Going to Spain! (tips, suggestions, etc. appreciated)

I mentioned in someone else’s thread a while back that CrazyCatLady and I are going to Spain next month. Since it’s finally getting close enough that we’re making real plans I thought I’d open it up to suggestions.

We’ve decided to stick to the southern part of the country, since we only have ten days or so. (We’ll probably do northern Spain + southern France on our next trip.) The schedule I have in mind goes something like:
–Two nights in Madrid
–Three nights in Seville
–One night in Jerez (CCL wants to see the horses, and there’s sherry)
–Three nights in Granada (including a visit to the Alhambra)
–and one night back in Madrid before we fly out.

All subject to change, of course. Anyplace else we shouldn’t miss? Specific things to do/places to stay/stuff to eat in those places?

If you’re already in Andalusia, permit me to strongly recommend Cordoba. There’s a high speed rail link connecting it to Seville and Madrid, so it shouldn’t be hard to get there for a day or two.

Cordoba is definitely a possibility, either for a day trip or an overnight stop. What did you like about it?

Anyplace else you particularly liked or didn’t?

Here’s what my trip in 2005 looked like - pretty similar:

–Three nights in Barcelona
–Two nights in Granada (including the Alhambra)
–Day trip to Jerez (Sandeman and the Olympic horse thingy)
–One week in Nerja
–Four nights in Ronda
–Four nights in Sevilla
–Back to Barcelona before flying out

Of things we did and you have not scheduled, I really, really enjoyed Ronda. Nerja - more or less any European beach town - we picked it b/c it was smaller than Marbella and we prefer smaller cities for beach visits, but I wouldn’t say it was all that amazing compared to other beach cities we’ve visited. Ronda was simply stunning. Highly recommended, but I hope you’re not afraid of heights - here’s an example. :slight_smile:

Barcelona was quite awesome as well. I wasn’t all that blown away by the Sagrada Familia or the Barri Gòtic, but my wife is an architect and was beside herself with glee cruising around and looking at all the Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí stuff. I liked Las Ramblas and just walking around eating and drinking.

Jerez was a compromise - my wife looked at all the horses and then I got to drink a bunch of Sherry. (Make sure you try their Port as well). Of the horse thing - make sure you’re there on a day in which they practice their routine.

Hope this helps - you’re going to love it!

  • Oh, god, the mosque. You’ll never forget it.
  • The synagogue – a tiny, perfect building, quite cleansing after the grandeur of the mosque.
  • The river and centuries-old water wheel.
  • The atmosphere of the old city around the mosque.
  • A short distance from the mosque is an old hammam that has been restored and returned to use. Your entry fee covers a Turkish bath (cold, warm, and hot pools) and a massage. I badly needed to relax that day and it was just magnificent.

I’ll second Cordoba. Don’t really need much more than a day trip but you have to check out the Mezquita de Cordoba. We also found a great little restaurant on that little side street across from that shop.*
*It’s been 8 years since I was there so I can’t remember the shop names, but it’s definitely worth a stop.

You already said Grenada was on your itinerary. Besides Alhambra be sure to check out the church where Isabella and Ferdinand are entombed (Capilla Real).

Also go to the Albayzin (Moorish- good food there) district and definitely get out to the Universidad de Grenada. They have a nice botanical garden. Nice river walk on the Genil as well. Also, it’s a college town so there is quite a vibrant night life.

Grenada is one of my favorite places on the planet. I’m saving up money to go back to Spain soon. Might just spend all my time there.

Cadiz was also cool but may be out of your way.

a friend of mine was just there on a cruise ship. watch out for pickpockets, purse snatchers and fake cops. He didn’t lose anything but two of the three women he was with did. check on line before you go.

The food is awesome. When at a restaurant, don’t order off the menu. Just ask the waiter to recommend their best dishes for you.

And it’s all within walking distance.

GrAnada, please. Grenada is a Caribbean island. And Albaicín.

Probably personal preference, but we found two days in Granada was more than ample when we visited in 2006 - we spent the better part of one day exploring the Alhambra, and then another day to see the rest of the city. That would then free up a day for Cordoba, which is definitely worth seeing.

Assuming you can trim another day or two from your planned itinerary (or add another day or two to your total), I’d definitely fit in a stop in Ronda. It’s smallish, so a day is enough to see most of the sights, and there’s a heavenly little inn called Alavera de los Banos in the old city if you want to stay the night (they do a lovely breakfast spread with local breads, cheeses and meats).

Cadiz is also quite lovely, with incredible gardens and impressive architecture. It also seemed to less touristy than some of the other places we visited - it’s a beach town, but it has a nice laid-back vibe which is very different from Malaga (most likely because it’s mostly Spaniards who vacation in the former, while the latter is overrun with foreigners). It’ll be a bit of a detour, though, and might be too much to fit in with just ten days at your disposal.

There’s a wonderful hammam in Seville, which we liked better than the one in Cordoba - it’s a bit of a splurge at 21 euros, but totally worth it. We also had an unforgettably good lunch at Enrique Becerra… very old-school, excellent food and wine, and a waiter who treated us like a doting uncle.

Just for the heck of it, here’s a link to my photo album from our trip in Andalusia, and a link to The Boy’s albumas well. Might give you a few ideas about what to see and do. :slight_smile:

Thanks, everybody! I wish we had more time, but I’m doing well to get the 10 days I have. (I get lots of vacation, but they don’t like me to take a lot of it at once.)

Both Cordoba and Ronda sound great. I had scheduled bigger blocks in fewer places just to minimize the stress of constantly moving, but we can certainly adjust as necessary.

Anything specific we should do in Seville? And if anyone has any suggestions for great hotels anywhere on our route, that would be great–we don’t have anything booked yet.

If you like Dali Figueres has the Dali museum and a little farther north is Cadaquez where Dali’s house is. I still have the olive I snatched from his pool house.

We stayed at Hotel Sant Agusti when we were in Barcelona. http://www.hotelsa.com/

Also in Barcelona: Parque Buell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila… dang. I want to go back now!
Nava: “Grenada” was a goof on my part but “Albayzin” is an accepted spelling.

Instead of Jerez, you might consider splurging a little and staying in Rota at the Duque de Najera. It’s just across the bay from Jerez, has an utterly charming seafront"tile walk" (think boardwalk, but with tile), is much less commercial than Jerez, and there’s a great (but tiny!) Irish pub across the street where you can ask Patrick if he remembers “avoid prison”. And the castle and cathedral are around the corner.

Parque Güell.

Or Park Güell

You may well already know this, but Spain is one of those places where if you’re going into many churches you should be dressed modestly - no bare shoulders, that sort of thing.

I took a trip to Andalusia a couple years ago, and had an itinerary similar to what you’re thinking about. Here’s what I did

  • Flew into Madrid and immediately took the high speed train to Cordoba. I spent the night in Cordoba and most of the next day looking around. I loved the Mezquita. I found out that it’s very quiet early in the morning before all the out-of-town tourists arrive, and it’s also free from 8:30 to 10:00am

  • Took the high speed train to Seville and spent 4 days there.

  • Rented a car in Seville and drove down to Jerez to see the horses. A few hours was plenty for that, and I spent the rest of the day driving through the mountains, checking out the beautiful scenery and lovely hill towns. I ended the day in Ronda.

  • Spent three nights in Ronda enjoying the spectacular scenery.

  • Drove from Ronda to the coast and drove along the coast, spending the night in Nerja.

  • Drove through the mountains (don’t take the freeway!) to Granada. Spent two nights there before flying back to Madrid and flying home.

That was a total of 12 days, including the travel time from the States. It was one of the best vacations I’ve had.

Doctor J, I left a quite a few suggestions in the other thread in case you didn’t see them. Hope you enjoy your trip.

The suggestions here are all good, great things to see – but remember, you can’t see everything. I know Americans only get a little vacation time, but one thing I really liked about your original itinerary was that you didn’t try to cram too much in.

I tend to get stressed out by too much moving around, and never really settling in to a hotel-- but only you know if that applies to you!

pdts

I think the original itinerary was good, but maybe too much time in Granada. I would take at least one of those nights and maybe the night in Jerez and spend it in Ronda. Jerez doesn’t take more than a few hours, but it’s a long way from Jerez to Granada with some spectacular scenery. They could break it up with a stop somewhere in between.