It’s been almost two years since my trip to the Andalucian region of Spain and I still think about it with fondness. There seems to be a lot of interest in Spain and in particular this region so I thought I’d write about our itinerary and what we were able to see in our two week visit. We flew from western Canada through Paris to Madrid on Air France…an amazing flight with fantastic service. Bear in mind Paris is a massive airport and the line ups for customs and security can be long! Give yourself lots of time here for any connecting flights. From the airport we made our way by taxi to Madrid Atocha Train Station to catch a train to our first stop…Seville.
We unfortunately didn’t know what train we would be able to catch so we ended up having to buy first class tickets to get space on a train. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as the seats were wider, had more leg room, and came with a meal and drinks. In the end we felt the extra cost was well worth it for this journey. We arrived in the evening at our Airbnb in Seville and settled in for the next four nights.
Over the next three days we made the most of our time in Seville visiting Iglesia del Salvador (The Church of El Salvador), the Seville Cathedral, the Alcazar, Plaza de Espana, and Metropol Parasol. We also found ourselves enjoying time wandering the many alleys and streets, and discovering charming cafes and courtyards.
One tip that we found useful was going to Iglesia del Salvador (El Salvador Church) first to buy a ticket for both that church and the Seville Cathedral. This allows you to skip the queue at the cathedral…just go straight to the front of the line with the dual ticket. You can read more about Seville here.
Of course the Alcazar is a must see…
…and from there you can take a horse drawn carriage through the streets of Seville to the Plaza de Espana, a fun way to get from one site to another.
After our stay in Seville we took a bus from the station there to Ronda. This was an easy trip to make and we planned it so that we could spend the day in Ronda before carrying on by train to Granada. When we arrived in Ronda we walked down to the train station, bought our onward tickets and stored our suitcases there for the day. Our main reason for going to Ronda was to see the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) that spans the canyon there.
We had time to walk down the pathway to view the bridge from below, as well as grab a bite to eat and tour the bullring there…one of the oldest bullrings in Spain.
We got back to the train station with lots of time to spare for our late afternoon train ride to Granada…but then things got a bit tricky. We found out that there was maintenance being done on the rail-line and so we would have to get off the train in Antequera and get a bus the rest of the way to Granada. The transfer was easy enough, but it meant we arrived quite late at the train station in Granada and taxis were few and far between. Definitely one of those “go with the flow” kind of travel moments! We finally made it to our Airbnb in the Albaycin area of Granada and were welcomed with this view. We made ourselves at home for four nights here.
In Granada we prepurchased the Granada card which was easy to pick up and exchange from our print-out that we presented to one of the ticket booths around town. The card was definitely worth it as the one we purchased included entrance to the Alhambra, a prebooked entrance time for the Nazarine Palace, a tram tour around the city, entrance to Granada Cathedral and Capilla Real, Sacramonte Abbey, and numerous bus trips. There were many other sites that are part of the card, but we found we just didn’t have time to see anymore than we did. The Alhambra is an absolutely stunning place to visit and took us most of the day.
When they say give yourself four hours…make it at least six! We wandered through all the different areas, including the palace areas, the Alcazaba, the Partal, and the Generalife. It was a fantastic day and a highlight of the whole trip! There is lots to see and do in Granada and probably one of the most enjoyable is meandering the narrow streets, soaking up the character of this city, and perhaps stopping at one of the tea houses.
You can read more about our stay in Granada at this site.
After Granada it was on to Cordoba. We got a taxi from one of the plazas to the bus station and had no problem buying a ticket for a morning bus ride to Cordoba. In Cordoba we had booked ourselves another Airbnb for three nights near La Mezquita-Catedral and the Alcazar. Most of the tourist sites in Cordoba are very close to one another and you really only need a day to see them all. Within this World Heritage area you will find the Alcazar…which is a lot smaller than the one in Seville, the Roman Bridge…spectacular at night with the lights shining on it, and La Mezquita.
Because we had two days in Cordoba, we also spent some time at the Courtyards of Viana, a stunning collection of 12 courtyards each with its own unique theme and gardens. It was a great city to end our journey through Andalucia. More about Cordoba here.
Our last day we traveled back to Madrid by train. We stored our luggage at the train station so that we could wander the city before heading to our airport hotel for the night. As luck would have it Madrid experienced a freak snowstorm…and this was at the end of March! We still wandered the city…laughing about the weather…while watching the locals come out of their shops and restaurants to stare at the sky. Our trip to this beautiful region of Spain had come to an end, but the wonderful memories would certainly last a lifetime.