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Need advice re: September Spanish itinerary

Need advice re: September Spanish itinerary

Nov 17th, 2008, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
Are you terribly keen on going to Barcelona this trip? Or are your flights are already booked?

If not, I would probably save Barcelona for another trip and add more to the Segovia/Madrid area, and to Seville. I've never been to Ronda.

Visiting the Alhambra at night is quite a different experience from visiting it during the day. Plus the site is quite vast -- and then there is the town of Granada to explore.

Your trip does have the feel of "Thursday, it must be ----" to it when one reads the itinerary. It's not that I doubt you have the energy to do it. I'm just wondering if you'll want to pause and reflect on some of what you are seeing. It's not a culture as familiar as French and Italian culture. It's more mysterious, and deep I think, and atmospheric. Enchanting. You might want more flexibility to stay longer or look around the corner or the back side of something, or come back and see it at night.

zeppole is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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I would stay in a nice, comfortable place in Madrid ( maybe rent an apt. for several days) and make day trips to Toledo and Segovia by train.
It is fast (1/2 hour) and inexpensive, you can leave early and have a whole day (even part of the evening if you like) without worrying about parking, gas, rush hour, etc.. . We drove in Italy and France but not in Spain. For us , it is just more relaxing to sit back.
We did not visit El Esc. because we liked what Madrid had to offer too much to spend a day someplace else.
The traffic in the city is huge but if you enjoy driving, it may be fine with you.
If you really like Madrid you can spend more time in the city , if not ,you can choose among many day trips. (The scenery between Madrid and Toledo is nothing to see).
If you do not rent a car in Madrid,
there is a fast ( about 2 hours) train AVE from Madrid to Cordoba. You could pick up the car in Cordoba and drive to Granada. I have not visited Ronda, but if you skip it, you may have more time in Granada or Seville.
We have seen Alhambra at day and night time - since you are on a short schedule - one would be enough.
(I would add a day to Seville).
In Barcelona , you could rent an apt ( we rarely stay in hotels) near the beach ( if you like) and have some relaxing time in one of my favorite cities.
We rented from Habitat and were very pleased (in Oct. this year)

As I said, we all have our preferences , do what is comfortable for you.
You have a long time to plan.
Don't worry !
danon is online now  
Nov 18th, 2008, 06:24 AM
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Zeppole - thanks for your input but Barcelona is an absolute must, especially when considering that it is the primary reason for the trip.

However, I will try to take your suggestion to slow down to heart, but the problem is that we don't want to give up the parador experiences and again, the main purposes for the vacation are, I guess, as follows, and, in order of priorities:

1) have quality time in Barcelona

2) visit Madrid specifically for the 3 galleries and Palace - have no burning desire to otherwise be in Madrid

3) spend no more than 1 day in each of the following to specifically see all of the following (anything else will be a "bonus"):
a) Toledo: synagogues and museum, cathedral, all El Greco;
b) Cordoba: Mezquite and Jewish district (synagogues)
c) Granada: Alhambra (day only) and cathedral

4) 2 nights and 2 days in Seville

5) spend a few 1/2 days here and there, where convenient, at pools in the paradors

6) Ronda for a day trip on our way to Seville , but only if we do not have to rush and only if it doesn't interfere with our 2 day stay in Seville

To be honest, we do not care if we are driving some relatively short distance (approx. 50 miles) at 8:30 - 10:00 in the evening to get from Cordoba, Granada or Toledo to a parador as we really have no desire to sleep or spend the latter parts of the evening in any of these towns.

Although each obviously and, I am certain, deservedly has their admirers, my wife and I feel that with 2 nights in Madrid, 6 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Seville, and 2 nights just outside of Segovia, we will have enough of what we are seeking in the night-time Spanish experience.

With 17 days at our disposal,we do have to pick and choose, and unfortunately, in order to achieve our primary goals for this particular holiday, longer stays in Cordoba, Granada and Toledo will have to be sacrificed - but (to paraphrase) "better to have visited each location for a brief period of time, than never to have visited each location at all".

Danon - thank you for your advice and encouragement.

1)What part of Canada?; and
2)Which specific apartment?

Thanks again to you both for your

nevertooold is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,645
Toronto (downtown).
Do you mean Habitat apt. in Barcelona?
We did not stay near the beach ( Barcenoleta) or in the hippest ( El Born) part of the city by choice.
It was our second visit. We had some idea where we wanted to stay.
danon is online now  
Nov 18th, 2008, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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sorry, I forgot to reiterate what someone said before :
the weather can be really hot in southern Spain. The first time I visited ( more than 20 years ago) was in the second half of August - the temp. in Granada was close to 40C. But, I was young so it did not bother me as much as it would now.
danon is online now  
Nov 18th, 2008, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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I didn't realize you were spending six nights in Barcelona. That's a heck of a lot of time in Barcelona, although the beach time might be nice. Are you booked into any paradors on the sea along the Costa Brava?

I have a wild and crazy idea for you:

Have you thought about doing Madrid as a day trip from Toledo?

Or doing it on the way to Sevilla?

How about arrive in Spain, go straight to Toledo parador.

Stay there, make a day trip to Madrid.

Follow Toledo with a fast train to Sevilla (via Madrid).

Stay in Sevilla and do Cordoba as a day trip from there.

Rent car, see some of Andulucia, end up Granada.

Drive to Barcelona, staying in Paradors along the way.

Go home.

What you lose in my itinerary is Segovia, but it didn't appear to be on your list of must-dos. Also, with regard to seeing Madrid's galleries and palace, you wouldn't need to do it all in one day trip. You could do a few things, and then pick up the rest on your way to Sevilla, stowing your luggage at the station.

I realize we are a zillion miles apart how we would spend our time in Spain, but one of delights I share with you is the paradors. (It's a shame you aren't staying overnight in one of the most beautiful ones -- the Alhambra). I love Madrid, but I might enjoy coming into Spain and going directly to a parador, and then sticking with paradors for the rest of the trip.

zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Hi, nevertooold -

When you refer to "the 3 galleries" in Madrid, do you mean El Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Reina Sofía? Seeing these 3 museums and the Palace could easily take 3 (or more) days. Zeppole's idea of day-tripping from Toledo is intriguing, but I'm not sure if it makes sense given your interests.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Danon : I live in Thornhill but work downtown.

The reason for the paradors and B Hotel (where I think we will continue to stay) is to have the option of pool time if it gets really hot.

Zeppole : for someone advocating a slowing down and a smelling of the roses, your last suggestion makes me more than a little dizzy.

We are, I think, now comfortable with our trip as amended on Nov. 17, with the only change being that we will probably pass on Ronda and arrive in Seville one day earlier and spend the extra time leisurely enjoying Seville for 2 nights and 3 days, departing for Barcelona on the third day at 6:00pm.

Once in Barcelona, although we will probably sight-see each day to some degree, it is our hope that, if time permits, we will have the opportunity to do one or more of a day at Sitges (which I understand is less than a 1 hour train ride away) or aday at the beach or a day at Figueres (Dali) - but again, this depends on how long and when we wish to sight-see, how tired we are in general, and whether or not we really are in the mood for one more gallery requiring one more train or bus ride (Dali).

By the way, our choice for paradors has been based on both price and convenience - we were at one time considering both Aiguablava and Toledo, but neither are offering the low or reduced rates that the others are offering, so we are taking a pass on them, resigning ourselves, instead of Aiguablava, to a possible day or 2 at Sitges or the Barcelona beach, and, instead of the Toledo parador a day-trip from the Alcana parador (which basically, to our thinking, equals a day trip from Madrid to Toledo, but with, for our purposes, a much more enjoyable point of departure and return).

I have to admit that we are really excited about the paradors and if we had more time would probably include stays in the Ronda, Operasa and Ubeda paradors, all of which are also available at lower rates, but all of which would, if we stayed at any of them (the Ronda parador being the most recent "cut" to allow the extra day in Seville), result in even more of a rushed feeling than we already are trying to prevent.

Again, it's going to just have to be a matter of priorities.

Thanks again to the both of you for your continued assistance.
nevertooold is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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kja - yes.

Because my wife and I have thankfully experienced little or no jet-lag on our previous 3 trips to Europe, and have been so far able to "successfully hit the deck running" each time, we hope that we will be able to do it again this time.

Our plan is to arrive at approx. 9:30 go to the hotel and freshen up, then take a leisurely walk to Thyssen where we will probably spend 2-3 hours in the afternoon (say from noon to 3:00pm?) Then sometime between then and 8:00pm we plan to spend another 2-3 hours at Sofia (it's Saturday and the Sofia is open, I believe, later).

The next day after breakfast we plan to visit the Prado and on Monday morning, visit the Palace before picking up our car to drive to Alcana.

We realize that this is a bit (if not a lot) rushed but, again as we have no other plans in Madrid other than these 4 sights, so long as we do not cave in on our first day (and again, from experience, this is, hopefully not likely to happen) we should be fine. As well, if by chance our plans change and we are not able to do more than 1 museum on our first day, we can always come back to Madrid on our 4th day in the morning before leaving for La Granja to do the last site, and, if need be, spend the next day in Segovia, taking a pass on El Escorial (not the end of the world). So we really do have a "fall-back" in place.
nevertooold is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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I guess I must not have written too clearly. Basically, I was trying to give keep you in the Toledo area parador for 5 nights, then in Sevilla for several days, then a leisurely driving tour that includes Granada toward Barcelona, ending there. (Meaning, I would use up a lot of your six days getting to Barcelona, not staying there).

I never been to Sitges. My understanding was that it's a youth-gay-party-beach town -- or am I mixing it up with someplace else? A staggeringly lovely beach town of great charm on the Costa Brava is Calella de Palafrugell


but there are some closer to Barcelona (between it and the French border) if more compromised by modern development.

I think of Figueres as being too far for a comfortable day trip.

Have a great time. Enjoy the cold almond soup.

zeppole is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 01:40 PM
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"Our plan is to arrive at approx. 9:30 go to the hotel and freshen up.."

As you know, many hotels won't let you check in before the afternoon. Your hotel may be different ( in any case, you will be able to leave your luggage).
If you love Dali, RS has some great paintings by him.
danon is online now  
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