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8 Day Spain Trip

We have 8 days to spend in Spain ( with 2 additional travel days). We are starting in Seville and ending in Barcelona as we rather get the busy part of the trip done in the beginning then have a few days to relax and enjoy Barcelona. My biggest questions is we have a additional day to spend in either Seville or Granada. I'd love your thoughts on this? Also I can get us into the Parador de Granada San Francisco hotel however it is costly is it worth the price?

Here is our itinerary
Arrive in the late AM to Seville
1 (or 2) Day Seville
1 (or 2) Day Granada
2 Days Madrid
3 Days Barcelona

We will be taking the train around Spain so I don't know if that helps with advice. Please let me know what city you would prefer an extra day in, or maybe we only need a day in Seville and Granada and we should spend the extra day in Madrid or Barcelona.

Thoughts appreciated!


Posted by
32 posts

Jessica, I would definitely add the day to Seville - it is my favorite city in Spain and one day there would definitely be short-changing it! If you are going to Granada just for the Alhambra, that can be done in a day. If you are just staying one night in Granada, you probably would barely be in your hotel room, so maybe use that money saved for other experiences during your trip. You can always have a drink outside at the parador and see part of the property as a non-guest.

Posted by
16883 posts

I also would add the day to Seville, which is beautiful as well as different from the other destinations, especially if you have just arrived in Europe from another continent and would be jet-lagged.

Posted by
1178 posts

I agree with the others...another day in Sevilla would be good. Travel info: Sevilla to Mardid, AVE train 2 1/2 hours. Arrive in Madrid at the Atocha Train Station. Check out the pond of turtles in the tropical garden Snack/sandwich car on the train. Madrid to Barcelona 3 hours Leave from the Atocha Station. Arrive at the Sants Station. Snack/sandwich car on the train a few five minute stops. AVE highspeed. Get your tickets in advance on line and save a substantial amount.Madrid and Barcelona both offer extensive places of interest. There is a shuttle service in Barcelona from the airport to the center of the city, at the head of Las Ramblas. From there take a taxi if you need.

Posted by
14930 posts

I think you should look at the train schedules to and from Granada before you make any decisions.

While you're doing that, keep in mind that a 2 hour train ride uses up more time than that. You have to pack, check out of your hotel, get to the train station (if you are going in the morning, otherwise you have to return to your hotel after sightseeing to pick up your luggage), arrive in time to locate your train platform and go through security, then on arrival, go to your hotel, check in and drop your luggage.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your suggestions, I'm so glad there is a forum like this! Would you suggested skipping Granada because of trains etc? And going from Seville to Madrid? Is there something else more convenient closer to Madrid or Barcelona worth spending a day in or even a day trip?

Posted by
1178 posts

Close to Madrid....consider Toledo 1/2 hour via AVE train...stay over night if possible as the city is entirely different when the last load ef day tourist leave.

Also, Segovia..;The acueduct and the Alcazar can be seen in a full day.

Posted by
107 posts

Skip Granada and spend an extra day in Seville. It's a charming city, and it's a great place to get over the jet lag.

Relax, have fun, you're on vacation.

Posted by
59 posts

don't skip Granada its worth the trip for the views and the Alhambra....but 1 day or 1.5 days is enough....take the extra day in Seville...or go to Cordoba for a day/night on the way to Granada

Posted by
2652 posts

When travelling I always try to minimize the number of hotels I'm going to be using and instead I take plenty of day trips around a certain number of "bases" so to speak. I find it much convenient as time is not wasted packing and unpacking that often.

Should you decide to increase your stay in Barcelona, I can gladly recommend several day escapades in the region that you might enjoy, from medieval towns such as Besalú to picturesque coastal towns like Cadaqués, but also impressive Roman cities like Tarragona or beautiful nature parks like Montserrat. Note though, that if you want to visit Barcelona I'd recommend to allot at least 3 or 4 full days (bare minimum) so you can at least scratch the surface as the city has plenty to visit for weeks on end.

Posted by
7124 posts

To avoid backtracking I would suggest starting in Granada rather than Seville.
For me Seville would definitely get the extra night.
You don't mention flights in and out of Spain, or what time of year.
If you want a 'taste' of Spain and probably its 'top 4' destinations I would even say go 2-2-2-2. (Eight days is quite rushed).
In Granada stay in Albaicin with a view of the Alhambra, rather than the expensive Parador which is right next door.
Go to the Parador for a drink in the gorgeous courtyard instead.


Posted by
18 posts

My two cents...
1-In Granada for dinner find a restaurant in the Albaicin with a view of the Alhambra. I wish I could remember the name of a restaurant, but if you do some research I'm sure you can find one. Did you say when you're going to Spain? If it will be warm, then you can sit outside on one of the patios and have a view of the Alhambra lit up at night- magical. And go later on at night, when the Spaniards eat. I went after doing a night-time tour of the Alhambra (after going earlier in the day also)- way better in my opinion b/c during the day there are SO many people that you just can't enjoy it as much. Also, I personally don't think it would be worth it to stay in the parador. I stayed in a historic hotel, Palacio Mariana Pineda - great place & location & price & service. Side note- if you stay here and get a room on the street, bring earplugs or have a white noise app on your phone.
2-Madrid is nice, but if you can, definitely go to Toledo - and stay overnight as one of the earlier posters suggested. Toledo is filled with narrow, cobblestone lanes, and you'll almost feel like you've gone back in time. Also, Toledo is filled with such history and stories of magic/ghosts/supernatural activity that a few tour companies offer night time tours of Toledo. The one I took was in Spanish, but you can probably find one in English.
3-In Sevilla, if you go to the Alcazar, try to go either really early in the morning when they first open or when it's close to closing time. Otherwise, way too many tourists and it just ruins the ambiance of the place. Also, if you want to see some great flamenco, you could check out Casa de la Memoria.
Have fun!!

Posted by
3 posts

thank you for all your input… keep it coming!

We are going in mid march (my husband is in residency so us getting 8 days plus 2 travel days is amazing) . Sounds like we shouldn't miss Granada, maybe I should look about flying in there instead of Seville.

Thank you all your all your ideas and suggestions, they are amazing!!!

Posted by
1270 posts

Strongly advise fly to Granada first to start the trip.
You must reserve tickets for the visit to Alhambra, google and learn how to do so.
Your connection to Granada, via Madrid, will provide either a noon or mid afternoon arrival. Reserve the early flight connection to Granada. If you miss the early flight you can get on the later connection. FYI: our daughter just spent the summer in Granada and successfully used this same tactic. The Granada airport is small and easy to navigate.
To get the most out of your trip make a committment to staying up late, past midnight, as Spain starts after 10p.m. (Seriously). Catch up on your sleep on the return flight home and any resident jnows how to go without sleep!
Recommend the first day be spent walking Granada, do pretrip research to learn the opportunities (the RS video and book is valuable), tapas early, long evening stroll to watch alhambra at sunset and a late dinner. Encourage getting alhambra entry ticket for early afternoon the next day, but spend the morning walking the grounds. Take train to Seville early evening. Highly recommend hotel almadeus in seville and the Red Door for flemenco experience. Two nights in Seville.
AVE train in early evening to Madrid. Google and learn how to buy advance second class tickets in order to gain big savings. Second class is equal to air plane business class. Carefully select your hotel in madrid w attention to obtaining a "quiet" experience. Recall, madrid is third largest city in Europe and can be noisey. Old town area, where you will spend majority of your time, is relatively small and easy to walk. Recommend staying close to the Prado. Be sure and visit Retireo Park!
AVE to Barcelona in early evening. Recommend you attend a concert at the academy of music at the palau. Do your web research, for us it is a cannot miss experience.
Best advice? Pack lite! Lugging luggage is a pain. All you need you can purchase in Spain. Bring few clothes and shop for what you think you need.