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Itinerary help

Group of 9 (two families, 2 middle aged couples and the “kids” aged 16-26).

Our current itinerary in July:
3 nights Madrid - day trip to Toledo
2 nights Sevilla
2 nights Granada
4 nights Barcelona
1 night Madrid (flights in and out of Madrid)

Does this seem too ambitious for one trip? We already have hotels booked in all 4 cities but they can be changed. Trying to figure out the train/planes to get to each place seems overwhelming so maybe we’re trying to do too much?

Posted by
706 posts

Allowing 1/2 day to get from city to city, that leaves with 2 fewer days overall on a short trip to begin with. Now factor in hotel check-in and out time, meals (which will take more time than you think), and miscellaneous items like figuring out public transit and waiting to buy tickets for something and you're left with even less time for actual sightseeing. And, you're moving with a large group, which also slows you down. I'd say pick two cities and get more out of them, and maybe day trip or two. Save the other two for another trip.

Posted by
862 posts

I have only been to Barcelona of the places listed here. I think four nights in Barcelona is enough. We spent five but took a day trip with one of those to Sitges.

Regarding your itinerary, I think Barcelona is quite far from Granada. I see there is an AVE train that takes 6 hours.

Also, if you do this itinerary, I would depart from Barcelona and not go back to Madrid.

Posted by
273 posts

Too much moving around changing hotels packing unpacking and much too hot for Seville and Granada in July (the average historical temperature is 96 and sunny no rain) for a group of 9 people.
You should keep it to Madrid (with day trips to Toledo and Segovia) and Barcelona (with day trips to Montserrat and the beach in Stiges).

Posted by
6157 posts

You didn’t mention where you live. Sevilla & Granada in July would be much too hot for us! We did most of your itinerary in early October, and that was still warm. Would Madrid, Toledo & the Barcelona area give you enough excitement? Carlos from Barcelona has a lot of great ideas to keep you busy in just that area.

Posted by
5142 posts

I’d recommend you consider changing your itinerary to something like this:

  • Fly to Madrid and take train directly to Sevilla (4-5N) -day trip to Córdoba
  • Train or bus to Granada (3N)
  • Train to Madrid (4-5N) day trip to Toledo

Save Barcelona for another trip.
Make sure to order your Alhambra tickets 3 months in advance.

Wishing you a wonderful trip!

Posted by
7786 posts

It appears that you may have underestimated the size of Spain. From Madrid to Granada is 250 miles--over 3 hours on a bus. Sevilla is 150 miles west of Granada. Granada to Barcelona is 550 miles and a 1 hour flight on Vueling, a budget carrier.

As you have been told traveling with 9 people is difficult. And it puts a lot of pressure on the person making the plans. Sometimes less stops is better.

If you've not purchased the flights, go open jaw--into Madrid and out of Barcelona. Backtracking is a hassle--and expensive.

A simplifed itinerary would be to spend 5 days in Madrid with a day trip down to Toledo by train.
Then take a train or bus down to Granada. Visit Alhambra (full day) and go to a gypsy Flamingo dance show in the caves.
Then fly to Barcelona for the balance of your time.

We found Spain easy to travel through, and it was surprisingly economical in comparison with many other popular European countries. We stayed in a nice hotel on a metro stop between the airport and downtown in Madrid. In Granada and Barcelona we found inexpensive apartments on

My wife liked Spain so well, that she and her older daughter went right back to Madrid and Barcelona. Also, there's a fast train to Paris from Barcelona (6.5 hours) for travelers with a little more time.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you everyone for your help,

We will definitely be sticking with 2 cities and some day trips. Not sure which 2 yet! We live in Florida so the heat doesn’t necessarily scare us.

Thanks again!

Posted by
308 posts

I would cut Barcelona and add more nights to Sevilla and Granada, if your flying out of Madrid then save those nights for the end rather than splitting your time in Madrid between the start and finish. Not sure what time your flight arrives in MAD but you could taxi to Toleto an stay 2 nights there, train south and end in Madrid. J

Posted by
24806 posts

Two nights is really, really inadequate for Seville. I'd hope for four. Add a night if you want to take a day-trip to Cordoba (which is orth at least two nights if you decide to forego Barcelona).

I urge you to reconsider the southern destinations if there is any hope you can return to Spain at a more pleasant time of year. Living in Florida (with, I assume, air conditioned houses, cars, stores and places of work) just is not the same as being a tourist in Andalucia in the summer unless you are gardeners by profession, or something like that. Madrid is also very hot. Barcelona will be somewhat cooler, but it can be humid, and you know what that means.

The website has actual, historical, day-by-day weather data for most places tourist might go. I recommend checking out the last few years' data for July. Here's Seville for this year:

There were just two days the entire month when the high temperature didn't reach at least 90 F. There were eight days with highs in the 90s. On 21 days the temperature reached at least 100 F (on three of which it hit 111 F).

I spent considerable time in Sicily and Puglia during the summer of 2015. Those areas aren't usually quite as hot as Andalucia. The heat was exhausting. You just can't be as energetic when you're wilting, so you cannot accomplish as much each day.

The northern strip of Spain from the Pyrenees across to Galicia is the best part of the country to visit in the summer. If you stick primarily to high-altitude spots and areas near m the coast, you should have very few really hot days.

Posted by
6084 posts

I'd suggest just Madrid (with Toledo) and Barcelona for this summer trip. And if you haven't booked your flights, see if you can fly "multi-city" into one and out of the other. Even if you've booked Madrid round-trip, you might find that any change fees would be competitive with the extra rail fare it would take to get you back to where you landed.