Help me plan a 2 week trip to Spain!

Old Apr 20th, 2013, 10:30 AM
  #1  
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Help me plan a 2 week trip to Spain!

My wife and I are planning a two week trip to Spain in September. The plan is to fly from JFK in New York overnight on September 12 landing in Madrid on the morning of the 13th. We will then take a train to Seville and stay for 4 days ( planning a day trip to Cordoba). Here's where I need help: I have 4 days before arriving in Barcelona on the 21-26. I want to be in Barcelona during the La Merce Festival which runs from the 21-24. Now I would like to spend the 4 days after Seville perhaps visiting Ronda, Arcos, Granada, Malaga and Marbella. I could rent a car in Seville and drop it off wherever we fly to Barcelona from. I just don't know the best way to plan these 4 days. Should I spend 2 days in Ronda and 2 days in Granada? Perhaps 1 day in Ronda and 3 days in Malaga? Where is it best for a flight to Barcelona and dropping off a car rental? There will be other questions but for now it's about these 4 days!
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Old Apr 20th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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I think you'll be rushed trying to visit Ronda, Arcos, Granada, Malaga and Marbella in 4 days. First of all I'd definately spend 2 nights in Granada so that leaves just 2 nights. You could rent a car leaving Sevilla and visit Arcos and other white villages en route to Ronda where you could spend 2 nights. But I don't know how you'd squeeze in Marbella and Malaga without really rushing through all of this.
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 04:20 AM
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I would have stayed in Ronda for one night after Sevilla, then three nights in Málaga with a daytrip to Granada for the Alhambra and the Cathedral. Bus from Málaga to Granada in 1h 30 mins 7-8 times pr. day. Some 5-6 Iberia, Vueling or Ryanair direct and affordable flights from the huge international Málaga airport to Barcelona every day in 1h 30mins.

Málaga is genuine Andalusian atmosphere, great cafés, tapas bars, restaurants, culture, theaters, nightlife and sights. Within 300 meters in the city center you'll find the newly excavated Roman theater, the 8-11th century Moorish Alcazaba (centuries before Alhambra), the 16th century cathedral, Picasso's birth-place and the Picasso museum and the brand new Carmen Thyssen Museum. http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/home.htm

A couple of articles about Málaga, one of my absolute favourite cities in Spain:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalis...pleasures.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...el?INTCMP=SRCH
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 03:35 PM
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Thanks CathyM and kimhe!

New idea: Book roundtrip NYC to Barcelona. Arrive in Barcelona on the 13th in the morning and take flight to Malaga. Rent a car and stay 3 nights with a day trip to Granada. Drive to Ronda and stay 1 night. Drive to Seville ( return car). Stay 4 days in Seville and fly to Barcelona. Is it better to start off in Malaga rather than Seville? Will I have enough time to visit Granada and Alhambra on a day trip?
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 04:05 PM
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Many would definitely suggest you stay a couple of days in Granada. Alhambra is of course fantastic (and should be seen together with the cathedral, in many ways two sides of the same story), but I think the city in general too much tries to live up to the very sellable cliche of an old paradise.

I find Málaga ten times more interesting, and with 3 hours travel in total, you would have plenty of time for Alhambra, a good lunch in Granada and the cathedral before heading back to Málaga.
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 06:28 PM
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I think your new plan works. As far as starting in Malaga vs Sevilla I'd probably base the decision on flight times and prices. If possible book your flight from the US and then on to Malaga/Sevilla on the same ticket to protect yourself from missing a flight and also so you can check your luggage all way through.
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 10:46 PM
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> Will I have enough time to visit Granada and Alhambra on a day trip?

IMHO, no. I think the Alhambra deserves a visit during the day and another visit during the evening. And I think Granada has more to offer than just the Alhambra. Just my opinion....
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Old Apr 22nd, 2013, 09:27 AM
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I'm not sure if your new plan includes a day trip to Cordoba from Seville but I think you can leave this option. For me, 4 days/nights is the minimum Seville needs to fully absorb its charms, tapas scene, lovely chocolate con churros breakfasts and not to mention the many sights and barrios you should want to see.

With one week in Andalucia I think three of its major cities are enough to see and enough moving around.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2013, 10:49 AM
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You can also do a daytrip to Cordoba from Malaga. Personally I love Sevilla and could spend a week just wandering the various neighborhoods and taking in the charm. If you do a daytrip to Cordoba from Malaga then you could potentially do another daytrip from Sevilla - Carmona, the sherry triangle villages, Osuna, Arcos, etc....
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Old Apr 22nd, 2013, 03:15 PM
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How does this plan look?

Sept. 12 Overnight flight from JFK to Barcelona
Sept. 13 Arrive in Barcelona and 2 hours later flight to Malaga
Sept. 14 Malaga
Sept. 15 Malaga

** Day trip to Granada on either the 14 or 15

Sept. 16 Drive to and stay in Ronda
Sept. 17-20 Drive to and stay in Seville ( Turn car in)

** Day trip to Cordoba from Seville on the 18, 19 or 20 by train

Sept. 21 Fly to Barcelona
Sept. 21- 25 Barcelona ** La Merce Festival 21-24

** Day trip to Figueres and possibly Montserrat

Sept. 26 Flight home to JFK

I would also appreciate suggestions of hotels and neighborhoods to stay in Malaga, Ronda, Seville and Barcelona.

Thanks for all your help so far!!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2013, 03:23 PM
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I wouldn't be worried about a 2 hour connection time (in Barcelona to Malaga) as long as the ticket is booked as one and your luggage is checked all the way through.

Your plan works - it's basically what you outlined earlier. If I had to choose one daytrip from Barcelona it would be Girona - I love this town.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2013, 02:05 AM
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In Málaga I would recommend very central and great value Don Curro, just off the main pedestrian street in town Calle Larios. In and around this 300 meter street there are lots of cafées, bars, restaurants and shopping. The Cathedral, the Roman theater, the Alcazaba, the Picasso museum, the new Carmen Thyssen museum and the sea are all within 5 mins walk.
http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/hoteldoncurro.en.html

Málaga classic Casa Aranda are two minutes away, perfect for a morning (or anytime) chocolate con churros or coffee. One of the best cafés I've been to in all of Spain. The old, wonderful and recently renovated Atarazana food market is next door to Casa Aranda: http://www.spain-holiday.com/blog/at...ral-market.php

And be sure to taste Conchas finas while in Málaga, they taste a mix of heaven and pure sea: https://www.google.no/search?q=Conch...w=1600&bih=783

Several hotels in the Calle Larios area, both more exclusive and more basic: http://www.booking.com/landmark/es/calle-larios.en.html

In Seville I would not stay in the beautiful but very touristy Santa Cruz district. I prefer close by Arenal or San Lorenzo/Alameda areas, both very central and ten minutes walking to the Cathedral, Santa Cruz and the most obvious attractions. But plenty of great hotels in the Santa Cruz district as well, and for many it's a major point staying exactly in here.

I have been very happy staying in Vime Corregidor close to the Alameda de Hercules: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/vime-corregidor.en.html

Here are plenty of hotels in Sevilla with guest reviews etc. http://www.booking.com/city/es/sevilla.en.html
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Old Apr 23rd, 2013, 07:20 AM
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We will be flying with carry on luggage and so our concern is having enough time to make our connecting flight to Malaga. When I look at flights from JFK to Malaga there are flights that stop in Madrid and connect to Malaga with a 1 hour and 5 minute time period. We are concerned about missing the connection, however, Vueling airlines has a 2 hour gap that we can do if we choose to arrive in Barcelona. My question(s): should I be concerned about the 1 hour gap? Is Vueling in the same terminal/airport as Iberia, American and others? How reliable is Vueling?
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 08:05 AM
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I have now made our reservations and will be flying roundtrip NYC to Barcelona leaving on Sept. 12 and returning Sept. 26. I also booked a flight from Barcelona to Malaga through Vueling.

Can you suggest hotels in Malaga, Ronda, Seville and Barcelona?

We will be arriving in Barcelona on the first day of La Merce Festival so I would like to book a hotel quickly, however, since we have never been here I haven't a clue where to stay. I have heard a little about the El Born and Barri Gotic areas but not much else.

Any suggestions on renting a car in Malaga? We want to visit Granada and eventually drive to Ronda for 1 night and drive to Seville. We will drop off the car in Seville.

Thanks!
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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Hotel Banys Orientals is a great value option in Barcelona, in the Born district, the Gothic quarter and five-ten minutes walking to Plaza Catalunya/Passeig de Gracia. As central as it gets. 105€ for a double. http://www.hotelbanysorientals.com/
http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/banys-orientals.en.html

About El Born (the top of the page photo is taken just outside Banys Orientals): http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...s/el-born.html

I'm staying in Hotel Neri in a couple of weeks, but not paying myself... 200 meters away from Banys Orientals: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/nerihr.en.html

Above, I've made you some great value suggestions for Sevilla and Málaga.
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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I'll second the recommendations of the Hotel Banys Orientals in Barcelona and the Don Curro in Malaga. For Sevilla my favorite hotel, for both the staff and location, is the Hotel Alminar.

http://www.hotelalminar.com/
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Unfortunately there are no rooms at the Hotel Banys Orientals available. The Hotel Neri is out of our price range. I would appreciate any other suggestions for this area or close to it.
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Old Apr 26th, 2013, 10:30 PM
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I have not been to Spain yet but am planning a trip that includes a Vueling flight, and have read warnings here and there about how stringent the carry-on size and weight is for European short-haul airlines, Vueling among them.

Here's a quote from their website:
"Hand luggage Each passenger may carry one (1) piece of hand luggage with a maximum weight of 10 kg, the dimensions of which do not exceed 55x40x20 cm.

At the loading gate, hand luggage that does not comply with the Company’s regulations – that is, it exceeds the stipulated quantity, weight and/or measurements (55x40x20 cm) – will be withdrawn and loaded into the aircraft hold, at an additional cost.re's a quote from their literature:"

In inches: 21.7" x 15.7" x 7.9" If your carry-on is bigger than that, I've read that it's better just to pay the checked bag charge in advance on line. They charge more at the airport. Maybe the experts (CathyM?) here can say more about Vueling's strictness in these matters. This concerns me too, so I'm interested.
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 01:40 AM
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I'm quite sure there are still rooms available at Banys Orientals, contact them directly. The problem with booking.com is that it often seems as if the hotel is full months in advance when it's not.

You could take a look at Ciutat de Barcelona, also just 200 meters away from Banys Orientals:
http://www.ciutathotels.com/es/hotel...tat-barcelona/
http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/ciut...FYJ3cAodzH0AZw

I use to stay at Hostal Orleans, basic hotel standard and excellent location (private bath, tv, A/C, safe, 24 desk etc): http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/hostal-orleans.en.html

Next door Hotel Park is higher standard. http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/park.en.html

All these hotels are in El Born, within some 300 meters.
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Old Apr 27th, 2013, 02:47 AM
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Hand luggage strictness is TRUE as many airlines now charge fro baggage in the hold. so they are even more strict. Follow the rules and you will not have any problem. I fly these and other airlines all the time and never had a problem.

I do buy a suitcase for the hold if I don't want to be limited to such a tiny weight allotment.

And even if the case is light, if it, including the wheels, does not fit in the metal bin at check in and later at gate, you will have to pay to have it put in the hold.
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