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Post Vaccine Getaway - perhaps Southern coastal Spain?

Post Vaccine Getaway - perhaps Southern coastal Spain?

Old Feb 22nd, 2021, 07:23 AM
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The Pacific Islands require too much travel time, which eats into the timeframe we can use. Long vacations aren't in the cards right now. As soon as they are, the 2 priority/wish list trips we want to do are Greece and Sicily (separately, not both in 1 trip), I'd try to make those closer to 2 weeks each as opposed to 8, maybe 9 days that we can do for a fall '21 trip (assuming I get vaccinated). We also want to reschedule a trip we had planned to Israel last June. We were supposed to be celebrating my daughter's marriage with her Israeli in-law family. Sadly that didn't happen. Neither did her US celebration (was supposed to be March '20), US celebration has been rescheduled 3 times, now set for November (she did marry, just hasn't had big party).
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 04:38 AM
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Yes, I adored the area near Barbate/Vejer. I had planned to return for two winters now but had to cancel both due to virus. The beaches are gorgeous and the seafood is beyond belief. Do not miss El Campero in Barbate. You can fly into Jerez for this. Beaches there are much nicer than those in Malaga. I'd go to Sanlucar as well and Mikelg's post is enthraling to me....
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 05:56 AM
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Mikelg: Any recommendations for a hotel in Ayamonte? Restaurants in the region you visited?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for the responses. I feel like I'm on the right track. I just have to figure out which location(s) to use as base (costa de la luz area), in addition to Malaga.

As soon as I can get a vaccine (waiting for them to lower the age again in NYC), and I can confirm that I can visit these places without quarantining, I'll start booking. If we have to quarantine upon arrival, that pretty would put this on hold.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 11:08 AM
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Sanlucar de barrameda is one of our favorite towns in that whole area. It is really pretty with a wide beach and charming town plazas and fun in the evenings. Just google some images. Mine did not post.
We also enjoyed El Puerto de Santa Maria as someone else mentioned. It has great food and a beach.
Rota is quite charming for walking and has a lovely beach front right in the city, so nice for restaurants, etc.
Cadiz is quite beautiful, interesting also for the history connected with Lord Nelson.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 11:50 AM
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Is Gibraltar worth visiting?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 12:59 PM
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From first hand experience, I would not go out of my way to go there. I have been to Gibraltar twice actually, once on purpose, once unintentionally. I did enjoy it the first time because I liked the apes (the only wild monkeys in Europe) and the quick history tour, but cannot imagine ever going again. It uses up a lot of time with little reward. I would go to any of the places already mentioned before that. I would love to go to Sanlucar de Barrameda again and would definitely go to Cadiz, Rota or El Puerto de Santa Maria again. I would go to Seville or Granada again and have done so.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Feb 23rd, 2021 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Adding words
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 06:00 AM
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Quick question - how is parking in these various towns? I'm thinking many of these places will be day trips from a base (or 2).

I remember when we made stops along the coast in Basque country, every town seemed to have different parking rules with color coded system, meters, garages, etc. We fortunately didn't get any tickets, but I'm not so sure we always legally parked.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by MFNYC View Post
Is Gibraltar worth visiting?
I've been a couple of times and quite enjoy it. Pre-Brexit, there were occasional border issues between Spain and the UK government that resulted in go-slow actions by the Spanish border guards that really impaired crossings. I gather these have been resolved post-Brexit but have no first-hand experience. I'd imagine pandemic restrictions have also made "normal" a fleeting thing in the region.

The sense of history in Gibraltar is palpable, as are small things like a surprisingly large Jewish population, uncommon (duh) for Iberia, and places like the Rock Hotel (where we stayed) which was host to the likes of Winston Churchill and where John and Yoko got married. And of course there are the caves, the apes, pubs...
Originally Posted by MFNYC View Post
Quick question - how is parking in these various towns? I'm thinking many of these places will be day trips from a base (or 2).

I remember when we made stops along the coast in Basque country, every town seemed to have different parking rules with color coded system, meters, garages, etc. We fortunately didn't get any tickets, but I'm not so sure we always legally parked.
I don't think one can generalize; the smaller villages will have very limited parking, usually located on the perimeter of the central part of the town, while others might have more conveniently located parking. We stayed at a very nice seafront hotel near Tarifa, the Hotel Hurricane, which had ample parking as well as a terrific restaurant and other amenities. Distances aren't great, so day visits to various locations are quite convenient.


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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 01:11 PM
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Parking is ample in September in most of the Cadiz area towns (El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz, Conil, Vejer, Jerez, if not free on the roads maybe 1 or 2 Euros for 3-5 hours. Boston costs me $30 an hour in parking areas! More in NY I believe. To me Gibraltar was a worthy day trip. To be so close to this historic land and sites (yes the monkeys are a lot of fun) I would try to fit it in your schedule. Kinda cool to walk across the lone runway of the airport (thats how you get there on foot as jets fly in. One minute you are in Spain and the next minute you see the British red phone booths and restaurants selling British ale and baked beans on toast! And from Bolonia, Tarifa, Zahara, on a clear day you can see another continent (Africa) kinda nice as you sit and have lunch and or a vino and look at another continent.
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Old Feb 25th, 2021, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
Mikelg: Any recommendations for a hotel in Ayamonte? Restaurants in the region you visited?
Hi Ekscrunchy! Well, to be honest we spent most of the time doing it the "Spanish way", going from place to place and having a small platter or a tapa in each. We were absolutely delighted to find Alimentación Orta, a grocery store in business since 1863 and NOT a tourist trap at all, that offers fantastic quality products over the counter, but in the back patio and rooms they also offer small platters of top quality, at unbelievably good prices. On the endless sandy beaches there are a good number of "chiringuitos", that is, bars located on the upper part of the beach that offer seafood and other local stuff at very affordable prices. Also, the bars around the fish market offer fantastic tapas of grilled local tuna for a ridiculous price. We bought quite a good number of canned seafood products (tuna belly, melva -another type of tuna, cockles, and so on) and olive oil (the one in this area is not that well known) first press, for also very good deals. Iberian pork products are also a must, of course!

A great thing about Huelva that does not (to my knowledge) exist in other parts of Andalusia are the food kiosks, small places in squares or at the intersections of streets where a cook offers local delicacies at very, very affordable prices. Atmosphere is fantastic, as in our experience people brought their guitars and spend one, two or three hours singing (well, after the first hour it´s kind of tiring, but with another beer and a platter of iberian ham it´s easier). Fun, cheap, just for locals, excellent food and a lovely way to spend the evening (open until 1am)

I tend to stay in apartments, found one at a just 10 min walk from the town center, with a pool and central gardens (not a resort) for a very good price too (13 days for 600eur in August; maybe due to the pandemic, not sure!).

Last edited by mikelg; Feb 25th, 2021 at 11:13 PM.
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Old Feb 26th, 2021, 05:42 AM
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To book or not to book? I can use miles to get NYC > XRY, AGP > NYC (both with Madrid transfers) in September. I can cancel any time and have my miles refunded, so there is no risk. Not sure how these areas will be operating come September, as far as restaurants/cafes/bars, and sights being open. I'm guessing much of this trip can be outdoors. I'm hoping to be vaccinated by early summer (hopefully sooner, just need them to lower age a tiny bit). Spain, so far has about 2.6% vaccinated with both doses, US at about 6.6%, so Spain at a slower pace. Hopefully things will pick up everywhere in the next few months.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2021, 01:47 AM
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I've been to southern coastal Spain, but haven't yet been to Portugal. Southern Spain is marvelous, I loved Seville, Ronda, and many other pearls.
Although I have heard that Portugal is cheaper than Spain is nowadays so I don't know if that is something of interest to you. Portugal also has the same nice climate but a culture that is quite unique from Spain's.
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Old Mar 5th, 2021, 01:21 PM
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I think for the time being, I'm going to wait until Spain allows visitors from the US. I was able to get vaccinated (have 2nd does coming up in a few weeks), so I will be good to go soon, but looks like most of Europe isn't yet ready for US visitors yet. I'm hoping with the vaccine rollout hopefully picking up steam, things will change in the near future.



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Old May 2nd, 2021, 07:42 AM
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Resurrecting this trip idea. Spain is opening in June. Vaccines still behind US but picking up steam. Husband and I now fully vaccinated. Hoping by fall Spain will be in decent shape. Can book with reward travel which makes it easier to change or cancel. Thinking of flying into Jerez and out of Malaga, in September. Would rent a car. Can spend 8-9 nights, with 2 or 3 base points (definitely Malaga at the end). Would do lots of day trips exploring the towns. Most of the trip can be geared to outdoors, just wandering around, exploring, and photographing with tapas stops in between.

Anybody know off hand if things are, or will be open in this area (restaurants, hotels, shops)? How have the regional covid and vaccine rates been in this part of Spain? We would not venture to Madrid (except airport transfers), largest city would be Malaga. We have no problem being masked entire time and respectful of distancing rules, and whatever other covid protocols they may have.

Last edited by MFNYC; May 2nd, 2021 at 07:46 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2021, 04:34 PM
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I took the plunge and booked for early September. I used reward travel, so easy to change or cancel. Flying into Jerez and out of Malaga, 9 nights in Spain (+1 in plane flying there). We'll rent a car, Probably spend 1st night in Jerez de la Frontera, then rent a car. Will spend last 2-3 nights in Malaga, and somewhere else in between (lots to choose from!). I'm thinking lots of day trips including Gibralta..

We like B&B type places or small hotels with local charm. Doesn't have to be fancy, just well located, quiet, comfortable and clean, in the $100-200 range.. Itinerary suggestions welcome now that the flights are set.
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Old May 19th, 2021, 12:19 AM
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In terms of places to stay, have you considered Paradors? https://www.parador.es/en They are state own hotels, sometimes modern, more often in historic buildings. We lived in a small town in Andalucia for a year and would often go away for weekend breaks using one the parador routes which included dinner B&B we stayed in hunting lodges, castles etc and the costs are reasonable and most are within your stated budget. One route we did was the “Route of the Nazrids” staying in some amazing properties in Jaen, Ubeda and Cazorla. you could perhaps combine that with Seville and end up in Malaga.

Jerez is pleasant enough. We spent a few nights there with a side trip to Cadiz. I would recommend a visit to one of the sherry producers also there were a few good, non touristy Flamenco bars in the town.

FWIW, I wouldn’t bother with Gibraltar . Some photos and info on a day trip we took there on our blog @https://accidentalnomads.com/2013/04/16/day-trip-to-gibraltar/ I wouldn’t have bothered as I was there briefly in my teens but my wife was interested. Possibly of more interest to the British than Americans and its a lot out of a nine day trip.

Malaga is a wonderful place to spend a few days. We stayed in a great apartment next to Mercado Central de Artazanas - a must see if you are foodies! Always lots going on , loads of amazing restaurants and bars.

We are currently looking at something similar for a wedding anniversary trip next year, pandemic restrictions permitting!
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Old May 19th, 2021, 06:23 AM
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crellston, thanks. I will look into the Paradors. We stayed in Pousadas in Portugal and they were great. As far as Sevilla, we've been there (love it). Also been to Granada, Cordoba and Ronda, so want to go to different places, along the coast. Some of the road stops/daytrips/overnights I'm considering are Rota, Cadiz, Conil de la Frontera, Vejer de la Frontera, Bolonia, Zahara, Estepona and maybe Marbella. I just need to figure out the logistics for 9 days worth of travel. We are pretty efficient travelers. Our last trip was Basque Country (fall 2019), and we moved around quite a bit there, basically doing a loop from Bilbao to St Jean De La Luz and back to Bilbao, one way more inland (La Rioja), and one way coastal (San S). This trip we do have the open jaw ticket so don't have to loop back.
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