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Overthinking Itinerary? Aug 17 - Sept 4 - Please help!!!


Jul 23rd, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Overthinking Itinerary? Aug 17 - Sept 4 - Please help!!!

Your insight would be most appreciated! First trip to Spain, with husband and 4 year old (easy traveler). I struggle with what to omit, but need to schedule flights asap. Barcelona and Granada are a must. There is festival in Bilbao I'm interested in Aug 17 - 24 and also one in Barcelona Aug 14 - 22. I understand Seville is fantastic, but I am unsure whether we should skip due to the heat. My main concerns are heat in far south and whether we can skip Madrid. Would Madrid be just as hot as Seville? Or better to skip Seville for Madrid?

Itinerary A:
Aug 17th - 21st -- Arrive Bilbao/San Sebastian 4 nights - fly to Barcelona
Aug 21st - 27th -- Barcelona 6 nights- fly to Granada
Aug 27th - 29th -- Granada 2 nights - train to Seville
Aug 29th - Sept 2nd -- Seville 4 nights (1 day trip to Cordoba) - train to Madrid or Malaga
Sept 2nd - 4th -- 2 nights Madrid or Malaga - fly home

Itinerary B:
Aug 17th - 21st -- Arrive Bilbao/San Sebastian 4 nights - drive to Madrid (stop for lunch in Borges)
Aug 21st - 23rd -- Madrid - 2 nights - Train to Granada
Aug 23rd - 25th -- 2 nights Granada - train to Seville
Aug 25th - 29th -- 4 nights Seville (day trip Cordoba) - Fly to Barcelona
Aug 29th - Sept 4th -- Barcelona - 6 nights - fly home

Itinerary C:
Aug 17 - 23rd -- Barcelona - 6 nights (fly to Bilbao)
Aug 23 - 27th -- Bilbao 4 nights - (fly to Seville)
Aug 27 - 31st -- Seville 4 nights (day trip Cordoba) - bus or train to Granada
Aug 31st - Sept 3rd -- Granada 3 nights
Sept 3rd - Sept 4th -- 1 night Madrid or Malaga - fly home

Itinerary D - No Stop in Madrid
Aug 17 - 23rd -- Barcelona 6 nights (fly to Granada)
Aug 23rd - 26th -- Granada 3 nights
Aug 26 - Aug 30 -- Seville 4 nights
Aug 30 - Sept 4th - 5 nights Bilbao/San Sebastian - fly home

Again, many thanks for your insights and/or advice!
adventura12 is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 02:10 PM
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Hi adventura,

mmm - i like most of your itineraries - well done!

of them all, though, i prefer no 1 - you start off in the north where it might be marginally cooler in August, and you get 2 nights in Malaga, which having only ever spent 1 night there, seems to me to be a good thing.

I wouldn't worry about not going to Madrid - we liked it well enough when we went there for a long weekend, but it will still be there when you return to Spain another time and with all the other wonderful places you'll be seeing, you won't miss it!
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 02:33 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts, Annhig! Can you tell me was there quite a lot to see in Malaga? My only difficulty with this itinerary, is that we need 3 flights to go home.
adventura12 is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 03:02 PM
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I like D best, especially since it's one less move with a 4 year old. There is a non stop from Seville to Bilbao.

www.maribelsguides.com for some info.

P.S. Plus we will be in Bilbao on the 2nd and San Sebastian on the 3rd, 4th and 5th.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 03:09 PM
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IMHO all of Spain except the Atlantic coast is hot for a good part of the year. We were in Andalusia in April and temps were definitely beach/sumer weather (well into the 80s) and by the time we got to Madrid - April 30 - it was 99 degrees - and absolute hell.

I would do the trip later to get better weather. If you do go then be sure all your hotels and pools and great AC and make sure you always carry water and stay well hydrated - esp the little one who will be more subject to heat exhaustion.

I liked Seville much more than Madrid (which IMHO can be seen in a day). And yes, I have been back since - but only on business, and didn't change my mind. IMHO for Seville you need at lest 3 full days to get the real flavor (4 night).
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 04:48 PM
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Thanks also iris 1745 and nytraveler! After reading your comment nytraveler I'm starting to second guess myself. Wonder if we are making a mistake coming in August. iris1745 have you been to Spain in August before? We could also come in September/October, but would miss the Festa Mejor de Garcia in Barcelona. Does anyone know if the weather is much cooler Seville in October and whether Bilbao/San Sebastian will still be enjoyable then? Thanks for your help!
adventura12 is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Despite what some people think about Madrid, it's a great city if you know what you're doing and where you're going and have a few friends to hang out with. But Madrid in August can be a bit on the warm side and full of tourist. Overall in August I would stick to the north coast as much as possible, but with Global Warming, it's difficult to plan on being where the weather will be cooler during the summer. Two nights ago we were sipping gin tonics at El Dry in Madrid at midnight and it was 91F, slightly warmer than Sevilla.

Bilbao and San Sebastian are normally very comfortable in September and October, but expect some rain almost anytime, it's why it's called Green Spain. Just remember that the San Sebastian International Film Festival is from 20-28 September this year and prices are up at hotels during that time.
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Jul 25th, 2013, 12:04 AM
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Robert2533, thank you for your comments. That's a good point about global warming! My preferred way of traveling is actually to leave plans very flexible, and decide where to go when we get a better sense of place by exploring. So in this way we could adjust once we have a better understanding of how brutally hot it will be in Sevilla! My only difficulty is that I don't want to miss seeing the Alhambra, and so will need to purchase tickets in advance and make a commitment at least for that.

That said, we did decide to take our trip in August and finally tickets have been purchased. We will arrive in Barcelona and leave from Bilbao 18 days later! Still much research and planning to come...

Thanks again to all who commented!
adventura12 is offline  
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Jul 25th, 2013, 12:17 AM
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August will be brutal sans Global warming.

Madrid has two advantages. One it has world class museums. Two, it is an excellent base for day trips to the various and worthwhile towns nearby.

The collection at the Guggenheim in Bilbao is not the attraction, it is the building. But the same is true in NYC as well.

All your itineraries work, just choose one, go with it, and stop agonizing. Your choice not to see all, is much better than trying to see eveything and wind up seeing nothing. Also check Vueling for flights. It is one of those cheap-o airlines which is safe but with more rules than a monastery.
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Jul 25th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Way too much traveling within a trip for me. In August I would visit Barcelona (will be extremely hot) then head to San Sebastian for a week, then along the North coast, maybe a dip into the Picos de europa and end in Santiago.
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