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May/June Itinerary Comments/ Suggestions Please

This is my tentative May-June, Spain itinerary for a family of 4 (includes my son & daughter, ages 24 & 19).
Please comment, or offer any tips and suggestions.
Would you recommend the extra effort to overnight in Toledo versus the daytrip?

5/24 Depart San Francisco

5/25 Arrive Madrid in morning, 5 nights in Madrid

5/26-5/27 Tour Madrid

5/28 Daytrip to Segovia

5/29 Daytrip to Toledo

5/30 Depart Madrid; Train to Cordoba to visit Mezquita

Continue onto Sevilla, 3 nights in Sevilla

5/31-6/1 Tour Sevilla

6/2 Rent Car; Drive to Arcos de la Frontera

Tour Arcos de la Frontera to mid afternoon; Continue drive to Ronda; 1 night in Ronda

6/3 Tour Ronda and depart in afternoon; Drive to Granada; 3 nights in Granada

6/4-6/5 Tour Granada (Visit Alhambra morning of 6/5)

6/6 Tour Granada in morning; Depart afternoon—fly Granada to Barcelona;
5 nights in Barcelona

6/7-6/10 Tour Barcelona

6/11 Depart Barcelona in morning

Posted by
15448 posts

It looks good to me. I haven't been to Toledo yet, but folks here recommend an overnight. I did the evening visit to the Alhambra (Nasrid Palaces) and then went back the next day. It's much different after dark and I recommend doing both. You need to buy tickets in advance for both. You must buy a timed-entry ticket for the Nasrid Palaces and plan to be at the entrance at least 15 minutes (recommended 30) early. If you miss the entry time, you won't be able to go in at all. If you buy a "morning" ticket with a timed-entry for 11.30 or later, you will be able to spend the entire day, arriving as early as opening time. The only time restriction is for the Nasrid Palaces. You may visit all the other one-time entry buildings at any time during the day. Get a map at the entrance and also ask the staff if there's anything special going on. Some of the buildings are opened only occasionally and you won't know if you don't ask. Though others love Granada, I thought there wasn't so much to see besides the Alhambra.

In Madrid, the Prado can be overwhelming. Decide what you want to see beforehand and map it out. Even then, it's easy to get side-tracked. The Prado is free in the late afternoon and evening, so there are lots of crowds then. It's much better to pay the entry fee and visit early. The Thiessen-Bornamista is much smaller and has a good collection of impressionists. The Maritime Museum is quite good . . . it's between the other two.

Posted by
1487 posts

A sensible itinerary. Some thoughts: check out airbnb to consider renting an apt. Advantages are more room to spread out, kitchen, better economics, opportunity to integrate within a neighborhood. If possible, select an apt with a terrace as is a nice way to end the day. Apts have become our first choice for lodging. In Madrid we stayed in the Latina district, an artsy area. If that is not your cup of tea then Centro is popular, suggest you stay closer to the Prado.
Overnight in Toledo is highly recommended, but you need to weigh how many times you desire to stay only one night in a location. Thought: It can be a romantic evening so why not let the kids have a night on the town back in Madrid while ya'll pack a light overnight bag and stay in Toledo.
Highly recommend aerocity as your transfer service from Madrid airport to your lodging. With four folks and luggage this amy be the best economical and convenient deal for you.
Check out RENFE site to reserve train, they offer excellent discounts for advance purchase. You only need buy 2nd class, be sure and get on the AVE. The site is a pain to use, use google to find best instructions to deal with RENFE.
Seville: same thought on apt rental. Make sure the apts have AC!
Be sure and visit AAA to obtain a IDP, cost $20 and required by Spanish law. Essentially translates your US license into spanish.
With four folks and luggage you will need a decent size car, suggest a hatchback to help store and hide luggage. From Seville to Ronda is less than two hours, from Ronda to Granada is about three hours. NOTE: we always rent a car in Andalusia, but we do so in order to bounce around and find non-tourist sites. Have not taken train/buses to Ronda or Granada, but might be worth doing. Confident other folks will help discuss this type of travel option.
Ditch the car upon entering granada, do not attempt to drive into the old town section with a car as you are virtually guaranteeing yourself a ticket. BTW: be sure and say hello to our daughter as she will be there on study abroad at U of Granada. Yes, I brag, but the girl is an honor student and obviously the IQ DNA came from her Mom; so she gets to do stuff I never could. Anyway, same advice on apt. Alhambra can be a full day event. Carefully research ticket purchase and do not wait to reserve the tickets.
Stay hydrated as you could start to encounter some hot temps (a little early for the heat, but is can get warm).
Kudos for recognizing the need to fly to Barcelona. Same thought on apt and airport transfer. there are several neat day trip opportunities from Barcelona, our favorite is Montserrat. Take half a day and enjoy a real vacation by going to the beach. You can reserve tickets for Sagrada and avoid long lines and wait times. Barcelona and Madrid subways are top notch.
Brush up on pick pocket avoidance skills, do not be paranoid about it.
Pack light, dragging luggage can be a real downer.

Posted by
162 posts

I am here in Spain now, and I think that 5 nights in Madrid is too much, and one in Toledo is not enough, or just a day trip is too short. I was in Toledo for 2 nights and I could have stayed a little longer, but 2 nights and one full day is good. That place is fantastic! Lots to see, and walking around the old City takes all day.

One day in Cordoba is not enough. If all you want to see is the Mezquita, then yes, 1 will do, but Cordoba is a beautiful old city and there is a lot to see here as well, and LOTS of walking. Parking can be challenging as well as driving around here. The city streets are dinky.

So far I have taken a Renfe train from Madrid to Toledo, Toledo to Cordoba, and now to Seville. The train is fantastic! fast, quiet and not too expensive.

I purchased my tickets to the Prado online the day before. A MUST!!! I went at 10:30, and skipped the entire long line. It is free in the evenings from 6-8. I loved the Prado, could have spent two days just here, but 3/4 of a day was plenty. A lot to absorb. After 4 nights, I was ready to leave Madrid.

Two nights in Seville is a bit short. 5 nights in Barcelona too many. I would delete one of your day trips or side trips. What you are planning is going to be very tiring.

Some places offer discounts for “pensionistas” if you are 65 and older, and some are even free! Ask whenever you go.

I am finding very few people speak English here. Good thing I know some spanish, bring a spanish/english dictionary or a phrase book if you don’t speak Spanish. Maybe in May when there are more tourists you will run into more people who speak english. You should practice/learn some Spanish before you come. You have a month!

You will love it here!