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3 Weeks Late April/May Madrid & Andalucia

I have roughed out a Spring trip to Spain flying into and out of Madrid and spending most of the time in Andalucia. Right now it looks like this:
3 nights Madrid Hostal Acapulco, day trip to Toledo or Segovia train to;
Seville 4 nights, Airbnb; car to;
Ronda 3 nights Hostal Boabdil, with trips to Grazalema/Zahara car to;
Marbella 2 nights Airbnb, day trip to Gibralter, car to;
Frigiliana (actually Acogedora) Airbnb stop in Nerja, Caves, car to;
Granada, 3 nights Airbnb, drop car, train/bus to Cordoba;
Cordoba 3 nights, Airbnb, train bus back to Madrid
Madrid 2 nights, Hostal Acapulco another day trip, Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca etc

The biggest question in my mind now is whether to trim a day from Seville and Cordoba to add to Madrid to allow for more day trips to places like Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca. Next will be planning itineraries in each place, walking, dining, tours. Any recommendations on your favorite side trips with a car (days after Seville and before Granada). Places to eat, things to do. Many thanks.

Posted by
1261 posts

Are you showing Frigiliana and Marbella in the wrong order? You seem to backtracking unnecessarily for that portion.

It would be too much moving around for me, but if you're content with that, then go for it. I'd suggest dropping Marbella though. Better is Malaga. Either way you'd have a bril trip.

I wouldn't "trim" a day from Seville to add to Madrid which already has five nights. Sevilla is Spain's best city after all.

Posted by
21305 posts

I wouldn't trim Seville or Cordoba. They are lovely and you'll be glad to have that much time there.

Avila is utterly skippable. There's a wall and not much else. It's OK for a stop of an hour or two if you happen to be driving right past it, but it would be a real shame to chop a day off one of Spain's greatest cities in order to go to Avila. If you need another day in Madrid for a day-trip (there's also Cuenca), I'd find a way to take it out of the 6 nights you have in Ronda/Frigiliana/Marbella.

Posted by
20 posts

Oops, yes I had the Marbella/Frigiliana days reversed.. Thanks all for the input. .

Posted by
879 posts

Have you made your airline reservations yet? Where do you live? Can you fly open-jaw or multi-city, such as into Madrid and out of Seville or Malaga? We live in Boston. When we visited Madrid, Toledo, and Andalucia, we flew open-jaw. Our flight itinerary was Boston to Marseille (where we visited our daughter), and then Seville to Boston. So perhaps you could look into flying from your home city to Madrid and then fly home from Seville or Malaga. I think this is expensive for some people, but it was VERY inexpensive for us. We flew TAP Airlines. Perhaps TAP only flies to a few U.S. cities, but it's certainly worth looking into. It would save you from backtracking. Whenever we visit our daughter in France, we always go somewhere else in Europe after our visit, and so far, it has been much less expensive to fly open-jaw.

I agree with Nick that I would go to Malaga. We spent 2 nights there and loved it, and wish we had an extra night. Malaga will give you time on the Mediterranean, but it also has wonderful sightseeing, such as the Cathedral, Alcazaba, Castillo, promenade along the port, and many small art museums. You can even take a Ferris wheel ride if you wish! And I think Malaga has many flights to the U.S. so this might help with open-jaw tickets.

I also concur with Nick and acraven. Don't trim nights from Seville or Cordoba. They are both beautiful places with so much important Moorish history and culture.

I would stay overnight in Toledo. It is very crowded during the day with daytrippers. It is so much nicer at night. If we didn't spend one night in Toledo, I think I would have left there not understanding what the hoopla is about. So take a night from Ronda to stay overnight in Toledo. I don't think you will regret it.

Posted by
20 posts

Plane reservations are set and non refundable! I'll take a look at a way to spend a night in Toledo, most of my reservations can be cancelled without penalty...Thank you for the suggestions.

Posted by
336 posts

I really like the mix and how it's broken.
A few thoughts:
-If you need to cut a night somewhere, I would probably cut one of the 3 in Cordoba. It's not that long to visit. I personnally would cut one there. It would leave you with a full day plus a bit. I think it's enough and would gie you a day to go to Salamanca for instance
-On your way to Ronda, think of Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de La frontera. Jerez we loved the school of equestrian art, it was a great visit, but you have to plan according to eiather a show or a rehearsal. In the white villages, we also enjoyed Zahara and Grazamela. On our from Arcos, we went to Grazamela but did Zahara only the next day.
-Avila is easily skippable. Great wall but that's it. My preference goes to Toledo, Salamanca(great architecture and vibe), Segovia, El Escurial.
We enjoyed the caves in Nerja and it makes diversity into your trip.

Make sure to reserve some things ahead of time: Alhambra of course(way ahead). Real Alcazar and Cathedral in Sevilla(just a bit ahead)

Posted by
20 posts

Appreciate the input. I havent filled in our itinerary yet, but from Madrid I plan two day trips (1 when we arrive and 1 when we leave) just havent decided on which two places yet. When we are in Seville I plan one day trip to either Jerez or Cadiz. You may be right on Cordoba which would give us another day for a trip out of Madrid, but havent made up my mind on that one. Turns out we are staying in one of the patio garden hostals and is the "Los Patios de la Cordoba" week so looking forward to that.

Posted by
21305 posts

Being there Patios week is all the more reason to stick with the original plan for 3 nights in Cordoba. If you choose to do so, you can spend the better part of a day seeing patios; they aren't all in the same neighborhood, though there are concentrations.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for that. By the way, I want to credit this Rick Steve's blog among others for my itinerary, I certainly didn't come up with it on my own. The blog and its commenters are an incredible resource.