Spain- draft itinerary

Old May 28th, 2024, 04:24 PM
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Spain- draft itinerary

Hola!
Iíve been to many places in Europe but not Spain and I think this is the year to correct this. I plan to go in October or November when itís cooling down temperature and crowd wise. Iíd love feedback on my draft itinerary. I love cathedrals and old architecture, whether it be castles or any other interesting structures. I canít take more time off than what is planned below due to work and family obligations.

Day 1- arrive in BCN, wander around city.
Day 2 - explore city
Day 3 - Montserrat
Day 4 - train to Madrid in morning, explore city in afternoon.
Day 5 - explore Madrid
Day 6 - day trip to Segovia (must do!)
Day 7 - day trip to Toledo
Day 8 - day trip to Salamanca
Day 9- day trip to Seville
Day 10- fly home from MAD

This will be a solo trip and Iíll use trains for my day trips. I know Iíll be tired, but I must make the most of my limited time. If anyone has read some of my European trip reports, Iím good at covering a lot of ground each day.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
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Old May 28th, 2024, 04:42 PM
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I understand the desire to see everything but I have to be honest. I think this trip will be exhausting. It's almost a 3-hour train ride from Madrid to Seville one-way. That's 6 hours traveling time. You have too many daytrips planned, at least for my taste anyways. Do you really think this will be an enjoyable trip? I think a destination is more enjoyable when you can immerse yourself and appreciate the ambiance of a place instead of running from one site to another.

How important is Barcelona to you? I personally think a better, more enjoyable trip, a more reasonable pace would be to drop Barcelona and concentrate on Madrid/Toledo and Andalucia especially since you are going in October or November when the weather will be perfect for Andalucia. As you probably know, Andalucia in summer is unbearably hot. So a potential itinerary could be:

Fly into Madrid
Stay in Madrid for 5 nights and daytrip to Toledo and Segovia
Train to Seville
Stay in Seville for 4 nights with a possible daytrip to Cordoba
Fly home from Seville if you can get reasonably priced airline tickets into Madrid and home from Seville.

Your itinerary doesn't include Granada. The Alhambra is one of the most memorable and majestic places I have visited. We spent almost a whole day there. I realize everyone has different priorities but I can't imagine traveling to Andalucia and not visiting the Alhambra.
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Old May 28th, 2024, 06:14 PM
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Hi Karen, nice to see your response. I appreciate and will consider your recommendations but I find myself more drawn to gothic architecture over Moorish. And there aren’t good flight prices to fly home from Seville.
I have a bunch of travel books and will learn a little more about southern Spain. Part of me wants to go the opposite direction, to Santiago de Compostela. So many temptations and not enough time!
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Old May 29th, 2024, 05:48 AM
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If you stay with your current itinerary, I would add a day to Barcelona. One day really isn't enough to see the sights. Are you interested in the Gaudi architecture? There are so many interesting and quirky Gaudi sites to visit, and I understand that one needs to buy tickets in advance for most of them nowadays. That wasn't the case when we were there in October 2010. Barcelona was busy but not like it is now. And there is more to Barcelona than just the Gaudi sites, such as art museums, interesting neighborhoods to explore, Palau de Musica, churches, cathedrals, etc.
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Old May 29th, 2024, 06:42 AM
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I agree with KarenWoo advice. I absolutely love Barcelona, but there's just something so Spanish about Seville. If it were me, I'd focus on Madrid and southern Spain and save Barcelona for another trip.

I haven't been to Monserrat, so I can't comment on it, but if you do decide to keep Barcelona, I would cut out the Monserrat day trip and spend more time in the city itself.

I have two Spain trip reports on this forum. I also tend to pack a lot into my days, so they might give you a good sense of how much you can fit into a day.
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Old May 29th, 2024, 07:53 AM
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We recently returned from 2 weeks in Andalusia and the highlight for me was seeing the Alhambra. I too can't imagine going to the south of Spain and not including Grenada.
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Old May 30th, 2024, 05:43 PM
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I just read your Spain reports, memejs, and enjoyed them very much. Your reports make everything sound fantastic and reinforces my dilemma of how to spend my time.
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Old May 30th, 2024, 06:19 PM
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If you do end up in Barcelona, I would skip the day trip to Montserrat unless that is a "must" for you. There is so much to do and see in Barcelona. I do agree your schedule is awfully busy and recommend cutting back.
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Old Jun 29th, 2024, 08:27 PM
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After considering the feedback, I have adjusted my itinerary. I bought my tickets today and will travel in October.
Hereís my latest plan.
Day 1 fly to MAD
Day 2 arrive and putter around Madrid
Day 3 explore Madrid
Days 4, 5, 6 day rips to Segovia, Toledo and Salamanca (if Iím tired, I may drop either Salamanca or Toledo, Segovia is nonnegotiable.)
Days 7,8 Sevilla
Days 9, 10 Granada
Day 11 Madrid
Day 12, fly home
if anyone has recommendations for cheap but good lodging in these cities, please share. Iím budget conscious and am looking for $100/night max.
Thanks!
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Old Jun 30th, 2024, 08:14 AM
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aggiegirl
About cheap lodging for $100 USD max (93€) in October in those cities, Madrid (ouch!), Sevilla and Granada, you will most likely need to consider "hostales"---not youth hostels but instead family run guesthouses---, especially in expensive Madrid, since October is convention/congress season and hotel rates soar.
In Madrid you will have just a few choices for 95 euros and under in October in the city center.
These "hostales" have rooms with a/c, TV, wi-fi, private baths and are not "bare bones". They aren't dormitory rooms, but there are those in Madrid as well, the youth hostels.

You might check Hostal Alexis on Calle PrŪncipe for your dates or Hostal La Perla Asturiana on Plaza Santa Cruz, both in central Madrid. The single rooms there run under 100 euros/night.

My usual low budget recommendation of the Hostal Persal off the Plaza de Santa Ana in the Barrio de las Letras costs, in a single room, from 120-140 euros in the entire month of October.

In Sevilla check the El Viajero or Casa Boutique la Pila del Pato in the heart of Sevilla.

Or on booking.com in Sevilla and Granada on the left side, filter by price, from 80-95 euros (max, $100 USD), then check the following filters: guesthouse, bed & breakfast, hostales, to see what you can find.

About a day trip to Salamanca-----it only works if one takes the 8:52 am Alvia fast train from Madrid ChamartŪn rail station, a ride of 1 hr. 41 min. and returns on the 6:20 pm Alvia fast train (same length of ride). The other trains are not high speed and some require a train change.

Last edited by Maribel; Jun 30th, 2024 at 08:59 AM.
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Old Jun 30th, 2024, 03:06 PM
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Maribel, thank you for your reply. A guidebook I read said September was the big convention month in Madrid so I picked October 😱
Regarding train ticket purchases, how far in advance do you recommend purchasing? When I look at the Renfe website, it doesn’t show all options.
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Old Jun 30th, 2024, 11:04 PM
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aggiegirl,
September is also a big convention month here.

It's most likely too early to purchase your October rail tickets. If you look at the options for your journeys available on www.renfe.com for tomorrow or next week, you will probably see the options that will be available for your dates in October for each journey. They won't change much.

Renfe is just frustratingly slow in loading all of its fares, especially on routes where it doesn't have strong competition with the new Italian IRYO or the French OUIGO.

As soon as you see tickets available for your particular journeys, you should purchase them if these trains are AVEs, as the AVE fares will go up, not come down.
However, if your journey is on a short distance AVANT train (Madrid to Segovia, Madrid to Toledo, for your day trips), these fares are static. The fares don't increase closer to your departure date; they remain the same.

The most popular departures and returns on the Madrid-Toledo AVANT runs sometimes do sell out during holiday periods or on weekends (and Toledo is within commuting distance of Madrid), so I purchase my tickets a few days in advance, or even a day before.

That said, if you check on availability for tomorrow, July 2, you'll see that right now, tickets on all departures except for one and on all returns are still available.

But I personally just don't want to run the risk of their not being available if I arrive at Madrid's Atocha station sans tickets the morning of my trip and find that my preferred departure and my preferred return are sold out. And the lines at Atocha can be excruciatingly long.

Hope this helps.
.
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Old Jul 1st, 2024, 06:13 PM
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Thank you so much, Maribel! Very helpful!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 08:58 PM
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We were in that area last Nov. It's just me maybe but I think you have too many days in Madrid. I thought Seville, Granada and Cordoba were much more interesting. My main objective to go to Madrid was to go to the Prado Museum. Fabulous of course. Even the concierge at our hotel said most people don't spend much time in Madrid. I would add a day to one of your other cities. For your itinerary seville would be my pick.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 11:58 PM
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Sorry for jumping in late, but I'm surprised that you don't plan to visit Cordoba, one of Andalusia's gems. I know it's difficult to plan a trip when one's time is limited, but still....

So one idea: Because Madrid is, for most of us, the easiest place to reach of those you plan to visit, I suggest that you think about "short-changing" Madrid on THIS trip so you can take full advantage of the time you'll be spending in Andalusia. You might even add a day to Sevilla -- so 2 or 3 full days in Sevilla, 2 days in Granada, 1 (or better, 2 days) in Cordoba. IMO, You could even add Ronda or Malaga or Cadiz or....

Madrid can easily take 4 day, Segovia at least 1, Toledo is better with at least one overnight, and Salamanca best with at least two days. JMO, of course.

So my suggestion is to defer some / all of your travels in / around Madrid for another trip.

Just an idea! You'll see some wonderful things no matter what you choose.
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Old Jul 4th, 2024, 09:58 AM
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With the high prices of Madrid hotels, I’m dropping one day and will add it to Seville. I may use that extra day for a day trip to Cordoba.
The 11th day that shows Madrid is a transit day to get back for my flight home on day 12. Half of day11 will be in Granada before catching an afternoon train.
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