Spain Itinerary Help

Apr 1st, 2009, 11:02 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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Spain Itinerary Help

I am in a pickle. I am trying to decide between two itineraries.

I plan on visiting the cities: Barcelona (Start), Madrid (End - Fly Home), Granada, Seville, Somewhere in Costa Del Sol (Nerja?).

I will be travelling from 5/11 - 5/25. I plan on staying about 2 nights in each of the cities (3 for madrid).

I am trying to decide whether to fly from Barcelona (SpanAir) to S. Spain (Malaga?) or Train South (Train-ing to Madrid then southward).

Option A.
Fly into Barcelona (3 nights)
Train to BCN-Madrid
Madrid (3 nights)
Madrid - Sevilla Train
Sevilla (2 nights)
Sevilla - Malaga Train
Stay somewhere in Costa Del Sol ? (Not sure where. Marbella, Nerja?) 2-3 nights
Malaga - Granada Train
Granada (2 nights)
Granada - Madrid Train
Stay 1 Night (Madrid)
Fly home

Option B.
Fly into Barcelona (3 nights)
Fly to BCN->Malaga
Costa Del Sol (2 - 3nights)
Train Malaga- Granada
Granada 2 nights
Train Granada to Seville
Seville 2 nights
Train Seville to Madrid
Madrid (3 nights)
Fly Home

Anyone have suggestions?

You should be able to see my trip on Google maps here Plan A vs B,8.052979&z=7

I don't necessarily need to fly into Barcelona, I could fly somwhere else. But I have to leave out of Madrid.

donference is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 11:15 AM
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Please check the Spain topics for the past few months. There is always much discussion on similar itineraries to the ones you are posing.

What do you like to see? How can a stranger help if they do not know what you like to do?
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Thanks Adu. We like a mix. We are in our late 20s, and really like to eat good food.
Our favorite place was Cinque Terra in Italy. So we like the small towns and staying near the water would be nice. My girlfriend likes shopping at times, so a big city is nice for a small amount of time :\

Hope that helps. We don't need to see many museums this trip. We would like to immerse ourselves in the Spanish culture (as much as we can in 2 weeks)
donference is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 11:28 AM
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You are visiting same places for each option. Are there other considerations you have not mentioned?

As you quickly noticed, because of the Madrid back-tracking, you have one more long distance travel day for option A compared to B and additional 1 Madrid day which may not be productive. Option B is more efficient in that there is no back-tracking.

Flying into Barcelona and out of Madrid is a good choice. Any other way to include Barcelona requires a MAJOR back-tracking.

The Option A makes sense if you are trying to time visits to particular cities on particular days that you cannot accomplish with the option B.
greg is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Unless I'm missing something; both itins look pretty much the same except for the order of cities you visit. I don't think it's a big deal - I'd go by the best prices you can find for plane tix vs train tix.
yk is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 11:49 AM
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May I ask why the beach? I could not tell from your profile where you live. It is cold there? Do you get much chance to see beaches? That would explain more.
amsdon is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 12:07 PM
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Thanks everyone. This is a great forum

greg. That's a good point. Thanks for the input. I just noticed that most guides like Fodors and Rick Steve always suggest going through madrid south then back to madrid.
see here:

Amsdon. Well we live in California, so we have beaches. Our last trip was to Italy and having that room overlooking the beach in Cinque Terra was so nice, we sort of want to recreate that magic. We don't like areas too busy, so not an area like where there's a ton of traffic.

yk - Its the same cities, but flying south instead of using a train to madrid from Barcelona.

We are definitely open to different must see cities. These are the towns I hear are must -visits from guide books.
donference is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Oh forgot to mention we would be interested in a nice hike somwhere in the trip. Any suggestions would be great. Sorry if there isn't a lot of detail. We are very "new" to Spain.
donference is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 06:13 PM
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Well we live in Ca too between Ventura & La so beaches we know & like the ambiance of being near the water, I so understand. However it's not like you are very far away from beaches at home and never see them. You mau still have a great time in Nerja I was just thinking you could use that time to explore white villages or other places.

The fact is in May you may not get that warm of weather but indeed it's nice to be near the water to relax & to sample soome for the chiringuitos (seafood shacks)

But I would seriously think about white villages along the way as opposed to staying on CDS. I personally will be on CDL in Oct to be with friends & would much rather stay in a village for a few nights.

Just a thought. Either way sounds like a great trip.

Maribel's guides has mentioned plaes that process some olive and fun places to see near Granada in her guides. Have you looked?

Here is a place we found I am hoping to go to.
amsdon is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 10:12 PM
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Thanks amsdon. There's something about water that signals you are on vacation. Maybe its just me. I haven't thought about staying at the white villages. I was considering making a day trip to Ronda from Granada. What villages would you recommend?

I haven't looked at Maribel's guides. I'll check it out.
donference is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 10:53 PM
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We have different concept of learning about any country, do not rush and try to understand what you see. If you are always in a car, bus, plane, or train the view remains a constant. If you go to tourist areas only, well your view will be the same as otehr tourists. If you leave time for a drink at a cafe, time for some tapas, and a walk through a city or town it can much more instructive.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 06:02 AM
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Oh no! First & formost you must read Maribel's guides before deciding. Although she has not yet done a guide to the white villages, they are mentioned here thoughout just do a search.

Here is the Maribel guide
amsdon is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Hi amsdon and donference,
I'll chime in just to say that I do so agree with amsdon about spending some time in the perched white Moorish hill towns, the "pueblos blancos", rather than in Nerja, particularly since one of your said goals is to immerse yourself in Spanish culture.

While whitewashed Nerja has an undeniably scenic setting on the Med, it also has a very large expat community (British, Scandanavian) which makes it feel not nearly so "Spanish" as one of the hill towns, such as Arcos de la Frontera, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra or even larger Ronda (population 36,000).

And if you enjoy fine food, Ronda has some great dining spots, such as Tragabuches (1 Michelin star) and its casual, inexpensive offshot, Tragatapas or romantic Del Escudero, traditional Pedro Romero across from the bullring, and Don Miguel perched right at the gorge.

I would also suggest that you not try to "day trip" from Granada to Ronda because of the distance (takes me 2 1/2 hrs. by car) and also because Granada does deserve two days to tour the large Alhambra complex and also visit the monuments downtown such as the cathedral, Royal Chapel (the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella), the amazing Monastery of the Cartuja and take a leisurely day time stroll through the evocative Arab quarter, the Albaicín.

You can travel to Ronda from Sevilla by bus-the company is Los Amarillos.

From Ronda to Granada, by Regional Express train.

Or if you planned to allocate 3 nights to Nerja and could switch two of them to Ronda, you could still spend one night in Nerja for your beach experience. Autobuses Portillo runs the service from Ronda to Málaga.

From Málaga to Nerja, bus service is provided by Alsina Graells Sur.
Maribel is online now  
Apr 6th, 2009, 08:51 PM
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Thanks for your help Maribel. I think I will reconsider Costa Del Sol. Ronda sounds great. I will post my updated itinerary. I have however decided to fly south from Barcelona to save time and money.
donference is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 07:56 PM
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Hi Donference - sounds like a great trip. I also am in my late twenties and love the peaceful quiet towns including Cinque Terre.

I went to several places in Spain including Rhonda, El Escorial, Segovia, Seville, Toledo, Granada, Madrid and Barcelona, and Salamanca.

My favorites were Granada and Toledo, mostly because they are smaller and because they are things I've never experienced before. Next would be Segovia (outside Madrid) and Salamanca, they are smaller towns and very relaxing. Salamanca is a college town which I thought I wouldn't like but I loved it. It was peaceful during the day but came alive at night in their main plaza (which is featured in the Dennis Quad movie). I also liked Barcelona mostly for Gaudi.

I didn't like Rhonda compared to other towns in Spain. It was my least favorite. If you need to crunch your schedule I would only spend one day in Granada and just see the Alhambra (buy your tickets ahead of time or they will be all sold out...I went in October and people were turned away).

Hope that helps.
spidey is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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HI Spidey, Thanks for the tip.
Here's my updated schedule. I was considering adding another town, maybe a white village town. Originally I had Nerja in the '?', but I am hearing it's pretty touristy down Costa Del Sol. I may just extend Madrid if I can't figure out another town.

5/11/2009 Mon London - Barcelona
5/12/2009 Tue Barcelona
5/13/2009 Wed Barcelona
5/14/2009 Thu Barcelona - Granada
5/15/2009 Fri Granada
5/16/2009 Sat Granada
5/17/2009 Sun ?
5/18/2009 Mon ?
5/19/2009 Tue Seville
5/20/2009 Wed Seville
5/21/2009 Thu Seville
5/22/2009 Fri Madrid
5/23/2009 Sat Madrid
5/24/2009 Sun Madrid
5/25/2009 Mon Madrid - SFO
donference is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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I highly recommend Malaga and/or Marbella. These places are gorgeous and so worth it.
Ashleyet1 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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We stayed in Jerez al la Frontera for two days between our trip from Seville to Granada and it was perfect. Smallish city, good sherry bodegas and tours, good food, nice cathedral, some real flamenco, and two schools of horse riding - Andalusian. Kept me busy.
Denise is offline  
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