12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

We’ve never been to Spain. Our two favorite Euro countries to date are Italy and France. We like a mix of high intensity low intensity. We love Italy’s Lucca which is a relatively small low intensity walled city. We love Paris, Venice and Florence too.

I’ve seen Granada on House Hunters Intl and it looks great. Not really interested in winery visits.

I’, thinking something like 2-3 days in Barcelona ( even though it interest me about the least of any city. 2-3 days in Seville and 2=3 days on Granada. And/ or one less city and some small village Spain or small coastal Spain? We’re not sun & beach worshipers though. Only want coastal if its really beautiful, mountainous and low key.

Spend 9 -12 days in Spain.

Any suggestions appreciated. We likely try to rent places rather than do hotels.

San Sebastian.

Barcelona never does/did it for me. I always preferred Valencia, although it’s been a long time since I was there. Cordoba is pretty nice too. However, Toledo really should be on your list and is a good half way point between either Valencia/Barcelona and Seville/Granada.

PS of course a lot depends on what time of year you’re planning on going. Summer is brutally hot…

One other nice place to visit on the coast is Cadaques - where Dali, Picasso and pretty much all the Spanish artists spent a lot of time.

I’m with Dan here - I liked Barcelona less than most other places I went to in Spain. Not that it was bad, just over hyped. I’d go back for another look at the Sagrada Familiar though. Valencia was a real surprise to me. I expected little and it far exceeded my expectations. Seville met my expectations which were high, and was perhaps the closest to what I imagined Spain to be prior to visiting there. I’ve always enjoyed Madrid too so don’t overlook it. It is also fairly easy to catch a train down to Toledo or out to some of the other interior towns and cities from there.
Granada felt like it was trying to be Morocco and I enjoyed it less because of that, but I know plenty of people who loved it. The Alhambra is right up there with the Sagrada Familiar as the must see buildings of Spain

San Sebastian is pretty and a great place to eat and drink

Of the smaller places I liked Ronda, although I probably wouldn’t want 3 nights there. Maybe my favorite place of the lot was Segovia. I could imagine spending more time there. Maybe because of the suckling pig.

Seville and Madrid are top on my list. Fantastic experiences in both multiple times and would highly recommend both. Agree with the above that Barcelona is cool and well worth a visit, but we felt it was all tourists while we were there in the summer.

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My wife and I went “parador hopping” back in 2000. We stayed for a few days in Madrid prior the hop. we also injected a couple of days in Porto to taste the classic 1994 vintage.

A good part of the appeal of the cities where we stayed were actually the paradors themselves. It’s interesting see what today’s prices are compared to back then (an increase of about 150 - 200%). Of special note were the 15th century Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos in Santiago, the 12th century castle in Siguenza, the 16th century palace in Avila, the 12th century former hospital in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the former 16th century San Marcos Monastery in Leon and the fantastic view from the Cerro del Emperador location of the parador in Toledo.

The cities themselves that we most enjoyed touring were Madrid, Leon, Santiago, Avila, Toledo and Santo Domingo (and its nearby cities, Logrono and Haro).

I’m not sure how relevant this info is as it was 18 years ago but I offer it anyway.

I don’t think you need 3 days in Granada. Seville is wonderful and so is San Sebastian. I think I prefer Madrid over Barcelona. They are very different though. I also enjoyed Cordoba this past Christmas.


A big #1

A few thoughts - I spent a couple of weeks in Spain last year.

Madrid is very good, but a very different feel from Barcelona. While the latter obviously have some lovely stuff, it’s intensely touristy and over-run now. There’s a bunch of stuff to do and see in Madrid, but it’s also an excellent base for day-trips to a number of very interesting other towns: Segovia (fantastic aquaduct), Toledo etc etc (see Madrid's 10 Most Beautiful Surrounding Towns - Naked MadridNaked Madrid for example). The city itself has quite a spacious feel, e.g. the large central park, as well as many interesting neighbourhoods and museums.

Granada is fantastic and we had a great time there, plus it keeps you fit walking up and down all the time :slight_smile:. Obviously the Alhambra is fascinating (book well ahead, don’t miss your slot because they do chase you out in your time limit) but the whole central town has a nice vibe - a little bit like Florence (small old streets you can wander around / get lost in).

San Sebastian is again very touristy (more so than Madrid or Granada I thought). Decent beach if you want to swim, some nice buildings and a great view from the (awful) amusement park at the top. Lots of very average food for tourists, but of course some fantastic restaurants in the area as well. If you do head that way, you might want to check out Hondarribia to the east - have one meal in France and another in Spain on the same day. I wouldn’t put San Sebastian as a big “plus 1” because I found it a good deal less interesting than other towns.

The roading network is excellent, so you can easily plan to drive through half the country in a day. If you’re a keen driver, no problems doing San Sebastian to Granada in a day. Do take a cue from the local drivers: never ever drive in the overtaking lanes if you’re not overtaking, watch for the traffic flow - if you see the brakelights go on for the car in front of you that just went past at 150 km/h, it’s probably because they know there’s a speed trap there :slight_smile: or a real hazard of course.

So…the villages of the Alpujarra are on the south side of the Sierra Nevada in Granada. That is where I am located you’re welcome to visit. The villages are like stepping back in time.

Keep in mind that From Madrid to the coast is around 5-6 hours drive. Spain is like a living museum everywhere you go they will have something unique and interesting to see.

My favorite trip we took was Granada → Toledo → Madrid → El Escorial → Segovia → Avila → Zamora → Santiago de Compostela → Salamanca-> Cáceres → Mérida → Trujillo → Sevilla. Look for Paradores for lodging. The Spanish Paradores are luxury hotel accommodations in Castles, Palaces, Convents, Monasteries, Fortresses and other historic buildings. The parador in Santiago is adjacent to the cathedral and is breathtaking. The dining in the Paradores features local cuisine depending on the region you are visiting. https://www.paradores-spain.com/ Let me know if I can personally help answer any questions.

Forgot about Segovia. Wonderful place. You can day trip it out of Madrid but worth a night. Girona NE of Barcelona is great and Carcassonne in France is not too far away from there.


This is a great day trip from Madrid and back, but start early → El Escorial → Segovia → Avila

Ronda is on my list but imagine it’s mostly tourists

While we were driving from one parador to another the police came and pulled everyone over to the shoulder of the road. A few minutes later, the Vuelta a España approached and went by. There were so many bicycles we had to wait quite a while before we were allowed to resume driving.

agreed with a stop first in Axpe.

Toledo, Sevilla and Granada are all great.

Timely thread. I thought I had my trip all planned out but now am rethinking.

Originally, San Sebastian (5 nights), Barcelona (4 or 5 nights), Granada (2 or 3 nights) and Seville (4 or 5 nights). 17 night total is fixed. I’ve been to all before but San Sebastian. 5 nights there because of 5th night free at the Marina Christina on points. Madrid will be on another trip.

But I also didn’t care for Barcelona as much as the other places. I thought I should go back and give it another shot, but now I hear similar sentiments, and wondering about changing it up a little.

Anyone spend time on Mallorca? I can get in the Park Hyatt on points (but it’s pretty remote; a half hour plus to anything). I know they are very different destinations, but I give it a few extra points because it’s new to me.

Re: Axpe, I’d love to, but it seems to far to Uber for just an evening. Or am I overestimating the distance (google maps says an hour drive).

We’d do some should season thing like Feb March April or late Oct, Nov or early December. We prefer 65-75 degree days.

Thanks Nola, I can’t believe how little I know about Spain. Almost nothing. I better go buy a Rick Steves book and get some tiny sense of it.