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10 Days in Spain! Where should I go?

I have a few questions regarding my itinerary and train travel. My itinerary is as follows:

Arriving in Madrid around 11:00 a.m. and take a train to Seville
Stay in Seville for 1 ½ days/ 2 nights and leaving the morning to Granada
Stay in Granada 2 days/one night and leaving on an overnight train or flight to Barcelona
Stay in Barcelona 3 days & 3 nights and leaving in the morning for Madrid
Stay in Madrid for 3 days & 3 nights

I’m considering skipping either Seville or Granada to allow more time for one of them. Any suggestions?

Should I travel at night vs the morning to save time and does it really save time?

Also, it looks like a Eurorail Spain Rail Pass is €181 (for 4 days within 2 months) vs €300 for 4 legs of travel from RENFE Web site (Madrid to Seville €82, Seville to Granada €24, Granada to Barcelona €76, Barcelona to Madrid €118). I don’t have any experience with Eurorail. Does anyone have any input on what the difference may be?

Last question. Should I purchase the train tickets from the internet vs when I arrive in Spain?

Posted by
4555 posts

Your schedule sounds fine, if a bit rushed. I wouldn't give up either Sevilla or Granada...they're the heart of Andalucia. In fact, I'd rather give up a day in Barcelona.
As for travelling overnight by train, it all depends on how well you think you can sleep on the train. Nice accommodations on the train to sleep won't be cheap, even with a Eurail'd probably be better off to get a good night's sleep in a hotel and use Vueling to fly to Barcelona.
If you can commit to specific travel dates, you can get up to 60% off on the RENFE website up to 62 1/2 days in advance. That brings the cost of Barcelona-Madrid to as low as 46 Euro and Madrid-Sevilla to about 32 Euro. You'd have to get these print-at-home deals as soon asthe booking window opens...they'll bve long gone before you arrive in Spain.

Posted by
410 posts

To me your schedule is very rushed but instead of skipping Granada or Seville I would cut out Barcelona completely and add the time to Granada and Seville. Alternatively cut it short.

Barcelona is a great city but to see 2 large cities and 2 small in 10 days is a lot.

I simply could not choose between Seville and Granada as I love them both.

Posted by
4535 posts

It is rushed but very doable. A few thoughts:

Can you fly open jaw into Madrid and out of Barcelona (or visa-versa)? That saves you time and money getting back to Madrid.

Sevilla and Granada are both must-sees. Your time in Sevilla is a bit short but you can hit the highlights. For most people, 2 nights in Granada is plenty or in your case, you'll either fly out or catch the night train on the 2nd evening. Be sure to reserve a morning entry to the Alhambra.

I wouldn't cut Barcelona; its one of my favorite cities. For many, Madrid can be a bit boring. But be sure to evaluate what it is you like to do/see. Study your guidebooks for each city and plan your time based on your interests. You can also consider short day-trips - there are some good ones from Barcelona and especially Madrid.

The train cost difference is partly due to seat reservations. You'll pay extra for them on the AVE and overnight trains and that's not included in your quote for the pass. Most likely, the point-to-point tickets will be cheaper than the pass in Spain. Also, are you young enough for the youth pass (2nd class) or are you paying for a 1st class pass when you could buy 2nd class tickets?

Regarding the overnight train: Norm is right - is arriving the next morning tired and grubby worth it versus a 1 hour flight?

Posted by
13 posts

Hey Julie! I did the exact same trip last year...basically. We flew into Madrid and out of Barcelona. Keep both Seville and Granada...they are both great cities. 2 nights is enough in both though (we actually only did one in Seville). I'd spend 2 days in Madrid and do a day trip to Toledo...2 days is sufficient in the city. We flew Spanair from Granada to Barcelona and it was something like 50 euros. Very cheap:) Barcelona is way in the corner so I would fly because you have such a short time.

Book your train passes they are much cheaper when you buy them before the cheap seats run out. Have a great trip!!

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you all for your travel expertise. Based on your comments, I’m thinking of changing my itinerary to the following.

Seville 2 ½ days and 2 nights travel by train in the evening to Granada

Granada 2 days and 2 nights travel by plane in the morning to Barcelona (technically the 3rd day)

Barcelona 3 days and 2 nights travel by train in the evening to Madrid. I’m doing 3 days in Barcelona, so that I can scuba dive one of the days

Madrid 2 day and 2 nights

I’m the type of person that has to be on the go or I’ll get board. I have a hard time sitting around.

Let me know what you think about the above itinerary. I basically decided to only schedule two days in Madrid instead of three.

Posted by
4535 posts

Your itinerary seems good for you. Are you still planning to fly in/out of Madrid? In such a short trip, you waste valuable time flying into Madrid, train to Sevilla and later a train from Barcelona to Madrid. If you haven't already, consider a flight into Sevilla or open jaw with Madrid and Barcelona.

Posted by
83 posts

It sounds like you've drafted a good itinerary for yourself. We spent two weeks on our recent trip to Spain and included the same four cities. We spent four nights in Madrid, but that included two full-day trips to surrounding towns. Two days/nights in Madrid for just Madrid shouldn't leave you feeling cheated. It sounds like your itinerary will work for you especially in light of your recent declaration that you like to be on the go. Enjoy.

Posted by
4 posts

I agree with the above comments...I wouldn't give up Sevilla or Granada for the world! I lived in Sevilla for 6 months and I would make sure to visit the Cathedral, walk up and down the river to see the Torre de Oro and other romanic views, etc. And the Alhambra, in Granada, is the most amazing of all...took my breath away. In my opinion, two of the most romantic cities in the world.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you everyone for all of your help. Great feedback! I think my itinerary is set.

Posted by
182 posts

i think you are good. just got back from spain in march. it was, three nights madrid, two nights barcelona, night train to granada, stayed for two nights, then three nights toledo. do not miss granada or barcelona. the alhambra in granda was a vacation highlight. also the gaudi sights in barcelona will blow you away. it is so different in barcelona versus madrid you won't believe it. maybe not better, but it feels like another country. have fun, be safe.