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Spain itinerary with a baby

Hi all

I have written lots of context, so thought I would put the proposed itinerary first for those who don’t have the time to wade through it all. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Mo Sept 21: 4hr train Avignon – Barcelona
Tu Sept 22: Barcelona
We Sept 23: Barcelona
Th Sept 24: Barcelona
Fr Sept 25: 5.5hr train to Seville
Sa Sept 26: Seville
Su Sept 27: Day trip to Cordoba (or is that too ambitious?)
Mo Sept 28: 3hr train to Granada, book night tickets for Alhambra
Tu Sept 29: Book day tickets for Alhambra, 4.5hr train to Madrid
We Sept 30: Madrid
Th Oct 1: Madrid
Fr Oct 2: Madrid – day trip to Toledo or Segovia
Sa Oct 3: Morning flight to Budapest

We are an Australian couple in our 30s expecting our first baby. We would love to squeeze in one more trip while the baby is small as it sounds like it is easiest to travel before baby gets mobile. We are looking at September 2015 when baby will be 5 months old – should mean baby is still on milk only and will sleep in the pram/baby carrier. My mother-in-law (early 60s) will also be with us.

Reading through this forum, I know that there are many advocates of ‘less is more’. Whilst I absolutely understand, our usual preference is to see as much as we can – for us personally, that feels like we are making the most of our limited time. My big challenge though is knowing how much we need to slow down to accommodate the baby. Of course every baby is different, but we would like to start booking flights etc. not long after baby arrives which means that we won’t know much about how our particular little one will be! I would love to hear from any parents as to whether this trip sounds crazy or manageable. I would also love to hear any tips or advice from all the Spanish experts out there.

About us – we like seeing the big sights. I am really keen on seeing the Alhambra, Sagrada Familia, hopefully make it to Cordoba to see the Mezquita. Usually the top 1-2 art galleries in each city is enough. We tend to enjoy art galleries over museums. We like a bit of balance overall – city sights one place, time outside in the next. The beach is not a priority, similarly not as focussed on adventure sports or hiking this time around.

I am trying to limit air travel as expecting it will be more challenging with a baby and pram which has dictated the order I am proposing. We will be coming by train from France (probably Avignon) so planning to start in Barcelona. Whilst it would make most sense to finish up in Seville or Granada, there are no direct flights from either to our next destination (Budapest). So, I have planned to finish up in Madrid. The flights are at 10:30/11am so need to have slept in Madrid the night before. I think that an extra night in Granada would be preferable, but not sure where to pinch it from. The only place from the rest of our trip that I would consider is stealing a night from London – currently planning 5 nights, could make it 4. However, my MIL hasn’t been there before so would like to avoid that is possible. We are open to getting a car if that would work better.

Hopefully all of that hasn’t put you to sleep and gives you enough context to understand how I came up with my proposal!

Posted by
7175 posts

Greeting Sarah from Brisbane, and best wishes for baby coming.

Your interests align pretty much alongside mine, except I have never travelled with baby.
I have travelled to Spain regularly over the past 25 years and have good friends (well another family really) in Barcelona.
From your description you sound bang on with your plans.
Great time to visit also with a new baby, the heat of summer will be gone but it should still be very comfortable.
Unfortunately Granada is not as well serviced as other parts of Spain by the train system.
Check out renfe site for services etc ...
Consequently I would advise you need 2 nights in Granada with the day in between set aside for the Alhambra, Cathedral, Albaicin.
Flip a coin and steal a night from either Barcelona or Madrid - there is always something to do in Barcelona (and my friends are there) but the art galleries in Madrid are just stunning.
Whilst not having visited after dark, my night time experience was in a great restaurant with terrace dining and sublime views of the floodlit Alhambra.

You will have a great time - the Spanish love babies - many hands will offer to relieve your load.

Posted by
10344 posts

In general, for planning purposes mothers with infants who have reported in here seem to have said, after the trip, that they ended up seeing somewhat less than half of what they would have seen before baby.

Posted by
11 posts

Yikes Kent, that's a bit scary! Thanks for the warning!

Thanks for your reply DJP. I have rolled the dice and will pinch a night from Barcelona for Granada. I had briefly looked at trains for travel times, but looking again, I see your point - there doesn't even seem to be one on Sunday which is the day it would land on with the revised plan! We might need to rent a car. If we did, do you believe it is possible to drive from Seville to Cordoba, have a quick peek and then continue to Granada that same day? That would give us more time in Seville by moving the day trip to Cordoba onto a travel day.

Posted by
10344 posts

Well, I have to admit that I have no experience traveling in Europe with a 5-month old.
I was just comparing it to what 2 adults would be able to see and do, without a 5-month old.
I do have recent experience grand-parenting a 5-month old. It just seems to me that you're going to be moving slower, compared to the ground 2 adults could cover before baby.

Your best advice would come from a mother who has actually traveled in Europe with a 5-month old. We don't seem to have too many of those on this forum.

Good luck and happy travels (to the 3 of you)!

Posted by
7175 posts

Did a quick look at renfe site for Sunday trains.

You have this option Sevilla (8.50am) Cordoba (9.34am) ...

And this option (which includes a connection) Cordoba (5.08pm) Granada (7.45pm) ...

Of course you will need to store luggage which you can do either at the train station or nearby bus station.
However, with baby as well, you might like to make enquiries to get a hotel room for 'day use'.

If you felt comfortable driving you could rent a car for the 3 days (27-30 Sep) from Sevilla to Madrid via Cordoba and Granada. I cant comment on driving 'on the other side' as I have never done it.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you again. I am thinking with the luggage that I would be more comfortable leaving it in the car than at the station, so we can have a think about either renting a car or else revert to Cordoba as a day trip from Seville. Luckily my hubby is braver than I - he has driven on the 'wrong' side of the road before and seemed to cope well!

Muchas gracias

Posted by
16 posts

Hi Sarah,

I have experience traveling with small children, so I will chime in here. My husband and I took a 6 week, 9 country odyssey across Europe, mostly by train, when our daughters were ages 13 months and 3.5 years. We had a pram (umbrella style that reclined) for the 3.5 year old and carried the 13 month old in an Ergo baby carrier. I HIGHLY recommend finding a good baby carrier for your infant, as it is so much easier to carry baby than push a pram. Depending on your infant, and your physical ability to carry baby, you may or may not even want to bring a pram. If your child loves to be cuddled and will nap that way, you could potentially skip the pram. With a 5 month old your chances of getting to tour museums etc, is much better than ours was with a 13 month old toddler. Don't try to spend less than 3 nights anywhere and you will fare far better than we did. We averaged 2 nights per location, and the travel and packing and unpacking just about did me in. Also double check that every hotel offers a crib or baby cot, if you require one. The couple nights that we didn't have a bed for the baby were the longest nights of our lives! Lastly, have a wonderful time, and don't be afraid to travel with your kids. Your trips will be different than before kids, but no less awesome. In a little over a month we are setting out for a 71 night stay in a tiny mountain village in Andalucia, and I know our daughters, now ages 6 and almost 4, are going to have an amazing time.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the insight Dominica. We have a baby carrier, so will definitely take it along. I have decided I was being a bit ambitious so will save Hungary for another time, which gives us some more time in France and Spain. I am now thinking:

Barcelona - 5 nights
Seville - 4 nights
Granada - 2 nights
Madrid - 4 nights (as our flight home is at 10pm, we get most of another day here)

That's the only 2 night stay in a 30 day trip, so hopefully we can pull it off just once!

Posted by
2844 posts

Hi Sarah,
As you mention that you're travelling with a 5m old, I though you might be interested in a few pointers when you visit Barcelona (apologies if you already knew):

1.) You can rent most baby stuff you might need: and so you might want to re-think bringing your push chair from home ;)

2.) Baby formulas and baby food (jars...) can be easily bought at the supermarkets and in the pharmacies -albeit the latter are more expensive, even for the same brands. Among supermarkets, Caprabo is one of the top quality merchants. You'll find most well known brands (Nestlé, etc). Note too there are plenty of supermarkets across the city so regardless where you are you'll find one nearby at walking distance.

3.) Note that all public buses are adapted so you can easy embark/disembark when carring a push chair or a stroller. Note though that you'll have to board the bus by the door in the middle -which has a ramp especially fitted for strollers and wheel chairs- instead the front door, as the rest of the passengers would do.

4.) This website might be useful as well:

5.) Just for info:
Pasteurized whole milk = Llet sencera pasteritzada (usually bottled).
Sterilized whole milk = Llet sencera esterilitzada (it's an unusual type in Catalonia).
Whole milk = Llet sencera (usually UHT milk packed in Tetra Brik).
Semi-skimmed milk = Llet semidesnatada.
Skimmed milk = Llet desnatada.
Also, note that milk=llet in Catalan, the local language (approx pronounciation: "lee-et"). In Spanish, milk=leche