Itinerary help

Aug 15th, 2019, 02:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 544
Itinerary help

We are in the preliminary stages of planning a trip for the end of next April. We will have approx. 12 days. We are a retired couple and our 30 year old son. We are planning on renting a car. We will fly into Madrid. We aren't especially fond of crowds, so was wondering if mid to end of April is a better time to visit than mid summer. We love history and especially cathedrals. We are planning on spending approx. 4 days in the LaMancha area, wanting to see Toledo and Segovia. We will spend a day or two in Madrid. Then wondering about going to Seville for a few days. Could we get some advice on the best places to see and recommendations from others about the best smaller villages to visit. We have watched the Rick Steves shows on Utube and of course everything looks lovely. Thanks.
yellowrose477 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,014
Certainly cooler but watch out for the Easter holiday. Seville is a wee way away from Madrid, but check rome2rio for train times.
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 04:14 PM
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Posts: 1,037
I’m no Spain expert, but did just return from a six night trip to Madrid, so here’s my two cents. Stay in Madrid and train from there to Toledo and Segovia; the train to Toledo is a snap, and the cathedral is amazing. The AVE (fast train) to Seville is only 2.5 hours. As bilbo said, particularly in Seville - avoid the Easter holidays. (If you want some recent info on Madrid and Seville, I am posting my Trip Report right now - just click on my name and look for the link. And we went with our son, too! Really fun to travel with your kids).
Iwan2go is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,350
Given the itinerary options you suggest, I can't imagine that having a car would be worth the cost or problems in parking, etc. Toledo and Segovia are each easily visited by comfortable and convenient public transportation from Madrid. And while each is easily visited as a day trip, I strongly recommend staying at least one, if not two, nights in Toledo -- its not just one of those places that is incomparably more evocative in the evening, after daytrippers have left, but it also has such a wealth of sites (including a cathedral and several other stunning churches) that it easily merits 2 or more full days. For your transportation options, consult -- just be sure to click through to the underlying web pages, as the main page is not sensitive to seasonal variation in schedules.

Segovia can be a day trip or an overnight, and either way, consider Avila as well. IME, first-time visitors to Madrid typically want about 4 days there. And if LaMancha is your primary goal, give some thought to Cuenca.

April will definitely be better than mid-summer, though as already mentioned, you should take note of Easter.

Personally, I'd delay Sevilla until you have time to include all 3 of Andalusia's gems -- Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada, which together take about 10+ days on average. JMO.

I would not rely solely on RS for any plan -- consult a GOOD guidebook or two, perhaps the Michelin Green Guide or Rough Guide. And there are a LOT of wonderful trip reports on this forum, as well as planning threads galore -- and you can often learn even more from a planning thread than a trip report.

Spain is delightful -- enjoy!
kja is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 05:58 PM
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Posts: 544
Thanks for the input. Just what I need. Was aware of Easter. Planning on leaving afterwards.
yellowrose477 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 09:57 PM
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Posts: 6,392
The trains and buses in Spain are modern and reliable. I would avoid a car unless you want to visit small towns. It is a burden. And I agree with the above, visit Toledo and Segovia from Madrid, easy day trips. Another town to visit is Avila.

I have not read RS in a long time, but unless his Spain books have changed they are lazy. He randomly selects town to include in his books and his description of art and sights are useless. Fodor's has stepped up their game in the past 5,6 years and they go beyond a basic visit. And I agree for sights, there is no better guide than Michelin Green.

We try to visit Spain in May and September, when the weather is usually agreeable and the crowds are tolerable.

We have visited Madrid since the 1970's and our latest visits were in 2016 and then three weeks in 2018 when a SIL moved to Madrid near Sol. Be sure to go to the Templo de Debod at sunset. And be sure to read about when the Spanish eat. It is less of a problem in Madrid because of the tourism, but something to be aware of in the smaller towns.
IMDonehere is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 03:55 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,122
Well I'd start with a question for you and your husband - do you think you will go again? If this is likely to be your only trip to Spain, I say stick close to your origianal plan but without a car - just my opinion. You can base in Madrid and do day trips to Toledo / Segovia or opt for an overnight. (I'm not much on packing up and moving). Then head south to Seville. Cordoba, has one of my favorite sights, the Mezquita, and it is such an easy day trip from Seville. In Seville there is a moorish alcazar with nice gardens - IMO almost as impressive as in Grenada but would be easier to add to your visit.

I know folks love to "throw shade" on Rick but I used his books fo years. True, his guides may not be as inclusive / detailed as the others but for basic trip planning, logistics, overview of the main sights, they helped me plan very satisfying trips. Enjoy your trip!
suec1 is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,531
We have done a number of driving trips through Spain over the past 3-5 years, so if you really want to drive you might look into renting a car after Madrid (you could either see Toledo as a day trip from Madrid or on your way south) then driving to Cordoba and Seville and Granada and then fly or train back to Madrid from either Seville or Granada for your flight home. I think with 12 days trying to drive back to Madrid with the other things you have planned might be tough. If you don't already know about it, the website Rome2Rio is a great planning tool for transport of all kinds-that way you could look at train air and car options for instance
jpie is online now  
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