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Solo travelling in Spain

Hello, I am planning to take a trip to Spain for about 7-8 days alone in the last week of June. My rough plan is to visit Madrid (2 days), Toledo (1 day and night) , Granada / Seville (1-2 days) and finally Barcelona (2 days).

Are there any planes that I should absolutely visit ? I can't decide between Granada and Seville.

And are there any activities or tips that I can go for to meet other people and still feel safe.

Thanks !

Posted by
5648 posts

Hi Avni- Sevilla is worth visiting and has lots to see and do, but only Granada has the fabulous Alhambra palace. If you have to pick one city between Granada and Sevilla, Granada would get my vote. Check Rick's book for all the details about reserving your entrance ticket to the Alhambra to make the process smooth and efficient.

We were in northern Spain this past November, and while we weren't travelling solo, I'll say that Madrid is a very late-night city, and people are out on the streets late. Walking alone at night to get jamon (Spanish ham) for breakfast the next morning, in the neighborhood south of Calle Mayor and west of Plaza Mayor I felt safe. Have a great trip!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much for the replies.

That question actually is " Are there any other places that I should absolutely visit ? "
Sorry about the typo.

Local guided tours seem like a good option too for meeting people.

Hi Cyn, Alhambra Palace does look spectacular. Is it also worth taking the night time tour ?

Posted by
1293 posts

End of june = hot, be sure and hydrate. Also, be a Spaniard and stay up very late to take advantage of all activities and max your experience.
Try not to be a jumping bean, sit down and stay long enough to drink some sangria.
Thought: toss out toledo, after two days madrid, take train to seville and spend two days, then bus to granada for two days and fly to Barcelona for remainder of your trip. The issue is you are proposing to cover large distances between destinations which is going to chew into your travel time.
You could easily spend two nights in madrid, one in toledo then train to Barcelona for remainder of trip and capture a great breadth of experiences.

Posted by
5648 posts

As Marbleskies said, stay hydrated & cool. When drinking lots of liquid, though, take advantages of restrooms whenever you can -- as a wise person once said, "Never give up a chance to pee." :-)

We've visited Spain twice this century, and because it's a big country with so much to see, our first trip was to just southern Spain (Granada, Sevilla, and villages in the Andalucia region), and our second was in more northerly areas (Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Bilbao & Basque Country, Barcelona & Catalonya region). There's still lots to see that we haven't even gotten close to seeing, including the Galicia region. If you'll be able to return again, perhaps sticking to a somewhat smaller area would, in fact, cut down on the time needed for transportation. On the other hand, local airlines like Vueling can jet you around Spain quickly, but you deal with airport security and check-in time issues.

We only toured the Alhambra during the day, and used up lots of rolls of film (in 2002 we still had an old-school camera). One night, we had dinner at a Rick-Steves-recommended restaurant with an Alhambra view, which was really nice, all floodlit. We also toured on our own, using Rick's book and the on-site flyer as our guides. An evening tour might be great, and probably less crowded. However, after touring the palaces, we also enjoyed the Generalife gardens at the Alhambra, and those are probably best seen in the daylight -- maybe aren't even accessible at night?

In Granada, we also did a soak and massage at the Hamam baths described in Rick's book -- really a great experience, and made seeing the bath site at the Alhambra more interesting.

Posted by
4535 posts

With only a week, you have an ambitious schedule for a country as large as Spain. Like the others, I encourage you to focus on a region or cut down on the amount of intercity travel time.

Two days in Madrid is barely enough to see the highlights, especially if you include your first day - half of which will be getting from the airport, checking into hotel and dealing with jetlag.

Toledo is a wonderful place and staying overnight is ideal. But with such short time, you might be better just doing it as a daytrip and having an extra night in Madrid. It's only 30 minutes by bus or commuter train from central Madrid.

Granada needs at least one full day and a night to see the Alhambra (which is a half day visit). You can briefly see the other sights in Granada in a half day or so. Sevilla needs a couple of days to do it justice. Other than the Alhambra being one of the most visited and spectacular sites in Spain, the two cities are a tossup and you'll get different opinions on which is preferred (I prefer Sevilla).

Two days in Barcelona is not really enough. And I assume that doesn't include your departure day. Three days is better.

Barcelona is remote from the other places mentioned, especially Granada/Sevilla. From Madrid it's only 2.5 hours by AVE train, but from the others you should fly. Or honestly, consider saving Barcelona for another trip. You could visit Madrid, Granada and Sevilla in a week. Or flip it and visit Madrid, Barcelona and Toledo.

Posted by
15072 posts

I went to Granada because for almost 30 years it had been a dream of mine to see the Alhambra and I was not disappointed. I went first for the evening tour of the Nasrid Palaces, and then back the next day for the day. I was glad to have done it that way, the Palaces are very different at night and during the day.

Do use the Renfe website (official Spanish train site) to get an idea of train schedules and journey times. Keep in mind that in each city, you will have to get to/from the historic center to the train station, so add that time as well. There are few trains to Granada and the journey takes a lot of time. If you have your heart set on the Alhambra, then skip Seville. If not, Seville (or maybe Cordoba) would be a better choice for you. Be sure to buy your alhambra tickets online in advance. They sell out.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you everyone for taking the time out to reply on my post !

And Wao ! reading all about it itself is so exciting ! I can't wait for the trip to begin :)

I think this time I'll try and take a bit of a leisure tour and cut down on too much travelling. That does make more sense. I think will enjoy more.
I have already booked my return flight from Barcelona so I can't change much there, I'll have to quickly finish all the booking so as to avoid any more changes and get them in decent rates.

Just wanted to know it any of you have any thoughts regarding the overnight train connecting Grenada and Barcelona? Is is worth the experience or taking a flight is more convenient ?

Posted by
15072 posts

Most of the people who've posted here have rued taking night trains, but some people have had good experiences on them. I think it depends a lot on your ability to sleep in difficult conditions. If you didn't sleep well, then you arrive tired, unwashed and cranky.

Posted by
4535 posts

As someone that has taken a LOT of night trains... Fly!

Posted by
1 posts

The newly renovated archeological museum (MAN) in Madrid is fabulous. It has beautiful cabinets and statues like those in the Palace plus you can take photos. Of course there are ancient works, too like treasures from Egypt given to Spain in thanks for their help saving archeological sites from flooding when the Nile was dammed. With only 2 days in Madrid you have to decide what sort of art you want to see if you want to see any. Rick's guide gives you an idea of what is in the most popular museums. MAN was not open when his last book came out so it couldn't be included.

I just finished a week long solo trip to Madrid and felt very safe--I'm an average size woman over 60. I travel w/o jewelry other than an inexpensive watch and always wear a money belt. Other than a few brief conversations with those at the next table I didn't meet up with other travelers. My iPad kept me in touch with friends so I was not lonely. Taking a tour (city walking or museum) in your language should put you in touch with others in a safe environment.

Posted by
1501 posts

You can take an inexpensive flights in country now that are sometimes less expensive than trains, as I found out last year!

7 nights doesn't give you enough time to do everything on your list! You'll be seeing a lot of windows on planes and trains.

In my Opinion, Granada/Alhambra is THE most spectacular site in Spain. I also love Toledo and Seville, but an experienced traveler told me that if I haven't seen the Alhambra, I haven't seen Spain. Your flights seem to be booked into Madrid and out of Barcelona, correct? Three nights in Madrid, Fly to Granada 2 nights, fly to Barcelona, and (unfortunately skip both Seville and Toledo this time, or just do as the previous poster suggested and stay in the North and save Andalucía (Seville/Granada etc) for a later trip and just train to Barcelona via AVE and split the time between those two cities. They're both wonderful