I’m starting my planning process for a return trip to Spain at the end of June 2014. I’ve been to Barcelona twice and to Andalucía in 2011. On the 2011 trip I visited Seville, Cadiz, Ronda, and Granada. I did not make it to Cordoba and do want to see the Mezquita. I can spend 11 or 12 nights on this trip. Here’s my thoughts on an itinerary.
Chicago to Malaga. Spend 3 nights in Malaga. Arrival day is recovering from jet lag in Malaga. Then on day 2 either exploring Malaga or taking public transportation to Nerja for the day. Day 3 will be either Malaga or Nerja depending on day 2.
Then onto Cordoba for either 2 or 3 nights.
Here’s my questions:
1- What is recommended for Cordoba, 2 or 3 nights?
I really feel like I will need 6 nights in Madrid as this will translate into 5 full days. This would allow for 3 full days in Madrid and 2 day trips.
2-Transportation - On my 2011 trip to Andalucía, I rented a car to go from town to town. This time I am seriously considering using the train to get from Malaga to Cordoba to Madrid and also using the train for the day trips out of Madrid. However, after reading the very comprehensive article on purchasing Renfe tickets, I am a little worried about the luggage situation. My husband and I will each have 1 large suitcase and I’m concerned about how to manage the 2 of them on the train. This then led me to consider hiring a private driver for the transfers between cities (but not the day trips). I haven’t been able to locate any so far and read a post from a few years ago that indicated that this is not very common in Spain. Last summer I hired drivers for getting between Prague and Krakow and Krakow and Budapest and it worked out great. Not really that expensive either. So does anyone have a recommendation for private transports or shall I let this one go and either take the train or rent a car?
A side note on starting and ending cities. I’d really prefer to start in Madrid and end in Malaga but the flight times did not work out.
Thanks in advance for all your help.