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Itinerary help for 9-day trip

I will be traveling in Spain for 9 days in May with my husband and two college-aged kids. My son is a history major & loves all things Roman, medieval and swords. My husband loves transportation. I speak Spanish and want to see the Alhambra and the Mezquita. My daughter is just happy to be going along. Here is my planned itinerary:
Arrive Madrid-Barajas 9 am. Taxi to Toledo. 2 nights in Toledo.
Taxi back to Madrid. 3 nights in Madrid, including day-trip to Segovia.
AVE train to Córdoba. Stop to see Mezquita. Continue to Sevilla. 2 nights in Sevilla.
Morning train or bus to Granada. See non-Alhambra sights, San Nicolas view at sunset.
Alhambra next day (Get a morning reservation.) Early evening bus to Málaga for next-morning flight to Italy.

Here's my question: How essential is Sevilla? I wonder if I should focus on Córdoba and Granada and skip Sevilla. Maybe get into Málaga a little earlier and have an afternoon off on the beach. What do you think? None of us has been to Spain.

Posted by
15327 posts

Hi Kathy.

In Madrid, your "boys" may enjoy the Maritime Museum more than the art museums. It's a short walk from both the Prado and the Thiessen-Bornemisza. The Prado (if you go) is overwhelming, I suggest you plan your visit in advance if there are works you want to see.

Once you are in Andalusia, your Spanish will be of some use, but don't expect to be able to converse easily. The most important word to learn is aseos (toilet).

The best sight in Cordoba, hands down, is the Mezquita. There are more sights in Seville, so I think your plan is good. The best part of the cathedral is climbing the tower for the view. The Alcazar there is not to be missed. More time in Seville versus a beach . . . no contest. Seville wins every time.

In Granada I recommend taking the Nasrid Palaces evening tour at the Alhambra as well as a day-time visit. It is completely different at night. The view from San Nicolas is nice, the Nasrid at night is a wow.

Posted by
1388 posts

Never taken a taxi from toledo to madrid, always used the train. Others will have to guide on if I have been missing the boat by only using the train.
I like malaga, but would not pick the beach over time spent in Seville.
I would consider staying only one night in toledo and adding a night in granada (which offers a great late evening experience).
Do not skip seville!

Posted by
1178 posts

To get from the Barajas airport to Toledo: Take the airport express bus from the airport (stops in each terminal) to the Atocha Train Station...will take 1/2 hour and 5 euors. From Atocha you will take the AVE train, 1/2 hour to Toledo...the only stop. tickets can be purchased on line before hand or at the station Suggest you purchase at the station as they can not be changed if the plane is late, etc. Taxi from Madrid to Toledo is not advisible, you will be crowed and it will be expensive. Good place to stay in Toledo La Posada de Manolo...good location, great breakfast overlooking the cathedral, central to the sites.

Posted by
4125 posts

I think this is a thoughtful itinerary, though I too would pass on the taxi.

Based on my personal experience, I also recommend an evening visit to the Alhambra in addition to your main visit the following day. The Nasrim palace is absolutely magical at night and makes a perfect introduction to the Alhambra. This was the high point of my trip to Spain.

Of course visit the Alhambra the next day too, the evening visit only includes the palacio.

To manage this, grab a cab after sunset or dinner in the Albaicin.

You have to make your own decision about Seville but I'll bet your kids will love it, it is drenched in youth.

Posted by
6997 posts

I would skip the beach as well. Seville is certainly preferable to that. But you have so little time in Madrid that I am not sure I wouldn't skip Seville in order to have more time there. I can't imagine not spending time at the Prado on a trip lke this. Be sure you have your Alhambra tickets immediately. We could not get the time slot we preferred 6 weeks out traveling in May last year.