How to divide time in Spain

Hi!
I need advise here... My husband and me are going to spend 11 full days in Spain (I'm not counting here flight days). We have 3 days for Madrid and 3 days for Seville. The remaining 5 days, which would be the best way to divide them? We would like to to Toledo, Seville, Cordobe, Grabada and Ronda. WE KNOW THERE IS NO WAY to visit all of them in 5 days... thats why we need advise on which places to choose for these 5 days. Additional info: we are arriving at Madrid, leaving Barcelone. THANKS!!!

Posted by Frank
Pineville, NC, USA
34 posts

Can you clarify? You said 3 days in Madrid and 3 days in Sevilla but make no mention of Barcelona which is where you are departing from. You also list Sevilla again as one the cities you would like to visit in the 5 extra days you have. I assume you meant 3 days in Madrid and 3 days in Barcelona and look for 5 days to fill in between. Although I loved Sevilla, given the time frame you have, heading to Sevilla is going in the completely opposite direction from Madrid to Barcelona. You also have to factor in travel days so your 5 days are probably only 3 days. Ronda is also charming but should be last on your list of those cities. I would go from Madrid to Cordoba and spend at least one full day in Cordoba to see the beautiful Mosque in Cordoba, then head to Granada and also spend at least one full day there to see the Alahambra. From there I would head to Barcelona. Barcelona is worth 4 days so instead of trying to "rush" Sevilla or Ronda you are probably better off spending an extra day in Barcelona. Use the extra day to go see Monserate.

Posted by Frank
Pineville, NC, USA
34 posts

I forgot about Toledo. You could probably do Toledo in a single day as a day trip from Madrid via train, so maybe consider 4 days in Madrid with the side trip to Toledo.

Posted by H J
LaGrange, Ga, USA
923 posts

From Madrid (3 days) I would go overnight to Toledo...Posada da Manolo, by the Cathederal. it is 25 minutes via AVE from the Atocha station. Return the next day to Madrid and go directly to Cordoba - same Atocha station. Spend the day there and then on to Sevilla. Cordoba is about 2 hours from Madrid don the AVE, and Sevilla about 30 minutes south of Cordoba on the same AVE lije. Two days in Sevilla. With the remaining two days, a side trip to ONE of the other areas. Remember, you must get to Barcelona to the airport. From Madrid via AVE it is 2 1/2 hours, then another hour to the airport by the time you get to the other train line,etc, in the same station, Sants.

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
1012 posts

I've been to Spain many times, and IMHO you haven't been to Spain unless you've seen the Alhambra in Grenada. Again, I've also been all over Europe, and this is one of Europe's most majestic sites, IMHO. You can fly from Madrid to Grenada and spend two nights! Make sure you make reservations in advance, as they sell out. Plan on spending the entire day. You can fly from Grenada to Barcelona for several days before departure. That's just a 'rough sketch' Alternatively, you can take the train from Madrid, and spend one night and a day in Seville and bus to Granada. After several trips, I've decided that I like Seville but love Granada. If you are Jewish, you will definitely want to see Toledo because there is a magnificent Synagogue there, and of course the El Greco paintings. If you're never going to return to Spain, I'd see: Madrid, Seville, Grenada and Barcelona and leave the other cities off the list. With only 11 days and allowing for travel time which takes almost a full day, even three cities is too much, but it can be done.

Posted by Kathy
Seattle
34 posts

I agree with Donna. All the cities mentioned are great, but Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, and Madrid are must-sees (in that order, IMO.)

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Veronica, I'd suggest splitting the five days between Granada and Barcelona, as both are fantastic. You could easily spend the entire five days in either one. I was in Spain in June, and visited Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Ronda, Granada and Seville (and brief stops in La Mancha and Grazalema). Although they're all very beautiful, I think Granada was my favourite, and I agree with a previous comment that the Alhambra is a definite "must see" there. I also enjoyed an incredible Gypsy Flamenco show in Granada, along with two Segway tours. While in Seville, you might consider one of the incredible walking tours with Concepción Delgado. They're extremely interesting and well worth the cost! I believe her website is www.sevillawalkingtours.com/ (as I recall the cost is €15 PP for the City Walks tour). Note that for visits to the Alhambra, you'll have to obtain time-specific reservations. Details on getting those are in the Spain Guidebook. ¡Buen viaje! / Bon viatge!

Posted by Veronica
San Juan, PR, US
69 posts

Thanks everyone of you!!!
Ken: as Frank said, it was my mistake, Bwe end our trip with the 3 days on Barcelone, son the 5 remaining would be the ones to be divided between Seville, Toledo, Cordobe, Granada and Ronda or Arcos.

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
1012 posts

Ken is one of our most learned bloggers here, so pay attention! His advice re Concepcion Delgado's tours of Seville is spot on!! She gave one of the best tours I've ever been on anywhere in Europe. I DO hope you get time to go to the Alhambra in Granada, though! I firmly believe it's the Most Important Site in Spain! (And don't forget those reservations.)

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2391 posts

5 days is just enough time to visit Granada and Sevilla and probably squeeze in a daytrip to Toledo. As mentioned, Toledo is a short train ride from Madrid. While it is well worth spending the night there, many people prefer to avoid constantly moving hotels so a daytrip might work best in your case. It would pretty much mean adding an extra day to Madrid. Granada requires at least one overnight and two full days. If you book a morning reservation for La Alhambra, you can do that on your second day there. Spend the morning of your first day traveling and have the afternoon to explore the city. Visit Alhambra the next morning and a little more exploration that afternoon before taking a bus to Sevilla. Spend two full days in Sevilla and fly to Granada (or take the AVE). You can switch Granada and Sevilla and fly to Barcelona from Granada (there is no AVE).

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7211 posts

My two cents: skip Madrid except for a day stop between Toledo and Barcelona to see the Prado (easy walk from Atocha station) for a few hours. Fly directly into Granada. Granada needs three nights, two full days to see the Alhambra (most of one day) and the many other sights. Seville's best is easy walking around the Cathedral and Alcazar. They can be seen in one full day, two nights, but I'd prefer more if I could get it - especially in April Fair or Holy Week (we stayed four nights during April Fair and wished we could stay longer). Cordoba, on your schedule, makes a nice half day stop to see the Mesquita and surrounding quarter. Toledo is a great medieval city and worth a night without tourists (plus you can find better, and cheaper lodging, than Madrid). Barcelona will be rushed in three nights but is probably about right, on your schedule. I don't love Madrid. The city is new by European standards so there isn't much history or interesting architecture there IMO. The Prado is a must see. There are also lots of nice green spaces, if you have time to relax and enjoy them - which it doesn't seem you will.

Posted by LaRae
spokane
472 posts

I could repeat Brad's suggestions exactly. Don't miss Granada. If you could add a couple days to Barcelona I would be doing daytrips from there. Didn't care for Madrid. Cordoba was ok. Wouldn't make it a priority. Seville is so awesome.

Posted by Veronica
San Juan, PR, US
69 posts

Brad &laRae, dou you think 3 days is too much time in Madrid?

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2391 posts

Based on their responses, I don't think they would recommend spending so much time in Madrid. But the key thing is how much time do YOU want to spend in Madrid? Do you love art - enough to spend hours in museums? If yes, Madrid is worth several days just for all the art museums. The city has a lively nightlife and restaurant scene. It has great parks and plazas. But as mentioned, it lacks some of the "old world charm" that cities like Sevilla and Granada have. Many people spend some of their "time" in Madrid taking daytrips to places like Toldeo and Segovia. Other people love it.