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Spain itinerary help please

Traveling to southern Spain, and Barcelona next March/April (2023). Have spent a few weeks in Madrid and northern/mid Spain in past but never to Seville, Grenada, Barcelona. Would like to go with my wife, seasoned middle aged travelers, budget not a huge deal within reason. Time is, more so.

We live in Wilmington, NC so really have Raleigh and Charlotte as our international airports seminearby.

Thinking of flying to Seville (via Madrid, most likely) directly, staying a few nights, taking train to Granada, staying a couple nights, and then flying to Barcelona and then home. Does this make sense? Really don't want to stay in Madrid. We have 10-12 days total. Any advice on making this as easy a transport trip as possible? Thanks.

Posted by
23 posts

Actually, maybe since my wife has not been, we could fly into Madrid and stay a few days and skip Granada. Madrid to Seville by train, spend a few days in Seville, then fly to Barcelona and then home. This looks easier, travel-wise. Any other suggestions?

Posted by
1 posts

This was our Honeymoon in 1996. (so take it for what its worth)

We flew PHL to Madrid. 3 days in Madrid. The Prado is an awesome museum (Las Meninas is our favorite). 1 day we side tripped to Toldeo. Then flew to Costa del Sol. Spent 10 days there.

Our process was beach day then tour day. So while in Torremolinos we side tripped to Granada, Morocco, little white washed village (I can't remember) and Seville. All of these trips were tours we arranged while in Torremolinos. Every time we watch Rick we point out the places we went to!

We then flew home to PHL. We never made it to Barcelona.

It was an amazing time and I'm glad we did it, for we never had the luxury of such a trip again.

Posted by
6220 posts

Believe either United or Delta has a non-stop to Madrid from Charlotte. I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal flight or if it operates year round.

Posted by
1110 posts

First, always count the nights, not the days. For example, when you book off 10 days for a Euro vacation, you usually end up with 9 nights. Depending how late you arrive and how early you depart, your vacation time can be significantly shortened. Secondly, the difference between 10 nights and 12 nights can make a huge difference in the number of major cities you visit. IMO, a two night stay in a major city is not worth it. If it is only 10 nights, I would go to two cities. If it were 12 nights, three cities would be okay, just barely. But that is just me. I always try to minimize my butt in the plane, train or automobile time and maximize my butt in the cafe, bar or restaurant time. Everytime you checkout, travel and check in, you easily lose half a day. Use a website like skyscanner to play around with flights and dates. I did a quick but incomplete search and it looks like you can fly open jaw from Raleigh to Madrid and home from Barcelona or vice versa for under USD$700pp. Good luck. Planning a vacation is almost as fun as going on it.

Posted by
15544 posts

I would stick with Granada. It's the #1 tourist destination in Spain for good reason.

For what is a relatively short visit, drop Barcelona and concentrate on Andalucia. You've picked a great time to be there. Semana Santa is a huge celebration all over Andalucia from April 2 to April 8. Arrange your itinerary to include it or avoid it. I encourage you to include it. I was there once and it was an amazing trip. There will be crowds everywhere and high season prices. If you book early you can get decent rates at decent hotels. Cordoba is less crowded/chaotic. I didn't get to Granada that trip. I spent the first days of Semana Santa in Malaga and it was absolutely wonderful. People were very respectful and the processions and music were incredibly interesting, beautiful and moving. I spent the last days in Sevilla and the atmosphere was more touristy (mostly Spanish tourists), less respectful of the religious aspects but still well worth seeing.

Fly R/T Madrid, take the train from the airport to Cordoba (transfer in Madrid) and spend your last night(s) in Madrid for the flight home.

Posted by
186 posts

If you must do Barcelona, start with a three nights there, then take a high speed train to Madrid (less wasted airport security time) - right now, Ouigo, a French company has started to compete with Renfe on several lines and they are selling CHEAP tickets (wife and I will go first class from Madrid to Barcelona for less than 70 euros next month). If the wife hasn't been, pick a museum or two (we like the Thyssen) and spend one night there before taking a train to Sevilla (if there is a way/time, you might squeeze a night in Cordoba to see the Mezquita). From Sevilla, after two nights (pro-tip: make a reservation to eat tapas one evening or lunch at La Brunilda - thank me later), rent a car and head for the hills (hill towns, that is). Ronda is the most famous and photogenic (if you like Roman ruins, on the way out of Sevilla, Italicus is worth a stop, some of the final scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed there). One night is enough in the hills and then it is on to Granada and the Alhambra. Give yourself a full day here, so two nights. Depending on the rental charges, either drop the car here and take a bus to Valencia or drive to Valencia and drop the car there. If your trip was early enough in March, Las Fallas would still be going on (look it up), but it will probably be past. Valencia is less visited, but has several UNESCO World Heritage sites and the spectacular, futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (which was in many episodes of Westward Season 4) and a great Mercado Central. I think it worth a night. From here, you can get a high speed train to either Madrid or Barcelona. Lots of jumping around, I know, but so many gems to see and enjoy.

Posted by
2267 posts

I think your proposed framework sounds reasonable. Maybe not a leisurely visit, but not rushed, either. That said, I don’t think it’s worth trying to cram Madrid into that timeframe. And I say that as a lover and advocate of the city.

American has the most service to Madrid, including out of CLT. They’d connect you onto partner Iberia to get to Sevilla in the late morning/early afternoon. Definitely makes sense to book the open jaw into SVQ and out of BCN. Then buy the GRX-BCN as a stand-alone one-way—probably on Vueling or RyanAir. Just hold your nose and pre-pay the luggage fees.

Posted by
23 posts

I guess on second thought, I'd rather lose Grenada than Madrid--for two reasons--#1 we will already be there so it is easy and after a long flight nice to settle in instead of connecting to Grenada and 2. it IS a grand city and I'd like to see the Prado again after many years, and my wife has never been.
So NOW--fly into Madrid, stay 3-4 nights and recover from lag, train to Seville and 3 more nights then fly to Barcelona for 4 nights then home.