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Tips/itineray for 10 days in Southern Spain in April

My wife, teen daughter and I are spending 10 days in Andalusia in April. I'd value any tips on itinerary. We definitely want to visit Granada, Seville, maybe Cordoba. For sure, we will rent a car and visit some hill towns. Not sure if there's time or if it's worth doing the Costa del Sol this trip. I don't want to overextend and rush around...

  • We fly into and out of Granada... So, a loop of some sort, through Andalusia, makes sense to me. I'm thinking 2 nights in Granada and 3 in Seville?... But I'm really not sure.

  • I'd love to know the two or three best white towns.

  • If there are specific areas in Granada and Seville recommended to stay, please share. We'll probably use airbnb, but hotels are also an option. (If you've stayed in a place you loved, I'd love to check it out!)

  • Is it worth the time (in a ten day trip) to hit Cadiz?

  • Also, any tip on where to rent a car? I'm not sure if best to rent when we land and keep car for the whole trip, or take train from Granada to Seville and then rent a car there...?

  • Any tour guides in Seville or Granada that you really liked!?

  • Any recommended Alhambra tour or guide? Not sure if there is a "special" tour to take, that's better than the general ticket.

Much appreciate any thoughts you care to share, so we can plan an amazing trip. We like to get off the beaten path and really explore and see local culture...!

Thank you!!!!

Posted by
569 posts

Seville, Granada, and Cordoba are not off the beaten path, but they are the 3 most important places in Andalucia because of their history and culture. I recommend visiting all 3. Granada has the Alhambra, Cordoba has the Mezquita, and Seville has the Alcazar. The Moorish architecture is gorgeous! And each city is visually different with its own unique vibe.

I would spend 4 nights in Seville, at least 2 nights in Granada, and 2 nights in Cordoba. If you have 10 nights, you could spend the other 2 nights visiting the white towns. We didn't go there so I can't recommend any but Ronda seems to be the most popular. I'm not sure how easy it is to get to Cadiz, so not sure if Cadiz is feasible, unless you omit the white towns.

I don't think it's necessary to hire a tour guide for the Alhambra. We used the audioguides. You should purchase Alhambra tickets as soon as your itinerary is finalized!

For hotels, we were very happy with Las Casas de la Juderia in Cordoba, El Ladron D'Agua in Granada, and Apartamentos Suites Santa Cruz.

The best way to travel would be via train or bus. A car will be a PITA in the cities. However, you might need a car for the white towns.

Posted by
454 posts

We explored Andalusia last March (Spring break) and it was an amazing experience. We did not have a car but relied on the excellent bus service (ALSA) and rail to go between Granada, Sevilla, Cadiz, and Cordoba. We did not have time to add any villages. Cadiz would definitely be on the bottom of my list and If I was to go again, and I would definitely spend more time in Sevilla. Just an amazing city. Driving a car in any of these cities will be stressful with the very tight narrow streets and parking difficulties. We stayed at the Hotel Anacapri in Granada, Hotel Eurostars Conquistador Cordoba, and Hotel Amadeus La Musica in Sevilla. All were three-star hotels, very reasonably priced, and within walking distance to everything. I also booked these through Booking.com. To get to the Alahambra from the main city center, take the red bus. Easy to find and cheap. Also, make sure you book ahead (2 months) for the Alahambra entry. We did not do any special tour and did fine with the audio. For Sevilla, we did not have a guide, just walked around ourselves and then took a horse & carriage ride. I do not particularly like Spanish beaches, especially on the Costa del Sol. My recommendation would be to go for the history and villages of Spain on this trip.

have a great time - wish I was going again this Spring. The weather will be warm and delightful.

Margaret

Posted by
16757 posts

What date do you arrive in Spain? What date do you fly home? Holy Week is a Very Big Deal in Andalucía. There are major processions (worth seeing but also walking-route blocking), and many sites may be closed for all or part of a day when they'd usually be open. For me, it meant more time needed in the large cities to see the major sights on my list.

Remember that you are likely to be sleep-deprived and jetlagged on the day you arrive, so you may accomplish little that day. You may need to add a night to your first stop for that reason.

In any case, I'd highly recommend 4 nights in Seville.

For figuring your Granada time keep in mind that the Alhambra can take the better part of a day, and it is not the only point of interest in Granada. I think it's best to have close to two full days there (which might mean 3 nights). Cordoba benefits from having that much time, but it's true that many folks allot it just one day. It has the misfortune of being located within day-trip distance of Seville, so it's tempting not to spend the night in Cordoba. But it's a great destination. The white villages are cute, but there's really no comparison between them and the major cities in that part of Spain.

Are you prepared to pay what it takes to fly directly to Granada or Seville and home from the other city? If not, you'll lose some time getting between Madrid or Malaga and the cities you most want to see, and your last night will need to be in a town not on your target list, near your departure airport.

Depending on your precise travel dates and the number of nights you'll have on the ground in Spain, I think it's going to be challenge enough to incorporate 1 or 2 white villages (or Ronda alone, which is much larger). Cadiz will likely not work out this time. I suspect the best way to scrounge some white-village time will be to drive between Seville and Granada or vice versa. However, I haven't driven in Europe and am much more of a slow traveler, so others will have a more accurate view of what is possible in that regard.

Posted by
639 posts

I did a 4 night Seville - train to Cordoba for 1 night - bus to Granada for 3 night trip that I loved (March). I think those are the minimum number of nights for each. On a separate trip I did Malaga and Ronda and a couple smaller white villages but for those I think you would need a car. I agree a car in Seville/Granada/Cordoba would be not a good idea. I think you can get from Seville to Ronda by pubic transportation but not sure, I would look into that. I think you only have two possible extra days for small towns anyway so not sure it's worth it to rent a car. But if you do I would limit it to just a couple days for the small villages.

Posted by
90 posts

We just got back from a trip with 2 teenagers that included the main cities you listed. We like to travel at a fast pace and I will agree with others above that Seville deserves more time. It is a wonderful city and the 2.5 days / 3 nights we spent there were not enough! Our daughter's favorite site was the mosque-cathedral in Cordoba so would agree with recommendations above that you keep it on your list, even if only as a day trip.

Our family prefers live guides over audio guides, we do a mix for affordability reasons. We really, really liked our guide for the Alhambra and would strongly recommend her, but I will admit that in all of the places we visited, I can't compare audio guide to live guide since I only did one or other. The guide we had at the Alhambra was Margarita Ortega Ortiz de Landazuri, she is recommended in the RS guidebook, and her web site is: http://alhambratours.com/. We had a guide for the Seville Alcazar who was also very good -Manuel from (https://genuineandalusia.com/). You can also read reviews for both on TripAdvisor. In Cordoba we used Oway tours for a tour of the mosque-cathedral (aka mezquita, but our guide hammered into us that we should call it the mosque-cathedral as that's what makes it unique!). It was just an hour and I wanted more detail; so while I enjoyed the tour I would probably recommend an audio guide if you like more detail. The one audioguide I absolutely hated was Seville cathedral, so recommend finding another option there - guided tour or book or anything else!

RE: car rental, we did not do that ultimately, but in early phase of trip planning we looked into it and it was easy and inexpensive to rent a car from Granada or Seville for a day. We planned to do that to see a couple of white villages, but ultimately cut it from our itinerary to have more time in the cities. AutoEurope was easy to get information and rental prices from, and we've been happy with them in the past. Train and bus were very easy to use and very comfortable.

Re: places to stay - we liked our VRBO/Homeaway rentals in both Seville and Granada, links here:
https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p8324595?adultsCount=2&noDates=true
https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p8074053?adultsCount=2&noDates=true

You've gotten a lot of good advice here on sites and how to plan the itinerary, my two cents is that if you are city people, 4 nights Seville, 3 nights Granada, 1 night Cordoba. I can't comment on the white hill towns other than what we saw on the bus between Seville, Granada, Cordoba - which is they look beautiful from a drive, but am not sure how much there would be "to do" in them.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you all for these fantastic replies so far. They are all incredibly helpful. Really appreciate it. The consensus definitely seems to be that Seville deserves more time than I'd thought, and to be sure to include Cordoba (and Granada, of course).

Posted by
16757 posts

It's perhaps worth mentioning that people begin lining the streets well before a procession is due to pass by, because they want a good view. People are good about letting you through when it is physically possible, but progress can be extremely slow, and once the procession is moving, you may need to make a very long detour indeed. It once took me, I think, 2 hours to get back to my Seville hotel. I walked along streets roughly parallel to the processional route, making probes down side streets and running into packed intersections I couldn't get across.

It is a very festive time to visit Andalucía, but you will definitely see fewer traditional sights than you expect unless you allow extra time.