First & Likely Only Trip to Spain

Apr 24th, 2019, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 152
I agree with one night in Ronda, it's only a small town and the part of any real interest is the gorge, the old bridges and the old town all of which can be 'done' in a slow pace in a day. I've been there a couple of times on day trips because it's been close to where we stay and I enjoy the bum clenching drive up the mountains from the coast.

Also forget about Tangier. We went last year solely because we'd been visiting the same part of Spain for a number of years and wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I can honestly say you'll be wasting your time. You won't gain an understanding of Moorish culture, the place is very run down, dirty and little of interest coupled with the constant hassle of people trying to sell you tat at inflated prices. It's an entire day that could be better spent elswhere.

Check out Estepona, Benahavis for the food, Marbella for the old town and Malaga for a whole variety of excellent museums, history, food and coastal atmosphere. Avoid Torremolinos like the plague, along with Feungirola. You might also consider adding Gibraltar into the mix, as a Brit I compare it to Swindon in the 1980's (which is complimentary) but I know that a lot of people like it. That would comprise a good and logical route to start from and include, Ronda, Estepona, Benahavis, Marbella and Malaga.
jc_uk is offline  
Apr 24th, 2019, 09:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,468
I don’t know much about Spain, except that we LOVED Seville and were lukewarm on Madrid.

We were there in late September and had good weather that was not very hot. I don’t like heat, either.

This is the apartment we liked a lot in Seville:
MoBro is online now  
Apr 24th, 2019, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,807
everyone has their preferences and style of travel.
moving ten times in a few weeks probably works for number of people.
we prefer to stay in one place for a period of time and make day trips.
Needles to say, one loses at least half a day when changing locations
Mode of transportation is also a factor... driving? Trains? buses ?
Personal preferences are subjective...
a day in Toledo, Segovia and Córdoba worked for us.
I love Madrid and visit every year ( Don’t stay near Sol !)

danon is online now  
Apr 24th, 2019, 12:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 59
We did the same trip in May 2018

May weather was nice most of the time.I think only one day was hot.

We did a day trip to Morocco from Marbella. It was my least favorite part of the trip. Marbella was very nice and had an upscale resort feel. If you like that sort of thing. My favorite stops were Seville and Toledo. I agree with many who suggested Toledo as an addition.

We landed in Barcelona and after 3 nights few to Grenada and rented a car at the Grenada airport. Driving is Spain was fine and allowed us to see things at our leisure. We returned the car at Seville and took the train the rest of the way.

Have fun.
wnappier is offline  
Apr 24th, 2019, 01:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 510
All: Thanks for your thoughts.
We're adjusting the itinerary ... still similar, but eliminating Tangier and trying to find a relatively untouristed small town in the mountains to spend a few days. Ideally it would have a bike rental place and be nearby a via verde ... that's one way of biking in the mountains without encountering steep hills. I've always found biking a nice way of meeting people and getting a bit more "up close" feel of an area. *Does anyone have suggestions for a small town near a via verde in the mountains?* (We'll also be trying to cycle or do a cycle tour in a number of the major stops if its not too hot. *Anyone have suggestions for that, too?*)

We want to cover quite an area, but don't want to be on the move too much, so are honing things so we stay a minimum of 3 days, 4 nights in any one spot, and 4 days, 5 nights, or more, as such as we can. This will, we hope, give us options to randomly take "down days" spontaneously depending on how we feel and the weather and laundry needs. Plus, by having a travel day between days when we're staying somewhere, often gives us a chance to work in a little unplanned activities in the morning or afternoon.

We're also looking at how many places on our itinerary we could do as day trips from other places.

Barcelona is kind of an outlier from an otherwise Andalucia-focused, but because of my interest in city planning and architecture, I want to see Barcelona's attempt at new "superblocks" and how they are working, and to see Gaudie's work.
elbegewa is offline  
Apr 24th, 2019, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,039
I agree with danon that people travel with different styles and preferences, and with all due respect to danon, I disagree with the statement that "one loses at least half a day when changing locations." I change locations a LOT when I travel, and except when packing for a flight (when I need to pay attention to what can and can not be taken on board), I haven't spent as much as one hour taking care of all of the tasks required for relocating (packing, unpacking, checking in, checking out, etc.) in at least my last 18 trips. That means that for me, any potential day trip that's an hour a way is actually MORE costly in terms of time than simply relocating, at least if that location is more or less en route to the place I'm going after that. I love being able to see places in varying lights; I enjoy having the memory of different rooms to go with different places, and I abhor losing time when I travel, as it is for me an extraordinarily precious commodity. So while I completely understand that not everyone can or would do what I do, I wouldn't assume that relocating is necessarily a time consuming hassle for everyone.
kja is offline  
Apr 24th, 2019, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
So while I completely understand that not everyone can or would do what I do, I wouldn't assume that relocating is necessarily a time consuming hassle for everyone.>

I agree - when I traveled I knew how to get to hotel and always tried to arrange one near the train station and was out of train and dumping bags in room within 30 minutes - and out and about. I can see some slow packers, etc taking longer and having hotels far from stations if not taking car.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 24th, 2019, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,989
What kga said + 1!
joannyc is offline  
Apr 25th, 2019, 12:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,305
This is a bit of a diversion from the OP's post, but I find that as we often book B&Bs or apartments, the time in moving on to the next place is not necessarily in the packing up and travelling but in the fact that we typically have to vacate place#1 by mid morning and can't access place#2 until mid-afternoon, and cannot always rely upon finding somewhere to stash our luggage in the mean time. Not a problem if staying in hotels or if you have so little luggage that you can easily carry it around with you. Or if you have a car, I guess. Not having to deal with luggage is one reason why I tend to favour day trips, rather than short hops (and I travel relatively lightly).
dreamon is offline  
Apr 25th, 2019, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 6
You got some good advice already. I'd second on the idea to skip Ronda and Morocco. I'd rather add a destination like San Sebastian to give you some more variety in your trip. Spain's northern coast is quite different to the Mediterranean. You'll also have enough time to do day trips from your major destinations, e.g. Toledo from Madrid. Otherwise, I think you have a good itinerary. Try to get into the famous "Mediterranean diet" a bit - the Spanish cuisine. It's really worth it, and part of the experience.
amiro is offline  
Apr 25th, 2019, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,807
The time one spends on relocating my be also related to mode of transportation and/or the
amount of luggage one takes on the trip.
Having a car parked at your hotel makes it much faster ,
getting to and from bus or train stations ( or airports) is another story .
Staying at hotels near a train / bus station does not mean you are right in the centre of town or in a
good neighbourhood.
When I was younger “ dumping “ bags at the hotel
or changing accommodation every few nights was never much of a problem.
Now, oh well...

danon is online now  
Apr 25th, 2019, 07:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,569
Toledo at night is so mystical, IMHO one of the not to be missed places in Spain. Segovia is also lovely. I would skip Tangiers, cut a day from Granada and two from Ronda. That gives you five days for other places. An extra move, yes, but stay one night in Toledo or stay as late as possible and have dinner there. Perhaps you could do your biking around Salamanca
Sassafrass is online now  
Apr 25th, 2019, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,807
dreamon makes a good point
As much as one plans (often )there are several hours between arrival and check in,
especially with apts.
A few years ago a ffriend and I made an uncommon day trip from Madrid : to Valencia ( I was familiar with V).
We took an early train ( 1:40 min) ),taxi to the famous market, visited the Cathedral and the old town,
then , took a taxi to the spectacular A and S buildings for some great photos and a look around,
later, taxi to Arena beaches for an early dinner and walk by the beautiful waterfront. Taxi to the
last train to Madrid. It was a long, but memorable day.

danon is online now  
Apr 25th, 2019, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,982
>> trying to find a relatively untouristed small town in the mountains to spend a few days <<

We spent 3 nights in Cazorla which fits that description perfectly. Turned out to be a very enjoyable stop on our month-long trip to Spain a few years ago. We chose that town because my ancestors are from there. A bit hard to get to, we rented a car in Cordoba. It's about 3 hours drive, but we made two stops along the way: the parador in Jaen, and a couple nights in the Renaissance towns of Ubeda and Baena. We comfortably fit that into a relatively slow paced trip. We returned the car in Granada.

Cazorla may not be right for you but you can have a look. There are a couple Via Verdes in Jaen province,

Also add my .$0.02 to shortening Ronda and adding Toledo.
Nelson is online now  
Apr 26th, 2019, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 57
And now for something completely different. We spent 5 weeks driving northern Spain from from West to East a few years ago. We started in Galicia and ended in Barcelona, flying in and out of Madrid. We did it in Sept.-Oct. (and are going back to northern Spain for 3 weeks this Sept.: San Sebastian and Barcelona). We had been to Andalusia many years ago. What we loved about this trip was experiencing many different cultures along the way, including Galicia, Asturias, Basque, Catalan. If you feel the need to experience southern Spain, fly to Seville for a clouple days. It is a beautiful city and a true southern experience. I also recommend reading the Maribel guides online, as her advice is great.
marsha1340 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2019, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,807
Spain is such a diverse country. ..languages, architecture, scenery, history..
A fabulous place to visit over and over..
On the “ first and only “ trip you have a lot to chose from..
danon is online now  
Apr 27th, 2019, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,305
elbegewa, we will be visiting Spain later this year and offer part of our itinerary in case it's of interest to you to do something similar. We plan to base ourselves in Jerez de la Frontera for a few days and, from there, visit places like Cadiz, Arcos and Medina Sidonia, hopefully all by public transport. I also love the idea of cycling but hills on a bike are not my thing and many of the white towns are on hills. Perhaps you could look into cycling around some of the vineyard areas of Jerez? If looking for other white towns, I've found the guidebooks I've borrowed from the library to list many of them. One we would have liked to have included was Grazalema but transport there seems to be even more limited than normal. I have been interested to read other's comments on Ronda and the general lack of wild enthusiasm.

Of course, my suggestions are based on our own planning so please do follow up with your own research as we're yet to visit so can't speak from experience.
dreamon is offline  
Apr 28th, 2019, 02:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 510
On another site a person told me about biking near Ronda. They had me look at this website: Mountain Bike Rides and Day Trips | Ronda | Hike + Bike. In doing research, I found some vids about the Vie Verde de la Sierra near Ronda
The person who recommended it has a blog about their trip

So we are *considering* spending a couple of days in Ronda ... we'll decide by mid to late May. We're looking at other places too, incl. Arcos, places near Jaen, places near Cadiz, and a few other places. It looks like Spain might be a great country for both mountain biking and road cycling, but at our age (75) will need to keep it less strenuous, so likely will just do some city cycling (in Seville, and/or Madrid, and/or Barcelona) , maybe with local tour groups, maybe just renting on our own -- we'll decide on that when there. And we will plan a few days of leisure cycling at a scenic spot like Ronda somewhere, likely along one of the many Via Verdes. Most of the trip will not include cycling, but we want to include at least a few partial days.

Usually when we travel we rent a car for part of it, but this time are thinking about using only public transportation ... incl. infrequent local buses if need be. Am looking forward to that.
elbegewa is offline  
Apr 28th, 2019, 03:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,825
looks like you've received some excellent advice so far, and I absolutely agree about dropping Morocco which if you are going to go at all deserves a proper long visit.

I started at the beginning and wondered about whether you could fly non stop to Spain but it looks as if that's a no-no [which means I can trust someone here to prove me wrong!] From Vancouver [or Portland Or] you can only fly into LHR in Europe, but from Seattle you have quite a lot of choice so I would choose somewhere that has an easy transfer to the centre, like Amsterdam rather than Paris or London. Plenty of flights from there to BCN.

So going back to your itinerary that would give you this: [day by day]

1: Non-stop flight Seattle - Amsterdam
2: Arrive Amsterdam- 2 nights
3: Amsterdam
4. fly to Barcelona stay 5 nights
5, Barcelona
6, Barcelona
7: Barcelona
8: Barcelona
9. fly to Granada: 3 days, 4 nights
10, Granada
11: Granada
12: Granada
13, Train to Ronda 2 days, 3 nights
14: Ronda
15: Ronda
16. train to Seviila 3 days, 4 nights
17: Sevilla
18, Sevilla
19 . Sevilla
20. train to cordoba 2 days, 3 nights
21: Cordoba
22, Cordoba
23 train to Madrid 4 days, 5 nights
24: Madrid
25, Madrid
26, Madrid
27: Madrid
28: fly, transfer, fly to Seattle or Vancouver

Without altering the other destinations at all, you have ended up with an extra night in Madrid, which arguably you could use for elsewhere e.g. Toledo or Segovia. I spent only one night in Toledo and that was only just enough and others suggested that Segovia would have been even better. You can do either as a day trip from Madrid but I as I had to pass through Atocha anyway on my way to Madrid from Valencia, I thought it would be just as easy to carry onto Toledo and spend a night there which proved a very good idea.

Hope this helps.
annhig is offline  
Apr 28th, 2019, 04:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,305
Thank you very much for the information about cycling in the area. It sounds pretty good!
dreamon is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:52 PM.