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South of Spain - South of France - December - with Kids - Advice?

South of Spain - South of France - December - with Kids - Advice?

Jul 10th, 2012, 09:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4
South of Spain - South of France - December - with Kids - Advice?

Hello all,

We are planning a trip out to Europe in December (15 to Jan 1). We will be hauling our kids age 3 and 6 months along and we have 15 days.

We were considering doing some time in Barcelona, maybe Seville and then sometime along the southern coast of France. Any recommendations? We are open to renting a car if needed.

Seville - 2 days
Barcelona - 5 days
South of france?? - 5 days?

Also, any information on weather at that time in those areas would be helpful. Everything I've read says mild, not too cold, not wet.

skychatter is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 12:51 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Weatherwise, it makes sense to spend more time in Andalusia. Temps in Andalusia might reach 20°C, while Barcelona and Southern France will be considerably colder (Barcelona: 12°C, Nice 13°C, Provence 10°C). In Provence expect icy, gusty winds (the Mistral). All mentioned destinations will have 5-6 rainy days in December.

Although I love Southern France, I have to say that Andalusia has much to offer besides Sevilla, e.g.

- Cordoba (more authentic than Sevilla, more impressive cathedral),
- Granada (spectacular palace, absolutely unique),
- Carmona (a charming, authentic city),
- Jerez (sherry-tasting),
- white towns (e.g. Ronda, Vejer),
- orange groves,
- scenery,
- Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline.
Christmas in Andalusia will be very festive.

In other words, Andalusia is worth a week. I would rather cut down Barcelona which can be explored in two or three days.

Southern France is huge and very diverse. The southeastern part alone comprises the Languedoc, the lower and upper Provence and the Cote d'Azur. Within your limited timeframe, you have to focus on one of these regions.

Weather will be most agreeable at the Cote d'Azur.


In Barcelona, a car would be a hindrance. From Barcelona to Andalusia, you might take the fast train AVE which takes 4:42 (driving time would be 10 hours). In Andalusia, you should rent a car.

In Southern France, a car would be useful, too. From Barcelona to Nice, driving time would be 7 hours, driving time to other destionations in Southern France will be less. However, given the cross-border fees of car rentals, it might make sense to take a plane.

Within 15 days and your little ones in tow, you might even think about restricting your trip to two destinations. Why not staying in Spain: 8 days Andalusia, 3 days Madrid (it is on the way,it is the capital and you will visit an inhabitated royal palace) and 3 days Barcelona? If you want to get a taste of France, you might do a daytrip from Barcelona into the Languedoc, with stops in Collioure, Ceret, Perpignan. Even Carcassone is within reach (3 hours driving time from Barcelona).
traveller1959 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 12:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Statistics for past 16 years second half of December:

Sevilla: day highs 57-65F, night lows 41-52F, average 5 hours sun pr. day.
Barcelona: day highs 52-61, night lows 36-48, average 3 hours sun pr day. 3 days with rainfall in two weeks.
Nice: day highs 52-59, night lows 39-46, average 4 hours sun pr day. 4 days with rainfall in two weeks.
kimhe is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 01:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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... and I very much back traveller1959 about Andalucía being an extremely rich region: several vibrant cities with loads of history and culture, beautiful small villages, great coast and mountain scenery, food, people etc. Can easily get addictive...
This site is a good start, gives to the point info about a wide range of topics regarding Andalucía: http://www.andalucia.com/
kimhe is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 05:45 AM
Join Date: May 2012
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"We will be hauling our kids age 3 and 6 months along and we have 15 days."
If your flight involves the risk of jet lag, it would be wise to take your childrens´ needs into account. As you know, an unhappy, tired child can make a vacation miserable.

You say you have 15 days but I wonder how many of those days will be taken up by arrival, departure and recovery from jet lag. In any case, you can safely discount your arrival and departure days from the equation. They will be "lost" days.

I agree with all the above posters who say that Seville/Andalucía would be the best choice in the winter. You may get rain but (mostly) it will be warm during the daytime. Be warned that it can get cold at night.

I live in a white village near Ronda and the nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing, even though we have been walking in the mountains during the day in just short sleeves and lightweight trousers.

I would choose to spend my time in Madrid and Seville/Andalucía. Barcelona is just too far from Seville, too costly to travel to Andalucía (unless you are fortunate)and an increased chance of cold, rainy weather.

The bit I really have difficulty with is "along the southern coast of France." I used to live in Provence and anywhere in or near the Rhône Valley can be bitterly cold and blustery when the Mistral wind is blowing. That includes the coastline. I would set that aside for another visit.
TonyBishop is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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I can't speak to Andalucia in winter, but the Mediterranean coast of France at that time of year is - bleak. The resorts are deserted, the Mistral is often blowing, and it's cold and gray and rainy. Unless you plan to spend a lot of time in museums and other indoor attractions, which isn't terribly appealing with kids that age, I'd skip it.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 11th, 2012, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,621
Spain south or Portugal would be better than France. But you will not find water parks etc fully open, traveller's advice is sound.

Days will be short. You will find that hotels may have large fireplaces which never get lit and this can lead to chilly rooms etc. So try to avoid staying in cheap traditional hotels at these times. You should pack a few extra fleeces or blankets for those nights. You may also find that getting into some restaurants is difficult around Christmas, so be prepared to use appartments or book specific meals some way ahead.

You will find that the train system is great for visiting Malaga, Seville, Cordoba and much better than a car. Grenada a car is optional
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 04:26 AM
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My family and I spent three weeks in France last December. We spent about a week in the south of France- 4 days in Nice, one night in Monaco- we loved it! The sun was shining every day, it wasn't too busy, it seemed like it was mostly French residents on holiday. It was warm enough for us to swim in the ocean(we are from Alaska). It was very easy to stop into a hotel without reservations and have no problem getting a room.
Davidm6138 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 06:51 PM
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Posts: 4
Thanks a lot for your thoughtful replies. I've gotten as far as booking my tickets to and from Spain now.

Here's what I'm considering based on your inputs:

1. Barcelona: (landing there from SFO) - 4 days
- get over jetlag
- things to see in and around the city
- Day trip to see Montserrat ?
2. Peripignan and Collioure - 1 day (stay overnight)

3. Seville: (Train from Barcelona) - 6 days (including Xmas)
4. Cordoba (Drive from Seville?)
5. Granada (Drive from Seville?)
6. Ronda (Drive from Seville?)

7. Madrid - (Train from Seville) 3 days (Dec 30, 31, 1)
8. Jan 2 - depart to SFO

Any advice on how best to tour andalucia from Seville? I was considering renting a car and driving. I wouldn't want to drive more than 3 hours at a time with kids in the back.

Also, since Xmas will be in Andalucia, any particular place that would be good to visit at this time?

skychatter is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 08:28 PM
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Granada is too far to do as a daytrip from Seville. See if you can train straight from Barcelona to Granada (or check cheap fares on Ryanair) then spend one or two nights in Granada and then train to Seville - you can stop in Cordoba on the way if you like or do later as a daytrip from Seville.
jgg is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 12:52 AM
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Cordoba is easily done as a train trip from Seville.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Just so you know - Madrid sits on a high plateau in the middle of the country - and does get true winter weather. It's perfectly possible to get snow in Dec. Barcelona is warmer since it's right on the coast - but can still get nasty weather at times.

If it were me I would stick in Andalusia.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 20th, 2012, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 8
The weather in Andalucia at Xmas time is normally good.. Warm enough to enjoy a day at the beach even.
Night-time temps drop, so a jacket will be required.
The Xmas and new year festivities is colourful and unique...so its a good time to visit!
If you stay in Malaga, then it´s quite central to visit Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, Ronda, Jerez, Cadiz, Gibraltar, even Africa. All of which could be done as a say trip.

We offer a beachfront apartment in Estepona, on the western end of the costa del sol, malaga -with rates from 250 pounds per week. For longer lets, we offer great discounts.
Ideal location to enjoy the numerous golf courses, the Andalucian white villages, miles of sandy coastline ... Under an hour´s drive from Malaga, and 30 mins to Gibraltar.
Visit www.golf-beachrentalspain.co.uk
golfbeach is offline  

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