Help with Spain itinerary

Oct 21st, 2012, 03:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 269
Help with Spain itinerary

Hello. I am in the beginning stages of a trip to Spain. Hopefully, we will go in mid-April. We were going to include Barcelona, but we don’t have enough time. We will be using public transportation throughout the trip. We are interested in history and architecture, especially the Moorish influence. Any advice on the proposed itinerary is appreciated. Thank you!

Day 1: arrive Madrid, train to Segovia, overnight Segovia
Day 2: a.m. train to Toledo, overnight Toledo
Day 3: Toledo, overnight Toledo
Day 4: a.m. train to Cordoba, overnight Cordoba
Day 5: Cordoba, overnight Cordoba
Day 6: a.m. train to Sevilla, overnight Sevilla
Day 7: Sevilla, overnight Sevilla
Day 8: Sevilla, overnight Sevilla
Day 9: a.m. train or bus to Granada, overnight Granada
Day 10: Granada, overnight Granada
Day 11: Granada, overnight Granada
Day 12: depart Granada for home
lovs2travel is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,703
I love that you are giving 2 nights to Toledo and 2 nights to Cordoba!

I think you might want to consider shifting 1 day and night from Granada to Sevilla.

And be sure to check your plans against opening times. For example, many places will be closed on Mondays.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 226
This trip is going to be superb! We left Apr 9th this year to begin 3 1/2 weeks in Spain - and we found the same thing: you cannot do it all, and do justice to any of it. You're so smart to really focus on a smaller area.
We flew into Madrid on our trip and went straight to Toledo for the first two nights, then on to Sevilla for the next 3 (we used the train for a day trip to Cordoba and found that to be satisfactory for time - it's so overwhelmingly beautiful, huge, stunning, and happily exhausting, but I'm sure there is more to see there that we didn't get to. It was nice, though, to just climb on the early train with limited bags and not change hotels. As I recall, we were back in time for a great dinner in Sevilla.)
For our hotels in those two cities, we used Palacio Eugenia in Toledo, and really liked it - great staff, great access to most of the areas we wanted. The sheer glorious age of this town was an amazing intro to this trip (we eventually did a day trip from Madrid to Segovia at the end of the trip and enjoyed it, also, but you're doing right to give more time to Toledo, imho.) My husband and I greatly enjoy using private guides, and I had lined one up for Toledo: Almudena Cencerrado, Guia de Turismo, Telefono 610765067. Her email is [email protected]. I guess I'd found her on either this site, or TripAdvisor, or through the Rick Steves book - regardless, she was superb! Entertaining, of course, but so very knowledgeable and informative, and showing us details and spots we'd have probably missed, as well as the must-sees. The cathedra, the Jewish quarter of course, the Synagogue. The friends with us were equally struck by her, and became fans of guides, too.
We went for tapas one night at el Trobull - an easy walk from our hotel. Glass red wine for each of us (we were amazed at how great the house red was in each town we visited!), tomato salad, ham plate with cheese (yum!), bread basket that was superb, partridge pate that I gave 3 stars to, anchovies on toast, and more! (I did note that it would have helped to speak Spanish here, but the menu was fairly clear).
We did go over to the huge parador for the view of Toledo that El Greco painted one evening for the sunset - it was nice, but frankly, not as inspiring or dramatic as any of us had hoped. With only the two days, I'd suggest not taking the time for it. (Others will disagree, perhaps.)
We went to Sevilla by train after the second night. The Sevilla hotel was even better, and I cannot recommend it highly enough: Casa 1800. Amazing location, incredible staff, gorgeous rooms (we had friends with us) and the perfect setting. We even found a terrific little drop-in bar/restaurant just down the street. I don't think anyone "rates" it on travel sites, but Casa Tomate was just superb - that time of year, you will love hopefully the seasonal specialities: grilled baby artichokes, on platters with grilled baby squids (octopuses? I can't recall, but we certainly made sure they didn't die in vain!) We went the first night, and defaulted back there the second night after our day trip to Cordoba - the waiter recognized us, and steered us to several other dishes that we needed to try, and was terrific to talk to.
We went one evening to Casa de la Memoria for flamenco in Sevilla - it was great! It's rather a museum of flamenco, and very interesting, and then had a trio of performers in a very up-close venue that we all enjoyed tremendously.
My husband and I had honeymooned in Spain 20 years ago, so didn't get to return to Grenada (but felt, frankly, that Cordoba and the Alcazar we saw made up for it). As mentioned, we did a day trip to Segovia and really liked that town, but were glad we'd chosen our days in Toledo over Segovia (it had been a difficult choice!)
Your itinerary seems quite set, and that's terrific - We also, since we had so much time, spent a week in a lovely villa above Marbella with 5 couples (the fellows played 3 days of golf, and we hit the hill towns and various sights there), and finished our trip with 4 days in Madrid - a return to a wonderful city. However, for your next trip, consider the Basque area, where we also allocated a week - 2 nights in Bilbao, one night in Haro in La Rioja, and 3 nights in San Sebastian, which we loved so much that I immediately started planning our return! Spain is a lovely country with grave financial problems that didn't impact us at all during our trip - the people were uniformly pleasant and charming and tolerant as we tried our low-level language skills!
Do enjoy the planning and the doing - it's going to be marvelous!
jo_ann is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Posts: 2,041
I agree with kja - take a night from Granada and add to Segovia. Starting the trip with a 1-nighter isn't something I'd personally want to do. You may also want to see if your time in Sevilla coincides with Feria. If so be prepared for prices much higher as this is a special peak season. The pace of this trip is not slow but it's also not ridiculously packed. Book your train tickets in advance for deep discounts. An alternative to Segovia would be a couple of nights in Ronda or Malaga between Sevilla and Granada. Just throwing this out there as most of your trip appears to be in Andalucia.
CathyM is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2012, 10:27 AM
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I would also take a night from Granada and add to Sevilla. I recently took a similar trip to Spain. My son and I loved walking around Sevilla. There was so much to do and we loved the restaurants. Although we also enjoyed Granada, I don't think you need to spend 3 nights there. Happy planning!
jerseysusan is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2012, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,563

I would not stay two nights in Segovia as others suggested because it's very small and can be seen in 1/2 day. It's really not so fantastic that it would be your only reason to fly into Madrid instead of routing yourself straight to Andalusia. If you were feeling this way about Salamanca, that would elicit a different reaction.

You may want to consider allocating more nights to Seville or Cordoba or other instead of Granada, which has the Alhambra and . . . that's about the only real reason to go to Granada.

The logistics of traveling from Segovia to Toledo are something you should check. The fast train from Segovia to Madrid goes to/from Chamartin and you'd need to connect to Atocha station for a train to Toledo. Atocha is across the city from Chamartin so you'll need to take the commuter train - the Cercanias trains - to Atocha (you could also take the Madrid Metro line 1, but that will be a far longer ride). The Madrid-Toledo trains are frequent.

See map for Cercanias trains:

Similarly, I'm not sure that there is a fast train from Madrid to Cordoba and Seville that stops in Toledo - you need to check that out too (another poster has said that there is not). The information I previously saw indicated that you'd have to go back to Madrid and switch to a train bound for Cordoba/Seville.
BigRuss is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2012, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hmmmm....well everyone has different opinions.

I've spent 2 nights in Segovia on 2 separate occasions and enjoyed my stay. Considering the first day will be jetlagged I don't think personally 2 nights would be too much for Segovia. Many people visit Segovia as a daytrip and you can see most of the "sights" of the city in a day. But I'm not a person that just checks sites off a list and prefer to linger and roam a bit. That said another logistical option would be to skip Segovia entirely and start with 2 nights in Toledo. Then use the 2 nights originally alloted for Segovia for Malaga or Ronda (another place where many people visit as a daytrip but can be an enjoyable couple of nights).

Granada and most of it's sights can be seen in 2 nights. But there is alot more to see than just the Alhambra.

There is definately no train that goes from Madrid to Sevilla (via Cordoba)and stops in Toledo. You'll have to train back from Toledo to Madrid and then take the AVE to Cordoba.
CathyM is offline  
Oct 24th, 2012, 05:01 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 269
Thank you so much for your responses and encouragement! The consensus seems to be to add more time to Sevilla, so I will either take a day from Granada or try my best to add another day to the trip.

CathyM: I did not know about Feria, but it would coincide with our trip. I had been looking at hotel prices in Sevilla and wondered why they were so high. I haven’t bought plane tickets yet, so I can change dates.
jo_ann: sounds like you had an amazing time! Thank you for sharing so much of your experiences.
Big Russ: I know that the train situation between Segovia and Toledo could get difficult so I will need to look into that more.
jerseysusan: I very much enjoyed your trip report. Thank you for posting. I always read them and learn a lot from them.
lovs2travel is offline  
Oct 24th, 2012, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
Feria is a wonderful experience IMHO - it's just a trade off on whether the higher prices for hotels are in your budget. If you can visit Sevilla during this time it's an opportunity to get a glimpse into a culture many tourists normally cannot experience. The fairgrounds are outside of the city center so it is not anymore crowded than normal in the main areas. At any time Sevilla is one of my favorite cities in Spain!
CathyM is offline  

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