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The Train In Spain And Maybe Take A Plane?

The Train In Spain And Maybe Take A Plane?

Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 08:55 AM
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The Train In Spain And Maybe Take A Plane?

So I've read through 2,811 posts on Spain (May 2015 trip) and still have questions. I have come up with two options (so far):

OPTION UNO:
Barcelona 6 nights
Train to Madrid for 3
Rent Car
Toledo for 3
Cordoba for 2
Seville for 3 (drop car)
Train to Granada for 1 or 2 nights
Then a PIA to try and get home

OPTION DOS
Barcelona 6 nights
Fly to Granada for 1 or 2 nights
Train to Seville for 3
Rent Car
Drive to Cordoba 2
Drive to Toledo 3
Drive to Madrid 3
Fly home

Obviously, Granada and the Alhambra make for a much more difficult itinerary, but I doubt if I will ever get near this area again, so I guess it is worth the schlep, unless you can talk me out of it (it would make the trip easier, that's for sure)

Would you recommend Option 1 or 2, or if you have a better plan, I am all ears (well, I guess on Fodor's it would be "all eyes"). It would be easier if the train went to all the towns from Madrid to Seville, but it looks like you have to backtrack to Madrid from Toledo, so that's why I decided on the car option.

Gracias!

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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 09:03 AM
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We did this last year:

Fly to Barcelona
Train to Cordoba
Train to Granada
Train to Seville
Train to Milan
Train to Toledo
Train to Milan
Fly home from Milan

All these trains have no train changes.

We actually picked up a car in Granada & visited Ronda, and then drove to Cadiz, returned the car, and stayed in Cadiz for 1 night, & trained to Seville.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 09:04 AM
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Option One looks fine. You can take the train or fly back to Madrid from Granada. I would also drop the car if all you are going to do is drive it from one location to another. It's easier to take the train, and do Toledo as a day trip from Madrid.

You might also consider Cordoba as a day trip from Sevilla and use the time to visit Jerez instead.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 09:13 AM
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Option Two and I would take trains not a car rental.

There is a high speed train AVE between Cordoba and Toledo and there are scores of buses and trains between Toledo and Madrid.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 09:50 AM
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Bookmarking as we are thinking of going in 2015 too! What month are you looking at...maybe we can do a GTG!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:17 AM
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You have allotted three days for Toledo, as Robert noted it is probably more efficient to visit Toledo from Madrid and stay in Madrid 6 days and visit as day trips Toledo, Salamannca, and Segovia or possibly Avila.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:22 AM
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There are no direct trains between Cordoba and Toledo. Everything has to go through Madrid.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:25 AM
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jamikins...we are going some time in May 2015. A GTG would be great. By the way, you guys take the best photos!

About the car...I've always liked having a car for part of a trip. Is there nowhere off the beaten path from Seville to Madrid that we could see along the way besides Cordoba and Toledo?

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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:47 AM
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Thanks Maitai - we love your reports

Sorry, you did say May haha...perhaps our paths will cross...will keep you posted!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:53 AM
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Like others, I see no point in having a car for this trip. Note that there are trains between Barcelona and Granada, including night trains. (You do know about seat61.com for all things train, right?) I think the Spanish trains have improved since I took them in 2004.

On no account skip Granada, the Alhambra is the single best sight in Spain. Make sure to visit in the evening as well as during the day (it's magical, and much quieter). If you can afford it, stay at the parador, otherwise I enjoyed the Hotel America next door, with dinner at the parador.

If the timings work out I highly recommend being in Toledo for Corpus Christi - the ninth Thursday after Easter. See http://wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004/index.html - Where Spain Sizzles for details.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 10:56 AM
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I think Granada might be more interesting to you than you might imagine. In particular I suggest you not pass up the opportunity to visit the Alhambra at night (and the gardens of the Alhambra in the morning before it gets too hot).

If you have a good bead on Barcelona and yourselves as travelers then maybe your six nights in Barcelona is just the right amount of time. Barcelona is a specific kind of city that attracts people with specific interests who love it and you might already know you are one of those people. But if you are mainly curious about Barcelona because you have heard so much about it but otherwise aren't chomping at the bit for Barcelona's singular offerings, then I would suggest 5 nights in Barcelona and a little more time in Granada.

I also could spend 3 days in Toledo, and with a car might venture out for some other day trips. But it is normal to spend less time there and if you are thinking it is a quaint Spanish village to enjoy, then realize that it is almost entirely a tourist site, not a living town. The locals reappear in the evening, it is true, but only in a few places. If you would like to experience more of a smaller local's place then spending a bit more time in Cordoba or its surroundings holds out more promise of that.

http://www.spainwise.net/location/ecija

http://www.theguardian.com/spanish-t...-changed-world

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2...mmunist-utopia
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 11:06 AM
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Leaving Córdoba, you can take a drive through the nature park at Andújar and visit the Sanctuario Virgen de la Cabeza. I would also stop in Valdepeñas, the wine making center In the heart of La Mancha before moving on to Manzanares El Real to see its classic 15th century castle. After Manzanares, you can stop to see the Windmills of Consuegra and then Alcázar de San Juan for the famous , just to the east to see the famous "Molino sobre el cerro de San Antón" (Don Quixote), the mill on the hill. These classic windmills cannot be seen when traveling by train.

From Alcázar de San Juan, it's only about 160 km into Madrid, depending on which road you take. If you want to stop in Toledo before arriving in Madrid, then it's a little over 100 km from Alcázar de San Juan to Toledo, a little over an hour's drive.

You'll have to plan you drive carefully or plan on spending the night somewhere between Córdoba to get in all in.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 11:06 AM
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Great ideas everyone (and I can't pass up a Tracy garden tour no matter where we are).

I was also thinking (if I had a car), I could drive to Cuenca from Toledo before heading to Madrid.

Yes, the Man In Seat 61 is a wealth of information. Thanks. In reading, would it make more sense to get a Spain Pass if we take all those trips or just get the best price from Point A to Point B each time?

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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 11:08 AM
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That should be: and then Alcázar de San Juan just to the east to see the famous "Molino sobre el cerro de San Antón" (Don Quixote), the mill on the hill. These classic windmills cannot be seen when traveling by train.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 11:13 AM
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Cool Robert. I'm now leaning toward a car for part of the journey, because that's exactly the kind of stuff we like to do. Kim and Mary return as our intrepid traveling companions on this trip, so we can split the auto cost between the two couples, leaving more dinero for vino.

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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 11:35 AM
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You need to price the individual tickets against the pass to see which is best. It would also depend on whether you were buying last minute or getting discounts for buying specific trains ahead of time. Splitting the cost of the car (along with driving and navigating duties) does make the car more attractive. I'm a solo traveler so it seldom makes sense for me.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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My new plan (until my next new plan). I'm from So. Cal…I'm a sucker for a car, and I'd like to visit some of the places Robert wrote about above.

Barcelona 5 nights
Train to Madrid for 3
Rent Car
Cuenca for 1 night
Toledo for 2 nights
Cordoba for 2 nights
Seville for 3 nights (drop car)
Train to Granada for 2 nights
Fly Home Granada/Madrid/L.A.

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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:14 PM
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I'll jump on the skip-the-car bandwagon. It won't help much and could be an encumbrance in many of these locations. And this itinerary really doesn't give you much time to be road-tripping, so I'm not sure how much of an advantage it would be to have one.

I like that you are giving both Toledo and Cordoba 2 nights. I must admit that I think you are trying to do too much and so are "shortchanging" Seville and Madrid. Just my opinion. You'll see some wonderful things no matter what you choose.

Book your tickets for the Alhambra well in advance.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:17 PM
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Here's an option:

Barcelona 5 nights
Train to Madrid for 3 (or put nights at end of trip and just pick up car to proceed to Cuenca)
Rent Car
Cuenca for 1 night (could train here from Madrid and pick up car when leaving)
Toledo for 2 nights with day trip to Consuegra for the windmills and castle (there was a 'festival' of some sort going on in town when I was there. Seemed to be pretty permanent wooden beer/food halls and rides so don't know if it was a one-time affair or a permanent setup. Everyone in town was there!)
Granada
Ronda (1 night or as many hours as you can get in)
Seville.- drop car
Train to Cordoba
Train to Madrid (maybe put all 4 nights in Madrid at the end)
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Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 04:26 PM
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I agree with kja about skipping the car and shortchanging Sevilla and Madrid. I'd personally do something like: Barcelona (5-6 nights) w/a daytrip to Girona, fly to Granada (2 nights), train or bus to Sevilla (4 nights), train to Madrid (4-5 nights). With the additional 2 nights you could visit Cordoba or Toledo but wouldn't have time to do both. But iwth the additional time in Sevilla you'd have a day to visit Jerez,or Cadiz or Carmona. And with the extra time in Madrid you'd have time to visit Sevilla. If your trip is in May 2015 during and coincides with the Patio festival in Cordoba I'd spend 2 nights in Cordoba and visit Toledo as a daytrip between Sevilla and Madrid. In any case I wouldn't bother with a car given the geography you're going to cover.
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