Planning itinerary - Spain

Old Jun 15th, 2012, 07:27 AM
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Planning itinerary - Spain

Hi, we are a senior couple with one adult daughter and we have never been to Spain. We are planning a trip in April or May of 2013 and after looking at the distances between Spanish cities we want to visit, I'm scratching my head.
We have not purchased airfare yet, and we must arrive or return from either Seville or Madrid, or arrive at one and leave from the other. We want to make a few side trips out of Madrid, and in Seville we want to make side trips to several places, maybe even Tangiers. The problem is we wanted to see Granada and Barcelona as well, with maybe even a trip out of there to Lourdes. Train, bus or rental car would be fine. We have 10 to 12 days.
Any suggestions?
tackytaco is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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My suggestion: Don't do all this running around in 10 or 12 days!

Forget Lourdes - it's not that quick/easy to get to. Forget Tangiers.

Read some guide books and decide what cities/towns in Spain most appeal to you and focus on a small area.

I'm planning a trip to Barcelona next spring (my first time to Spain) and can't decide if a week is enough time for 1 place. I might have to add a couple of days to Barcelona to see it all.

You need to make the decision if you want to run around and see many places yet see very little in each place or have a vacation where you go to fewer places yet soak up the atmosphere and explore it in depth.

Remember that when you change locales you need to add transit time (including hotel to train/bus depot on each end) plus packing/unpacking, getting acclimated to a new place. All this eats away at precious sightseeing or cafe time.
adrienne is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 07:41 AM
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We just spent two full weeks in Spain, flying into Madrid from the States and out of Seville (via Ryanair) to Dublin, Ireland. Spain is a huge country, so we decided against trying to include Barcelona. We divided our time between Madrid (with a daytrip to Avila), Toledo, Granada, and Seville. We used the train system, except for driving a rental car between Toledo and Granada...because the train connection would require us to return to Madrid station for a long layover. The driving was easy, as it was all highway driving.
ashcanannie is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 07:41 AM
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You do know that Barcelona to Lourdes on the train is 9 to 10 hours each way? That's 2 days travel time out of 10 or 12.
adrienne is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Spain takes 5 trips of 12 days each.
For this trip I would decide between the central Spain scenario[ Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Salamanca] and the Andalusia scenario---both will take 10 days to do well.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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10-12 days will be way too rushed to try to visit Madrid, Barcelona,Granada and Sevilla.

I agree that you need to cut down the locations. You may want to solely focus on Andalucia this trip and save another 10 day trip for Barcelona and Madrid. April/May is a wonderful time to visit Andalucia. The weather will not be too warm and there are many festivals (Semana Santa,ferias in many cities/villages, May crosses, Patio festival in Cordoba, etc...). You may want to plan to visit during one of these times - but note that in some places (ie. Sevilla during Semana Santa or Feria) although it is a great experience the cost will be more.
CathyM is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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The number of days spent at certain locations depend on individuals. What is too short for one can be totally satisfactory to you.

First plot the destinations on a map. You will find that if you insist on including Barcelona, is an isolated point with respect to the Andalucia cluster of destination or Madrid. What this means is that if you put Barcelona in the middle of the trip, you will require two long trips in out of Barcelona. If your time is tight, you want to eliminate on of these by making Barcelona first or last. Barcelona connect VERY well by air to any major cities while connect well by rail to Madrid. This goes against your insistence on making Sevilla first or last. Sevilla connects VERY well with Madrid and connects ok to Granada. Granada connects so so by ground to other destinations. Putting all this together, flying into Barcelona, then fly into Granada, then proceed to Sevilla then Madrid solves Barcelona isolation and one of Granada's poor ground connection issues. Flying back from Madrid usually gives you the largest choice of flights and is usually competitively priced.

I am not suggesting that these are relevant destinations. You have to decide on your own term what is the acceptable mix of destinations. Many people come to this forum with short duration itineraries and then start doing several backtracking to reduce usable time.
greg is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Fly into Seville, spend 3-4 nights, visit Granada for 2 nights, visit Malaga or Ronda or cadiz for 2 nights, spend last 3 nights in madrid and fly out. I would not try to squeeze Barcelona or Lourdes into this trip.
Egbert is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Thanks so much for your useful replies. This confirms my fears. We will have to do some pruning on our itinerary!
tackytaco is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Spain is really five or six different countries held together by geogrqaphy. There is much to appreciated and understood in each area, enjoy a few. The trains in Spain are excellent and there are a couple of cheap air carriers including Vueling.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old Jun 16th, 2012, 05:50 AM
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The high speed AVE train is excellent, and the 330 miles from Madrid to Sevilla - city center to city center - is only 2h 30 mins. But tickets in advance at and save at least some 50 %.
kimhe is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 03:36 PM
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I did a trip to Spain last 2 weeks of April 2012 with the following itinerary (in 13 nights): flying into Madrid, spent 4 nights there, and did 1 side trip to Toledo. Then train to Seville, spent 4 nights, with 1 side trip to Cordoba. Then train to Granada for 2 nights and flew to Barcelona for last 3 nights. Weather was a tad cold in Madrid but very pleasant in Andalusia. I didn't feel that we were rushed, and we got to see most of the major sites. Though at the end in Barcelona we were so tired of sight seeings that we decided to do nothing but went shopping and eating out. But it was our 2nd time back to Barcelona and we got most of the sightseeings done on the first trip.
SCgirl0218 is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Other than the short Barcelona trip at the end I agree that you had agood flow to your itinerary. Barcelona at the end for 3 nights was a bit rushed but you had already visited. Even then you mentioned being quite tired of seeing sites. The OP has at ther maximum 1 less night and also wants to visit Tangiers and Lourdes in addition to the places you visited. They're also a senior couple and (possibly) may not have the high evergy level that 20-30 somethings could have.

I stick with my recommendation to cut at least one geography. It's also important exactly how many days - 2 additional days can make a big difference.
CathyM is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 04:28 AM
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Hi Tackytaco,

I myself am planning a spain trip for 15 days in a group of 5 in late-twenties. Upon enquiry on fodors forum (click on my fodors profile name & then check-out my post on spain itinerary help, for more clarity on spain trip), I too rationalised the places I wished to cover.

IMHO, if you have only 10-12 days, you may want to deduct 2 days notionally just for the transfers and hotel check-in, check-out, etc. Assuming that you have good energy levels, I would still say limit this spain trip of yours to either of the 2 itineraries, depending on your inclination:

1. Fly into Madrid. Stay in Madrid for 4 days, with day-trips to Segovia & Toledo. Then drive / train to Seville. Stay in Seville for 4 days with day trips to Cordoba & Rhonda. If you can drive, then do drive during Seville stay as you can customise the drive to cover the pueblos blancos (white villages) in and around Rhonda. Then shift base to Granada to see Alhambra & explore the city.

2. Fly into Barcelona. Stay in Barcelona for 6 days with day trips to Monteserrat, Figueres, Girona. Then, either head towards Bilbao, San Sebestian for remaining days or head down south to Valencia.

My two cents.
rtwin80days is offline  
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