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Spain in October

I bought plane tickets for a 2 week trip to Spain in October of this year, 2021.
I leave on a Saturday, arrive the next day, Sunday, then
Mon, tue, wed, thurs, fri, Sat, sun
Mon, tue, wed, thurs, fri, leave Saturday
So 12 whole days, + part of the Sunday I arrive.

My approximate supposed itinerary is below. You may leave whatever suggestions you can think of, for example what time of day to leave each town, am I planning too much or too little time in each town?, and so on.

Sunday: Plane arrives in Madrid 8:25 AM. Find hotel. Palacio Real. If time if awake enough, Thyssen-Bornemisza (10-7 Sundays) and/or walk past various monuments. 1st night in Madrid.

Monday: Prado (open 10-8). If time, Museo de la Biblioteca Nacional, Real Jardín Botánico, a small house museum and/or walk past various monuments. 2nd night in Madrid.

Tuesday: Museo Arqueológico Nacional. If time, Museo de la Biblioteca Nacional, Real Jardín Botánico, a small house museum and/or walk past various monuments. 3rd night in Madrid.

Wednesday: Train to Toledo. Find hotel. Start in Southwest: Sinagoga del Tránsito; if open, Sinagoga de santa María la Blanca; if time: Ayuntamiento de Toledo (city hall); Visigothic museum (Museo de los Concilios y la Cultura Visigoda, Catedral, Cuevas de Hércules, Museo de Santa Cruz. Sleep in Toledo.

Thursday: 1-2 or more sites not seen yet. Trains to Cordoba (change trains in Madrid), probably leave mid-late afternoon, arrive early-mid-evening. 1st night in Córdoba.

Friday: Mezquita, Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos; if time, Baños del Alcázar Califal, Museo Vivo del Al-Andalus/Torre de la Calahorra, Templo Romano, other monuments. 2nd night in Córdoba.

Saturday: Sinagoga, Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba, city walls next to the synagogue. Train to Granada late afternoon-evening. 1st night in Granada.

Sunday: Alhambra. 2nd night in Granada

Monday: Guided or unguided walking tour; possibly San Juan de Dios, Capilla Real, Catedral de Granada; if time: old wall, Palacio de los Olvidados, Museo cuevas del Sacromonte, La Madraza, Casa de Castril (house with small archaeological museum). 3rd night in Granada

Tuesday: Train or bus to Seville. Archaeological museum; Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium de Sevilla (small museum of Roman remains), other monuments. 1st night in Seville

Wednesday: Alcázar, possibly Ayuntamiento; if time, Archivo de Indias, Hospicio de los Venerables; Barrio Santa Cruz (former Jewish quarter). 2nd night in Seville

Thursday: Casa de Pilatos; if time, Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija; if time, Palacio de las Dueñas or other muse museums if not seen yet; if time, Torre del Oro, Triana area. 3rd night in Seville

Friday: Plaza de España, possibly Catedral if not seen yet. 4th nigh tin Seville

Saturday: Plane leaves from Seville 9:25 AM

Posted by
4135 posts

Looks like you’ve got a big list of sights and attractions. Even if you didn’t see every single thing, that’s going to be quite an experience.

I wonder if, providing that everything’s open and available, places like the Alhambra will be easier to get into than over the past few years? Shorter lines, maybe less demand for reservations, smaller crowds?

At the risk of overfilling your Granada itinerary, consider taking a soak and getting a massage at the Hammam Al Andalus, or one of the other Arab Baths . You can’t use the baths at the Alhambra, but this is truly worthwhile, and the next best thing.

Posted by
1511 posts

In Toledo near the sinagoga there is a small museum/gallery that focuses on Roman period sculpture; note that within the displays in the Transito there are excellent explanations of economic and political history that will make the rest of the trip make more sense. Also allow time for taking in the sights and dining. I don't think that the Ayuntamiento in Toledo has much to see, though.
There as well as in the other locations see if you can get in on cultural events -- I attended a Purim festival at the sinagoga that was a hoot and a half.
More than half of the visitors will be milling around the plaza Zocodover and the cathedral, so you're on the right track by getting away from just those locales.

Posted by
17869 posts

The Botanical Garden in Madrid is something you could see on your arrival day if you're too sleepy to take on the Thyssen. The garden is near Atocha Station and the Prado; it's not terribly far from the Thyssen.

You might want to try to include the Casa de Sefarad in Cordoba, but you have quite a list of sites for that city already.

Get your ticket to the Alcazar in Seville online. I don't think they sell out, but the ticket line is notoriously long. The audioguide is good. Rick's book explains how to get into the Seville Cathedral without standing in the ticket line there. Note that Seville is large; it takes time to get from place to place on foot.

San Juan de Dios in Granada is the very definition of "over the top". I highly recommend it. The audioguide at the Alhambra is good.

Toledo's historic area is large and hilly. Try to get an early start that day.

Posted by
3559 posts

You may want to consider adding a night tour of Alhambra as well as the day tour. It has a whole other ambiance about it. Very other worldly. Toledo's Museum Card was worth it in my opinion. It covers a number of what you wanted to see. I believe uou can pick it up at up Sinigoga de Transito, but check online.

Posted by
458 posts

My only suggestion would be that you reshuffle your stops.
Travel to Toledo the day you arrive since your bags are already packed.
If you travel from Toledo to Cordova you have to go thru Madrid.
See Madrid after Toledo.
There is a fast train (3 hours) from Madrid to Granada.
If you do Cordova-Granada-Sevilla you will be backtracking.
My suggestion would be Toledo-Madrid-Granada-Cordova-Sevilla.
That "seems" like a more straight line and no backtracking.
Something to consider.

Have fun

Posted by
14210 posts

First, keep in mind that October is usually quite warm, especially in Andalucia.

Madrid How do you handle jetlag? I'm usually in a fog on the second day, just not able to absorb a lot. I hope you do better. I'd suggest you start Mon. with places that don't require a lot of concentration - like gardens, and/or a walking tour and the Thyssen I would wait to go to the Prado on Tues The Prado is HUGE. Use their website as a start to decide which individual paintings, or specific painters or periods/schools of painting especially interest you. Then plot a route through the museum. The Thyssen is much smaller. You can see it in a couple of hours, more if there's a special exhibition. I don't know the Museo de la Biblioteca Nacional, but I loved the Museo Naval, just down the road from the Thyssen (be sure to have passport with you to get in). It's mainly about the Golden Age of Exploration.

Cordoba The Mezquita is amazing. Take some time to look at the detailed art work, like the painted wooden ceiling beams and especially the qibla (binoculars are very useful for both). And also some time to walk around the outer walls. What's left of the synagogue is not much at all. If it's open it will take you 15 minutes to visit (if it's open), especially after seeing the synagogues in Toldeo. The Casa Sefarad is right across the street and very good. Last time I was there, I took their guided tour (not expensive) and it was excellent. Then you can go back and explore at leisure. Down the street is the statue of Maimonides in a small plaza. Skip the Alcazar, the only really good part is the gardens, if that. Instead, consider the Palacio de Viana which has 7 lovely patio gardens. I was underwhelmed by the Banos del Alcazar, OTOH the Al-Andalus museum is great. Do go up to the roof for the view.

Sevilla The Alcazar is absolutely the best sight in the city. The cathedral's exterior is beautiful. If you want to climb the tower for the views, do it first thing in the morning before it's crowded. Don't miss Columbus. I highly recommend going to a performance at La Casa de Flamenco in Barrio Santa Cruz. It's straight flamenco, not too touristy, no food or drinks, 2 rows seating in the round, so you are up close to the performance in a patio. Mike, you simply can't go to Andalucia and not see flamenco!

Posted by
1201 posts

Looks very comprehensive. As a general comment, you will need to check opening times for some of the smaller places, in particular on your Monday in Granada, as that's the day some places don't open.

Also in Granada, about 15 minutes walk (uphill) from the Inquisition Museum you mention is palacio de Dar al-Horra which may be of interest, especially for views back across to the Alhambra. It's near the old walls which you also mention.

I think when you get there, you'll find some sights quite small and won't perhaps spend long inside. So you'll have more time for generally walking around or be able to see more in a day than you expect.

Posted by
4135 posts

This just occurred to me - our last Span trip was October 2013. Our first night, in Madrid, we went to a Zarzuela performance, after seeing it described in Rick Steves’ guidebook. The season had just started in October. We’d reserved our tickets in advance, and just picked them up at the box office desk.

Zarzuela’s a unique Spanish art firm, kind of like opera, and the ornate theater in Madrid is part of the experience. If you’re not going to be at the Thyssen-Bornemisza all the way until 7pm, maybe fit in Zarzueka before dinner!

Posted by
3559 posts

take small binoculars...or use your zoom feature on your camera to see the details of the ceiling carvings and paintings....to support AshleyMIA's suggestions. It's those details that made the Alhambra at night so different. They uplight a lot of the carvings, so more distinctive at night than in the harsh daylight hours.
The proper website to get the Alhambra tickets is this: https://www.alhambra-patronato.es/en/discover/alhambra-y-generalife/conservacion-y-proteccion/urbanismo/patrimonio-mundial
remember to book 3 months in advance, or as soon as you can as it (pre-covid) booked up in advance. The same organization offers a ticket Dobla de Oro that you can use over several days to see the other buildings they are conserving. Granted, some are normally free, but it also supports the conservation efforts. I bought the night version that combines with the night Alhambra visit and then a regular day ticket. If you are heading up the hill to the 'old wall', a number of these are along the way. One is right next door.

Posted by
17869 posts

I opted for a bus from Madrid to Toledo, but I don't particularly recommend that to others. Although the bus station in Toledo is closer to the historic center, it is still a long walk (with substantial escalator assistance to deal with the elevation gain), and I'm sure there are city buses from both the RR station and the bus station. Most visitors opt for some sort of transportation from their arrival point up to Zocodover Square. There's also one of those little tourist "trains" that runs on the street. Someone recommended it in an earlier forum post because it includes a stop at a viewpoint outside the city.

On the Madrid end of the trip, the bus departs from nowhere near Atocha Station. You might be able to walk to Atocha from your Madrid hotel to get the train; you'll need to hop on the subway to get to the bus departure point, Plaza Eliptica. There are some express buses, I believe (not necessarily running right now), but in general the trains are much faster--just over half an hour vs. 60 to 90 minutes for the buses. Note that Atocha Station is large; you will need to allow time to find your way to the right area for your outbound train. There are usually uniformed employees wandering around who will point you in the right direction if you show them your ticket. The ticket machines are easy to use, but trains to Toledo (and more often back from Toledo, according to Rick) can sell out, so it would be prudent to buy the ticket ahead of time. I don't think we've had a recent report from someone who used a US credit card in the machines, though. I bought inexpensive tickets there without a problem in 2015, but the card-validation process might be different for more costly tickets.

Do not under any circumstances plan to buy long-distance train tickets at the staffed counter in Atocha Station. It is a shockingly inefficient process. I stood in line there for three hours in 2019. (It turned out that was unnecessary, but I was brain-dead from lack of sleep and jetlag and didn't find the senior-rate selection button on the ticket machine.)

The idea of going straight to Toledo on arrival day is interesting, but if you do that you'll almost certainly need 2 nights there since your first day may be useless due to jetlag. The rest of the itinerary could be either clockwise or counter-clockwise, and you'll have a lot of options for slotting in Cordoba, because trains from Madrid to both Granada and Seville go through Cordoba, as do most (all?) trains between Seville and Granada.

Posted by
2159 posts

I hope you're not too tired for the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid - it's a great museum and not too crowded.

The Indian Archives were an unexpected highlight of our time in Seville back in 2017. If you know a little bit about the Conquistadors, to have them staring down at you from their portraits on the walls can be unnerving.

Posted by
2922 posts

I dislike making overly structured itineraries, rather, simply list the places you want to see. In your case, prioritize them. In case you can’t make it to every place on your list you will have at least seen your important ones. In Toledo, we stay at hotel Maria Cristina. It’s near the bull ring but an easy walk to the historic center. As you walk around Toledo there are a few lesser sights many tourists miss, such as the Bitter Well and the bridge of San Martin. There are legends surrounding both places so you might appreciate them more if familiar with the legends. There are also some remains of a Roman circus. In some shops there are clear tiles allowing you to see the ruins beneath the current building. There is also the Mariano Zamorano sword factory. When open you can watch real swords being made; not the tourist ones sold in the shops. There is a nice military museum at the Alcazar. When in Sevilla take a stroll along the river near the bull ring to see the Torre de Oro. Cross the river by the tower and you can get good view of the tower and cathedral. At night when it’s lit up, it makes for a nice photo. I assume you purposely left the cathedral and Giralda tower off the list. As somebody stated, check opening times for the places you want to see and to see if there is free entrance on certain days or times.

Posted by
17869 posts

As Ashley mentioned, the tourist office in Seville has a one-page handout summarizing the operating hours of all the tourist sights in the city. I found that to be true in other major cities in Andalucia as well; I don't know whether the same information is available in that format for Madrid and Toledo, but Barcelona had something similar in 2016. There are seasonal changes in operating hours (the mid-day closing lasting longer during hot weather), and your trip may fall around the time of one of those changes. Major holidays can also cause adjustments, though I don't know whether there are any key holidays in October. In any case, I highly recommend going by the local tourist office early in your visit to each city. Get the current info and find out whether it will remain correct for the rest of your visit.

Posted by
3559 posts

Sometimes despite posted hours, life gets in the way. Due to Monday closing day, or whichever it happened to be, I couldn't go into the Greco museum as it was under renovation. They had limited hours, except the only morning I could go before leaving Toledo, some el Jefe decided he wanted a private tour, so many uniforms and guns surrounded the museum, pushed people away and ensured we couldn't get closer than the little plaza across the street and down the block.
I also don't do an hour by hour day plan, but have a list for the town and at times take opportunities when they arise.

Posted by
547 posts

The synagogue in Toledo is closed on Mondays, which is why I am making Toledo my second town instead of going to Toledo first.

Based on past experience, the first Sunday I arrive, I will be tired yet I won't be able to sleep as long as the clock and the position of the sun tells another part of my brain that it is time to be awake. On Monday my 24-hour biological clock will be completely adjusted.

Posted by
547 posts

I meant to have edited out the times in parenthesis in my itinerary. Those are just building hours. I know opening and closing times are subject to change. I may not necessarily want to stay at museums until they close, and/or I know I should take random breaks to sit on benches or wherever I can that is out of the way. I might not get to everything on my list.

Posted by
4135 posts

Noting hours for sights is really good to do! And if you don’t get to everything on the “possibles” list, you’ve got a head start on things to consider on the next trip!

Something else - in October, it was surprising how dark it still was at 7:00 in the morning in Madrid. The sun came up much later than we were used to in the Denver area, relative to the respective time zones.

Posted by
17869 posts

Spain should be in the same time zone as the UK, but it isn't. The late sunrise has never bothered me because I'm not an early riser. I have benefited from the comparatively late sunset, however. Of course, days are a lot shorter in October than in the summer.

Posted by
547 posts

I don't see how to avoid backtracking. On a train trip from Madrid to Granada, the train stops in Cordoba. On a train trip from Granada to Seville, the train also stops in Cordoba.

Posted by
5498 posts

National Dayof Spain October 12
Sangria; churros y chocolate; tapas.
Reina Sofia museum in Madrid for Picasso's Guernica

Posted by
315 posts

Córdoba is one of my favorite cities — along with Cádiz, and recommend when visiting that you take in the Plaza del Potro — home of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Julio Romero de Torres art museum. It's a delightful, historic square (mid 16th century), and features the Posada del Potro as featured in Cervantes's, Don Quijote.
For lunch in Córdoba I recommend: Casa El Pisto, a taberna in Plaza San Miquel.
Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
547 posts

As of today, Google maps says: the Sinagoga del Tránsito in Toledo is temporarily closed, the Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca is only open 10AM-5:45PM Saturdays and Sundays. ...

Whether or not I am going to worry about seeing the remains of the synagogues in Toledo - it looks like the nearby Restos Arqueológicos Sinagoga del Sofer is the foundation and/or remains of a third synagogue, being protected under a modern wood platform, probably not much to see and it is not mentioned in Rick Steves' Spain or the Rough Guide to Spain - wouldn't it still be less risky to Make Toledo my 2nd town, because if I wanted to take the train to Toledo right after leaving the airport in Madrid, but if the train ticket has to be purchased in advance, what about the risk of the plain arriving later than the airline's given time?

Posted by
17869 posts

Although tickets for most fast trains in Spain have variable prices and you are well-advised to buy them in advance to garner significant savings, that is not the case with the Madrid-Toledo train. At least up to this point, the Madrid-Toledo fare has been constant, so the only reason to buy that ticket in advance would be concern about a sell-out. The sense I have of the situation is that the trains back from Toledo to Madrid late in the day are the most likely to sell out. Of course, if you land in Madrid on the day of or the day before some sort of major special event in Toledo, that could increase demand for Madrid-Toledo tickets. In the unlikely event all the trains were sold out, the bus from Plaza Elliptica would also be an option. It takes longer, but I think it's super unlikely that both trains and buses would be sold out.

You could monitor the ticket situation on the Renfe website, watching for indications that trains for your arrival date are starting to sell out. I must warn you that buying Renfe tickets from the company website is not the simplest process; it's not something to leave until it's almost time to leave for the airport. If time is of the essence (the situation has turned dicey on the morning of your departure day), I'd be inclined to use a third-party seller like thetrainline.com. The additional cost should not be large. Others may have suggestions for lower-cost sources.

Posted by
547 posts

Acraven and others:
Thanks for your input. Unless you convince me otherwise, I would rather buy my train tickets in advance, and make Toledo my second town. This way I wouldn't worry about the risk of having a hotel reservation in Toledo for my first night but not having a good way to get there if all the seats on the buses or trains are sold out. Although my impression is that many other travelers or posters only buy advance tickets, to transportation or sites or anything, in advance, reluctantly, if necessary. If the synagogues are not open when I am in Toledo, I guess I will acquiesce to just viewing them from the sidewalks from the outside. I guess being Jewish according to heritage, although I am not at all religious, has something to do with feeling compelled to see one or more Jewish-related sites per trip, if the sites are not too far out of the way or difficult to get to.

Posted by
17869 posts

It's likely that, except for the Sabbath, the synagogues will be open on a more regular basis by the time you can actually travel to Spain. I'm virtually certain what you're seeing now is COVID-related. I don't remember significant closures when I was in Toledo in 2015.

Posted by
547 posts

Actually, my guidebooks and google maps suggest that the synagogues in Toledo and Cordoba and the small Jewish museums, have or had operating hours on the Jewish sabbath. It is likely that the owners and/or the care takers are not orthodox.

Posted by
6098 posts

I wouldn’t tour the Thyssen in Madrid on your arrival day. It deserves a clearer mind.

Posted by
1511 posts

IIRC, the sinagoga del transito is not used for religious services - it's a museum only, but the central open room is used for community events and activities. Like a lot of churches in Spain and France, they serve more nonreligious audiences than religious ones.
If there was still an active congregation then timing would be more of a concern, like it is in Rome, where most of the churches that attract tourists also have active, if small, congregations.

Posted by
547 posts

It looks like the following are the case, at least as of today:

It is possible to buy tickets to the Alhambra for October, now, over 8 month in advance, even though they used to only start selling tickets 3 months in advance...

There is only one train trip per day from Madrid to Granada versus many different train trips per day from Madrid to Cordoba.

The Alsa bus may be a more appealing way to get from Granada to Seville versus the train. I want to avoid renting a car if possible.

Renfe is not selling tickets more than 2 or 3 weeks in advance.

Posted by
14210 posts

Because of Covid restrictions, it's likely that some train and bus lines are operating on reduced schedules. With so many unknowns I wouldn't buy any tickets unless they were fully refundable for any reason.

Several regulars here have reported very positive experiences on the Alsa buses to/from Granada, including those to/from Madrid.

Posted by
547 posts

Is there any advantage to me leaving Granada in the afternoon to evening of the last Monday of my trip, which would be 2 nights in Granada, versus leaving the next morning and having just 2 nights in Granada and 5 nights in Seville? In theory I don't want to purposefully spend an excessive amount of time sitting on benches, waiting for a bus or train, or walking the streets, if I have seen enough, in case I find out I gave myself too much time in Granada. A Monday would not be an ideal time to visit the Alhambra because certain displays are closed Mondays.

Or would there be any advantage to seeing Granada and then Cordoba versus Cordoba first, then Granada? It looks like there are buses that go from Granada to Seville without stopping in or going near Cordoba. All trains from Madrid to Granada stop in Cordoba,
and all trains from Granada to Seville stop in Cordoba too. I am 75% sure I will leave my itinerary as above but I am just asking just to see what you think.

Posted by
17869 posts

Tough call. If you head out of Granada on Monday night, you'll have a bit less than two full days in the city, counting on some settling-in time on Saturday and the need to return to your lodgings to pick up your luggage and head out (by bus) to the bus station on Monday. I don't know how late the buses will be running in October. Right now, it seems the last departure is at 5 PM, but that may well change. On the other hand, Seville is a lot larger than Granada (though without the hills), and you certainly can make use of the extra time there.

I don't like arriving in a city on a first visit after dark, because I don't see very well at night and have difficulty finding my hotel. I assume that challenge doesn't apply to you, but that would tend to make me avoid a really late arrival in Seville.

I can't think of a strong reason to choose either option over the other one unless you see a signficant difference in hotel costs.

Posted by
547 posts

Thanks for your input. Does Granada really have enough to occupy me for an entire day in addition to the day I see the Alhambra complex?

Posted by
17869 posts

It did for me, but I walk a lot and love Moorish architecture. These places were on my target list; I'm sorry they're not organzied geographically.

Basilica of San Juan de Dios, Calle San Juan de Dios 17

Hospital San Juan de Dios, Calle San Juan de Dios 11: Working hospital; enter via clinic waiting room to visit 2 impressive patios and see some old tiling.

Monasterio de San Jeronimo, Calle Rector Lopez Argueta, NW of cathedral: 16C jewel of Spanish Renaissance with two-tiered cloister. 18C frescoes.

Cathedral, Calle Gran Via 5: Renaissance masterpiece, but earlier Capilla Real is most impressive part. Cathedral itself not remotely one of Spain’s best. Capilla Real, Calle Oficios 3, S. side of cath.: Isabelline, magnificent grille. Sacristy has Botticelli, van der Weyden paintings and Isabel’s crown.

Palacio de la Madraza, Calle Oficios 14: 18C facade. Inside is 14C Moorish prayer hall with fine mihrab. Now part of university.

Corral del Carbon, Calle Mariana Pineda: Galleried courtyard from Moorish era, now government offices.

Iglesia de Santa Ana, Plaza Santa Ana: 16C brick church, Mudejar with elegant Plateresque porter coffered ceiling.

Real Cancilleria, Plaza Santa Ana: 16C, with beautiful arcaded patio and stalactite ceiling.

Casa de los Tiros / Museum of Arts and Traditions, Calle Pavaneras: 16C house with 19C art and decorative art.

Carrera del Darro: road along river passing fine facades. Several bars at top end have views of Alhambra.

Museo Arqueologico, Carrera del Darro 43, Casa de Castril: Renaissance mansion.

El Banuelo, Carrera del Darro 31: 11C Moorish baths.

Casa de Zafra, Calle Porteria Concepcion 8: Interpretation center for Albaicin.

Casa Horno del Oro, Calle Horno del Oro 6: Moorish house.

Albaicin: whitewashed houses on hillside. Lower levels recently much refurbished. Bus 31 from city center OR From Plaza Nueva take Carrera del Darro, branching off after a few hundred yards up any of tiny alleys to left. Steep climb. Mirador de San Nicolas for views and sunsets.

Palacio de Dar al-Horra, Callejón de las Monjas.

Colegiata del Salvador, Plaza del Salvador: magnificent Almohad patio with horseshoe arches. Church with reconstructed Moorish ceiling. Small museum with beautiful religious paintings and sculptures.

Plaza Larga used to have Saturday MKT. Restored Arab house on one corner.

Plaza Charca: charming, with flower-laden houses.

Carmen-Museo Max Moreau, Camino Nuevo de San Nicolas 12: painter’s home.

Casa de Porras, Placeta de Porras: Magnificent Renaissance-Mudejar wooden building, now part of university.

Caldereria Nueva: most Arab part of Albaicin, full of Moroccan pastry shops.

Calle Cruz de Quiros, above Calle Elvira: great sunsets.

Sacromonte: Best seen on a group tour; there’s a “free” sunset tour. LP 2018 says Sacromonte is unsafe for solo women. Highly commercialized flamenco shows.

Sacromonte Abbey

Casa del Chapiz, Camino del Sacromonte 1

Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo, Plaza de los Campos 6

Rodriguez Acosta Foundation: gardens and good art collection (ancient to modern). Visit by tour only. About 20-min. walk from Alhambra.

La Cartuja, Paseo de Cartuja, N of cathedral and center: Flamboyant Churringueresque (Baroque/Rococo) Carthusian monastery, by far the greatest Baroque monument in Granada. Altar like ''motionless architectural earthquake.'' Inlaid doors.

Calle San Matias and neighboring streets, Realejo area, south of cathedral: historical Jewish quarter now a foodie district.

Granada Night Adventure walk: I think it was someone on this forum who recommended it as very good but rather strenuous.

Posted by
17869 posts

Well, there are guidebooks and then there are guidebooks.

Posted by
547 posts

Thanks for your input. I have Rick Steves Spain, and the Rough guide to Spain, both in electronic format.

AshleyMIA: that is approximately the sort of answer I wanted.

Posted by
4445 posts

Mike, I think you have a good plan in general. You probably won't get to all the sights you've listed but you know that already, and you're prioritizing. A few observations, just my opinion, about some specific sights:

Madrid: Thyssen is a good museum, chronologically organized. The risk is getting deep into the individual works and the good audioguide, and spending too much time. Jetlag may save you from this fate! The National Archeological Museum is also very good, I suggest a morning there, but you'll have time for more that day. Don't miss the reproduction of the Altamira cave paintings outside the main entrance.

Toledo: The Visigothic Museum was a highlight for me. I got lost looking for it though, it's not that close to other sights. The cathedral is also well worth going inside. The apse is backlit through an amazing high-up window.

Cordoba: I agree with Chani about the Casa Sefarad, excellent exhibits and right across the street from the old synagogue. The synagogue doesn't take long but the Casa could take awhile depending on how deep you want to get into the exhibits.

The Mezquita blew me away. On the other hand, the Museum of Andalusian Life seemed to me hokey and not worth the long walk across the bridge. The view from its tower is good but you can get a similar view by walking halfway across the bridge, saving a lot of time and steps. I think Chani is right about most things but maybe not this!

Sevilla: Inside the cathedral is also well worthwhile. At the Archives of the Indies, I was lucky enough to find a special exhibit about Magellan's circumnavigation (400 years ago) which was fascinating. It may still be there, since the voyage took several years (with and without Magellan).

I hope things will have opened up enough by October to make this trip, and all your plans for it, possible. You're off to a great start!

Posted by
24623 posts

Is your flight at 9:25 returning back to Detroit or a local European one? If back home I would have thought that the 2 hours just above would be insufficient. Pre-Covid it was 3 hours for transatlantic, post-Covid how long ahead will you need to be?

Posted by
17869 posts

It's highly likely Mike is going to have a connection somewhere between Seville and Detroit, and it will be in Europe.

Posted by
2922 posts

From Sevilla to Detroit, the flights I did a quick check on with only one stop went through DeGaulle. I’m sure once travel opens again there will be more options, but I doubt there will be a non-stop between the two cities.

Posted by
17869 posts

Mike's lucky if he's found a well-priced flight connection from Seville to Detroit. I was unable to snag anything affordable in 2019 when I wanted to start my trip in Andalucia. Seville and Malaga were both much, much more expensive than Madrid. Further proof that every origin/destination combination is different.

Posted by
14210 posts

A few hours more or less in Sevilla or Granada . . . . I don't think it much matters. There's more to see and enjoy in both places than you'll have time for. I'd choose whichever option is most efficient/convenient logistically . . . . travel time, departure time, arrival time. Sunset's around 7.30 in Granada, maybe 10 minutes later in Sevilla.

Posted by
547 posts

Thsnks for your observations.

My plane trip back to Detroit starts from Seville. I change planes in Madrid, and in Charlotte, North Carolina. I paid just under $1,378 US dollars for the plane flights, from American Airlines, including the cost of selecting aisle seats on the two transatlantic flights. I didn't like the cheaper flights because the layovers were too short and/or the total trip durations were too long and/or the number of stops was more than this trip. This trip is cheaper than my round trip to Athens which cost just under $1,486 US dollars and almost the same as what I paid to fly from Detroit to Amsterdam and Brussels back to Detroit. I didn't pay to check in luggage for this trip, which reminds me that I was planning to just not worry about this but on my past solo flights to Europe I took just 1 to 2 changes of clothes in a travel bag that doesn't have wheels, which was stuffed into an overhead bin, and a paded bacpack that was able to be stuffed under the seat in front of me or in an overhead bin. ... so unfortunately I guess I will be stuck waking up before 6am on the day my plane leaves from Seville; I don't know whether I will take the bus to the airport or try reserving a taxi ride.

Posted by
11203 posts

For such an early flight, and given that the post above indicates that the airport bus is potentially problematic, and that a taxi isn't that expensive: definitely a taxi!

I'd definitely plan on seeing the Prado on your last Madrid day, for two reasons. You want to be as rested as possible, and after the Prado, every other art museum will be second tier.

For house museums, I also liked the Sorolla Musuem. I went on a free day and it was not too crowded to enjoy, so I imagine that on other days it's quite empty. I did need to use the mapping function on my phone to find my way there from the metro stop; without that, I would have gotten lost.