Hi everyone. Let me first start out by saying I greatly appreciate any opinions/advice you're willing to provide. Ok, a little background. My wife and I are in the process of planning our one-year wedding anniversary trip for November. We are both 28 and we'll be 29 when we travel (not sure if that is a necessary bit of information but I figure why not haha). We will be traveling to Europe for 12 days and Spain is one of our finalists for the trip. Now, my wife studied abroad in Italy during college so she has spent time in many different countries throughout Europe. Most of those were two or three day jaunts with a couple friends during breaks, weekends, etc. That being said, she has visited both Madrid and Barcelona. I initially wanted to put together a trip that would have her experiencing new places for the first time. That is proving harder than I anticipated seeing as she has been to almost every major city we are looking into (and some of the smaller towns as well). Ok...this is longer than it probably should be I am realizing but please bear with me. Spain has always been near the top of my list in terms of places I'd like to travel. I know 12 days won't be nearly enough to see as much as we'd like, and I also realize most people come on here with itineraries packing 7 places into 12 days. We do not want to do that. We would like to spend our time in two or three (four most!) places. I have read so much about Spain at this point but nothing has made the choice of where to go any easier. We have proposed so many different itineraries to eachother that at this point, all we have done is narrow our list down to 12 or 13 places including Amsterdam, Germany, Denmark and then Spain. Within those, we obviously have multiple places we'd like to visit but cannot make a decision for the life of us. If you were to recommend 12 days in Spain during November, what itinerary would you advise? We are from Minnesota so the weather will not be a factor in our decision (40 to 50 degrees during November brings shorts in Minnesota). I absolutely love food and it has always been one of the primary factors I consider when traveling. We are also both history buffs and thoroughly enjoy visiting museums. Spain is clearly at the top of my list for many reasons, but as you can probably imagine, food and history are two of the major draws. San Sebastian seems like an obvious choice, but that would take away the southern part of the country for us. My wife has visited Seville as well, but I've heard wonderful things about Granada, Cordoba and many of the other southern locales. Ok, I'm done. Thank you SO much for your help and I truly appreciate any and all opinions/advice you may have. Thanks again!
A 12 day trip is possibly 11 nights on the ground in Spain ??
Arrive Barcelona - 3 nts (book Sagrada Familia)
Fly (Vueling) to Granada - 2 nts (book the Alhambra)
Train to Sevilla - 3 nts (day trip to Cordoba for the Mezquita)
Train to Madrid - 3 nts (day trip to Toledo)
Since you both are history buffs, enjoy museums & food... consider visiting Andalucía plus Toledo (especially if you fly in/out Madrid).
I'd recommend visiting Toledo, Córdoba (my 2 favorite cities in Spain), Granada &/or Sevilla.
Given your short time frame, you may consider something like this:
Fly into Madrid => train to Córdoba (2N) >> train/bus to Granada (3N) >> train/bus to Sevilla (3N) >> train to Madrid (3-4N) with day trip (or overnight) to Toledo>> fly home from Madrid.
If you decide to travel to Granada, make sure you book your tickets to the Alhambra way in advance!
Here are some helpful websites you may need:
Alhambra tickets: http://www.alhambra-patronato.es
Train schedules/tickets: http://www.renfe.com
Bus schedules/tickets: https://www.alsa.es/en
Hope this helps!
Thank you both for your replies! Priscilla, we are going to be flying open jaw so that we can take full advantage of moving around. Are there any changes you would make with that being the case? Also, since my wife has been to Seville, and even though she would absolutely go again, are there any other options you might recommend so that I can provide her with at least a couple new experiences? Thanks again!
Ronda is best as a stop between Sevilla and Granada
Jerez and Arcos can be done as excursions from Sevilla.
I think Sevilla remains your best choice as a base, with options for possible day excursions.
we are going to be flying open jaw so that we can take full advantage of moving around.
Where are you flying into & what airport are you flying home out of?
You mention that your wife has visited Sevilla in the past, (& only for a weekend), however, it will be a different experience when
you travel as a couple.
David has some good suggestions above. I wanted to visit Ronda & Jerez de la Frontera, but since I was traveling with my elderly mom, I opted to skip those cities.
We have yet to book anything so I'm not sure where we are flying in or out of yet. We are in the process of trying to figure out a good, reasonable (time wise) itinerary. I just figure flying open jaw will allow us to see more than if we fly in and out of the same city.
I just figure flying open jaw will allow us to see more than if we fly
in and out of the same city.
This makes good sense.
Once you decide which cities you want to visit, then you can book your flights.
Keep in mind that many flights from Andalucía will end up in Madrid anyway.
If you decide to visit the cities I suggested in my first post above, you can fly in/out of Madrid.
Also Sevilla >> Madrid only takes 2.5 hours via AVE (high speed) train.
You may consider getting RS Spain book as it's full of useful information!
Why go to Andalusia, Spain:
- It's the warmest, driest part of Europe. Today it's going to be about 70F and partly sunny. What's it like today where you are?
- Spain is on perpetual DST - though it is west of the prime meridian (and should be on GMT), it syncs with most of Europe instead, so sunrise and sunset are an hour or more later, that means more daylight sightseeing time, unless of course, you get up with the cows.
- It's the cheapest destination you are considering, with the best wine and terrific food.
- 2 of the most beautiful and unusual European sights are the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba.
Your best flight option is probably going to be round-trip Madrid. The other airports in Spain, except Barcelona, are too small for the big jets, so you'd have to connect somewhere in Europe.
You can easily fill 12 days in Andalucia without even seeing Madrid, though you may want to spend you last night there, especially if you have a morning flight.
One suggested itinerary:
- Cordoba (2 nights). Land in Madrid in the morning, take the train to Cordoba
- Jerez (3 nights). Train from Cordoba. Day trip to Cadiz by train. In Jerez, see a horse show at the Royal Equestrian School, take a couple of sherry bodega (winery) tours - Tio Pepe's is fun.
- Pueblos blancos (2-3 nights). Rent a car in Jerez and drive through the hills. You can base in Ronda and drive around (you'll want a full day in Ronda) or you can string together one-nighters. If you want a break, spend half a day hiking in El Torcal and the night in Antequera.
- Granada (2-3 nights). Return the rental car.
- Madrid or Toledo (? nights). It's a 1/2 hour commuter train ride from Madrid to Toledo. If you don't have an early morning flight, you can go to the airport from Toledo (note that on weekends, there are no early morning trains).