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Help with Travel to Spain Itinerary

Hi All,

The clock is ticking, and all I have are roundtrip airfare from Miami to Madrid arriving in Madrid Nov 16 and departing Nov 27 from Madrid. My husband, 20-year-old son and myself are traveling to Spain for vacation, as well as to visit our 22 year-old son, which is studying in Madrid. Our plan is as follows:
Wednesday, Nov 16 Arrive Madrid @ 12:25 pm
Thursday, Nov 17 Madrid
Friday, Nov 18 Madrid to Seville
Saturday, Nov 19 Seville
Sunday, Nov 20 Seville to Granada to Barcelona
Monday, Nov 21 Barcelona
Tuesday, Nov 22 Barcelona
Wednesday, Nov 23 Barcelona
Thursday, Nov 24 Barcelona to Madrid
Friday, Nov 25 Madrid
Saturday, Nov 26 Madrid
Sunday, Nov 27 Depart Madrid @ 10:00 am

My son only has Fri-Sun to travel with us, as he is in school the rest of the time, and we would like to travel to Seville and Granada on the weekend with him. Any suggestions would be extremely welcomed. I also need suggestions for accommodations in all locations ie. do I book an Airbnb or hotel, etc, Transportation: whether it is better to book trains or flights, and which excursions are must to book in advance.

Thank you all in advance for your help. Yael

Posted by
2355 posts

I’m confused about your reference to traveling to Seville and Granada on the weekend. Do you intend to “see” Granada on the way to Barcelona? I don’t think that’s really feasible. It’s a 2.5+ hr train from Seville to Granada. Then 6+ hrs from Granada to Barcelona. You really need at least 3 nights in Granada to really see the main sites.

Posted by
3026 posts

Skip Granada and fly nonstop from Sevilla to Barcelona for less than $100 if you pack light. Check both Vueling and Ryanair websites. Both Sevilla and Granada are worthy of a minimum of two nights and some would argue that Sevilla is worth more.

Posted by
2267 posts

Definitely no time from Granada. I'd propose you even consider slowing it all down, skipping Sevilla, and then adding day trips to Madrid and Barcelona.

Madrid-Sevilla is a train, as is Madrid-Barcelona. As others have mentioned, Sevilla to Barcelona is a flight.

Re accommodation: there are lots of variables. Searching the forum for "hotel + CityName" will give you lots of info.

Posted by
9 posts

travel4fun,

My thoughts were, we would leave Madrid on Friday to go to Seville, Stay Friday and Saturday and on Sunday we would go from Seville to Granada. My son would travel on his own back to Madrid and the 3 of us could either stay in Granada leave for Barcelona the following day.

MaryPat thank you for your recommendations. Our plan is to travel with carry-ons. I will check those websites. I really wanted to see Alhambra. But I also know that I might not be able to go to all the places.

Posted by
9 posts

Scudder, thank you for your suggestions. I will definitely look into it. I was hoping to get a little taste of each city.

Posted by
2355 posts

I would choose between either Seville or Granada, but don’t try to go to both. Take the train from Madrid Friday morning, sightsee through the weekend with your son, then he takes the train back to Madrid Sunday night and the rest of you fly to Barcelona on Monday.

Posted by
1652 posts

I replied to your thread on the other travel forum. Basically, I feel you have too many places for 11 nights. I would eliminate Barcelona because that is the outlier. Some day you could combine Barcelona with Costa Brava, for example. I would concentrate on Madrid and Andalucia on this trip.

I don't see how it's possible to visit both Seville and Granada on a weekend.

A sample itinerary:

Madrid - Nights of November 16, 17, 24, 25, & 26
Seville - nights of November 18, 19, 20, and 21
Granada - nights of November 22 & 23

If you spend 4 nights in Seville, you could take a day trip to Cordoba. It's a 45-minute train ride. I usually recommend staying at least one night in Cordoba, but I think that would be too hectic given the amount of time you have. Too much packing and unpacking.

Posted by
3965 posts

Yes I agree with the above comment, I think this time around Barcelona is not worth the extra effort, so best to leave it for another time. You'll have a much better holiday just sticking to Madrid and Andalucia for those 11 nights

Posted by
6525 posts

Before committing to Granada you might want to check and see if tickets are still available for the Alhambra for any of your possible dates

Posted by
3026 posts

Yael, you may want to book your train tickets on Renfe: https://www.renfe.com/es/en before departure. I know the train from Barcelona sells out, but I believe that’s during the warmer months. Buying tickets before leaving home saves the hassle of buying while there. If you wait until you’re there to purchase train tickets, buy all tickets at the same time so you don’t have to stand in line every time you go to the train station.
There is a train that departs Sevilla at 9:13 arriving in Granada at 11:43 on Sun. Nov 20. The next one departs Sevilla at 15:30 arriving in Granada at 17:52.
There are also direct flights from Granada to Barcelona on Vueling, however, I don’t see direct overnight trains from Granada to Barcelona. I checked Skyscanner and see Vueling.com has a nonstop flight for $33 departing on Mon. Nov 21 at 10:25p arriving in Barcelona at 11:50p for $33. You can afford to take a day away from Barcelona if you don’t plan on taking day trips. Barcelona itself deserves a minimum of three nights.
One more note, buy tickets for the Sagrada Familia before leaving home, you do not want to stand in this line. I also suggest don’t buy tickets to go up into the tower unless you’re a fan of looking down from the nose-bleed section. The best views are at eye-level and you’re there to see the church, not the views from the church.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all for all your feedback. It is much appreciated!! :-)

Posted by
27362 posts

What should be avoided at all cost is buying train tickets from the staffed counters at Madrid's Atocha Station. The line for me was 3 hours long, and it wasn't a holiday or a weekend. That's just the way it is.

I don't think three nights are sufficient in Barcelona, especially when it's the first stop and you may be jetlagged for more than the arrival day. I think it would be better on this trip to devote sufficient time to Andalucia rather than an insufficient amount of time to that area and to Barcelona.

Posted by
3941 posts

We just returned from Spain and I agree with skipping Barcelona. Madrid has so much to offer and rushing through isn’t worth your time and effort. I would choose Seville over Granada for a weekend. The Alhambra was interesting but did not live up to my expectations. I thought the cathedral in Cordoba was more spectacular. Anyway, I digress. We had so much more fun in Seville - we took an evening cooking class, toured one if the oldest bullrings w/interesting museum and took a flamenco dance class. We had so much fun and laughed, it was the best one hour of our entire trip. I give details in my trip report.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all soo much for all your suggestions and feedback. :-)

Posted by
9 posts

Question for you all. Looking at flights on Vueling, and they say that carryon must way no more than 10 kg. I am not so sure that my carryon will be less than 10kg. Is it better to pay now for the extra weight or pay at the airport?

Posted by
27362 posts

I have never flown Vueling, but for most budget airlines the fee to check a bag is a lot higher at the airport than the deal you get if you pay the fee ahead of time. You should be able to find both prices on the Vueling website.

I think you can usually make that payment online not long before your flight; I don't believe you have to do it at the same time you buy your ticket. (I cannot guarantee this is the case, because there's never any doubt that I'll have to check a bag, so I go ahead and make that payment when I buy my ticket on a budget airline.) In your case, since you aren't yet sure about the weight of your suitcase, it would be important to know for sure how close to flight time you can pay the checked-bag fee.

Posted by
297 posts

I have a different take than Barbara and some of the others. I'd rejigger the trip so that I'd spend one night in Madrid at the start ... or 4 nights at the start and just one at the end. In other words, total of 5 nights in Madrid, rather than 6.

That gives you an extra day to play with. Barcelona is a truly great city, as is Madrid. But with the added day, you could perhaps include Granada and the Alhambra, though that may be overly ambitious, still. You could instead include Cordoba as a side trip from Sevilla, or Ronda or Arcos de la Fronterra as a side trip from Sevilla. If you like Sherry, then perhaps Jerez. For me, it would be Cordoba with its Mezquita - and perhaps you could also learn about Averroes and/or Maimonides - both of whom were 12th Century writers, religious philosophers and physicians - one a Muslim and the other a Jew.

If you do spend 6 nights in Madrid, I'd still divide it 5 and 1 or 1 and 5. And, you could easily take a day trip from Madrid to one of the following three: Toledo, Segovia, or El Escorial.

The idea of flying from Sevilla to Barcelona is quite sensible. Spain is a rather large country.

Posted by
9 posts

R
Thank you all for your advice. I’m currently in Barcelona, and staying at a wonderful Airbnb.going to Sagrada Familia tomorrow morning. Any then not sure which tickets to purchase. As you all have said there are so many amazing places to see in Barcelona. Of the following which one should I pay an entry fee to see or just pass by from the outside, we leave Thursday at 2pm. We,ve gone to las rambles, saw Casa battló and park guell from the outside. I do want to go to Palau de musica Catalana. There are so many places to go but not enough time .

Does anyone have a suggestion of a night walking tour in English in Barcelona? We are a go go go family. :) So we don’t mind doing stuff all day.

Posted by
996 posts

Palau de Musica Catalunya was our favourite place in Barcelona. We did a guided tour which meant we got to stand on the stage which was wonderful.

The gothic quarter is just across the road so you can look at some Roman ruins and the cathedral in the same trip.

If you haven't found it yet the cafeteria on the 9th floor of the El Cortez Ingles department store overlooking Plaza Catalunya has good, inexpensive food and absolutely spectacular views of Barcelona.

Posted by
9 posts

Great advise, which website did you book the tour through?

Posted by
27362 posts

As far as I know, all the tours of the Palau de la Musica Catalana are done in-house. They're on the official website: https://visits.palaumusica.cat/en. I don't think the tours sell out really early, but only some of them are in English, and it does often happen that the English tours are the first to fill up. I think it would be a good idea to book that our before the day you want to take it.