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Help - Spain itinerary spring 2019 - just starting planning, suggestions welcome

Help - Spain itinerary spring 2019 - just starting planning, suggestions welcome

Old Sep 29th, 2018, 11:40 AM
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Help - Spain itinerary spring 2019 - just starting planning, suggestions welcome

My husband and I are planning to travel in Spain beginning April 15 with a week in Seville - it will be Semana Santa, and I have already booked an apartment near the old town from the 15th to the 22nd April. We will probably plan to make some day trips during that time, but the main reason to be in Seville is to experience the processions and celebrations of the week preceding Easter.

We are in our late 60s, and have traveled extensively throughout Europe on our own. I have been to Spain twice and my husband once - road trip throughout Galicia, as well as having spent time in Madrid, Salamanca, Segovia,and the Sierra Francia. Neither of us has experienced southern Spain. We are active and enjoy walking, culture/history, museums, food/wine. We are not much for shopping.

We will plan to be in Spain for about four weeks. We prefer apartments to hotels for places where we will spend more than two nights. We will likely rent a car for parts of this adventure, although we would definitely prefer not to have a car in the larger cities.

Places we hope to see - and this is the "long list" - with the understanding that we may have to forego or switch out some of these:

Fly in to
Madrid - 2 nights -
take train to
Seville (7 nights, already booked and paid for)
Cadiz (day trip?)
Cordoba (day trip?)
take train to
Malaga (would like to stay 4 - 5 nights) I see the train from Seville to Malaga goes through Cordoba, so maybe instead a night's layover after Seville?
take train to
Granada ( 2-3 nights)
Car rental when leaving Granada
Ronda (drive through white towns - 2 nights in Ronda)
Drive to
Ubeda/Baeza (2 nights Parador?)
Alicante (2 nights)
Drop off car in Valencia upon arrival
Valencia (3 nights)
Take train to
Barcelona (3 nights)
Fly back to US

Whew, in looking at this, it sure seems like a lot of moving around, which I am not too crazy about. Packing, unpacking and checking in to accommodations over and over is not my idea of a good way to travel - but there are so many places we would like to include in the trip. Wondering if I am being too ambitious, or if there are some places that only deserve to be day stops along the way to others. And what about the order I have figured - maybe there's a more efficient plan?

Nothing - other than Seville - is set in stone, so I am hoping there will be plenty of suggestions for the best way to manage this trip. Thank you in advance, my fellow travelers!

Last edited by scdreamer; Sep 29th, 2018 at 11:44 AM.
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Old Sep 29th, 2018, 12:08 PM
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I would spend more time in Barcelona....a big and beautiful city.
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Old Sep 29th, 2018, 01:44 PM
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Sevilla to Malaga by train

There are direct trains between Sevilla and Málaga. You don't go through Córdoba unless you want to go through Córdoba.
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Old Sep 29th, 2018, 01:56 PM
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Route

If you want to visit Ronda then you should do Ronda after Sevilla and Cádiz and do Córdoba as a day trip from Sevilla.

Try Madrid, Seville, Cádiz, Ronda, Málaga, Granada, then Úbeda and Alicante before Valencia and Barcelona.
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Old Sep 29th, 2018, 02:08 PM
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Many people visit Cordoba as a day trip; I wanted more than 2 full days for Cordoba itself.

If you have an interest in seeing anything in Granada other than the Alhambra – and there is, IMO, a great deal to treasure there -- then you would do well to plan on at least 3 nights there, as the Alhambra itself easily merits a full day (and so 2 nights).

IMO, 3 nights is very little for Barcelona. I wanted 6 full days there, not counting day trips.
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Old Sep 29th, 2018, 04:30 PM
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I recommend spending 2 or 3 nights in Cordoba, especially since you have the time. We were there last September and spent 2 nights there and we could have enjoyed a 3rd night. We loved Cordoba! It's a lovely city with white-washed buildings, colorful flower pots attached to walls, narrow cobblestone streets, and less crowded and less hectic than other cities. The Mezquita is magnificent, but there is more to Cordoba than the Mezquita.

I agree with KJA that 3 nights is very little for Barceona. I recommend at least 5 or 6 nights.

We had 2 nights in Granada but could have used a 3rd. And we loved Malaga, a much under-rated city. We were there for only 2 nights but could have used a 3rd. So I think 4 - 5 nights is a good choice; it gives you time to visit more museums if you like museums (we only visited the Picasso) and just lazily wander around. The old city center is beautiful, and we enjoyed strolling along the seaside promenade and having drinks while watching the sun set over the harbor.

Haven't been to any of the other places on your list.
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Old Sep 30th, 2018, 02:43 PM
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Lots of trains and that's great as no longer is the 'pain in Spain mainly on the train' as it was years ago - some of nicest and fastest trains anywhere. Now book long-distance trains well in advance - can do some months in advance sometimes folks here have said for serious discounts over full fare - always available though - Renfe is the Spanish Railways site to book own tickets - www.trainline.eu supposedly has same fares and is easier for foreigners to use - www.seat61.com has sage info on booking your own discounted tickets online - general info trains and what to expect also www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.

I enjoyed a day trip from Seville to Jerez-de-la-Frontera - a short train ride away to see the Sherry Houses and Caves and also to take in the practice sessions or formal sessions of the area's famed Andalusian horses in the local arena many days. Otherwise a forgetful city IMO. I did Cordoba as a day trip too and was satisfied - a really neat town besides the famous cathedral where one could spend days but re-locating to me is a pain for just a few nights. Leave early and return late.
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Old Sep 30th, 2018, 04:04 PM
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Thank you everyone who has responded so far - I am already rethinking Barcelona - maybe skip Ubeda/Baeza in favor of adding a few more days at the end in Barcelona?

PalenQ - I agree on the relocating issue - I don't like hotel-hopping at all. Even if we decide to stay a night in Cordoba, at least we can just bring a small knapsack of overnight necessities, while keeping the majority of our things in the Seville apartment. Hate to double-pay for a night, but it may be the best option.

I will book trains in advance once we have the final itinerary settled - we definitely saved some money by doing that in France earlier this month.
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Old Sep 30th, 2018, 04:09 PM
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Most of the places you are considering were among those I visited before I knew there was such a thing as a Fodor's forum, but if it would help, my time in Barcelona is covered in this report; Barcelona was where I finished that trip.
Four Awesome Weeks in the North of Spain and Catalunya
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Old Oct 2nd, 2018, 10:45 AM
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Barcelona is great (in spite of being more heavily touristed than ever locals say) and you're still a bit early in high season (except week before and after Ester) and it has some neat day trips- especially to Montserrat- famous pilgrimage mecca on a mountain top a short train ride from Barcelona - that's one I would highly recommend.
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