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3 weeks in Southern Spain too much (Oct. 2010)?

We have 3 weeks to explore Madrid and points south in Oct. 2010 (Toledo, Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba and white hill towns...skipping the southern coast). We're interested in art, architecture, quaint little towns and real Spanish culture. Suggestions and timing? Thanks!

Posted by
21867 posts

That is the kind of trips I like. I would consider flying into Madrid and home from Malaga. Last New Years we did ten days along the same line and could easily have doubled that. You have the time, I would park in Madrid for few days and day trip to Avila and Segovia before starting the southern swing. Cordoba at best is a day or an overnight on the way to Sevilla. Then down to Jerez, Arcos. Or you could use Sevilla as a base for the hill towns. The bus system in Spain is great and cheap. Don't be afraid to use it.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Frank! Glad you're so close. We're going to rent a car for outside of Madrid. I was thinking a week in Madrid including side trips to Segovia...anything else? Then swinging south to Toledo for 1 or 2 nights.

Would you stay in Cordoba overnight or use Sevilla as a base for several nights?

We like to take things easy, explore the backroads and sink into the culture.

I'm super interested in the white hill towns and don't want to be driving all over the place so a night or so in different ones is fine by me...what do you suggest other than Arcos?

We want at least 3 days in Granada to fully explore the Alhambra and other places there.

Any special places you found? Again...with the car we'll have plenty of flexibility.

Thanks!
Kathryn

ps...if you're up for a phone call, send your number to my email Kathryndhart@aol.com

Posted by
35 posts

Kathryn- we will soon do 2 weeks in Spain southwest, similar to your itinerary,and Barcelona. If we had more time, I would have loved to see the Basque region, Roncesvalles, Estella- by car, some north coast and hills areas- see turismonavarro.es. Also, what looked fascinating to me from my research was the area in Aragon I think,north and northwest of Barcelona in the Pyrenes close to France. tucked away are stone villages in river valleys- looked magical.if you have google earth check it out. Have fun ! georgia

Posted by
49 posts

I did two weeks many years ago starting in Madrid and then flew out of Malaga. Did not sight see much around Madrid but would add Toledo next time. Did head west to Lisbon and not to Barcelona. Still have to get to Barcelona. Lisbon is not that far away and you could to to Lisbon and then Portugues cost and then to Seville. Just have to decide about going west to Lisbon or East to Barcelona.
We did take the ferry over to Tangier for three nights and it was well worth it, but it depends how comfortable you are going over.

Dean

Posted by
4535 posts

With your schedule, Madrid is worth 4-5 days and taking 1 or 2 day trips to Segovia and El Escorial. Toledo is worth at least one night and a day or two. It's a wonderful city and even better when some of the day trippers have left.

Sevilla is worth at least 4 days and is a great city to just relax and enjoy the culture.

With your time allotment, I'd stay overnight in Cordoba. Like Toledo, it's a different city at night and a relaxing place to spend time in.

For me, Grenada is only worth a full day for La Alhambra and a day for seeing the rest of the city. Two nights is all I wanted as the city was not as interesting as the others.

Can't comment on the other places, but staying overnight allows you to really experience the town as the Spanish don't eat dinner until late.

Even with a week to explore the hill towns, you may still find time to hit Barcelona or even Portugal. Barcelona is only a 3-4 hour train ride from Madrid. Portugal is more tricky to get to, but well worth it.

Posted by
6 posts

thanks Douglas! This is really helpful. Staying overnight in Toledo is a good idea instead of daytripping it from Madrid. I had planned for 3-4 days in Grenanda but will now do 3 at most if time permits.

We'll overnight in Cordoba as well...it looks wonderful and spend a bulk of time in Seville.

Again, thanks for your reply.
Kathryn

Posted by
83 posts

We just finished up two weeks in Spain (Barc-Madrid-Sevilla-Granada, with day trips to Toledo, Avila, Segovia) and all I can think is how jealous I am that you're giving yourself three weeks. I agree with Douglas on Granada. We gave ourselves one day for the Alhambra and one day to explore Granada itself, but we were ready to leave after that. We liked the city enough, but it seemed to lack a charm that the other cities had in spades. Segovia was fantastic. The aqueduct is a marvel. We didn't get into the white-hill towns. Hope you enjoy your trip.

Posted by
629 posts

We just returned from almost a month in Spain. We drove around the country for 2 weeks of that month. If you're just interested in the south, we really enjoyed Toledo, Cordoba, Grenada and Sevilla a bit (Spring Fiesta, too busy for us!). White hill towns of Ronda & Vejer were worth visiting. We totally avoided the Costa del Sol but Tarifa is nice and relaxing. Gilbraltar is so close and different that it's well worth seeing once. If you do go as far south as Tarifa - Don't miss the great museum and site of Roman seaside ruins(Baelo Claudia)in Bolonia. Enjoy! Bob

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks so much Bob. Your suggestions are about what I'm looking at...avoid the Costa del Sol and add Jerez for the sherry bodegas and horses.

Did you overnight in Rondo or Arcos? If so, which one (or both) would you recommend the most?

Any suggestions about a favorite hotel in Cordoba, Sevilla or Granada?

many thanks!
kathryn

Posted by
629 posts

In Grenada we stayed at the Caseria de Comares - Check their web site. Nice peaceful place with a pool & underground parking,in a nice area close to football stadium and about a 30 min. stroll to central plaza. Restaurants and a super market close. They booked our Alhambra tickets. In Sevilla we stayed at the Hacienda Veracruz (closer to Carmona). It's a country estate...very nice, check their web site. We drove to Sevilla from here(about 20-30 min) and to Cordova (1 hour). Sounds like a lot but we like driving and the Autovia is excellent. Ronda was nice but we only wondered around for about 4 hours and then moved on. The road from Ronda to the Costa del Sol is quite interesting, lots of curves and hills - more like 1 1/2 lanes than 2!!

Posted by
6 posts

Again, thanks Bob. One other question if you don't mind...which car company did you rent from? I'm assuming you checked out prices and it's been years since we've rented a car in Europe.

Oh...where did you stay in Toledo and would you recommend it?
THANKs!
Kathryn

Posted by
655 posts

Just to jump in here: three weeks is perfect.

Overnight in the old city at Toledo - great idea.

Granada - two days is perfect. Advance tickets a good idea.

Cordoba - To us, it was worth a visit enroute, not more.

Seville - Charming. Don't drive inside the city if you can avoid it. We stayed at Amadeus/LaMusica which is right in the historic area. Once there, no car needed.

Segovia - Great visit - worth at least one overnight.

Auto rental - We used Europcar - they are right in the airport at Madrid so we drove out from there and saved the city visit until the end. Suggest a diesel with AC.

Posted by
629 posts

WE rented through Avis and had it set up from home. Compact diesel Ibiza - couldn't believe the amount of pep it had and easy on fuel. Going up long hills in 5th gear! Make sure that you get unlimited kilometers, don't return it and have an extra charge to pay. We put on 4,169 k in just 2 weeks, dropped it off and had no extra fees. We went to Toledo on a the high speed train from Madrid for a day trip. Would have loved to spend 1 or 2 nights there.