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May-June 14 day itinerary help!

Hola Everyone,
I have been trying to solidify our plans coming up. My husband, son, age 18, and I are heading to Spain at the end of May. We are flying into Madrid and out of Madrid mainly b/c of the price of tickets per living in the middle of the US. I researched a lot about ticket prices. Also, my husband wants to see a bullfight (we're cattle and horse people in OK so please no judgment) in Madrid and my son wants to see an FC Barcelona game (the last one is May 28th) so these 2 things put us in a weird travel flow. So here is what I have so far. Would appreciate any feedback on recommendations, etc. We're also foodies and architecture/Gaudi fans.
Day 1- Fly into Madrid early, Hop on/Hop off to see the highlights??? Cave bar??
Day 2- Half day trip to Toledo, evening bullfight
Day 3-Day 6-Barcelona Things we want to do; Gaudi day, Montserrat or Pyrenees, beach, eat good food, soccer game
Day 6-7 Fly to Granada- Alhambra & dinner at a Carmen restaurant any other suggestions, maybe rent a car when leaving here?
Day 8-11-This is where I could use some help, wanting to head to the white hill country. Thinking of renting a car in Granada. Do we stop off in Nerja or the beach somewhere or any hiking/caves? What we want to for sure do in this area is see a bull farm/horse farm? Sample sherry and see an olive mill, etc. Thought about staying 1-2 nights in Arcos at the paradores there for home base?
Day 12-13-Seville for Flamenco, Alcazar, Cathedral---is this where we can see a horse show? Turn in rental car when we arrive to Seville
Day 14 AVE train back to Madrid to fly out the next day
Am I missing overdoing it or missing anything.
Thank you in advance for any guidance or recommendations on lodging or food.

Posted by
4648 posts

It's pretty fast paced, so here is one thing I would consider. If you arrive in Madrid early enough, just skip it and head to Barcelona on the fast train. Madrid is where you are most likely to return to in the future anyway, so I see no problem with skipping it to add a bit of breathing room into your itinerary elsewhere. I assume you could get in a bullfight elsewhere. The ring in Ronda is quite interesting--I went as someone who would not go to a bullfight. You get a historical picture and it's in a beautiful setting.

Check out Jerez de la Frontera--it's horse as well as sherry central.

Posted by
6670 posts

Arcos is great to visit, and spend a night if you can. But the old town is up a steep hill and it will take you some time to get up and down, by foot or car, whenever you come and go. So I'd suggest limiting yourselves to one night in Arcos.

The bullring and museum in Ronda are interesting, as is the town with its hilltop setting. It could be a base for more than one night, depending on where you find the bull farm, horse farm, and olive mill you're looking for. On the RS tour I took in 2019, we visited a bull and horse farm called ReservaTauro near Ronda, and later an olive oil mill called Oleum Viride, near Zahara. Both were good places to learn about these animals/vegetables in scenic settings. Later we visited a horse breeding and training establishment called Yeguada de la Cartuja, near Jerez, also very good. Lots of sherry in Jerez, which it's named for, and you can tour the wineries where various kinds are made. All these places are between Ronda and Seville, doable in a couple of days.

I think I agree with the previous poster about Madrid. Go straight to Barcelona the day you land, if possible, and save whatever time you have for Madrid until the end. Another reason to do this is to make sure you'll be close to the airport the night before your departing flight. You don't want to wake up in Seville, take the train to Atocha station in Madrid, then a bus or subway out to the airport for an afternoon flight. Too much can go wrong. Spend that last night either in Madrid or at the airport itself, depending on when the flight departs.

Posted by
6806 posts

Jerez de la Frontera is a good place to see a horse show.

Research bullfight tickets before going over, but buy them in country. The link is to the main page and from it you can research fights throughout the country. You may find there is no bullfight on the day you want to see one, or even in the town. Madrid Las Ventas bullring fights for May and June are listed.

With regard to the rest of your itinerary, I have no idea how you can see everything you want to see with the time you have. I wouldn’t even go to Toledo if I only had a half day.

Posted by
395 posts

Cordoba has horse shows, however I think only on the weekend. Yes there is a nice cave in Nerja and near Ronda. In general I would slow the trip down (see less places). I would stay in Granada for 3 nights and time the stay so it is on a weekend. I would also stay in Seville for at least 3 nights. Save Madrid for the end of the trip rather than splitting it. Vueling has very cheap flights around Spain so you could fly back to Madrid easly from either Granada or Seville. There are nice Airbnb everywhere and since your a family of 3 renting a home rather than a room makes more sence to me. Enjoy your trip! J

Posted by
27414 posts

It's not a good idea to fly back to Madrid from Seville or even from Granada unless you're taking a follow-up flight the same day. The very fast express trains cover the Seville-Madrid route in less than 3 hours and the Granada-Madrid route in less than four hours. Flying takes longer by the time you deal with ground transportation between hotel and airport and security time at the airport.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you all for such great ideas. This helps a lot. Looking at where I can maybe cut some things so make it more relaxing. Looking forward to our time in Spain!