I’ve been to Spain twice before: once to Barcelona and Sitges and another time to Madrid and Andalusia. I love Andalusia, but my first trip was poorly planned and I ended up visiting during Semana Santa – Easter week. The Spanish go all-out for Easter with various processing and a lot of hoods – the kind that inspired the KKK.  It was interesting to see, but it also meant Seville and Granada were overcrowded. I vowed to return one day and do Andalusia properly.

Jump to five years later. This time the weather was perfect and I was able to finally visit the Alhambra and the Mezquita, two sites that have been on my travel list since freshman Art History.  I had a week in Spain, including 2 days in Madrid, 2 days in Sevilla, and a day each in Granada and Cordoba.

THE PLAN
Day 1: fly from Krakow to Madrid, arrive late afternoon, overnight in Madrid
Day 2: full day exploring Madrid’s Lavapies neighborhood and museums, overnight in Madrid
Day 3: high-speed train to Granada, explore Granada, overnight in Granada
Day 4: visit the Alhambra, bus to Cordoba, explore Cordoba, overnight in Cordoba
Day 5: visit the Mezquita, afternoon train to Seville, overnight in Seville
Day 6: visit Real Alcazar and explore Seville, overnight in Seville
Day 7: morning bus to Lagos, Portugal

FLIGHTS
Norwegian (economy): WAW-MAD
The flight from Warsaw to Madrid was $60 on Norwegian Air, a low-cost airline.

HOTELS
Radisson Blu El Prado Madrid – luxury
I used two free night certificates from the Club Carlson credit card. The hotel is located almost directly across from the El Prado Museum.
Recommend: Yes

Residencia Arriola, Granada – basic
Recommend: No

NH Califa, Cordoba – moderate
I like this brand, it’s stylish but cheap.
Recommend: Yes

Casual Sevilla de las Letras – moderate
Recommend: Yes

HIGHLIGHTS
Real Alcazar
Real Alcazar is a royal palace in Seville.  The large Moorish palace is richly decorated with brightly colored tiled motifs and soaring ornamental ceilings. My favorite part of the palace are the extensive gardens filled with palm trees and fountains. I slightly prefer the Real Alcazar to the Alhambra.

The Mezquita
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba is the former Grand Mosque of Cordoba that was converted to a church in the 13th century.  The former mosque is Moorish style architecture with halls of unique double arches. The cathedral in the center of the site is in the Renaissance style.  The juxtaposition of these two architectural styles makes the site unique and interesting.

Monastery of San Jerónimo de Granada

Lavapies Barrio, Madrid

NEXT TIME
+ Cadiz
+ Rhona
+ Alcazar of Cordoba
+ Parque Retiro, Madrid

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