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7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

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Charleston, South...
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7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

We are planning a late November (Thanksgiving week) vacation to Spain, and I have planned our itinerary out. Does anyone have any comments/ tips/ suggestions?

Day 1 (Nov. 18) Arrive in Madrid early in the morning.

Immediately take the AVE Train south to Córdoba. Spend the afternoon at the Mezquita and the Torre de la Calahorra (Possibly the Iglesia de San Miguel as well).

Day 2 (Nov. 19) Spend the morning and afternoon in Córdoba. Visit the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Madinat Al-Zahra, and the Synagoge and just walk around the city. In the evening rent a car and drive to Granada.

Day 3 (Nov. 20) Visit the Alhambra. In the evening drive to Seville.

Day 4 (Nov. 21) In Seville, visit the Alcázar, the Cathedral, the Jardines de Murillo, and the Jewish Quarter.

Day 5 (Nov. 22) Stay in Seville. Visit the Torre del Oro, the Plaza de España, the Parque de Maria Luisa, and the Museo de Bellas Artes. In the evening take the AVE train back to Madrid.

Day 6 (Nov. 23) From Madrid, take the AVE train to Toledo. Spend the day in Toledo. In the evening, take the AVE back to Madrid.

Day 7 (Nov. 24) Walk around old Madrid. Visit the Palacio Real, the Puerta del Sol, and the Plaza Mayor. Visit the Museo de Prado and the Parque del Retiro.

Day 8 (Nov. 25) Leave.

Madrid, Spain
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1. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

My first reaction after reading your itinerary is that you are trying to pack far too many things into too little time! What you are suggesting to do in one day in Madrid alone seems to be too much in my opinion. I am sure it can be done, in a whistle stop way, but you will not get a true appreciation of the Prado or the Palacio Real in the time you have, which is a shame.

ati
cordoba, spain
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2. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Hi Jakob!

Just two things (almost sure you know it...)

- Medina Azahara could take half a day to visit it.

-San Miguel church is beautiful. Not difficult to find as it is in the downtown but... let's say it's a bit 'off the beaten path'. A bit away from the Cathedral and the Calahorra. Forgive me for my curiosity... may I ask you why you want to visit it?

USA
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3. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Oh my, that is quite a packed itinerary! Have you traveled like this before? If so, and you know it works for you and you like it, then ok. If not, I would strongly, strongly suggest you rethink this whirlwind schedule. It really won't allow you to experience any of the cities, or really, many of the sites on your list. You'll have to be in and out too quickly.

Are you arriving in Madrid from Charleston? If so, you'll likely be a bit tired. You'll have to get to Atocha train station (not hard), but you'll also want to schedule your train to Córdoba late enough to allow for some wiggle room should your flight arrive late. Then you'll have the 1.5 hours to Córdoba. I think it might be difficult to really enjoy the sites you want to see that day after so much travel.

You have so much travel time in this trip (1.5 hours to Córdoba after landing Day 1, 3 hours drive to Granada on day 2, 3 hours drive to Seville on day 3, 2.5 hour train to Madrid on day 5, 1 hour train to/from Toledo on Day 6). Are you sure you want to take time almost every day to pack up, travel, find your new hotel, get settled, see some sites, and pack up and check-out the next day?

Charlottesville...
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4. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

My reaction is that this is too much to do in 7 days. Spain is considerably bigger than most people in the US appreciate. The drive from Cordoba to Granada is a solid 3 hours (the route is only about 124 miles but it's not on the bigger roads) which might be very tiring to do after a packed day of sight seeing. Moreover the Alhambra alone is a massive site, with so much to see and do that you can spend the entire day there (assuming you can get entry in the morning). They issue timed tickets and many of the early morning tickets sell out very fast because the cruise ships buy them up in blocks. Even just your one day in Madrid has you doing an enormous amount. You could spend the entire day in the Prado alone.

If you're looking to see everything there is to see as fast as possible, this is a good itinerary. But if you're looking to experience it all, you most likely won't be able to.

Charleston, South...
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5. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Thanks for all of your responses.

@ati: I mean, the main things we want to do in Cordoba are the Mezquita, Madinat Al-Zahra, and the Alcázar. I just put the Iglesia de San Miguel on there as another think I would like to do, but I don't HAVE to go there if it means less time at the "big three" sites.

@oopsy: Yes, the three of us are experienced travelers. My parents have both lived in Europe for about 4 years, and we also lived in Australia for 2. I think we could do it. It would be hectic, but we would still enjoy it.

@wombat1223: Thanks for the info on the Alhambra tickets. That is really good to know. It makes things more complicated though. :/

TO EVERYONE:

Yes, it is a packed itinerary. For some clarity, let me post the top things I want to do in each city, and then you can tell me what you think of it then.

MADRID: Walk around old Madrid (Includes plazas, obviously :/). The Palacio Real. The Prado. The Parque del Retiro.

CORDOBA: The Mezquita. The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Madinat Al-Zahra.

GRANADA: The Alhambra.

SEVILLE: The Alcázar. The Cathedral. The Plaza de España. The Parque de Maria Luisia. (The Jewish Quarter? We would already be there for some of these.)

TOLEDO: TOLEDO!

Thanks!

Charlottesville...
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6. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

For the Alhambra be sure to buy your tickets well in advance. In other words, as soon as you book your flights. That far advanced and you are more likely to get morning entries. If you try to do it just a week or even a month before it's not nearly as likely. There is a link on how to do it in the Granada forum.

For driving in Spain, I recommend picking up a Repsol Guide. You can get these at most bookstores and if you get a previous year's one they will run about 5-10€ but even the newest editions are only about 20€. Not only do they include all the road maps but they also include restaurant suggestions along the routes (and we've never had a bad pick from them!) as well as maps of the cities you'll be getting into and out of. Plan for an extra 1/2 hour to get into and out of every city (except maybe Madrid) in your driving since it's very complicated to drive in and out of the older cities even with good maps and even hotel directions.

Hope you'll have time to rest after your vacation. The day in Madrid alone is enough to knock out most folks!

Charlottesville...
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7. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Oh and one more thing. You will need an international Driver's Permit (you can get them at AAA). Most rental agencies will rent you a car without one (but they don't like to do it). The thing is if you were ever pulled over or heaven forbid in an accident you could get into serious trouble with the police. See the link to the right under transportation regarding driving in Spain.

Charleston, South...
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8. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Yes, we have a day before work/school/ect. starts after we get back. Thanks for the info! We are only driving out of Cordoba, through Granada and into Seville though. We will be taking the train the in and out of Madrid. :)

Charlottesville...
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9. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Repsol will be the way to get into and out of those cities. We've driven that route before and it's a difficult navigation and we're fluent in Spanish as well. Plan on an additional bit of time for each.

Charleston, South...
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10. Re: 7 Days In Spain (TIPS?!)

Ok, thanks!