please critique itinerary Spain/Paris

Old Jun 17th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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please critique itinerary Spain/Paris

I had such incredible help planning my trip to Italy 3 years ago. Thank you to all the fodorites who helped out!
We are a family of four, with 2 teenage girls, planning a 4 week trip to Spain/Paris in August. I know it will be hot in August, but that's the only time we could go for this long.
We fly in to Barcelona and fly out of Paris.
3 weeks in Spain, 1 week in Paris.

4 nights Barcelona
then train or fly to Sevilla
4 nights in Sevilla
rent a car for 4/5 days
4 nights --------?????
drop car off in Granada
3 nights Granada
train to Cordoba
1 night Cordoba
AVE to Madrid
3 nights Madrid
overnight train to Paris
7 nights in Paris

Where should I spend the 4 nights between Sevilla and Granada. This will be the middle of August. We really have no interest in Costa del Sol, since we leave near the beach in San Diego. I have read about the Pueblos Blancos, but will it be unbearably hot in August. I would like to stay somewhere with a pool, so the girls can cool off. None of our other accomodations (mostly apartments) will have access to a pool.

Also, would like recommendation in hotel in Cordoba that could accomodate 4 or be inexpensive enough to get two rooms.

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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I would reorder youi trip a bit. If you are starting in Barcelona, I would then go to Granada, Cordoba, the White Villages (perhaps base in Ronda), Seville, then Madrid. Keep in mind that mid August in Andalucia will be very hot - 100 degree days are not uncommon at that time of year. I don't think the Pueblos Blancos are any hotter than the cities. You should be able to find a hotel with a pool in Ronda. Make sure that all of your accommodations have air conditioning. I
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 10:04 AM
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I had originally planned Barcelona/Granada then Sevilla before Madrid, but it turned out the apartment in Granada that I wanted to stay at was not available until later, and vice versa for the apartment in Sevilla.

I was going to rent an apartment in Barcelona, but most had wanted a week's stay. I'm hoping to find a hotel in Barcelona that will have a special summer rate. I looked at the Hesperia Tower since it had a travelzoo promotion, but that seemed to be out of town a bit.

The apartment in Sevilla does have AC, and the two apartments I'm considering in Madrid have AC. The apartment in Granada does not, but I love the view of the Alhambra.

Any recommendations for hotels in Ronda with pool, or for another area that would be a good base for the 4 nights?
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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For your 4 additional nights in Andalucia I can think of several options. You could do 3 nights + 1 night or 2/2 or all 4 nights:

Ronda
Priego de Cordoba
Ubeda
Cadiz

If possible you may want to consider adding 1-2 nights in Barcelona. You currently have 4 nights which is good just for visiting Barcelona. However, your first day will likely be jetlagged and you won't have time to venture outside of Barcelona. 3 nights is a little heavy for Granada - you could see plenty in 2 nights.

As everyone has mentioned, it will be extremely HOT in Andalucia. However, it sounds like your heart is set on this region. Personally I love this area but the weather may lead me to rethink: with your arrival in Barcelona and departure from Paris you could spend the time between in the Basque country and northern Spain. Weather will be much more moderate and the beaches are beautfil - not to mention the food! Just thought I'd throw this out although it really seems you are set on Andalucia.
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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Thanks, CathyM. We get to Barcelona very early morning, so we will have close to 5 days there. We will be jetlagged and not see much the first day, but hopefully the 5 days will be enough. If not, I guess that's enough reason to return. We have never been to Barcelona, so I couldn't justify giving it the same number of days as Paris.

This will be first time in Spain for the girls, so we wanted to give them the highlights of the country.

I thought 3 nights in Granada would be too much also, but the apartment I wanted had a minimum of 3 nights stay required. As a general rule, we try to stay at least 3 nights in one city anyway.

Any recs for specific hotels in Ronda or another location good to use as a base that would have a pool?
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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for shorter than a week rental in Barcelona take a look at

www.habitatapartments.com

I used them 3 times.
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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if you decide to stick with hotels, the derby group has some great summer deals:

http://www.derbyhotels.com/hotels-and-cities

they have several properties in Barcelona, some with pools.

alternatively, try to find somewhere down by the beach, and leave your exploring to the evenings. it could be very hot!
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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I'm trying to figure out the renfe system as well. I had been watching it for the last two weeks, as it got to be 62 days from day of travel, but certain routes, like the AVE from Barcelona to Sevilla never seemed to have the web/estrella discount displayed, for 62 days out or for any dates in July as well. Then all of a sudden, the dates up to end of July seemed to become available at a discount, but then nothing past July 26. Do they release a block of a month at a time for some routes. The other routes seem to follow the 62 day rule (ie. Malaga to Madrid, or Granada to Madrid).
Anyone have ideas of why the Barcelona/Sevilla isn't following this pattern?
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Four days in Sevilla and three days in Granada are each too long by a day. I would suggest adding time to Madrid and visiting the many worthwhile towns as day trips including Toledo, Avila, Segovia, and Cuenca.

The south can get brutal in the summer.
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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I agree with Adu 100 percent.
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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Do not expect any huge discounts the last week of July or first of August, or many discounts that time frame at all.

Total high travel season and assume Renfe will have no problems unloading seats.

I have been having trouble even getting reduced fares from Valencia to Alicante this month on the weekends for my exchange student. So, they are not very generous during high season with discounts I am afraid. No need to be.

Are you totally against driving? .. with 4 of you and wanting to go to small towns at times, seems it may not be a bad idea for part of the trip.
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 07:24 AM
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To Danon and Adu (and others),

The first part of the trip is pretty flexible. The only train tix I have bought so far are from Granada to Cordoba on the 17th (of August), and then Cordoba to Madrid on the 18th, and overnight train on the 21st from Madrid to Paris.(So I am "stuck" with staying 4 days/3 nights in Madrid, 1 night in Cordoba).
The only "hotel" stays I have paid for is our apartment for 1 week in Paris.

We fly into Barcelona August 2, and have made no other reservations until the train from Granada on the 14th. A friend has offered us free use of a luxury apartment in La Manga in Alicante, but I couldn't find anything worthwhile in the area. If we want to sit on a beautiful beach, we go to Torrey Pines beach in Del Mar which is a half mile from our home.

So priorities on this trip are museums, palaces, mosques, gardens, ruins, eat lots of good food, and to experience a way of life we don't have at home. I would prefer to stay a minimum of three nights in one location, to get at least a feel for the city.

My family actually loves trains, and given how hard it is to park in most of the cities we are going to, I don't want to rent a car unless it's to get to a location that is difficult to reach any other way. I was able to get really good fares for the trains so far (either web at 60 percent discount, or the mini oferta on the trenhotel at 50 percent discount). But I might change my mind if absolutely no discounts found on train travel from Barcelona to Andalucia.

So any ideas on revising the first part of my itinerary?
Arrive Barcelona on August 2, arriving in Granada on August 14 for 3 nights, leave from Granada on August 17th, overnight to Cordoba, 3 nights Madrid.
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 07:52 AM
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I would suggest you get a guide book which will outline the places you might want to see. Frommer's and Fodor's are good on basics and hotels and restaurants but information on small towns is non-existent. Rough guide and Lonely Planet are better on sights but not very good on hotels and restaurants.

Michelin Green is the best guide for sights. And Rick Steve's is just plain awful.
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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Are there any "main attractions" that are closed right now. I thought I read the Alcazar in one of the cities has been closed for two years, but can't recall which city that was.
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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I don't believe 4 nights is too many in Sevilla particularly if you plan to do any daytrips (Jerez, Carmona, Cadiz, etc...). These will take up an entire day. I'd budget 3 full days for Sevilla alone.

I second the suggestion to buy a basic guidebook for Spain (I prefer Rough Guides, Cadogan & Lonely Planet as they are very in depth) and read about what interests you.

I'd just be careful not to get overambitious with constant moving around and 1-2 night stays. Your first pass itinerary has a good amount of time in each place, which is a problem for most people! My feeling is I will never get bored in a mid/large sized city and can always find something. Even if I want to do a daytrip and get out of town. But if the itinerary is too fast paced but you've already locked down transportation and hotels, you're stuck. I'd rather err on the slow side.....
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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vueling often has cheap flights from Barcelona to Seville.


http://www.vueling.com/?language=EN
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