my itinerary for spain: here’s what i’ve got so far…

Tuesday, June 11:  I’ve planned my time in Spain, but, so far, I haven’t even begun to think of Portugal.  I know I better start thinking about it soon because I have to fly out of Lisbon on July 25.

Here’s my itinerary so far.

June 28-July 3: Barcelona, Spain, including Montserrat.  I’m staying at BCN Fashion House: (bcn fashion house)

I decided to skip Madrid altogether.

July 3-6:  Toledo, Spain.  I’ll be staying at La Posada de Manolo. Last summer when I was traveling in Greece, I met an inspiring South African lady, Marie-Claire.  She had come to Greece after traveling all over Europe, but especially in Spain and Portugal.  She highly recommended I stay more than one day in Toledo.  Since I have a small group tour lined up in Andalucia from July 6-12, I booked 3 days/4 nights in Toledo.

July 6-12:  I will head straight from Toledo to Malaga Airport, where I will meet Tour Andalucia: Tour Andalucia: Villa Tour

The small group tour includes the following:

  1. Meet at Malaga Airport and subject to arrival time, spend a few hours in Mijas, a lovely mountain village overlooking the Mediterranean, then travel and check in to the Villa.
  2. Breakfast and travel to Seville. Visit the Santa Maria Park to see the amazing Plaza Espana, the site of the American Exhibition of 1929. Walk from the park past some of Seville’s most historic buildings to the Barrio Santa Cruz. Wander through the narrow lanes of the Barrio and take a delicious tapas lunch ‘Seville style’ in one of the lovely small Plazas. In the afternoon visit the largest Cathedral in the world followed by the fabulous Alcazar, one of the oldest Royal Palaces in Europe. An elegant City, Seville was once one of the wealthiest in Europe.
  3. Breakfast and travel to Ronda. One the way, we stop at the historic site of Teba Castle, scene of a famous battle with the Moors. In Ronda we walk you into the town and leave you by the magnificent bridge over the gorge to explore and sightsee on your own. Maybe take a ride around the old town in horse-drawn carriages and wonder at the sheer magnificence of the town perched along the cliff top of the Tajo gorge. Wander through the elegant narrow streets of the old town and visit some of the magnificent houses and the museum of Ronda. Visit the famous Ronda bullring home of the Matador and the oldest in Spain, now a museum.
  4. Breakfast and travel to Malaga. On the way we visit the spectacular El Torcal National Park. Set high in the mountains there is a 45 minute walk through the amazing limestone formations. Arriving in Malaga at lunch hour we go to one of the great value seafood Chiringuitos by the sea. Sample fantastic sardines barbequed on an olive wood fire next to the Mediterranean. We take you into the centre of Malaga near the Cathedral and leave you to explore the town, maybe visiting the magnificent Cathedral, the large Moorish Alcazaba and Roman Theatre. And don’t forget the Picasso Museum since Picasso was born locally and his parents’ house is now the Picasso Foundation and open for visits.
  5. Breakfast and travel to Cordoba. We walk through the old City Walls and into the pretty Barrio San Basilio and see one of the typical patios that Cordoba is famous for. The Royal Stables shows us some of the famous Andalucian horses in a lovely set of buildings. Onto the Christian Alcazar, nowhere near as grand as Seville, but designed in the Mudajar style, a fusion of Moorish and Christian Gothic and the scene of famous historic events including the planning of the voyage of Columbus. The 1,000 year old Arab baths built for the Caliphs remind us of a society long gone and we wander through the Juderia visiting the old Jewish Market & the Synagogue. A great tapas lunch in the Bodega Mesquita followed by the highlight of the day, the spectacular Mesquita, the greatest Mosque in the Western World and the only one with a Cathedral right in the centre of it. The famous Puente Romano bridge awaits demonstrating why Cordoba was the capital of the Roman empire in the Iberian Peninsula.
  6. Breakfast and travel to Granada. Normally the highlight of our tour, we walk into the Bib Rambla, part of the old Silk Market and now the Flower Market of Granada. Here we suggest you sample some of the best Chocolate and Churros in Andalucia. Walking through the square we pass the Bishops Palace and walk into the Alcaiceria, the well-preserved old silk market. The Royal Chapel, commissioned as the burial site for the famous ‘Catholic Monarchs’ Ferdinand and Isabella, is now a museum and worth a visit. The beautiful Cathedral is one of the lightest inside that you will see. Have a light lunch and then we drive up to the Alhambra to spend a few hours wandering the gardens and buildings before entering the amazing Nasrid Palaces. After the visit we drive around the City and up to the top of the atmospheric Albaycin where we have dinner at Jardines de Zoraya who host an excellent Flamenco performance with local talented young musicians and dancers. A five-minute ‘after dinner’ walk takes us to the viewing point at San Nichols where we see the beauty of the Alhambra lit up at night set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  7. Breakfast and, subject to departure flight times, we visit the historic City of Antequera, home of the impressive 5,000 year old Dolmens and the first Alcazaba to fall in the reconquest of the kingdom of Granada. Return to Malaga Airport.

July 12-14: After my tour, I’ve been invited to spend two nights with Marianne, and her husband, of  East of Málaga …. and more!.  She lives in the countryside (el campo), in a beautiful area east of Málaga, known as La Axarquía.  I’m really excited to meet a fellow blogger who now makes her home in the south of Spain.

July 14-25:  Heading to Portugal.  I think I will try to rent a car in Malaga and just take off toward Portugal, ending up my last four nights around Lisbon.  While in Lisbon, I want to go to Obidos and Sintra, both highly recommended by my friend and fellow traveler, Marie-Claire.  I also want to explore the Alfama in Lisbon.  No specific plans for Portugal yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something before I leave Oman. 🙂

52 thoughts on “my itinerary for spain: here’s what i’ve got so far…

    1. Oh, Carol, don’t worry! I’m planning on taking a couple of cards. Trying to debate though whether to take my computer or my iPad. I’m not used to typing on the iPad so fear it will be too time-consuming if I want to post, but then the weight of the computer is a big consideration!! Dilemmas! 🙂

      1. I say take the computer. Bring a rolling carry-on bag, and it won’t be that much of a burden. You can do so much more with the computer. I brought both computer and ipad to Paris, and used both. I was only there one week. I used the ipad for FB, email, games, alamrm clock and music. For photo downloading, writing and blogging I think you need the computer. It sounds like a wonderful adventure!

      2. Thanks Anne! I think I’ll take your advice. I can’t imagine blogging on an iPad, so I just went to Muscat today and bought a rolling carry on bag. I wonder how big is the one you take? I feel like I’m going to be lugging too much all over the two countries!

  1. Looks as though you will get a real flavour of Andalucía – though once you’ve tasted the delights, you’ll have to come back to explore further 🙂

    We are looking forward to having you come to stay, Cathy 🙂

    1. I’m really looking forward to meeting you too, Marianne! I’m so afraid once I come to Andalucía, I will want to stay forever. But I guess that’s not a bad thing; it’s just an unlikely thing…. But to explore again, YES! I’m really hoping to do the north next year: the Camino. We’ll see how disciplined I can be about saving money.

      Right now my stomach is all tied up in knots about wrapping up everything in Oman, getting out of here with all the money that’s due me, with no hitches, and mailing about 80 kg of stuff home! Once I get on the plane to Spain, I know I will feel much more relaxed. 🙂

      Can’t wait to see you before long…..

  2. Looks pretty good- give my love to Sevilla and Cordoba. The tour group sounds an excellent idea when you have limited time. Funny- I was going to ask if you might be meeting up with Marianne! Enjoy. 🙂
    Madly jealous because I haven’t managed Barcelona, Ronda or Toledo yet. All on my list. 🙂
    I could possibly offer you a couple of nights 14/15th or 15/16th, Cath, if that suits?

    1. Hi Jo, I will definitely give your love to Sevilla and Cordoba; I’m glad I found this tour and I hope it’s good. It’s billed as a SMALL group tour, 4-8 people, but no more than 12, and they give us free time at each place. I usually hate tours, but it seemed like a lot to do logistically on my own. I really look forward to meeting Marianne!

      You are so kind to offer me a place on the 14th and 15th. It’s funny, I originally was planning on spending about 4-5 days in the Algarve, but I almost decided against it b/c I heard July is the busiest time and prices go up 30%. So I have been looking into other options. I think I’m going to rent a car in Malaga on the 14th and drive west. How far do you think it is to drive to your town? If you’re serious, I would love to take you up on your offer and meet you!! It would be so much fun. And then I would just continue driving toward Lisbon, maybe making some interesting stops along the way. Just let me know, Jo, what you think might work!

  3. You are going to have a fab time! So many of the places you are going to I would have recommended – walking shoes and sun block at the ready.
    Enjoy the blogging meets reality with the East of Malaga stay. I’m off to check your friend out 🙂
    What are you going to be blogging under for the trip and beyond?

    1. Thanks so much, mrs. carmichael. I really look forward to meeting Marianne, and possibly Jo in Portugal! I wish I could meet all my blogging friends. 🙂 I’ll be blogging for my trip under “In Search of a Thousand Cafes” and once I get back to Virginia, I’ll be blogging at my “nomad, interrupted” blog: home sweet home. 🙂 I think I’ll be there for a long, long time.

  4. Sounds like you will have a very busy and wonderful trip, Cathy. You’re really going to have a fantastic time photographing all the wonderful sights you’ll see. Looking forward to tagging along on your trip with you and your camera. 🙂

    1. I really can’t wait, Sylvia. It will be so nice to see Europe again! I sometimes wish I was a European! Don’t worry, you know me, I’ll be taking plenty of pictures!

  5. Sounds amazing and very thorough! You are doing some really cool things like Mijas and Ronda. I really liked Montserrat but cable cars scare me, and that one is not for the faint-hearted. 🙂 I agree that Sintra is a must see. Have fun – it will be great! Keep lots of memory cards on hand b/c you’re going to come back with a zillion pictures! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! You wouldn’t believe how much time I’ve spent thinking about this trip, yet I have barely given a thought to Portugal. I’m glad I get to see Mijas and Ronda because if I was doing this all on my own, I might not make it to those places. Oh dear, now you have me worried about the cable car at Montserrat. But… I won’t let it deter me! I can’t wait for Sintra, Lisbon, and Obidos. I’m sure you’re right, I will have millions of pictures!! 🙂

  6. Cathy, this sounds wonderful. You are such an organizer and it will all pay off. I can understand the butterflies, though, about leaving Oman without a hitch. How exciting to meet Marianne and to see that region and to possibly hook up with Jo. All that adds a richness and personal touch to your trip. I’m envious and happy for you.

    1. Thanks so much, Lynne! I’m very excited too, especially with Marianne’s and Jo’s kind offers. It will make my trip so much more personal to meet people with whom I’ve already connected. I really can’t wait! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Annette. I really hope to have a wonderful time. 🙂 I’ll relive Seville and Malaga for you; since I see you’re following, you’ll get to come along with me vicariously. 🙂

  7. Terrific that you’re meeting a fellow blogger – can’t wait to hear about that, and I bet you’ll get great photos of the limestone formations. Boy, your organization is enviable!

    1. Thanks so much, Lynn. I’m really excited to be able to meet two bloggers on my trip!! Can’t wait for the adventure to begin. At this time in two weeks, I’ll be on the plane for Barcelona! 🙂

  8. I think it’s smart to skip Madrid because if I could do it all over again I would definitely do the same! I LOVED Barcelona, definitely one of the top cities I’ve been to. Madrid was just…okay.

    Have the best time! Definitely check out all the Gaudi architecture…such a highlight of our trip.

    1. Thanks, Ameena, for confirming what I thought about Madrid. What I read about it just didn’t excite me, and so I figured why bother? I’ve heard wonderful things about Barcelona, on the other hand, and have now decided to extend my stay there one more day. The Gaudi architecture is of course at the top of my list. 🙂

  9. Hope you have a good trip.
    Everytime you travel, I check out all the places on “Youtube”.
    I do the same when Spencer travels.

  10. Cathy, Your Itinerary looks fabulous. So glad to see that you’re going to Granada – you won’t be disappointed. Of course, just about anywhere in Spain is paradise! So only a few more weeks and you’re off – Woohoo! 🙂 Have a blast! ~Terri

    1. Thanks so much, Terri! I’m really excited about the places I’m going; I only picked the places that really intrigue me. I’m sure Granada will be fabulous! Keep posted to hear about my trip. I’d love to have you join. 🙂

  11. Cathy, I am so excited for you! I would love to meet those bloggers. I love East of Malaga. You have your sites set on some wonderful sights. I look forward, not just to the pictures, but to your wonderful stories! 🙂

  12. Barcelona, Ronda and Toledo plus meeting a blogging buddy… wow Cathy it all sounds wonderful. I’m glad you included the descriptions and photos. I don’t know anything about Ronda and am looking forward to going there with you. I’m also interested to hear how the tour group works out.

    1. Thanks so much for coming along with me on my journey, Rosie. I’m very excited too and am just now stressed about wrapping everything up in Oman, shipping everything back to the USA AND planning my trip. I’m exhausted but am so ready to get on that plane!

  13. Sounds great! While in Barcelona, try to eat at Bubo…it’s in the Born area, across from the Santa Maria del Mar church. And save room for a pastry…their pastries should first be enjoyed as artwork, then edibles! In the same area is Calpep…a fabulous place for fish and tapas. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks for the great suggestions, nomadicchique! I was just near that church yesterday and was going to go back tomorrow or Tuesday to explore. I will definitely check one or both of them out! 🙂

  14. Oh Cathy, have been missing all your updates. just came here from Jo’s post. Have a wonderful wonderful time. Your itinerary sounds fabulous! Look forward to reading all about it 🙂
    PS. Curious to know whether taking the computer was a good idea. Have never done it before, but like you I hate blogging from an Ipad.

    1. I’m glad you joined via Jo’s post, Madhu. Welcome along on my journey. I’m in Andalucia now and loving it!! As far as the computer, sometimes I wish I hadn’t brought it; other times, I’m happy to have it. Trying to keep up with blogging while traveling is a little difficult. I’ll do it when I have some down time and want to relax, but I don’t want to put pressure on myself to do it. It’s a fine balance. As far as an iPad; if I had brought that, you can be sure I wouldn’t be blogging at all!

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