Help with Spain Itinerary

Old Jul 15th, 2017, 04:22 PM
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Help with Spain Itinerary

Hello all, my husband and I along with another couple are planning a trip to Spain for next year. Probably in late April, early May although this is flexible. We will definitely be able to spend 14 days on the ground - not including travel days. We have no flights yet, but were thinking about flying into Madrid and home from Barcelona or the opposite.

From what I've read so far I think we would like most of the rest of our sightseeing besides Madrid and Barcelona to be in the southern part of the country. We are willing to use any form of travel to get from place to place, planes, trains, or automobiles. We speak some Spanish. My husband works with Spanish speakers every day so he actually speaks fairly well although what he hears is all Central American Spanish and I don't know how big of a difference that will make.

Yes, I have been doing my research, but still would like suggestions from those with more experience. Besides travel books, I've read several of the trip reports from here including most of the recent ones as well as MaiTai Tom's from a couple of years ago.

I know you will ask about our interests. The problem is we enjoy so many things. My husband is really into architecture, we love food and wine, I like art, I definitely want to see flamenco, we like museums and markets, and sitting and soaking up the feel of a new place. We like a mix of larger cities and smaller places.

As far as our travel speed - I've never done a one night stay on an international trip, it has never seemed necessary, but would be willing to try it *if* it made sense for the trip as a whole. Would be more willing to do a couple of two night stays. with the rest being 3 or 4 nights or more.

Hope this is enough info about us!

First, would you recommend April as a good month to go? Or? We are pretty flexible about the when of this trip. And then, what places/itinerary would you suggest.

Thank you so much!!
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 05:19 PM
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I'd start with three days in Barcelona, then take the train to Madrid for three days plus two days for day trips to Segovia and Toledo, then the train to Granada for two days, back on the train to Cordoba for a night, then Seville for three days, and finally the train to Madrid and out. Think that's 14 days which may sound like a lot, but it's a lot of ground to cover. April is the perfect month for Andalucia. I know you'll have a wonderful trip.
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 07:00 PM
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You have a beautiful trip to look forward to! My suggestion would be that once you've decided on what you want to visit at your various destinations, reserve tickets on-line, ahead of your trip. That eliminates standing in long lines, which saves time. That also means planning on what you're going to see and when. For the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, you can show up a few minutes early for your alloted entry time, and basically walk right in, without standing in a very long line. Of course you'll want to walk around upon leaving to look at the beauty of the church.

The temperature in Seville can be hot in early June, like high 90's, and even into the 100's, so if you move your travel dates beyond late May, be aware of that.

The first Sunday of the month may offer free entry into museums, so check into that. Cost savings is always a good thing!
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 08:40 PM
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It really depends on what you want to see and at what pace!

If you go in April -- or even May, for that matter, you will be traveling at a perfect time for Andalusia, which IMO, easily merits 10+ nights (perhaps 4 in Sevilla, 2 in Cordoba, 3 in Granada, 2 in Malaga and/or Ronda / other white town). I thought Madrid easily worth 4 nights, or 10+ nights for the area, if you count nearby delights (Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Avila, Cuenca, etc.). And I thought Barcelona easily worth 5 nights, or 10+ nights for the area, if you count Montserrat, Tarragona, Girona, Figueres, and/or the Costa Brava.

For most of these areas, no car is necessary (and could be an impediment), and trains in Spain are a pleasure. Once you nail down an itinerary, you can address this issue more fully. In the meantime, consult rome2rio.com – but be careful with that site, as it doesn’t generally reflect seasonal variations in your options.

While a bit of Spanish is always nice, it shouldn’t be necessary for any of the places you are contemplating.

Spain is delightful, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time no matter what you choose. The problem, of course, is narrowing your wish list to something manageable. I hope my experience proves helpful, but stress that there are no right or wrong answers – just difficult choices.

I would strongly encourage you to work with a calendar, for at least two reasons: First, despite the high-speed connections between these three regions of Spain, you will lose a chunk of time if you try to include all three. Second, many things in Spain are closed on Monday, and often for all or part of Sundays too; and many things in Spain will also be closed daily for a very long mid-day break.

And do consider looking at trip planning threads, not just trip reports -- there are all sorts of wonderful things to see and experience that don't make it to most Fodorites' trip reports, (No criticism intended -- its just that people have unique preferences and limited time, and, of course, THEIR preferences might not match YOURS.) FWIW, the best guidebooks I've found for Spain are the Michelin Green Guide and Rough Guide.

Enjoy your planning!
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 11:10 PM
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When using the train make sure you take into account how much luggage you're carrying, and the size of the luggage. Storage is limited, even on the AVE in Preferente Class, and there is no porter to assist you.

The weather in late winter to early summer in the north or south can be difficult to predict (even without Global Warming) so you should consider packing both winter (sweater) and summer attire. You can also count on it raining, so plan on taking a good wind proof umbrella.

As kja mentions, knowing a bit of Spanish (Castilian or andaluz in the south) is always nice, especially when dealing with a local at a restaurant, store or when taking a taxi. If you try, it shows respect and the service might improve tremendously. Professionals in the tourist industry do speak English for many reasons besides dealing with Americans (Northern Europeans and Asians come to mind), but not everyone you'll encounter at the hotel, restaurant or store will.
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 11:19 PM
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May in Andalucía is something special, a lot of local atmosphere spring festivals, an excellent opportunity to get under the skin of things and experience the local food, wine, music, song, dance and fiesta culture. http://www.andalucia.com/festival/monthlyguide-may.htm

And nothing beats May in Córdoba, once the most advanced city in the western world: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/cordoba/festivals.htm

And I also highly recommend 3000 year old Málaga city by the Med, Andalucías "city of culture with its so-called 'mile of art' being compared to Madrid, and its dynamism and fine dining to Barcelona."
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/andalucia/malaga

Yet, Málaga is a world apart from Barcelona and Madrid, as genuinely Andalucía as it gets. 50 minutes from Córdoba with the high speed AVE train, and with AVE Málaga is also only 2h 30 mins from Madrid, city center to city center. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...pt-secret.html
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 12:51 AM
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When it comes to flamenco, I recommend these places for top of the shelf artists, both song, guitar and male and female dancer:

Casa Patas in Madrid: http://casapatas.com/casa-patas-2/

Tablao Cordobés in Barcelona: http://www.tablaocordobes.es/

La Casa del Flamenco in Sevilla: http://www.lacasadelflamencosevilla.com/

Casa de la Memória in Sevilla:
https://www.casadelamemoria.es/

Tablao Flamenco el Soho in Málaga: http://flamencoelsoho.com/flamenco-malaga/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqqnm3KPjAk
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 02:11 AM
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I'm with kja here - really you will be pushed to include Madrid, Barcelona and Andalucia in the same trip, and given that you could be doing the trip in the spring, the obvious choice for me would be Madrid and Andalucia where you will find more than enough to interest you in the time you've got.

So assuming you would be flying into Madrid and arriving in the morning, you could get the train straight to, say, Seville, stay 4 nights there, then 2 in Cordoba, 3 in Granada, 2 in Malaga, and then finish your trip in Madrid.

I know that kimhe is going to say that that's not long enough in Malaga, and I'm sure she's right so I'll leave it to her to come up with some better ideas!
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 04:11 AM
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Madrid and Andalucía sounds like a good plan, and the allocation of time in between cities in Andalucía depends on your interests and priorities. Just be sure to include Córdoba if you go in May, that's something special.

And annhig, Kim is still a male name in Norway, but I take it as a compliment to have been taken for a female in all these years ;-)
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 04:53 AM
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I would fly into Madrid. Day trip to Toledo. Train to Cordoba. Train to Sevilla. Train to Granada and then fly from Granada to Barcelona. Fly home from Barcelona. How many days in each is up to you and your party.
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 05:09 AM
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I just got back from Europe and although I've been going regularly, since the early 70s, I had never been as far down as Spain. Well, what I experienced was amazing and I can't wait to get back. I stayed in Seville for 5 nights and explored it and absolutely loved it and will definitely go back.

Since you mentioned about wanting to also go to the south, I highly recommend Seville. I'm totally into flamenco as I've been going to concerts for well over three decades and even took flamenco dance lessons back in the 80s.

I saw the most incredible flamenco performance, while in Seville, and which was in a very tiny theater inside of the Mercado de Triana. It left me pretty speechless as the there performers were incredible.

My hotel in Seville was also great and I highly recommend it and the rates fluctuate quite a bit and by playing with a few dates, I got the price that I was looking for. I've stayed at a lot of hotels around the world, but this one really stood out. The architecture was incredible as were the rooms, the staff, and the food was also really good, especially the buffet breakfast and the food in the main restaurant.

The Mercado de Triana can be walked to from the hotel. The performance costs 18 euro.

Hotel: http://www.hotel-alfonsoxiii-sevilla.com

Mercado: http://www.mercadodetrianasevilla.com

Flamenco performance theater: http://casalateatro.com

Happy Travels!
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 05:28 AM
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And annhig, Kim is still a male name in Norway, but I take it as a compliment to have been taken for a female in all these years>>

apologies, Kim. I thought for a long time that you were a bloke and then read something recently which made me change my mind. But I never knew that Kim is a male name in Norway, so thanks for that snippet of information.
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 06:06 AM
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What kind of architecture does your husband like? For an architecture buff, Barcelona has a lot of modernist stuff to see. More than 2 or 3 days worth. And the Moorish buildings in Andalusia are very beautiful.

With so much of interest in Spain, I'm thinking you need to do more research on the specific sights you want to visit. Of course, the more you research the more you want to see. Here's the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for the very crème de la crème: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...Sites_in_Spain
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 06:33 AM
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Guenmai,

Glad to see a fellow flamenco aficionado here, and Sevilla is of course the best place in the world to experience this beautiful art. Casa del Teatro inside the market is a fine place, and here is aslo a great site that is always updated about the flamenco events in Sevilla in theaters, flamenco clubs (peñas) etc. http://www.guiaflama.com/flamenco-en-sevilla/
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Old Jul 16th, 2017, 08:51 AM
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Thanks a lot, kimhe!!! I will bookmark it right now. I've been home for less than a week, but have already put in a tentative hotel reservation to go back to Seville next summer. LOL! I've been all over Europe and regularly since the early 70s, but Seville and its people captured my heart. Smiles.

Happy Travels!
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Old Jul 18th, 2017, 12:51 PM
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Wow! I was out of town for a couple of days and came back to so many great ideas. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. I'm going to take some time to research and think about all this and go over it with our traveling partners. I'm sure I will be back with more questions after that.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 01:16 PM
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I've had time to talk some more with the participants of this trip and no one is willing to give up Barcelona. I know that is going to make things a bit more complicated. Sevilla is on everyone's list as is the Alhambra.

So, we are thinking about staying in Barcelona, Granada, Sevilla, and Madrid? Probably in that order or the reverse. I don't know - that is 4 large cities and I like to have a mix of cities and rural/small towns in my travel. But I don't want to move too often. Perhaps day trips?

And after reading the info from Kimhe about malaga I would love to visit there as well.

Too little time!

Oh, and we will definitely be going late April into early May. That is going to work out best for everyone's schedule.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2017, 02:04 PM
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That'll be ambitious, IMO, but not impossible. You will, however, have to be selective about what you do in each of these locations.

FWIW, you might want to consider reaching an agreement to shortchange Madrid. And BTW, I say that as someone who LOVED Madrid! But because of its international airport, it is easier to reach from the U.S. than most other places in Spain. And if Barcelona, Granada, and Sevilla are writ-in-stone, then limiting your time in Madrid will give you more time to experience those wonderful locations, or to include a day trip or two from one of them.

Do try to find time for Cordoba -- the Mezquita is truly a gem. Although I was glad to have 2 nights there, you can visit it as a day trip from Sevilla.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 01:15 PM
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i also like -sitting and soaking up the feel of a new place=. we could spend 5 nights in Madrid and another 5 in Barcelona. i cant do that if i move around too much

We like to take our time and be on vacation vs seeing everything possible. we are planning a 11 night the south with 5 nights in seville, 3in granada and 3 in malaga(including jet lag day).

we always opt for extra days in a single place and fewer pack and unpack days. it takes so much time.
food for thought!
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 03:48 AM
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May is a great time to visit Andalucia.
I agree with kja about the Mezquita in Cordoba - it's breath taking.
If Alhambra is on your list make sure to buy tickets online in advance. We had to change planes because we have learned about this a little bit late and there were no tickets available for the day we planed to be there. The entrance to the "Palatin" is on the exact time of your ticket.
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