My wife and I, early 50’s empty-nesters and active, are just starting the planning of a 17 day trip to Spain in September 2012. I need help with itinerary suggestions, methods of travel between destinations, and hotel recommendations. Here is our bucket list:
• Arrive Madrid (probably 3-4 nights)
• Cordoba (1 night or stop for day along the way?)
• Seville (probably 3-4 nights)
• Granada (2 nights)
• Ending in Barcelona (definitely 4 nights) Fly out.
As far as interests go, we are not enthusiastic about art galleries, museums, or anything with hordes of tourists (like the Vatican in Rome). Most importantly, we like meeting locals, wining and dining, seeing the sites, taking hikes, seeing castles, etc. We love people watching, and just "soaking up the ambience" by exploring the area on foot or using local busses. We also want to relax at a few beaches along the way.
Here are the questions:
• Are we spending the reasonable amount of time in each place?
• Are we missing any “got-to-see places”?
• What method of travel do you suggest; rental car, train, combination?
• Does that circle route (Madrid counterclockwise to Barcelona) work?
• Is this “doable” in 17 days at a relaxed, not frantic, pace?
• Is September a good time to visit? (We are flexible with time – could do late April into first week of May)
Also, any hotel suggestions, recommended restaurants (reasonably-priced) for views, ambiance, or just romantic, would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!