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10 day itinerary help

Hi All,
What do you think of our itinerary? What needs tweaking? It kind of breaks my heart we can't do Barcelona this trip but I'm trying to take it slow and be reasonable Its our first time to Spain. We are really active and in our late 30s. We love architecture, history, food. Museums are good for a few hours. Love looking at the ocean but not big beach people.
October Trip
Sunday- Land Madrid 5 PM
Monday-Madrid
Tuesday- Madrid
Wednesday- Toledo day trip
Thursday- Day trip TBD from Madrid
Friday- Cordoba day trip on route to Seville
Saturday-Seville
Sunday-Seville
Monday-Seville
Tues-??
Weds-Madrid
Thurs- Fly home

Posted by
628 posts

What is your mode of transportation within Spain? All of these locations could be reached by train, bus or auto. I would opt for train travel - mostly because I like it in Spain - but, in your situation - an auto may be a better choice. Regarding your itinerary, I would make a couple of adjustments: Wednesday: Segovia day trip. Thursday: Stay in Toledo. Friday: Toledo to Cordova - stay in Cordova. Saturday - Monday stay in Sevilla. Tuesday: Ronda day trip returning to Sevilla. I think you are wise to focus on central Andalucia this visit. There will be Barcelona days, Granada days, Basque days in your future. It's nice to be young.

Posted by
8 posts

We are traveling by train and or buses. We are only planning to base ourselves out of a couple of places because we dont wamt to lug bags around and be constantly checking in and out. We are comfortable with long day trips.

Would this intinerary be better?
Sunday night arrive Barcelona
Monday Barcelona
Tuesday Barcelona
Wednesday: Barcelona
Thursday: Train to Seville and 1/2 day
Friday: Seville
Satuday: Seville
Sunday Cordoba day in route to Madrid
Monday: Madrid
Tues Day trip Toledo
Weds Madrid
Thursday fly out of madrid

Thanks!!!

Posted by
16555 posts

How do you feel about art museums? The original plan has a good bit of time in Madrid. If you're a big art lover, you may be glad to have that time; if you are not, well, Madrid as a city is not one of Spain's most interesting (to most of us--I'm sure there are some exceptions). On the other hand, a nice thing about Madrid is that is that it feels a lot less touristy than Barcelona. If you stick with the first itinerary, I can recommend additional day-trips from Madrid: Segovia and Cuenca.

You'll be able to save a lot of money on your Barcelona-Seville and Seville-Madrid train tickets (also Madrid-Cuenca-Madrid if that should come into play) by snagging Promo tickets, which may require buying shortly after your dates go on sale. Renfe is erratic about the timing of its ticket releases, so you'll need to stay on top of the situation. I'd start looking in late May. Monitor the costs of the trains you're interested in on the day of the week you anticipate traveling as far out s the Renfe website allows. It's possible they may put the regular-priced (Turista) tickets on sale a bit before the Promo tickets; you don't want to jump the gun and pay too much if you could have just waited a few more days.

You'll want to buy tickets in advance for any of these places that are on your sightseeing list:

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Mila/La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Picasso Museum, Palau de la Musica Catalana. The first five have lines you do not want to stand in; the PdlMC's English tours might sell out. All these will be timed tickets unless you pay extra (at some places) for a sort of "wildcard" ticket.

Seville: Alcazar. And buy a combo ticket including the Cathedral at the Iglesia Colegial del Salvador, about 1/4 mile away. Rick explains this in his book.

I'm not aware that any of the places I've listed totally sell out really early. It's just that the lines are long (could easily be over one hour). The most popular time slots--including the first one in the morning when crowds are not so much of an issue--are likely to sell out earlier.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you so much for your detailed reply! I am actually quitr concerned about the amount of time in Madrid. I do like art museums but only for 2-3 hours. As far as traveling goes, my favorite thing to do is just wander around the streets and pop into random places or grab a cup of coffee or some wine and people watch. I can't think of particular sites I want to see in Madrid. In Barcelona there are a couple but I can see the Sagrada familia from the outside and I'll pass on all the museums. There are a few more sites I want to see in Seville. I guess to me travel is about neighborhoods and views and just soaking in the place overall the "sites" Not sure if this helps you help me. I'm so grateful for the help! This forum has so many kind people.

Posted by
16555 posts

I would encourage you to at least go inside La Sagrada Familia. Only seeing the outside will not give you a true picture. There are many modernista buildings scattered around Barcelona, especially in the Eixample area. Many maps have at least some of them marked, so you can choose which direction to wander in. The medieval Barri Gotic is another good area for observing the street scene. The Gracia neighborhood is also a nice place to walk.

The Tourist Office (with one branch located beneath Placa de Catalunya) has a good walking tour of the Barri Gotic. Capacity is limited, so you won't be wandering around as part of a mob of 50 people.

Since you aren't going to need a lot of time to see indoor attractions in Barcelona, you might enjoy a day-trip to Girona, which has a walled medieval center. It's less than an hour from Barcelona by train, but you'll want to buy the train ticket shortly after your preferred date goes on sale to save money.

I'm not the one to tell you which neighborhoods in Madrid will be most interesting. Rick has at least one walking tour in his guidebook. I took a tour conducted by the tourist office and enjoyed it.

Toledo, Segovia and Cuenca all have attractive, historic architecture and are recommended side-trips from Madrid. I also liked Alcala de Henares, an old university town easily and cheaply reached by a local commuter train.

Edited to add: The Madrid-Cuenca-Madrid train ticket would be another one to buy way in advance. You could also save a bit of money on the Madrid-Segovia-Madrid ticket. For Toledo and Alcala de Henares, fares will not change as your travel date approaches.

Posted by
13895 posts

My advice would mirror acraven's. Like her, I don't find much in Madrid that is nearly as interesting as the many other places I've been in Spain.

I like your second plan better. Barcelona is quickly becoming one of my favorite European cities.

Both Toledo and Cordoba are great places for overnight (even 2-night) stays. I understand not wanting to cart luggage around but it really isn't difficult. Pack as light as you can. If you don't want to do hand laundry every 2-3 days, there's a good laundromat in Sevilla, easy walking distance from heart of the Juderia. Take taxis to/from train stations especially in Sevilla, Cordoba and Toledo - they aren't expensive. In Barcelona and Madrid use the metro. You can also store luggage in Madrid at the train station and take a small overnight bag to Toledo. In Cordoba you can store your stuff at the bus station across the street from the train station - which you'll have to do anyway on a day trip en route. Go from Cordoba to Toledo; you have to change trains in Madrid (buy separate tickets) and allow at least 20 minutes transfer time, maybe another 15 min if you store luggage there. Consider taking evening trains - relax on the train after a day of sightseeing and either have a picnic dinner on the train (pick up food in advance, even wine or beer too), or have dinner after you've checked in at your hotel - dinner doesn't start before 9.30 and 10.30 is a common dining time.

The only train route you won't be able to get discounted tickets is between Madrid and Toledo - which is not an expensive route anyway. You should buy tickets a day or two in advance since they do sell out. It's better to buy those tickets in Sevilla or Cordoba's train station. The lines can be excruciatingly long in Madrid.

Once you have your itinerary fixed, tell us and we'll give you suggestions for sightseeing, eating and hotels (be sure to let us know your minimum requirements and your budget range).

Posted by
4047 posts

Suggest adding a day trip to Segovia from Madrid.

You were right to skip Barcelona for a 10 day trip. Come back and do Barcelona and Granada.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you all for your replies. I think we are leaning towards skipping Barcleona this trip and focusing on Madrid with days trips and Sevilla. I dont want to short change Barcelona and it is a major hub we can fly into and save for another time.

I am not trying to be obstinate because I havent been to Spain and you all have, but I do wonder what is so uninteresting about Madrid. Our plan is to stay in an Air B n B with a washing machine and a kitchen so that we can prepare breakfast and have a nice balcony to sit on and have wine each evening before our late dinner. We did this in Lisbon and did day trips to Evora, Sintra and Obidos and it worked beautifully to have a home to return to each night. Maybe Madrid is totally different. We also want to explore the neighborhood we are staying in, see the museums for a few hours, go to the plaza mayor and a market, go tona soccer game, take a history and tapas tour etc. Then I do agree day trip to Segovia and Toledo. Maybe im not understanding what warrents two days in Toledo and Cordoba. We can get up at 6 am and come back on the very last train if necessary to see it all. Are they just really fun places at night? I would think Madrid would be a lot more fun at night.
We would do air bnb in Seville as well with a nice balcony overlooking the city as well.
I think I just need an understanding of why Madrid isnt so great and why we need overnights in these places. I hope I dont come across as argumentative. I juat don't understand.

Posted by
16555 posts

It's not that Madrid is uninteresting, rather that many of us find it less interesting. It's not as old. The architecture tends to be European/grand rather than distinctive.

Madrid is, indeed, lively at night. This is a country whose residents seem to start dinner at 10 PM, so quiet evenings are not to be expected.

However, it is true that the historic area of Toledo is rather quiet after the day-trippers go home, so for you it may be better to day-trip from Madrid. I found Toledo had more than one day's worth of sights, though. Also, it is hilly, which rather slows down ones explorations.

Cordoba also has way more than one day's worth of things to see, and it didn't seem particularly quiet at night. However, I am not at all a night owl. I organize my trips to maximize sightseeing time, so it was important to me to spend multiple nights in Cordoba (as in Toledo).

Posted by
1780 posts

Even though I am from Barcelona, I must admit I like Madrid as a city. Madrid has many parks, gardens, and plazas which are all very charming and pleasant to walk through, especially in October with the Autumn colors.

Outside of its big 3 art museums (all of which are excellent), Madrid also has a very good maritime/naval museum, that details Spain's prominent role in the age of exploration. There's also an excellent museum on the archaeology/antiquity of ancient Iberia. If you like sumptuous 18th century palaces, they have the Palacio Real (largest in Europe still in use). I like how every room has a theme and its adjacent Royal Armoury is also very interesting. The royal palace was built on top of Madrid's 9th-century Moorish Alcázar. One can also visit the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid (the bad guys lol).

A diverse and vibrant food scene rounds it out, with great markets like the 100 year old Mercado de San Miguel. I also find most of the shops/restaurants the old centre of Madrid still caters to locals rather than tourists, unlike Barcelona. Madrid still retains that neighborhood feeling, which Barcelona has mostly lost since the past 5-10 years of mass-tourism.

On top, you have some of the best day trips in Spain, from Roman ruins to fairytale castles and everything in between - for Roman Ruins - Segobriga or Segovia, Medieval towns - Toledo or Cuenca, Royal Palaces - El Escorial or Alcázar de Segovia, Old University towns - Alcalá de Henares or Salamanca etc.

PS: Contrary to popular belief, Madrid does have old history, it's just not so obvious as in other Spanish cities, if one knows where to look, one can still see ruins of it's ancient Carpetani Celtic settlement, Roman villas, a Visigoth basilica, and parts of the old Moorish walls of Madrid. Madrid actually comes from its Moorish city name "Majrit". The most famous Arab astronomer of al-Ándalus was actually born in Madrid in the 9th century - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslama_al-Majriti

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Everyone! Thinking about a new itinerary. How does this look?
Sunday: Land in Madrid at around 5 PM
Monday: Madrid
Tuesday Madrid
Wednesday: Toledo
Thursday: Madrid
Friday: Day trip to Cordoba sleep in Seville
Saturday: Seville
Sunday: Seville
Monday: Seville
Tuesday: Granada
Wednesday: Train back to Madrid to sleep and fly out Thursday morning

Posted by
16555 posts

The only problem I see is the one night in Granada. It takes time to get to Granada from Seville--at least 2-1/2 hours, and that's just the time spent sitting on the train. You have to get to the Seville train station from your hotel, and you have to get to your hotel from the Granada train station to drop off your bags before heading to the Alhambra--which I assume is your #1 sightseeing goal in Granada. Realistically, it will be about noon before you get to the Alhambra, assuming you take the 7:45 or 8 AM train. The Alhambra is likely to take the rest of the day. You'll have no time for other sights in the city.

My choice would be to reduce Madrid by one night and add that night to Granada, but it's not wrong to stick to the schedule you have. It's a matter of your priorities. I will note, though, that if you are early birds willing to take the 7:10 AM train from Granada to Madrid, you'll be in Madrid at 10:29 AM and have a generous half a day in that city, the day before departure. That would be long enough to accomplish some sightseeing.

Posted by
8 posts

Oh I like that idea!! Everytime I try to take a day off of Madrid my husband loses his mind even though he can't really say what exactly he wants to do in Madrid. (And he thinks art museums are boring after about 2 hours) I think this would be a good compromise to get up early and see any sites he felt he missed during the first two days. Thanks so much for this suggestion!

Posted by
608 posts

I love this last idea - mainly because I love Granada. The Alhambra is, of course, wonderful - but I just love the vibe of Granada. Hopefully you will, too!

Posted by
1398 posts

hey hey marissa
how fun to be traveling, making decisions where to go, what to see, and how much time are the ussues that can drive us nuts and add more gray hairs.
tripsavvy.com/15 best things to do in seville
devoursevillefoodtours.com for both seville and madrid
tripsavvy.com/100 things to do in madrid; plus how to get from madrid to toledo and what to do there; madrid to cordoba by train, bus, car. make sure you use the spanish rail site renfe.com for train tickets and check dates to get the "early bird" cheaper deals.
eatwith.com cooking, having lunch or dinner in a locals house, meeting others from around the world
withlocals.com
feelmadrid.com or gomadrid.com look for flamenco lunch/dinner shows, san miguel marketplace (love walking the markets to see interesting food, shops, bars, souvenirs, produce) anton martin marketplace.
spain-holiday.com/seville-city self guided walking routes
gpsmycity.com create your own self guided walks for your cities,
look for fiestas and festivals while you're there. take time to sit with a glass of beer/wine, people watch and enjoy the atmosphere, stop at a tourist kiosk in center of plazas usually and see what's offered, walk the plazas and side alleyways, you'll never know what you'll see or find. have fun and don't forget to drink sangria and have tapas.
aloha

Posted by
13895 posts

As Carlos recommended, the Naval Museum is very interesting (you need to show passports to enter). Rick rates the palace as 3rd in Europe, after Versailles and Schonbrunn. The San Miguel Market is a good place to graze for lunch or supper.

Posted by
7124 posts

Day
1. Sun - ARRIVE Madrid (4N)
2. Mon - Madrid
3. Tue - Day to Toledo
4. Wed - Madrid
5. Thu - Train to Granada (2N)
6. Fri - Visit the Alhambra
7. Sat - Train to Seville (4N)
8. Sun - Seville
9. Mon - Day to Cordoba for the Mezquita
10. Tue - Seville
11. Wed - Train to Madrid (1N)
12. Thu - DEPART Madrid

On Day 11 either return early to Madrid if you want more of the capital, or stay in Seville til late in the day to enjoy more of Andalusia.

Posted by
8 posts

Hmmm....going to Granada after Madrid is an option but wouldn't a day trip to Cordoba and then back to Seville be less efficient than stopping along the way to Madrid? Otherwise I like this idea!

Posted by
7124 posts

Often a choice one has to make when time is limited, and an overnight not an option. Day trip without luggage, or day trip with the burden of luggage.

Posted by
16555 posts

I don't think it's a clear-cut call, but doing it in transit will be cheaper by a fair amount. There are reportedly luggage lockers at the Cordoba bus station that's basically across the street from the train station. I don't think anyone has come here and said there were no vacant lockers when they arrived in Cordoba, but that's the kind of thing I try to think about ahead of time so I have a Plan B.

An advantage to David's approach is that you can have a bit more time in Cordoba. The train from Seville to Cordoba takes only 45 minutes, and you wouldn't be spending any time that morning checking out of a hotel, so you might be able to get an earlier start. The train from Madrid to takes about 1 hr. 40. So the stopover means about an extra hour in Cordoba, but it costs you about 2 hours in Seville.

Posted by
7124 posts

Personally I don’t like lugging my bags unnecessarily. You could even overnight in Cordoba if you desired.

Day
1. Sun - ARRIVE Madrid (4N)
2. Mon - Madrid
3. Tue - Day to Toledo
4. Wed - Madrid
5. Thu - Train to Granada (2N)
6. Fri - Visit the Alhambra
7. Sat - Train to Cordoba (1N)
8. Sun - Visit the Mezquita, then train to Seville (3N)
9. Mon - Seville
10. Tue - Seville
11. Wed - Train to Madrid (1N)
12. Thu - DEPART Madrid