Greetings & A Happy Traveling Year!
I need help deciding how to breakdown 10 daysbetween Madrid and Barcelona (8 full days + 2 traveling…or maybe shorten by one day as yen vs euro exchange rate is not helping!). We are flying from Japan to Spain in mid-September, and can start in either city (Madrid might be slightly easier to fly in).
Every year I organise a trip for myself and my students (all aged 60 and up!). This year, we set out sights on Spain (Madrid and Barcelona). A typical Japanese tour package might in 8 days (6 full days + 2 traveling days) cover: Madrid, Cordoba, Carmona, Sevilla, Mijas, Malaga, Barcelona. Even though I am in love with photos of South Spain, I realise that it might be too much to try and add it to the trip. So, I am thinking of Madrid and Barcelona (plus, day trips to Toledo, Segovia (not sure), Montserrat/ Cava vineyards). But once I compare it to how much ground usually Japanese travellers cover, I wonder if I am putting too many days into only two areas (I hope I am not offending anyone). Just for reference, in 2013, we visited Prague (3 days) , Cesky Krumlov (1 day overnight), Salzburg (2 days and Vienna (3 days) and this itinerary was perfect. It was a lot of variety but not too fast paced. THat's what I'd like from the trip to Spain if possible.
For now (very general idea).
Day 2. Madird City Tour
Day 3. Segovia (not sure)
Day 4. Toledo (perhaps overnight if that makes sense)
Day 6. Gaudi Barcelona
Day 7. Montseratt and Cava
Day 8. Barcelona City Tour (la Boqueria market)
Day 9. Fly out of Barcelona at 12.30.
Day 10. Arrive in Tokyo
Does this make any sense? Is it a fair breakdown of days? Is adding a night at Toledo a good idea (Toledo sounds lovely especially in the evenings and after tour buses leave ;) ? Considering the jet-leg and age, should we start with Madrid?
We'll be hiring minibus transfers for city tours and day trips. THe only time we'll use public transportation is AVE to Barcelona. Which city is more walkable --Barcelona or Madrid? I am looking at hotels central areas (which would allow us to cover more ground on foot and also to give a chance to step outside of the hotel and find some nice shops, cafes, just beautiful areas to wander through) in the areas Madrid -- between the Prado museum, Royal Palace and Gran Via area. Barcelona -- Barri Gotic or of Rambla. Am I on the right track in choosing location?
The group is elderly and mostly ladies. So, shopping for souvenirs and earlier dinning options would be a bit plus!
I would greatly appreciate any comments or advice!