We'll be in Spain next month for 2.5 weeks, visiting Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, and Sevilla. We have a few extra, unplanned days and are wondering about the logistics of traveling from Sevilla to Gibraltar. It seems like it would take almost three days to get there, visit, and return to Madrid for our departure flight. We're wondering if that trip would be worth the time/effort involved or whether it would be better to fly over to Lisbon for a day or two, or just spend a couple more days in Madrid at the end of our trip. Thoughts?
In addition to Cordoba (a key, very historic destination), you also haven't mentioned Toledo or several other good destinations very near Madrid: Segovia, Cuenca, Salamanca and Alcala de Henares.
Snobby People (like me) don't even consider Gibraltar.
I'm not sure why detractors of Gibraltar are considered snobby, surely it's a personal taste thing. I see no reason to visit what is, in essence, a dated, tired rendition of an 80's British high street. Unless you're interested in cheap booze, cheap cigarettes and gambling I wouldn't bother. The rock and its military history is interesting but not enough to warrant a detour from Seville en route to Madrid.
I wouldn't take the time on this trip to go to Gibraltar. I've been there on a cruise stop and had a blast going to the top and seeing the Barbary apes and would like to maybe go back some day, but it isn't worth taking almost three days to get there and back in my opinion. But, since you have other unplanned days there are a lot of different towns to see near Madrid (Segovia, Toledo) and Barcelona (Montserrat, Figueres).
I wasn't impressed with Gibraltar.
The more snobby people (see comments below!) tend to sneer at Gibraltar, but actually it is great.
Proud snobby person here haha! I think there are a plethora of much more interesting places to visit from Sevilla, instead of Gibraltar. Better to see Cordoba, Cadiz, Jerez, Doñana National Park, Carmona, El Rocío, or the various while hill towns of the Sierra de Grazalema.
We had a car, and while in Ronda, did a daytrip to Gibraltar. While the highways were in excellent shape, slower tractor-trailers drew out the journey. We found all of Rick's ticked-off attractions, but found the experience a let-down. It just wasn't worth the slog. Especially in the case of older travelers like us who might one day, have a cruise stop there.
Even without a car, I imagine Carmona and Italica are practical from Seville, and much more worth a day out. You might wish to rent a car for a day or two, to see some white villages or the ever-popular Ronda. We were also disappointed by Jerez (by car), and even thought the horse show not "the best." (much better, same "breed" in Vienna)
You don't make clear if you have daytrips planned from your key cities, like Valley of The Fallen, Toledo, El Escorial, Segovia, Avila. This next idea is deprecated on this board, but we found a big bus tour provider near our Madrid hotel (Preciados) that did great trips, with or without lunch, and some of them hit three attractions in a day. Avoiding car rental and navigation was a treat, and I can live with their definition of "free time here will be: ... " We skipped the lunch, not to save money, but to get more free time, and settled for a warm, unrefrigerated, bocadilla while walking around!
Carmona is an easy day trip from Seville by bus. Seville has two bus stations, so be sure you know which one your bus departs from
I'm curious to someday get to Gibraltar and check it out for myself, but it's never made sense to squeeze it into any itinerary I've planned.
I'd argue that the plan you're starting with—Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, and Sevilla—offers so much to see and do that, for 2.5 weeks, I'd have to cut from the list, not add to it.
I agree with Scudder. Seventeen days is approaching rock-bottom minimum for those four cities.
Thanks, everyone, for your insights. We already have a day trip scheduled to Toledo, but you've given us lots of other options to think about that will keep us closer to our four main cities. We were on the fence about taking the time to get to Gibraltar or going to Lisbon for only a short visit. So your comments tipped the scales in favor of sticking closer to our planned itinerary and seeing where we can easily branch out from there. We appreciate the help!