Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Spain: please critique itinerary (

Lorraine May 28th, 2006 03:08 PM

Spain: please critique itinerary
I've refined an itinerary I've posted before (thanks for your input!), but still haven't decided about day trips from Madrid (see the end of the schedule) or whether to add a full day in Barcelona (although that day would be Oct. 12, when so much is closed) and remove a full day from the White Hill towns.

Feel free to weigh in!

Sunday, Oct. 8: Arrive in Barcelona in morning; walk down the Ramblas and through the Gothic Quarter.
Sleep in Barcelona (3 nights): Hotel Colon

Monday, Oct. 9: Gaudi architecture and other Barcelona sights.

Tuesday, Oct. 10: Day trip to Girona, evening in Barcelona.

Wednesday, Oct. 11: Picasso Museum, maybe Chocolate Museum and City History Museum (under the city). Montjuic, maybe Joan Miro Museum. Walk along the Mediterranean.
Overnight train (9 pm) to Granada (sleeping cabin).

Thursday, Oct. 12: Arrive Granada 8:30 am, walk around Moorish quarter. (What else can we do or see that won't be closed for National Day?)
Sleep in Granada (1 night): Alhambra Palace Hotel

Friday, Oct. 13: The Alhambra all morning. By mid-afternoon rent car and drive 3 hours White Hill town region.
Sleep in Ronda (4 nights): Parador de Ronda or Reina Victoria Hotel.

Saturday, Oct. 14: Explore Ronda and take hike in hills.

Sunday, Oct. 15:
Explore Grazalema and hike in the Parque de Grazalema.

Monday, Oct. 16:
Explore Zahara and hike in hills. Visit Gaucin for views?

Tuesday, Oct. 17: On the way to Seville explore Arcos de la Frontera. Return car midday in Seville, walk around.
Sleep in Seville (2 nights): San Gil Hotel?

Wednesday, Oct. 18: Visit Cathedral, Alcazar, Santa Cruz district, Basilica, Bullfight Museum; paseo and flamenco in evening.

Thursday, Oct. 19: Take AVE train from Seville to Cordoba, explore city. Take AVE train from Cordoba to Madrid, arrive in evening.
Sleep in Madrid (5 nights)

Friday, Oct. 20: Take half-day guided city tour, then visit Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Day trip to Toledo (Santa Cruz Museum, Museo Sefardi.
Evening in Madrid.

Sunday, Oct. 22: Day in Madrid OR day trip to Avila or Segovia.

Monday, Oct. 23: Day in Madrid OR day trip to Segovia or El Escorial.

Tuesday, Oct. 24: fly home

fradbran May 28th, 2006 03:33 PM


Hi your trip sounds great. I am going to visit a cousin in Spain on June 25th. He planned many of the same things you planned but also, Gibralter. He says it's an absolute must. Real fun for the kids. I will post about my trip when I return in late July.


artlover May 28th, 2006 06:59 PM

I think your trip looks great. Please report back to us. I'm a bit concerned about you doing Girona as a daytrip. Our daughter did this last year as a daytrip and said she was exhausted and wished she'd stayed overnight in Girona, but we're planning to go to Barcelona and Girona and will be curious how this works out for you.

Lorraine May 29th, 2006 08:46 PM

franbrad, have a great trip. I don't think we can make it to Gibralter on this trip. Would you please ask your cousin about artlover's concern regarding doing Girona as a day trip from Barcelona? I certainly don't want to feel stressed or rushed.

artlover May 29th, 2006 08:51 PM

I just check it out on and it's only 100 kilometers, so it shouldn't really be a problem as a day trip. DD was probably exhausted from staying up partying in Barcelona all night before she left. LOL

NEDSIRELAND May 30th, 2006 07:02 AM

Sunday is the day to visit Barcelona's Parc Guell (afternoon) & the Cathedral (NOT Sagrada Familia) in the evening to see Catalanes dancing the Sardana.

Then, if I were that close, I would go to Zaragoza for the 12th and see the people dancing Jotas Arasgonesas to celebrate la Virgen del Pilar. Maybe I would daytrip to nearby Fuendetodos to visit the birthplace and Museum of a famous Aragones: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes.

In Madrid, you omitted el Centro de Arte de la Reina Sofia (across from la Puerta de Atocha) where Picasso's Guernica hangs. Sunday, Oct 22, also in Madrid: if it's a nice day, I recommend an early afternoon visit to Retiro Park to enjoy the many Street Performers. They are not aggressive like those in N.Y.'s Washington Square Park or San Francisco's Fishermens Wharf.

I haven't seen a Calendar for Sevilla's Bienal de Flamenco, but in years past it has ended in mid-October. You'll just miss it.

You entitled this thread: "please critique itinerary;" if I planned a trip for that same time period it would include all these things I mention.

Myer May 30th, 2006 11:30 AM

We went in reverse.

Rather than train from Barcelona to Granada I checked out the Iberia web site. Amazing that on different days or one hour to the next the fare can vary greatly. As much as 100E or more.

We flew from Granada to Barcelona (1 hour) at 7PM for 55E for both of us.

Yes, we had to pay for the hotel room but the sleeper train is expensive too and you just don't get as good a night's sleep as in a hotel.

I'd check that out.

Also, when you go to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, make sure you check out his interpretations (?) of Las Meninas. I took a picture (sorry) of the full one. Then when you get to the Prado, compare it to a "real" painting. The original hangs there.

What a difference.

Picasso cut short his art training as he didn't think it would teach him more. Maybe he should have continued.

matt01 May 30th, 2006 12:39 PM

Good point on the airfare between cities in Spain (and Europe). Having traveled to Spain last June (Barcelona-Granada-Sevilla-Cordoba-Marbella), the roads are good, there are vistas and sights throughout, but air can be cheaper and quicker than rail.

Barcelona--If you are staying at the Colon Hotel next to the cathedral, excellent! The entrance of the cathedral was covered for renovation last year so you should get lucky and it will be completed! The Barri Gotic is cool, very old and has hidden food gems.
MUST: Palais de Musica Catalunya --- magnificent museum-and close to the Colon.
READ: The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon--excellent fiction reading and fun, all based in post-civil war Barcelona.

Granada--see if you can stay at the Parador at the Alahambra--worth the price without a doubt!!! and good eats nearby (better than Barcelona). Walking can be decieving in the Arab Quarter below the Alahambra---nothing but steep hills, but very interesting.

Sevilla--avoid the restaurants close to the plaza de toros. Touristy and awful food.

Que tengas un buen viaje!!


laclaire May 30th, 2006 07:12 PM

Looking very good. I still say that Segovia is the best day trip you have of the 3 presented (Escorial and Ávila just don't do it for me if you have Segovia as a choice.

Girona can definitely be a day trip, but it is a long one. Take the first train out in the morning, and don't miss the last one out.

Sounds like a great trip!

Biz May 30th, 2006 07:24 PM

I second Matt on the parador in the Alahamra, it is a wonderful place to stay. Also, make sure you reserve your Alahamra tickets in advance. We actually went twice, once during the day and once at night and I would definitely recommend doing it that way.

If you stay at the parador in Ronda, try to get a room with a terrace overlooking the gorge --spectacular!

Lorraine Jun 1st, 2006 05:46 AM

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my request for itinerary help as well as the small insights (such as go to Parc Guell on Sunday afternoon) that will help us make the most of our time.

I'm thinking of deleting the Girona day trip entirely, as there's so much to see in Barcelona and I'm concerned about rushing around too much. Still hope to visit Segovia as a day trip from Madrid.

laclaire Jun 1st, 2006 10:15 AM

I love Girona, but a day trip there when you only have a few days in Barcelona is a little out of proportion.

Oh, and if you go to Segovia, TAKE THE BUS! The tren regional takes a full 2 hours longer!

Wed. Oct. 11- Of these museums, I think that their importance is:
Picasso, City History, Joan Mirò, Chocolate.

The first 2 are great museums (city history is absolutely fantastic!), and the Mirò museum is also vyer good. The chocolate museum, though a lot of fun, displays sculptures made of chocolate that are very well done, but not incredibly interesting. If you want to go by, do so, but their main attraction is really the café where you can eat a huge variety of chocolate truffles or get a hot chocolate and roll.

Montjuïc is a wonderful place, but it really is more of a day trip. You have the Mirò museum, the gardens, the catacombs (from the Almodóvar flick "todo sobre mi madre"), the poble espanyol, and the castle, which has a very interesting history, though I think their museum is far from inspired.

Oct 12- visit the Cathedral and enjoy the plazas of Granada, which are always open. Also, if you are interested in flamenco, look for a show by performer Raquel Heredia (sometimes called "La Repompa"). She used to perform at the Cueva de la Rocío, so that might be a good bet. Before the sun goes down, make your way to the Mirador de San Nicolás and watch the Alhambra palace go from stone to gold, then dark. Beautiful.

Oct 19- eat at el carrasco (near the cathedral/mosque).

It is really shaping up!

happytrailstoyou Jun 3rd, 2006 07:00 AM

You have planned a great adventure; however, you might consider spending a night in Toledo so you can enjoy this wonderful town when the bus loads of day-trippers are elsewhere.

I like your idea of staying at the Parador in Ronda; it has a convenient location and rooms have great views of the gorge.

althom1122 Jun 3rd, 2006 07:54 AM

Agree with previous poster on spending the night in Toledo - it's wonderful being there when it's quieter. What a magical town. Also, would definitely choose Segovia over El Escorial (personally I'd skip the latter altogether - was not that impressed).

RCLCOLPB Aug 8th, 2006 06:57 AM


Your trip sounds fabulous. We did part of a similar trip (we did not have as much time as you do) last year, and I really don't have much to add. I would just note that the Parador in Ronda is a nice hotel with great views, but it does not really have the historic character that I associate with Paradors. You probably knew that, but I didn't want you to be disappointed if you were expecting an historic restoration.

We did enjoy staying overnight in Toledo.

BTW, I noticed that you posted a very helpful message re an OAT tour to Peru. We are planning a similar trip at the end of this month, and I just posted a few questions to you on the Peru board.


jonalex Aug 8th, 2006 07:32 AM

It looks like your itinerary is pretty well set, but I wanted to offer a couple more suggestions. First, I would definitely fly from Barcelona to Granada. It is quick and easy. While in Barcelona, I highly recommend Con Majo for dinner (caldero de bogavante-paella & lobster cauldron)in Barceloneta.
It may shock some people, but I wasn't too impressed with the Alhambra (the Alcazar in Seville was more interesting to me). However, I loved everything else about Granada. Take a stroll down Carrera del Darro and head over to Albaicin (at end of del Darro).Dinner at Huerto de Juan Ranas at the St. Nicholas viewpoint (view of Alhambra at night is unbelievable). In Ronda, we stayed at La Casona de Ciudad. An unbelievable boutique hotel not far from the bridge. Most of the tourist guides will suggest Tragabuches for dinner, but the best meal in Spain was at Casa Maria in Ronda. For flamenco in Seville, we went to “El Arenal”, Calle Rodó 7 near the bullring. We didn't eat dinner there, but the show was fantastic. We ended up eating lamb with honey at Enrique Becarra which is very close. We stayed at Hotel Becquer in Seville. The hotel is nothing special (a lot like a marriott in the U.S.), but we loved the location. Close to Triana, the bullring and most of the tourist attractions and great restaurants(we did take a taxi to the Alcazar though). Finally, I would only take a day trip to Segovia and spend the rest of your time in Madrid. It is a wonderful city. In my opinion Avila is overrated. El Escorial is really impressive, but if I had a choice I would rather spend the day in Madrid. Good luck and safe travel.

john183 Aug 8th, 2006 06:12 PM

My wife and I will be in Spain very close to your visit and we are thinking of taking the overnight train from Barcelona to Granada on October 14th. Do you have tickets yet? If so, what type of beds did you get? We are really struggling with flying or taking the overnight train (mainly for the adventure and not the money or time savings). What made you decide on the overnight train?

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:48 PM.