Iberian Tribunal Tourism Itinerary and Advice?


My gf and I have been talking about vacation, and Spain came up as a possibility. I started to research, noticed generic tourism forums, but it occurred to me that given the Iberia fans, real Iberians and fellow travelers (in the sense of having been there and in the sense of sharing interests (and interests :slight_smile: )), why not get advice here, from Redcaps, people with Well-Traveled, good Area Lore, and, ok, Meddler? :smiley:

Advice about logistics and what to do is great; if you want to hand me a full Ars Magica itinerary "In the Footsteps of Flambeau the Founder" that's great too.

Duration: 11-14 nights.

We both love cool buildings and historical stuff. (Surprise!) I drink little alcohol, my gf drinks none. We aren't partiers, except perhaps in the tpk sense, but a but a bit of nightlife among the non-Mythic Europeans would be fun.

I was thinking of starting in Madrid, seeing stuff around there, then going south to see Seville, Cordoba and Granada, and ending up in Barcelona. One of the standards, I suspect. I have a better idea about what to do around Madrid and points south than in and around Barcelona (Sagrada Familia for sure). But even for, say, Madrid, it can be tough (like, Day 1: arrive in Madrid just before midnight and collapse into bed, Day 2: Gradually emerge from stupor and do something in Madrid, Day 3: Really do stuff in Madrid, Day 4: Do something near Madrid (Segovia? Salamanca?) and pad with convenient attractions, Day 5: Make way out of Madrid and do something on the way to next place (Toledo?)....

So, what are the must-sees and must-dos?

Do I have enough days to do this decently? (Or enough days to add regions I might not have thought of?) How basically to divide the nights among places?

I was thinking of self-guided with guided tours for a few specific places (like Sagrada Familia), but are we better off with a guided tour group, given that neither of us speak Spanish?

Assuming self-guided, should we use public transportation and take day trips from fewer cities where we spend more days (eg 4 nights @Madrid, 3@Seville, 2@Granada and 4@Barcelona) or should we rent a car and drive between cities and to sites (other than those in clogged metropolitan areas), staying fewer nights in more places (maybe a night in Toledo, another in Cordoba, etc.)?

BTW, did I balance my days decently, or should I emphasize or de-emphasize something?

Anything else I should know?



PS: Airfare is really cheap. SFO-->MAD+BAR-->SFO == $650.
PPS: Alas, the fear vs fare balance regarding Egypt has not yet lowered fares sufficiently for me. I don't feel welcome there at all, but it's the place I want to see most. (Treasure everywhere, eh?)

See Alhambra (it seems you plan to), but still SEE IT! It is so beautiful and special, and will light a fire under your Iberian Covenant ideas :slight_smile:

For the Sagrada familia, the easiest and 0-wait to do is to book online the ticket. It is easy, 100% reliable and won't cost you a penny more. You show up at the time indicated on the ticket and you have 0 queuing, direct entry, and you can stay for as long as you want. Otherwise you will see a several hundred meter long queue snaking all around the building.
Book your ticket a couple of days ahead and you are good to go.

Other places to visit, if you like Art Nouveau, looks for Gaudi buildings, park Gruel. Do take a one day ticket with the circuit bus. It will stop at most popular place to see in Barcelona and you can hope in and out for a whole day. Great value for money.

Like in Asia, you can eat anytime of the day. Try all these delicious tapas, boquerones (anchovies in lemon and oil - my spelling is probably awful) and delicious dry meat.