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Itinerary Help- 9 days in Southern Spain

Old Mar 24th, 2019, 08:44 AM
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Itinerary Help- 9 days in Southern Spain

My wife and I ( in our mid-60s, experienced travelers) are planning 10 days in Southern Spain, Starting in Seville ( flight from Paris) and ending in Algeciras ( ferry to Morocco). Initial thought is to stay in Seville, Cordoba, Granada and then have 3 nights in Ronda to see Ronda and Grazalema before driving to the ferry terminal. But I'm not wild about all the changes in hotels---2 nights in each city is too quick, too much time checking in and getting familiar. Does it make sense to skip one of the three cities? We prefer smaller cities with charming walkable neighborhoods. See Cordoba by day trip from Seville, thus have more nights in both Seville and Granada? Also I was thinking of renting a car for the 9 days---after reviewing, thinking of bus or train from city to city ( Seville to Cordoba is easy--not sure about travel to Granada) then renting car to get to the Ronda, and eventually on to Algeciras. Am I misguided?
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 09:05 AM
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Stay in Sevilla and do Cordoba as a day trip by train. Cordoba has more to offer but a day trip will give you the highlights and eliminate the need for driving there.

I've driven from Sevilla to Ronda and the drive is fine, but entry into Ronda was a bit tricky for us. I would not devote 3 days to Ronda, in any case. For my money, you can skip it.

The smaller white villages are fine for a few hours, unless you are big hikers and there are walks in the vicinity, not sure I would even stay overnight.

Smaller cities--Cadiz is not tiny but easily covered on foot so no need for car. Might add that instead of Ronda but I am not looking at map right now. Staying in Cadiz lets you visit Arcos de la Frontera on a day trip, even by car or taxi.

But if you want only two cities, you must have Sevilla and Granada. I've been to Seville numerous times and just returned from 8 nights there which was not too long for me. Just know that Granada is way off your route to the ferry. Can you rethink and plan Sevilla with day trip by train to Cordoba, and then Arcos and then maybe Cadiz? The coastline near Cadiz is beautiful in spring.

And there are white towns such as Medina Sidonia which I would visit ahead of Ronda. Ronda is way too big to be thought of as a village; I just did not see the charm there at all, as it was mobbed with tourists even in late October when we went last time.




Guide to Village of Medina-Sidonia | White hilltop Village | Andalucia.com

Another village might be Gaucin..close to the coast. Easy to drive into and out of, easy to navigate on foot once you are there.

An Insiders Guide to Gaucin | Andalucia.com


Last edited by ekscrunchy; Mar 24th, 2019 at 09:14 AM.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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It depends on what you want, but FWIW, I think a good rough estimate of times for a first visit to the region would be 3 or 4 nights in Sevilla, 2 nights in Cordoba, and 3 nights in Granada, adding Ronda for a night if that’s your priority (it is definitelty NOT in the same category as the 3 gems of Andalusia!). IMO, you would have to limit your time in the most stunning parts of Andalusia to find time to to get to Morocco.

Many people visit Cordoba as a day trip from Sevilla, and if minimizing the number of hotel stays is a priority, that could work IF you add time to Sevilla. Note that there is more than enough to see and do in Cordoba to keep one busy for 2 very full days.

Personally, I would not rent a car for this trip, even if you include Ronda. Public transportation in that part of Spain is very easy and convenient, and you don’t have a lot of spare time for a road trip. JMO.

Hope that helps!
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 01:06 PM
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I have been to Seville, Granada, and Cordoba. I have not been to Ronda. However, based on the research I did when I was planning my trip for September 2017, I agree with kja that Ronda is not in the same category as the 3 gems of Andalusia. I personally would not choose to see Cordoba as a day trip and spend 3 nights in Ronda. I suggest spending one night in Ronda and 2 nights in Cordoba. I agree that 2 nights in each city is too quick, and not nearly enough for Seville, especially. So I suggest 4 nights in Seville, 2 nights in Granada, and 2 nights in Cordoba, and this would give you time for 1 night in Ronda.

Cordoba is a beautiful small city with charming walkable neighborhoods. The Mezquita is magnificent, but there is more to Cordoba than just the Mezquita, such as the Alcazar, Palacio de Viana, Roman Bridge, and wandering the Juderia, with its narrow lanes, whitewashed buildings, patios and flower pots.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 02:11 PM
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Thank you for your helpful comments! We are hikers----thought we'd see Ronda and then hike in Grazalema---and we've found a beautiful hillside inn outside of Ronda to chill after 2 weeks of busier schedule.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 02:12 PM
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Thank you for your helpful comments.....mulling things over. Very helpful to hear from people who are familiar with the area!
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 04:58 PM
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Trains male sense for cities - for lots on trains check www.renfe.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. Buses from Ronda to Seville go thru the famous white villages too. If driving get an International Driving Permit as it is required in Spain apparently.
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Old Mar 25th, 2019, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jgr22 View Post
Thank you for your helpful comments! We are hikers----thought we'd see Ronda and then hike in Grazalema---and we've found a beautiful hillside inn outside of Ronda to chill after 2 weeks of busier schedule.
The hillside inn sounds wonderful, and I certainly understand the need to relax after a busy schedule of sightseeing. Good for you that you are hikers! My husband and I use to backpack in our younger days, but we aren't in shape any more, and arthritis has slowed me down.

Definitely stay in Seville 4 nights, and this will give you a chance to take a day trip to Cordoba from Seville. Seeing Cordoba and the Mezquita as a day trip is better than not seeing it at all. Then spend 2 nights in Granada and 3 nights at the hillside inn.

You will have a great trip!
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Old Mar 25th, 2019, 04:41 PM
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Before committing to just 2 nights in Granada, make sure it will suit your purposes: Just seeing the Alhambra can take a full day (as in 2 nights); if you want to see any of that city's other gems, you would likely need a 3rd night.
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Old Mar 27th, 2019, 09:19 AM
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I wholeheartedly agree with Eks and Kja’s advice! More time in Seville. It is so beautiful and there is so much to see and do. I have also been to both Cordoba and Granada and highly recommend not missing either! They are very different, but both are enchanting at night. If tough decisions need to be made, then see Córdoba as a day trip. Granada is very hilly so you will get a nice “hike” if you walk around town-you could also make the steep walk to the Alhambra.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for the comments.......I've got to prioritize!
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 06:05 AM
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Prioritizing, that's all you can do now. I went to Andalucia twice, and planning the first time was when I learned that lesson. We are hikers too, and we did adore Ronda enough to go back. I still have not made it to Granada, but it'll still be there when I do! I used to online chat a bit with a resident in Grazalema who wrote a guide to hiking, likely available in local tourist shops. You can do some nice walks without a car in Ronda environs, but if you want to explore Grazalema, etc., you will want a car.
Best advice is to not overdo it and choose what you will like--enjoy!
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jgr22 View Post
Thanks for the comments.......I've got to prioritize!
I know the feeling! We are of similar demographics as you and your wife are - will be visiting Spain in April/May for five weeks - this is our third time to Spain. I'm already feeling like we don't have enough time - and we are sticking to southern Spain (Seville, Malaga, Ronda, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona) this time around, after having spent a lot of time on two other trips, one to Castilla y Leon, and the other to Galicia.

We briefly considered trying to take the ferry from Tarifa to Tangier as a day trip, but "prioritizing" nixed that plan for us. After many years of travel, we have come to a place in our lives where rushing from one site to the next is no longer attractive. Luckily we have the time now that we are fully retired, to stay put long enough to get to know areas a bit. My dream would be to have six months for every country I still want to explore, but unfortunately I won't be alive that long!
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by scdreamer View Post
southern Spain (Seville, Malaga, Ronda, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona)!
Not that it matters, but I've never heard anyone refer to Valencia or Barcelona as "southern Spain."
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Not that it matters, but I've never heard anyone refer to Valencia or Barcelona as "southern Spain."
You're correct - but those two are at the tail end of our trip across southern Spain, so I guess I just included them. Maybe you can offer me a better descriptive term. Thanks.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by scdreamer View Post
Maybe you can offer me a better descriptive term. Thanks.
Not I! I'd probably just name them (saying your trip is to southern Spain, Valencia, and Barcelona) -- but I'll be interested to see if others have a suggestion! Again, it doesn't matter -- it just struck me as unexpected and perhaps just a bit confusing to those who are trying to understand Spain's regions. Your point, that it's hard to prioritize with so many options, is well taken.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 02:30 PM
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If you are going to use the train, I suggest that you buy the senior discount cards, Tarjeta Dorada. They are good for one year, cost 6 euros and have discounts up to 40%. They can be purchased at any train station
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