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brosis Nov 10th, 2013 12:15 PM

Spain- Itinerary review Apr 24-May 12 - what are we missing?
With your help, I've drafted a new itinerary for a spring trip to Spain.We've planned our stops to take in the major general sites as well as to visit the major Jewish historical sites. Would appreciate your feedback as to length of time we've allowed in each city and any side trips you would recommend!

• Arrive Madrid 8:35 AM Friday April 25 and stay through April 29 with a day trip to Toledo on Sunday 27th or Monday 28th
• Leave Madrid Tues April 29 around 8PM on train to Cordoba
• Cordoba, 9PM Tuesday 29th through May 1st
• Leave Cordoba 8:30 PM Thursday May 1st on train to Seville
• Seville, Thurs night May 1st through Sunday May 4 evening
• Leave Seville on evening train to Granada May 4
• Granada, Sun night May 4 through May 6
• Leave Granada Tues evening May 6 or Wed morning May 7 by plane to Barcelona
• Barcelona, Tues night May 6 or Wed morning May 7 through Sat night May 10 or Sun morning May 11 with day trip to Girona on May 8
• Leave Barcelona Sat night May 10th or Sun morning May 11th by plane to Madrid
• Madrid May 11
• Fly home to US from Madrid morning May 12


Sassafrass Nov 10th, 2013 01:48 PM

Personally, if at all possible, I would put all the time in Madrid together, probably at the end, because departing Barcelona and returning to Madrid just for an overnight will eat up time, plus that is a one nighter with not much merit.

OTOH, with your interest in Jewish history, a day trip to Toledo might seem rushed, plus, Toledo is lovely and mysterious at night. It is one place I would consider for a one nighter. For my money, it is much more beautiful and interesting than Cordoba.

Even though dinner is very late in Spain, I would also have slightly earlier arrivals in Cordoba and Sevilla because by time you get to your hotel, check in and then find your way to a restaurant, it will be super late. If you can arrive in time to check in and have a short stroll about and to a restaurant, it might be more relaxing and fun.

Consider the fast train from Barcelona to Madrid rather than a flight.

Do you have tickets already? If not, what about multi-city, arrive in Barcelona, depart Madrid?

Two ideas: if you can not do multi-city.
Upon arrival in Madrid, go straight to Cordoba.
Upon arrival in Madrid, go straight to Barcelona
Either way, all of Madrid/Toledo at the end.

kja Nov 10th, 2013 02:31 PM

I agree with Sassafrass that it would be worth trying to put all of your time in Madrid together. If you are flying out of Madrid, put your time in Madrid at the end.

I like the amounts of time you are giving for Cordobo, Seville, and Granada. I thought Toledo well worth 2 full days, and as Sassafrass notes, if you have an interest in Jewish history, a day trip there could easily seem too short. I think you can shift one day from Madrid to Toledo, especially if you are able to put all your time in Madrid in one block.

You've planned around Mondays well, but do keep them in mind if you shift your dates around.

And do book your time at the Alhambra in advance. I recommend visiting first in the day and then in the evening.

Sounds like a great trip - enjoy!

danon Nov 10th, 2013 02:38 PM

I agree about train B-M rather than flying
center to center in 2:30 h
May 1 is a holiday...check for closings.

joannyc Nov 10th, 2013 03:49 PM

Completely agree to put Madrid time at end of trip and that Toledo deserves at least two days.

Any reason not to fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid (multi city option on airline websites)?

brosis Nov 10th, 2013 07:14 PM

Wow! thanks for your advice. We can't do multicity cause we already booked flights at a fantastic $880 price in/out of Madrid. I like the idea of going straight to Barcelona from Madrid. We want to be able to spend Shabbat in a city with a Jewish population, so going to Cordoba right away won't work, but Barcelona will. Originally we'd planned to stay overnight in Toledo, so now we definitely will with your advice. I'll talk with my friend about modifications to the itinerary and then repost. Thanks so much. this forum is the best!

330east Nov 10th, 2013 07:23 PM

Keep in mind that the great Maimonides lived in Cordoba.

brosis Nov 11th, 2013 04:24 AM

KJA... what do you mean we planned around Mondays well? Are things closed on Mondays?

danon Nov 11th, 2013 06:16 AM

Many museums are closed on Mondays

brosis Nov 11th, 2013 07:58 AM

OK... Here is our tentative revised itinerary going in the opposite direction. Please advise if you think this will work given sites to see, transportation issues, Mondays/May 1 holiday... so appreciate the great feedback!

• Arrive Madrid morning Fri Apr 25 and take plane to Barcelono Fri Apr 25 - since we're already at airport, I'm assuming flying makes more sense?
• Barcelona Fri April 25 through Tues evening Apr 29 or morning Wed Apr 30 – fly to Granada
(will take side trip to Girona on Sunday Apr 27)
• Granada evening Tues Apr 29 or morning Wed April 30 – leave evening Thurs May 1 on train to Seville
• Seville evening Thurs May 1 – leave evening Sun May 4 on train to Cordoba
• Cordoba evening Sun May 4 – leave morning Wed May 6 for train to Madrid and onto Toledo. I thought since we have to transfer trains it would be better to leave in the morning?
• Toledo afternoon Wed May 6, 7 leave Friday May 9 morning/afternoon for Madrid - wanted to have enough time in Toledo given advice above... am I shorting Madrid too much?
• Madrid Fri May 9 – leave for US Monday morning May 12

Looking forward to your feedback/suggestions.

danon Nov 11th, 2013 08:33 AM

It all depends on YOUR interest.
Madrid is a great city for those who love art, architecture, museums and a big city vibe.
Personally, I would rather spend more time in Madrid than exploring small towns,
but others would disagree. I found a day in Toledo sufficient to see the
Synagogue , the Cathedral, walk around etc.

danon Nov 11th, 2013 08:37 AM

yes, it makes more sense to fly to Barcelona...the flights are often cheaper than AVE.
check Vueling airlines.

kja Nov 11th, 2013 09:12 AM

I think your new plan is better. :-)

It is more rushed than I personally would prefer, but should allow you to see quite a bit. As danon says, whether you have enough time for Madrid depends on your interests. For example, I love art, so for me, 4 full days was barely sufficient there. But one thing to keep in mind is that because Madrid has an international airport, it would be easier to return there than it would be to return to some of the other places you plan to see.

Are you big lunch eaters? I'm not, so I often travelled during the long midday siesta. That might help you out with some of your transitions.

Sassafrass Nov 11th, 2013 09:18 AM

Sounding really good. Only a couple of things to think about or perhaps tweak a bit.

Granada really needs one whole, unbroken day, so do try to get there Tuesday evening. Also, very important to book tickets ahead for the Alhambra, both day and evening. Granada, as a city, is sometimes underestimated. It is wonderful for walking.

Cordoba is such a short trip from Seville, I would stay Sunday night in Seville and depart very early Monday morning for Cordoba. You would easily be there mid morning, so still have most of the day plus the next whole unbroken day, and still two nights - perfect. While It is nice to get to a destination and wake up there with the whole day ahead of you, it does sometimes take away more from the day before when you are out touring and have to return to your hotel to retrieve luggage before going to the train station. Just a thought though, not a very big deal.

Whether to stay only one night in Toledo to have a bit more time in Madrid is a toss up. I loved Toledo at night, but there is nothing to do there. Madrid has lots more to do in the evening, but you will have three nights. I would be tempted to spend only one night in Toledo, but have dinner there and head into Madrid quite late. Why? It would give you four nights and three whole days in Madrid, so if you had the energy and desire after seeing the major museums, palace, etc. on Saturday or Sunday you could do a day trip to lovely Segovia. You would not have to plan ahead, just do it if you wished.

brosis Nov 12th, 2013 04:39 PM

thanks for the confirmations. Sassafras, i appreciate your advise on Cordoba and Toledo! Getting excited about planning the details now that we have the itinerary in place. Any recommendations on INEXPENSIVE centrally located lodging? We want clean, not luxury. Ensuite bathroom is preferred and breakfast would be great. Need two beds :)

danon Nov 12th, 2013 05:17 PM

What is your budget?

kja Nov 12th, 2013 05:53 PM

It's been years since I spent any time at these hotels, but they still seem to get reasonably good reviews:

Sevilla - Las Casas de la Juderia
Toledo - Hostal del Cardenal
Madrid - Hotel Lope de Vega

brosis Nov 13th, 2013 03:32 PM

Thanks kja
@ danon - we'd like to stay under $100/night, if possible.

Sassafrass Nov 13th, 2013 04:42 PM

Unfortunately, that is pretty low for 2-bed rooms, city center location, in cities that are major historic sites with equivalent tourism and costs. Think about the cost of typical rooms in NY city, London, Washington DC, etc.
Try I've had very good service with them. Do check cancellation policy for each hotel.
Try airbnb. I used them for a recent trip to France and they were great. They are a pain to join though, and there is a booking fee, so that can increase the cost. You do not have to join before looking at the web site, so can look to see what is available, then decide if it might work for you. I used them several times and was very pleased.

Sassafrass Nov 13th, 2013 05:26 PM

Just out of curiosity, I checked Granada. Many hotels are already booked for your time frame, so if you want a hotel, you need to choose soon. I also checked airbnb and found several lovely apartments in your price range. Those can also book up quickly. With either, be sure of the location. You do not want to be in the "burbs".

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