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Southern Spain 7-9 days: 1st timer--need HELP quick please

Southern Spain 7-9 days: 1st timer--need HELP quick please

Feb 19th, 2009, 11:33 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Southern Spain 7-9 days: 1st timer--need HELP quick please

Would like to escape to Andalusia sometime between Semanta Santa and the Feria (so mid-Aprilish). My husband and I have never been to Spain before but I've always wanted to go and we'd like someplace warm (relative to Chicago).

We like art, architecture, museums, history inc. church history, wandering around interesting cities/towns just exploring, enjoying local restaurants and bars, getting to know a bit about the local culture.

Even though I'm used to being an independent traveler, it seems with all the advance purchases of train and museum tickets etc that perhaps it would be best going through a Spanish agency?

However, i'd really also like to book my flights and accomodations myself because of our FF program and also would love to rent a roomy condo, townhouse, apt., house via vrbo or some such. Availability and prices seem good.

So my BIG questions:
Do everything independent or get someone (agency/consultant) to help?

I'd LOVE to stay in ONE location and do daytrips from there but unsure if that one location should be Seville? or Granada? or Cordoba? or one of the White Towns?

If a White Town, which one and why??

Is Seville and Granada and a couple White Towns TOO much to do in such a short time period??

Please help soon!

THANK YOU!
ParadiseLover is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:21 PM
  #2  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,197
Most people here are independent travelers who book and arrange everything themselves, so you'd get a skewed view here.

The only things I can think of reserving in advance would be train tickets given that you're planning to travel during holy week. It's not that difficult once you get a hang of Renfe's website. Do a search here for Renfe, and also look at Maribel's guide to booking tix online.
http://maribelsguides.com/renfetickets.htm

Also, advance tickets to the Alhambra at Grananda is a must, but that can also be booked easily via their website.
www.alhambra-tickets.es

My major concern is whether you can still get affordable lodgings at this late stage.

Maribel's guides are very useful for trip planning.
http://www.maribelsguides.com/
yk is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:24 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,007
I think you can definitely go independent! As long as you are not coinciding with SS or a feria, not much advance work is needed. Just your Alhambra tickets. There are many Spanish experts here, so I'm sure you'll get lots more advice.
At lot depends on if it's 7 or 9 days, and where you fly in/out of. I did a similar-length trip in which I flew into Madrid, immediately took a train to Cordoba, spent a night there then went to Ronda by train, then bus to Sevilla, and flew out of there. It all depends on if and when you will have a rental car, how much driving you like to do in one day, etc. I don't think it is advisable to drive in Sevilla, so drop the car off when you get there. Cordoba is an easy day trip from Sevilla, but Granada too far. I would try to stay in a white town at least a night rather than just day trip, because it can be so different when all the other day trippers leave!
good luck
yorkshire is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:31 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
If you prefer ONE base, choose Carmona. It is conveniently located between Sevilla and Cordoba and offers good access to Jerez, Ronda, even Granada. And it is a charming white town and very authentic. You will find excellent restaurants and hotels in Carmona.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:43 PM
  #5  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,380
Hi, ParadiseLover -

As others have said, it is easy to travel independently in these areas. I'll join with those who recommend staying in both Sevilla and Granada (and definitely try to see the Alhambra during both the day and the evening). Ronda is easy to reach from Sevilla, but I think it would make a very long day trip, so you might want to consider an overnight there.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:45 PM
  #6  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Wow--this forum is great; good advice already! I definitely want to avoid SS and Feria, that's why I wanted to plan it for the days in between those 2 (I would have given the exact dates but I can not find all the info I jotted down when I was looking into the airfares etc; I have to recheck the dates).

I will definitely check out Carmona.

Would driving from Carmona to Granada be difficult? How long would it take approximately?

We usually love a mix of staying in an historic center of a city with a stay in a small, quaint town; with no car in the city but a car for driving back and forth from the town for day trips, and to airport etc.

ParadiseLover is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 12:47 PM
  #7  
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PS: I forgot to ask whether those days in-between SS and Feria are a good or difficult time to be in the Sevilla area? That is, is everyone totally fried from their partying so many things are closed or is it just kind of 'business as usual' at that time?
ParadiseLover is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 01:33 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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It's easy to do independently - but the places are really too far apart to stay in one place and travel to various cities - you would spend all your time in transit. I would stay in Sevilla (And see Cordoba from there) and Granada. In your limited time those 3 and a day in a White Town is all you can manage. We've been twice - once spending 2 weeks - with a couple of days near Marbella to relax and once for 11 days - just sightseeing. And there is stil a lot we hven't seen.

Public transit isn't the best so I would reco you rent a car - so you're not tied to inconvenient shedules.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 02:17 PM
  #9  
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This all has been so much help. I'm going to look into flying into Seville from Chicago, spending 2 or 3 nights there, then renting a car and driving to Ronda, spending 2 nights there and exploring some adjoining white towns, then driving to Granada and spending 2 nights there.

But how likely is it that I could get a flight home from Granada? Probably not very likely so perhaps we drive back to Seville?

Any accomodations & flight info would be much appreciated. Once I'm all booked with that, I'll probably need to come back and read all the restaurant & tour info and ask any questions that I don't see answered.

Thank you all so much!
ParadiseLover is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 05:01 PM
  #10  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Ok, I've looked for flights following your helpful suggestions and more questions have come up. Right now I'm on the verge of booking Chicago to Seville on 4/14, returning Granada to Chicago on 4/23. That would give us 3 nights in Seville, 2 or 3 nights in Ronda, and 2 or 3 nights in Granada.

Questions:
Do you think I should pay the extra $s to fly in a day earlier (Monday) or out a day later (Friday) so I can plan on spending 3 nights at all 3 locations?

Since I have some flexibility in the dates I can go (anytime between 4/12 and 4/28), am I better off booking my flights 1st or booking accommodations and Alhambra tickets 1st?

Anything else I would have to book other than accommodations & Alhambra tickets?

Again, thank you all so much--this forum has been WONDERFUL for putting together a short trip very quickly. Hope I can return the favor some day.

If anyone has questions on the England (Cotswolds, London), France (Paris, Carcassone, Canal du Midi), Germany (Rhine River Trip, Rothenberg area), Italy (Rome, Florence, Lucca, overnight train to Paris), or Czech Republic (Prague, Pardubice, Kutna Hora), please ask away.
ParadiseLover is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 08:16 AM
  #11  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,380
Hi, ParadiseLover -

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ronda, but I found 1 full day there to be more than enough. If you are planning to visit Cordoba as a day trip from Sevilla, then you might want to consider adding a day to Sevilla so you have at least 2 or 3 days for Sevilla itself. BTW, I loved Cordoba and found more than enough to keep me busy there for 2 days.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 09:36 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,007
I think you will probably want to have the most days in Sevilla--there is just so much to see and do there, plus day trips options. I have not been to Granada, but I am sure there are day trip options from there if 3 days seems too much. I loved Ronda, a lot (especially at night), and since you are planning on exploring the surrounding area I don't think 3 days would be too much. I would book the Seville and Granada portions, but leave the middle up in the air so you can stay a night in a town if you fancy it. I also really liked Cordoba and would have definitely enjoyed more time there. Of course, it all depends on your preferences--a mix of a vibrant city like Sevilla and small towns is a good plan.
That's great you can fly into Sevilla and out of Granada--if you can afford more time, definitely take it--there are an infinite amount of places to visit in that region.
Maybe you can check the availability of tickets for the Alhambra for a range of days to be sure, but I always like to get my place tickets nailed down first.
The only other thing you may want to check is opening days for certain places you may want to see. For example, I was in Cordoba a limited time and would have checked out the synagogue but it was closed the day I was there.
Good luck--this thread is making me want to go back!
yorkshire is offline  
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