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need help from Spain experts on unusual Andalusia itinerary--1 week seeing the usual sights and & week slowing down in one place

need help from Spain experts on unusual Andalusia itinerary--1 week seeing the usual sights and & week slowing down in one place

Old Jan 31st, 2003, 11:00 AM
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need help from Spain experts on unusual Andalusia itinerary--1 week seeing the usual sights and & week slowing down in one place

1st of all I apologize if there is another copy of this post floating around out there somewhere. My first attempt seemed to disappear as have a lot of posting this week. So here goes again.

We will be in Spain the 1st 2 weeks in March (assuming the world hasn't blown up by then). We want to see Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Toledo for sure. I've also read about tons of other worthwhile places, but insttead we have decided to spend one week in a self-catering place (finding that is my next big challenge so if you know of any inexpensive charming places let me know) where we can slow down and enjoy ourselves. After a lot of research, I am thinking about perhaps the ARcos de Frontera/Grazelema area. We are looking for real Spain, not overly touristed coastal resorts and golf. I think perhaps this location would allow us to do outdoor activities in the natural areas and yet would give us the flexibility to visit the Costa de Luz area or Cadiz or Ronda or the white villages or Jerez de Frontera or Vejer de Frontera for day trips. We are not looking to see all the biggies, but rather to slow down and savor a location. I also considered the las Alpajurras area or just north of Nerja, but neither one of those areas seemed centrally enough located or easily accesible for day trips. Please tell me if my thinking makes sense here.

Itinerary planning is my dilemma. We want to do part car and part train so we don't have to hassle a car in large cities. We have 14 nights and fly into Madrid (which we are skipping altogether)with an 8:15 am arrival. For logistical reasons does this plan make sense?

*1st day--take AVE from Madrid to Cordoba, look around, recover from jet lag and spend night.
*2nd day--take AVE to Seville and spend 3 nights there. Pick up rental car on way out of town.
*nights 5-11 in the Arcos area
*nights 12 & 13 in Granada where we will have to hasle the car
*next day drive from Granada to Toledo where we will spend our last night.

Now, my questions:
*Our plane leaves Madrid at 11:30 which means we have to check in at 9:30. Is Toledo too far away to plan to make this plane? Am I allocating enough time?
*I understand the drive from Granada to Toledo is pretty boring. How much time should I allow, and will this leave us enough time to see Toledo?
*Should I do the itinerary in reverse?
*Logistically, would there be a more efficient plan?
*Is my allocation of days in each place okay? I can make some trade offs in time since I haven't reserved anything yet. the last time we did a week long rental, we actually only spent 6 nights because we need the extra day elsewhere. Normally, we just like to wing it and only make reservations for the major tourist attractions. but, with trying to look for a week long rental I need to plan everything out ahead of time.
*One other possible plan that I had was to base somewhere near Priego de Cordoba for the week. If we did that, Granada would be done as day trips. But, I didn't know if that made sense as far as our interests, and I also am intersted in seeing the Alhambra at night which means I don't know if I want to be driving back to our base at midnight. But, then again this would free up 2 nights that we could spend elsewhere.

We are not shoppers. We are not into nightlife unless it is a cultural or classical highlight. We enjoy ambience and just wandering. We enjoy smaller places where real people live. We travel on a budget and we do not need places that cater to upscale English-speaking tourists. We enjoy nature and the outdoors. We like colorful local markets.

If you have the time to comment I'd really, really appreciate it. thanks so much.

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julies is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2003, 01:08 PM
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Wow, long post. Here's what I can offer . . . . .
I know you're focusing on Andalucia, but Madrid is underrated in my view (though many disagree). Consider a day there.

Cordoba doesn't need more than a day. Granada is great for wandering, but make sure you buy Alhambra tickets days in advance (can maybe buy them over the web now?) We were there in 2000 and didn't get into the Alhambra because tickets were sold out. Must buy days in advance, though March is slower season.

As for your smaller-town experience, Arcos de le Frontera is a genuine Spanish town, with little pandering to tourists. We liked Ronda a lot too, but it is a more-frequent tourist stop. Still worth some time though.

You'll want a car for the pueblos blancos and be sure to spend the time to drive and wander through the towns. The Spanish tourist bureau publishes a small book with suggested driving routes through the area, which was helpful.

On the Costa del Sol, we stopped for an afternoon at Torremolinos, which was a pleasant beach and had some interesting craft-type shops to wander through.

Enjoy.
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 01:29 PM
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Unless you are back packers it would seem to me that jumping from train to car and back is more trouble than it is worth. I have found that in early March there are many less tourists than after Easter so driving and parking in both small villages and towns like Granada and Seville is not problem.I am not sure you save any money without the car since you are using taxis etc.Just a thought!
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 04:23 PM
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One more try. Sorry, getting tired about the failure of this website. Will come back tomorrow if this doesn't work. Again, check out www.untours.com . An apartment or house, a car, etc., all at reasonable prices. Easy driving to Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, even Nerja.
Has anyone used them and been unhappy?
Carol
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 04:23 AM
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Maira
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Long post, but good details to work with Thanks!!

PART 1 OF 3?

Suggestions: Madrid is another aspect of Real Spain, and thus deserves a day or two. I loved the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Tapas bar, El Prado, Puerta del Sol, all part of the Real Spain experience. If you (and others) don't care to spend a week in Madrid, oh, well.... but the fact remains that your Real Spain experience would be missing.

For that matter, I would stay the last night closer to the airport, even in Madrid. Hotel Atlantico (Best Western) has a shuttle to the airport $6/pp. I would not risk an 1130 departure by staying in Toledo. I would have done it when airport security and such were different, but why take more chances than necessary.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2003, 04:24 AM
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PART 2

I would cut some days from Arcos, just so you can spend time in Toledo, a breathtaking city.

Anyway, from Madrid I would go directly to Seville. From Seville day trip to Cordova. Certainly Cordova (city designated as Patrimony to Humanity) deserves better attention than getting in/out of it. So, get to Seville and rent a car for day trips; 4-5 days in Seville, March is a great time to visit Andalucia and Seville is a great home base. Don't miss a visit to Merida and Italica, towns with incredible ancient Roman sites. Definitely a not to be miss.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2003, 04:25 AM
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PART 3

Your thinking makes sense; finding a place to accommodate all that you are looking for is another story; relaxing, accessible, centrally located, yet not touristy, inexpensive, possibility of doing ecotourism, etc... Grazalema is not bad a choice with La Donana National Park nearby (another UNESCO site). Check the following site http://www.hotelfuertegrazalema.com/
Friends that stayed there recommended it for a couple of relaxing days. The rates are about $60/double, includes breakfast buffet. They also recommended guided birdswatching tour of Donana arranged at this hotel (this UNESCO site hosts a number of threatened and endangered species, March is prime season to see this park at its glory).

 
Old Feb 1st, 2003, 04:26 AM
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Maira
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PART 4 (wow! had to cut my original post quite a bit....!


Is a good thing that you don't like places that cater to English-speaking people because you are going to need your Spanish in Andalucia, specially if favoring the smaller, out of the way places.

Another website that may be useful www.vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owners). There are many British citizens with beautiful properties in rural Spain who rent in low and mid-season. Check them out.

Have a great time in Spain, a wonderful destination.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2003, 01:13 PM
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Maira--

Thanks so much for the help. I've been working on the information you provided me. I guess our thinking on Madrid is that we'll probably be flying into there some other time (maybe when the weather would be a little warmer), and we could visit then. We primarily picked Andalucia because of the time of the year. Again thanks much. I'm still working on our itinerary.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 01:52 PM
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do a day trip from seville to cordoba

spend one night in toledo and one in grenada and the rest of your time in seville.

have a great trip.
nanc is offline  
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