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Spain Andalusia 20 nights May-June 2023

Hello all-

I’m posting again at exactly a year from my last Spain itinerary post.
Didn’t realize that til I looked up my old post! Time flies.
I got a ton of info and advice last year- but we ended up going back to Italy instead of going to Spain. Now we are planning for Spain in late May-early June 2023 And now we have 20 nights!
We need to be home most of May 2023 otherwise we would probably travel mid April to mid May.

Here is my old thread for reference
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/early-planning-spain-andalusia-questions-about-itinerary-connections-etc

Here is new plan- still just in basic planning phase. I’ve researched bus/train times. Seems like it will work.
I do have a few hotels booked. We have been gifted an apartment in Marbella, meeting family there.

5/24 Wed Fly RT IAD to MAD

Madrid 3 nights- Th, F S
Train to
Cordoba- 3 nights Sun, M, T (Mezquita closed Mon)

Train to
Granada- 3 nights W, Th, F (Alhambra Th 6/1)

Bus to
Marbella 4 nights S, Sun, M, T
Bus to
Ronda- 2 nights W, Th

Bus to
Seville- 4 nights F, S, Sun, M

Train to
Madrid- 1 night T
6/14 Wed Fly MAD-IAD

We’ve decided to skip Toledo this trip. We’ll save it for next. We are OK with the split Madrid stay. We have a plan that will work for us for that 1 night.
If we like Madrid- it’s an easy place for us to get to. We want to focus on Andalusia this trip.

Thank you for any and all comments, advice, recommendations.

Posted by
158 posts

Depending on your interests, I would maybe add a night in Granada and/ or Sevilla. Both towns have a lot to do/ see (especially Sevilla, which is bigger) and are way more interesting that Marbella. I found Marbella really over-touristed and fake when I visited in 1999- Nerja is a better beach town. You probably don't need 3 nights in Cordoba, either- it's a small city and the sights are close together.

Enjoy! Andalucia is one of my favorite places.

Posted by
3936 posts

We just returned from 22 nights in Spain about 2 weeks ago. I did a trip report, entitled 3 weeks in Spain - Ole, if you are interested in what we did. It’s pretty long but it was such a great trip I couldn’t help myself. You will love Spain, have fun planning.

Posted by
1652 posts

I think you have planned an excellent trip!

Regarding Cordoba, 2 or 3 nights are good. We spent 2 nights in Cordoba and I wish we had a 3rd night to explore the Juderia further. However, 2 nights is sufficient, too. Depends on what you want to see. We visited the Mezquita, Alcazar, Palacio de Viana, Roman Bridge, did some wandering through the Juderia.

If you decreased Cordoba to 2 nights, you could add an extra night to Madrid so that you can visit Toledo.

We didn't visit Ronda so I don't know if 2 nights there might be too much.

While in Marbella, I recommend visiting Malaga for a day. It's a wonderful city with lots to see and do. Take a slow walk up to the top of the Alcazaba! It is amazing! Rick treats Malaga like it's only a transportation hub, but there is so much more to Malaga.

You have an awesome itinerary planned even if you don't take my suggestions. Enjoy Andalucia! It is amazing!

Posted by
27359 posts

Other than Marbella (which I haven't visited and have no interest in) I think your time allocations are great. If you had more time, I'd add a night to Seville.

It's going to be hot, probably miserably hot much of the time, but I believe you already know that. At that time of year, I'd head to northern Spain rather than Madrid and Andalucia.

Posted by
6625 posts

Maybe you've already checked this out, but you might save time flying open-jaw, IAD-MAD then Seville-IAD (via whatever connection works, probably MAD but perhaps another European hub). Unless you really want that final night in Madrid, you could spend it in Seville and open up another day there or elsewhere.

Posted by
6490 posts

Thanks everyone!
Good to hear I am on the right track.

Barbara- your trip report is great, thank you for sharing!

Acraven- I know it will be hot. We first thought we would go in April- just after Easter but we must be home before May 1 so it made the time available to us too short. We have traveled mostly in May and Sept and TBH we just feel like we can't count on weather anymore. (Here it is 11/7 and it is 78 degrees) One May it rained for almost 2 weeks. One late Sept we nearly died in a brutal heat wave!
I will make sure we have AC everywhere and we are very slow travelers, never plan packed days so I believe we will survive whatever heat we experience.

Dick- thank you so much for reminding me about flying out of Seville. I had given that consideration but had first looked at flights on Tuesdays. Iberia does have a direct flight from IAD to MAD but only M-W-F- so with the itinerary as I have it now that could absolutely work.
Not sure if we add the night to Seville or Granada or maybe Madrid at the start- thinking about that now.

Marbella is not really our choice- my sister works in Malaga a few months out the year and her company has a beautiful apartment in Marbella. We will be meeting up with at least 3 of my sisters, so that's not really changeable. Easier to meet my family in Spain or Europe than it is to fly out to California (so expensive! and we've done that for over 40 years now- kind of sick of it;)
We most likely will day trip in to Malaga.

Posted by
325 posts

Christine, oh lucky you with an apartment to call home! I think your itinerary looks great. If you wanted to cut a night in Ronda or Cordoba, it probably wouldn't hurt, but there's nothing wrong with going a little slower.
I like your plan of splitting up Madrid so it makes arrival and departure less stressful. I hate taking a train immediately upon arrival but we usually don't have enough time like you do. Sounds like a great trip!