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Barcelona and/or ??? with another family

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Greetings Fodorites. I've been off the forum for awhile but I'd like to start planning a European trip for next summer (mid-July). The very loose plan is to hook up with some friends in the UK and Barcelona was mentioned as an early candidate (we are coming from the US).

So, where to start? There will be 7 of us all together (4 adults, 3 teens). A single apartment would be ideal. They'll probably have a week and we might stretch things to 1.5 weeks with possibly including another stop (San Sebastian?).

Would mid-July be an acceptable time to visit (school schedules are dictating this)? What area should I focus on for accommodations? Favored apartment websites?

Our friends might like to stay outside of the city (beach? other?) -- does that make any sense? (we usually stay in the thick of things).

Does San Sebastian make a decent pairing? or better first choice? We've visited Madrid (and surrounds) and Sevilla/Granada on previous trips.

Usual interests: cultural/historic sights, good food, a little R&R (not so easy in a city granted). Pretty open really -- we'll enjoy visiting with our friends regardless.

Sorry, I realize I'm a little scattered at the moment. Early days. Thanks.

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