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Spain anyone?
Old 09-13-2007, 11:53 AM   #1
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Spain anyone?

DH and I are looking to plan our second European adventure . We're both leaning towards Spain as he speaks Spanish reasonably well and Madrid has come up in conversation quite a few times. Does anybody have any "must-sees" there or other cities in Spain that are worth staying in for a week in May?
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:25 PM   #2
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We talked about Spain in this link... Barcelona suggestions.

And also in this link... Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:24 PM   #3
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Look into spanish paradors. They are old spanish vilas that have been turned into hotels. They get government support so generally there prices are quite reasonable. It has been 20 years since we were in Spain, but we stayed in one. It was just short of opulent and about half the price of any other place to stay. Food was great also. Google spanish paradors.

example: Hotel Parador Cervera Pisuerga Spain Picos de Europa not bad for $40 a night if you are over 60!
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:21 PM   #4
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Honestly, I'd skip Madrid. It's just another big city, with very few really enjoyable attributes.

I personally LOVED Barcelona and spent nearly 3 weeks there total... I had only planned to go for a few days, but loved it so stayed. Then had a quick jaunt over to Ibiza, came back to Barcelona for another week... just a really fabulous city I can't say enough good things about.

Specifically, Parc de Guell and Parc de Cuitadella (I think?) are really enjoyable for quite different reasons. Be sure to go into a McDonald's to see the menu even if you don't want to eat there. Head down Las Ramblas on a sunny afternoon, and at the beginning of Las Ramblas on the right side is a great tapas place. I think it just has a big sign that says "Tapas"

Also I highly recommend Seville / Sevilla. You can see authentic Flamenco dancing, I think that was where I also saw a bullfight (one of the most barbaric things I've ever witnessed), and they also have Christopher Columbus's tomb. But really I just loved the people, the atmosphere, and the food.

Again, skip Madrid unless you have truly compelling reasons to go. Been there, done that, didn't find it to be all that welcoming nor enjoyable. Tourists are also more of a target in Madrid than any of the other cities.

Be aware of siesta... they take it seriously there! I didn't believe it until one afternoon we were out looking at the shops and a good 70% of them were closed for the afternoon. I kept thinking, "How do they make any money?" Then it dawned on me... if everyone is taking siesta, then it could actually be unprofitable to remain open since there'd be nobody to buy!
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, I'll be looking into Barcelona a lot more now!
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:40 PM   #6
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I second Barcelona. Been there many years ago and I liked it a lot. But northern and southern Spain are quite different so next time I go I'd like to visit a city in the south. My favorite would be Cadiz, but Seville, Malaga or Alicante could be good choices too (though the last two are quite touristy due to their proximity to the coasta del sol and the coasta blanca respectively).
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:02 PM   #7
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It's been 18 years so I don't remember many details, I just remember that we had alot of fun in Spain. We started in Madrid and headed south. Missed the north - DH has never been so next time we will hit Barcelona.

I liked Madrid and if you are into art, the Prado is one of the great art museums of Europe. Don't expect to eat dinner anytime before 9:30PM. That's when the restaurants first open. We'd usually be finishing up around 11PM, just as the locals started to arrive and at 1AM, everyone was out strolling in the streets! If you are hungry early, pop into a bar for tapas.

I remember Toledo was beautiful. I have a particular weakness for walled cities and I usually try to visit them whenever I have a chance. Of course, Seville and Granada. Beyond that, look into the area around Ronda. There's a series of whitewashed hilltop villages in the southern mountains that are breathtaking. Ronda is larger - it is a regular city. It's nice, but nothing like the tiny villages. We visited prehistoric cave paintings somewhere in the area also. If you do visit this area, you will definitely need a car. Whatever you do, skip the Costa del Sol. Even 18 years ago it was miserable - wall to wall highrise hotels and lobstered looking Brits packed onto the beaches.
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:42 PM   #8
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We spent 3 weeks in Spain last July. Started Barcelona, toured 3 days, then flew to Seville, toured Seville 2 days, rented car. Drove to Tarifa, ferry to Tangier for the day, drove to Gibraltar, Granada, Toledo, dropped off car, two or three days each place. Then train Toledo-Madrid, where we stayed 5 days, with two days spent on train side trips to Segovia and El Escorial.

Would not agree with the advice to skip Madrid. The art museums and the Royal Palace are not to be missed. Barcelona is on par with Madrid as a destination, but just as big a city, dirty, dangerous, etc.

I would be glad to answer any questions.
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:47 PM   #9
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Been to Barcelona. It is great.

Try to make it to Palma De Mallorca. Fantastic!
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:06 PM   #10
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Hi, just wanted to chime in that Madrid is definitely worth a visit. I agree that the Prado is great. I also really liked the Reina Sofia, which has some incredible paintings. We took a guided tour there, which really added to my enjoyment and appreciation of the paintings.

In Barcelona, I would definitely recommend the Joan Miro and Picasso museums. Also, a great day trip from Barcelona is to Figueres, which has a Salvador Dali museum. It was incredible!

Also in Barcelona, I would highly recommend visiting the various Antoni Gaudi architecture sites. He did amazing, unusual, very distinctive work. I think someone already mentioned Parc Guell. La Sagrada Familia (a basilica), La Pedrera (an apartment building?), and Casa Batllo are also not to be missed!

Have a great trip!
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:11 PM   #11
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Here's what we did many years ago and would gladly do it again. Skip Madrid, it's beautiful but just another large European city. We did a triangular trip by car that we rented in Cordoba, then did Malaga, Granada, and back to Cordoba. Stayed at each place two nights, got to see the traditional Spain with lots of castles, Moorish architecture, and the beautiful Mediterranean coast.
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:30 PM   #12
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Skip Madrid? Why there might as well be no Santa Claus. Oh well, to each his own, but try the paello at 10:00 p.m.
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:52 PM   #13
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I'm another one who wouldn't skip Madrid. We spent 3 weeks there and had a fabulous time, some of the best tapas I have ever had.
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Old 09-21-2007, 08:29 AM   #14
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Hi,

Before suggesting places, I'd ask what you like to do? Do you like big cities or small towns?

I did a two-week loop from Madrid to Cordoba, Sevilla, Ronda, Granada and Barcelona. Ronda and Barcelona were my favorites. Sevilla was great also. Madrid has the museums and palace but it is a big-world city, and I would compare it to visiting New York - great, but much different than other choices.
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
I'm another one who wouldn't skip Madrid. We spent 3 weeks there and had a fabulous time, some of the best tapas I have ever had.
That did it, get me to the local tapas joint tonight! (What no emoticon for licking my lips?)
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