Spain 9 day itinerary

Jan 3rd, 2019, 03:47 PM
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Spain 9 day itinerary

Hello! DH and I have a very rough draft of an itinerary after struggling to find even 9 nights where we could both be away from work and outside of the time our daughter is expecting her first child. We would rather take 12 days but couldn’t make it work and decided to go ahead! It’s our first time in Spain. We are 60 years old and have been to Europe several other times. We have no reservations yet, but are ready to first book airline tickets once we are sure.

If you are willing make helpful comments on the general movement, here is what we are thinking:

April 29 arrive Madrid - stay one night
April 30 travel to Granada via a visit to Córdoba stay three nights Granada
May 3 travel to Seville stay 3 nights
May 6 fly to Barcelona stay two nights
May 8 fly home from Barcelona

Some questions:

We don’t have a lot of interest in Madrid but thought we’d stay one night rather than try to travel with jet lag. Should we just travel to Córdoba and stay first night there?

I know we shouldn’t drive in Granada, but would like to have a car to go outside the cities to other towns, especially along the coast near Malaga. Or do you recommend training the entire time?

With this plan, we will be Seville during the Seville Féria. Is this a good idea in terms of crowds and hotel prices? We would enjoy seeing some of the activities of the fair, but wouldn’t want massive crowds and our main interest is still seeing the major historical sites in Seville. Should we flip Seville and Granada on the plan?

Finally, we know that two nights in Barcelona is not enough, our main interest is seeing the Basilica Sagrada Familia. We may some day make it back and combine Barcelona with the Basque area, but we had a hard time choosing which areas to include.
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2019, 03:50 PM
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I forgot to say THANKS for any insight you can offer.
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2019, 05:10 PM
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I must admit that your plan is much more rushed than I would like, but you have clearly identified your priorities and planned accordingly – and you will see some wonderful things!

Whether to push on immediately upon your arrival in Madrid depends on your tolerance for such things. I like to push on whenever I can, so that when I do rest, I can really relax and know that I’m not facing more travel right away. Others have a different reaction. Another option would be to fly "straight" to either Granada or Sevilla – you’d almost certainly have at least one stop en route, but if you aren’t spending any time in Madrid, it might make sense to do that.

Your time is so very limited that I’m not sure you would benefit from having a car to go anywhere not already on your itinerary, and many places can be reached by public transportation. IME, Spanish trains and buses are very comfortable.

Since it sounds like you plan only a brief visit to Cordoba, you might consider visiting it as a day trip from Sevilla, rather than as a stopover en rought from Madrid to Granada.

Reserve your visits to the Alhambra as far in advance as you can, and also be sure to reserve your visit to the Sagrada Familia.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2019, 07:11 PM
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thank you I appreciate your thoughts. I have read at least one of your trip reports and I think I have a sense of how you travel and I’m envious!!! If I remember you have done some solo travel? Or am I confusing you with someone else? It does make me rethink this trip and maybe leaving out Barcelona-spending more time in the south.

I did look at flying directly to both Seville and Granada. It’s a long layover in Madrid which may be something we can take advantage of and still get to either Granada or Seville earlier.

I am thinking......
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2019, 07:20 PM
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Yes, I'm committed to solo travel. And I'm fortunate to be able to travel for a month at a time -- quite a privilege!

If you skip Barcelona this time, a possible itinerary for Andalusia could be 4 nights in Sevilla, 3 nights in Granada, and 2 nights in Cordoba. Of course, you have a lot of options, each of which could be delightful.
kja is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 03:52 AM
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We decided to forego Barcelona so that we are “forced” to plan another trip to Spain later. We booked flights last night flying in and out of Madrid. Our flights are free with American Air points.

Here is what we are thinking now, but no reservations made yet other than flights.

April 29 arrive Madrid 8 am. Train to Córdo​​​​ba and stay 2 nights
May 1 train to Grenada and stay 3 nights with possible day trip to Malaga coast area
May 4 train or bus to Ronda for the day, then on to Sevilla, stay 3 nights with posssible day trip to Jerez and/or Cadiz
May 7 late train to Madrid and stay near the airport for 11:30 am flight to US

There is just too much to see and we have too little time. But if we forego the trip due to only 9 days, we see nothing.

While we still are waffling about having a car, maybe when leaving Granada until after day trips from Sevilla, and we would like any comments about being in Sevilla for the Sevilla Féria I think this is our tentative plan. I read the trip report about Newbies in Spain from 2015 and I feel like we could almost follow it step by step with the addition of Ronda and maybe a day trip to Cadiz/Jerez.

Any comments or recommendations are welcome.

thanks Kja for your input.
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 05:52 AM
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Good idea to put off Barcelona to another trip. I did a 9 day trip to Andalusia and it was a perfect amount of time. We just did Seville, Cordoba and Granada on that trip but I think you'd have time for some day trips if you wanted. Another trip I visited Malaga and Ronda and some other white towns. Not sure I would suggest you do all of that in one 9 day trip but you could possibly start in Granada, then rent a car when you were leaving there for just a couple of days, maybe overnight in Ronda, then on to Seville. Drop car when arriving there. Then train to Cordoba, then to Madrid. Have you looked into flying into Granada (or Seville) rather than Madrid?

Here's the trip report I wrote on that 9 day Seville-Cordoba-Granada trip: Isabel's spring break to Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada - photos and trip report

And here's the other one (Malaga, etc.) Southern Andalucia Photographic Trip Report - Malaga, Ronda and Gibraltar

The photos are now at:
isabel is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 07:18 AM
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I think a rental car for the day you travel from Granada to Seville, via Ronda, may be a good idea. I used a rental car to see the hill towns and some of the Costa del Sol on my recent trip to Spain (you can click on my profile to see my trip report). I used mostly public transport, but there are some areas that are just better by car, and I think the hill towns are one such area. Dropping off at Santa Justa station in Seville should be easy (we picked up there).
twk is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 12:25 PM
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I think you are smart in dropping Barcelona, and you are very smart in staying in Cordoba for 2 nights. You won't regret it! We loved Cordoba, and it was one of our favorite destinations. The Mezquita is amazing, but there is more to Cordoba than just the Mezquita.

Would you consider taking the ALSA bus from Cordoba to Granada instead of the train? The high speed tracks to Granada are not completed yet, so that means you have to change to a bus in Antequera. I know some people have done that and it was fine, but we preferred taking the ALSA bus. No changes! It is modern, clean, comfortable, and air-conditioned.

You can click on my name to read my trip report from September 2017.
KarenWoo is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 04:21 PM
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Here's another option for itineraries. When we visited that part of Spain, we were limited on time, I think we were there 10 days / 9 nights. We flew into Madrid, and picked up a rental car. We drove to Toledo for the evening / night (I think our plane arrived in the late afternoon), had a lovely dinner and had time the next morning to visit Toledo. After lunch there, we drove to Granada.

I had scoped out a parking garage beforehand that was very close to the autostrada exit. After driving around the block a couple of times, due to construction, we parked our car. We spent two nights in Granada, which was one night too much, but it would have been difficult to see the Alhambra without staying two nights. We then drove to Cordoba, where we dropped off the rental car at the train station. We spent two nights there, and we also very much enjoyed Cordoba and all of the sites there; I think it's a very under-rated city. Then took the train to Sevilla for two night, which we like everyone else loved. Then took the train to Madrid, where we spent 2-3 nights to end our trip. This itinerary allowed us to easily get to and from Granada. The highways were well-maintained and didn't have many people on them, and except for the Granada parking garage, we didn't have any directional issues.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 05:28 PM
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You might think of those day trips as “only if you have time” options, as the time you have could easily by spent just in the cities in which you plan to stay. But having some back-up options is a good idea just in case!

You don’t need a car for Ronda, and whether you would benefit from having one really depends on what you want to see and do. Personally, I far prefer public transportation – particularly when it is as comfortable was what you’ll experience on this itinerary. But its your trip, your call.
kja is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 07:34 PM
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It's possible you could save some time and maybe even money if you flew a multi-destination itinerary. US-Madrid/Seville-US. Depending on your US home city it may require a connecting flight from a European gateway to Seville, either going or coming. I prefer to do the more complicated route outbound, then fly home from Madrid, if only because it would lead to a more civilized departure time when homebound. These routes must be calculated with a multi-destination search function. They are not one-way tickets.
Southam is offline  
Jan 9th, 2019, 09:56 AM
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If you are interested in The Magic Fountain in Barcelona, I suggest to take a look into performance time, because it doesn't work every day, especially on winter days.
herbo is offline  
Jan 12th, 2019, 05:12 AM
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We booked our flights on Sunday night. On Tuesday our daughter learned that she is pregnant with twin girls! Therefore the babies will come early and probably around the time we plan to be in Spain. We were outside the 24 hour cancellation period with American Airlines, but we were able to convince them to cancel the flights and replenish our dividend miles to our account. We were very grateful.

as for the trip, we hope to do it at another time but as I noted in my original post the rest of the year looks difficult in terms of a vacation longer than one week.

Thank you to everyone for your insight and I will be returning to this thread later when we determine the best time to go!
Cindywho is offline  
Jan 12th, 2019, 10:20 AM
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Best wishes to your family!
kja is offline  
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