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10 Days in Barcelona and Madrid....need help with itinerary!!

10 Days in Barcelona and Madrid....need help with itinerary!!

Old Jan 9th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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10 Days in Barcelona and Madrid....need help with itinerary!!

I just booked a trip to Spain! Traveling in late March, early April flying into Barcelona, staying for 5 days and then headed to Madrid (not sure if by train or flight) for 5 more days and heading home from there. I thought 5 days would give enough time to not only see the city, but also the surrounding countryside/villages. We are not really into art, but we love museums. We also love anything active, as we are both young and full of energy.

I wanted to spend three days in Barcelona which leaves us two days for day trips. We would like to see a good beachside town, and any other neat small towns nearby.

I also wanted to spend three days in Madrid, exploring the city. For one of the day trips I want to explore Toledo, which leaves us one day open day for another short trip.

Hotels are already booked and paid for, so there is no changing the amount of time spent in each city.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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Congratulations on booking your trip! 10 days is good for a Madrid/Barcelona combination. You should have time for one daytrip definately and perhaps two - based on your travel style. Which one is all a matter of personal tastes. For Barcelona my personal favorite daytrip is Girona followed by Tarragona. Montserrat is a very popular daytrip also. My top daytrip from Madrid would be Toledo followed by Segovia.

Another note: it's likely you'll be in Spain during Semana Santa (Holy Week). Although it's not as celebrated in Madrid and Barcelona as it is in other parts of Spain you should definately try to see a processional. You'll also want to ensure you have the train booked in advance between Barcelona & Madrid as many people will be traveling during this holiday period.
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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You could easily spend 5 days just in Barcelona & the beach is right there, so you don't have to travel to be on a beach, if you don't want to. And I agree with CathyM that Girona is a great day trip from Barcelona. We spent 2 nights there in October 2010 & loved it! It's an easy day trip from Barcelona, an hour by train, I think.

You can click on my name to read my trip report from October 2010 if you wish. I give names of restaurants, sightseeing, etc.
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 02:01 PM
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Sounds perfect.
I have done Madrid- Barcelona train several times. Easy and fast.
Best if you can get Internet rate on Renfe...if not, it can be pricy.
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 02:58 PM
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CathyM- Yes it does look like we will be in Spain for the majority of Semana Santa and yes it looks like it is celebrated more in the south, but that would definitely be something to see. Girona looks like a wonderful town. Is this something that can be done in a day?

Danon- I just checked on Renfe for the train rates and it only looks like it only gives a 1 euro discount for buying online. Is this something that will change the closer I get to the travel date? I was in Italy a few years ago and I bought all train tickets within an hour of travel. Would it be ok to wait until we arrive in Barcelona then head to the train station to buy the tickets? That would be four days in advance. I have read that it is easier to purchase tickets through the Rail Europe website. Is this true?

Thanks in advance for any information.
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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It is early to look for tickets for late March... 60 or so days before the dep.
Some people have had a problem getting tickets on Renfe and bough from RE
I never had a problem , I am not sure.
There are numerous trains a day, but buying the ticket at the station would be at full price...over
100 euros, I paid about. 48 euros.
The flights between the two cities are cheaper ( I flew Vueling for less than 50 euros, when I landed in Barcelona from overseas and continued to Madrid right away )
But , of course the train is center to center of the city without security, travel to airports etc
Give it some time to check Renfe rates and go from there.
When I flew Vueling to Madrid ( in Oct) it was easy and inexpensive getting to downtown Madrid by a new train from terminal. 4 .
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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Girona is an easy daytrip from Barcelona. You can see most everything in a day. But I spent 2 nights in both Girona and Tarragona (same with Toledo and Segovia). Given your time frame a daytrip is best and should work fine.

danon is correct - renfe offers deeply discount (approx 60%) webfares and estrella fares on line but they're not available until approx 60 days before travel. The fares will go quickly so as the times gets closer keep checking on a daily basis. If I were you I'd probably take the train. By the time you factor in travel time to/from the airport along with time you need to arrive early and also pick up bags the high speed train may be quicker. Besides, it will be a great experience on the high speed train.
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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I was leaning towards taking the train for travel between Barcelona and Madrid. I took the Eurostar between London and Paris last spring and I loved seeing the countryside of France, even through it is pretty flat. I can only imagine the views in Spain! I do think I will find fares through Rail Europe for $78.00 per person
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 05:36 PM
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Problem with trying to book the train closer to your date of departure is that you're playing chicken with the Vueling/FlyEurope flight prices and may not be able to beat them (the average price for a fast train is higher than the 30+ day purchase price for Vueling - that's how it worked out for us).

Not sure you really need two day trips from Barcelona considering the city should be able to keep your interest for a week on its own. Toledo is fine but Segovia is overrated so don't take a second day trip there just to take one.

Check out the schedules for the local sports teams (Espanyol/Barca/Real Madrid/Atletico) and see if you can get tickets to a soccer match if you want an interesting cultural experience.
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Old Jan 9th, 2012, 06:04 PM
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AVE trains are wonderful: .fast, modern,, comfortable.
Both train stations are in the center with Metro connections.
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Old Jan 20th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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this is pretty much the trip i am hoping for in early april.

thanks for the info
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 10:16 AM
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You can spend 1 month in Spain and still not go to all the villages and beaches. 5 days in Barcelona is good enough. From there, you can go to Sitges (about 2 hrs. from Barcelona) and enjoy the beach. You can also go to Montserrat to enjoy the century old monastery and the Balck Virgin. Picasso's hometown-Figueras is also a must-there's so much to see and enjoy that 5-days seem too short. You can take the fast train from Barcelona to Madrid. In Madrid, there's the Prado and several world-class museums to visit. From Madrid, the fast train goes to Andalusia where its really nice. Seville is my favorite Spanish City and there's just a lot to explore in Andalusia. Whatever you do, don't MISS GRANADA and CORDOBA!!! Enjoy your trip.
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Correction-the Black Virgin of Montserrat.
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 10:24 AM
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From Madrid, Segovia and Avila are a must. Segovia has the Roman Aqueduct which is still functional. While in Madrid or Barcelona, please be wary of the woemn who'll pin flowers on you for Euro10 or more. In the Rambla in Barcelona, be wary of scamsters and pickpockets. Police won't help you much if you're a vistim. Brush up on your Spanish and blend in with the natives Have fun!
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Whatever happened to my spelling-correction: WOMEN and VICTIM!
Segovia also have the most scrumptious lechon de leche (roast pig) in the world (if you eat pork)
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 10:30 AM
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Correction again!-Segovia "HAS" the most scrumptious lechon de leche Your trip to Spain won't be complete if you don't try their regional cuisine
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 10:31 AM
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RENFE is their fast train and ALSA offers bus trips to almost all of Spain.
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Old Feb 1st, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Renfe is actually the state owned train company (Red Nacional de Ferrocarriles Españoles). There are several fast trains: the AVE runs from Madrid to Sevilla, the AVANT from Madrid to Malaga, the AVE and AVANT from Madrid to Valencia and more.....

Jumuhamaba - the web fares for the beginning of April are just opening up on the renfe site so if you're taking the train I'd grab a good fare while they're still available.
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