andalucia questions

Old Feb 16th, 2022, 10:17 AM
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andalucia questions

I am going to Andalucia with my 15 year old son during spring break. We are very excited! I have a total of 7 full days in Andalucia, and want to maximize it while not being totally wiped out. I have a few specific questions, Please indulge me. FYI, I am into photography. My 15 year old is really up for whatever. We are not huge museum people, but if there is a can't miss one, we will see it. I am entering through Grenada and leaving through Seville.

1. We have a 5.5 hour stop over in Madrid during the day. I would like to see something there. Is the palace an option? Or, would we be better off just walking around center city? If we see the palace, I am thinking it can save us time to just take a taxi there. Would it? I know there is good public transportation to the center city, but we are very pressed for time. We do want to see something in Madrid. Flight arrives at 215, departs 745.

2. Generally, do we need to book high speed trains in spain online in advance? How many days in advance are recommended? We will be going right before Easter.

3. There are some day side trips other than the three big cities (Grenada, Seville, Cordoba) I would like to do. I am thinking of a tour (as opposed to independent traveling) to places like Las Alpujarras, some of the white villages (not sure which ones, as there seem to be tons of white villages in different regions of the state), Cadiz, Ecija, or Ubeda. Obviously, I can't see them all. Any suggestions on which one(s) are better for me? Also, do you think a tour would be best, or to arrange something independently, taxi, public transportation, or what? If a tour is easier, can you please provide me some names of various local touring companies out there?

3. I am trying to figure out the best breakdown for the # of days per city. For the big three (Grenada, Seville, Cordoba) what are the minimum amount of days you recommend for each town?

4. Is there any particular must see procession during Holy Week I should see? I am not Catholic or even Christian, so for me it would just be the atmosphere.

5. I am seeing that the seville bullfighting season starts April 18. But another website says it starts April 15, so I am very confused. Can anyone shed light on this?

thanks!
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 01:08 PM
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I am a bit confused. You are entering through Granada and departing from Seville? You have a flight into Madrid and another out of Madrid? How is that all working? Where are you flying from into Madrid? Where are you heading to from Madrid? How are you getting to Granada? If you are departing from Seville, when is the fight into Madrid? You are not flying into or out of Madrid to Seville or Granada, are you? Etc?

Day 1: arrive ?
Day 2: travel to? Or tour?
Days 3-6: ?
Day 7: tour/travel to?
Day 8: depart from?

You do not need a tour. Once it is clear where you are actually landing and departing, people can help you plan your itinerary.

Your flights, as stated, with time needed to get from the airport into the city and back for check in, really allow only a couple hours of sightseeing in Madrid. Personally, I would not try to see the Palace. It is nice enough, but I would take a nice walk, make sure to see Plaza Mayor and have lunch someplace, although many lunch places will be closed by that time and dinner places will not yet be open, but check for some outside cafes or Tapas bars for some good snacks. If you had any interest at all in Art, I would say spend an hour or so in the Prado because it houses some of the most fantastic paintings in the world, including Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Far more interesting than the Palace.
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 01:12 PM
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1. Your 5 hr. 30 min. layover won't give you the time that you might suspect to do much touring.
It may take you almost an hour, as it has for us recently, to go through passport control, depending on how many agents are on duty, especially during their lunch hour break (2 pm and beyond) when lines can be frustratingly long and slow.

Assuming you land at T4S (?), you'll need to take the automated underground train to T4, go through extra covid-19 screening to show your vaccination certificate and completed SPTH health form, then make your way to the taxi ranks.

A taxi ride from T4 to the Royal Palace at that hour of day will take 45 minutes. A self-guided tour of the Palace, visiting Palace rooms + Royal Kitchen would take around 1.5 hours. Lines there can be long to purchase tickets (we purchase our tickets in advance online).
Then another 45 minutes for taxi return to Barajas T4 for your flight to Granada. You should be at the departure gate 40 minutes in advance, and Terminal 4 is huge.

If you wish simply to walk around the area of Madrid's "museum triangle", a taxi from T4 to Atocha rail station should take 30 minutes. That would be a safer bet to see a bit of the Literary Quarter (Barrio de las Letras). Walk from Atocha up to Paseo del Prado past the Reina Sofía, Prado & Caixa Forum Museums to the Plaza Neptuno (Cánovas del Castillo), then up Calle del Prado to the Plaza Santa Ana, where you'll find a plethora of outdoor terraces to have refreshments. Then back to the Plaza Neptuno to catch a taxi back to Barajas TS.
Realistically that's all you would have time for, I think.

2. Yes, you should book your high-speed trains in advance on www.renfe.com, to take advantage of the best fares. Prices go up the closer you get to your departure date and can be quite expensive booked at the last minute. You can take the AVE train from Granada to Córdoba. Fares have been loaded for April now on Renfe. Renfe accepts Pay Pal. Some find that their credit cards aren't accepted on Renfe.

I assumed you would be traveling BEFORE Palm Sunday, April 10, when Holy Week celebrations begin and trains have a heavy passenger load but it appears that you'll be in Andalucía for a portion at least of Holy Week, correct?

If you're departing Andalucía from Sevilla by air, it makes sense to travel in this order: Granada-Córdoba-Sevilla, which can be done by high-speed rail.
If you're traveling DURING Holy Week, April 10-17, expect very busy trains and inflated lodging prices, especially in Seville.

3. If you have only 6 nights for this trip (or is it 7?) you won't have much extra time for day trips if you hope to see the major sights of these cities in a leisurely way. If you dedicate 2 nights to Granada for the Alhambra and center city sights (Cathedral, Royal Chapel, walk through the Albaicín), 1 night to Córdoba (for the Cathedral-Mosque and other sights close by in the Judería) and 3 nights, the bare minimum, to monument-rich Sevilla, this doesn't leave time for day trips.

A popular 6-7 hour long day trip by tour company in a mini van from Granada to La Alpujarra:
https://andaluciaexperience.com/en/t...lpujarras_tour
From Sevilla to Ronda + another white town on a 10-hour min van excursion:
https://naturanda.com/en/ronda-and-w...-from-seville/

4. The processions in these 3 cities go on every day/evening from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and the city streets will be extremely crowded. Processions will be going on all around you, so you can't miss them. Seville's all night processions, "La Madrugá" from Maundy Thursday evening through Good Friday (both official bank holidays) are when Holy Week in the city hits its fever pitch and museums/monuments will be closed.

5. Seville's bullfighting season starts traditionally on Easter Sunday, April 17 this year.

Hope this helps you to decide.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 16th, 2022 at 02:05 PM.
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 01:19 PM
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How many nights do you actually have on the ground in Andalucia? Ideally, I recommend the following: Granada (2 nights), Cordoba (2 nights), and Seville (4 nights). Some people visit Cordoba as a day trip from Seville. Cordoba is about a 45-minute train ride from Seville. If you can, I think it's better to overnight in Cordoba for 1 or 2 nights because Cordoba's charm is in the evening when the city is illuminated and the daytrippers have left. However, if you can only see Cordoba as a day trip, that is better than not seeing it all.

Another option would be to spend 3 nights in Seville instead of 4 so that you could spend at least 1 night in Cordoba.

Be sure to book your tickets for the Alhambra ASAP!!!! And you should probably book your tickets for the Alcazar in Seville in advance, too.

We booked our train tickets well in advance. but that's me. I wanted specific times and I can be a worry-wart, and felt less-stressed knowing our train tickets were purchased.

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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 01:52 PM
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That's an excellent question that will determine what you can realistically do. How many total nights do you have for Andalucía?
If it's 6 nights: 2 nights Granada, 1 night Córdoba, 3 nights Sevilla is all that you can do
If 7 nights: 2 Granada, 2 Córdoba (or day trip from Sevilla--not my preference but doable), 3 nights Sevilla (or 4 with day trip to Córdoba)
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 02:26 PM
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I think I might have caused some confusion with the schedule. I am flying into MAD on Saturday Aug 9. I have the 5.5 hour layover at that time, and that evening I am flying to Granada. I will be there Saturday night (of course, won't see anything then) and will leave through Seville the following Sunday AM.

This information is very helpful. Did I make a mistake traveling in Holy Week? Hopefully the extra hassle will be worth it.
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 02:35 PM
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Do you mean that you're flying into MAD on Saturday, APRIL 9?
You can expect heavy crowds especially because Holy Week processions haven't been celebrated in 2 years, plus inflated hotel prices, plus the need to secure rail tickets in advance, plus closed off streets for the processions which means that taxis can't get you in many cases right to your hotel's door. But they'll do the best they can. It's a noisy, hectic, crowded time to be in Andalucía but also an exciting one, a wonderful, highly memorable experience!
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 02:49 PM
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Also one other question concerning what will be open and closed during 14 and 15 (Good Friday and the day before)? Will this mean that all the sites in Seville (such as the cathedral, alcazar etc..) will be closed?
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 02:50 PM
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Yes, April not August! I can deal with the crowds, as it sounds like the events will be something I never experienced before. I just want to be sure I can arrange things so the sites I want to see are open.
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 03:00 PM
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The Cathedral will be closed most of the day to tourist visits on Maundy Thursday-Good Friday since all the processions will pass through the Cathedral as part of their procession routes. And since both days are public holidays, museums will be closed but the Alcázar will be open on Maundy Thursday and one can purchase online tickets here:
https://realalcazarsevilla.sacatuentrada.es

Again, the number of actual nights you have in Andalucía will determine what you can accomplish and how many nights you'll have to dedicate to each city.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 16th, 2022 at 03:26 PM.
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