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Spain 14 days -Help with Andalusia (8 days) ?Rent Car

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Aug 19th, 2013, 04:59 AM
  #1
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Spain 14 days -Help with Andalusia (8 days) ?Rent Car

Two woman friends travelling to Spain (first time). We are flying in/out of Barcelona. Plan to be in Barcelona area for 5 days, then flying into Sevilla and will be in the Andalusia area for 8 days/8 nights before flying back to Barcelona from Granada. Wondering what itinerary you might suggest for this area. Reading some of the forums it seems that the best way to get around (not in the cities) would be to rent a car. Would like to visit some of the white villages.
First of all and most importantly - is it very difficult to drive in Spain not knowing the language? (we both only speak English) Are we fools to even be thinking about a road trip?? ie would it be best to try to get around with public transport (trains/buses)?
We are flying into Seville and thought we'd spend a couple of days there before picking up a rental (maybe at the train station - I think it is on the outskirts of town so not have to drive in the city). Drive to Jerez de la Frontera and maybe Cadiz, then to Ronda. We'd like to visit Cordoba before ending up in Granada(where we would leave our rental at the train station location before entering the city) for a couple of days before flying back to Barcelona.
Would appreciate any comments or suggestions on the logistics of all this and what cities/towns we should stay at and for how long. How do we fit Cordoba in to this trip? We are open to any suggestions, the only things in stone are the flights: arrival Seville, departure from Granada, and wish to work out the best itinerary for the 8day/nights we are in this area.
And are we trying to pack in too much for this time frame? We were initially going to get a train pass and do as much as we could with that, but then reading about outlying areas started thinking a car might be the best way to get around.
Also, is it necessary to book all accommodations ahead of time - we certainly would book Sevilla and Granada, would it be better to leave the middle part of the trip open (if we do have a rental car) so that we have a little more flexibility - we did that in Scotland and it worked out okay, however, they spoke English so that made things much easier...
Thanks!
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Aug 19th, 2013, 05:38 AM
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Renting a car is a good idea -- especially if you want to "stop by that cute village" on your way from one destination to the next.

Don't sweat the language. People who don't speak a lick of Spanish manage to navigate the roads of Spain every year so fret not. Andalucia is inundated with UK and German tourists every year so you'll be able to get by most of the time with English.

You'll find it helpful to get a GPS with your rental car.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 06:33 AM
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Good idea - we actually have a GPS at home in Canada - I think I can get a download for Spain. When I checked pricing for rental cars, it seemed a LOT more expensive to add the GPS but definitely something we should have.
And thanks for the reassurance re renting a car!
Re the English, I think I have read that in the smaller villages the people are less likely to speak English??
Wondering about road signage - how confusing will it be??

Re the topic: I forgot to mention that we will be in Spain the first 2 weeks of October 2013.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 06:35 AM
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You may run into some difficulty finding people that speak English in smaller villages but almost all of the stores selling souvenirs will have someone who does. Don't fret!

The signage will not be confusing. What may be a challenge is navigating those narrow village and mountain roads.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 06:46 AM
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As others have said, renting a car is a good idea. As is dropping it off at the train station before you try to enter the city of Granada! You shouldn't have any issue with language -- road signs are clear and GPS will get you exactly where you need to go.
Cordoba is an easy daytrip from Seville, but it is also worth staying in the city if you have the time. We loved visiting the mosque in the late afternoon just as they were getting ready to close. Very peaceful and serene.
As for hotels, we didn't book much ahead of time and only ran into an issue in Sanlucar as weekenders from Sevilla booked up the hotels quickly at the last minute. We also stayed in a few apartments which we rented on veoapartments.com.
Have a great trip!
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Aug 19th, 2013, 08:06 AM
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With just 8 days for Andalucia I'd keep it simple. I'd stay 4 nights in Sevilla and do a daytrip by train to Cordoba. Then I'd rent a car and spend 2 days exploring the white villages basing myself in Ronda. I'd get rid of the rental car on arrival in Granada and spend 2 nights in Granada. It would be great to have time to spend a couple of nights in Cordoba but with 8 days you just don't have time - unless you want to give up the rental car and exploring the white villages. I'd spend at least 3 full days in Sevilla (4 nights) so you really don't have time to visit Jerez or Cadiz unless you do it on the way to Ronda but you'd forego time in the white villages.

As for English, you won't have trouble with the roads but you may find places especially in the smaller villages where people don't speak english - but that's part of the travel experience!
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Aug 19th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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?
The train station in Granada is in the city.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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WomBatt, I thought I had read the Granada Train station was outside the city but now I see I was wrong. Do you know if the airport would be a better drop-off location? - I am having trouble seeing where it is exactly and the other 2 drop-off locations seem to be in the city (47 Arabial St & a downtown office Center Hotel). Sometimes it is a nightmare driving near an airport - do you have any suggestions for dropping the car?

CathyM, I appreciate your comments. So you would do the rental car and visit the white villages over an extra couple days in Cordoba? Someone said we should visit a beach town like Malaga or Cadiz but I am certainly open to skipping both if other places are preferable - we just want to get the most out of our limited 8 days in this area.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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The white villages vs Cordoba - that's a difficult question. And I agree that Malaga and Cadiz are great cities to visit. The quandry is you really only have 2 days to play with after Sevilla and Granada. As much as I love Cordoba I'd probably keep as a daytrip since it is easy to visit from Sevilla. If you're wanting to see some smaller cities/villages and explore a bit by car the white villages would be nice and fit well between Sevilla and Granada. What time of year is your visit? This may also weigh into my decision on the white villages versus the coastal cities of Cadiz or Malaga.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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We will be in Spain the first 2 weeks of this October - the first 5 days in Barcelona before flying to Sevilla.
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Aug 19th, 2013, 07:28 PM
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Personally, I'd skip Ronda before I skipped Cordoba, Granada, or Sevilla, but that's just me! Or I'd do 2 days in Cordoba, 2 in Granada, 3 in Sevilla, and 1 in Ronda. And I'd use Spain's excellent public transportation unless I really, really, really wanted to spend time exploring the white towns. It really depends on what you want to see and experience.
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Aug 20th, 2013, 01:32 AM
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raz - re: car drop off in Granada.

There is little to Granada airport and surrounds compared to many other airports but it leaves you with a thirty minute bus ride or taxi ride to the centre of Granada. Bus shuttle details available if you want them.

47 Calle Arabial is adjacent to or part of a retail/commercial complex see and may be your easiest, see http://goo.gl/maps/x5qr3

'downtown office Center Hotel' could be several places with centre or Centro in the title.

Hope this helps.
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Aug 20th, 2013, 08:13 AM
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With 8 days in Andalucia another option could be (depending on what type of travellers you are) to base yourself in Seville and day trip to Arcos De La Frontera, Carmona and Cordoba.

Renting a car is a great idea but I'm not sure you have enough time to fully appreciate a good road trip. Also Seville is such an amazing place that it would be a great immersion in to Andalucia. Nor is it possible to get bored in Seville.

Cadiz and Granada are also great but you only got 8 days.

First two weeks in October is a great time to visit - shoulder season and manageable temperatures (but still around 30 degs).

Good luck whatever you decide!
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Aug 20th, 2013, 08:45 AM
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Thanks WomBatt for that helpful information.
kja -thanks for your advice.
I have been doing more research and sort-of reconsidering renting a car - my friend or I would have to get an international driver's license which would add another $53 euros ($40CDN) for just a 2 day car rental (and that would be with just one of us driving - if we added 2nd driver, would cost another 23 euro for the 2 days plus the extra 53 euro for DL's...)- though we'd likely just go with one of us driving and defer the DL and extra driver cost).
If we were renting a car for a longer period of time this would make more sense...
I have contacted a Rick Steeves recommended tour guide who would take us for a day trip to Ronda & 4 white villages and Arcos & Cadiz (OR Jerez for the equestrian show)- is this too much to be packed into one long day??
We have 8 nights / 7.5 days in Andalucia.
We arrive Sevilla 11am the first day(airport). We leave Granada in the am after our 8th night.
If we spent 4 nights in Sevilla (2.5 days in Sevilla, + 1 day trip to Ronda/white villages/?Cadiz or Jerez), 2 nights Cordoba, 2 nights Granada -would that seem reasonable? (travelling between cities via train).
If we had a choice between Arcos & Cadiz OR the Jerez equestrian show - which would you choose?? (looks like the equestrian show is 1.5 hrs and only certain days(12 noon) so we'd factor that in).
Or would it be better to leave Cordoba as a day trip from Sevilla and add extra nights in Sevilla? (less hassle moving luggage/hotels etc.)
Just throwing all this out as possible options...
Again, we appreciate any advice/comments on the above -Thanks!
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Aug 20th, 2013, 08:51 AM
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pgriffin - thanks for your input - I didn't view your response until after I sent the above response -(had some interruptions before I got it posted).
We will be flying out of Granada after the 8th night. So it does seem reasonable that we should spend a day or two there - at least to see the Alhambra...
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Aug 20th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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I also realize now that Ronda/white villages would be one day trip, Arcos/Cadiz or Jerez a separate day trip (just got clarification with the tour guide)...
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Aug 20th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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You could potentially base yourself in Sevilla for 6 nights and do daytrips to Cordoba, Ronda/White Villages (w/guide) and Cadiz or Jerez. Of course you'd give up 2 nights in Cordoba and do as a daytrip - it's all a trade off. If you decide on 4 nights in Sevilla then given your first day you'll loose half in transit and with hotel check in you'll be hard pressed to do 1 daytrip.

You really don't need a guide for any of the daytrips with the exception of the white villages. You could visit Arcos or Ronda as a daytrip by yourself by bus from Sevilla but it's difficult to get to the villages without a car (or guide). But Jerez and Cadiz are easily accessible by train and bus so you could do one of them on your own.

I think you're wise in understanding you only have 8 days and can't do it all.
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Aug 20th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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The white villages are, white villages. Picturesque to look at but nothing going on when you compare them to places like Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, Malaga etc.
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