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Help with 10 day Spain Itinerary

Recently booked a flight to Spain for the end of May through the first of June for 10 days. As an inexperienced traveler, I'm looking for all the help I can get to maximize my time there. I'll be flying in and out of Madrid and my initial thoughts on an itinerary are below. I don't know if this a good plan or not and am seeking any and all feed back I can on how much time I should spend in each place, where to look for places to stay, how to travel, and what to do where. I should also mention that this will be for a honeymoon. Again, any and all recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Initial (sample) itinerary:
Madrid - 2 nights
Córdoba - 2 night
Seville - 2 nights
Málaga - 2 nights
Granada - 2 nights (fly back to Madrid to fly back to US)

Posted by
2120 posts

5 sight-rich cities in just 10 nights seems like way too much for me, it will take up a lot of your vacation time just packing up and moving around each time, especially if you are an inexperienced traveler. What initially stands out to me is Málaga, I don't think you have enough time to squeeze it in. May I ask what things specifically you both are interested in (hiking, nature, history, museums, art etc.)? That will help us fine tune which cities you should spend more or less time in (Madrid vs. Granada for example).

Posted by
3666 posts

Unless you are interested in art, I'd minimize time in Madrid. You may not have enough time in Sevilla. You should stay in Madrid the night before you fly out. Not knowing all your details, I would suggest that you take a train upon arrival to Cordoba and proceed on your trip from there. I would stay 3 nights in Sevilla. I haven't been to Malaga, assuming you are going for beach?

Posted by
6682 posts

I would fly into Madrid take the train direct to Cordoba. On the way back I would take the train back from Malaga (as this puts you right in the center of Madrid instead of having to commute from Madrid airport) 2 nights before the flight. Everything is more expensive in Madrid for about the same or less quality so you may want to spend your time and money in this order:

Córdoba - 2 nights
Seville - 2 nights
Granada 2 nights
Malaga 2 nights
Direct train to Madrid
Madrid 2 nights

Posted by
14241 posts

I would not do a string of 2-nighters. Packing, unpacking, schlepping luggage, not my thing, especially in summer heat.

Cordoba is quieter and more romantic in the evenings than Sevilla which has more energetic vibe. Spend more nights in whichever is more your style. 2 nights in Granada is enough for the Alhambra and a little of the rest. I agree with Jazz, go to Cordoba (or Sevilla) first. Only spend your last night in Madrid so you can get to the airport for your flight home, unless you have a mid-afternoon or later flight out. Even if you visit Granada last, don't plan to fly to Madrid, take the train or bus, it's about the same amount of time, door to door, and is a lot less hassle.

And congratulations!!

Posted by
581 posts

As much as I enjoyed Malaga, I think I would delete it from this trip and add those 2 nights to Seville. Seville is a large city with many important historical sites and gorgeous architecture. Two nights really gives you one full day and maybe part of another day. That won't do Seville justice. Stay in Madrid for the last 2 nights since you are flying home from Madrid. So this is a possible itinerary in this order: Cordoba 2 nights; Seville 4 nights; Granada 2 nights; and then Madrid 2 nights.

The high speed train tracks to and from Granada are not finished yet, so you can take the ALSA bus from Seville to Granada, and then from Granada to Madrid.

Use booking.com to find hotels.

And purchase a few guidebooks so you know what there is to do in each place. Rick Steves, Michelin Green Guide, or Rough Guides, or Fodors.

Posted by
3666 posts

When we were just in this area, we used the recommendations from the RS guide for inns and booked directly with the inns. We stayed at El Rey Moro in Sevilla, www.elreymoro.com Hotel Anacapri (https://hotelanacapri.com/en/) in Granada and Hotel Mezquita (https://hotelmezquita.com) in Cordoba. Hotel mezquita was about 15 feet from the Mezquita entrance and was in a great location to wander the old Jewish quarter. By mentioning RS guide, we got our breakfast included in the room rate for anacapri and I think for El Rey Moro. It is your honeymoon(congratulations) so I'm not, of course, sure what accommodations but these places were very well priced, well located and oozed with local charm.

Posted by
7124 posts
  1. Fly in to Madrid (2 nights)
  2. Madrid
  3. Train to Granada (2 nights)
  4. Visit the Alhambra
  5. Train to Sevilla (3 nights)
  6. Sevilla
  7. Visit the Mezquita in Córdoba
  8. Sevilla, then evening train to Madrid (3 nights)
  9. Visit Toledo
  10. Visit Segovia
  11. Fly out from Madrid
Posted by
3666 posts

I would stay over at least one night in both Toledo and Cordoba to really experience the city. Further, hotels and restaurants in those cities tend to be more charming and less expensive than Madrid

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your help so far everyone! It seems as if the majority recommendation is to cut out Malaga. Because we’re going to be on our honeymoon, we wanted a little time relaxing on a beach. Is there a beach near to Granada or Seville that you’d recommend for a day trip? Thanks.

Posted by
4742 posts

I suggest cutting back on the number of places you stay. Also, 2 nights in places like Madrid is ridiculous.

I have been to all the places that you list. Malaga by far is an easy delete. Sorry, the Costa Del Sol is not the greatest beach. Skip Malaga. Cordoba is cool, but if you really want to see it, one day and one night is enough.

Granada's Alhambra is wonderful, but you could actually cut it to one night, depending on when your flight departs for the US.

Here is my suggestion:
Madrid 3 nights A day trip to Toledo would be a must. The Prado is wonderful if you are an art lover.
Cordoba 1 night
Seville 3 nights
Granada 1 night

Posted by
18405 posts

Lots of people spend a large chunk of the day in Granada just seeing the Alhambra. It's a lengthy trip to Granada from Seville, so I can't imagine being comfortable planning only one night in Granada unless I intended to leave the city late in the afternoon on the second day. I'd hope to see something there other than just the Alhambra, and the tight ticketing situation at that site means you don't necessarily have a lot of freedom as to when you see it.

I'm giving myself four nights in Granada in May, with the possibility of one side-trip. I acknowledge spending at least one extra night at every destination, compared to the more typical tourist. I intend to squeeze every city dry (in regard to the sights of interest to me).

Posted by
2258 posts

Yes, especially for a honeymoon, I would want a more leisurely and relaxing pace. Every time you move hotels, you give up at least a half day, not just in transit, but the checking in and out, getting to and from train stations, waiting for trains, etc., all the while lugging your baggage. Instead of Malaga, why don’t you spurge on a deluxe hotel with a big pool, in one of the cities. Also, unless you really love art museums, you might skip Madrid and stay in Toledo instead. Personally, I loved Toledo, Cordoba and Seville. Madrid is a huge city and not nearly as old. You will need to lock in your dates in Granada relatively soon, in order to get tickets to visit the Alhambra well in advance, either tickets for entry, or perhaps reservations for a guided tour that includes entry, of course somewhat more expensive, but probably worth it to really appreciate this really wonderful site. A special experience in Granada, probably the evening before you visit the Alhambra, would be dinner in one of the “carmens” which overlook the Alhambra in the distance, as the light goes from daylight to sunset to darkness with an illuminated Alhambra complex. Try to reserve a “window seat”. Congratulations! And enjoy your honeymoon in wonderful Spain!

Posted by
945 posts

Lots of good suggestions here! Of course how long you stay where depends on the feel you are looking for. I don’t enjoy large cities as much, so didn’t want much time in Madrid (Toledo is still on my bucket list, but choices have to be made.....) And as much as I loved Cordoba and Seville, Granada was the town I fell in love with, way beyond just the Alhambra. I had 3 nights and would have wanted 4, like acraven. My daughter, on the other hand, loved Seville the most. But 2 nights per city just breaks up your trip way too much and keeps you on the run - no relaxing!

Posted by
3 posts

I like the order of your itinerary, but I would change it just a little. It would probably be best to stay one night in Madrid, just to recover a bit from jet lag, but if you're looking for romance, you'll want to head south as quickly as possible. The Only YOU Atocha (https://www.onlyyouhotels.com/en/hotels/only-you-hotel-atocha/) is a very nice hotel near the Atocha train station in Madrid. The next morning, a high-speed AVE train can take you to Córdoba in less than two hours, and you can book tickets in advance through Rail Europe. Córdoba is a lovely city and definitely worth 2 nights. We have stayed at the Balcón de Córdoba (https://balcondecordoba.com), a romantic and honeymoon-worthy hotel just steps from La Mezquita. Seville is a short train ride from Córdoba, and very cheap via regional trains. I would spend 2 nights in Seville (no hotel recommendations as we haven't visited there in quite a while) and then head for the beach. However, instead of Málaga, I would suggest going to Cadiz (less than 2 hours by train from Seville) to the beautiful Playa Victoria, where you could stay at one of the beach hotels. Stay 3 nights in Cadiz, and spend your last 2 nights in Granada. Since Granada is not on a convenient train line, I would suggest renting a car to drive there from Cadiz. You would only need to rent a car for one day, since Granada is small and you don't really need a car there. There are several great hotels in Granada, but one that gets good reviews is the Hotel Casa Morisca (https://www.hotelcasamorisca.com/en/) which is very charming and close to the Alhambra. By the way, if you haven't bought your Alhambra tickets yet, you must do so soon. Tickets for May from the official website (https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en/) are already sold out, and the tickets for June are going fast.

Your return to Madrid from Granada will involve a longish day of train travel (about 6 hours), but the trains are direct.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
18405 posts

I only see one weekday direct train from Granada to Madrid, departing at 7:35 AM. It's relatively fast, scheduled to take only 5 hr. 8 min. The other departures require at least one transfer, and there is sometimes a bus involved.