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September 2020 Spain Itineray Advice


My husband and I will be flying from Seattle to Barcelona arriving the evening of Sept 1.
This will be our first trip to Spain. We like museums, cathedrals, history, local culture, day trips from a base,
and going at our own pace. While we have driven in several countries, we prefer trains or planes.
Based on a number of helpful forums that I've read on this site, here's the tentative itinerary.
I would appreciate feedback and suggestions for day trips.
Thank you in advance !

August 31 Depart Seattle.

Sept. 1 Arrive Barcelona at about 8 PM

Sept 2 Barcelona

Sept 3 "

Sept 4 "

Sept 5 "

Sept 6 "

Sept 7 Fly to Granada

Sept 8 Granada

Sept 9 "
Sept 10 Train to Cordoba

Sept 11 Cordoba

Sept. 12 "

Sept. 13 Train to Seville

Sept 14 Seville

Sept 15 "

Sept 16 "

Sept 17 "
Sept 18 Train to Toledo

Sept 19 Toledo

Sept 20 "

Sept 21 Train to Madrid

Sept 22 Madrid

Sept 23 "

Sept 24 "

Sept 25 Depart Madrid to fly to Seattle

Posted by
2514 posts

Overall a fairly solid itenerary, I assume that you are aware it will still be quite uncomfortably hot in Andalucia in September.

Do you have any specific questions pertaining to this itenerary?

Posted by
20838 posts

My first choice for a day-trip from Barcelona would be Girona, but there are lots of other possibilities, depending on your priorities. Montserrat is often mentioned. If you're a Dali fan you'll want to push on beyond Barcelona to Figueres so you can see the Dali Theatre-Museum there. In that case, spending at least one night in Girona would be worthwhile so you have time for that city as well as the museum in Figueres.

If there's extra time in Seville, you could consider Cadiz or Carmona.

If you have extra time in Madrid--which you may if you are not big art fans--Segovia is a good day-trip. So is Cuenca, but for that one you'd probably want to plan ahead so you could snag bargain-priced Promo tickets for the AVE train.

It's possible that the heat will you slow you down enough that day-trips (which would take you beyond reach of your air-conditioned hotel room) will not be so appealing.

Posted by
796 posts

Wow!! I have been to every place on your itinerary, and I think you have planned a perfect trip, especially since this is your first time to Spain. Congratulations on doing a lot of research! It certainly pays off.

I think you have the perfect number of nights in each place. For example, we had 2 nights each in Granada and Cordoba, and 4 nights in Sevilla, and I remember wishing we had an extra night in each of these places.

Regarding day trips, I think you will find that there is plenty to do at each destination so you don't necessarily have to do any daytrips, unless you really want to. Two good day trips from Barcelona are Montserrat (we didn't go there) and Girona. We spent 2 nights in Girona and loved it. But it is doable as a day trip from Barcelona. You could rent a car for the day; I think you can take the train from Barcelona; and there are group tours available, too. But you might not have time for day trips from Barcelona because you are arriving at night on September 1, so you might be jetlagged on September 2 and not able to do as much as you wish. Additionally, many sites in Barcelona now require advance purchase tickets. This means, depending on what is available each day and at what time, you might not be able to visit as many sites in a day as you would like. So you might need all 5 days in Barcelona.

I haven't been to Cadiz but I know it is a popular day trip from Seville, so that is a possibility. Keep in mind, however, that it will be the hottest in Seville, so you might not be able to do as much sightseeing in a day because of the heat. You should leave early every morning for sightseeing, and you may need to return in the afternoon to get some respite from the heat in your air-conditioned room. Better still, you may want to get a hotel with a pool. We were in Seville in late September/very early October, and it was typically 90F - 95F every day. So it might be hotter when you are there in mid September.

Segovia is a popular day trip from Madrid (I haven't been there). However, since you like museums, I think you might find enough to keep you busy in Madrid, which has some outstanding art museums.

BTW, I am happy to see that you are staying overnight in Cordoba and Toledo. Many people visit these 2 cities as day trips, and I think they are missing out on a lot. There is plenty to see in each city to keep you busy for a few days, and the evenings are wonderful after the daytrippers have left and the city is illuminated. Many people associate Cordoba with only the Mezquita, which of course is magnificent, but Cordoba has other wonderful sites to see.

Posted by
7 posts

Dear Carlos, acraven, and kmkwoo,

Thank you for your responses.
I've been reading the Spain forum for a couple weeks and I learned from you.
I learned not to rush Granada and Cordoba or anywhere for that matter.
Day trips to Montserrat and Girona are part of the plan.
Plus maybe Cadiz and later Segovia or even Zaragoza. Not certain on that.
There is more research to be done.
I appreciate the caution about September being extremely hot.
Its the only block of time that we have this year. We live in Alaska
and flying to Europe is a chore. So when we go, we need to make it count.
Please share any advice you have for accommodations, restaurants, etc.
Thank you so much!

Posted by
20838 posts

I stay in more basic hotels than most folks are interested in, but others here may be able to help if you tell us your room budget in euros per night.

Posted by
796 posts

Regarding weather, we visited Barcelona on a separate trip during October, so I don't know what the temps will be like in September. But I think you are wise going to Barcelona first. Our trip to Madrid, Toledo, and Andalucia was about 2 weeks later in September than your trip. According to my journal, we arrived in Madrid on September 18 and we departed Seville on October 3. I realize weather varies from year to year. The temps were in the 80's for every destination except for Seville where it was 90-95 as I mentioned in my other thread. So we didn't find the weather uncomfortable, except for Seville. I wore capris for the whole trip except for Seville, where I changed into shorts. Capris were just too hot for me. Not sure what a difference 2 weeks will mean.

Madrid - We stayed at Mercure Madrid Centro, Calle de Lope Vega 49. About a 10-minute walk from Prado, Reina Sofia, & Thyssen. We walked to Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. We took a taxi to the Royal Palace and Tempe DeBod.

Toledo - Abad Toledo. Located just inside the Bisagra Gate. Convenient location; good breakfast. Small room but nice.

Cordoba - Las Casas de la Juderia. One of our favorite places. Consists of 5 attached homes. Very Convenient to Mezquita. They provide an honor bar in the courtyard, which we frequented with our friends before heading out to dinner! Spacious room, and good-sized marble bathroom.

Granada - El Ladron D'Agua, Carrera del Darro, 113. At the bottom of the Albayzin, parallels the Rio Darro. Another excellent location.

Seville - Apartamentos Suites Santa Cruz. Excellent location in Barrio Santa Cruz. Pedestrian zone. Taxi dropped us off at Plaza de Alianza. The hotel sent us a map, but it wasn't very detailed, so we asked for directions once taxi dropped us off. Hotel's main office and reception desk is located in Plaza de dona Elvira. We had a one-bedroom apartment in their other building, just around the corner. Located a few minutes' walk from the Cathedral and Alcazar.

I don't remember prices but I am sure we didn't pay more than $200 per night. That is usually our budget.

Posted by
796 posts

Here is the link for our accommodation in Seville.

All of our accommodations were recommended to us by people on a different travel forum, except for Abad Toledo, which I found on my own.

Some good restaurants:
Madrid - Cerveceria Cruz Blanca (we had lunch here. Delicious and reasonable.)
We enjoyed eating at Mercado San Miguel because you can sample many different foods. it's pricey but fun.
The hotel I recommend is near Calle de Jesus which has many tapas bars.

Toledo - El Trebol - Food was delicious and reasonable.

Cordoba - Regadera - One of the best meals of our trip. Definitely need reservations.
Also enjoyed eating at Mercado Victoria.

Granada - El Trillo Restaurante - recommended by our hotel. Another favorite restaurant of ours. Located in the Albayzin. Dined in a pretty garden with glimpses of the Alhambra.

Seville - La Azotea in Barrio Santa Cruz, Calle Mateos Gago 8. Excellent! We loved it so much that we ate here twice.

Posted by
1283 posts

That looks like a fine itinerary to me. I think you're hitting the main "first-trip" hotspots and you've got three weeks plus to do so.

For flying on 7/Sep, once your plans are fixed you should go ahead and book the flight. Whilst dynamic pricing is a bit more sophisticated than just going up, that's the general direction, so might as well book early as possible.

In Granada we really like the hotel Posada del Toro. I make no claim its the best hotel in the city - I've not tried most - but it is in a charming building, not too dear, has an okay breakfast, kettles and, especially is in a great location.

The weather will be what it is. Andalucia will likely be hot. Out in the sun it may well be very hot, so prepare with a sun-hat, water-bottle, and sunglasses. But at least it will be a dry heat and not too uncomfortable. Personally, I'd be less happy in the muggy weather you might get in Barcelona. Still, it's all survivable! And if the heat/humidity gets too much that's just nature's way of telling you to go to a cafe for a drink.

I'm not sure you'll need day-trips, but if you have time I recommend a half-day visit to Medina Azahara as worthwhile. From Sevilla, I think Cadiz - although it's a longer trip, it is the most different from your other destination and provides a nice contrast.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you one and all for so much detailed information.
I will follow the web links for hotels and check out the restaurants.
Our preference for accommodations are either B & B's or hotels that are
not more than $200. USD per night. That's not hard and fast. We can be flexible.
I have not searched B & B's in Spain. Hotels are usually more centrally located
which is an advantage though a B & B is more likely to be in a residential neighborhood
which has the advantages of being non-commercial and of getting to know our hosts.
We will make the plane reservations from Barcelona to Granada within the next few days.
I appreciate all the advice you've shared.
Thank you !