12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

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craig v
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12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#1 Post by craig v » August 19th, 2018, 8:30 pm

We've never been to Spain. Our two favorite Euro countries to date are Italy and France. We like a mix of high intensity low intensity. We love Italy's Lucca which is a relatively small low intensity walled city. We love Paris, Venice and Florence too.

I've seen Granada on House Hunters Intl and it looks great. Not really interested in winery visits.

I', thinking something like 2-3 days in Barcelona ( even though it interest me about the least of any city. 2-3 days in Seville and 2=3 days on Granada. And/ or one less city and some small village Spain or small coastal Spain? We're not sun & beach worshipers though. Only want coastal if its really beautiful, mountainous and low key.

Spend 9 -12 days in Spain.

Any suggestions appreciated. We likely try to rent places rather than do hotels.
Last edited by craig v on October 10th, 2018, 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#2 Post by Jeremy Holmes » August 19th, 2018, 8:44 pm

San Sebastian.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#3 Post by dbailey » August 20th, 2018, 2:14 am

Barcelona never does/did it for me. I always preferred Valencia, although it's been a long time since I was there. Cordoba is pretty nice too. However, Toledo really should be on your list and is a good half way point between either Valencia/Barcelona and Seville/Granada.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#4 Post by dbailey » August 20th, 2018, 2:19 am

PS of course a lot depends on what time of year you’re planning on going. Summer is brutally hot...

One other nice place to visit on the coast is Cadaques - where Dali, Picasso and pretty much all the Spanish artists spent a lot of time.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#5 Post by Paul Fountain » August 20th, 2018, 3:23 am

dbailey wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 2:14 am
Barcelona never does/did it for me. I always preferred Valencia, although it's been a long time since I was there. Cordoba is pretty nice too. However, Toledo really should be on your list and is a good half way point between either Valencia/Barcelona and Seville/Granada.
I'm with Dan here - I liked Barcelona less than most other places I went to in Spain. Not that it was bad, just over hyped. I'd go back for another look at the Sagrada Familiar though. Valencia was a real surprise to me. I expected little and it far exceeded my expectations. Seville met my expectations which were high, and was perhaps the closest to what I imagined Spain to be prior to visiting there. I've always enjoyed Madrid too so don't overlook it. It is also fairly easy to catch a train down to Toledo or out to some of the other interior towns and cities from there.
Granada felt like it was trying to be Morocco and I enjoyed it less because of that, but I know plenty of people who loved it. The Alhambra is right up there with the Sagrada Familiar as the must see buildings of Spain

San Sebastian is pretty and a great place to eat and drink

Of the smaller places I liked Ronda, although I probably wouldn't want 3 nights there. Maybe my favorite place of the lot was Segovia. I could imagine spending more time there. Maybe because of the suckling pig.

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Re: best cities in Spain

#6 Post by Bret D!sk!n » August 20th, 2018, 4:04 am

Seville and Madrid are top on my list. Fantastic experiences in both multiple times and would highly recommend both. Agree with the above that Barcelona is cool and well worth a visit, but we felt it was all tourists while we were there in the summer.

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Re: best cities in Spain

#7 Post by Julius L » August 20th, 2018, 11:02 am

My wife and I went "parador hopping" back in 2000. We stayed for a few days in Madrid prior the hop. we also injected a couple of days in Porto to taste the classic 1994 vintage.

A good part of the appeal of the cities where we stayed were actually the paradors themselves. It's interesting see what today's prices are compared to back then (an increase of about 150 - 200%). Of special note were the 15th century Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos in Santiago, the 12th century castle in Siguenza, the 16th century palace in Avila, the 12th century former hospital in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the former 16th century San Marcos Monastery in Leon and the fantastic view from the Cerro del Emperador location of the parador in Toledo.

The cities themselves that we most enjoyed touring were Madrid, Leon, Santiago, Avila, Toledo and Santo Domingo (and its nearby cities, Logrono and Haro).

I'm not sure how relevant this info is as it was 18 years ago but I offer it anyway.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#8 Post by George Hejna » August 20th, 2018, 12:07 pm

I don't think you need 3 days in Granada. Seville is wonderful and so is San Sebastian. I think I prefer Madrid over Barcelona. They are very different though. I also enjoyed Cordoba this past Christmas.

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Re: best cities in Spain

#9 Post by Blake Brown » August 20th, 2018, 1:29 pm

Jeremy Holmes wrote:
August 19th, 2018, 8:44 pm
San Sebastian.
A big #1
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Re: best cities in Spain

#10 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » August 20th, 2018, 4:38 pm

A few thoughts - I spent a couple of weeks in Spain last year.

Madrid is very good, but a very different feel from Barcelona. While the latter obviously have some lovely stuff, it's intensely touristy and over-run now. There's a bunch of stuff to do and see in Madrid, but it's also an excellent base for day-trips to a number of very interesting other towns: Segovia (fantastic aquaduct), Toledo etc etc (see http://www.nakedmadrid.com/2014/08/27/m ... ing-towns/ for example). The city itself has quite a spacious feel, e.g. the large central park, as well as many interesting neighbourhoods and museums.

Granada is fantastic and we had a great time there, plus it keeps you fit walking up and down all the time :). Obviously the Alhambra is fascinating (book well ahead, don't miss your slot because they do chase you out in your time limit) but the whole central town has a nice vibe - a little bit like Florence (small old streets you can wander around / get lost in).

San Sebastian is again very touristy (more so than Madrid or Granada I thought). Decent beach if you want to swim, some nice buildings and a great view from the (awful) amusement park at the top. Lots of very average food for tourists, but of course some fantastic restaurants in the area as well. If you do head that way, you might want to check out Hondarribia to the east - have one meal in France and another in Spain on the same day. I wouldn't put San Sebastian as a big "plus 1" because I found it a good deal less interesting than other towns.

The roading network is excellent, so you can easily plan to drive through half the country in a day. If you're a keen driver, no problems doing San Sebastian to Granada in a day. Do take a cue from the local drivers: never ever drive in the overtaking lanes if you're not overtaking, watch for the traffic flow - if you see the brakelights go on for the car in front of you that just went past at 150 km/h, it's probably because they know there's a speed trap there :) or a real hazard of course.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#11 Post by Nola Palomar » August 20th, 2018, 10:18 pm

craig v wrote:
August 19th, 2018, 8:30 pm
We've never been to Spain. Our two favorite Euro countries to date are Italy and France. We like a mix of high intensity low intensity. We love Italy's Lucca which is a relatively small low intensity walled city. We love Paris, Venice and Florence too.

I've seen Granada on House Hunters Intl and it looks great. Not really interested in winery visits.

I', thinking something like 2-3 days in Barcelona ( even though it interest me about the least of any city. 2-3 days in Seville and 2=3 days on Granada. And/ or one less city and some small village Spain or small coastal Spain? We're not sun & beach worshipers though. Only want coastal if its really beautiful, mountainous and low key.

Spend 9 -12 days in Spain.

Any suggestions appreciated. We likely try to rent places rather than do hotels.
So...the villages of the Alpujarra are on the south side of the Sierra Nevada in Granada. That is where I am located you’re welcome to visit. The villages are like stepping back in time.

Keep in mind that From Madrid to the coast is around 5-6 hours drive. Spain is like a living museum everywhere you go they will have something unique and interesting to see.

My favorite trip we took was Granada -> Toledo -> Madrid -> El Escorial -> Segovia -> Avila -> Zamora -> Santiago de Compostela -> Salamanca-> Cáceres -> Mérida -> Trujillo -> Sevilla. Look for Paradores for lodging. The Spanish Paradores are luxury hotel accommodations in Castles, Palaces, Convents, Monasteries, Fortresses and other historic buildings. The parador in Santiago is adjacent to the cathedral and is breathtaking. The dining in the Paradores features local cuisine depending on the region you are visiting. https://www.paradores-spain.com/ Let me know if I can personally help answer any questions.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#12 Post by George Hejna » August 21st, 2018, 5:21 am

Forgot about Segovia. Wonderful place. You can day trip it out of Madrid but worth a night. Girona NE of Barcelona is great and Carcassonne in France is not too far away from there.

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Re: best cities in Spain

#13 Post by Nola Palomar » August 21st, 2018, 10:15 am

This is a great day trip from Madrid and back, but start early -> El Escorial -> Segovia -> Avila
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Re: best cities in Spain

#14 Post by Josh Grossman » August 21st, 2018, 10:21 am

Ronda is on my list but imagine it’s mostly tourists

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Re: best cities in Spain

#15 Post by Julius L » August 21st, 2018, 10:02 pm

While we were driving from one parador to another the police came and pulled everyone over to the shoulder of the road. A few minutes later, the Vuelta a España approached and went by. There were so many bicycles we had to wait quite a while before we were allowed to resume driving.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#16 Post by scamhi » August 22nd, 2018, 6:58 am

Jeremy Holmes wrote:
August 19th, 2018, 8:44 pm
San Sebastian.
agreed with a stop first in Axpe.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#17 Post by todd waldmann » August 22nd, 2018, 11:33 am

Toledo, Sevilla and Granada are all great.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#18 Post by Barry L i p t o n » August 22nd, 2018, 7:20 pm

Timely thread. I thought I had my trip all planned out but now am rethinking.

Originally, San Sebastian (5 nights), Barcelona (4 or 5 nights), Granada (2 or 3 nights) and Seville (4 or 5 nights). 17 night total is fixed. I've been to all before but San Sebastian. 5 nights there because of 5th night free at the Marina Christina on points. Madrid will be on another trip.

But I also didn't care for Barcelona as much as the other places. I thought I should go back and give it another shot, but now I hear similar sentiments, and wondering about changing it up a little.

Anyone spend time on Mallorca? I can get in the Park Hyatt on points (but it's pretty remote; a half hour plus to anything). I know they are very different destinations, but I give it a few extra points because it's new to me.

Re: Axpe, I'd love to, but it seems to far to Uber for just an evening. Or am I overestimating the distance (google maps says an hour drive).

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Re: best cities in Spain

#19 Post by craig v » August 23rd, 2018, 4:42 pm

We'd do some should season thing like Feb March April or late Oct, Nov or early December. We prefer 65-75 degree days.
dbailey wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 2:19 am
PS of course a lot depends on what time of year you’re planning on going. Summer is brutally hot...

One other nice place to visit on the coast is Cadaques - where Dali, Picasso and pretty much all the Spanish artists spent a lot of time.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#20 Post by craig v » August 23rd, 2018, 4:48 pm

Thanks Nola, I can't believe how little I know about Spain. Almost nothing. I better go buy a Rick Steves book and get some tiny sense of it.

Nola Palomar wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 10:18 pm
craig v wrote:
August 19th, 2018, 8:30 pm
We've never been to Spain. Our two favorite Euro countries to date are Italy and France. We like a mix of high intensity low intensity. We love Italy's Lucca which is a relatively small low intensity walled city. We love Paris, Venice and Florence too.

I've seen Granada on House Hunters Intl and it looks great. Not really interested in winery visits.

I', thinking something like 2-3 days in Barcelona ( even though it interest me about the least of any city. 2-3 days in Seville and 2=3 days on Granada. And/ or one less city and some small village Spain or small coastal Spain? We're not sun & beach worshipers though. Only want coastal if its really beautiful, mountainous and low key.

Spend 9 -12 days in Spain.

Any suggestions appreciated. We likely try to rent places rather than do hotels.
So...the villages of the Alpujarra are on the south side of the Sierra Nevada in Granada. That is where I am located you’re welcome to visit. The villages are like stepping back in time.

Keep in mind that From Madrid to the coast is around 5-6 hours drive. Spain is like a living museum everywhere you go they will have something unique and interesting to see.

My favorite trip we took was Granada -> Toledo -> Madrid -> El Escorial -> Segovia -> Avila -> Zamora -> Santiago de Compostela -> Salamanca-> Cáceres -> Mérida -> Trujillo -> Sevilla. Look for Paradores for lodging. The Spanish Paradores are luxury hotel accommodations in Castles, Palaces, Convents, Monasteries, Fortresses and other historic buildings. The parador in Santiago is adjacent to the cathedral and is breathtaking. The dining in the Paradores features local cuisine depending on the region you are visiting. https://www.paradores-spain.com/ Let me know if I can personally help answer any questions.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#21 Post by craig v » August 23rd, 2018, 4:50 pm

Thanks Paul, I need to dig deeper and read up on the places you recommend like Segovia, Ronda, and Valencia.
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August 20th, 2018, 2:14 am
Barcelona never does/did it for me. I always preferred Valencia, although it's been a long time since I was there. Cordoba is pretty nice too. However, Toledo really should be on your list and is a good half way point between either Valencia/Barcelona and Seville/Granada.
I'm with Dan here - I liked Barcelona less than most other places I went to in Spain. Not that it was bad, just over hyped. I'd go back for another look at the Sagrada Familiar though. Valencia was a real surprise to me. I expected little and it far exceeded my expectations. Seville met my expectations which were high, and was perhaps the closest to what I imagined Spain to be prior to visiting there. I've always enjoyed Madrid too so don't overlook it. It is also fairly easy to catch a train down to Toledo or out to some of the other interior towns and cities from there.
Granada felt like it was trying to be Morocco and I enjoyed it less because of that, but I know plenty of people who loved it. The Alhambra is right up there with the Sagrada Familiar as the must see buildings of Spain

San Sebastian is pretty and a great place to eat and drink

Of the smaller places I liked Ronda, although I probably wouldn't want 3 nights there. Maybe my favorite place of the lot was Segovia. I could imagine spending more time there. Maybe because of the suckling pig.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#22 Post by craig v » August 23rd, 2018, 4:53 pm

Great info thank you.
Rauno E (NZ) wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 4:38 pm
A few thoughts - I spent a couple of weeks in Spain last year.

Madrid is very good, but a very different feel from Barcelona. While the latter obviously have some lovely stuff, it's intensely touristy and over-run now. There's a bunch of stuff to do and see in Madrid, but it's also an excellent base for day-trips to a number of very interesting other towns: Segovia (fantastic aquaduct), Toledo etc etc (see http://www.nakedmadrid.com/2014/08/27/m ... ing-towns/ for example). The city itself has quite a spacious feel, e.g. the large central park, as well as many interesting neighbourhoods and museums.

Granada is fantastic and we had a great time there, plus it keeps you fit walking up and down all the time :). Obviously the Alhambra is fascinating (book well ahead, don't miss your slot because they do chase you out in your time limit) but the whole central town has a nice vibe - a little bit like Florence (small old streets you can wander around / get lost in).

San Sebastian is again very touristy (more so than Madrid or Granada I thought). Decent beach if you want to swim, some nice buildings and a great view from the (awful) amusement park at the top. Lots of very average food for tourists, but of course some fantastic restaurants in the area as well. If you do head that way, you might want to check out Hondarribia to the east - have one meal in France and another in Spain on the same day. I wouldn't put San Sebastian as a big "plus 1" because I found it a good deal less interesting than other towns.

The roading network is excellent, so you can easily plan to drive through half the country in a day. If you're a keen driver, no problems doing San Sebastian to Granada in a day. Do take a cue from the local drivers: never ever drive in the overtaking lanes if you're not overtaking, watch for the traffic flow - if you see the brakelights go on for the car in front of you that just went past at 150 km/h, it's probably because they know there's a speed trap there :) or a real hazard of course.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#23 Post by Nola Palomar » August 23rd, 2018, 5:26 pm

craig v wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 4:48 pm
Thanks Nola, I can't believe how little I know about Spain. Almost nothing. I better go buy a Rick Steves book and get some tiny sense of it.

Nola Palomar wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 10:18 pm
craig v wrote:
August 19th, 2018, 8:30 pm
We've never been to Spain. Our two favorite Euro countries to date are Italy and France. We like a mix of high intensity low intensity. We love Italy's Lucca which is a relatively small low intensity walled city. We love Paris, Venice and Florence too.

I've seen Granada on House Hunters Intl and it looks great. Not really interested in winery visits.

I', thinking something like 2-3 days in Barcelona ( even though it interest me about the least of any city. 2-3 days in Seville and 2=3 days on Granada. And/ or one less city and some small village Spain or small coastal Spain? We're not sun & beach worshipers though. Only want coastal if its really beautiful, mountainous and low key.

Spend 9 -12 days in Spain.

Any suggestions appreciated. We likely try to rent places rather than do hotels.
So...the villages of the Alpujarra are on the south side of the Sierra Nevada in Granada. That is where I am located you’re welcome to visit. The villages are like stepping back in time.

Keep in mind that From Madrid to the coast is around 5-6 hours drive. Spain is like a living museum everywhere you go they will have something unique and interesting to see.

My favorite trip we took was Granada -> Toledo -> Madrid -> El Escorial -> Segovia -> Avila -> Zamora -> Santiago de Compostela -> Salamanca-> Cáceres -> Mérida -> Trujillo -> Sevilla. Look for Paradores for lodging. The Spanish Paradores are luxury hotel accommodations in Castles, Palaces, Convents, Monasteries, Fortresses and other historic buildings. The parador in Santiago is adjacent to the cathedral and is breathtaking. The dining in the Paradores features local cuisine depending on the region you are visiting. https://www.paradores-spain.com/ Let me know if I can personally help answer any questions.
When the Catholic Monarchs, Isabela and Ferdinand were able to finally oust the Moors from Granada, they departed by crossing over the mountains. It is said that the Queen Mother Aixa al-Hurra, of the last Emir of Granada Boabdil, said as he looked back one last time as he crossed over the mountain, to the city and cried, “Do not cry like a woman for that which you could not defend as a man.” Most of them departed though the seaside of Adra but many settled in the Alpujarra (named after Ibrahim Albuxarra a Moor turned Christian (semi) remained in command of the territory, the chain of mountains, took his name, which has since been slightly changed to Alpujarra. The Moors revolted numerous times but finally the Christians prevailed and ousted them. In one of the neighboring villages Valor, celebrate their holiday September 12-16 with a reenactment battle of the Moor & Christians, processions, rockets, festivities.

In our village, Ugijar the patroness of the Alpujarra is the Virgen del Martirio, they bring her out during the festivities of our village on the 13th of October. The folklore with her is that someone was digging into a well and when the shovel hit her she cried out in pain, they pulled her out of the well and she told them the story of how the Moors tried to burn her but they could not, so the moors buried her, then she was rescued by the Christians and that's why she is dark. Lots of stories...
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Re: best cities in Spain

#24 Post by Andrew Kotowski » August 24th, 2018, 12:33 pm

If you end up down in Valencia, you might consider checking out Tarragona (you'll pass through, has cool Roman ruins) and Javea (quiet beach area), as well.

If you're driving from Madrid to San Sebastian, consider lunch in Burgos. The cathedral there is definitely worth a visit and it's a nice break.

If you're in the Barcelona area, I'm a huge fan of Girona (old city wall, painted houses) and Sitges (awesome beaches, restaurants and cannons), both of which are a fairly short train ride from Sants.

Not sure I'd do more than 48 hrs in Granada. Don't get me wrong; it's a beautiful city... but once you blow through Alhambra and have drinks/food in a couple of the squares, it's time to go. We stayed in the Hotel Alhambra Palace, which had epic views of the city. I'd note that it's up on the hill, however, which means you need to shuttle/taxi down into the city (or get the car out).

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Re: best cities in Spain

#25 Post by LoriMcLaughlin » August 24th, 2018, 1:04 pm

In San Sebastian, the Maria Cristina is exceptional - but for us five nights would have been way too many. We stayed two. The pinxtos crawl was fun, and we had a great meal at Akelare. But our favorite thing in San Sebastian was the thalassotherapy at La Perla. The circuit pools are fantastic - 3 hours for 32/Euros has got to be one of the best bargains in Europe. You can have lunch on the terrace overlooking the beach.

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Re: best cities in Spain

#26 Post by JKim » August 24th, 2018, 1:15 pm

Barry L i p t o n wrote:
August 22nd, 2018, 7:20 pm

Anyone spend time on Mallorca? I can get in the Park Hyatt on points (but it's pretty remote; a half hour plus to anything).
Love Mallorca. One of the highlights of our Spain trip last year. We stayed at Park Hyatt Mallorca on points also and great value at 20k/night. Standard rooms are huge and the property is beautiful. Definitely a trek to the East Side of the island and you will need a car. The driving didn’t bother us and the beaches are amazing.

Our trip included Barcelona, Granada, Ronda, Seville and Mallorca. Loved all of the locations. If you can avoid summer, it would preferably as it’s crazy crowded and almost unbearably hot. We went in the summer cuz of my daughter’s schedule. We spent only one night in Ronda and that’s prob enough, but what a majestic one of a kind city.

We loved Barcelona but we’re also huge Barca FC fans and got to catch a game and did the Camp Nou tour so we might be a little biased.

If you’re even remotely a futbol fan and if scheduling works out, I think catching a game at Camp Nou in Barcelona or Bernabeu in Madrid would be amazing.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#27 Post by Andrew Kotowski » August 24th, 2018, 2:14 pm

>> If you’re even remotely a futbol fan and if scheduling works out, I think catching a game at Camp Nou in Barcelona or Bernabeu in Madrid would be amazing

Seeing this reminded me - if you're a futbol fan, you can take a tour of Bernabeu. The trophy room is ridiculously impressive and it's cool to walk up to the field (they wouldn't let us on the pitch) and see the locker room/take pics. I took a pic of Ronaldo's locker and then pretended to fall over, which the tour guide did not appreciate as much as I did. We did it for a corp event, but they do offer tours at -> https://www.realmadrid.com/en/tickets/bernabeu-tour

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Re: best cities in Spain

#28 Post by Justin B. » August 31st, 2018, 10:36 am

San Sebastian definitely has a special place in my heart. I did a trip there many years ago (along with running of the bulls in Pamplona --- so was there in July-ish time frame). Great coastal town with a great casual drinking / food scene. Beautiful scenery and close enough to hop over to France for a quick side jaunt of you are so inclined. I'd love to go back because I hear the high end restaurant scene is off the charts.

Barcelona was beautiful and fun. I'm a little biased too because I went in late Feb / early March which, at the time, had near perfect weather for me (not beach level hot but a certain departure from the late Feb chill in NYC). My wife and I only spent about 2 days there which was perfect timing. For that time of year it's great. Summer may be a bit less enjoyable.

Madrid I found to be ok... Worth seeing at some point, but wouldn't be on my personal list for places to revisit (whereas the other two above are definite revisit candidates for me if that tells you anything).
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Re: best cities in Spain

#29 Post by Seth L. » September 1st, 2018, 10:11 am

Have to say that it really depends on who/what you are. I've lived most of my life in NYC and I wasn't a fan of Madrid, but I ADORED Barcelona and wound up making that my home base for 9 months. It was some time ago that I lived there and it has become a bit more of a college spring break type destination which may be why so many of the above said they didn't care for it all that much. I loved all the museums, the Gaudi buildings are unreal, and the old town part of the city is super lively and fun. Barcelona is a very spread out city (think Los Angeles, though not that big) that I think where you stay will play an important part in your experience. But there are great places to shoot up to from Barcelona like Sitges, Figueres for the Dali Museum, and I fell in love with a little town about 1.5 hours NW called Huesca in Aragon. have a fun trip!!
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Re: best cities in Spain

#30 Post by Jay $$ Winton » September 1st, 2018, 11:18 am

This is all very helpful. Spain is on our radar as well.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#31 Post by Carlton McCrindle » September 2nd, 2018, 9:33 pm

Salamanca
Aquablava (Parador)
Compostella de Santiago
Toledo
Tortosa (parador)

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Re: best cities in Spain

#32 Post by craig v » October 9th, 2018, 11:07 pm

I'm back on Spain/Portugal for our 40th anni trip this coming Spring. My wife spoke with a girl friend recently and now she's excited about Spain.

We want to go sometime between March 15th and the end of April. Please help me debug my itinerary...
Thinking..... 2 days in Barcelona, 2 days in Madrid, 2 days in Toledo, 3 days in Sevilla, 2 days in Granada and 2 days in either Porto or Lisbon but not both. So around 12-14 nights. Since we going in the Spring would it make more sense to fly into Porto or Madrid and back out of Barcelona. Coming from Minneapolis and using Delta usually means connecting through Amsterdam or CDG each way.

Appreciate everyone's thought on itinerary and if you have any thoughts about weather in mid late March vs anytime in April.

Thanks
Craig
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Re: best cities in Spain

#33 Post by J. D'Antonio » October 10th, 2018, 3:30 am

Personally, that's way too many cities in two weeks. If you factor in travel between cities, you're really only spending a day in each place. To each their own, obviously, but I prefer fewer cities for a longer period, and then make the odd day trip if I have a car.
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Re: best cities in Spain

#34 Post by Paul Fountain » October 10th, 2018, 4:51 am

I'd tend to agree with Jay these days, but it probably depends on what the likelihood of you ever coming back is, as it is different from the vantage point of having been to all those places already.
I'd say 2 nights in Toledo is too much. One would be enough, and it is possible to do it as a day trip from Madrid. It has been a few years since I was there but I don't think the train ride was much more than an hour.

If you fly into Porto, you may as well go to Lisbon I think. They are about 2 1/2 - 3 hours I think by train. And getting from Porto or Lisbon to any of the places you want to go is going to take a long while by train. I did an overnight sleeper on the train going from Madrid to Lisbon many years ago. Otherwise you are flying or losing a day in travel time. I love the city of Porto, and it is fun to visit the Port Lodges on the other side of the Douro but if you are there go to Lisbon too. If you go to Lisbon, make sure you do a day trip out to Sintra.
Madrid has the high speed rail connections down to Seville and to up to Barcelona. It was a decade ago, but I remember looking at flying between Barcelona and Madrid vs the Train. The cost was similar and the times looked pretty similar after you factored in time to get out and back to the airports. The train will get you to the middle of the city though and it is more scenic.

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Re: best cities in Spain

#35 Post by craig v » October 10th, 2018, 4:00 pm

Thanks Paul, I'm now inclined to skip Portugal and focus on Spain. I really don't want to "day trip" anywhere unless the place only has an much value as going to Pizza and seeing the tower. For me you miss all the atmosphere of after 5pm and into the evening.

I've heard that Seville & Toledo might be two of the most soulful places in Spain and worth overnights. I love to train from one city to the next during the day so I can get some bonus armchair views of places I don't have time to stop and see. I also believe that any great city worth seeing is worth at least 2 nights there to enjoy the ambience and to see the place without the herd of tour day trippers. So I want to spend at least two nights everywhere and wouldn't be opposed to doing 3 nights in Seville, Madrid and maybe even Barcelona.

I really love walking down antient streets and seeing the old urban core. My wife likes to cook so if I can VBROs well cook at least one night everywhere and hit a market. Want to see a couple art museums. Neither of us dig shopping for stuff to bring home. We do the Rick Steves mini back packs. No heaps of luggage. I love the high seed trains just not the stations and ticketing stuff. Love eating out in some cool plaza or small back street. We both take a ton of photos.

So now, maybe I do this.....
Barcelona - 3 nights ( unless someone can convince me otherwise I'd skip the big goofy Familia thing completely)
Madrid - 3 nights
Seville - 3 nights
Toledo - 2 nights = roughly 1.5 days
Granada - 2 nights = roughly 1.5 days

Paul Fountain wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 4:51 am
I'd tend to agree with Jay these days, but it probably depends on what the likelihood of you ever coming back is, as it is different from the vantage point of having been to all those places already.
I'd say 2 nights in Toledo is too much. One would be enough, and it is possible to do it as a day trip from Madrid. It has been a few years since I was there but I don't think the train ride was much more than an hour.

If you fly into Porto, you may as well go to Lisbon I think. They are about 2 1/2 - 3 hours I think by train. And getting from Porto or Lisbon to any of the places you want to go is going to take a long while by train. I did an overnight sleeper on the train going from Madrid to Lisbon many years ago. Otherwise you are flying or losing a day in travel time. I love the city of Porto, and it is fun to visit the Port Lodges on the other side of the Douro but if you are there go to Lisbon too. If you go to Lisbon, make sure you do a day trip out to Sintra.
Madrid has the high speed rail connections down to Seville and to up to Barcelona. It was a decade ago, but I remember looking at flying between Barcelona and Madrid vs the Train. The cost was similar and the times looked pretty similar after you factored in time to get out and back to the airports. The train will get you to the middle of the city though and it is more scenic.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#36 Post by David Jefferson » October 10th, 2018, 9:21 pm

Nola's area of the world - Alpujarra is truly a special place and if you have a chance it is well worth a visit. Spain is a wonderful country and I can't wait to go back, and I could spend weeks in the Alpujarra.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#37 Post by Nola Palomar » October 11th, 2018, 8:01 am

David Jefferson wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 9:21 pm
Nola's area of the world - Alpujarra is truly a special place and if you have a chance it is well worth a visit. Spain is a wonderful country and I can't wait to go back, and I could spend weeks in the Alpujarra.
-David
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#38 Post by David K o l i n » October 11th, 2018, 8:33 am

Mallorca is lovely and quite varied. certainly can fill a number of days there. Also Ibiza is nice, if you stay away from Ibiza town (unless you like the disco). We were engage at this joint - https://www.haciendanaxamena-ibiza.com/

I wouldn't skip the "big, goofy" Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It's quite compelling, along with Gaudi's other works
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#39 Post by Nola Palomar » October 11th, 2018, 9:09 am

David K o l i n wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 8:33 am
Mallorca is lovely and quite varied. certainly can fill a number of days there. Also Ibiza is nice, if you stay away from Ibiza town (unless you like the disco). We were engage at this joint - https://www.haciendanaxamena-ibiza.com/

I wouldn't skip the "big, goofy" Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It's quite compelling, along with Gaudi's other works
I would not skip it either. Hacienda Na Xamena is beautiful. We used to have a 37 ft Sea Ray and one summer we navigated across from an area between Valencia and Alicante over to Ibiza. Fun trip, lots of memories. We stayed in the boat, but got to explore the island quite a bit. There is so much to see and do in Spain.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#40 Post by craig v » October 12th, 2018, 4:07 pm

Its looks gorgeous and, right up my alley but, not sure my wife could handle the steep uneven, rough terrain. She's about 50% debilitated from slow progressive MS that was diagnosed 10 years ago. She's a slow walker with balance issues and can at most walk 1/2 mile before needing a break on smooth city streets.

The place does look awesome. Thinking about a less jet set, costal village like Tosso de Mor in Costa Bravo or even smaller.
Nola Palomar wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 8:01 am
David Jefferson wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 9:21 pm
Nola's area of the world - Alpujarra is truly a special place and if you have a chance it is well worth a visit. Spain is a wonderful country and I can't wait to go back, and I could spend weeks in the Alpujarra.
-David
Indeed.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#41 Post by Nola Palomar » October 12th, 2018, 6:57 pm

Craig, I am sorry to hear about your wife. One of the beautiful parts of Spain is that the cities and villages are very centralice. Now, some of the villages in the Alpujarra are built on the mountain side and you go up and down all day long. My village Ugijar is actually very flat as it is in a valley. Most cities have good sidewalks and will not be that far for her to walk. If you are in a town or city in Spain and there isn't a tapa bar within a half a mile, then you are not in Spain, fire your travel agent!!! Now, many of the streets are not necessarily smooth either, there is a lot of cobble stone.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#42 Post by craig v » October 13th, 2018, 4:53 pm

Nola, that's good to know about your village as otherwise your village certainly is our wheelhouse for charm and low key authenticity. Does a train or bus stop there? Plus it would be fun to meetup for dinner. I'm going to try to avoid cars if possible. They're a total pain in in place with more than 1000 people living there because of old city centre restrictions, parking and narrow streets.

What costal villages have the right mix of charm, food and authenticity without any jet setter craziness or heavy traffic? In France we loved Villefranche-Sur-Mer.

If choosing to come sometime between March 15th and May 15th when would you come to Spain for mild weather and possible outdoor dinning but no hot weather, period? Trying to make it work from Barcelona to the Granada and possibly in the mountains like you village. What would be your guess for closest to 65-75 degrees and not a ton of rain. We don't mind a little rain for atmosphere, at all.

Thanks
Craig

Nola Palomar wrote:
October 12th, 2018, 6:57 pm
Craig, I am sorry to hear about your wife. One of the beautiful parts of Spain is that the cities and villages are very centralice. Now, some of the villages in the Alpujarra are built on the mountain side and you go up and down all day long. My village Ugijar is actually very flat as it is in a valley. Most cities have good sidewalks and will not be that far for her to walk. If you are in a town or city in Spain and there isn't a tapa bar within a half a mile, then you are not in Spain, fire your travel agent!!! Now, many of the streets are not necessarily smooth either, there is a lot of cobble stone.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#43 Post by Andrew Kotowski » October 14th, 2018, 5:00 pm

I wouldn’t toss the car idea out. Spain is probably one of the easiest places to drive, even once you get off the beaten track. With GPS, it’s a breeze, especially if you’re on a toll road. I’ve gone from Barcelona to Grenada to Gibraltar and back out of Malaga at a 150km/day, as well as from Barcelona to Madrid to San Sebastián and back with no problems, and I was dragging young kids :) Couldn’t agree more with Nola - it’s just an amazing country.

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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#44 Post by Nola Palomar » October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm

Agree with above regarding driving.

To and from my village, there are buses from both Granada and Almeria. We also have a couple of taxi drivers that make a daily route for a reasonable charge.

As far as costal villages, I am most versed with Almeria and Aguadulce but there are soooo many! I would stay away from Marbella and Gibraltar just because they are extremely touristic. Unless your thing is to go to Puerto Baynus to watch the rich dudes with their trophy girls and Ferrari's driving in front of the multi-million dollar yachts.

Almeria is beautiful, has a good airport (that's where I fly in and out of) Train station, Buses and taxis. There are good hotels at very reasonable prices and a plethora of restaurants. I have a number of friends there and am a member of the Club de Mar (Yacht Club) where you can have a beautiful meal over looking the sea. Aguadulce is the vacation place for the locals. Many people who live and work in Almeria have their summer apartment in Aguadulce which is less than 10 miles away. There are other local villages along the coast that are secluded and quiet San Jose (Almeria) that is nice (volcanic beach) and Aguamarga (Nijar) there is a little restaurant that just got the Plato de Oro award. Going west from Almeria there are Castell de Ferro, Salobrena, Almunecar, Nijar, Torremolinos (Malaga) is halfway between Malaga and Marbella.

But that's just Almeria, I am going to send you the contact info for the travel agent that helped my friends recently with their trip. I think it would be worth your while just to talk with her and she can assist you to get all your ideas formed and assist you to make plans.

Time wise? Lets see, our budbreak is late Feb. Normally after May 1st there is little to zero rainfall in the south. This year there was a bit more than they normally see but rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains!!! My husbands favorite months were May and June. July gets hot and Aug is the national vacation month. Lots of festivals to compliment your trip, you could even plan around them. September is still hot but starts to cool more in the evenings, Oct same but now you have more chances for rain. I have more travel restrictions at least for the next 2 1/2 years until Nolita is out of school and I can let her do her things and I an travel more liberally. I usually try to go on Spring break (chilly, but not cold) and then I try to spend most of July there. During the school year it is harder for me to go because of my daughter's schedule.

Festivals:
Springtime the biggie is Semana Santa
There are processions in every city and most towns, some more pagan than others but all very serious on the religious aspect of Easter. Semana Santa starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. One of my favs is Lorca (Murcia) it is a parade of horses decked out in Roman costumes and trained in dressage, Sevilla has the most solemn and beautiful processions. Apart from that, look at the calendar here and see if any of these are must see for you all. https://www.spanish-fiestas.com/festivals/calendar/ If you decide to go north west to Santiago, I can give you some thoughts on that area too.
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#45 Post by riaz syed » October 26th, 2018, 10:53 am

Nola Palomar wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm
Agree with above regarding driving.

To and from my village, there are buses from both Granada and Almeria. We also have a couple of taxi drivers that make a daily route for a reasonable charge.

As far as costal villages, I am most versed with Almeria and Aguadulce but there are soooo many! I would stay away from Marbella and Gibraltar just because they are extremely touristic. Unless your thing is to go to Puerto Baynus to watch the rich dudes with their trophy girls and Ferrari's driving in front of the multi-million dollar yachts.

Almeria is beautiful, has a good airport (that's where I fly in and out of) Train station, Buses and taxis. There are good hotels at very reasonable prices and a plethora of restaurants. I have a number of friends there and am a member of the Club de Mar (Yacht Club) where you can have a beautiful meal over looking the sea. Aguadulce is the vacation place for the locals. Many people who live and work in Almeria have their summer apartment in Aguadulce which is less than 10 miles away. There are other local villages along the coast that are secluded and quiet San Jose (Almeria) that is nice (volcanic beach) and Aguamarga (Nijar) there is a little restaurant that just got the Plato de Oro award. Going west from Almeria there are Castell de Ferro, Salobrena, Almunecar, Nijar, Torremolinos (Malaga) is halfway between Malaga and Marbella.

But that's just Almeria, I am going to send you the contact info for the travel agent that helped my friends recently with their trip. I think it would be worth your while just to talk with her and she can assist you to get all your ideas formed and assist you to make plans.

Time wise? Lets see, our budbreak is late Feb. Normally after May 1st there is little to zero rainfall in the south. This year there was a bit more than they normally see but rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains!!! My husbands favorite months were May and June. July gets hot and Aug is the national vacation month. Lots of festivals to compliment your trip, you could even plan around them. September is still hot but starts to cool more in the evenings, Oct same but now you have more chances for rain. I have more travel restrictions at least for the next 2 1/2 years until Nolita is out of school and I can let her do her things and I an travel more liberally. I usually try to go on Spring break (chilly, but not cold) and then I try to spend most of July there. During the school year it is harder for me to go because of my daughter's schedule.

Festivals:
Springtime the biggie is Semana Santa
There are processions in every city and most towns, some more pagan than others but all very serious on the religious aspect of Easter. Semana Santa starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. One of my favs is Lorca (Murcia) it is a parade of horses decked out in Roman costumes and trained in dressage, Sevilla has the most solemn and beautiful processions. Apart from that, look at the calendar here and see if any of these are must see for you all. https://www.spanish-fiestas.com/festivals/calendar/ If you decide to go north west to Santiago, I can give you some thoughts on that area too.
Stoppped off in Ugijar earlier in the summer having read South From Granada and on the way to stay at friends in Orgiva. Great place to spend some time, especially if you've a hire car to get around to the diffeent villages.

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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#46 Post by craig v » November 17th, 2018, 2:34 pm

I booked my flights and this is my updated intinerary. I've decided to focus on the major cities I'm interested in plus Toledo. We plan to travel by train & bus. Not car due to parking and city hassles. Plus we like trains. The only other thing I'm thinking about is taking a train or a bus from Madrid or Barcelona to Rioja for day trip to essentially hit Lopez Heredia and possibly one or two other nearby under the radar old school Rioja guys. Anyone know if its possible to get there via train / bus and perhaps Ubber / taxi as needed?

14 nights on the ground

Wed 24th Depart MSP 12:45 PM ATL ARV Madrid next day 8:35 AM
Thursday 25th Madrid arrv 8:35 AM
Friday 26th Madrid
Saturday 27th Madrid?

Saturday 27th Toledo
Sunday 28th Toledo

Monday 29th Seville
Tuesday 30th Seville
Wednesday 1st Seville

Thursday 2nd Granada
Friday 3rd Granada
Saturday 4th Granada

arMonday 6th Barcelona
Tuesday 7th Barcelona
Wednesday 8th Barcelona
Depart Barcellona 10:30 AM aarv MSP 6:27PM
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Re: 12-14 nights in Spain sometime between March 15th & May 15th

#47 Post by Mark Cochard » November 19th, 2018, 11:21 am

It looks like a at least 4 hour train ride from Madrid to Haro and you change trains in Zaragoza. Use this website to book Renfe trains https://www.trainline.eu/, much easier to use the the Renfe site and they also have an AP.

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