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Twenty-six Nights in Spain

We have non-stop tickets to Madrid scheduled to depart mid-September - we have 26 nights to plan for. We’re an older-ish, active couple and enjoy museums, light hiking, good food and wine. We are leisurely travelers and like to hang out in a city for 3-4 days. We traveled in Spain a few times before and have spent time in Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Salamanca, San Sebastian, Santillana, Santiago, Toledo, and Bilbao.

We’re having difficulty piecing together a simple itinerary. We’d like to visit some new destinations and return to a few places we enjoyed in the past. We’ve rented cars on previous trips to Spain but we’re not sure we’ll do so this time - for now, we’re thinking of taking public transportation and flying north from Seville. We’re curious about Valencia but not sure how to work this into our far...

-Arrive in Madrid - train to Seville - 4 nights (day trip to Cordoba or maybe 2 nights)

-Bus to Cadiz - 3-4 nights (return to Seville for flight)

-Fly Seville to Vitoria Gasteiz - 3-4 nights (day trip to Pamplona maybe)

-Logroño (Laguardia or other La Rioja suggestion) - 3 nights

-Burgos - 3-4 nights

-Madrid - 4-5 nights (day trip to Segovia or Avila maybe)

That’s 20-24 nights allowing for some “wiggle room” in case we discover someplace we’d like to stay longer or add to the plan when we’re there.

Anything we’re missing?

Edited to add: We like a seaside destination for at least one part of our trip...if Cadiz isn't worth a few days is there another seaside place that fits our itinerary?

Thank you!

Posted by
3789 posts

You are considering Segovia. I am happy. Yep, can't see how to fit Valencia in without another flight or longer train. Madrid to Valencia fast train could be under 2 hours. From there, train to Seville 5.25 hrs, or 1 hrs flights.

Posted by
3894 posts

If you go to Burgos, ensure you visit the Cartuja de Miraflores. it a couple miles from the city center and many people walk there. A place to get a good view of the city is from the Mirador Del Castillo. The castle itself is nothing special. From Logroño you could take a day trip over to Nájera to see the Monasterio de Santa María la Real. I’d recommend other places, but since I always have a rental car, you’d need one to get to them and I have no idea how good public transportation is in Logroño. To me 3/4 nights in Cadiz is too many, but that’s just me since I don’t think there’s enough to see and do to occupy more than a day. If you get bored you can take a ferry over to Rota. It’s nice to walk around and an escape from Cadiz. You could also take the ferry over to Puerto de Santa María. There is a nice church and the Castillo San Marcos where Columbus supposedly got the money for one of his voyages. Ávila is worth a few hours at most, but Segovia is worth a day.

Posted by
1767 posts

You can take a direct train from Madrid-Puerta de Atocha to Valencia Joaquin Sorolla (1h 45m), however, there are no convenient trains from Valencia to Sevilla. Have you been to Toledo that’s a 45-minute train ride from Madrid? It makes a great day trip.

Posted by
20866 posts

Avila has a wall but is otherwise nothing special. There's much more to see in Segovia. Another very good side-trip from Madrid is Cuenca, which could also be,a 2-night stop on the way to Valencia; it's right on the AVE line from Madrid to Valencia. Cuenca has a wall, a hill-top medieval old town built along a gorge, an old cathedrai and two nice modern-art museums. There's also the historic university town of Alcala de Henares, accessible from Madrid by computer rail.

Jerez is an easy side-trip from Cadiz and is expecially recommended for folks interested in horses or sherry. Not caring about either of those, I opted for a side-trip to Vejer de la Frontera. It's a white town but less touristy than Arcos de la Frontera or Grazalema. Alternatively, you can take in Carmona from Seville.

As of 2016 there was bus service from Logrono to Laguardia.

Posted by
3099 posts

These are all great suggestions! MariaF, thank you for confirming our thought that Valencia is best left for another time; Jarmeelsbio, those are fun ideas for places to visit in the La Rioja region - is Logrono a good base for a few days? MaryPat, we have been to Toledo and enjoyed it very much; acraven, I like the suggestion of staying in Segovia and with time there we could check out Avila!

Posted by
1280 posts

This may not work, if the flights have permanently changed after Covid, but one option might be to go from Madrid to Valencia at the start by rail. Then fly from Valenicia to Jerez airport for Cadiz (easy link by rail), then back to Seville before flying north. Obviously a lot of flying, but you could then incorporate Valencia, which is certainly worth visiting.

I think Cadiz is worth three or four nights as it is such an atmospheric city and well-worth relaxing in. However, if you want three days intensive sightseeing then it is perhaps not necessary to stay that long since there are few "wow" sights compared to Seville or Granada, etc.

Posted by
3099 posts

Thank you Nick!

Your idea about traveling to Valencia from Madrid is a good one but at this point we've decided that it adds an extra complication so we're going to delete Valencia from our plan.

On the other hand, the way your describe Cadiz (atmospheric and good for relaxing) is just what we're looking for!


Posted by
255 posts

We have visited Segovia 2 times and enjoyed the small town feel with lots of sites. Spend at least 2 nights. This gives you one full day and two half days. The paseo each night on the lower town is great. Enjoy the suckling pig if you are a carnivore. We like a hotel or guest house in the lower town close to local action and under the aqueduct. Have stayed in the upper town by the cathedral and alcazar, but just more touristy. Once in town it is only walking. It is a quick train or bus ride to Madrid. We like Segovia much better than Toledo.

Posted by
3099 posts

Thank you racquet588! It's good to know that Segovia could be a good place for a couple of nights - we have been to Toledo and while it's a fine place to visit, it's not at the top of our list for a return stay. Also, thanks for the suggestion of where to look for accommodations in Segovia! That's helpful!