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Madrid-Sevilla-Nerja-Granada-Madrid Itinerary-Feedback Please

Old Oct 25th, 2015, 03:19 PM
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Madrid-Sevilla-Nerja-Granada-Madrid Itinerary-Feedback Please

Hi,

Husband and I want to visit Spain in May. This is the situation we have coming from Alaska:

1. It will take us 2 full days of travel to arrive in Madrid.

2. We are using airline miles so we can only arrive/leave from Madrid or Barcelona. I'm thinking of arr/dep from Madrid and doing Andalusia on this trip.

2. We only have 13 full days in country. Then 2 days to get back home.

I'm thinking we'd spend the first night (we arrive around 6:30pm) in Madrid. Spend the next days and 2 nights there.

On day 3 take the train to Sevilla in the morning and spend 4 days/days there. Taking day trips to various places. I don't want to spend the time wandering museums and such. The Cathedral and a few other places are enough for me. But I want the tapas scene, flamenco show, maybe a bullfight.

Day 7 Head to Nerja where we can spend 4 nights/4 days ( Not sure if we should drive the route and then keep the car for day trips or just the train). Beach time and a day or two of scuba diving.

Day 11 Head to Granada for 2 nights.

Day 13 Make our way back to Madrid by train

Does this itinerary make sense to those of you that have actually been there

I'm looking at Air BnB apartments and the prices are pretty good with good locations in each of these cities.

Any advice is welcome. Thank you advance!
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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A couple of notes:

Be aware of the heat - even this early in the year it can be quite hot in southern Spain (our trips in mid/late April we ha highs in the 80s and it was definitely beach weather)

IMHO you should not skip Cordoba which is a charming city with a fantastic moorish past (I would do this versus Nerja)
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 04:36 PM
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"I'm thinking we'd spend the first night (we arrive around 6:30pm) in Madrid."

You might consider going straight on to Andalusia -- since you'll be tired anyways, it might be worth pushing on. I'm thinking that you'll probably want to be in Madrid the night before your departure flight, so it would be an advantage to put all of your time in that city at the end of your trip rather than the start.

And if you do that, you might consider going straight from your arrival to Cordoba, rather than Sevilla. Many people visit Cordoba as a day trip from Sevilla, but it has much more to offer than can possibly fit into a part of a day. Even if you want to limit your time to the magnificent not-to-be-missed (IMO) Mezquita and just one or two other sites, it could be a great place to get over jet lag. You could then move on to Sevilla the next morning. Just a thought.

"Granada for 2 nights"

That should give you time for both day and night visits to the Alhambra -- book as soon as the booking system allows! It will give you little, if any, time to see anything else in Granada -- maybe that's intentional?


I must admit that I would want more time in Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada than you are giving them -- but that's just me; YMMV. If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (always a worthy investment, IME, but you can also spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. As you do so, remember that many things in Spain are closed all day on Monday, most of Sunday, and every day for a long siesta, so check opening hours closely (and do so on the web to get the latest info).

And because it is easier to reach Madrid than Andalusia from the states, I would put as much time as you can in Andalusia on this trip -- and I say that as someone who loved Madrid.
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 04:39 PM
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It sounds good ! Be sure to do a day trip to Cordoba from Seville. There is no train to Nerja. I would pick up a car when you leave Seville, drive to Nerja via Ronda, and then drop off the car on arrival in Granada. I hope you'll be in Seville on a Sunday for a bullfight in the afternoon. You are going to have fun !!
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 04:59 PM
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Bullfight season in Seville starts from 3rd of april until 17th of abril if you want to go to a bullfighting in may you have to go to Las Ventas in Madrid. Remember 6 bulls are killed so for some is fun for other is a cruelty.

When you go to Nerja don´t forget to visit Frigiliana and Competa only 7 kms and 15 kms inland from Nerja.
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 07:43 PM
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Have to agree with Kja about pushing on. I usually recommend Córdoba as a daytrip from Seville, but you are landing so late, you will be tired and jet lagged the next morning, and you will want a few hours in Córdoba. You could see the mosque and travel on to Seville, or you could instead stay who nights, giving you one day there, and head to Seville early the next morning. It depends on how the rest of your itinerary plays out.

Again, agree with Kja. You do want to be in Madrid for your flight home, so put all the time there at the end.

Often, the thought is do more in areas away from the main arrival/departure city because it is easier to include those big citys on other trips. I agree in principle, but how often do people have enough time to actually do that unless they are touring another part of the same or a nearby country? In the case of Madrid, I recommend at least a day or two and a daytrip to Toledo (perhaps Segovia). Then, if you do not get back to Spain, you have experienced a bit of one of Spain's great cities.

Question? You have, day 13, make your way back to Madrid. Does your flight leave later on the 13th or not until the 14th? It isn't clear to me and is important to know.

This is a rough suggestion on how to begin and end the trip, to change as desired and with the middle left to fill. This allows travel time.

Day 1, arrive Madrid late, taxi to train, head directly to Córdoba, taxi to hotel.
Day 2, Córdoba, whole day
Day 3, early train to Seville, 2/3 day in Seville
Day 4, Seville
Day 5, Seville
Day 6, rent car and ?
Day 7, ?
Day 8, ?
Day 9, travel to Granada late afternoon or early evening (drop car)
Day 10, Granada
Day 11, travel to Madrid, (by train) 1/2 day in Madrid
Day 12, Day trip to Toledo from Madrid
Day 13, Madrid

Hope planning is fun. Spain will be wonderful.
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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I'm glad to see that Sassafrass agrees with many of my suggestions, but must disagree (sorry!) with one of hers: She wrote: "Often, the thought is do more in areas away from the main arrival/departure city because it is easier to include those big citys on other trips. I agree in principle, but how often do people have enough time to actually do that unless they are touring another part of the same or a nearby country?" My objection is that Spain IS one of those countries where people are likely to return!

Central Spain itself is, IMO, easily worth at least 1.5 weeks (for Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca....) As for northern Spain, I couldn't find a way to keep my time under a month, and that doesn't even count Galicia or Valencia or SO many other places... And there are LOTS of places between Madrid and Barcelona (and the Costa Brava) that could easily fill 3 or more weeks....

I prefer to choose a region to visit and then visit it with some depth, even it that means that I might never be able to see another region at all. And part of that choice is because I am even more unlikely to return to an area that I saw, even if only on the surface, than an area I have never seen. So, for example, if I were to skim Andalusia, I would likely never return. If I were to use Madrid as a transit hub (only), I would likely return to Madrid -- when I plan a trip to other parts of Spain that can be reached from Barajas. JMO.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 11:08 AM
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Alvamo, I'm very disappointed in you as a Spaniard. You should get out more so you'd know that bullfights take place every Sunday afternoon in the major cities. This year the Feria de Abril in Seville takes place from April 12 to 17th when there are bullfights every day and Sundays thereafter. The Feria de San Isidro in Madrid starts May 15th and continues for a month with fights on Sundays thereafter. Your Feria de Agosto, of course, takes place in August. See you there at the corridas !
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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Just to give you another point of view, in my experience "pushing on" after a long international flight is never a good option - you're tired and jet-lagged and having to make a connection to a train, or worse yet rent a car and drive, is too stressful for your first night (dangerous if you have to drive). I always worry that the flight will be delayed so that you miss your connection and have to figure out an alternative late at night. I think your plan to stay in Madrid for the first two nights is much better.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:16 PM
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Right you are, Baladeuse ! Some of these posters don't seem to read what the OPs have written !! This one says they'll be coming all the way from Alaska, a two day trip. They NEED to decompress in Madrid before going on.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:27 PM
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From those who don't travel to Europe from the Pacific Northwest, traveling for two full days (Anchorage to Madrid), would normally be exhausting for most people.

Taking a connecting flight or catching the train to Sevilla on the day of arrivial only adds to the exhaustion, and could end up making the first few days in Spain a loss.

I would stick with your plan of spending the first few days in Madrid to relax and adjust to the time difference, especially important when it comes to meal times.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:50 PM
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Once we arrive in Madrid we will have been awake for 36hrs straight. We travel a lot to far away places and experience has taught us to stay put once the last plane touches down. Neither one of us is ever in any state of mind to go "finding" connecting trains or anything except getting to the hotel and crashing for the next 12 hours. Madrid gets the first 2 full days after that. We hate cities so that's more than enough for us

The other reason we wanted to take the train in the morning to Sevilla is to enjoy the scenery. We wouldn't be able to to do that the first night we arrive because we'd be passed out.

Nerja is not getting pulled out simply because we are divers and it would be crazy for us to get to Southern Spain and not do at least a day of diving. Plus being from Alaska-beaches and hot weather are a must

I do plan on a full day trip to Cordoba. No question about that. I will definitely drop the rental off as soon as we get to Granada.

Any recommendations for rental cars in Madrid? I checked out pepecar that was recommended in the Fodor guidebook. They seem to be a good site for getting prices from many rental companies.

Thank you all for your advice. I'm still tweaking. In fact, we wanted to go to Barcelona and explore the North and Galicia since that is where my great grandparents are from. But two weeks seems to short for that itinerary on this trip. For sure, the following year.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 01:14 PM
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There's not much to see on the highspeed AVE to Sevilla.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 01:42 PM
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It's *that* fast?
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 01:57 PM
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Bedar, it´s not true that bullfights take place every Sunday afternoon in the major cities. Only Madrid celebrates bullfights every sunday.

On 2015 Seville celebrated outside Feria some novilladas not corridas de toros on sunday:
may 10th
may 17 th
june 7th
june 14th
june 21th
september 27th
http://www.plazadetorosdelamaestranz...x.php/festejos


I don´t like going to the corridas but I just read on the news.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 03:21 PM
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Alaskadiver, I did see your two days of travel, just didn't realized it was continuous. I try not to stay in the same place twice, having two hotel stays, etc., but, as you and others say, you will be in need of a rest.

Also, I actually do agree with Kja about less time in the bigger cities exactly for the reasons given. I thought though with your coming such a distance, you might not be inclined to break up future trips with such stops.

Anyway, you will have some time in Madrid. I hope you enjoy it.

Diving sounds fantastic. I have never done it, but DD is a diver, and one of my friends plans her vacations around it.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 04:06 PM
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Alvamo - Well, I gues you're somewhat right, but it looks like there will be corridas in Seville in May if 2016 is like 2015.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 04:10 PM
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Up to 300 kph... At least in some spots.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 05:21 PM
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I agree that NO one should drive until over jet lag. Ever.

My experience of "pushing on" has obviously been different than that of other Fodorites -- so I'm glad others provided information about their experiences. I admit that I've never faced 36 hours of travel time, but I have begun a trip with NO sleep for 36 or more hours on several occasions -- thankfully, I can sleep on flights, even if poorly! I think we all need to figure out how to manage these circumstances in ways that work for us, and am glad that the OP has gotten a variety of perspectives to consider.

"Any recommendations for rental cars in Madrid?"

Why rent a car that early in your trip? You might consider using Spain's excellent public transportation until you really need a rental.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 05:52 PM
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No, I meant rental car in Sevilla. Mistyped there We need a car to venture out independently beyond the city and to get to Nerja.

I should have added that we are more of the slow travel types than the rushing around everywhere types. Our preference is to find a base and live like locals for extended periods. In fact, our plan is to quick work in about 10 years and sell the house. Just travel around the world and live in places for months at a time. Spain is at the top of the list for a 3 month stay. That's why we are going now for a 2 week vacation. Get the lay of the land so to speak.

I would shoot myself if I had to spend every night in a different place! As it is this itinerary is too much moving around. Funny how we all love to travel but have such varying ideas of how to do it
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