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Spain and Beyond - Part Two

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Feb 18th, 2015, 05:07 AM
  #1
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Spain and Beyond - Part Two

Hello again. Just following on from my last topic, I now have an itinerary in progress and just have a few more questions that require your input and advice.

Firstly, a couple of questions:

• As a 3-night base, should we choose San Sebastian or Bilbao?
• As a 3 night base, should we choose Malaga or Granada?

For the majority of our trip we will be travelling intercity via train, but with two exceptions:
Porto to Zurich will be by air, and
Seville to Faro will be possibly be by BUS then TRAIN

• From my limited knowledge of Spanish coach travel and Portuguese rail, I was able to find an ALSA bus schedule leaving Seville at 09:00 and arriving 2h15m later in Faro, Portugal at 10:15 (allowing for the time difference).
Then (via the www.cp.pt site) we could connect to a train at around 13:40, arriving in Lisbon at 17:05. Is this the best (quickest, easiest, cheapest) way between these two cities?

Finally, from the time we arrive in Barcelona, we have 62 nights available to us. Following is an itinerary for 61 of those nights. Could you please offer suggestions about:

• Which place the final night should be added?
• Whether you would spend less/more time in some of the base cities we have chosen?

Barcelona - 5 nights
SS or Bilbao - 3 nights
Madrid - 5 nights
Valencia - 3 nights
Malaga or Granada - 3 nights
Seville - 5 nights
Lisbon - 4 nights
Porto - 3 nights
Zurich - 2 nights
Brienz - 7 nights (staying in familiar accom, a favourite)
Bologna - 4 nights
Cinque Terre - 6 nights (again, a favourite)
Florence - 7 nights (yet again)
Rome - 4 nights (a revisit and exit city)

Any advise or suggestions would be most welcome.

Thanks and regards,
Steve
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Feb 18th, 2015, 05:36 AM
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Hi Steve,

I think that if you add your spare night to Malaga, and take a night from somewhere else [Seville, Madrid, or Barcelona?] you could stay in both Malaga AND Granada, both of which are well worth staying in, Malaga for its general vibe and food, and Granada for the Alhambra and the general atmosphere. Oh, and I've added in a night in Cordoba for good measure.

you could do something like this:

Barcelona - 4 nights
SS - 3 nights
Madrid - 5 nights
Valencia - 3 nights
Malaga - 3 nights
Granada - 2 nights
Cordoba - I night
Seville - 4 nights

I don't much like those short stays in the middle but they give you a taste of Granada and Cordoba. To try to do Granada as a day trip from Malaga is IMO too much and means that you can't do an evening visit to the Alhambra as well as a day time one, which would be a great shame and you would be able to enjoy Cordoba when all the tourists have left.

also, I've not been to Bilbao but San Sebastian is lovely.
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Feb 18th, 2015, 05:59 AM
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Malaga has a nice city centre, a art/museum and a castle. Grenada has one almighty North African palace. I like both but I'd chose Grenada on this trip
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Feb 18th, 2015, 06:13 AM
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Hi Annhig,

Thank you for the prompt reply and suggestions. I know what you mean to see places after the day trippers have left. Twice before we have taken similar advice and welcomed it.

We were going to do Brugge as a day trip from Brussels, but stayed there two nights. We were also going to visit Hallstatt and St Gilgen in the Salzkammergut as day trips from Salzburg and finished up staying in St Gilgen for 3 nights - wonderful!

The main reason for my plan is that on our first trip to Europe (8 weeks), we stayed in most places for 5 nights and 3 locations, for 7 nights. We found this pace almost perfect.

The next trip (Germany, Austria, Prague for 6 weeks), we had three 2-night stays, two 4-night stays and the rest were only 3 nights. We found this far more tiring and felt we didn't stay long enough in a few places.

This time we had planned to stay in each "base" for longer periods than our last trip and make more day trips. However, I now see your point with regard to enjoying sites during the day, evening and without the crowds.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
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Feb 18th, 2015, 06:19 AM
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Hi Bilboburgler, Annhig shares your liking for both Malaga and Granada - to the point she won't decide and suggests going to both, ha ha.
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Feb 18th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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Great suggestion from annhing .
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Feb 18th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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I agree Steve, that 2-3 night stays can be tiring - we did a trip to Germany in September that had us staying for 2 nights in 4 different places and I was clear at the end of it that I didn't want to do that again. but in this case, you would be mixing them up with longer stays AND it avoids long drives on successive days, which are also tiring.

as ever there are no perfect solutions, and no perfect trips!
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Feb 18th, 2015, 05:18 PM
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Hi annhig, you have convinced me with regard to Malaga and Granada - it is only a 1h45m one-off bus ride from one to the other and as you mentioned we get to enjoy the evenings and will be free of day-trippers.

I'm still not sure about 1 night in Cordoba yet though.

Can anyone please give their thoughts on from where I should "steal" one night? Barcelona, Madrid or Seville?
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Feb 18th, 2015, 05:40 PM
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If you don't like one nighters, perhaps a day trip from Seville..only 40 minutes.


I would not take an hour from Madrid, Barcelona or Seville for more time in Cordoba
( unless you have some specific reason)
M and B are so different than Andalusia and by spending time in Seville, Granada and Malaga
one gets enough of a " feel " for the culture, architecture, history. IMO.
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Feb 18th, 2015, 09:01 PM
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Hi danon - that's a valuable point you make regarding Madrid, Barcelona and Andalusia in general. BTW, I had certainly intended seeing Cordoba as a day trip from Seville. It was just that annhig made the point that if possible it would be better to stay overnight in Cordoba to enjoy it after the day-trippers had left for the day. But, yes, I do not like one-nighters if it can be helped.
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Feb 18th, 2015, 09:11 PM
  #11
kja
 
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"As a 3-night base, should we choose San Sebastian or Bilbao?"

I haven't been to either yet, but am planning a trip to the regions. I think it depends on your priorities. Art? then Bilbao! Michelin starred restaurants and/or beaches? San Sebastian. Just my take on my research to date.

• As a 3 night base, should we choose Malaga or Granada?

Granada! You need at least 2 nights there to see the Alhambra, so that you can (at a minimum) see it during the day AND during the evening. And that is something I wholeheartedly recommend!

" I know what you mean to see places after the day trippers have left"

Then consider spending at least one, if not 2, nights in Cordoba.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 01:59 AM
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I love vibrant, and a bit inland big city Bilbao, but very different, smaller and seaside San Sebastián/Donostia is my favourite place on the planet. The culinary capital of Spain if not all of Europe (fabulous food in Bilbao as well, as in all of the Basque country), some of the finest city beaches on the continent, beautiful landscapes and fabulous walks along the La Concha beach promenade, in the several parks and up on the three hills (Igueldo, Urgull, Ulia) framing in the perhaps most pictoresque city in Spain.

Here are good and to the point descriptions of both cities (I've visited them both most years since the late 80's)
Bilbao: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...ilbao-tourism/
San Sebastián: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/

I prefer laid-back Malaga city much over hectic tourist magnet Granada, but you should of course visit the Alhambra in Granada. 90 mins by bus from Malaga (alsa.es).
http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/home.htm
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...-breaks-travel

And Cordoba has got something very special to it, much more than the Mezquita and the Jewish quarter. Some of my best and most memorable evenings and nights ever in Spain were spent in Cordoba. "Córdoba, Vida y Genio" (Córdoba, life and spirit): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyfGdpF55Uk
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Feb 19th, 2015, 02:49 AM
  #13
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Hi kja - wow, it's getting more difficult now. There are so many reasons to stay in all places for longer (how Unusual is that? NOT!), but obviously even a longer trip has to be finite at some point. You have certainly given me food for thought, though. I am going to have to give staying over in Cordoba serious thought.

Hi Kimhe, thank you so much for the in depth look at both Bilbao and SS. This should help my decision making. And yet another supporter of Cordoba overnight. I'll definitely be coming up with an updated itinerary shortly.

Thank you all so much once again for your helpful suggestions.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 03:19 AM
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I have to admit watching the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Co...ater_Wheel.jpg by star light is pretty good, while threading your way through the streets from the middle-ages is good. You might even stay in a traditional hotel in the town.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 07:39 AM
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I am not sure at what time " day trappers " leave places, the last train from Cordoba to Seville
is at 23:24 ...( 45 min) ...
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Feb 19th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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....trippers...
I agree with kimhe...Malaga is very relaxing , Granda is all about Alhambra
( although there is more to see, we stayed 3 nights in each place, but not on the same trip)
You have a busy itinerary ...lot of moving around. If you are not driving, you know how much time that takes.
Bilbao is easier to get to than SS, you might consider staying there
SS is lovely, but it can be seen in a day ., the bus from Bilbao takes 70 min.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 11:04 AM
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I totally agree with your style of travel! We really like staying over night to experience a place after the day trippers leave as well.

On our 3 week trip - we spent 6 days each in 2 destinations and then did a couple of shorter trips in the middle to Seville, Cordoba and Ronda. Because we had the longer stops on each end of the trip, we didn't find it tiring at all to move between these 3 destinations at a little quicker pace.

I'll jump on the Cordoba band wagon as well. We stayed 2 nights here and wish we had stayed at least 1 more. For Seville - we found 3 nights to be plenty.

I don't envy you - so many great choices. I'm sure though that whatever itinerary you choose that you will have a wonderful time.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 12:50 PM
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It is a hard choice , posters' individual taste is not much of a guide ..
We visited Seville twice( five nights each time) and would go again.
Made day trips to Cordoba and Italica.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 05:21 PM
  #19
kja
 
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"I am not sure at what time " day trappers " leave places, the last train from Cordoba to Seville
is at 23:24"

All I know is that both days I was there, Cordoba was crowded and noisy during the day and much more quiet and enjoyable during the evening. Maybe things have changed....
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Feb 19th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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I was trying to say that after most day trippers leave ( I would say
late afternoon) , in some places , there is still time to enjoy the evening before taking the last train back.
We don't drive, so we avoid 1-2 nighters ...
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