Spain with a car and kids 18 days

Old Jan 30th, 2016, 03:19 AM
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Spain with a car and kids 18 days

Hello everyone. Thank you for suggestions on my other posts. We've revisited our plan and have come up with the following:

(NB: By this stage we've already spent 16 days driving from Paris to Provence)

Day 1 Drive 300km from Camargue, France to Coasta Brava (Llafranc / Tamariu / Calella de Calafrugell / Platja de Castell - We're having trouble deciding which town would be best here.)

Day 2-3 Laze at the beaches

Day 4 Drive 115km to Barcelona

Day 5-6 Explore Barcelona - Sagrada Família Church, Park Güell, La Rambla, Plaça Espanya Magic Fountains Montjüic, La Boqueria food market (I've been here several times before, so again we're happy for a brief stop).

Day 7 Drive 350km to Valencia - Just a place to stop the night and stretch our legs. (Open to other suggestions here)

Day 8-9 Granada - Drive 500km to Granada - Visit Alhambra, Garcia Lorca Park,

Day 10 Seville - Drive 350km to Seville - Stopping at Ronda and Olvera (Pueblas Blancas) [Direct to Seville is 250km, so this is a detour)

Day 11-14 Explore Seville - Day trip to Jerez, Flamenco dancing, April Festival

Day 15 Drive 150km to Cordoba - Mezquita

Day 16 Drive 420km to Madrid (stop in Toledo on way).

Day 17-18 Explore Madrid (I've been to Madrid before and hubby isn't that fussed, so we're happy to not spend a huge amount of time here)


* Other options for a stopover between Barcelona and Granada?
* Is Jerez worth a day trip from Seville (94km each way)? I think our kids would like to see the horses.
* Is it feasible to drive the Pueblas Blancas on the way from Granada to Seville?
* Anything we should cut out / add in? I was wondering if we should reduce our time in Seville and add it somewhere else - Barcelona / Madrid / Sergovia?
* We'll likely be in Seville to catch the last two days of the Seville April Fair. Good idea / bad idea??

* The only thing that we've locked in is leaving from Madrid on Day 18. Part of me thinks we're crazy to explore the South of Spain and we should stick to the North and drive less distance. For example total km from Provence to Madrid (via Barcelona / Seville / Granada) is 2000km vs Provence to Madrid (via San Sebastian / Bilbao) is 1200km.

* Finally, my husband won't even consider the idea of taking the train. He would much prefer to drive.

Thoughts? Thanks so much
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 04:12 AM
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I think you should stay with your plans for the South, Andalucia could be adventure for a lifetime, and you have planned a fine intro.

Definitely soak up a bit of the Feria de Abril atmosphere in Sevilla, and be sure to vist the fair grounds.

After Magic fountain in Barcelona, you could have dinner/tapas in fabulous and not far away Bodega 1900.

In Madrid, perhaps see world class flamenco in Casa Patas or Cardamomo, arguably two of the absolute best tablaos in the country in recent years and just off central Plaza Santa Ana:
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 08:19 AM
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I think you'll really enjoy this trip. I especially like the south of Spain. The roads are great, and the driving is easy. We especially enjoyed seeing the landscape, rock formations, etc., especially at Ronda.

Your itinerary makes my mouth water. I really do have to go back and spend more time in Spain!
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 09:33 AM
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Overnight stops between Barcelona and Granada.

IF you want less drive time on day 8 to Granada, and IF sightseeing in Valencia is not a top priority for you, you can drive further South to either Murcia or Elx.
Valencia has more to see, obviously, but if it's of no major importance for you, the further South you spend the night, the shorter the remaining drive to Granada will be.
Either way, if you feel like it, you can easily incorporate a visit to Xativa castle en route. A bit S of Valencia on A-7 (NOT AP-7!).

Granada-Sevilla via Ronda sure is doable.
An easier stop along the direct route to the West would be El Torcal national or natural park near Antequera.
Since you want to see pueblos blancos, I think that Arcos de la Frontera, Medina-Sidonia and Vejer de la Frontera (all S of Sevilla) are more typical white villages than Ronda (totally subjective view again). Technically you could incorporate one or two into your drive from Granada to Sevilla. But with already one stop in Granada, it would be too much for my comfort zone.
I think I would rather visit those three villages as a day trip from Sevilla.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 02:32 PM
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Since you have 4 days in Seville, I think you could do a day trip to Jerez. That equestrian school has shows on certain days. I took the bus there for the day.

Now, to be honest, your itinerary would totally wear me out driving around all over Spain including while staying in major cities, I don't like to drive on vacation, so I'm not quite sure of your logistics in that case. You obviously plan to have your car in Seville, I'm not sure where you plan to be. But then driving to/from Jerez would make visiting the equestrian school easier as it isn't right near the bus station. You could just play it by ear and figure out the possible days and see what you feel like when there.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 04:18 PM
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I would spend the last two nights in Toledo and drive from there to the airport, it is about an hour drive, since you've been to Madrid before and your husband doesn't seem to care. Loved Toledo! And it deserves more than a stop.
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Old Jan 31st, 2016, 01:10 PM
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My first thought is to drop the car when you arrive in Sevilla and pick up another one when leaving. Besides paying for parking, outside of the new areas of the city, Sevilla is a maze of narrow, one-way streets. Any daytrips from Sevilla can be done by train or bus.
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Old Jan 31st, 2016, 05:36 PM
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As an alternative to Valencia, you could consider a couple of nights in Teruel, exploring the area, especially Albarracin and Albarracin Cultural Park

The two times we have been to Seville we stayed at Eurostar Regina. They have guest parking and it is an easy walk to old Seville.

We did not enjoy Seville, but that does not mean you will not. However, since you will probably visit the cathedral, I don`t see a point of going to Cordoba just to see another one.

I would replace Cordoba and one night in Seville with a two night stay in Merida.

Between Merida and Madrid, Trujillo is worth a stop, as well as Guadalupe (if you choose the back roads)

Instead of two days in Madrid, you might consider a night in Oropesa (the Parador, if in your budget),_Spain

Between Oropesa and Madrid, visit Toledo.

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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 03:18 AM
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Thanks everyone. I'm totally overthinking this and am going to sit down and try to re-work our trip plan.

The more I think about it, the more concerned I am about the distances we are driving. I think we may need to cut a few places out to try and make it a bit slower and easier for the kids.

We are most likely going to lease a car in France under one of their lease back schemes. So won't be able to pick up and drop off rental cars, especially given we'll be bringing three child seats from home.

Cowboy1968 - Xativa castle is a good suggestion. We will most likely skip Valencia proper. Good tip on the A7 vs AP7. I think we will stop on Ronda (to see it's bridge) on our way to Seville but leave the Pueblas Blancas out for a day trip later on from Seville (or out altogether). Unless we cut Seville altogether.

Christina - A day tip to Jerez for the equestrian school would be interesting. I think the kids would like this. However, we might play it by ear. I wonder if Seville, given it's their April Festival may well have something similar we could see in town??

JoannyC - Skipping Madrid altogether could be another option. I was wondering if we should look at Toledo or even Sergovia?

Thanks Mark, I will certainly look up your suggestions. I especially like the idea of Albarracin.

Seville Festival April - I'm starting to get a bit nervous about the festival with our kids. While I like the idea of the costumes etc, I wonder if we should just avoid it with our 2 x four year old twins and 19 month old. Is Seville worth visiting during festival time with little children?

So far, looking at our plan, what I am really happy with for the Spain segment is:

Day 1 Drive 300km from Camargue, France to Coasta Brava (Llafranc / Tamariu / Calella de Calafrugell / Platja de Castell
Day 2-3 Laze at the beaches
Day 4 Drive 115km to Barcelona
Day 5-6 Explore Barcelona

We want to see Granada.

We don't have to see Cordoba. We've travelled extensively through Egypt, Morocco, Turkey. I'm curious if anyone has a view on how the Cordoba Mezquita compares to some of the other greats?

I think we need to fit a few nights somewhere, with little driving and some relaxing for the kids. So basically, we have 12 nights to get from Barcelona to Madrid. I want to at least stop in Granada. Possibly Ronda and the Pueblas Blancas. Maybe we need another beach somewhere here, I'm not sure. Open to suggestions, what do you reckon????

Okay, I'm off to bed. I've got to get up for pilates in the morning and will certainly be awake at 3am for one of the little people ;-)

Cheers from this tired, but excited to soon be travelling again, Mummy Wombat
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 03:45 AM
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Hmmm, back again.

I wonder about the possibility of driving from:
Provence to Coasta Brava (spend a few days)
Costa Brava to Barcelona (spend a few days)
Barcelona to Madrid
Rent an apartment in Madrid to leave our stuff / or store luggage somewhere. Return the rental car (and save money by not having it the last week, which would off-set the cost of accommodation we don't use / luggage storage)
Train down to Granada / Ronda etc and back
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 10:13 AM
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First, I would say the Mezquita in Cordoba definitely ranks with some of the greatest sites. I remember when I was in Greece being a little disappointed because there is hardly anything left of some of their sites. But the Mezquita is still there and well preserved.

As for the Feria de Abril, true, there should be horses around during that festival if you go to the area where they parade around the fairground some, but it's mainly a festival for eating, drinking, dancing and flamenco dresses (and bullfights). here is some info

It will be hectic, I'm sure. It's in that one area that isn't in the center, so some effort to get there and I'd say don't even think of driving. here is info on how to get there

I'd probably want to avoid it myself, but I don't like crowds nor amuseument parks, etc. I can't say as to whether visiting Seville is good or bad during that time if you aren't into the festival.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 04:04 PM
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Segovia is another of my favorite towns in Spain! You could drive from there to Barajas Airport also in a bit over an hour (103 km), depending on traffic and the time of your departing flight. But, I think I liked Toledo more if I had to choose between them.

Then, there is Salamanca (probably my most favorite in central Spain), Avila, and on and on and on... You have difficult choices!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2016, 04:19 AM
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Thank you. We have decided to cut Seville. So now our trip looks something like this. I still have to think about Ronda and Cordoba. We also need to think about if we're going to skip Cordoba, do we rather fly home from Granada / Malaga.

Let me know your thoughts. Thank you all so much.

Nights 1-16 in France

17 Camargue (France)
18 Drive 125km / 1.5hrs to Narbonne for lunch. Drive 177km / 2.5hrs to Costa Brava
19 Costa Brava
20 Costa Brava
21 Drive 127km / 2hrs to Barcelona
22 Barcelona
23 Barcelona
24 900km / 10 hours total Barcelona to Granada. Spend the night somewhere half way (Valencia / Murcia / Elx).
25 Drive remainder to Granada
26 Granada
27 Granada
28 Granada
29 Drive 180km / 3hrs to Ronda (Stop at Antequera on way)
30 Ronda
31 Drive 200km / 3 hrs to Cordoba
32 Cordoba
33 Drive 340km / 4 hrs to Toledo
34 Drive 87km / 1 hr to Madrid - Fly home 10pm
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Old May 8th, 2016, 09:20 AM
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maybe is too later for suggest.
I went to Madrid the last month and I think that this city is one of de best city of Spain. Here you can do all that you want. A lot of museums, musicales, concerts..and if you want see flamenco you can visit a lot of tablaos, like casa patas, corral de la morería..etc. But the best flamenco experiences is Flamenco Route Madrid, It is a walking tour on the history of flamenco in Madrid, with wine and tapas, with theatrical and musical performances and a private flamenco show. It is amazing!
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Old May 8th, 2016, 09:22 AM
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Let's keep an eye on Petra87 to see if she always touts that flamenco site.
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Old May 8th, 2016, 10:48 PM
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Anyhow, looks like a very fresh, interesting and alternative way to get to know both Madrid and flamenco. Seems to be serious people behind the route project, perhaps best suited to those who really want to dig into the flamenco experience.
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Old May 9th, 2016, 02:05 AM
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Just a few comments:

- I understand you will travel in April. At the Costa Brava it will still be too cold for swimming. However, the coast is very scenic. Make sure to drive to Cap Creus, Cadaques (one of the most beautiful white towns in Spain) and the Dalí home in Port Lligat.

- Driving in Spain is easy and relaxed. I see nothing wrong with your itinerary.

- Flamenco or not, Madrid IS a most fascinating city. It is the Capital, has lots of excellent museums, the Royal Palace, beautiful parks and squares. I would spend there some time. Maybe cut it from Granada.

- I do not know if Ronda is worth an overnight stay. You may just stop there for a couple of photos and continue.
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