Plan to be in Spain this year - mid May. I will be travelling with my wife & daughter. We have travelled across Italy & travel light - backpacking. Here is the itinerary that we have planned. However we found it difficult to find the details of rail travel for finding the right travel passes (have read that there were about 40% discount for bookings 2 weeks in advance).
Would be landing in Barajas at around 9 am.
Day 1 to 4 - Madrid.
Day 5 - Cordoba
Day 6 & 7 - Seville
Day 8 - Granada
Day 9 - Barcelona (Flying from Granada is cheaper than train ?)
Day 10 to 12 - Barcelona
Day 13 Fly out of Spain.
Appreciate your suggestions/opinions. I have planned for 3 days each in Madrid & Barcelona with 1 day extra for short Day-Trips. Here again we need your help on making our choice.
Spain is a large and very varied country. It would help a lot if you told us what sort of things you are interested in. From your present itinerary, I would guess that you like big cities and trains and are not interested in scenery, mountains, beaches, forests or small towns and villages. Is that a fair assessment?
I checked a few things for you, train from Granada to Barcelona takes 11hrs15min.. cost adult is59.40 child 35.65.. for flights depending on your date, is relatively cheap.. I looked at the 8th of may for example and it was 20 euros in change per person..
For more info, check the Renfe website for trains and for flights, check air europa. Flight is about 1.5 hours.. so it is definitely worth flying it time is an issue... Just a hint, if you are planning on going to the Alhambra in Granada, book your tickets well ahead of time over the internet as they only allow so many people in per day, and you will get shut out if you don't have a ticket. Another thing about the tickets for the Alhambra, you can arrive at any time for your entry, but there is a specific time that you book for one of the palaces..you must be at the door in line for your time slot or you may be turned away.. I try and limit the number of people going thru the main palace. When you book that ticket, you book the palace entry time.. All of the other buildings you can come and go as you please.
Hope this helps.. Keep in mind, you are only an hour from the coast when you are in Granada, and there are direct inexpensive buses to Salobreña which is a beautiful little white washed village on the coast..there are also 2 or three other in close proximity..Check out my blog for photos of the Salobrena area
Cheers and I hope this helps Marty
That should have read..they try and limit the number of people accessing the palace not me..lol cheers
Hi Paul - Fair acessment. My understanding is that if I am looking for the Mountains, Beaches & Forests, it would for me & my family imply - taking more time in these places. My purpose of going to Spain is to know more about the people living there - the Museums, the Churches & Cathedrals - places of worship - the Opera & Concert houses - the Music .... hope you get my point. (Moreover we have just recently had a tour of the Himalayas).
Marty - Thanks a lot. The Renefe website gives specific info & is helpful. I for now want to get a general idea - still trying to sort out my preferences. Your point on the Alhambra has been very sincerely noted. .
However, to both of you, is the Itinerary ok ? We are interested in 'walking tours' and each of these places have fairly interesting arrangements stated in the web. Want to know - are they really worth it OR should I go for more specific sightseeing ?
Perhaps I'm not the best person to advise you then, as cities don't press my buttons at all. However, trying to look at it from your point of view, I would suggest:
Trim down Madrid. It's just a capital city. Royal Palace is worth a visit, plus the Prado and Thyssen museum.
Give Granada more time. The Alhambra is stunning (I concur the advice from Marty re tickets) and there are all sorts of other worthy places to see in the Albayzín.
Tim given to the other places is about right. You are going to see a lot of railway stations and/or airports though.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Thanks again Paul. Have thought about a day trip to Toledo.
Had originally thought of a trip to Toledo and then continue down to Cordoba. However, from the information available to me, I think I have to return to Madrid.
We are still open to the idea of a exploring other places like Cuenca or to Segovia.
As for Madrid, we do not think we can afford to miss Prado or the Reina Sofia - for our love of the Great Spanish painters, both - the Renaissance & of the Modern era. Cannot really Imagine ourselves in Madrid without seeing "Guernica" !!
[ Edit: Edited on 07-Feb-2012, at 11:28 by Arunava ]
Arunava, yes it is much better to return to Madrid. the train to Toledo takes just half an hour. And if you want to take the AVE to Cordoba, you will need to get back to Atocha Station in Madrid. Cuenca is about 2,5 hours away from Madrid, so as a daytrip it might be a bit too far. Segovia by AVE is 30 minutes, but the new station of the AVE is further away from the old town.
If you like a more quiet place, you can take a look at taking a daytrip to El Escorial, the Monastry / Castle in the mountains, about 1 hour away from Madrid, by train (cercanias.) depending on the time you will need to make a stopover at Villalba for this. For the opportunities on daytrips and things to see in Madrid I would not trim it down at all. You can however leave Madrid, early for Cordoba (by AVE it's 1.45 h.) see the city, the mosq and the surroundings, and head to Sevilla early in the evening (just 45 minutes.)
I don't know the set up of your trip, but you can check the timetable as the Prado and the Reina Sofia, for the times when you can visit for free. At least that is the case everyday after 6 for the Prado, and on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning for the Reina Sofia. Keep in mind that the Prado is closed on Mondays, and I believe the Reina Sofia as well.
Also keep an eye out for the cheaper tickets if you are planning to travel by AVE. You can buy seats 62 days upfront from the Renfe website. That's when the cheaper tickets get sold, so you have to be quick.
For sure fly Granada to Barcelona, as that will be the best option.
[ Edit: Edited on 07-Feb-2012, at 15:20 by Herr Bert ]
Have been discussing your suggestions with my family.
Do I miss much if I cancel Sevilla an go to Granada from Cordoba ? By donig that, I can arrive at Cordoba in the evening, spend the night there, have the whole of next day at Cordoba and leave for Granada in the evening (Actually we have 3 extra days then). The Barcelona schedule remains intact. Your suggestions please
Could you suggest one small town for those 3 days...... or may be 3 days before we go south from Madrid
It's entirely a personal opinion, but I would skip Seville and opt for extra time in or around Granada. I'd suggest a day for the Alhambra, a day for the various things to see around the Albayzín and that leaves a day to take a look at the Sierra Nevada or the Alpujarras.