination. For my tastes, you plan would give you too little time in any of the places you hope to visit, but it could would work for you, and only you can decide.

As dreamon notes, if you do proceed with your plan, try to put your time in Barcelona at the end of your trip. You'd be wise to be there the night before your flight, and there's no reason to add yet another change of hotels if you can avoid doing so.

And book your tickets for the Alhambra well in advance!
kja is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 06:19 AM
  #7  
 
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Agree with Barcelona at the end of the trip....You are already at the airport,
consider flying right away from Barcelona to Granada or Seville ,
check Vueling airlines for the best connections. You will have to take a bus ( 3 hours)
between S and G. Again, explore Vueling flights and train schedules for returning to Barcelona.
It is a holiday time, book everything ASAP.
One could spend many days in each of the 3 cities but if you wish to see the highlights
and the transportation connections are good , 3+1+ 4 might work.

danon is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 08:34 AM
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On our first day in Barcelona after a flight from Los Angels we walked nearly nine miles (and I was nearly 63 at the time), so yes it is entirely doable. Jet lag is overrated, especially since your flight will be shorter than ours. Barcelona was our first stop, then we flew to Granada and drove to Sevilla (with a night in between in a Pueblo Blanca (White Town). We had five nights in Barcelona, three nights Granada and three nights Sevilla, so you will have to cut days somewhere. Below is link to my trip report (with photos). See what appeals to you in each place, and cut accordingly. You might want to skip either Sevilla or Granada to make this not as hectic, but since I'm not a huge advocate for slow travel, I'm sure you'll figure out a good plan. Make sure to make reservations online for places like Alhambra in Granada, La Sagrada Familia (picture below) and Gaudi houses in Barcelona.

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/spain-2015/


maitaitom is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 08:59 AM
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To clarify, when I say "jet lag is overrated", for me it means when I arrive in Europe, because I'm always excited to hit the pavement (not literally, of course) and get on their time. The jet lag I do feel is when I get back home.

maitaitom is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by maitaitom View Post
To clarify, when I say "jet lag is overrated", for me it means when I arrive in Europe, because I'm always excited to hit the pavement (not literally, of course) and get on their time. The jet lag I do feel is when I get back home.

lucky you. I cannot sleep on the flight , after checking in
all I want to “ hit” is a pillow.

danon is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 07:31 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
if you'll cross multiple time zones, plan on losing a chunk of time on your first day to jet lag.
OK, let me restate that: Plan on losing a chunk of time to jet lag, and if you are among those who are fortunate enough to be ready and rarin' to go immediately upon arrival, consider it a bonus.
kja is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 06:28 AM
  #12  
 
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"lucky you. I cannot sleep on the flight , after checking in
all I want to “ hit” is a pillow."


I rarely if ever sleep more than a few minutes on a flight. Only time was when I flew first class. I once took a nap after arriving in Germany in the 80s and it was the only time I got jet lag because I couldn't sleep at regular time for a few days. Nap messed everything up. Now I always stay up and get on local time the first day (never to sleep before 9 p.m.). No jet lag that way. Sure, I'm tired the first day, but the excitement of being in Europe trumps tiredness for me.

maitaitom is offline  
Oct 11th, 2019, 07:52 AM
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by maitaitom View Post
"lucky you. I cannot sleep on the flight , after checking in
all I want to “ hit” is a pillow."


I rarely if ever sleep more than a few minutes on a flight. Only time was when I flew first class. I once took a nap after arriving in Germany in the 80s and it was the only time I got jet lag because I couldn't sleep at regular time for a few days. Nap messed everything up. Now I always stay up and get on local time the first day (never to sleep before 9 p.m.). No jet lag that way. Sure, I'm tired the first day, but the excitement of being in Europe trumps tiredness for me.

I have tried different approaches, but Jet-lag bothers me for days.
Strangely enough, when I was young it didn’t at all.
Figures! 😳
danon is offline  

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