spain

We will be arriving in Barcelona and renting a car for 10 days in April. We have been to Barcelona before so will leave the day of arrival ending in Madrid to drop off the car at the airport. We plan to drive to Granada sightseeing along the coast then head to the white hill towns and Ronda, Seville and perhaps Toledo before ending in Madrid. What are some must see towns along the way or a great itinerary? Thanks for your help.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

Hopefully, you got a heck of a deal by flying into Barcelona. If not, you may well have screwed up. If you're hoping to drive along the Med, or anything close to it, you're going to have al ternating views of condos, commercia/industrial areas, and dusty cross-roads that may or may not have a gas station. You have two choices with any merit at all: * Push as hard as you can that first day. If you can make it to Granada (about nine hours) do it. If not, try for either Castellon or Valencia and get an early start the next day. Just get it done. * Swing up through Zaragoza and down along the eastern side of Madrid enroute to Granada. If you have a couple or three days, there's plenty to see along the way. With ten days, you're going to need every bit you can wring out of it for Andalucia and the rest. With a direct shot to Granada, it's going to stiff you about a hundred bucks for gas and whatever you figure for meals and lodging. There are no road tolls. What's it cost to change the tickets and gain a couple of days you can use effectively? That's not the answer you were looking for, but it's unsugar-coated, albeit condensed. And it ain't like I've just been through there a few times. Hopefully, you'll get some conflicting opinions.

Posted by carolyn
san diego, Ca
4 posts

Thank you ED for your good thoughts. We arrive in Barcelona by cruise ship from Ft. Lauderdale. Perhaps we should fly from Barcelona to Granada then pick up the car after seeing Granada. Or perhaps we should depart the ship early when in the port of Cadiz. Anyway, we have some ideas to contemplate. thanks.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7976 posts

Cadiz!!!! I don't know much about cruises, but I suspect the only intervening stop would be Cartagena. It's not the mess it was a long time ago, but it's sure not worth a detour. Nobody seems to talk about Cadiz, but it's neat. There's a Europcar joint right across from the cruise terminal. The old part of town is just to the north at the tip of the peninsula. You can walk around most of it in a couple of hours. Eat caracoles before you hit the road. You'll have to restructure your track a bit, but Arcos is less than an hour away, Ronda less than two. It's probably four over to Granada and the drive a lot better looking than what you were considering before.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7209 posts

It may be a good idea to get off in Cadiz. I wasn't hugely impressed with Cadiz. It's arguably the oldest city in Europe - dating back to the Phoenicians - but isn't that impressive. My father-in-law was there during Carnival and loved it, so maybe I'm not doing it justice. Places I liked: I really liked Jerez. It's rare in the sense that you can tour Bodegas without reservations. Most Bodegas around Spain only give tours or tastings with advance appointments. I was pleasantly surprised by Tarifa. It was a much nicer town than I was expecting. I expected a fairly seedy place to catch a ferry to Morocco, but it's actually a nice little town with some great cafes. There is also nearby Baello Claudia Roman ruins. You can also stop for a day in Gibraltar to see the tunnels and monkeys - and a little slice of Britain. We liked Ronda. With a car I'd stop in nearby Antequera to see the passage tombs that date back 5-20 thousand years (the museum and tombs are free), they're not far out of the way toward Granada. Turn in your car in Granada, train to Seville. After Seville, make a day stop in Cordoba on your way to Madrid. If you still have time, you can connect back to Toledo from Attocha station (where you arrive from Cordoba/Seville). If you have a little wait, the Prado museum is about four blocks away. When you fly out, you can train back to Attocha and take the nearby metro to the airport (or other transport if that doesn't work for you). This is still too much. I'd get the car in Cadiz, stay a night in Jerez, a night in Ronda, 2 nights in Granada (Alhambra one day, Sambra one evening), 2 nights in Seville (Cathedral/Alcazar one day, Flamenco one evening), 2 nights in Toledo and 2 nights in Madrid (if you haven't been to Madrid, otherwise use those nights elsewhere, an extra night in Granada and a night in Cordoba).

Posted by courtney
London, UK
68 posts

Hello i agree with ED and FLY. have a look on vueling.com as they fly from barcelona to granada and tickets depending on when you are traveling in april can start around 50 euros. i think that would be much better then the long drive and petrol that would be spent and a hotel that you would have to stay in if you didnt complete the drive in the 9 or 10 hours it would take.

Posted by carolyn
san diego, Ca
4 posts

Thanks Brad for you insights. We definitely have decided to depart the ship in Cadiz and rent a car there. We are thinking about keeping the car for 12 days until we get to Madrid. Therefore we can sight see along the way and stop whenever we want.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
399 posts

Carolyn - be sure to check with your cruise ship that disembarking in Cadiz will be allowed. There are rules that must be followed.

Posted by H J
LaGrange, Ga, USA
923 posts

In some of the towns (Toeldo I know) you can NOT drive your car into the city proper, but must park in lot outside the city and take a shuttle bus in. Just be aware of this when making reservations. Also, the mere fact that you purchase a confirmed ticket on Vueling airlines does not mean that you will necessarily be on that flight. I had them cancel two flights on me last last spring! Other than that it is a good plane. Have fun whatever your route.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

I just got back from a 3-week trip. I visited everywhere you mention except Toledo. Cordoba was my favorite, with Ronda second. Granada is a nightmare to drive in, because the major streets are all torn up, so there are many detours and temporary closures and one-way streets. If you are going to drive in Granada, be sure to get precise driving directions from locals - like your hotel. It didn't look like any of it would be finished very soon. Some of the hill towns were a real challenge for me, because the streets are very steep up/downhill, very narrow, and with sharp turns. Unless you are going to pay premium prices, you will almost certainly have a manual transmission. I didn't find that a problem, but I did drive stick shift cars for some 15 years before switching to automatics.