Route/itinerary advice needed

Old Jun 30th, 2014, 04:04 PM
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Route/itinerary advice needed

Hi Everyone! I'm planning our first family trip to Spain for next year. A little background: we have 2 kids, that will be 12 and 15 next summer. We like to stay in a city for 3-4 nights at least, and enjoy the sights and sounds of a place.

We'd like to visit Barcelona, Madrid, (Toledo as a day trip), Seville ( Cordoba as a day trip via train, Ronda day trip with rental car) and Granada.

Here's the tentative plan:
Fly in to Barcelona for 4 nights - Ave train to Seville for 5 nights - train to Granada for 3 nights - train to Madrid for 5 nights - fly back to London (our temp base in Europe).
17 nights total.

It would be cheaper to fly in and out of Madrid, but then Barcelona seems hard to fit into the itinerary. If you have a suggestion that starts and ends in Madrid and includes all the places we want to visit, please share!

Any recommendations on length of stay etc? I'd love some advice on that too.

Thank you!
Sue
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Old Jun 30th, 2014, 09:53 PM
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Since most of your time would be in Andalucia (expect a very warm summer), you should consider flying into Barcelona and returning from Madrid.

You'll need at least 4 nights in Barcelona, 4 in Sevilla, 2 in Granada, and an afternoon in Ronda, unless you want to visit some of the nearby wineries. You should allow at least 5 nights, if not more, in Madrid so that you can make day trips to Toledo, Segovia and Cuenca.
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Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:09 PM
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Sue, it looks good to me. You can visit wineries from all your bases (well not sure about Grenada).

I find Ronda a waste of an afternoon but if you want to go then go
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 07:25 AM
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You should consider flying from Barcelona to Seville. The train trip will be two long legs with a connection in Madrid.

Are you thinking of renting a car IN Seville and then using it to go to Ronda? Or just renting it for a day to drive to Ronda and back? The latter seems like a waste; the former seems like far more trouble than necessary.

I'd fly into Madrid, take 4-5 nights there and your day trip to Toledo. Then AVE to Seville, 4-5 nights there. Skip Ronda (that will bore the kids). Go to Granada for no more than two nights (there's not that much of interest other than Alhambra and the Capilla Real, and the city isn't pretty either). Then FLY to Barcelona and end your trip there. Fly back to the US or London or wherever from Barcelona.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 09:30 AM
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There is an early morning (08:30), late morning (11:45) and mid-afternoon (15:50) train from Barcelona to Sevilla that doesn't stop in Madrid. The 11:45 train does the run in 4hr 59min.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 09:44 AM
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Cannot stress strongly enough how hot it will be in Andalusia in the summer. Average high is about 100 and temps of 120 are not unknown. Be sure your hotels have strong AC and a good pool and if you hit the hotter weather be prepared to spend the afternoons there. Also, always carry plenty of water with you and stay well-hydrated - heat stroke is NOT fun.

We have gone twice - in april when the temps were in the 80s - plenty hot enough for us. But a young colleague of mine studies in Seville for the summer and said it was really unbearable in the afternoons.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 12:49 PM
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Thanks so much for all your replies! Appreciate all the suggestions and tips.

We're hoping to start the Spain trip on May 30th or June 1st. I guess I didn't realize that Seville would be so hot already.

We are planning on renting an apartment for most of our stops, Madrid, Seville, Barcelona. As Granada is only 2 or max 3 nights, we'll probably stay in a hotel. I'll verify the AC situation for sure!

I'd heard that the Pueblos Blancos are beautiful, which is why Ronda was added as a day trip. If it's over-rated, we can certainly skip it. We were going to rent a car for a day, just for the Ronda trip.
Would Arcos de la Frontera be a better choice? Or should we just skip them all and stick with the big cities this time?

Thanks again!
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 01:03 PM
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>

Well, that's likely less hot.

Of course, I had to buy a sweatshirt for Madrid in July many years ago.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 01:04 PM
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You should consider flying from Barcelona to Seville. The train trip will be two long legs with a connection in Madrid.>

there is also the overnight hotel train between Barcelona and Seville - save time over flying even and the cost of a night in a hotel. Spanish hotel trains have the whole gamut of sleeping options - from fancy private compartments some of which even I believe have showers and WC in the room with breakfast and dinner available.

If you're a light sleeper stay away from overnight trains but if not it could be a great experience for your kids - book a private 4-person compartment and bring any food and drink you want on board - could be quite an adventure for kids that age.

For lots of great info on Spanish trains in general and night trains check these superb IMO sites: www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

www.renfe.com has discounted fares if you book way in advance to guarantee them as sold in limited quantities they can sell out way early. If wanting fully flexible travel - chose your trains once there then the Spain Railpass which allows you to do just that could be a good deal - even though you must on top of the cost of the pass also pay mandated seat reservations of about $15 a pop.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 01:44 PM
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We have a very similar trip planned for this October. Flying into Madrid for 4 nights, Toledo, 3 nights, Seville, 5 nights with DT to Cordoba, Barcelona, 5 nights and flying home from Barcelona. So far I have the city itinerary and hotels reserved and now need to work on transportation, which will all be by train. I also need to work on a tentative itinerary for each place especially with Madrid and Barcelona since they are such large places. Hope your trip goes well.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:13 AM
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From what Renfe shows, there is no longer a night train from Barcelona to Sevilla. The Talgo departs Barcelona at 09:04, arriving in Sevilla at 20:25. But there are three direct trains running during the day.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:16 AM
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The Ave tickets from Barcelona to Seville are pretty pricey, but I guess that it's going to be expensive, whether we fly or take the train. I personally prefer trains, avoids airports and all their associated headaches.

Right now the cheapest fare I can find is under €50/pp for the Tourist class. Or the Preferente class has a 4 Mesa deal for €60/pp. I'd be tempted to go for the Preferente class, since it's a long journey. But these are prices for July/August 2014...not sure what the fares will be in 2015.

Violetduck: Do share your trip details or post a trip report if you can, would love to know how it went!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 11:27 AM
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I'd pay 10 euros or so more any day for first-class (Preferente) over 2nd class - not that 2nd class is a cattle car but first class much larger seats and I believe you get some complimentary snacks and beverages - not sure but I did last time I went first class on AVE Madrid to Seville.
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