Please sign in to post.

Itinerary help Spain trip

Would totally love your suggestions!
(I am traveling sola)

I will be in Spain from 4/19-5/13. So far, this is what I have mapped out:

4/19-5/2 Staying with a friend in Barcelona.

5/2 - 5/5 Madrid- arriving mid morning.

This is it guys, this is what I have 100% planned. I'm totally concerned I'll get lonely. I wish I was not this way, but thar ya go. I do have a cooking class planned in Madrid and some tours.
(It's really late to plan, I know.)

Now, from 5/5-5/7 I was thinking Seville.

5/7-5/10 Granada.
This leaves me until 5/13 flight from Barcelona.

If any of you are in the area, and aren't killers, I'd love to meet up.

Posted by
14 posts

And I can just up and go somewhere else, France? Portugal? (I do have a budget to consider)

Posted by
27342 posts

You've only given yourself two full days in Madrid and one full day in Seville. The latter is way, way inadequate (I'd go for four nights there so you'd have three full days), and the time in Madrid will be too short if you want to take in the three major art museums in that city. I'd adjust the stays in those cities before adding additional stops.

I definitely wouldn't try to squeeze in another country. There are lots of great places in Spain you haven't mentioned--some of them right along the rail line between Barcelona and Granada. We can start with Zaragoza, Toledo (on a spur RR line outside Madrid) and Cordoba. You might visit Zaragoza from Barcelona since you have free lodging there. The train will take 1.5 to 2 hours each way, which is a shame, but free housing is free housing. The train fare varies by departure. Girona (north of Barcelona) is also a very worthwhile day trip.

Posted by
3022 posts

Are you flying in and out of Barcelona? It sounds like you have seven nights to explore. From Madrid’s-Atocha Cercanias station take a direct (no transfers) train to Sevilla (2h 45m): and from the Sevilla-Santa Justa station take a direct train to Granada (2h 45m). The day before flying back to Barcelona hop on the 12:55p nonstop flight from Granada to Barcelona ($94 on Vueling).

Posted by
564 posts

Add Cordoba, two nights . Take a free (tip based) walking tour. Visit the Mezquita with an audio tour.

In Madrid, you can add days for day trips to Segovia and Avila?
I'm doing a bus tour on 5/6 to those places from Madrid.
Or maybe a day bus tour out to the El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen.
Visit the Reina Sofia museum to see Guernica.
Visit the Royal Palace, walk up to the temple of Debod.
Do a Segway or bicycle tour of Retiro Park
Bullfights are on Monday evenings at 7 in Madrid during that time. What are you interested in?

Seville, I'd add a day.

Have fun

Posted by
14 posts

Whoops, should have clarified, when I leave, it will be the end of free housing. She has more company on the way.

Posted by
27342 posts

I'd suggest, when laying out your itinerary, that you avoid listing the same day for two cities. That tends to give the impression you have more time in each city than you do. In actuality, a travel day is, at best, 1/2 day in the second city if you travel in the morning. I assume you understand what your plan means, but for those of us reading your initial post quickly, it appears you have 14 days in Barcelona, 4 days in Madrid, 3 days in Seville, 4 days in Granada, plus 2 days to play with. In reality, this is what you have:

Barcelona: 14 nights (13 full days)
Madrid: 3 nights (2 full days)
Seville: 2 nights (1 full day)
Granada: 3 nights (2 full days) -- assuming you sleep in Granada on 5/10.
Unassigned: 2 nights

Posted by
2267 posts

I don't know how tight the budget is, but slowing down will save money—less transportation and accommodation can be managed differently.

Getting to Barcelona from Granada can be cumbersome. A couple of trains or a flight. Have you looked at ticket availability for the Alhambra? If you can't get a ticket I'd scrap Andalucia altogether. Then I'd look at just Madrid, day trips from there, and maybe a night or two in Zaragoza between Madrid and Barcelona.

I arrive in Madrid on the morning of the 10th, and am mostly free the afternoon of 10th and 11th, and maybe the morning of the 12th. (Pending a dentist appointment in there...) I haven't killed anyone... yet!

Posted by
14 posts

I'm so glad I asked for advice!
MaryPat and Acraven, I like your suggestions about adding a day to Madrid and Seville, travel to Granada then fly back to Barcelona the day before my departure. Ahh, much better!
MaryPat, thank you for including transportation suggestions. Really helpful.
Derek, thank you for your suggestions for day trips and tours. Sadly, I will miss the bull fight as I arrive on Tuesday BUT I would like to do the bus tour to El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen with my extra Madrid day.
Scudder, you make a great point about slowing down and traveling less to save money.
So, my new itinerary is shaping up.
(Acraven, good suggestion about how to communicate an itinerary! Hope this is clearer!)
4/19 arrive to Barcelona and stay with friend until Monday 5/1.
5/2 travel to Madrid high speed rail arrive mid morning.
2:45 El Prado
5/3 Madrid
Day trip Toledo
5/4 Madrid
9:45 Royal Palace
2:30 Paella cooking class
5/5 Madrid
no plans yet
5/6 travel to Seville
(train or fly)
5/7 Seville
no plans or lodging yet
5/8 Seville
no plans or lodging yet
5/9 travel to Granada by train?
no plans or lodging yet
5/10 Grandad
no plans or lodging yet
5/11 Granada
no plans or lodging yet
5/12 travel to Barcelona fly
no lodging yet
5/13 homeward bound!

Let me know if you have suggestions about lodging or activities! Cheers!

Posted by
2267 posts

Jennailnda— I can not stress enough the importance of looking for tickets to the Alhambra. While the city has other merits and sights, it is THE draw, and tickets sell out well in advance. I would question the value of visiting the city for a first time without being able to see that.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks Scudder!

I booked the afternoon tour because I haven't booked my travel yet and I'm not sure what time I'll get in. I was able to reserve-
Skip The Line Alhambra and Generalife Guided Tour
15:00PM Tour in English 15:00
USD $50.27

I wanted this one but it was sold out. I'll keep checking back in case someone changes their reservation.
Wed, May 10, 2023
Alhambra & Generalife Skip the Line Premium Tour including Nasrid Palaces
from $65.91 per adult

Posted by
14 posts

Ugh, wish I could edit my previous posts! I may change this reservation to the morning of 5/10 because I arrive to Granada on 5/9. If all goes according to plan!

Posted by
27342 posts

Jennalinda, it's essential to have a ticket or tour that includes the Nasrid Palaces. They are by far the most beautiful part of the Alhambra complex. I'm afraid the tour you purchased doesn't include them. You don't need a tour; the audio guide (at moderate extra cost) is sufficient. You do need a ticket that includes the Nasrid Palaces. There are still full-access tickets available on the official website for the days you'll be in Granada, though that situation could change very quickly. Buy one now. They only cost 19.90 euros.

Here's the homepage to the official ticketing website: The "Alhambra General" is the ticket you want, unless you're interested in a number of the additional sights covered by the Dobla de Oro ticket, which is reasonably priced at 27.30 euros. The Dobla de Oro is a good option if the Alhambra General tickets are sold out, but it doesn't save money for most visitors, because they're not in town long enough to see very many sights.

In terms of timing: You are still short on time in Seville, so I'd make a point of heading from Madrid to Seville early in the day on May 6. By comparison, and considering the cities' sizes and things to see, you have more time in Granada, so I'd spend a good part of May 9 in Seville before heading to Granada. You will still have two full days in Granada, which should be adequate. I'm not saying Granada is worth only two days, but Seville needs more than two days. For what it's worth, I think most folks would agree that a third day in Seville is a better use of a first-time visitor's time than a day trip from Madrid to El Escorial.

You should travel from Madrid to Seville by train. There are many trains each day that take about 2-1/2 hours. Flying would obviously take much longer by the time you include traveling to and from the airports and the extra pre-flight time (usually 2 hours) needed at the airport.

All your train tickets except Madrid-Toledo-Madrid will be cheaper if purchased as soon as you get your itinerary nailed down. You can see how fares change by going to the Renfe website and pricing your tickets for your actual travel dates and then for traveling tomorrow. You'll see quite a difference in the cost. You'll also probably see a bunch of Full Train notations for tomorrow. That is not a joke. Spain's about the only country in Europe where individual express trains do sell out. The cheapest tickets ("Basico") are non-changeable and nonrefundable, so be sure your travel dates are firm before purchasing one of those. "Elige" tickets allow changes for 20% of the ticket price and refunds for a 30% fee.

Posted by
14 posts

ACRAVEN! You are a life saver! I got one of the LAST tickets, WHEW!
Your ticket purchase
for General daytime
1 Adult
18.00 €/person
Date: Wednesday, 10 May 2023
Access time to the Nasrid Palaces: 13:00


Posted by
27342 posts

I'm glad that's settled! The Alhambra is spectacular. In addition to the Nasrid Palaces, I also enjoyed the Charles V palace, which has a museum-like exhibition of some of the decorative items from the palaces, I assume brought indoors to protect them from the weather.

Try to stop by the visitor center to find out the hours of the buildings open on the day of your visit. Some things are not open all day. You can go early if you want to (not a bad plan because it may get quite hot later in the day) and see a few things before it's time to line up outside the Nasrid Palaces. It's a large comlex, though; don't be late.