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Spain in September--Advise on Itinerary, Hotels, and travel within Spain

Spain in September--Advise on Itinerary, Hotels, and travel within Spain

Old Feb 4th, 2012, 10:02 AM
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Spain in September--Advise on Itinerary, Hotels, and travel within Spain

My wife and I, very active 60 year olds, are planning a trip to Spain in the fall where we will be for about 3 weeks and include about 6 days of hiking in the Pyrennes. I'd like thoughts about my planned itinerary and hotels and about how best travel within Spain (see below):

Sept 3, 4, 5 in Madrid. Am thinking about Room Mate Alicia
Sept 6.7 San Sebastian (how best to get from Madrid to San Sebastian and any advise on hotels)
Sept 8-16 Starting in Bilboa (and seeing the Guggenheim) travel and hike through the Pyrennes with Moutain Travel/Sobek and arrive in Barcelona on Sept 15 with some time to begin to see the city.

Sept 15, 16, 17, 18 in Barcelona. Hotel Gallery (booked for first day with Mountain travel)

Setp 19, 20, 21 in Granada. How best to get from Barcelona to Granada. We'd love to stay in the Parador in the Alhambra but I couldn't get a room from their website. Any thoughts?

Sept 22, 23--rent a car and travel through Andelusia (perhaps stop in Sevilla) and then back to Madrid for flight home.

Thanks in Advance for any advise.

Paul and Judy
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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I think you have too long in Granada and should consider staying in Seville as well (which has much more to see and do).

In Granada we stayed at the Alhanbra Palace (granted a few years ago) but it was fine and very close to the Alhambra, as well as an easy stroll down the hill to an area of town withmore restauarnts etc.
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 08:27 PM
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I, too, would take one day from Granada and add it to your travels through Andalusia. We recently visited that part of Spain for the first time, we love history, culture and food. Other than the Alhambra, which was wonderful, we didn't much like Granada, and much preferred Cordoba and Seville.

You don't necessarily need a car for Andalusia, depending on where you plan to visit. We had a car for part of the trip; drove from Granada to Cordoba (not real scenic, but faster than the train, as we had the car anyway). We dropped the car there, and after two nights in Cordoba, we took the train to Sevilla, then after time there, took the train to Madrid. It worked very well for us. Keep in mind, also, that your Sept 22, 23 will probably need to include one night in Madrid in advance of your flight home. So that's even less time in Andalusia.
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 01:58 AM
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Another vote for staying some days in Sevilla, the undisputable queen of the cities in the South. The worlds greatest and most important flamenco festival goes on in Sevilla theaters from September 7th to October 6th 2012. Watching a performance here can be an experience to remember.

If you want to splurge in San Sebastián, stay in Hotel Maria Cristina (right in the city center and close to everything) or Villa Soro (a 15 min walk from the city center and Old town, but close to the local feel Gros district).
Maria Cristina: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/mari....html?logout=1
Villa Soro: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/vill...l?dcid=1;dva=0

Other great options right by the famous La Concha beach promenade:
Londres y de Inglaterra: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/lond...l?dcid=1;dva=0
Niza: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/niza.en.html

Penison Alemana is a great value alternative 50 meters from the La Concha beach promenade: http://www.hostalalemana.com/ingles/index.html

From Madrid I would have taken a budget flight to Bilbao in one hour. Direct bus from Bilbao airport to San Sebastián in 70 mins. Bus/train Madrid-San Sebastián would be a tiresome 5+ hours journey.
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 09:19 AM
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Do you only have 5 nights in Andalucia? Or 4 if you need to be in Madrid your final night? So I'd skip renting a car and spend 2 nights in Granada and 3 in Sevilla.

Your time in Madrid is a little short. You'll likely be jet lagged your first day. With 3 days total you likely won't have time for day trips. But I don't see anywhere you could take days from in order to add to Madrid. I'd almost be tempted tp skip Madrid alltogher in order to give more time to Barcelona, Sevilla and San Sebastian. But I have to admit that my personal preference is not Madrid.

I would agree with flying between Madrid and Bilbao. It's too bad you can't add time to San Sebastian. 2 nights isn't much time.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 08:50 AM
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Room mate Alicia is a great location but be aware of the fact that the outside room facing Plaza Santa Ana are very noisy,the interior rooms tiny and face ugly airshafts,breakfast used to be included but no longer.! would hope they still leave a green apple next to your bed!
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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For Madrid, you might want to consider the Catalonia Las Corte, which is almost next door to Room Mate Alicia. The location is, I think, perfect for a first visit to Madrid. My third floor rear room was spacious, pretty, with a Juliet balcony opening onto a narrow street. Very quiet with the windows closed and with A/C. Haven't stayed at the Room Mate Alicia so don't know how it compares, outside of location.

For Granada, I stayed at Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol, a guest house with perhaps 7 suites and lots of indoor/outdoor lounging areas. The terraced gardens are gorgeous. Not a B&B. It's a very short walking distance from the Alhambra Palace, and the Alhambra itself. The accommodations have very different vibes, check out their respective websites. I loved the Carmen, it was my favourite accommodation of my Spain trip.

Unlike others, I loved Granada (stayed 3 nights), day-tripped to Cordoba from Seville and won't return, and only liked Seville. But for a first visit I think you have to give Seville a good chance, most visitors liked it much more than me.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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You can fly Vueling from Barcelona to Granada.
Sept is still very hot in. Madrid and Andalucia
Keep it in mind when booking hotels.
I am not sure there are budget flights from Madrid to Bilbao
unless it is through Barcelona.Vueling again.
Iberia has direct flights, but they are costly.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 01:53 AM
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Budget flights from Madrid to Bilbao with EasyJet, from 35-40€. Search at momondo.com.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Take a bus from Madrid to Bilbao or SS (around 5 hrs); around 28 & 33 euro respectively http://www.alsa.es Buses north go from Ave De America terminal (look for metro with the same name). Train is the same time but more expensive; same bus company bus goes from SS to Bilbao (1 hr)
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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my mistake about flights Madrid -Bilbao
was thinking about Spanish carriers only.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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Was in San Seb. in Oct.. Maria Christina was closed for renovations.. would highly recommend Pension Alemeda. super location, suoer clean and charming owner. the rating of 2 stars has to do with the fact that their is no dedicated street level door..Ring the bell, open the door, hop on the elevator and there you are..We atayed 3 nights and were not at all disappointed..Trains are reasonable and buses very comfortable..
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