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50th Birthday - Sintra & Andalusia


I am planning a "surprise" 50th birthday for my beautiful wife who has always wanted to see Andalucia -- we have a total of about 17 days to spend and we have friends who own/operate Quintadoscoto , a small B&B in Portugal, near Sintra so we thought we would fly in and out of Lisbon. Here is the itinerary I have so far cobbled together [end of Sept - through mid-oct] - any and all suggestions [hotels, restaurants, events are much appreciated]

[1] Fly to Lisbon on Sat 9/26 from Phila and arrive Sun morn - spend the next 3 days in/around Sintra [day trips included- total of 4 nights & 3.5 days];
[2] On Day 5 fly to Seville and pick up a car [if necessary] and spend days 5, 6, 7 & 8 in Seville and 1/2 of day 9 [4 days & 4 nights total];
[3] Drive to Ronda for lunch on day 9 and stay in Ronda on days 9 & 10 and the morning of day 11 [2 nights & 2 days in Ronda];
[4] Next, drive [?] to Granada on day 11 afternoon [lunch and dinner] and stay in Granada overnight and all the next day and night and the next morning, after breakfast, driving to Malaga [2 nights & 2 days in Granada];
[5] Arrive in Malaga on day 13 [around noon-2] and spend 1/2 day Friday, all day Saturday and morn on Sunday in Malaga [2 nights & 2 days] before flying back to Lisbon on Sun. eve; and
[6] Dinner in Lisbon, overnight and next day in Lisbon and one more night [2 nights and 2 days] before flying home on day 17.
** Too much? too little? too many changes? Cordoba with a day trip? Flamenco?

Thanks again to all for any help offered

Posted by
326 posts

Your surprise sounds wonderful. I have gone to all of the places except Ronda. It's on our list to go on for a future visit to Spain.
Question: What month are you going? There might be some festivals going on. Last year I happened to be in Seville during their Feria.

Yes for the Flamenco: This is what I did. In Seville at the Flamenco Dance Museum. No food, but you can purchase drinks. Loved their performance!
Cordoba: We drove from Seville. Spent most of the day there. Mesquita (sp) , walking thru the old Jewish quarter, lunch and going to the Alcazar. We left Sevilla around 9 am and we were back in Seville between 5-6 pm.

Have a wonderful adventure!

Posted by
354 posts

I would suggest not picking up the car until you leave Seville. You definitely don't need a car while there and parking would likely be problematic. We drove into Seville and turned our car in at the train station which was relatively easy, so you shouldn't have too much difficulty picking your car up as you leave town.
I would suggest a day trip - or stop in Cordoba on your way south from Seville. The Mesquita was one of my favorite things in Andalucía. We just did a day trip to Ronda and it was very worth that but I'm not certain it would be worth two days. I would encourage you to consider driving through some of the Pueblos Blancos on your way from Seville to Ronda. Arcos de la Frontera is a great overnight stop. RS also talks about several other very small towns that are fun for a few hours ( I don't remember their names but they are in his book).
We spent 3 nights in Granada and I could have spent more. You might consider spending an additional night in Granada and flying from there back to Lisbon. It would give you an extra night in both places - which I think they both deserve. Malaga (IMO) is not worth and extra move. Remember that you really lose a day each time you move from one place to another.
I recently returned from my first Portugal trip and really loved Lisbon - and Portugal as a whole. Your trip sounds really great - but eliminating an overnight stop or two would help you to slow down and savor the places you are seeing.

Posted by
2766 posts

Looks good to me! I'm sure she will love it.

Some thoughts:

no car needed in Seville - pick it up when you are ready to leave the city.

Flamenco - YES!! In Seville, the home of flamenco. There are plenty of shows, I can recommend Casa de la Memoria, but there are other good ones as well.

Cordoba - Yes, day trip. Perhaps on your way to Ronda (not really on the way per se, but would work - drive from Seville, spend a few hours in Cordoba to see the Mesquita, then on to Ronda). This still leaves plenty of time for Ronda, IMO. Or you could do it as a day trip on one of your Seville days, the train takes something like 45 minutes.

Granada - looks fine. I've done 3 nights and would do more, but 2 should be fine. Be sure to reserve your Alhambra tickets ahead of time. October 2015 is already available, as far as I can tell, so do this as soon as you have nailed down your days.

Posted by
7175 posts

I think you have this ... ?
Sun 27/9 Sintra 4 nts
Thu 1/10 Seville 4 nts
Mon 5/10 Ronda 2 nts
Wed 7/10 Granada 2 nts
Fri 9/10 Malaga 2 nts
Sun 11/10 Lisbon 2 nts
Tue 13/10 Fly home

Do you need to return to Lisbon for your flights? Why not fly 'open jaw', including Lisbon with Sintra at the beginning of your trip, and then departing from Malaga or Madrid? Perhaps ...

Sun 27/9 Sintra 4 nts
Thu 1/10 Lisbon 2 nts
Sat 3/10 Seville 3 nts
Tue 6/10 Ronda 2 nts
Thu 8/10 Granada 2 nts
Sat 10/10 Madrid 3 nts
Tue 13/10 Fly home

Too much? NO
Too little? NO
Too many changes? UNAVOIDABLE
Cordoba with a day trip? SI
Flamenco? OLE

Posted by
15477 posts

Seville day trip by train to Cordoba, rent the car when you leave Seville
Ronda use the 1/2 day 9 to drive leisurely to Ronda, visiting a few of the pueblos blancos on the way, full day to see the sights, then leave in the morning, stop in Antequera on the way to Granada, or skip it for more time in Granada. One full day is enough for Ronda's top sights.
Granada 2 nights is adequate to see the Alhambra and a couple other sights. Visit the Nasrid Palaces one evening and go to a sambra performance on the other.

Haven't been to Malaga.

It's a reasonable itinerary, not too rushed. If you need the car in Malaga, is it possible to fly from Granada? You won't need or want the car there, you'll just pay for parking.