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Help refine our trip to Spain

Old Jan 31st, 2009, 05:26 AM
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Help refine our trip to Spain

We went to France and Italy a couple of years back and couldn't wait to go back to Europe. We are planning on going to Spain in April... (good destination after France and Italy?). We have 10 days and after reading countless threads this is what we came up with:

Day 1: Arrive in Seville
Day 2: Day trip to Cordoba
Day 3: Day+Night in Seville
Day 4: Leave for Granada
Day 5: Day+Night in Granada
Day 6: Leave for Madrid
Day 7: Day trip to Toledo (optional stay night in Toledo)
Day 8: Day+Night in Madrid
Day 9: Day+Night in Madrid
Day 10: Fly back home

How does the itinerary look? Should we try and squeeze in another day trip to Segovia or spend an extra day in Seville instead of Madrid? A lot of reviews here don't have good things to say about Madrid.

We are not planning to rent a car for this trip and from the other reviews here it seems it should not be a problem for the cities we are visiting.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 05:48 AM
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Hi TripQs-

How does the itinerary look?

I think it looks good. Some people may say it's a bit rushed, but I did a similar trip last year and I like to travel fast.

Should we try and squeeze in another day trip to Segovia or spend an extra day in Seville instead of Madrid?

It depends on what you want to see in Madrid. If you like art museums, then the big 3 in Madrid plus the royal palace will easily take up 2 full days.

If you have no desire to visit any of the museums, then I suppose you can spare a day and add it to something else.

How much time do you have in Seville? How much of Day 1 and Day 4 will be spent in Seville? If you have 2 full days there, I think that's enough, so you can use the extra day for Segovia. If you really only have 1 full day for Seville, I'd add the extra day to Seville.

[On your travel days, Days 1, 4, and 6; it'll only take you 1/2 a day to travel from one city to another, so you should have some extra time for sightseeing.]

A lot of reviews here don't have good things to say about Madrid.

I have read many Madrid trip reports here where people really enjoyed their time there.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 06:04 AM
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Thanks yk! Is one day enough for seeing Granada? We can leave from Seville in the evening if it is (if there is a train that runs in the evening) and have 2 full days in Seville.

I don't think we would want to spend time visiting museums when in Spain. We would rather be outdoors seeing and doing things, so I guess we can try and do another day trip to Segovia.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 06:08 AM
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APRIL IN ANDALUCIA? Critical question: WHEN in April? In addition, the order needs some work.

Holy Week 2009 is 5-12 April; Toledo-Seville-Cordova-Granada are very, very crowded cities that week. La Feria de Abril is 28 April-3 May; another time period when finding a hotel room in Seville will be a major challenge.

I am proposing the following order IF (and only if) you are traveling outside the Holy Week period:

DAY 1-2 Seville
DAY 3 Cordova. Late aft on to Granada (overnight)
DAY 4 Granada
DAY 5 Train Granada-Toledo
DAY 6 Toledo. Late Aft AVE train to Madrid
DAY 7-9 Madrid (Pick one day and head out to Segovia!!)
DAY 10 Fly back home.

It is busy, but it is definitely doable.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 06:10 AM
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One day is "enough" for Granada. What I did last year was I got the afternoon entry ticket for the Alhambra (entry at 2pm). So I spent the morning walking around in town and visiting the Chapel Royal plus Cathedral. Then around noon time I headed up to the Alhambra, as you are allowed to visit parts of the Alhambra without a ticket (Charles V palace). At 2pm sharp, I entered the ticketed section of the Alhambra and spent about 4-5 hours there until dusk.

To get between Seville and Granada, look into taking the bus. www.alsa.es. The bus takes about the same amount of time but there are more departures than the train.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 06:19 AM
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Viajero2, we will be there from April 2 to 11th. Looks like we picked a really bad time. Luckily we didn't book our flights yet. Should we just go somewhere else instead? Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 07:44 AM
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Viajero2 has a very good pint.

you may still visit Spain, but instead of Andalucia , concentrate on Madrid (and around) and Barcelona ( and around).
I think those areas would be less crowded.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 07:44 AM
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point
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 09:33 AM
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I love Madrid. And I have been chomping at the bit to experience Semana Santa (Holy week)in Andalucia but my schedule is always off. There are several good threads here that describe it. It is supposed to be a once in a lifetime visit but also booked way in advance.

If you are adverse to the Holy week crowds in Seville, try going to Madrid for a few days where you can do a day trip to Toledo, then head north. You can go to Zamora which is supposed to have a very noble Semana Santa & not so hectic as Seville, or to Segovia which is lovely.

We did the Madrid/Segovia/Pedraza trip & had a great time ,saw the castle at La Granja on the way to Segovia & then overnighted Segovia and ended in Pedraza de la Sierra for total R & R before the return.

Maybe we need more info about your likes?

This was all after reading about it in Maribel's guidess and Ekscrunchy's trip report.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 10:19 AM
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How does it look for the below dates with Viajero2 itinerary?

April 2,3 Seville
4 Cordova. Late aft on to Granada (overnight)
5 Granada
6 Train Granada-Toledo
7 Toledo. Late Aft AVE train to Madrid
8,9,10 Madrid (Pick one day and head out to Segovia!!)
11 Fly back home.

Should we fly to Barcelona from Granada instead? Will be miss the crowds if we are out of Granada by the 6th? Thanks.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 10:37 AM
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TripQs,
Just a quick logistical note here-

There is no direct train Granada-Toledo. You'll need to take the 9:45 am train Granada-Madrid, which arrives at 2:24 pm, at Atocha station, then switch to an AVANT (high speed) train for the 35 min. ride to Toledo.

See the schedules at www.renfe.es
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Wife & I daytripped Madrid-Sevilla on AVE on Good Friday (10 Apr that year), caught the Exterior Loop Bus at Santa Justa Station and got off at el Portal de la Macarena in time to see the Procession returning to the Basilica. It was wall-to-wall people and the Cantaores on the balcones sang to la Virgen as the statue passed by.

We took a 7:30AM AVE from Madrid's Puerta de Atocha (25% discount on 'same day return') and an 8:00PM AVE for the flip side. We had lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon touring Sevilla. It was well worth the effort.

I agree that you should try to add Segovia to your daytrips from Madrid.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:17 AM
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IMHO way too rushed.

But we don;t like to just look at 2 sights per city and move on. We prefer to see a range of major and minor sights and get the feel of a town through some cafe-sitting and just relaxing.

Our last trip we did 12 days in Andalusia with a beach day in Marbella - and still feel we missed a lot.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 12:28 PM
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amsdon, we like good food, historical sites, beautiful landscape, different culture...
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 12:42 PM
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The revised itinerary looks good to me with two minor comments; DAY 5 is Palm Sunday and the processions in Granada start after 4pm, strongly suggest you plan on been around the neighborhood of San Jeronimo Street to see this unique religious and cultural event. Also, secure advanced tickets to the Alhambra so that you can do both. The next day just then make the train stop in Madrid. Do Toledo as a day trip from Madrid whenever convenient.

You already know this is a hectic itinerary, one that I would only recommend undertaking if in good stamina and better mood. Start training today; echinacea daily, half-hour walk every lunch period HAVE FUN!!!
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 06:08 PM
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 07:47 PM
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"and the Cantaores on the balcones sang to la Virgen as the statue passed by."

OMG Ned what a treat that must have been. I hope to see it someday.

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Old Feb 1st, 2009, 01:03 PM
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hi amsdon,
You WILL see the Seville Holy Week processions some day! ! It was a life long dream for me to see the Macarena leave her Basílica during the madrugá, and I had to wait for 30 years to achieve my goal! And it took well over an hour just to maneuver her from inside the church, through the gates and out to the street!

But it was well worth the wait.
The atmosphere was just mesmerizing-- the fragrance of the orchids, the sight of the tall, tapered candles surrounding her, the mournful music of the brass bands and solemn drums, the intricate, gold embroidery on the back of her cloak and train, the emeralds of her crown (a gift from matador Joselito), the gentle swaying of the canopy above her... the float bears gently "rock" her from side to side as they carry her through the streets.. the "saetas", those impromptu, haunting shafts of song that burst from the balconies, the shouts of "guapa" as she passes by, the moment of the levantá, when the 50 float bearers under the velvet curtains raise her float on their shoulders in unison when the captaz, the foreman, makes gives a ring to the hammer at the front of her float. What memories!

I can completely understand NED's devotion and willingness to make that trip down on the Ave just for that magic moment of seeing her return to her basílica!

Here are a couple of explanations of Semana Santa in Sevilla in addition to that on the Explore Seville pages-
http://tinyurl.com/cphevy
http://tinyurl.com/c7mmy4

and another dictionary of Semana Santa terms:
http://sevillayole-semanasanta-guide.blogspot.com/

You WILL experience this someday, I'm sure of it!
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Old Feb 1st, 2009, 04:59 PM
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I sure hope so Maribel. I wanted to go this year to see it but I was out voted. So it's Oct then & with a group tour no less >)
( I know I know, but it should still be fun) DH was freaking out about the responsibility when we totaled 12 or 14 friends so the group it had to be.

Most of us have suddenly realized that life is too short (illness etc) In any case I appreciate your vote of confidence I really want to go. I may have to tag along see next time you plan to go...

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Old Feb 1st, 2009, 05:05 PM
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TripQs sorry about the hijack, so what are you leaning towards?
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