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Two weeks in southern Spain

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Two weeks in southern Spain

Hi all, I am looking for some feedback on my mid-May itinerary (below). A bit about us: couple in mid 30's, enjoy history and art (especially in cities - not particularly fond of tiny sleepy villages for extended periods of time). We've been to Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, but not to central, northern or southern spain. We will be traveling by train or bus, not driving.

Proposed itinerary (14 nights on the ground in Spain; flying in and out of Madrid):

Day 1 (Mo) - arrive in Madrid early morning.

Day 2 - 4 (Tu-Th) - Madrid, with a daytrip to Toledo

Day 5-6 (Fr-Sa) - train to Cordoba; Cordoba

Day 7 (Su-Mo) - train to Malaga; Malaga

Day 9 (Tu) - Ronda

Day 10 (W) - Train to Algeciras, then bus to La Linea, Gibraltar. Spend the night in La Linea.

Day 11 - 13 (Th -Sa) - Train to Granada; Granada

Day 14 (Su) - train back to Madrid

Day 15 (Mo) - early morning flight back home.

So in summary: Madrid 4 nights, Cordoba 2, Malaga 2, Ronda 1, Gibraltar 1, Granada 3, Madrid 1.


Is 2 nights in Cordoba a good amount of time? Too much? Is 3 nights in Granada reasonable?

I'd like to see Ronda (or more generally some white hill town), but is spending the night reasonable?

One could imagine arranging days 9 through 11 differently: go from Malaga to Algeciras/La Linear/Gibraltar. Spend the night there, then stop over in Ronda on the way from Algeciras to Granada (either as a day stop or overnight). Is there a reason to prefer one alternative over the other?

Gibraltar seems difficult to reach and I'm not certain I've placed it in a logical order with respect to the other places we want to visit. Is there a better order?

We're skipping Seville; huge mistake? (Usually I assume that this won't be our last trip to a particular place, but my vegetarian wife is somewhat hesitant to return if it turns out she's going to have a tough time finding meat-free food).

If you had to get rid of one destination to add another or to extend the amount of time elsewhere, which might those be?

Huge thanks!

Olvera, Spain
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1. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain

If I had to get rid of one it would most definitely be Gibraltar. Perhaps you could consider going from Córdoba into Sevilla to transfer onto a train to Ronda and spend the La Linea night there instead. I hope you get to return as Sevilla needs at least a three night stay.

Saludos. Lindsay

London, United...
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2. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain

Was recently in La Linea and visited Gibraltar taking a tour of the famous rock and seeing the sights and the town then walked back over the frontier and stayed at the nearest hotel called ASUR which was sort of OK. Handy for the bus station for sure and the border. Gibraltar is a fascinating mixture of characters and almost impossible place not to enjoy if you like the history and the unique position of the place.

Anyway having thought a bit more about your ideas, they all are good and I am thinking that you do wish to spend some time on the coast and see Malaga. And of course Seville is one place I would try to fit in even if you go for one complete day and visit the Real Alcázar and Cathedral and Barrio Santa Cruz. You could do this from Cordoba by the way using the fast train in under one hour.

Now I will suggest some alternative plan.

From Cordoba take the train to Ronda. This is the train which goes from Madrid to Algeciras via Cordoba and Ronda. Leaves at 10.39 and you make lunch in Ronda. Then if you like continuing take the second Madrid to Algeciras train leaving at 18.58 and get to Algeciras by 20.30. Mid May will still be light by the time you arrive and you have a nice train ride down through the hills. Bags can be stashed at the Ronda bus station which is a few minutes walk up from the rail station.

Then either take a taxi at around €30 to La Linea hotel or you can easily use a local bus from the San Bernado bus station on the other side of the roundabout from the train station. This takes about 35 to 45 minutes and times on :


Then after La Linea take the bus along the coast to wherever you wish to stay either Estepona or Marbella or Malaga. The La Linea bus station is not the best I have seen but you can buy tickets here.

Malaga is the most convenient place to take the bus up to Granada taking up to 2 hours. https://www.alsa.es

Then from Granada you can train back as planned. (There is a bus alternative as back up)

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3. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain

Having just sent the above message I received an update on the UK / Spain / Gibraltar situation. Worth a read for anyone interested in the ongoing matter.


And if you enjoy Gewurztraminer as your name suggests look out for a Verdejo grape wine or better still an Albariño from Galicia.

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4. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain

my first trip to Spain was last November. We flew into Madrid and out of Malaga.

We were in Madrid during a garbage strike...awful. But still, I liked the city a lot. We did four days (no day trips) and were never bored. I would stay the Friday in Madrid (fri/sat were the most busy and fun in the evenings there) and leave just one day for Cordoba (we had two days and found one would have been fine, too).

We were in Malaga for the afternoon and evening before our early morning flight. I would choose to spend two nights in Seville rather than Malaga.

I loved Granada and advice is typically to spend two days there but I'd have loved a third day, as you've planned, to explore more.

Veggie food...be prepared! Look up some places as options before you go. I was a vegetarian for 20 years (ovo-lacto) but introduced fish recently so I still look at a menu with a veggie's eyes. There are veggie options, especially if eggs and dairy are ok, but in casual places I found the menu very much the same (lots of ham, cheese, fish and seafood). Some places have the typical dish of spinach with chick peas, or mushrooms-based tapas, etc but sometimes the only option is a cheese sandwich (good cheese on a fluffly bun with no condiments) and that can get tiring very fast. So just jot down a few veggie-friendly places in each place.

Bar Santos, facing the Mezquita in Cordoba has tortilla (if eggs are ok) salmorejo (they use egg and ham bits as garnish), grilled peppers were all great.

El Ambigu, on Feria street in Seville has some unusual veggie-friendly tapas. Everything we tried was delicious.

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5. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain

Wow, thank you all for the very insightful replies. Definitely giving me some great ideas for how to revise this plan.

@Cadiz_lover: Thanks for the wine suggestions! I have been learning a bit about Spanish grape varietals, but unfortunately our local wine stores mainly stock Garnacha, so I look forward to trying a few others.

Malaga, Spain
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6. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain


For train travel:


I would skip Gibraltar. It is mostly a shopping town.

Seville is not to be missed because it is the most important city in Andalusia.

You can do a day trip to Ronda from Malaga. No need to spend a night there.

Read Buying Alhambra Tickets Online and BOOK EARLY.

Edited: 03 April 2014, 05:46
7. Re: Two weeks in southern Spain

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