Andalucia and/or Canary Islands

If you do decide on Andalucia, I recommend reading the 1960’s travel account by Penelope Chetwode called Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucia. Really interesting to see the development that the region has undergone since that time.

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I’ve been looking at Med cruises in Mar/Apr that go to Malaga, Canary Islands, Spain, Portugal. There’s some 9-10 night ones on NCL that are very well priced. I’ve really been leaning towards cruises lately, because I dislike the planning and logistics. Cruises let you visit so many places, go on shore excursions and never unpack your bags. Flying into the Canary Islands isn’t easy from where I live. I’m tired of hassles, so thinking starting in Lisbon and cruising there would be easy.

But they also have cruises that start out of Athens that go to Cyprus, two ports in Israel, Istanbul, it’s a tough choice. I’m so weary of travel issues that I think I’m only up for cruises or organized tours to these kind of destinations. Something to consider if you’re tired of it also.

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You can’t go wrong with either.

Personally, I love the Canary Islands. Lanzarote being my favorite, followed by La Palma. Each island offers a slightly different character, and it is easy to take ferries or short plane hops from one to the next. Volcanic in origin they offer a lot of contrasting and unique landscape. The waters are crystal clear but a bit colder. However, for diving they are a paradise.

Lanzarote has its touristy places but then also a lot of volcanic “nothingness” moon landscape that is fascinating in itself. The artist Cesar Manrique left a huge imprint on the entire island and his house build into the volcanic landscape is just fantastic. La Palma is perfect if you are more outdoorsy and want to hike/bike trails. It is also much greener.

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A car is great if you’ll be going to smaller places or going off the beaten track. You don’t need a car if you’re just sticking to big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. Keep in mind that in some smaller towns there are a lot of narrow one way streets. Make sure to get a car that isn’t too big (usually not an issue in Europe) and if you miss your hotel on a one way street you have to loop back around…but its not an issue everywhere…

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Good suggestion but dh won’t even consider a cruise and I personally loooove the planning part of a trip. That sounds like a great cruise though!

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Saw the sherry tasting and equestrian center. They look like neat stops. The mist I can get out of dh is 16 days but two are for travel so just two weeks. There’s so much to do but so little time. After a lot of research I think I could spend it all in Granada and Malaga! Definitely have my work cut out for me. We will definitely rent a car. Did a road trip through France and it was great driving ourselves.

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We spend less and less times in cities the more we travel. Did you stay at the pool parador in the Alhambra? I’ve heard great things.

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We rented the biggest SUV they had in France. :rofl: Too much luggage and we had our two adult children. Spent some crazy amount for no questions asked insurance. Very thankful because we never had to worry about dings and scratches as we drove down the tiny streets of Provence.

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We stayed at Hotel America. This was a bit more budget friendly for us then.

I believe we went to the restaurant at the Parador for a meal. We also toured some of their main rooms. The Parador is lovely. You won’t go wrong with either choice.

There are a number of arts and crafts shops on the grounds that are well worth checking out. And there are many areas with great views of the Albaicin quarter that don’t require paid admission.

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I lived in Spain for a few years. I still miss it. Andalucia. I would go to Seville, Granada, Cordoba and if you like little towns we loved the parador in Ronda but that was 15 years ago so no info on its current state. You will have a great trip. I will give this some thought and get back to you if I have more ideas. Enjoy!!

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Marbella is great to eat seafood by the water. It is full of mega yachts.

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This is now an older book, but I found it an enjoyable read and discussion of the culture and land use in Andalucia. Amazon.com : driving over lemons by chris stewart

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I found that while doing some research and have added it to my reading list. Looks great!

After posting about the book, I discovered that Chris Stewart leads hiking tours and is associated with a retreat center in a Puebla. All look wonderful! Just google.

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Yes, always good to get insurance.

Some other places to visit in Andalucia are the towns of:
Ubeda
Jaen
Baeza

I’ve never been, but a friend of mine, who lived in Spain for several years, says these towns are worth a visit.

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This is a tad off topic, but I’ve heard that Extremadura which Andalucia borders to the Northwest is another region worth visiting. It’s off the beaten track, but I’ve heard some good things about it. Definitely an area where you’d want to have a rental car, since I’ve heard public transport is thin in that area. Definitely worth looking into!

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Is it too long to spend a week in Marbella? Is it too far from Gibraltar? I also see Casablanca not too far away, from the map anyway, made me think of several movies. I’m already planning a trip for next year.
Last year, my husband’s friend since college days said not to spend more than a day in Alhambra. Her dad owned a house in Spain, so I trusted her comment, now I wish I had spent more time there.

I’ve developed a loose itinerary and have started booking, if anyone is interested.

Fly to Madrid, train to Granada - see city highlights (2 nights)
Pick up rental car, drive to Capileira - hike Sierra Nevada (3 nights)
Drive to Salobrena - hang at beach (2 nights)
Drive to TBD (central Malaga province) for more hiking, visiting white villages and Malaga (3 nights)
Train to Seville - see city sights (3 nights)

It was really hard to narrow it down but I’m pretty happy with what I came up with.

Dr Google123: from what I’ve read, Marbella is very touristy and crowded, at least in summer months. Sounds comparable to Nice. We are off the beaten path people and there are lots of wonderful, less crowded beaches in southern Spain. Unless you’re looking for something like that which is fine!

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Given all that Spain offers I would say a week in Marbella is not your best bet. How long is your trip?

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@taverngirl
We also flew into Madrid and took the train to Granada. Had some fun wrestling with the Renfe website as it would switch into Spanish every page refresh and wouldn’t take any form of payment other than PayPal.
I remember that we didn’t have any direct trains options into Granada, we went to Malaga and took a bus from there to Granada. It was all very doable, even with our luggage but hopefully there are more options now. We had 2 days in Malaga split up by the Granada trip, then took the train to Barcelona and eventually back to Madrid for our return.

I’m enjoying your trip planning and making notes for our next trip which would include more of Andalusia.

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