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Spain Planning: 17 days circling Madrid in September/October

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Jul 13th, 2018, 05:12 AM
  #1
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Spain Planning: 17 days circling Madrid in September/October

Hello there:

I have decided on Spain for my fall vacation having had such a wonderful time in Andalusia in Spring of this year. I just can’t get enough of Spain! Dates are September 21st to October 7th. No car, I will be taking the marvellous Spanish train/bus system. I have checked, and all journeys are doable, in most cases under two hours, and I really enjoy train journeys.

Friday: Fly from London in the morning and take trains directly to Toledo. Stay Toledo
Saturday: Toledo
Sunday: Evening trains from Toledo to Segovia
Monday: Segovia
Tuesday: Evening train from Segovia to Salamanca
Wednesday: Salamanca
Thursday: Salamanca. Day trip to Avila or Zamora
Friday: Evening train Salamanca to Valladolid
Saturday: Valladolid
Sunday: Valladolid. Day trip to Palencia
Monday: Evening train from Valladolid to Leon
Tuesday: Leon
Wednesday: Evening train from Leon to Burgos
Thursday: Burgos
Friday: Evening train from Burgos to Zaragoza
Saturday: Evening train from Zaragoza to Madrid
Sunday: Evening flight home

Yes, I know it is busy, but that is how I like to travel ��. Any feedback on cities that I should skip or just do as a day trip from elsewhere? Restaurant and hotel recommendations very welcome.

Kind regards … Ger
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Jul 13th, 2018, 07:12 AM
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Well one train lover to another - only comment as you obivously have done research is that you are doing so many train trips you are the rare person who should warrante a look at the Spain Railpass -either the Eurail version sold abroad or one sold on Renfe - Spanish Railways site - for loads on Spanish trains check www.seat61.com (great tips booking discounted tickets) - BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. Did a fairly similar trip by train several years ago and was smooth.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 07:29 AM
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Thanks PalenQ for reminding me about seat61 and providing other sources - never heard of BETS. And yes, I have found Rick Steve's site and excellent source, particularly when I am trying to get to and from smaller towns and cities. TripAdvisor is another great source. Will check out the railpass once I have nailed down details. I had never considered it before.

Train journeys make me feel so CALM. I love to go from one city to another in the evening, after a long day of exploring. If journey is about 2 hours, I consider discounted Business Class, if it is not too much more. If not, I buy my own wine and watch the world go by

Regards .. Ger
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Jul 13th, 2018, 07:31 AM
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we are kindred train spirits!
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Jul 13th, 2018, 10:22 AM
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Please ignore the itinerary I have posted, as it is the wrong one.

I will be back later with a more sensible itinerary.

Regards ...Ger
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:46 PM
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you got me all excited and now there it is, gone.

I'm agog to find out what was wrong with the first one.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 03:44 PM
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probably too many train moves and not enough time once there? But to me sounded plausible for someone who loves train rides.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 04:28 PM
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I haven’t been to Valladolid, Palencia, or Zaragoza, but I’ve been to – and thoroughly enjoyed – the rest of the places you mention, and I thought your time allocations quite reasonable. I’ll be interested in seeing what revisions you propose….
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Jul 15th, 2018, 05:23 AM
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OK …. I was planning the exact train times yesterday and realised the last few days involved too long on the trains from Burgos to Zaragoza to Madrid. I must have stopped planning at some point .

Anyway, some more thinking, and I think I have made the itinerary better, by not circling back to Madrid, but heading from Burgos to Bilboa instead and spending the weekend there. I only spent a few hours there in the past was have been planning to go back there for ages. Also, I would prefer to spend my last few days in a small town.


So, here is the updated itinerary.

Friday: Fly from London in the morning and take trains directly to Toledo. Stay Toledo
Saturday: Toledo
Sunday: Evening trains from Toledo to Segovia
Monday: Segovia
Tuesday: Evening train from Segovia to Salamanca
Wednesday: Salamanca
Thursday: Salamanca. Day trip to Avila or Zamora
Friday: Evening train Salamanca to Valladolid
Saturday: Valladolid
Sunday: Valladolid. Day trip to Palencia
Monday: Evening train from Valladolid to Leon
Tuesday: Leon
Wednesday: Evening train from Leon to Burgos
Thursday: Burgos
Friday: Afternoon bus from Burgos to Bilboa
Saturday: Bilboa
Sunday: Evening flight home from Bilboa

Success, I think

Regards Ger

Last edited by OReilly64; Jul 15th, 2018 at 05:41 AM.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 06:02 AM
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Are not buses quicker Toledo-Segovia? Not sure but could be
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Jul 15th, 2018, 06:39 AM
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Not when I checked it - everything appears to go through Madrid.

However, what I have found re bus services in Spain and Italy is that you always need to do a second/third dive to discover the regional buses, which are very difficult to find on the internet, as they only expect the locals to travel, and they have printed timetables. Next steps in my search will be google.es, which throws up a different set of results and sometimes includes local websites, and then trawling through TripAdvisor and Rick Steve's website. All I need to know at this point is that it is doable through Madrid.

An example. Last year, I needed a bus/train on Sunday evening from Sienna (Tuscany) to Perugia (Umbria). Everything directed me back to Florence, so it became my backup plan. However, Perugia is a University town, so I have learned that these towns have a big local network for the students. So I kept going and found ONE bus service a day from Sienna to Perugia in the evening, I bought a ticket on-line, and on the day it was FULL. Had a nice chat with two lovely American girls studying in Perugia who took the weekend in Sienna. They confirmed that the bus always arrived on time … and it did!

So, have not given up on the search as yet.

Thanks PalenQ!
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Jul 15th, 2018, 09:48 AM
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Looks like a nice trip!

As a little quibble, you might have a backup option to leave Segovia earlier on Tuesday – IMO, a full day in Segovia is likely to be sufficient, whereas Salamanca might merit a bit more time than you are giving it. But you can adjust that once on the ground…
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Jul 15th, 2018, 10:34 AM
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Thanks kja: You know I respect your advice!

And I DO love Salamanca. I may spend more time there.

My strategy tends to be to start with booking flights/in out of country, and then work with the itinerary from there. I always book hotels ahead (single female, only sensible). I tend to be flexible with trains and bus times (Try to know the schedule) , from town to town, and adjust on the day, depending how I feel on the day.

Regards ..,,Ger
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Jul 15th, 2018, 10:39 AM
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Siena not Sienna the Forumla One driver! tsk! tsk!
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Jul 15th, 2018, 10:39 AM
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Hello Anne:

I added a weekend in Bilboa at the end, rather than trying to get back to Madrid. Do you want to join me?
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Jul 15th, 2018, 01:42 PM
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I'd have loved to Ger [if you mean me!], but I have a long trip to Canada/the US in August/September and then my mum will be moving down to Cornwall shortly after I come back so I will need to be around to make sure she settles in ok.

Looks like a great trip though! It has a nice balance of places I've seen, albeit over 35 years ago, and new ones. You should have a great time.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 01:46 PM
  #17
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Originally Posted by OReilly64 View Post
My strategy tends to be to start with booking flights/in out of country, and then work with the itinerary from there.
Quite in contrast, I never book flights until I am comfortable with my itinerary and likely transportation options. But your strategy seems to have worked well for you! Isn't it interesting to learn the different ways that people approach their travel plans?
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Jul 15th, 2018, 02:55 PM
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$$$s dictate where I would fly as in most countries a central city like Madrid is a fairly short train ride from anywhere - even Barcelona so the bottom line is more important to me - also helps to enjoy train rides!
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Jul 15th, 2018, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
$$$s dictate where I would fly as in most countries a central city like Madrid is a fairly short train ride from anywhere - even Barcelona so the bottom line is more important to me - also helps to enjoy train rides!
But the "bottom line" in cost actually depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. The financial costs associated with being at an airport that doesn't suit one's interests or one's final plans can be nontrivial, and the opportunity costs can also be substantial. I certainly read a LOT of trip reports and planning threads in which people "snag" some cheap airfare, and then end up being unable to plan a trip that meets their goals without paying FAR more than they "saved" -- AND they lose the opportunity to allocate the time they would like to the places that most interest them.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 03:50 PM
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Yes pardon me too!

Last edited by PalenQ; Jul 15th, 2018 at 03:57 PM.
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