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Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Taiwan
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Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Just got an unexpected break, and am frantically researching and planning about 4-6 weeks in Spain starting late March (yes, in a couple of weeks) or April.

The purpose for this trip is mainly to "recharge" through language and flamenco classes, either in Granada or Sevilla (currently considering doing both), so that I can _live_ and experience the places, and not end up needing a vacation after this vacation.

So, a big chunk of the travel budget will be for the classes, and am already a bit late to get the many early bird low fares (flights, train, etc) so really trying to also watch my budget.

However, since I will be flying in either via Madrid or Barcelona (a 20+ hr flight with 2-3 transfers), I don't want to miss out on the two major cities with so much to offer, but given the time I have and the nature of this trip, I don't want to do the whirlwind thing either, trying to hit all the "must-see" sights.

I'm trying to narrow down "things to do/try" to just experiencing local food, as I love to learn about a place through savoring its traditional cuisine/snacks/drinks. cooking methods, and cookware. With this, of course, I also have to consider adding Valencia to the itinerary (and maybe Jerez...)

I need some suggestions on how I can balance slowly savoring Spain on this trip without feeling I missed out on things, having flown all the way out there...

Also, I will be traveling alone this time, and can use some tips on "dining alone".

I'm not concerned about looking like I am lonely. I'm concerned about wanting to sample all the different things but being only one (small) person it limits me in terms of variety and quantity. (I've read some restaurants who make paella fresh do not serve single portions). I also have to make sure if I sample local wines/beer that I need to still be alert of the surroundings on the way home after the meal. Not knowing just how strong some of the drinks are, I'm not quite sure if I will be able to allow myself to enjoy them.

Any suggestions, tips will be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Alex

Malaga, Spain
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for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
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1. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Alex:

For train travel:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187514-c80518/Madrid…

You can stay one week in Madrid and do day trips to Toledo and Segovia. Read about these day trips in the top questions of the Madrid forum. Since you have so much time, you may also want to see Avila, El Escorial and Salamanca.

Take the train to Cordoba and stay at least 2 days.

Take the train to Granada. Read Buying Alhambra Tickets Online and BOOK EARLY.

Take the train to Seville. A good hotel where I usually stay is the Hotel Becquer.

Take the train to Malaga. Do one day trip to Ronda, another to Mijas and another to Nerja.

You can then take the train to Barcelona or fly there with Vueling.

Here is some info about Malaga:

Malaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol and has beaches, plenty of sunshine (320 days of sunshine a year), and one of the best climates in Spain. It is also one of the most beautiful and relaxing cities in Spain, and 100% Spanish. Malaga has 14 museums (among them the Glass and Crystal Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum, Automobile Museum, and the two Picasso Museums), historic churches (four founded by the Catholic Kings), and monuments that include two castles (Alcazaba and Gibralfaro). The sights are mostly downtown and completely walkable. There are very good restaurants, tapas bars, and nightlife. The city is very safe. The Malaga Park is a very large semi-tropical park and beside it is a new park called the Palmeral de las Sorpresas at the port. Muelle Uno is a new shopping/restaurant complex at the port. The Gardens of La Concepcion are the largest tropical plant gardens in Europe. There are about 1000 buildings from the 19th century downtown, one of the largest and best conserved collections in Spain.

The natives have the great charm of Andalucia and are among the most friendly people in Spain. It is easy to do day trips to the white towns of Ronda, Mijas, and Nerja, since Malaga is the transportation hub of its province. Malaga Airport is the third largest airport in Spain and has direct connections with many European cities. One can take the AVE from Madrid to Malaga. Read the top questions in the Malaga forum.

Shopping is wonderful and most stores are walkable from downtown. Downtown has Calle Larios, Calle Nueva, and Calle Granada and surrounding streets, with many boutiques. El Corte Ingles is a large department store near downtown. Two shopping malls near downtown are the Larios Center and Vialia.

Good hotels in good locations:

5-star: Vincci Posada del Patio

4-star: Hotel AC Malaga Palacio – Good location near Calle Larios. The rooftop restaurant is a romantic place during twilight with a great view of the port.

4-star: Hotel Molina Lario – Good location near Calle Larios with parking. The hotel restaurant Café de Bolsa is a very good restaurant.

4-star: Hotel NH Malaga – Good hotel with a large parking space.

3-star: Hotel Don Curro – Good hotel near Calle Larios.

2-star: Ibis Malaga Centro Ciudad

The Restaurant El Pimpi at Calle Granada, 62, has Andalusian decoration and music and one can have tapas and try Malaga’s sweet wine here. This is the restaurant that celebrities are brought to. Movie stars and members of royalty have all been here.

Malaga was named by Trip Advisor as the 7th best destination in the “Traveler’s Choice 2013 – Top 10 Destinations of Spain” list.

London, United...
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for Costa de la Luz
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2. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Seeing that you are on a budget and visiting for so long perhaps you should research Trip Advisor a bit more becasue it does have many resources to help with accommodation. In Spain you can find Hostal or Pension which are often family run places offering good value.

For example in Madrid you can look at this opening page :

tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotels-g187514-Madrid-Hote…

then search maybe under Best Value or Hotels or B&B. Even in large cities like Madrid or Barcelona you can find some inexpensive places.

Please remember that in April this year you have Easter time and one week of processions and ceremonies in many cities and towns. The week begins on Sunday 13th April and ends a week later. The most important period is later in the week. So if you plan your travels then places like Seville will be incredibly busy as this attracts many people hence accommodation tends to be more expensive. It is worth keeping this in your mind when planning.

One thing about Spain is the number of places where you can find Tapas to eat and often these are small establishments offering a choice of dish to have with your beer or wine or even non alcoholic drinks ! Granada is famous for its free tapas with every drink but other cities also do this. So if you like your food it would be good to study the different Tapas which are basically small tasty dishes and get to learn the translations ! You may find some examples on this web site designed to publicise places to eat in Cadiz Province

http://www.cosasdecome.es/

Refer to recipes from the Province for example - all in Spanish ! Recetas comunes de toda la provincia.

In Seville you find a similar web site - De Tapas - with even a Google map to zoom into your district to discover places !

contenidosabcdesevilla.es/detapas/mapa.html

The flamenco classes is good in Andalucia. Depending on exactly what kind of class you are looking for. I know that in Jerez you will find such class and when staying you have the awesome resource of the "Centro Andaluz de Flamenco" which contains a library and you could get some help here as well but Spanish is spoken !

juntadeandalucia.es/culturaydeporte/centroan…

I would say when in Jerez you can visit other places around such as Arcos de la Frontera a lovely hill "pueblo blanco" reached in about 30 minutes by bus from Jerez. One of my favourite flamenco peñas is at a small place run by the Flores family where every Friday night they put on a performance and the atmosphere especially when busy is terrific. But this type of flamenco peña is common in all the towns and villages in Andalucia especially in Seville and Cadiz Provinces.

For drinking without feeling drunk then order a beer "cerveza sin alcohol" as these days becasue of strict drink driving laws all bars will serve and if you like beer it is the natural safe drink if you are worried. But you should find friends along the way who can guide.

Good luck with the exciting slow tour. You will find that soon you can get into the swing of things !

Taiwan
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102 posts
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3. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Greetings BennyMalaga,

Thanks so much for the detailed and practical itinerary suggestion and travel/lodging info, and for responding so quickly! Sorry for just getting to thanking you right now - had to (still have to) tie up loose ends before taking off for the break...

Malaga sounds like a wonderful place, and I will definitely try to put it in my itinerary. It sounds like a place that would allow me to slowly enjoy _being_ in Spain/Andalusia.

By the way, I had come across your post on Renfe while searching for info prior to posting here, and really appreciated the level of detail and explanation the writer had put into it. So glad to be getting additional travel tips from the writer himself!

My time to research for this trip has been sporadic the past few days, but you've given me clear directions to be a bit more focused in my search for info, and that makes me feel a lot less stressed! Thanks so much!

Cheers,

Alex

Taiwan
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102 posts
75 reviews
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4. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Greetings Cadiz_lover,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful and practical suggestions, information, and festival reminders. You really helped me gain a better perspective on how to prioritize and where I should focus my attention to get my last minute trip going!

About the tapas recipes from all the provinces link: I am getting SOOO hungry just looking at the lists (and counting which ones I'd like to try, and how many a day that will be...). It's very helpful, since I plan to experience Spain through food, to have an idea of what I'd like to try, how to pace myself (or not), and how to budget for everything I want to try.

And yes, now I'm definitely making a stop in Jerez! Thanks so much for your help!

Cheers,

Alex

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
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5. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Alex:

My Renfe article is the result of the collaboration of many people who gave me feedback on their experiences trying to buy Renfe tickets.

Taiwan
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102 posts
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6. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

Greetings BennyMalaga,

I see. :) Thanks for taking the time and effort to organize everyone's Renfe info and experience. Very helpful!

Cheers,

Alex

7. Re: Need suggestions on slow solo travel - fast!

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