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Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 10:55 AM   #1
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Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

We'll be visiting Spain at the end of March - a 9 day trip.

I'm stuck for ideas so of course I come to you for help.

What would the forum recommend for must dos and go to places?

I haven't made the plane reservations yet - have thought about either flying:
1. Into and out of Madrid.
2. Into Madrid out of Barcelona.
3. Into Madrid out of Lisbon
4. ?

Will be taking the train.

So far Seville, Toledo, Granada are on our places of interest.

We have an interest in art, architecture and history - especially Moorish.

Your input as always appreciated.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 11:02 AM   #2
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Dan, this is probably already on your itinerary:

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildi..._Alhambra.html
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 11:06 AM   #3
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Dan, this is probably already on your itinerary:

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildi..._Alhambra.html
REW - it is...that is a cool link by the way! Thanks.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 11:26 AM   #4
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Two of my favorite places to visit in Spain:

El Prado - one of the world's best art museums: http://www.euroresidentes.com/eurore...n/el_prado.htm

Altamira - the first cave discovered with paleolithic cave paintings: http://www.showcaves.com/english/es/.../Altamira.html

There is plenty to do and see in Madrid.


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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 12:52 PM   #5
 
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

dan you will have a fantastic time, but I would rent a car, driving is very easy and you control your schedule.

Things have got much more expensive since they went Euro, and Spain is Florida for the Brits and Germans.

Portugal is worth a visit, if you have the time, a few hours drive but more laid back and less expensve.

recommend you buy
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 12:54 PM   #6
 
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

dan you will have a fantastic time, but I would rent a car, driving is very easy and you control your schedule.

Things have got much more expensive since they went Euro, and Spain is Florida for the Brits and Germans.

Portugal is worth a visit, if you have the time, a few hours drive but more laid back and less expensve.

Recommend you buy The Lonely Planet on Spain and don't forget your Health Insurance overseas.

March should be mid 60's+.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

When we visited daughter in Spain (2001), she lived in Barcelona.* We flew BA to Madrid, and took the train to Barcelona, simply because of airfare.* I second El Prado as a great museum to visit, it's huge.* Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor is the area where we stayed, in a very cheap hotel (not recommended).* I believe the Plaza Mayor is where the inquisition burned a few folks.* We just had wine, thank you very much.

We also took a side trip from Madrid to El Escorial, where we saw El Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen)which took 2 decades to build under Franco's direction, a monument for the dead of the Spanish Civil war.* There is a 500 foot cross under which is a basilica, where Generalissimo Franco is buried. My grandson (who had traveled with us)* took the opportunity to step on Franco's grave, slighting one of the meanest men who ever lived. I am told (but did not see)that at certain times of the year, the light shines through the cross, into the bascilia, directly onto Franco's grave. Very impressive.


In Barcelona, Most impressive thing we saw was La Sagrada Familia, which is the architectural masterpiece of Antonini Gaudi.* It was begun in 1882, and it wasn't finished when Brother Gaudi died in 1926.* It is a neo-gothic cathedral, whose name means, I believe, the church of the holy family. There are huge, high towers, which you can go up in an elevator, and this place is worth the trip to Barcelona. It is still not finished.

Of course, no trip to Barcelona is complete without a walk down La Ramblas.* Street shops, shows, and people watching galore. Both Madrid and Barcelona had the red London-type double-decker buses which we used for a city tour.* Worth the price.

Further, we drove up the Costa Brava and stayed a few days.* Not much to report there, but we did go as far as Cadeques, which is a town near France that Salvador Dahli deemed heaven on earth.



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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 02:35 PM   #8
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

I've never been to Spain, but if/when I do get a chance to go there, in addition to the good ideas already suggested, I would want to see all of Gaudi's buildings:

http://www.greatbuildings.com/archit...nio_Gaudi.html

Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao,

http://www.archetours.com/barcelonamain.html

and anything designed by Santiago Calatrava, who is mentioned in the above link, and also at:

http://www.calatrava.com/

(not Moorish, but still great architecture )
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 06:28 PM   #9
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Don't miss the Picasso museum in Barcelona
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 06:42 PM   #10
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

If I remember correctly, you live in Italy. If so, use www.vueling.com to book your flight. It is the cheapest flight I could find.

Also, I don't recommend renting a car in Madrid or Barcelona.

They have something called a "Madrid Card" and a Tourist Travel Pass (If I remember correctly it's called a "Abono Turistico" in Spain). There is also a "Barcelona Card."

To get from Madrid to Seville, take the AVE. It's a little more expensive, but it gets you in between cities in just over 2 hours.

Use vueling to fly from Seville to Barcelona or you can take the trenhotel for an overnight train ride.

When in spain, do what the locals do. Go to a bullfight and eat the Tapas. If you go to the bullfight, get the "sombra" tickets, especially if you go on a hot sunny day.

In Madrid, go to the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace. Take a day trip to Toledo.

In Seville, go to a Flamenco show and visit the Cathedral of Seville.

In Barcelona, walk down Les Rambles.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 07:04 PM   #11
 
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

,,and get used to eating Supper at 10.00p.m.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-01-2006, 11:03 PM   #12
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by retire@40
. . .
When in spain, do what the locals do.* Go to a bullfight and eat the Tapas.* If you go to the bullfight, get the "sombra" tickets, especially if you go on a hot sunny day.

In Madrid, go to the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace.* Take a day trip to Toledo.

In Seville, go to a Flamenco show and visit the Cathedral of Seville.

In Barcelona, walk down Les Rambles.
I agree with all of the above advice. It's been awhile since I was in Spain and the mention of these things brought back nice memories. But one warning about bull fights -- if you don't know what you are getting into, you should look into it first. I've recommended the bull fights to others who found them bloody and revolting. Some people were really angry with me after attending. I looked at it as a cultural experience. They saw it as a violent and senseless slaughter.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-02-2006, 06:27 AM   #13
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

We spent a month in southern Spain last April and loved it. I agree that renting a car can be nice - we had a car for one week and took the train the rest of the time. The car was convenient and made it easy to stop in smaller out of the way places.

We did the Seville, Cordoba, Granada loop plus some smaller towns (Zuheros is worth stopping in for an hour or two if you have a car). All wonderful. However, my absolute favorite place was the small town of Ronda - gorgeous, slow paced, and with lots of great Moorish stuff to see - we spent 2 nights there on the way up to Madrid by train and could have spent a week. Really beautiful setting!

Also, as a day trip from Madrid I recommend Segovia.

Madrid itself was great but like a lot of other big cities. Definitely do the bullfight.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-02-2006, 07:27 AM   #14
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please



I want to second (or third!) spending a lot of time in Barcelona. There's so much to see and do in Barcelona and in day trips in the region. I also visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which Sheryl mentioned. It's worth the trip.
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-02-2006, 04:34 PM   #15
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

When we went to Spain we stayed predominately in the Paradores

http://www.paradores-spain.com/

which are hotels run by the Spanish tourist board that are mostly built in castles and palaces. We tried to spend a minimum of two nights at each location so we weren't moving every day.

We flew into Madrid, immediately got lost in Friday morning rush hour traffic, found our way out and over to El Escorial for the afternoon, and then two nights in

Avila - http://paradores-spain.com/spain/pavila.html

We lost the second day from jet lag after sleeping nearly around the clock. We hadn't planned on it, but we arrived during the feast day for St. Teresa of Avila (in September), so there were fiestas in the town square every night. Then it was off to the mountains and

Jarandilla de la Vera - http://paradores-spain.com/spain/pjarandillavera.html

Toledo

Alarcon (an 8th century Moorish castle) - http://paradores-spain.com/spain/palarcom.html

Then to see a friend near Alicante, then to Granada and finally to

Carmona - http://paradores-spain.com/spain/pcarmona.html

We were in regular totels in Toledo, Alicante and Granada. We flew out of Seville.

We had two rental cars. The second one was gotten after we made the mistake of parking at a dam out in the country and getting out of the car to check things out while leaving a day-bag visible on the seat. Smash (the driver window) and grab is not uncommon, as we found out. Arranging for a new rental car on a Sunday when no one was on duty at the paradore who spoke english was a real chore, and we had to drive from Alarcon to the airport at Valencia to get a new car and file the police report.

Watch your fuel levels when driving through the lightly populated areas, as trying to find fuel in random small villages off of the autoroute can be very stressful. You'll be better topping off regularly at the services on the highway.

Driving in a medieval city can be an adventure - get a SMALL car.

cheers,
Michael
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-02-2006, 09:43 PM   #16
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Hi Dantien,

I lived in Spain for 3 years so know the place well. Suggestions below:

1. Don't miss the North! Tourists tend to miss it and its stunning. Go to San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostela if you can
2. Rent a car - forget the trains - you will see and experience so much more - if you can handle the kamikaze driving.
3. Change your schedule - eat late and stay out late - Spain comes alive at night!
4. While in the Madrid area, go to Segovia - even better than Toledo and a 1 hour drive. It's a Unesco world heritage site - see the 1st century roman aqueduct, the gothic church and the stunning moor castle.
5. In Madrid - just wander around the city center especially at night and the Santa Ana bar district. Eat and drink well - go to a fabulous cheap restaurant - La Finca de Suzanna. Lots of fun.
6. Sevilla and Granada are wonderful places to see. Stop by Cordoba on your way to Seville and see the amazing church - cant remember the name but it's the main one and everyone knows it. Beautful moorish architecture, the Alhambra (get tickets in advance!), the markets.
7. Eat like the Spanish - coffee and not much else for breakfast, big lunch at 2pm, tapas for dinner at 9 PM earliest.
8. Check out which towns have fiestas going on while you're there - there is always a party somewhere.

Let me know if you have any questions - I love Espana and would move back in a heart beat!

JoJo
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-02-2006, 09:50 PM   #17
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Also,

- Ditch the bull fighting - cruelty to animals, gory, not worth it
- I just saw that you only have 9 days so you will need to choose between North (San Sebastian, Santiago de Compostela) and South (Cordoba, Seville, Granada). Sounds like you want South but make sure you go North next time.
- You don't have enough time to do the South and Barcelona - suggest you go south and save Barcelona for next time so you don't spend all your time travelling rather than experiencing.
- check you this website: www.spain.info

JoJo
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-03-2006, 02:27 PM   #18
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

REW, Howard, ((^+^)) SG, Eagle43, Sheryl, F M All, retire@40, Flowgirl, kat, Michael, JoJo - Thank you everyone for your responses and ideas. I don't know how to properly thank you, other than a big on both cheeks

I've upped the trip from 9 to 10 days.
Still not enough time to do all I would like, as JoJo suggested will limit this trip to Madrid and the south.
Will do Barcelona & the north next trip.
Portugal a separate trip.
Limiting my choices helps me to focus!
Flying into and out of Madrid.

I've started a list for this trip with your Madrid & south suggestions and a separate list for the north trip.

So far ideas for places to go:

Madrid
Segovia
Toledo
Cordoba
Seville
Granada
Zuheros
Ronda
Carmona
Alarcon
Cadiz

Debating between car and train at this moment...

Paradores!

Flamenco!

I will eat like the Spanish!

Fabulous cheap restaurants:
1. La Finca de Suzanna

Muchas Gracias Mi Amigos!
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please
Old 01-03-2006, 07:35 PM   #19
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

I had my first honest-to-goodness long talk with an ER in Spain. We went camping all over Spain for a month while on leave when I was stationed in Germany, ~30 years ago. Lots of fun, even tent camping with a 3 year old.

Probably our most enjoyable stop was on the beach at Algiceras, near Gibralter, where we camped for about a week next to an American couple in their early 40s who had been retired for a couple of years, and were living in an RV that they took from place to place, beaching in warm weather and skiing in cold, and planned to do so for a few more years.

The seed was planted...
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Old 03-19-2006, 03:25 PM   #20
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Re: Spain - Forum Travel Ideas Please

Departure day March 26 fast approaches amigos!

The wife, oldest son and I are looking for reading material for all the flying. Either to keep us totally absorbed and oblivious or to put us quickly to sleep.
We've covered Dan Brown.

Going to Borders tonight to stock up. Anything that you really liked and would like to recommend?
Muchas Gracias! Hasta Luego!... Buenos Dias...Via con dios....
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