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Please help with itinerary...

Old Aug 18th, 2014, 10:32 PM
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Please help with itinerary...

Hello,
My husband and I are arriving in Madrid on Sunday October 18 in the AM and departing from Madrid on Tuesday October 28 in the AM. We know we want to spend some time in Madrid and from there day trip to Segovia and Avila on a bus day tour, then travel to Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla and Toledo and then back to Madrid. First of all, is this too ambitious? How would you divide the nights between the cities? Would you take the train or just rent a car in Madrid and drive everywhere?
Thanks so much!
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 11:09 PM
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> "is this too ambitious?"

It depends on what you want to see and do, but as a rough estimate, I think Andalusia alone (Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada) deserves a minimum of 10 days - which is, apparently, what you have for your entire trip. So yes, IMO, you are being too ambitious. I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

No need to take a bus tour to visit Segovia and Avila from Madrid unless you want to do so -- both are easily visited on your own.

No reason to rent a car for any part of what you are considering, particularly because a car would be an encumbrance in most of these places.

If you haven't already booked your tickets, look into open jaw options.

AND do read some of the MANY posts on planning trips to Spain that are available here on Fodor's -- you can learn a LOT that way.

Enjoy!
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 12:06 AM
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You have 10 nights to accommodate. You plan to take 1 long day trip from Madrid, so that means at least 3 nights should be spent in Madrid, probably 4, leaving you with 6 or 7 nights to figure out. Toledo is also a very easy day-trip from Madrid so that could even become 4 or 5 nights in Madrid. Given that and a desire to see Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada, consider;

Madrid - 4 nights (day trip to Segovia/Avila and Toledo)

Seville - 3 nights (take an early AVE high speed train from Madrid stop in Cordoba for day trip)

Granada - 2 nights (take bus or train from Seville)

Madrid - 1 night (return late to Madrid and head to an airport hotel)

This is not ideal because of the need to return to Madrid for the final night but it makes sense from the perspective that Granada needs 2 (but probably not 3 ) nights given the logistics getting there and back and seeing Alhambra. It is over 3 hours from either Seville or Madrid.

If you are interested in trying to get to Seville on your first day (2.5 hour high speed train you could call the "napper") things ease up a little since you could finish consecutive nights in Madrid;

Seville - 4 nights (day trip to Cordoba, 45 minutes each way)

Granada - 2 nights

Madrid - 4 nights ( day trip to Segovia/Avila and Toledo, 33 minutes each way)

Having done these sorts of trips many times, this is what I would do but some people do not like pushing on after landing, having given their all to arrive overnight. IN addition to taking the train after landing, you could look into booking an ongoing one-way flight from Madrid to Seville for 3 hours or so after your scheduled arrival. No need to travel on to the train station, and likely a faster way to get there. There is some risk in your originating flight being late, and missing a pre-booked separate flight, but a 3 hour window and a Sunday morning arrival strengthen the odds it would work. You would probably want to also pre-book the AVE train to Seville so the risk is the same there if you arrive late. It depends on your comfort level, the cost, and your desire to maximize efficiency in overnight stops and travel time.

Toledo should really be done as a day-trip from Madrid in in your itinerary since you would first have to arrive in Madrid, upon returning from anywhere in Andalusia, and then head back out to it. It is not on the rail line to either Seville or Granada
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 12:59 AM
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Aramis has given good advice, using Madrid as a base for 10 days.

You ask about car hire and driving. Last time we were in Spain 2011, we hired a car for 6 weeks and found it was like driving around Australia (our home country) in 6 weeks: "same same but different," meaning you can't do it all in 6 weeks, so plan ahead and pick the choice bits. Also, the autovias are fast but you don't see anything, the local roads are scenic but tortoise-crawling pace.

We found it was easy to park our car at the rail stations in smaller towns and just use the train to go into the bigger cities, because the city traffic is horrendous and did our heads in after a couple of forays.

We will be back in Barcelona in January, and hiring a car is the furthest thing from our minds. Any 3-4 days in any Spanish city should be done on foot or by public transport.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Aramis has given you a potentially workable plan, but it would be WAY too rushed for my tastes. I thought Madrid deserved at least 4 full days NOT COUNTING day trips, Sevilla/Avila a day, Toledo 2 full days, Sevilla 3 full days NOT COUNTING day trips, Cordoba 2 full days, snf Granada 2 full days. It really depends on what YOU want to see and experience. Again, I recommend sitting down with some guidebooks and finding a plan that works for your interests.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 07:21 AM
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It would be too ambitious for me, but as mentioned you have to decide for yourself. With your time frame I would divide the time between Madrid and Seville. Then while in Madrid take a day trip to Toledo and from Seville to Cordoba. Have a good trip!!!
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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Thanks so much for the input everyone! Very helpful. We were able to add another day to our trip to make the schedule a touch more comfortable and we've decided to only do a day trip to Cordoba from Sevilla.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 08:58 AM
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I like the idea of going right to Seville for three or four nights w/ a daytrip to Cordoba, then 2 nights in Granada. I like to end my trip with 3 or 4 nights in Madrid. That's a perfect way to spend 10 days in Spain.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 06:07 PM
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Another thing to consider: Madrid is easier to get to than Seville, so if you have to short-change something, Madrid will likely be easier to see in the future.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 06:37 PM
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You could
Arrive Madrid head straight to Seville
3 nights Seville
Spend day 4 in Seville, catch late train to Cordoba, stay in Cordoba
1 night Cordoba
Day 5 see Mosque, catch afternoon Train to Granada
2 nights Granada
Day 7 early train to Madrid
4 nights Madrid
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