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The best road map and your driving experiences in Andalusia

The best road map and your driving experiences in Andalusia

Old Dec 27th, 2002, 01:50 AM
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The best road map and your driving experiences in Andalusia

We are thinking about visiting this area in mid-March. At this point we are planning to fly to Seville from Paris and start our trip there.

We do not know whether we should rent a car in the airport or be without one when in Seville and rent it in the end of our three day stay there? Are there any other rental locations besides the airport?

What map did you use?

What was your experience driving in Andalusia? How long did you stay in each town? We will have two full weeks there.
Any recommendations, suggestions, warnings will be greatly appreciated.

We are interested in history, architecture (espaecially Arabic influence), outdoor activities such as walking and hiking, wildflowers, birds and also visiting less known villages and towns
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 06:43 AM
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I would like to hear some answers here also because I am going to Spain next year too....
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 07:31 AM
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Help!! Please Fodorites
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 09:15 AM
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Hello Clara, There are better Spain experts than I, but let me give you a start to work from.
First, you want the Michelin #446 map for Andalusia. You do not want a car until you leave Seville, and you can get it at several locations in town. See www.autoeurope.com for prices.
I would do a loop from Seville and include the following:
Arcos de la Frontera

If you fly out from Madrid, I would keep the car and see Cordoba and Toledo
enroute back to Madrid. You fill in the days, but Seville deserves 3 or 4 days.
You could also train to Granada and not get your car until you leave there--there are variations on a theme.
Hope this helps to get your juices flowing. Good luck ! We did 2 weeks in Andalusia in late March one year. I will be doing centro Spain over Holy Week in 2003.
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 09:38 AM
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If you have 2 full weeks from Seville, a perfect amount of time for in depth explorations, there are dozens of possibilites. You might enjoy some variation of this itinerary:

Seville: 3-4 nights
(easy trips to the Roman ruins of Italica, the necropolis in lovely Carmona filled with noble homes and a fortress Parador)

Cadiz: 1-2 nights
(oldest city in Europe-stop in Jerez for the Royal Ecuestrian School horse ballet on Thurs at noon or a visit to a sherry distilleries, explore the Parque Coto de Doñana wetlands and wildlife preserve via boat from San Lúcar de Barrameda)

Arcos or Ronda: 2 nights
(for exploring the perched Moorish white villages of Setenil, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra, the prehistoric caves of La Pileta near Benajoán and walks in the Grazalema National Park)

Marbella-Estepona coast area: 2 nights
(ABOVE the coast at the rustic Refugio de Juanar hunting lodge in Ojén, the Castillo de Monda in Monda, where you can visit the interesting rock formations of El Torcal National Park near Alora, or in one of the country homes in Gaucín, such as El Nobo, Cortijo el Puerto del Negro, La Fructosa where you can walk, enjoy magnificent views of Gibraltar and the coast, explore more Moorish white towns such as Casares or Jimena de la Frontera. The drive down the A 368 from Ronda to Casares is spectacular, also beyond Tarifa, the ruins of the 1st c AD Roman town of Baelo Claudia at Bolonia, right on the beach-closed Mon)

or if you prefer, 2 nights in Nerja, on the eastern side
(for the caves, a quick trip to Moorish hill town of Frigiliana and exploring a bit of the mysterious Alpujarras on your way up to Granada)

Granada: 2 nights
(visit the Alhambra, the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, the La Cartuja Monastery)

Ubeda: 1-2 nights
(visit Renaissance Baeza next door, wonderful walks in the Cazorla National Park, or stay in the park at the Parador)

Córdoba: 1 night
(taking the back route from Jaén, a portion of the Route of the Caliphates stopping in Priego de Córdoba, Cabra and Montilla)

or 1 night in Osuna, doing Córdoba as a day trip on the AVE bullet train from Seville)

back to Seville for last night before flying back to Paris.

Hope this helps to get you started.

Old Dec 27th, 2002, 09:44 AM
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About your other questions:

We've found a car in Seville to be an absolute albatross, a decided hindrance, never a help. Streets are extremely narrow, the inner city a Moorish built maze, and parking spots the size of bath mats! (kidding, but they're really small). We always pick up our rental car upon leaving the city, somewhere near the ring road, either at the Santa Justa train station or at the airport (very convenient if you're heading east). All major rental agencies are in both locations. We let the taxi driver, a pro in negotiating the city traffic and one way streets, take us to the rental agency closest to our exit-less hassle, no frayed nerves.

Please purchase the very detailed Michelin #446 map; it will save you countless hrs. of frustration.

We find driving in Andalucía easy, but the signage can be poor. Instead of searching for highway numbers, which you may or may not see, just look for signs leading you to your next city. And it is a pain to negotiate your car all the way to the top of Arcos de la Frontera with its very tiny, curvy streets (compact car is very much an advantage there). The drive from Ronda down to the coast on the A 376 with its never-ending curves (as serpentine as they come but there are passing lanes, guard rails, and it's kept in good condition) affords you truly spectacular views, but it's best done in daylight hours. Going up to Ronda, hugging the inside, is easier than going down to San Pedro de Alcántara.

Old Dec 27th, 2002, 09:49 AM
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Do you think Tarifa is a good base for seeing parts of Andalusia?
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 10:01 AM
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Hi Frank,
You know, I've never stayed in Tarifa (my mistake) -have often wanted to try the Hurricane. I try to see as many of Alistair Sawaday's featured "Special Places to Stay in Spain" hotels as possible. Didn't think about that one.
Yes, from there you can easily visit Baelo Claudia, only 15 km. away,
do the coastal drive past Zahara de los Atunes, Vejer de la Frontera, another perched Moorish white town, Conil de la Frontera and Novo Sancti Petri (a new resort development) to Cádiz. Prettier beaches on this side.
I'll stay in Tarifa someday. Maybe in May?
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 10:15 AM
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Thank you for your reply. I may stay there next fall. I will check out Alistair Sawaday....
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 06:58 AM
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Is the Michelen map #446 easily found in Spain (in particular, Malaga or Nerja)? I don't live in the USA and it would be costly to have one mailed from there.
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 07:14 AM
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MICHELIN maps are printed in France, not the US!

Yes, they are widely available in Spain, but also in most other places in the world that I've been... try to find a bookstore which specializes in travel. It's very handy to already have the map when you're planning your itinerary.

Old Dec 28th, 2002, 07:27 AM
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What Andre said!
You can buy the Michelin maps at many book stores in Spain, at newspaper/magazine kiosks (even at the Madrid airport) and at gas stations on the autoroutes (where we buy ours), and of course, they're cheaper there.

And check www.viamichelin.com to see all their very detailed regional Spain maps. We don't leave home without them. Don't know if they sell them on their web site or not.
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