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Month in Spain in September - Itinerary Feedback please

Hi All!
I am heading to Spain in just a few weeks and am trying to establish where I am spending my month in Spain.

After reading endless blogs, posts and reviews here is what I think I would enjoy... nothing is set in stone so would appreciate any feedback –particularly around time in Seville/Cadiz/Jerez and also how do I best make a day trip to Gibraltor from one of those locations. I intend on using a tour group for 8 days to visit Toledo/Cordoba/Granada/Ronda/ending in Seville to make this easier and seamless for the start of my trip.

I love the beach, wine, mountains/landscapes and I’m a huge fan of architecture. I also like to relax, hence my long stays in Cadiz (or similar) and Barcelona.

Trip is 30days/29nights in total - flying in and out of Barcelona for the whole of September.

Day 1 – Early morning international arrival into Barcelona - AVE train to Madrid

Day 2 - Madrid (join tour group in afternoon) (overnight in Madrid)

TOUR GROUP
Day 3 - Toledo (overnight stay in Madrid)
Day 4 - Cordoba (overnight stay in Cordoba)
Day 5/6 - Granada (2 nights in Granada)
Day 7 - Ronda (overnight stay in Ronda)
Day 8 - Seville (overnight stay in Seville)

TRAVELLING SOLO (depart tour group mid-morning of Day 9)

Day 9/10/11 - Seville (3 nights in Seville) – to include day trip to Gibraltor

Day 12/13/14/15/16/17 – Train (or bus?) to Cadiz (6 nights in Cadiz) – to include time in Jerez, visit to National Park of Donana

Day 18/19/20 – Train to Madrid (3 nights in Madrid) – to include day trip to Avila and Sergovia

Day 21 – Train to Barcelona (9 nights in Barcelona)

Day 22 – 29 Barcelona –hopefully will be able to enjoy La Merce Festival + Day trip/s to Tarragona. Stiges, Girona, Figueres, Cadeques, Montserrat either on tour/s or by myself/fellow travellers during this time.

Day 30 – Depart from Barcelona mid AM on international flight

Look forward to hearing people's feedback.

Posted by
16883 posts

Six nights in Cadiz and 9 nights in Barcelona are long stays to me. Of course, it will be fun to be in Barcelona for La Merce. There are several day trips you can do from each, but staying overnight in some smaller destinations can give you a different experience and reduce back-tracking. Gibraltar is a shorter day trip from Cadiz than from Seville.

If you don't yet have hotels booked, leave some room to adjust the plan. When the plan is firm, then you might also be ready to commit to dates and times for the longer train rides in and out of Madrid, which offer advance-purchase discounts on a limited number of seats (www.petrabax.com).

Posted by
11832 posts

I'd want more time in Granada and Seville and reduce Barcelona to five or six days. Even with a couple day trips out of Barcelona, that should be plenty.

I'm also not a big fan of Madrid. It's relatively new and doesn't have the history, architecture, or culture of the rest of Spain. Food and lodging are more expensive, and lower quality, than the smaller towns you want to visit nearby.

Cadiz is kind of a dump. The city has a lot of history but it shows it's age and is worth 2 nights at most. Nearby Jerez is nicer IMO and has the only Bodegas that are open for public tours without an appointment (2 nights in Jerez is plenty also). Use your extra nights to stay in a beach town more convenient to the National Park. A bus for these legs makes more sense than train.

Posted by
4535 posts

Given your interests and that part of your trip is an organized tour, it's not a bad itinerary. Can't comment on Costa del Sol or Gibraltar, but the other places are great. To me, you have the right amount of time in Madrid, Granada and Sevilla.

9 nights in Barcelona is more than normal, but if you will be spending some beach time and taking day trips, it will be great and relaxing. Some of those trips are easy on your own with public transportation, like Montserrat, Girona, Figueres and Tarragona, but Cadeques is very hard to get to without a car. If going to Cadeques, I highly recommend the Dali home in nearby Port Illgat and a drive out to Cap de Creus. A car also allows you to explore the Pyrenees if that interested you. If you like wine, there are a number of cava wineries in the region not far from Montserrat. You must have an International Drivers Permit to drive legally in Spain; one can be obtained from AAA with your state license and 2 passport photos.

Posted by
4535 posts

Another thought, if you did want to reduce your stay in Barcelona, I'd use those days to go from Madrid to Valencia and spend a couple nights there. Great city with amazing food and modern architecture by Calatrava (Arts and Science Center). From Valencia, you can spend a night at Tarragona and then on to Barcelona. That route is very easy by train.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your input everyone.

This is a little more detail around my reasons for longer stays in Cadiz and Barcelona. Also, as mentioned before, I like to relax and take it all in, meet people (I will be staying in Hostels in Cadiz, Seville and Barcelona) and just enjoy being. Spontaneous unplanned excursions always happen this way. I'm also one to hire a bicycle and just ride around looking at different things to.

Day 12-17: Bus to Cadiz (6 nights in Cadiz)
: Include time in Jerez (maybe overnight?) Sherry tour/dancing horse
: Include trip to National Park of Donana, maybe 4WD tour
: Trip to Conil?
: Include day trip to Gibraltar
Day 18-20: Train to Madrid (3 nights in Madrid)
: Include day trip to Avila and Sergovia
Day 21: Train to Barcelona (9 nights in Barcelona)
Day 22 – 29: Barcelona
: Include La Merce Festival 19th – 24th
: Include day trip to Tarragona and Stiges
: Include trip to Girona, Figueres, Cadeques
: Include visit to Montserrat (half day)
: Include multiday tour to Pyrenees Mountains?

Keeping in mind travel between locations, 3 nights in Madrid for days 18-20 will not equate to 3 whole days in Madrid. It will be travel to Madrid from (likely) Cadiz and a day trip that I intend on taking out to Avila and Segovia for 1 day. So could very easily only be 1 full day with free evenings.

Laura - I will most likely stay in small towns around Barcelona if I can make it work better than backtracking between "daytrips". Do you know of a tour operator with a good Cadiz to Gibraltar day trip? [Gibraltar is a must visit for me as I really want to see that airstrip versus roadway with my own eyes].

Brad - Are there specific towns you suggest I visit around Cadiz in lieu of staying there? I am definitely one to visit small towns for a new experience. I will look at the bus instead of trains to!

Douglas - thanks for the reminder, I need to get a International Drivers Licence in case I decide to hire a car. Also Valencia is in the back of my mind. I felt like I didn't want to add "another big city" however should my trip take a turn and time permits, I will add it in between Madrid and returning to Barcelona. I definitely am a wine lover, so will look into wineries. Thanks!

Posted by
4535 posts

Our OP described Gibraltar as "a must." And I've heard the crossing isn't bad it you are on foot.

You can certainly fill up 9 nights worth in or around Barcelona given your plans and interests.