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HELP!!!!!!!! Madrid & ???

Hi there!

I visited Spain last year for the first time. I spent 4 days in Madrid and 4 days in Barcelona. This time, I plan on visiting with my girlfriend. However, she has never been to Spain. I don't want to repeat my trip from last time --- What do you guys think about 4 days in Madrid and 4 days in Seville? My other option is to do 4 days in Madrid and 4 days in Lisbon ( I have been dying to visit Lisbon)-- but I'm not sure if Portugal should just be done on its own.

Additional: This trip will take place in mid February. -- I was in Madrid & Barcelona in January --- is the weather about the same in mid Feb?

Please give suggestions about possible itinerary structures --- Pick your option and tell me how you would divide the days.

Thanks for your time!

Posted by
6841 posts

Do something different this time; I am assuming that your 8 days does not include the day you are flying out
go straight to Seville 4 nights, then a bus train to Ronda 1 night and include Granada 3 nights for the whole 8 days in Andalucia and skip Madrid.

You can search the historical weather averages for mid February on this site.
https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/spain/sevilla/climate

Posted by
26 posts

I appreciate your response! If I were alone I think I would probably skip Madrid but she really wants to spend time in the capital city ... that is why I'm a tad bit lost with this trip hahaha.

Posted by
6841 posts

Ok 5 days Seville include Cordoba and other day trips, end with 3 nights Madrid.
Andalucia with its orange trees seems more romantic since you can go to the coast. We were in Cadiz New Years day on a day trip great sunset over the Atlantic there.

Posted by
1250 posts

Both Lisbon and Seville are wonderful cities and would be great short-breaks. Both have much sightseeing opportunities to fill four days (and easy day-trip options), good food, and a relaxing ambience.

You can check weather averages on-line but I suspect Sevilla is usually more Winter sunny, a bit hotter in the daytime and has fewer rain days than Lisboa in February. However, there's no way to predict with certainty and to some extent it's the luck of the draw. We were in Lisbon for few days late in February a couple of years ago and the weather (for Winter) was brilliant. We were in Seville last year in February/March and it was even better. But who knows next February?

From Madrid, Sevilla is faster to get to than Lisbon since you can take the high-speed "AVE" railway service. However, it partly depends where you will be flying into and out of. Lisbon has direct flights, I think, to the Americas. Seville doesn't. If you choose Lisboa, then I'd recommend taking the sleeper service from Madrid rather than submitting yourself to the faff of short-haul flying between the two cities. Train is a much more pleasant way to travel.

For me, Sevilla is Spain's best city and one of Europe's top five. So, if forced to choose, my choice would be 3 days in Madrid, followed by 5 days in Seville (or 4 if you need to get back to Madrid to fly home). If you do choose Seville, then an option is to stop-off for a day in Cordoba when travelling from or to Madrid. Cordoba is a fabulous destination (actually well-worth an overnight or two if you had longer).

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Nick!

Do you think it is worth renting out a car in Sevilla and then take day trips to the other main attractions ?
There is so much to see in Andalusia -- what would be your top picks for 4 days in that part of the country?

Posted by
1250 posts

Personally, I wouldn't hire a car and try to see more. I think you could end up spending a lot of time on the road and not much actually visiting places. With four days, I'd stay in Sevilla and take a day-trip to Cordoba (which you can do more easily by rail than by car).

I do realise there is so much else to cover - Alhambra, Carmona, Ronda, Ubeda, Ronda, Cadiz, to name just a few - but my preference, for what it's worth, would be sticking to one city (and day-trip). Sevilla has a very broad diversity of sights and is a fairly large city, so even staying within the "city limits" you can cover a variety of Roman, Moor, mediaeval, modern, contemporary, etc. sights. Plus, if this interests you, it is the principal nightlife city in the region.

There is also a practical issue, that having a car in central Seville is not easy because of the road restrictions. So each drive out could be a bit of a pain.

Posted by
2212 posts

Hi Raphael, I think your idea of splitting your time between Madrid and Sevilla makes good sense. As far as daytrips, I think Madrid out ranks Sevilla, but you can always set itinerary proportions depending on daytrips that specifically interest you and your girlfriend. The main daytrips out of both cities are easily accessible by bus/train, no need to rent a car, which would be a huge liability in Madrid and Sevilla.

My day trip recommendations (all accessible by bus/train)

For Madrid:
Segovia
Salamanca
Cuenca
Zaragoza
Toledo

For Sevilla:
Jerez de la Frontera
Cordoba
Cadiz
Italica Roman Ruins

Note that some of these "day trips" lend themselves better as multi-day side trips.

Posted by
18892 posts

Along the route Madrid-Cordoba-Seville, trains are much, much faster than cars. You can check the rail schedules on renfe.com and the estimated driving times on ViaMichelin.com.

Cars are very handy for the white towns in Andalucua, but your trip is very short and you will not have time for those unless you csn convince your girlfriend that--except for bigtime art-lovers--Madrid is one of those capital cities that is less interesting to most visitors than many other places in the country. The good thing about Madrid is that it has some truly excellent possible side-trips. My favorite is Toledo, but Segovia is also nice. That entire area is likely to be a lot cooler than Seville.

Ground-transportation links between Spain and Portugal are very poor, and I wouldn't want to combine the two countries on a trip of this length. I think a night train would be a risky choice. Some people find it very difficult to sleep on night trains, which can make the following day (one of only eight) really miserable. Lisbon will probably also be cooler than Andalucia.

Bottom line: If your girlfriend is adamant about Madrid, I'd do Madrid + Seville and include a day in Cordoba, either in transit or as a day-trip from Seville. You might opt to spend your first two nights in Cordoba, then go to Seville, then finish in Madrid since you will probably be flying home from there. The difficulty lies in deciding what to do about the Madrid-Cordoba train ticket. It will be cheaper bought way in advance, but what departure time will be safe, given the uncertainties of transatlantic air travel?

Posted by
26 posts

I did Toledo last time from Madrid-- I will most likely do Segovia this time. As for Sevilla - Just to get it right, you guys don't think it is worth going to Cordoba or Alhambra from Seville as a day trip? I think if I go that far ... it is worth seeing those famous attractions. My only issue with pairing Andalusia with Madrid is just that --- there is so much to see and I don't want to miss out on the main attractions.

Anyone want to chime in on Madrid & Lisbon.

Posted by
1424 posts

You can do Córdoba as a day trip from Seville. Or take spend the night and then take train to Madrid to finish your trip.

Posted by
18892 posts

Cordoba yes, or even 2 nights there so you have 1.5 days. The Alhambra is in Granada, and that's really too far from Seville to be a good day-trip. The Alhambra is very large--it's not a 2-hour sight--and there are many additional things to see in Granada.

And yes, Carmona is a nice smaller place if Cordoba isn't enough. But honestly, I'd prefer a second day in Cordoba to a day in Carmona--not a negative comment about Carmona but a tribute to the beauties of Cordoba.

Posted by
1524 posts

Hi Raphael,

I sent you a possible itinerary to follow on your private message inbox.

Posted by
153 posts

My wife and I will be in Madrid mid-February 2020 as it is our 20th wedding anniversary. We love Madrid (as I assume you did) so I would put in at least 4 nights there. My wife and I love the vibe of Madrid and we are doing 8 nights there plus 2 in Toledo. We plan on doing at least 2 daytrips, a food tour through Devour Madrid, and possibly an Atletico Madrid match. In other words, we feel there is plenty in Madrid to warrant at least 4 nights. Hope you have a wonderful time and if you pass by a middle aged couple with huge smiles on their faces it's probably us!

Posted by
26 posts

Congratulations on the 20th anniversary. You will really like the food tour with Devour --- I enjoy watching their content on Youtube.

Posted by
153 posts

Thank you Raphael. I am sure we will and their videos are what made us choose them. Really like that Kiwi and his Spanish bride lol!

Posted by
4873 posts

Lisbon is a considerable distance from Madrid. I don't recommend trying to add Lisbon for this trip. Plan on a separate trip to Portugal where you do Lisbon, Porto and more.

Posted by
205 posts

We took the Tapas like a Local tour in Triana, Sevilla with Devour and it was fabulous. In addition to Devour videos, their founder, James Blick, has videos as well that are pretty good (done with his wife)-Spain Revealed.