Spain - 9 day itinerary - Need input

Old Sep 19th, 2010, 09:08 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 563
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Spain - 9 day itinerary - Need input

I am already bracing for the reaction that I'm trying to see too much in too little time. I know. Please take my word that this will be our one and only trip in our lifetime to Spain and 9 days is all we have...then please offer advice to help me sort out a decent plan. We are in our late 50s/early 60s, and don't want a group tour unless just for day tours. Here is more info (Thanks in advance):

Already booked on an overnight flight from LA to Madrid using FF miles, arriving on Mon morning Apr 25. (Flying in to BCN was not an option). Want to see Barcelona, Seville, Granada and ideally one of the Jerez's (de la Frontera or de los Arcos, Ronda, some of the white villages). We love history, interesting buildings, dining, and cultural experiences and happy to see some of the (art) masters but wouldn't want to spend days on end in art museums. Would also love to see Toledo or a Toledo-like small historical town. Don't want to see only big cites, gotta get some countryside and small towns in. Madrid is lowest priority but that is where our FF miles get us and we wouldn't mind an overnight there with a peak in the Prado (2 hours max). Note: if we stay longer in Madrid, then we'd sacrifice the drive through Andalucia and instead take one or more day tours (Toledo and/or Segovia/El Escorial). Here's my tentative plan:

Arrive Madrid, stay one night only
AVE train to BCN, two nights
Fly Spanair BCN to Seville, two nights
Rent a car, drive to one or more of the Jerez's, maybe to Cadiz, spending two nights in Andalucia (second night probably in or near Ronda)
Drive to Granada, turn in rental car, stay two nights.
Early morning on day 10, Fly to Vienna, Austria for the second (9 day) portion of our trip (but that's a post for a different board!) Note: I'm holding a flight Granada to Vienna on Iberia Airlines that I must pay for (in FF miles) by 9/24.

Thoughts, ideas? One question: if we catch a Spanair flight directly from MAD to BCN on day one and skip Madrid altogether, then are there other day tours we could take to 'replace' the Toledo/Segovia/ or white villages experiences?
LeslieC is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:28 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My comments:

You have not allowed time to get over your jet lag.
I also feel as if you are moving on too much and not allowing time to take in the sights and atmosphere on any location.
Yo say you want to get out of the big city, but to be honest 99% of the locations you have listed are just that.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:39 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Leslie,
Can I offer a different perspective on "this will be our only trip to" a country or region? I think if you try to see too much because you know you'll never get back there, it all becomes a blur and you really see much less. If you narrow down your locations you'll get to soak up the culture and lifestyle a bit more. Perhaps absorbing a bit in fewer locations might be better than skimming the surface of many locations? I know that is all a matter of personal preference but thought I would throw it out there.

I would try to do just two areas of the three of Madrid, Barcelona, and Anadlusia. I have not been to Madrid, so my opinion will be skewed by that. You could go directly from Madrid to Barcelona by AVE. Stay 4 nights in Barcelona, then 3 nights in Seville and 2 nights in Granada. I believe you could do a day trip tour of the white villages from Seville.

Now, having been to Barcelona and Andalusia, I would probably swap the time, spending 5 nights in Barcelona and 4 in Andalusia. I think, though, that with the travel times you might feel to hurried through the area with just 4 nights.

Happy planning! How great that you were able to get FF tickets!!
oopsy is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2010, 06:05 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We travel under the premise that is better to a few palces well than many poorly.

Consider how much time you will spend traveling including waiting in airports etc as a percentage of a nine day trip.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2010, 09:50 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,296
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you're only going once do not miss one night in Granada and the Alhambra.
Egbert is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2010, 10:33 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I like :"We travel under the premise that is better to a few places well than many poorly. "
I too do Slow Travelling.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2010, 07:18 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,005
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm all for cramming a lot into a little time if that's all you've got, but I would just suggest to be aware that you will have jet lag and you may really be dragging through those first couple of days! I always have terrible insomnia due to the time change. We always try to sacrifice a little bit of what we want to see in order to recover from jet lag because it ends up making it difficult to enjoy what you are seeing when you're eyes are bleary and you just don't feel well! Just a thought! Hope you have a wonderful trip!
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2010, 08:15 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 77
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
my suggestion would be to leave out the jerez's and add one more night to Madrid to adjust to jetlag, etc. i prefer trains to planes once I get to europe because of the check-in times involved. they don't really change. I think your itinerary is doable, but you may enjoy more if you added a night or two to either madrid, barcelona or andalucia vs. rushing through the jerez's also.
sjk1976 is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2010, 12:55 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 563
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm now thinking of sacrificing Madrid for Barcelona by connecting directly via flight from MAD to BCN on our arrival day. This would be more efficient and less expensive than spending a night in Madrid and then taking the AVE. So how about this:

Barcelona 3 nights, Fly to Sevilla
Sevilla 2 nights, then rent a car
Spend a night in Arcos de la Frontera
Spend a night in Ronda
Return Rental car to Granada
Two nights Granada
LeslieC is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2010, 07:40 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think this looks a bit better. It is a very short time in Barcelona, but only you can know if that pace of travel works for you.

Arcos de la Frontera and Ronda are very close to each other. It may make more sense to stay in the same place both nights. Consider leaving Seville, driving to Arcos de la Frontera for a short visit, and the continuing on to Ronda. I loved Ronda, but I might even consider staying there just one night, leaving in the afternoon for the drive to Granada. You could use that additional night in either Barcelona or Seville.
oopsy is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2010, 09:18 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,296
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would spend the nights for Arcos and/or Ronda in Sevilla, that's just me.
Egbert is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2010, 10:11 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 563
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just by way of explanation: the reason we want to rent a car and get out to small towns for a couple of days is a personal preference. I don't like going to a country and only seeing big cities. Yet, I don't like "day trips" from big cities to nearby towns since I don't want to be with a group day tour, don't want to have to retrace steps, and don't want to train or bus to small towns and find myself on foot.

Oopsy - thanks for pointing out that Arcos de la Frontera and Ronda are so close together. Any other suggestions for a town to stay in during a two day drive Sevilla to Granada?
LeslieC is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2010, 03:39 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 250
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Leslie, I don't have a suggestion for another town, though others might. My actual suggestion would be to just do one town, even if for 2 days. It's just not that long of a drive from Seville to Granada. You can stop in Arcos de la Frontera or Ronda, enjoy a smaller town for a day or two, and then head to Granada. We stayed in Ronda for 3 days on our trip and enjoyed relaxing there, taking some short hikes and walks around town, and the general calm, relaxed atmosphere.
oopsy is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2010, 03:49 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For driving in the White villages, read my post "Pueblos Blancos trip", here in the forum, with directions and timings.
And please, post your final itinerary if you weant some useful details (restaurants, etc.)
josele is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2010, 08:07 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you are right that you should drive and stay in a smaller place, but Arcos did not seem that interesting (granted I only passed through) and Ronda is a fairly large city (but has aspects that feel like a small town). I suggest passing through Arcos, then driving up to Grazalema or Zahara or somewhere like that (lots of options), but I heartily recommend at least one night in Ronda.
yorkshire is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2010, 08:09 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Also, check out the Andalucia.com website--I found it very helpful.
yorkshire is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2010, 08:12 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The problem with Arcos is that everything interesting is on top of the hill, and parking used to be a real nightmare. I have not been there for some years, but I presume still is. There is a square where you can park if lucky, right on top by the balcony, Parador, Main Church and Town Hal; small and usually crowded, and they fine as well, just to help you a little (sarcasm). If you want to visit or spend the night there, check with hotels for parking directions or facilities.
josele is offline  
Old Oct 5th, 2010, 10:02 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 563
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The trip is shaping up as described in my 9/27 post above. After staying in Seville, we want to make a two night drive through some of the White Villages en route to Granada, Places of most interest seem to be narrowed down to Jerez de la Frontera, Arcos de la Frontera, Grazalema, Ronda and Zahara which all seem pretty close together. I'm willing to sacrifice some of these if it seems too much. But Ronda is a must see. Don't mind spending each of the two nights in different places because I don't like to back track, but if it this makes as much sense stay the two nights in one place, that's fine too. These all seem a bit clustered to the south of Seville and so if we stayed one night, say in Ronda, is there another recommended area to stay for the second night that would be a bit closer to Granada? I've consider Nerja, but otherwise don't want to bother with the Costa del Sol areas that are overbuilt. Also, any suggestions on returning the rental car to Granada are welcome!
LeslieC is offline  
Old Oct 6th, 2010, 01:27 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You better stay the two nights in Ronda.
The towns may seem clustered in the map, but they are not, it takes time to drive through these roads, more than you expect.
On a broad sense and having in mind you have little time and should not rush out, and you'll need extra time driving through cities, etc etc:
Jerez is basically the same as in Seville, whilst Arcos is basically the same as Ronda. So I'd skip both.
Did you read my Pueblos Blancos Trip here: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...os-trip.cfm?10 ???
josele is offline  
Old Oct 6th, 2010, 07:48 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,092
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
While I agree with the skipping Jerez part (I was there on a Sunday and the place was so dead it just did not do it for me, but of course that is a limited, highly subjective view).
However, I saw no similarity between Arcos and Ronda.
I would spend the second night in Grazalema.
Use google mpas or viamichelin to map out your driving routes and see the times.
yorkshire is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:11 PM.