1st Time to Spain - Which Cities?

Old Jan 25th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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1st Time to Spain - Which Cities?

Like a few others on the forum, we are travelling to Spain for the first time and would like some recommendations on which cities to visit. We have 7 full days in the 1st half of March.

We have narrowed it down to Barcelona, Madrid and Seville but would like to dedicate our trip to 2 cities.

I have read many of the responses to other posts but would like to hear from others what their vistis to these cities were like.

We are interested in all aspects of travel but mainly food, culture, art/architecture and a little bit of nightlife. We would like to avoid the touristy places (unless worthwhile) and would really like to get an authentic sense of Spain. We already know how to get around and tentative places to stay.

Thanks for all your help!

arugula377 is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:01 AM
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It is a bit difficult to answer because all of these cities have a lot of things to offer, but in March I would recommend you the South of Spain, maybe Sevilla and Granada.Both are really beautiful cities and you will have good weather in march, not as good in Madrid or Barcelona, much colder .
You can visit Madrid and then take the train AVE to Sevilla and you will see two different kinds of cities.

I have always prefer the south it has more Duende=magic but there are a lot of cities in Spain which are really beautiful, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Gijon, Oviedo......in the north cities I think you can have a different point of view from Spain,more cosmopolitan, different habits, it is another thing because not as everybody usually thinks, Spain is more than flamenco and bullfighting.Regards.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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The southern part of Spain -esp Andalusia is the most different - and to me the most fascinating. Suggest you visit Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada and possibly some of the white towns.

I'm not a fan of Madrid - it's a big modern city with tons of highrises - and to me is much less "Spanish" than most of the country. Great for young people, tons of all-night nightlife and probably good to live in - but it reminds me of Chicago more than anyplace else.

Can;t comment on Barcelona since I haven;t been there for about 15 years. Then it was charming - but to me not enough to build a vacation around.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:23 AM
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Other than the weather issue, my feeling is that Barcelona is just as "unique" as any other city in Spain.

If you've been anywhere in the Southwestern US, especially to So. California, the architecture in Seville is going to look very familiar.

That is not to say don't go there because seville is wonderful for many things such as the cathedral and the Alcazar.

And then there's Madrid...to me it is as "spanish" as anywhere else...although some parts of the city may not fit someone's stereotype of what Spain is supposed to look like, there are still some grand avenues, absolutely top-rate museums and other attractions.

Yours is a harder decision to make than for someone who has been to all three cities. Since I have NO idea what your interests are`I would probably, and very arbitrarily recommend Barcelona and Seville.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:25 AM
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I apologize..just re-read your post and see you did include your interests.

Your desire to avoid the "touristy places"..well, I'm afraid a lot of those spots which make all three cities so interesting are going to be seeing lots of tourists just like yourselves even if it is March.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I'd vote for Seville and Barcelona. I'm also not a big fan of Madrid. Yes, the prado was good but I absolutely loved Seville and Barca. We took a bit longer trip that you are doing - flew into Madrid, spent a couple of days there, took the AVE to Seville, spent a few days there and flew from Seville to Barca on Iberia - very cheap to do if you are a bit flexible on times. AND...much faster than the train between Seville and Barca. We were there late march and had great weather all around. too cool to swim but comfortable for touring. Are you saying that you'll have 7 full days in spain or 5 days with a full day of travel on both ends??
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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I lived for three years in Madrid and yes, it has many things but I would choose Barcelone and Sevilla too.If it is your first time in Spain I think you will enjoy the trip and you have two very different cities.
of course from Madrid is easier to go to Sevilla because there isn,t a big distance between the cities, it is more comfortable for you but I agree, that Barcelona is much more beautiful than Madrid and yes, you better take a flight if you choose Barcelona and Sevilla.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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While the fares might have changed dramatically, we flew for 29e per person on iberia within spain.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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wow! so many helpful suggestions! we will be there for 9 days total including 2 travel days to and from the U.S. - so 7 full days for touring spain.

i think we are now leaning toward barcelona and seville. a friend who grew up in spain recommended andalucia which is supposed to be quite nice during the spring.

thanks to all!
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 06:45 PM
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hi arugula,
I'm also planning a trip in late April to Spain, and like you was faced with the same issue - only 1 week in Spain, but which cities? I agree - 2 cities is a good mix for 1 week. I did alot of research & decided I was most interested in Seville & Madrid. My suggestion would be to look online and see what appeals to you. For whatever reason, Barcelona was just not calling to me. However, that's just my 2 cents - so it may be great for you.

Also, from what people have said on this board - it's very easy to take day trips from the cities & highly recommended. For example, a day trip from Seville to Cordoba.

Good luck in your planning! And be sure to post when you get to back to share your impressions of Spain. I know I'd love to hear them before my trip.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 08:07 AM
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Which cities?
It's a very difficult question.
To know some diferent senses of Spain:
* San Sebastián, northern Spain (basque culture, superb meals)
* Barcelona, eastern Spain (catalonian culture, superb architecture & art)
* Sevilla, southern Spain (andalusian culture, warm weather)
* Madrid, central Spain (great museums & nightlife)
All are basic towns to initiate in Spain.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 09:44 AM
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If you really want to experience authentic Spain, then you must take some day trips out side of the cities. See the highlights in the cities, but ( from someone who is living in Spain in a white village) you will find the real Spain in the small villages.

Just a thought to consider in your plans.
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