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Help: Last Minute Trip to Spain

Old Oct 19th, 2004, 08:47 PM
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Help: Last Minute Trip to Spain

I just booked a flight going arriving in Madrid on Sunday morning and returning on the following Sunday. We have both spent time in Madrid and would like to focus our trip in the Andalusia area--specifically Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, and possibly Ronda. We would also like to spend a day in Toledo. My questions are:

1.) How do we catch the AVE to Sevilla from the Madrid airport?

2.) Is it reasonable to have Sevilla be our base and take day trips to Cordoba, Granada, and Ronda? Or should we spend some time in Sevilla and then move to one (or more) of these locations and use it as our base? If so, which one?

3.) Does anyone recommend a hotel near the Madrid airport. We will have an early outbound flight back to the states.

And, yes, we are covering a lot of ground in a short time. That "work thing" always seems to get in the way of our love of travel.

Thanks for your help in advance!
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 11:29 PM
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We have always moved along. I mean we have stayed in each of those cities and not staying in a base. If you have little time it seems even better to choose such a way.
Each place offers good accomodations in a wide range of prices.
In Cordoba you can choose from various hotels right in front of the Mezquita, like the Hotel Maimonides. In Granada you have the fantastic Parador Nacional right inside the
Alhambra and also the one star charming hotel America. Also there are hotels at the bottom of the cuesta that takes you to the Alhambra. Do not forget to reserve ahead to visit the Alhambra.
If you are short of time I would leave Ronda for next time focusing in the other three.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 04:34 AM
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1) The AVE train goes from Atocha Station in Madrid. You can take the metro into the city and then catch the AVE train. It doesn't go from the airport, I don't believe. Can someone confirm this? Go to www.renfe.es for schedules.

2) Cordoba is a good day trip from Sevilla, the train is only about 45 minutes. I actually stopped at Cordoba for about 5 hours on the way to Sevilla.

Ronda is a farther, and I drove there, but I met people there who had taken a bus from Sevilla and were doing a day trip, so that is possible.

Granada is 3 hours by train or bus - it would make a very long trip.

I'd suggest doing an overnight in Granada and going directly back to Madrid from Granada, instead of basing in Sevilla for this part.

If you can rent a car, I'd spend a few days in Sevilla, rent a car on the way out, drive to and spend an overnight in Ronda, then drive to and spend an overnight in Granada before going back to Madrid.

3) I didn't stay near the airport, so I don't have anything to recommend, except to say that the airport is not that far outside the city, so you may consider staying in the city.

Have a great trip! Andalucia is wonderful.

Karen
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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We just returned from Andalucia and found it to be a wonderful, colorful, exciting place. I agree with all of Karen's recommendations. We stayed at the Hotel Amadeus in Seville and I highly recommend this hotel. The owners have thought of everything for the comfort and enjoyment of those staying in the hotel. And it is very reasonable. We spent only one night in Granada and the Hotel America was fine. I think I would stay someplace a little more comfortable if I were to spend longer in Granada. The Alhambra is everything you have read and heard, and more. The four hours we spent there were magical. We didn't stay in Ronda but in Gaucin, a small white village and a good base from which to see the other "pueblos blancos". If you only plan to stay one night, I recommend Ronda, which is a little more centrally located. Enjoy your stay in Andalucia, you will be charmed.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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madrid airport hotels:
hotel auditorium..huge new hotel with free shuttle ANYTIME
34 91 400 4400
nice rooms.

sofitel
novotel
tryp barajas

just to name a few. i have stayed at nearly all of them, and it will just depend on the rate you can get.they all have shuttles, but some are not all night.

you may be able to get a good rate at travel agent here through a central reservations line, especially if you tell them you would like a 50 euro hotel. at least they know you are only looking for the ones with special offers.

you need to take taxi/metro or bus/taxi to madrid to train station.
just be careful with pickpockets.

tickets for ave can be bought at barajas airport, i believe.

the ave stops in cordoba if i am not wrong.

good luck. sorry i dont have any better info.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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mamc: Was the Alhambra as busy as everyone says and did you purchase your tickets in advance?
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 07:10 AM
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Yes, there's a Renfe Office at Barajas airport about 50m to your right as you come out of the International Arrivals area.

If it were me, I think I would fly to Sevilla and later do a daytrip to Cordoba (25% discount on 'same day' return).

There are several car rental companies at Santa Justa station in Sevilla (Avis, for ex.) if you want to rent a car to go to Ronda or even Arcos de la frontera. Plan to fly Granada-Madrid.

Two additional hotels near Barajas:
Tryp Diana
Best Western Barajas Inn (not the 5-star Barajas hotel but very close to it on tha Avda. de Logrono).
I didn't know the name of the new airport hotel.
There are also several newer hotels in the Convention Center area (under 15 min to the airport).

Early on a Sunday morning there won't be much traffic so you could get from downtown to the Airport pretty quick.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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Echo168: We purchased our tickets to the Alhambra several months in advance. We went at 9:30 in the morning and were there until nearly 2 (late September). It was not at all crowded during the early hours but became a little more crowded later in the day. I think it helped that we stayed on the Alhambra grounds and could start our tour early.
mamc is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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I had a very brief stay in Andalucia nearly two weeks ago.

Now, as kaudrey has pointed out, Granada is about three hours away from Seville by bus. It would be a long day trip. However, there's no high speed rail link between Madrid and Granada, so it will take you at least 4.5 to 5 hours to get to Madrid from Granada. Maybe you should look into flying between the two. I wasn't able to find cheap tickets, but you might.

Another comment -- the AVE trains from Seville to Madrid were sold out in second class on the day we were traveling (at least the next couple of trains were). It was a Saturday. It wasn't something I had expected to happen. We went by first class in the end. If cost is an issue at all, consider booking your tickets in advance.

There're lockers in Cordoba (we used these) -- you might have to ask security to let you access them (they were blocked off). So this is useful to know if you decide not to stay overnight in Cordoba.

Alhambra tickets -- we bought these online. I don't know how easy it would be to buy them there in this season. It didn't seem overly crowded. I bought these a few days before we left and we had a 12:30 to 1 time slot for Nasrid Palace.

I don't know Ronda at all, so can't help you there.

But have a great trip!
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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You must book the Alhambra tickets - we have a house in Andalucia and have often tried to book a few days before (even in Dec and failed). We've just booked for a few weeks time and the earliest we could get was 1.30 - morning was sold out. Often can get v cheap flights within Spain. We went to Madrid 2003 and wanted to get to Malaga - it was cheaper to fly than take the train. We used www.lastminute.es but you need to understand spanish and have an address for delivery of the tickets (or I think you can pick them up at their office - not sure where that is). Ronda and Cordoba are fine trips from Seville. Granada is too far in my view. I agree with earlier message - have a base in Seville, switch to Granada and go home from there.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:16 PM
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Purchase your AVE tickets at the airport and ask if there are any discounts for certain departure times. The trains depart from Atocha station, a moderate metro ride from the AP. There is a well-staffed metro office at the AP to help you.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2004, 05:40 AM
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Thanks to everyone for their advice. We leave tonight!!!
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