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26 day vacation in Spain

Melbourne
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26 day vacation in Spain

I am currently planning a 26 day vacation in Spain. (We are coming from Australia - the entire trip will be about 30 days as we'll include stopovers in Hong Kong.) The plan is to fly in to Madrid, then fly out of Barcelona at the end.

Here is the schedule:

Madrid-7 nights

Seville-5 nights

Granada-3 nights

Valencia-5 nights

Barcelona-6 nights

I plan to take trains from place to place.

I have restricted it to a small number places as we really dislike packing and moving, and usually rent apartments (have used Airbnb in France and Italy) where we can settle in for a few nights (usually 4 or 5). We tend to prefer a slower pace with proper meal breaks, rather than rushing from tourist site to tourist site.

I plan to do a day trip to Cordoba (from Seville) to at least visit the Mezquita. We will probably travel by train for this day trip but could also afford an organised tour. I originally had 2 nights in Cordoba but am now leaning to staying longer in Seville and doing Cordoba as a day trip to avoid packing, moving, changing accommodation etc.

We are a late 40s couple and like art galleries, historic sites and architecture. I suspect Madrid is good for all that so I put that first. Everyone seems to like Seville so I put 5 nights there. Valencia is mainly for art and history in the mornings and beaches in the afternoon. Barcelona has 6 nights due to its size and architecture and we might do a day trip to Sitges from there - especially since the Barcelona beaches apparently aren't that great. We also love dining out during our trips so if a place has great restaurants and food we are happy with an extra day here or there, just to sample more food places.

Do people think the time in each place is reasonable? Or too long?

I have read mixed/conflicting reviews of Granada so I have limited it to 3 nights. One commenter suggested that there is not much for the tourist in Granada other than the Albaycin area and the Alhambra. Others seem to love Granada and think it has a wonderful vibe and worthy of a few nights.

Part of the reason I am limiting transfers is that I am not familiar with the trains in Spain (I have caught plenty in Italy and a few in France, however). Is the train system flexible or is pre-booking advised? Am I correct that to go from Granada to Valencia would not be direct and would entail a change in Madrid?

My current draft schedule has the train transfers midweek as we like to have weekends in the major places we stay in. Am I correct in assuming (based on Italy) that it is better to avoid train journeys on weekends? (Saturday being busy, potential reduced services on Sundays.)

Takapuna, New...
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1. Re: 26 day vacation in Spain

I can't help with train travel as we always lease a car and drive around. However, I can recommend a few apartments that we have stayed in in excellent locations, very central.

Valencia - Valencia Flats Cathedral

valenciaflats.com/en/…

Granada - Suites Gran Via 44

http://www.suitesgranviagranada.com/home/

If you do decide to stay in Cordova and I would recommend it - Apartamentos Duque de Hornachuelos

apartamentosduquedehornachuelos.com/?lang=en

These can all be booked either directly on with Booking.com

In Barcelona - Friendly Rentals Le Renoir

friendlyrentals.com/en/…apartment-36-1.htm

London, United...
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for Costa de la Luz
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2. Re: 26 day vacation in Spain

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

train travel is excellent in Spain. Some lines get busy but you don't say when you are planning this trip. Great idea to study RENFE and information such as

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

http://www.seat61.com/Spain-trains.htm

Malaga, Spain
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3. Re: 26 day vacation in Spain

For train travel:

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

You can travel any day on trains in Spain and there will not be a day better than another for this. The trains are quiet and the people who travel on them are well educated.

There is plenty to see in Granada. Read the top questions in the Granada forum.

For Madrid:

Downtown Madrid is the Gran Via, which has many hotels, restaurants and stores. You can use Expedia.com to screen hotels in this area. The most upscale area is the Barrio Salamanca and Calle Serrano is the 5th Avenue of Madrid. It is suggested to stay in Madrid for at least 4 days. One can do day trips to Toledo, Segovia and El Escorial. Read about these day trips in the top questions of the Madrid forum.

Botin (Calle Cuchilleros 17-19) is the oldest restaurant in the world, since 1725 and has good Castilian food. Roast suckling pig is the specialty. There are many other traditional dishes such as lamb. Casa Lucio

(Calle Cava Baja, 35) is famous for its "huevos rotos" (broken eggs). Restaurante Jose Luis (Calle Serrano, 89) is famous for its tapas. There are many tapas bars at Calle Cava Baja. Platea (Calle Goya, 5-7) is a new gastronomic site with about 20 restaurants that are open every day, where one can eat tapas and different types of food in the food courts. Mama Framboise there is a great pastry shop. Moulin Chocolat (Calle Alcala, 77) has the best macarons.

For Seville:

A very good hotel in Seville is the Hotel Becquer (which has a garage), walkable to most sights. Beside the hotel is a good tapas restaurant called Pick & Stay. Across the street is a good restaurant called El Cairo.

What to see in Seville:

1. Cathedral/Giralda Tower - The Cathedral is the third biggest church in Europe.

2. Alcazar - The palace rivals the Alhambra.

3. Plaza de España - The most beautiful plaza in Spain.

4. Casa de Pilatos - Beautiful palace with wonderful gardens. See the upstairs apartment.

5. Museo de Bellas Artes - One of the most important museums in Spain.

6. Church of El Salvador - One of the most beautiful Baroque churches. The ticket from the Cathedral allows one to see this church for free.

7. Museum-Palace of the Countess of Lebrija - Has some of the best Roman mosaics in Spain. See the upstairs apartment.

A good flamenco place is Los Gallos (Plaza de Santa Cruz, 11). The main shopping streets are Calle Tetuan and Calle Sierpes.

For Granada:

Read Buying Alhambra Tickets Online and BOOK EARLY. Downtown Granada is the Realejo Barrio. Use Booking.com to screen hotels in the Granada City Center. A good hotel downtown with parking is the Vincci Albayzin.

For Valencia:

Downtown Valencia is the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. The main shopping area is here, together with many restaurants. If one stays near this place, most of the city center is walkable. Use Booking.com (Use English US) to screen hotels. In the Location box, choose Downtown.

Must sees are the Oceanographic (the best aquarium in Spain) and the Bioparc (one of the best zoos in Spain.

Restaurante Navarro Valencia (Calle del Arzobispo Mayoral, 5 – Tel: 963-529-623) is one of the best restaurants downtown. However you need a reservation because it is so popular. It has a great menu of the day for 22 euros.

For Barcelona:

Downtown Barcelona is the Plaza de Catalunya. Use Expedia.com to screen hotels in this area. A good place to stay is the Eixample, the modern barrio of the city built in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a square grid of streets. The Passeig de Gracia is the most elegant avenue, with upscale stores.

Prebook the Sagrada Familia Basilica, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, and Park Guell. A day trip to Montserrat is suggested.

New sites that opened in 2014 that are terrific:

1. Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

2. Casa Lleo Morera

The Museu del Modernisme Catalan (Calle Balmes, 48) is a small jewel of a museum, little known, but very worthwhile seeing. Enric Rosich Macarons (Passeig de Gracia, 53) has the best macarons.

Have a great trip!

Melbourne
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4. Re: 26 day vacation in Spain

Many thanks for this Cadiz_lover. I'm most accustomed to Italy where in some places like Sicily, transport is reduced on Sunday. I have been playing around with the RENFE site - maybe I just need to get used to it but it seems a bit difficult to follow.

Travel will be in September 2016.

Edited: 12:57 am, September 28, 2015
Melbourne
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5. Re: 26 day vacation in Spain

Thanks for the great info BennyMalaga. It has gone into my file for the trip.

6. Re: 26 day vacation in Spain

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