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Need Help with October 2010 Spain Itinerary

I've posted before but my plans keep changing! Now, I'm set to fly into Madrid and spend 10 full days and nights before flying out of Barcelona. Have 3 nights booked in Barcelona so that leaves 7 more nights.

I'm the type of traveler that'll spend only 2 hours in the Prado to spend 4 hours on self guided walking tours. So I'm trying to divide my time between Madrid (with overnight in Toledo), Barcelona, and Andalucia.

Should I do both Seville and Granada with my time, or should I skip one? If so, which one? Would I regret missing the Alhambra?

Posted by
9110 posts

Skip neither and add Cordoba; no matter what it takes.

If you can arrive in Granada late in the afternoon or early evening, you can see the Alhambra and be on you way the following afternoon. Do the same type of thing with Cordoba, and spend all the rest of the time you have left in Sevilla.

Posted by
21709 posts

Yes !!! My personal choice would be the Alhambra. The Alhambra is unique. While I would hate to miss Sevilla, but of the two that would be my choice.

Posted by
24 posts

Ed, based on your post would you think 2 nights Madrid, 1 night Toledo, 2 nights Seville (maybe squeeze in Cordoba on the way to Seville), and 2 nights Granada makes sense?

Posted by
811 posts

I'd like to start by adding the disclaimer that my huband and I are not known to be "slow travelers."

But I think it may be possible to see it all, if not just a little bit rushed.

You may consider doing something like:

First 3 nights in Madrid (and only do a day trip to Toledo to minimize changing hotels)

Train from Madrid to Seville for 2 nights (*make that a morning train if you stop in Cordoba, see below)

Afternoon/evening train or bus to Granada and stay for 2 nights

Fly to Barcelona for the last 3 nights (we flew that route in reverse and used Vueling airlines).

*If you were really a glutton for punishment, then you could do like Ed suggested and stop in Cordoba en route to Sevilla to see the Mezquita (which I actually liked better than the Alhambra!).

It's a lot packed in, but I think it would be do-able. Remember that if you do go to Granada, make sure to make your reservations for the Alhambra in advance.

Good luck!

Posted by
9110 posts

Brandon,

You're asking me to go where I don't know how; I drive everywhere and could punch them out in a heartbeat. Timing and transportation are the issues; and I ain't the guy for that.

Here's what I think about time in each on a pushed schedule: Granada 7 hrs; Cordoba 5 hrs;

Sevilla two days; Toledo 6 hrs; Madrid two days min.

I can't connect the dots. The rest of the crowd can.

Posted by
24 posts

This message board is great! I've posted on other message boards and they think I'm nuts!

The plan I had in mind, and I guess just looking for positive reinforcement, was:

2 nights, 3 days in Madrid
Evening AVE train to Toledo, night in Toledo
Evening AVE train Toledo-Madrid-Seville

Two nights in Seville, two nights Granada
Flight Granada to Barcelona
3 nights Barecelona, flight home

I guess the other thing I was considering was landing in Madrid and going straight on to Andalucia. I could do Madrid on my next European trip (I hope to Lisbon). Any thoughts?

Posted by
4555 posts

Brandon...that sounds like a pretty good schedule! You've got four nights in Andalucia....a good chance to "sample" the culture. I wouldn't give up Madrid for any more days there this trip.

Posted by
4555 posts

I would also suggest you get tickets to the Alhambra at their ticket sales website. It's the most popular tourist attraction in Spain, but admission is severely limited, so you wouldn't want to get there and find tickets sold out. They usually put them on line in 3 or 4-month blocks, so maybe start checking in July.

Posted by
478 posts

Brandon - You have a good itinerary. We enjoyed the same itinerary in reverse with a couple of extra days in both Madrid and Barcelona for day trips as we had more time.

By the way, we spent exactly two hours at the Prado and were satisfied that we saw all the highlights.

The Alhambra is the place to linger - but as Norm suggested do book your tickets ahead of time. There were long lines in mid-October when we went and we were quite happy that we didn't have to wait.

Posted by
24 posts

Unfortunately, our return flight is booked out of Barcelona and my wife has her heart set on seeing it. Barcelona is the reason we were originally traveling to Spain...now its the place I'm least looking forward to. I'll just have to go back to Spain and do it again!

Posted by
24 posts

You have all been so helpful and I'm very grateful! I hope I'm not being too much of a nag if I pose one more question...

Seeing how I hope to go to Lisbon in the future, would it be wise to save Seville for then to give me an extra night in Granada? That way, I could do Lisbon, Seville, and White Hill Towns on that future trip. Looking at the map it looks like that could work.

Thanks again!

Posted by
4555 posts

You COULD take your final option...spend an extra day in Madrid and in Granada if it works out that way. Just remember that there are only 2 trains per day from Madrid to Granada, with the last leaving Atocha station at 5:05 pm...you'll arrive at around 9:30 pm.
Also, take note of these two points for your next trip, before finalizing this trip.
A) Public transportation between Lisbon and Sevilla is not great, so you'll have to allot yourself most of a day to make that journey.
B) Renting a car is the best way to see the 'white villages,' so either rent a car in Lisbon and end up back there (to avoid horrendous drop-off charges) or get a car in Sevilla and drop it off somewhere else in Spain.

Posted by
4555 posts

And, if I may be blunt, I'd sacrifice time in Barcelona to maintain a visit to Sevilla.

Posted by
2 posts

If you buy your Alhambra tickets online, make sure you know your pin for your credit card. You will need it to access them for pick up!

Posted by
4555 posts

Lana...can't you just go to the ticket pickup window and show your credit card?

Posted by
147 posts

in answer to the last question, here is a copy/paste from the website where you buy tickets online for the Alhambra:

"Additional information
Bookings: One person cannot reserve or withdraw more than 10 tickets, and similarly the maximum number of tickets that can be reserved with the same credit card is limited to 10.

Authorisation collection of tickets: the photocopy of the ID card and a note that shows the name, ID card number and card of the cardholder (last 5 digits), the name and ID number of the authorised person and the ticket reference is essential.

Entry is free for the under-12s but the ticket must be obtained at the same time as all the others. All visitors must carry a ticket."

Posted by
4555 posts

Yeah, basically ID to tell them who you are, the credit card you used to purchase, and the reference number of your order confirmation. They've put automatic ticket machines in at the Alhambra, but I've never used them. I was just hoping they hadn't eliminated the ticket pickup window...since there's never any lineup there!

Posted by
24 posts

Does anybody recommend going to the Alhambra at night? Its mentioned in the Rick Steves book. It signs pretty cool, and the lines would be down. That really frustrated us about Versailles when we visited Paris last year...so many people! Of course I'd probably go see the gardens and other sights during the day time and just leave the palace for night.

Posted by
4555 posts

To me, the most interesting parts of the Alhambra are inside, or mostly so....so seeing them in daylight is the way to go. There are crowds, but since ticket sales are limited to only so many per day, the crowds don't get out of control. As well, there is a half-hour time slot printed on each ticket....that's the slot by which you MUST begin your tour through the Nazrid palaces, the jewel of the whole site. So that limits the number of people flowing through the place at once.
The Alhambra at night from the outside is magnificent. Pick a nice restaurant in the Albaycin, up-hill from Plaza Nueva, and you'll see why it's called Alhambra ("Red Fortress.")

Posted by
147 posts

I'm going to go both during the day and at night based on what I've read. the palace sounds like it would be lovely at night and we'll be in Granada 2 nights so thought this would be a great start to our 2 days there to see the palace at night.