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Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

Los Angeles...
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Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

I’m planning 12 days in Spain around Thanksgiving in November. I want a combination of big cities with quaint towns, and am planning to rent a car to explore Arcos and Ronda.

Flying in and out of Barcelona. Planning to fly directly from Barcelona to Sevilla without leaving the airport, so the trip will start there and end in Barcelona. One question is if I rent a car at the end of my time in Seville, where in this itinerary does it make sense to return?

The places I’d like to fit in are Seville (3 days), Ronda (2 days), Arcos de la Frontera (2 days), Cordoba (2 days), Barcelona (3 days).

Thoughts on the itinerary? I need some help on order and which driving routes make the most sense. Thanks in advance friends!

6 replies to this topic
Philadelphia Area
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1. Re: Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

You are not accounting for your time traveling, so what you are considering 3 days maybe really be 2.5 with the traveling included. Please keep that in mind, especially your day 1. Do you have to go in and out of Barcelona? Can't you fly into Barcelona and leave from another airport?

Malaga, Spain
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2. Re: Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

US, Canadians and citizens of countries outside the European Union need an international driving permit to drive in Spain. One can get this permit at AAA. Rent a car with a GPS to make driving easy.

There is no free parking in cities and hotels charge 15-20 euros a day for parking.

For Seville:

Seville is one of the cities in Spain with the most charm. A very good hotel in Seville is the Hotel Becquer (which has a garage), walkable to most sights. Use Booking.com to look at other hotels.

Must see places in Seville:

1. Church of El Salvador - One of the most beautiful Baroque churches. The ticket from this church allows one to also see the Cathedral and one can skip the queue there. Tickets available at 11 am.

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

3. Alcazar - The palace rivals the Alhambra. See the King’s apartments.

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

5. Palacio de las Dueñas - This palace is beautiful and has just opened up for the public. This is the residence of the Duke of Alba. A wonderful place to see.

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

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

8. 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. There is a large El Corte Ingles Department store at Plaza del Duque de la Victoria.

Good restaurants:

1. Cuna 2 (Calle Cuna, 2;Tel 954-211-107) - A large, elegant restaurant with traditional Andalusian decoration and with beautiful ceramic tiles lining the walls of the dining rooms. There is a beautiful bar at the top of the building.

2. Casa Robles (Calle Alvarez Quintero, 58; Tel: 954-213-150) - An elegant restaurant near the Cathedral.

3. For tapas, go to Mercado Lonja del Baranco (Calle Arjona, 24; Tel. 917-582-420).

For Cordoba:

Use Booking.com to look for hotels and apartments in The Real Heart of Cordoba. For those making a day trip to Cordoba, the train station does not have luggage lockers but the bus station beside it has luggage lockers. A taxi to the Mezquita will cost only about 6 euros because the distance from the train station is only 1.8 km.

The best sights in Cordoba:

1. Mezquita/Cathedral - The most important architectural feature of the Mezquita are the double horseshoe arches, made of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite. There are 856 columns in the church and they seem to be a sea of arches and columns to the visitor.

2. Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos - Has beautiful gardens.

3. Palacio de Viana - The palace has important artwork and there are 12 different patios, all beautiful.

Good restaurants near the Mezquita:

1. Casa Pepe de la Juderia (Calle Romero, 3; Tel: 957-200-744).

2. El Caballo Rojo (Calle del Cardenal Herrero, 28; Tel: 957-475-375).

Shopping streets are the area around the Mezquita, Calle Jose Cruz Conde, Ronda de los Tejares, Conde de Gondomar and Avenida de Gran Capitan.

Dress code for churches: Shorts or bare shoulders are not allowed for either women or men. The Mezquita is a Catholic church.

For Ronda:

Hemingway said that Ronda was the most romantic town in Spain. Orson Welles loved Ronda so much that he asked to be buried there. The views in this town are unforgettable. This is the most important and most beautiful white town in Andalusia.

Things to See:

1. New Bridge

2. Mondragon Palace

3. Church of Santa Maria La Mayor

4. Alameda del Tajo Park - Has great views of the countryside.

5. Carrera Espinel shopping street (also called Calle La Bola).

The Parador is a very good hotel beside the New Bridge and has marvelous views and a large parking garage. A good restaurant is Restaurante Doña Pepa at Plaza del Socorro, 10.

Nearby white towns that can be explored if one has a car are Olvera, Setenil de las Bodegas and Ubrique.

For Barcelona:

Downtown Barcelona is the Plaza de Catalunya. Use Booking.com to screen hotels or apartments in Downtown Barcelona. 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. Good shopping streets downtown are Portal de l’Angel, Portaferrisa and Pelayo.

El Corte Ingles is a large department store located at Plaza de Catalunya. Maremagnum is located by the port and is a mall that is open also on Sunday, when most shops are closed.

The most important sights are the Modernist sites, which are the Gaudi sites and the Lluis Domenech sites. Prebook the Sagrada Familia Basilica, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, Park Guell and the Picasso Museum. A day trip to Montserrat is suggested. Other must see sights: La Pedrera (Casa Mila), Casa Batllo, Palau Guell, Torre Bellesguard, Cathedral.

Good restaurants in the Eixample:

1. El Nacional (Passeig de Gracia, 24; Tel: 935-185-053) - A big building with a very beautiful and original interior design, with 5 restaurants and one long bar. Moderately priced.

2. La Palmera (Enric Granados, 57; Tel. 934-532-338) - A small family run restaurant with a very good tasting menu.

3. La Rita (Arago, 279; Tel: 934-872-376) - An attractive restaurant with an inexpensive menu of the day. Great food.

4. Cerveseria Catalana (Mallorca, 236; Tel: 932-160-368) - Very good tapas place.

If you go to Arcos de la Frontera, park your can at the bottom of the hill and just walk to the Parador to see the view. The streets are extremely narrow and I almost had a heart attack coming down the hill because my car could hardly fit in the street.

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

How were you planning to get back to Barcelona after your driving trip to Ronda, Arcos, etc.? It's probably fastest to fly again from Seville, in which case it probably makes sense to just rent the car from Seville and return it again in Seville, although this does involve backtracking. Cordoba is very easily done from Seville by train, so perhaps just rent the car from Seville to see Ronda and other "white towns."

London, United...
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4. Re: Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

Play around with Viamichelin.com for the best route planner (with its accurate time/distance/ fuel & toll-cost estimators) for the Andalucia circuit. But whether you do the 300 mile circuit clockwise (Seville-Cordoba - Ronda - Arcos...) or the other way round, it's not worth driving the 10-12 hours/600-700 miles back to Barcelona at the end of the holiday, especially as that means the hassle and expense of parking the vehicle in Seville.

So whether or not you do as MorganMurphy suggests and also do Cordoba by train, it's worth separating the two "big city-breaks" section of your holiday (flying or taking the train between Barcelona and Seville) from the Andalusia road trip, and only renting a car for the 4-6 day "quaint towns" leg?

We do fly-drive breaks in Andalusia most years and we manage to find free on-street parking even in Ronda. But even if you push the budget and stay at the Parador there, the car will only add 10-20 Euros a day parking cost. Whereas there is absolutely no point paying car-rental fees and parking charges for the vehicle to sit, unused, in a big city like Seville or Barcelona.

In fact you could do the whole trip by public transport from Seville as we did one year as it is the hub of an excellent bus and rail network. I found it quite relaxing taking the bus from, say, Seville to Ronda, as it meant I could look at the scenery, not the traffic!

Have a great trip

St Austell, United...
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5. Re: Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

Basically Barcelona doesn't fit. It's the opposite end of the country. But I'm assuming it's your only option? If so it makes sense to fly to and fro Sevilla-Barcelona and pick up and leave the car there.

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6. Re: Spain itinerary with focus on Andalucia help!

Barcelona is the odd place out on your plan , Malaga or Seville would be a better choice of Airport ,even Madrid , and is only 2hr 20 by train to Seville or 1 hr to fly plus check in time so no real difference in both times

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