Southern Spain

Old Jan 27th, 2022, 07:40 AM
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Southern Spain

Hello,

I am a new member and a friend of mine told me to ask some of my travel questions here on Fodors related to my summer vacation in the south of Spain. I have done quite a bit of research to narrow the choices of where we will visit, but I think advice from other travellers who have been to southern Spain will defnitely be of help.

My husband and I will be in Spain for sixteen full days (not including travel days). We have not seen much of Spain except for a few days in Barcelona a few years back. We have travelled to Europe most summers over the last ten years (except for the last two due to covid), and have always wanted to see the region of Andalucia. We have read everywhere that July can be quite hot so we are planning to spend about ten days sightseeing and just under a week relaxing, preferably at a beach in an area where day trips are also possible.

We know we want to spend time in Seville and Malaga (we are not sure how many nights in each) but do not know whether to spend overnights in Cadiz, Cordoba, and/or Granada or just take day trips to see them. As well, for the week of relaxation, we are considering remaining on the Andalucian coast or taking a flight to the Canary or Balaeric Islands.

Can you help ? Thank you.

Charlotte
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Old Jan 27th, 2022, 07:57 AM
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I would certainly spend overnights in Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada and Málaga. The cities will be HOT in July!
No need to fly to the Canary or the Balearic Islands for a week of relaxation. The beaches south of Cádiz (= Costa de la Luz) are fabulous (Conil de la Frontera, Chiclana de la Frontera). You could daytrip to Cádiz, Vejer de la Frontera, Tarifa.
The beaches at the Costa del Sol aren't bad, either, but much more touristy. Marbella, Estepona, Mijas Costa, Fuengirola, ... All are not too far away from Málaga, which could save you an overnight there.

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Old Jan 27th, 2022, 08:51 AM
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Hi MyriamC,

Thanks for your advice.

The reason we would not want to spend the week relaxing on the beaches south of Cadiz is that the Atlantic, even in summer, can be cooler than we like, so we would rather spend time on the Meditteranean. The flight from Malaga to Majorca, for instance. is inexpensive and quick and the beaches and island look wonderful and the water there is warm in July.

We know we are going to stay in Seville and Malaga, but we were debating whether to stay overnight in either Cordoba and/or Granada. If we do stay overnight in each, that would leave us eight nights in Seville and Malaga, and since we want to take a day trips to both Cadiz and Ronda, we are thinking four nights in Seville and four nights in Malaga (Cadiz from Seville, Ronda from Malaga).

Therefore, we could do four nights in Seville with a day trip to Cadiz, train/drive to Cordoba for one night, train/drive to Granada for one night, train/drive to Malaga for four nights with a day trip to Ronda, then fly to Majorca and spend seven nights.

Does this make sense? Thanks again.


Last edited by ATimeForUs; Jan 27th, 2022 at 09:04 AM.
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Old Jan 27th, 2022, 01:16 PM
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Below is our three-week trip in 2015 (link below). We loved Granada (two full days/3 nights). Lots to see outside of the Alhambra. Sevilla was also terrific (4 nights with a day trip to Cordoba to see the Mezquita ... amazing) Personally, I liked to do just the day trip ... short train ride and no packing/unpacking.

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/spain-2015/
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Old Jan 27th, 2022, 02:26 PM
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We visited Andalucia in September 2017. We spent 4 nights in Seville (3 full days), 2 nights in Granada (one full day), 2 nights in Cordoba and 2 nights in Malaga. That's what I would recommend at the very least. Seville is a beautiful city with lots of important sites, and I really believe based on our experience that you need 3 full days in Seville. There is more to Cordoba than just the Mezquita, and the charm of Cordoba is in the evening when the day trippers have left, and the city and Mezquita are illuminated. And I feel the same way about Granada, too. So I strongly recommend 2 nights in each of those cities. We really, really enjoyed Malaga, too. So if you have 17 nights on the ground, you could do the following: Seville (4 nights), Cordoba (2 nights), Granada (2 nights), Malaga (2 nights), and 7 nights in Majorca. Or 3 or 4 nights in Malaga with fewer nights in Majorca.

If you wish, you can click on my name to read my trip report. Also, I strongly recommend reserving hotels with pools. I remember reading trip reports from people who were in Andalucia during the summer months, and they talked about being drenched in sweat after sightseeing for 10 minutes.
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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 07:26 AM
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Great information. Thank you. As we do not want to check-in and check-out of so many different places, we are thinking about doing day trips to Cadiz and Cordoba from Seville and then spending two nights in Granada. From all we have seen, Granada looks to us to be more interesting with more areas to explore. Is this a correct assessment? We also may be able to add two more nights to our trip and, if we can, here would be our itinerary:

Six nights in Seville (with day trips to Cordoba and Cadiz), four nights in Malaga (with a day trip to Ronda), two nights in Granada, seven nights in Majorca.

Is this an interesting itinerary? Anything you would change?

Charlotte



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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 08:58 AM
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This itin is better. Cordoba is a long visit but the days are long in July. I'd catch the early train and have breakfast in a bar in Cordoba and keep going until a later supper and a train home. Of course if you tire easily you should re-think. Especially as stuff gets a bit quiet in the afternoon. I have sometimes taken a traditional hotel room for the Siesta in a town, that is possibe

Malaga beach itself is pretty good.

You may wish to add Jerez to your list.

If covid lets you the place will be busy
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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 09:14 AM
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Inland in July will be sizzling hot, especially in the cities of Seville and Cordoba, with temperatures hitting over 100F. There is air conditioning, but not universal like in US and they keep long siesta every day, from around 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm. Only major sights will be open all day. This will restrict the amount of sightseeing you can and want to do.
Also I don't see much point in flying to Majorca just for the beaches. Water temperature will be higher in Costa del Sol, and there are many high-end beach resorts especially in Marbella and Estepona. Nerja, where I live, is in Eastern Costa del Sol but is a wonderful town/resort with definite Spanish character with plenty of tapas bars and restaurants. A week will be wonderful.
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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 09:24 AM
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This will restrict the amount of sightseeing you can and want to do.
Alec makes a key point, speaking as someone who actually lives there. I'd simply add that a summer itinerary with many stops may be tempting fate around sheer exhaustion. Fewer stops might minimize the tiredness, the frustration, the arguing et al.
Sounds like a great trip OP, hope it goes well!

I am done. the end
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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 11:06 AM
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Thank you to everyone for taking the time and giving your advice.

I did look at beach areas in the Costa del Sol but Majorca really does have more beautiful beaches, has its own unique Spanish island charm and would be a nice change from Andalucia. As well, the sea temperatures in Majorca are slightly warmer in July than in Nerja and the rest of the Costa del Sol, so with a week, the short flight from Malaga is not a hindrance at all and helps to make it feel like two vacations in one.



Last edited by ATimeForUs; Jan 29th, 2022 at 11:41 AM.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 01:35 AM
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What sort of beaches are you looking for?

You could drive from Granada to Cartagena. The old town is nice. There is a national park (regional park?) just outside that has some gorgeous wild beaches.

There are a string of beaches both north and south of there.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Alec View Post
Also I don't see much point in flying to Majorca just for the beaches.
My thoughts exactly! No need to fly to Mallorca where the beaches are mostly small and narrow coves whereas the beaches in Marbella, Estepona, Fuengirola, Benalmadena, ... are fabulously long with nice beach bars all over. Even the beach in Málaga (La Malagueta) is great for hanging around. Flying somewhere else would be a waste of time. Yes, it's a short flight but you need time to get to the airport, be there 2 hrs in advance (maybe more with testing, filling in forms, etc.), hope that your flight is on time, drive a few hours for the nicer beaches (Alcudia, Pollensa) etc. etc. Really a waste of time!
And, as pointed out by Alec, the water temperature will be lower around the islands. Such is, obiously, always the case.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
You could drive from Granada to Cartagena. The old town is nice. There is a national park (regional park?) just outside that has some gorgeous wild beaches.
The old town WAS nice. We have been there in October of last year and the whole city seems to be under construction and scaffolding.
Also been to Bolnuevo and Puerto de Mazarrón but besisdes that, there's not really much to see in the area.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ATimeForUs View Post
Thank you to everyone for taking the time and giving your advice.

I did look at beach areas in the Costa del Sol but Majorca really does have more beautiful beaches, has its own unique Spanish island charm and would be a nice change from Andalucia. As well, the sea temperatures in Majorca are slightly warmer in July than in Nerja and the rest of the Costa del Sol, so with a week, the short flight from Malaga is not a hindrance at all and helps to make it feel like two vacations in one.
Go with your instinct. Clearly that is what you are attracted to. Also, you might consider Menorca instead of Majorca.
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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 10:51 PM
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Great tips here! maitaitom I just spent over an hour reading your trip report! It is fantastic! I truly appreciate the photos, detail and sincere opinions. Oh, and I don’t think I’ve laughed this much ​​​​​ever reading a trip report. You are a great writer!
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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 04:21 AM
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We are considering replacing Seville with Madrid. As we know we want to spend a week in Majorca, we will have twelve nights in mainland Spain, and spending five nights in Madrid, with day trips to Toledo and/or Segovia, makes sense to us as to miss Madrid on this trip seems like a shame.

We have always wanted to see Madrid and thus we will be able to get the old world feel of Spain in our stays in Granada (three nights) and Malaga (four nights) and also be able to visit Madrid's art museums and take in it's majestic beauty, giving our trip a more layered experience.

Before we finalize, we need your opinion: in the context of our trip, is replacing Seville with Madrid a good idea?

Thanks again.

Charlotte

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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 06:18 AM
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Remember it's your trip. I'm more of a fan of Seville but obviously the three big museums in Madrid are serious draws.

If you can manage a Wednesday in Madrid see if the changing of the guard is on that day. I can't remember if it runs in July or not. They take part of the summer off IIRC.
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Old Feb 1st, 2022, 05:37 AM
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I'd choose Cordoba over Granada, despite the heat. Afternoons are siesta time, then things open back up when it cools off. The Mezquita is one of those rare places that photos cannot even begin to do justice, plus the whole place is so gorgeous, and then you have the ruins of Medina Azahara outside Cordoba, the Jewish Quarter, the patios.... but if you do go to Granada then go have dinner in the Arab Quarter . You can see the nighttime views of the Alhambra form Mirador San Nicolas , order the sagria 'de la abuela' at Meson El Yunque on Placeta San Miguel Bajo (as always in Granada, you get a free tapa with every drink), and eat at El Ladrillo.

The best of Madrid is actually outside of Madrid, the cities like Toledo, Segovia, and Avila.
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Old Feb 1st, 2022, 10:19 AM
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Granada is absolutely wonderful. Three nights would not be too many. There is a lot to do and just walking and the views are gorgeous. It is cooler in Summer too. Great food also. Gives you history, old world charm and beautiful landscapes, plus The Alhambra. Read Tales of The Alhambra if you have not already.

If you plan on a day in Cordoba, then get a hotel for one night, so you can sightsee in the morning, rest in the afternoon in a cool room or pool and enjoy the evening out and about. If you do decide on Madrid, it would be super easy to make Cordoba an overnight stop on the train. If you got there late in the day, enjoy the evening and tour the next morning before continuing on to Seville.

In Summer this is a good plan almost everywhere, especially Madrid and Seville. Except for museums, many things close during the heat of the day. It is as if you have two different kinds of experiences: mornings for activities and sightseeing and evenings for culture and socializing.

Toledo is really, truly best when you stay overnight. I took one day trip from Madrid and it was so disappointing. I took another and spent a night. It was magical. Honestly, the experience is so different, I would almost say don’t go if you can’t spend the night, except for the Cathedral. It is also cooler than Madrid and with most tourists gone at night, it has a very local feel of families and friends gathering in restaurants to meet. The cathedral is mind blowing. Just look up at the el Transparente and be astonished by the sculptures and opening. Don’t miss the El Greco gallery.
Look at this to see why it is my favorite cathedral among many that I have seen.
https://www.khanacademy.org/humaniti...n-introduction

Three nights will do in Madrid in Summer, IMHO.
Three nights are enough for Seville in Summer too, IMHO. It was the hottest place I have ever been in Summer, nothing moving one afternoon.

BTW, have to agree with others about some of the beaches being beautiful in Southern Spain. We drove a good bit of the coast once and it was really interesting and enticing. Unfortunately, we had not planned for beach time that trip.

Of course, it is your trip and the islands sound fun, but likely very crowded in Summer. Consider renting a car and driving to the Algarve in Southern Portugal for the vacation part of your trip. You could always get a hotel with a great pool, right on the water, and take some boat trips.
https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/algarve
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Old Feb 1st, 2022, 11:23 AM
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Both Cordoba and Granada deserve at least a full day, which means 2 nights in each place.


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