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Off to Spain for 11 days soon but need help tying up loose ends

Off to Spain around American thanksgiving in two weeks. I initially intended to stay close to Madrid and add on one other city but a friend there was more busy than I thought so I made arrangements in other cities like Seville. However, I want to give myself enough time to enjoy- I tend to pack the day with activity but don't want want to be on a train or bus every day. I would appreciate feedback on if I'm shortchanging Madrid too much and if I should take out Seville and save it for another time and put in more time in Madrid and Toledo.

-Arrive early am Tuesday, Nov 26 to Madrid.

Weds Nov 27- Madrid

Thurs Nov 28- Madrid OR Cordoba- any thoughts on overnighting it there?

Fri Nov 29- If I spend Thurs in Madrid, then Cordoba this day and arrive in Seville late. Or from overnight in Cordoba, get an earlier start in Seville.

Sat Nov 30- Seville

Sun Dec 1- Seville

Mon Dec 2- Seville to Granada in mid afternoon-evening

Tue Dec 3- Granada!! I'm so excited for this city and the Alhambra!

Weds Dec 4- Granada

Thurs Dec 5- Back to Madrid by night

Fri- Dec 6 Last day- Madrid. I would like to get to Toledo at some point so this may be a quick day trip or not

Sat Dec 7- Fly back mid-morning

I appreciate any insight you might offer. I can take out cities but not looking to add in anymore than what I mentioned.

Posted by
5011 posts

Just a couple thoughts...

Cordoba is well worth a stop. Can be a half-day stop on the high speed train between Madrid and Seville if that's all you can eek out, but it's a nice city with several worthwhile sights so an overnight is better if you can manage it.

The Alhambra: get you plans firmed up quickly and start working on Alhambra tickets now. They do sell out. In a pinch, ask your hotel to see if they can get you a ticket (mine was able to to, and saved the day). It's now very late to get tickets for your target date.

Toledo: Absolutely worthwhile, but best to avoid doing it as a day trip (because half of humanity seems to do a day trip to Toledo). Spend the night if you can, that gets you Toledo at its best, quiet, magical, devoid of crowds, in the early morning and late afternoon/evening, when the day-trippers are gone.

Personally, I'd be badly freaking out if 2 weeks before my trip I didn't have a solid plan, but maybe that's just me. You have no time to waste. Giddyup.

Posted by
2263 posts

missytee, I think your itinerary looks good like this. If you are really into paintings, then Madrid is important with the Prado and two other major art museums nearby, including Picasso's Guernica. But if not so much, I found Madrid less interesting than those other cities, as it is much newer, without really ancient areas. I spent 2 nights in Cordoba and loved it. I stayed in a small apartment at "Mi Casa en Cordoba", very near the Mesquita, which I booked thru booking.com. Just 3 apartments in the former residence. The owners had been ceramics dealers, and the building was decorated with lots of beautiful ceramic pieces and tiles. I even bought two tiles off the wall, which I enjoy everyday. By the way, at least a couple of years ago, entry into the Mesquita was free every day from 8:30 to 9:30 am, but you were escorted out at 9:30 am, as the mass began. (So, if you take advantage of this, enter right at 8:30 am for a full hour.) Seville, Granada and Toledo were all wonderful and memorable. I hope you have tickets for the Alhambra already, as they sell out in advance, maybe even for December. I especially enjoyed having dinner at one of the "carmens" on the hill overlooking the Alhambra, as the light turned from magic hour early evening sunlight, to sunset, to the illumination of the night time. I suppose you could do something similar on the hill, and without the lovely dinner. Enjoy!

Posted by
2 posts

To clarify, I have my ticket to the Alhambra and I have flexible bookings for where to stay all nights except that first Thursday.

Posted by
21176 posts

I would assume you have already purchased round trip tickets. But for other readers this is a classic example of when an open jaw -- into Madrid, home from Malaga -- ticket would save lots of time and probably money especially when dealing with a short trip like this.

Posted by
18766 posts

An open-jaw/multi-city ticket is a great time-saver, but in my experience it's not necessarily a money-saver if the alternative gateway city is a non-competitive air market like Malaga/Seville/Granada. From my origin it would have cost me more than $500 extra to fly into one of the airports in Andalucía rather than to Madrid, and that was on April 8. It is always worth checking, though; I found Nice wasn't much more expensive than Paris in May 2017.

The picture may well look very different from other origin points; I only know what I've seen for flights out of Washington-Dulles.

Posted by
203 posts

We just returned from a two-week trip to Spain and had an incredible time. We did 3 1/2 days in Barcelona; fast train to Granada for a day-and-a-half (wish we'd had another day); Alsa bus to Seville for two-and-a half days; train to Cordoba for that day (one night stay); train to Madrid for two-and-a-half days, with a day trip to Toledo by train. We wish we'd had another day in Madrid as we thought it was a beautiful city with much to see and do. We arrived in Toledo at 9 am and returned on the 6:20 pm train and felt we had ample time to tour the cathedral and the church of Santo Tome, take the tourist train around the city and to the view point across the river to take photos of the city, have lunch, and poke around in the shops. We were able to see all of the major sights in each city and lots of smaller ones but we are on the go from early morning until 6-7 pm. Seeing many sights is complicated by the afternoon closures. We can't eat a big dinner late at night so we had tapas in the late afternoon or early evening.

We stayed in an incredible place in Cordoba - Las Casas de a Juderia de Cordoba at Calle Thomas 10 - most comfortable bed of our trip, gorgeous property, excellent location 5 minutes from the Mezquita-Catedral.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
582 posts

We stayed at Las Casas de la Juderia, too, and highly recommend it!

Posted by
499 posts

If you are doing a day trip to Toledo by train, hire a guide to meet you at the Toledo train station. We did by hoppa bus, but we felt after the the fact that a guide would have made better use of our time. Toledo is definitely worth a day trip.

Posted by
18766 posts

I bet the tourist office still sells the little bracelet that gets you into 6 or 7 secondary sights in Toledo, many of which include a short bilingual tour (at least for bracelet-wearers). I spent several nights in Toledo and was able to visit all of those sights as well as the Cathedral. I found the tours worthwhile, and there's an audio guide at the Cathedral. A day-tripper wouldn't be able to catch all of those tours, which I believe are mostly offered just twice a day, but some could be squeezed in.

Posted by
505 posts

If it were me, I would cut short a day in Granada and add another day in Madrid so you can do a day trip to Toledo. Other than the Alhambra, Granada is quite small.

Posted by
3 posts

In Granada - HIGHLY RECOMMEND dinner at one of the carmens across from Alhambra. One of my favorite evenings in Spain with magnificent, magical view. Also a highlight in Granada: Hamman Arab Baths.

Posted by
18766 posts

I found plenty of things to see in Granada in addition to the Alhambra, but Toledo is also great