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Short Week Itinerary Question

Hi,

I found a great deal and booked an impromptu round-trip flight to Madrid for the end of March. This will be my first time in Spain and I'm only there for 6 nights.

I am trying to decide if it makes more sense to base myself in Madrid for the whole trip and then do day trips to the surrounding cities, or if instead I should split the trip and visit another city like Granada or Seville. I'm not considering northern Spain during this trip because I plan at some point to do a combo northern Spain / southern France trip.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

Posted by
2168 posts

Firstly I want to ask if you have done any preliminary research? Do you have any specific interests that can help us better advise you?

You could very easily spend all six nights in Madrid and the Castilla region. You could also forgo Madrid for this trip and train immediately down to Andalucia, do a loop hitting Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada and then train back up to Madrid and fly out. I personally would focus on just Castilla at this point, as 6 nights is a bit tight to fit in the 3 great cities of Andalucia.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Carlos. I haven't done too much research yet. Mainly a bit of googling common 1 week itineraries and some time spent on this board reading peoples advice on other Spain questions.

While I'm in Madrid I am interested in going to some of the major Museums and I also plan to go to Spain v Germany friendly at the Wanda Metropolitano. I'm a bit of a foodie and love cooking so I plan to try to involve some of those elements in my trip as well. Finally, I enjoy trips most when I don't feel like I am running from place to place trying to see everything, but instead can relax, sit in cafes, and really get the feel of a place.

Posted by
2485 posts

If you like a slower pace and definitely want to spend some of your time in Madrid, I'd suggest staying in Madrid, or perhaps Madrid with one night in Toledo. I'm not normally a fan of one-night stops but Toledo might warrant it - it's very busy during the day and quieter at night. I personally found it TOO quiet, but most people seem to enjoy wandering the quiet streets after the day trippers leave (something I generally enjoy, but Toledo was too close to deserted for me).

My first visit to Spain I did 3 nights in Seville and 3 in Granada. That was a lovely way to spend 6 nights but it leaves no time for Madrid. Or Seville and Cordoba could be a nice 6 nights, but again - no time in Madrid.

Posted by
2168 posts

If you already have some interest in staying in Madrid regarding football or museums, definitely spend most of your time in Madrid with a day/side trip to a few other places, come back to visit Andalucia another time.

Just for all the important museums in Madrid alone I'd recommend at least (3 nights) 2 full days in Madrid, these encompass not only the big 3 art museums but other just as interesting and expansive museums such as the Spanish Naval museum, the Iberian Archaeology museum, and the Royal Palace/Armouries.

You could also add a multi-day side trip (2 nights) to a number of other interesting towns in the area - like Toledo (medieval capital of Spain), Cuenca (ancient town hanging off a cliff), or Salamanca (the historic university town of Spain), or even Zaragoza (2000+ years of Roman/Moorish history) - all are accessible by train from Madrid. Hope this gives a few ideas ;-)

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the info, two quick questions:

1) Would a short side trip to Granada, say two nights, be enough time to experience it or should I definitely leave that for another trip with more time?

2) How would you rank the potential sidetrips, ie: Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia, Cuenca, & Zaragoza?

Posted by
2168 posts

Hi, Granada would be a good option for a 2 night stay, although I should think that the tickets for the Alhambra may be all sold out by now, since it is the main site in Granada, not visiting the Alhambra would be a big negative.

You could also visit Cordoba, which is closer than Granada but just as interesting in my opinion, it lends itself well to staying overnight, with its whitewashed old town and magnificent 1500 year old Great Mosque. Between all the options here would be my rank:

  1. Cordoba
  2. Toledo
  3. Granada (without Alhambra)
  4. Zaragoza
  5. Salamanca
  6. Segovia
  7. Cuenca

I ranked them in a mixture between historical significance, weather, and potential for a multi night stay.

Posted by
153 posts

Due to all the different, unique, regions in Spain you could take multiple trips, each time concentrating on a different region. If your first trip to Spain is Madrid, concentrate on Madrid and the Castile region. Maybe next time, Barcelona and the Catalan region, then Seville and Andalusia and so on. This is just my personal philosophy, but then again Spain has my heart like no other place in the world.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks. I've checked online and there are a couple tickets available for the Alhambra on days that I could make work. Would that make Granada the best option for a couple day excursion?

Posted by
18704 posts

Definitely one of the top 3 at least. Cordoba and Toledo are also wonderful. Tickets to the Alhambra have to be obtained well in advance, and it's not a part of Spain you want to visit during the summer (also true of Cordoba and to a somewhat lesser degree Toledo), so this seems like a great opportunity to me.

A negative for Granada is that you'll have considerably more travel time going there.

Posted by
2168 posts

"The Best" is a relative term, I personally like Cordoba more than Granada, but I know that many people place the Granada and its Alhambra in the top 3 of tourist sights in Spain.

edit to add: just saw acraven's post lol!