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Winter trip to Spain with teens- first time there

Winter trip to Spain with teens- first time there

Old Feb 9th, 2021, 10:31 PM
  #21  
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Thank you everyone who has given me info!

I've officially booked our flights straight into Malaga (and out of Barcelona), so now I just need to figure out the order. I'm totally leaving out Madrid, and I'd love to move around as little as possible while still seeing enough. My family is not good at packing light (esp with the weather being on the cool side then...and therefore more bulky clothes).

I'm wondering if it makes sense to stay in Malaga and do a day trip to Granada, or if that's too rushed? And in the same vein, can I go straight to Seville after and just do a day trip to Cordoba? I'm a little worried about us all dragging suitcases on and off trains every other day. But I will switch hotels as much as I need to if that's how to make the most of our time.

My last question, which I think was lost in one of my other posts- is Malaga an okay place to be during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day or would we be better off in Seville, since it's a bigger city? I just want to make sure we can find open restaurants and pretty sites to see (lights, markets, whatever's there).

Thanks again to all you knowledgable people,
Frankie

Last edited by frankieblu; Feb 9th, 2021 at 11:00 PM.
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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 01:19 AM
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Frankie, here are the links to the apartments we rented, all on Airbnb. They were all centrally located, with many restaurants and tapas bars nearby, also grocery stores to pick up bread fixings. As I mentioned earlier we walked everywhere, getting home quite late on occasion and never once felt it wasn’t safe.

For some reason the link to the Córdoba apartment doesn’t seem to work, but maybe you will be able to find it. But you can also visit as a day trip from Sevilla, it’s just a short train ride away.

I have also given the link to our apartment in Ronda, small but with a large terrace and fabulous view, right over the gorge. Probably one of the best locations we’ve ever stayed at, stunning is putting it mildly, we spent both evenings out there with a bottle of wine!

Sevilla: Host Santiago.
BRIGHT APARTMENT IN THE CITY CENTER 2-6 PAX.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2774376...7uzYanp2gBBxUx
Address: Calle San Pablo:, 1, 41001 Sevilla, Spain

Granada: Host Gloria, chezmoihomes
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2287549...2FAsHGIEyVvSj8
Address: Plaza Nueva Apr 3, Joaquim Costa 6, Granada, Spain

Cordoba: Host Alvaro
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/571956?...D%2Bl%2BHHFX3C
Address: Plaza de Ramon y Cajal, 1, 14003 Córdoba, Spain

Ronda: Host Jose
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2423234...Hp5rIk1EcwULkU
Address: Calle Rosario, 4, 29400 Ronda, Spain




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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 12:42 PM
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I personally would not do Granada as a day trip from Malaga. It's about 2hrs plus by bus each way and I preferred Granada over Malaga. The bus station is not very close to the centre. Seville to Cordoba is about 45min by train so that's more feasible. The train station is an easy walk to the centre. If you do that, I'd start early and return late in the day.

Seville and Malaga have similar population sizes.

If you choose to travel with a lot of luggage, then I suggest taking a small bag and a daypack each, which gives you similar capacity but spreads the weight. Large, heavy bags are just a pita. We were a bit surprised to find that we didn't need more luggage for winter as we only needed to worry about one season, not the more variable weather of spring or autumn. If you do decide to stay in Granada and you have heavy luggage, then I would choose your accommodation very carefully if you decide to stay in the Albaicin. Hauling luggage up hill and over cobblestones is not easy. You might be better staying on the flat and closer to a road.

I suggested an apartment for the Christmas days but a hotel would be fine apart from that. I find hotels more convenient for short stays. As someone mentioned, you need to be particularly careful booking apartments in Barcelona. They have a particularly bad problem of apartments for tourists displacing those for local residents so have stricter rules.
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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 01:38 PM
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Thank you for all the great info and input. And Geetika, thank you for the specific apartment rec's- I'm going to look into everything!
I'm thinking about how to structure the trip, taking into account what you have all advised. How does this sound as a general outline so far...

Fly 12/22 (arrive in Malaga late morning 12/23). Check in to hotel/apartment by afternoon and wander around.

Stay in Malaga through 12/26 (over Christmas holidays) with perhaps a day trip to Nerja to see the caves and walk around. I don't know how limited we'll be on Dec 24 and 25 b/c of Christmas- maybe take a food tour if there's one available.

12/26- head to Granada and explore. Hopefully visit Alhambra on 12/27.

Take train to Seville either end of day 12/27 or early 12/28. Stay in Seville with a day trip to Cordoba until 12/30 or 12/31.

12/30 or 12/31- fly to Barcelona- stay at a hotel in Barcelona until 1/4 when we fly back to Seattle

I can add or subtract days from any of these places- not exactly sure what will work best. And again, my teens are most excited about walking around the cities, trying different cafes, shopping (local markets, stores, anything), and would love a food tour and/or cooking class. They are less excited about museums and architecture, although we want to see all the "do not miss" sites. They also love downtime- eating outside, sitting in pretty parks, seeing the beaches (even if it's 60 degrees!)- the possibly sunnier weather is part of the reason I don't mind being in Malaga instead of Granada for longer.

Any input is appreciated!
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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 07:06 PM
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If you arrive in Seville on 28th and leave on the 30th, that's not much time, especially if your only full day there is in Cordoba, so I would try to stretch that time if you can. You said that you don't want to change hotels too frequently so you may wish to cut one destination but if you're happy to move on often that's fine.

I personally wouldn't fly from Seville to Barcelona. The train will be more interesting, relaxing and enjoyable. And not much longer if you count door to door travel. Tickets will be cheaper if purchased in advance.

Good luck with your planning.
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Old Feb 11th, 2021, 06:50 AM
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I can recommend a nice apartment in Barcelona within spitting distance of La Sagrada Familia if you're interested.
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Old Feb 11th, 2021, 08:33 AM
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for the 24th and 25th I would ensure meals are booked in the Autumn.
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Old Feb 12th, 2021, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by frankieblu View Post
Thank you for all the great info and input. And Geetika, thank you for the specific apartment rec's- I'm going to look into everything!
I'm thinking about how to structure the trip, taking into account what you have all advised. How does this sound as a general outline so far...

Fly 12/22 (arrive in Malaga late morning 12/23). Check in to hotel/apartment by afternoon and wander around.

Stay in Malaga through 12/26 (over Christmas holidays) with perhaps a day trip to Nerja to see the caves and walk around. I don't know how limited we'll be on Dec 24 and 25 b/c of Christmas- maybe take a food tour if there's one available.

12/26- head to Granada and explore. Hopefully visit Alhambra on 12/27.

Take train to Seville either end of day 12/27 or early 12/28. Stay in Seville with a day trip to Cordoba until 12/30 or 12/31.

12/30 or 12/31- fly to Barcelona- stay at a hotel in Barcelona until 1/4 when we fly back to Seattle

I can add or subtract days from any of these places- not exactly sure what will work best. And again, my teens are most excited about walking around the cities, trying different cafes, shopping (local markets, stores, anything), and would love a food tour and/or cooking class. They are less excited about museums and architecture, although we want to see all the "do not miss" sites. They also love downtime- eating outside, sitting in pretty parks, seeing the beaches (even if it's 60 degrees!)- the possibly sunnier weather is part of the reason I don't mind being in Malaga instead of Granada for longer.

Any input is appreciated!
The Alhambra is a great site, but I don't know that I would include a one day stay in Granada to do that on your limited schedule, given what you've said about your family's preferences. Seville's Alcazar is pretty impressive in its own right, and would compensate a bit for missing out on the Alhambra. I think going straight from Malaga to Seville might be a better plan, and give you an extra day in Seville.

Finding things to do on the 25th and 26th (a Sunday) will be a challenge. I would think that even a lot of places that are normally open on Sunday might be closed on the 26th, and public transportation may be limited as well. I think you are probably just as well off in Malaga as Granada those days, if going to the beach when you can't get in the water is appealing. We stopped off at Nerja on our way from Marbella to Granada and had some pallela on the beach (Ayo's place--it's on Google). But, again I'm not sure what will be open.

In Seville, besides the Alcazar, you can spend a lot of time just wandering around. I'd really like to go back to Seville and spend some more time there. As far as taking the train from Seville to Barcelona, I do prefer train trips to flights, but that's a pretty long train trip, to the point where I would consider flying instead.

Hope it all works out and you have a great trip.
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Old Feb 12th, 2021, 12:11 PM
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Spain

Just a suggestion, stay at one hotel and just make day trips, depending on how close they are by train...
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Old Feb 12th, 2021, 03:59 PM
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Seville to Barcelona is 5:30hrs by train, from city centre to city centre, which is probably not wildly different to door to door travel by plane. Even if longer, it's a more pleasant journey.

I agree with twk that I would drop one destination due to time constraints, and if Malaga is a priority, dropping Granada in favour of more time in Seville makes sense. I love Moorish architecture and think that both the Alhambra and Seville's Alcazar are wonderful - but if not an enthusiast, I agree that you could easily choose just one of them.
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Old Feb 13th, 2021, 10:56 AM
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Spain

Your plans sound wonderful. As mentioned before, I took a day trip from either barcelona or Madrid (cant recall) to a small town called Toledo and saw a famous painter's house (forget his name) which was nice. Saw Flemenco dancing in Madrid which was nice.

Enjoy your trip!


Lynn
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Old Feb 13th, 2021, 07:27 PM
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In 2019 we left Seattle to spend a month in a combination of Barcelona and Andalucia (Granada, Ronda, Cordoba) and a little elsewhere in Spain. You're plan seems good to me, except ...
I wouldn't bother with a day trip from Seville to Cordoba ... you'd spend far to much time just getting there and back ... Cordoba is worth two full days (at least to me), as is Granada.
We were deligted with Barcelona (we could have spent *far* more than a week there), Granada, .Ronda, and Cordoba. Strangely, Sevilla was a bit of a disappointment to us, but most people really like it. If it weren't for Covid we'd probably have gone back this year (we'll hopefully look forward to next year.) It was one of our most favorite trips we've ever taken.

I usually use https://weatherspark.com/ to get a feel for probable weather ... they have great visual charts for temperature, percipitation, cloud cover, etc. It looks like Barcelona would be the lowest probability of rain, and probably in th low 60's during the day, but in all the places the weather in late Dec. should be quite doable for anyone from Seattle (hope you're enjoying today's rare Seattle snow).

In have trip reports on Fodors forum and and lots of photos at https://leebruch.blogspot.com/2020/0...-overview.html for Barcelona, Granada, Ronda ... unfortutunaely, I ran out of steam researching and writing up the rest of the trip ... and life tends to interfere.
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Old Feb 13th, 2021, 07:50 PM
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Thank you all- lots to think about!

I appreciate all the input. After reading more and thinking about all the moves with luggage, I don't think we're going to stay in Granada. My teens won't be overly excited about it and I'd rather tack on a day or 2 in Seville. If anything, I'd consider a day tour from Malaga to Granada with 3 hours at the Alhambra and a few more hours to walk around the city. It looks like it's open on Dec. 25th so that could be a good way (but long day) for us to spend Christmas Day or the day after. Also, my girls would be thrilled to walk along some beaches even if it's cool. We live in Seattle, so we're used to beaches in Seattle and Oregon that are only in the 60's even in the summer!

My only other question is how people feel about staying in apartments vs. hotels in these 3 areas (Malaga, Seville, and Barcelona). My family usually stays in nice (not 5 star) hotels with 1 bedroom suites when we travel (my kids are okay sharing a sofabed). I haven't rented a lot of apartments, only because I get a little more nervous about how accurate descriptions are, but I want at least one apartment on this trip so we can do some laundry 1/2 way through. I don't like cooking when I'm on vacation, but I am happy to have light breakfasts in our room- I don't feel the need for big restaurant breakfasts.

Thanks for any opinions on apartments vs hotels in these areas!

Last edited by frankieblu; Feb 13th, 2021 at 07:53 PM.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 01:14 AM
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Apartments are fine. When I choose one I just check Google maps to see if a major noise maker is right next door and that a local supermarket is easily walkable.

Do check that the property is licensed. Before lockdown it was getting a serious issue, coming out who knows.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Apartments are fine. When I choose one I just check Google maps to see if a major noise maker is right next door and that a local supermarket is easily walkable.

Do check that the property is licensed. Before lockdown it was getting a serious issue, coming out who knows.
We almost always get apartments, especially when we travel as a family group. There’s much more room to spread around, we also enjoy sitting with a nightcap before going to bed and catching up on what each one did during the day.

We mostly just cook breakfast on short trips, but my sister and I love to buy and cook fresh produce from the local markets on longer stays. A relaxing way to spend a lazy morning...

To me it’s a no brainer, apartments any day.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 04:21 AM
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My guess is end of next year many of the apartments will have reverted to being residential. It's better to get some money from a long term renter instead of no money from possible future tourists.

Outside of making sure the apartment has it's license number I'd really want recent reviews. Many places may have changed ownership or management for the larger rental groups.

Hotels often give you the advantage of a 24 hour front desk. More important on the day or arrival and departure. The rest of the time it's easier to arrange things around apartment hours.

Barcelona is the biggest of the three and I'd want to be fairly central. You can get a bit out of the main tourist strip but I wouldn't want to be all the way to Sagrada Familia . At least not personally.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 06:39 AM
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If you are far out of the centre of Barcelona make sure you are on a bus or train line with easy access to stops. Also try to choose a line with multiple numbers stopping as this will often save you having to go in just to come out on another line.

Barcelona has a number of traditional local hotels (often taking up just a couple of floors of an appartment building) the lift may be a bit old (but it will be fully tested) and breakfast may be a local cake shop but what a great way to enjoy Spain.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 07:32 AM
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Hostals (I assume that's what you mean) IMHO are great value.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 08:59 AM
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Hostals, well no they have the name hotel over the door and are often used by commercial travellers. There are of course other types in hotel type deals in Spain including monesteries and convents but in this case I was talking about smaller hotels.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 12:43 PM
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Small hotels in Spain are often known as hostals (not hostels which are different). Of course there are hotels as well, but it's often just a difference in name.
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