I am a teacher and must travel in the summer. I am also a flamenco dancer and very excited to visit this area! Our travel is in July and I would love feedback on this time in Granada, Seville, Cadiz and Cordoba. I have read that it is unbearable. I want to enjoy the trip, and am not sure how long we should stay. We have all month available. Thank you for the feedback.
I assume you're referring to the heat in southern Spain in the summer? I was there in June, and it was fairly warm but quite tolerable. I suppose the bottom line is, if that's the only time you have to travel you'll have to make the best of it.
I can't comment on Cadiz or Cordoba, but I'd suggest spending at least 4-5 days each in Granada and Seville. Both have lots of history and many sights to explore. As you like Flamenco, I'd definitely recommend taking in a show at Venta el Gallo in Granada. Many of the hotels sell tickets, and they'll pick you up at the hotel and provide transportation after the show. I didn't have dinner there so can't comment on the food. FWIW, I also saw a Flamenco show in Seville but didn't enjoy it as much as the performance in Granada.
While in Granada, you'll also want to tour the Alhambra and at that time of year I would highly recommend getting reservations WELL in advance. It's also fascinating to tour the Albayzin and Sacromonte areas. For touring in Seville, the magificent Cathedral is definitely worth several hours, as well as the Alcázar.
In order to fine-tune your touring in the places you mentioned, you may want to pick up a copy of the Spain 2014 Guidebook. There's a LOT of good information there that should help with your planning.
It will be hot so make sure your hotel has air. Seville is just gorgeous. I would give at least 4 days for Seville, 2-3 Granada, Cordoba is a daytrip from Seville, and 2-3 nights Cadiz. We did this vacation a few years ago and was one of our all time favorites.
Be very careful with valuables. A big unemployment problem right now in Spain. Don't walk around with a big expensive camera, jewelry, or flashing cash and you'll be fine.
If you have a whole month, you could also include Barcelona if you haven't already seen it. Awesome city.
Contrary to what a previous poster implied, Spain's economic crisis has not affected their crime rate. Unemployment does not automatically mean theft. I have spent a total of nearly six weeks in the past two years in Spain, and I sometimes travel alone there. I carry a camera and use it wherever I want without fear of someone snatching it. Normal precautions like you would use in a city anywhere are all you need.
I love Cordoba and Granada. Not that thrilled with Seville (though the Real Alcazar was one of my favorite things on that trip), but that could have been partly because it was 102 degrees - in May. Do make sure your hotel has a/c.
As a teacher (retired), myself, I understand the problem of needing to travel in the summer. However, I think the previous posters have underplayed the nature of the heat in Andalucia. I was in Seville, once, in mid-June. The temps reached 104 F every day. My travel companion, who had confidently stated that she never napped during the day, quickly came to appreciate the cultural institution of the afternoon siesta. That's how to cope. Get started early in the morning; nap during the most intense heat; and go out again in the evening. Don't even consider doing without AC. BTW, I wouldn't give too much time to Granada. One day for the Alhambra and another for everything else is, in my opinion, sufficient. On the other hand, I'd give Cordoba at least two days.
The geographic area you have defined is relatively small and presents some interesting opportunities. From Seville to Granada is approximately 150 miles = to a 3 1/2 hour drive (I have driven this route). Cadiz and Cordoba are much closer (to Cordoba is 70 miles, a little over an hour drive). So please give consideration to staying at one or two locations for the entire trip. For example you could rent an apartment in/near Seville and day trip from there to Cordoba, Cadiz, Ronda.. etc. Renting a car is ez and can be pretty inexpensive or you could take trains/buses. The point is you can minimize some travel stress by establishing a base to stay within. Long ago we quit using hotels for anything more than a two night stay and have great success with renting apartments. We find apartments to be a better economical deal offering better amenities (more space, a kitchen sometimes W/D) and provide a better opportunity for non-tourist interaction. The internet offers a good selection of apartment rental sites and user feedback is prevalent for helping define your choice. If it was me I would stay in Seville for 10 days and then travel to Granada where I would set up for at least 5 days (assuming taking day trips from this local).
It will be VERY HOT in all locals and assuring yourself of having AC is important.
However, you will have the opportunity to learn how locals deal with the issue of heat................... evening and late night activities are important! Stay hydrated! Repeat stay hydrated! Plan on taking siesta during afternoon hours. During the evenings look for the bars/restaurants that hose down the sidewalk in front of their location (they are helping release the built up heat so the area cools quicker) and look for outside tables located directly against the wall (often there is a vent/window releasing cool air from the basement). Sunscreen is a must.
Unsure if this is your first trip to Spain and where you intend to fly into/out of. With a month at your disposal you could fly into Madrid stay for "X" days and then use RENFE AVE to travel to Seville and then come back on AVE from Malaga. Lots of opportunities to explore. You will get some great advice from folks on this forum.
Our daughter will commence an 8 month study abroad program starting in Alicante in late May and then transferring to Seville in late August so I am curious to other responses you will receive as they may add value to our daughter's travels. Our own travel schedule forces us to be in Andalusia in AUGUST so we definitely will be seeking to stay hydrated!
Take a look at Jerez. When I was there, I had the impression that besides being the sherry capital of the world, it is also the flamenco capital. The Spanish Riding School shows are excellent too. It was quite a pleasant town to stay in for a few days and a good base for day trips to Cadiz and Arcos de la Frontera.
I went in February, because Andalusia is the hottest, driest part of Europe. Summers . . . ugh. Also take into account that Spain, except for Barcelona, is east of the Meridian, but follows Central European time, which means the sun is at its zenith at around 2 p.m. in the summer (DST). The good news is that the Spaniards love ice cubes as much as Americans do - even in February all the cold drinks seemed to come with them.
Like others here, I was much more enamored of Cordoba than Seville. The Alhambra was well worth the time to get to Granada (take the evening tour as well as the day visit), but I wasn't too impressed with the rest of it, albeit it was at the end of my time in Andalusia, so I was a tad "jaded" by the wonders after 3 weeks. Flamenco is different in Granada, so that may be a good reason for you to spend more time there.
I skipped Toledo, because I was afraid it would be too cold, even Madrid was pretty chilly and rainy, but well worth at least 2 days. I did most of my travel by train. I did rent a car for a week to see the pueblos blancos (white villages), El Torcal (probably not a good idea in July), and Antequerra, on a route from Jerez to Granada.