A summer's vacation in Spain...

Old Feb 8th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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A summer's vacation in Spain...

Hello everyone,

We are Canadians and are new to this forum. We are in our late 30's and love every aspect of traveling, including museums, art, architecture, walking, good food and wine and everything else that come with a good adventure. We have heard that we can get useful and valuable information and advice from the famous "Fodorites".

Here is our story:

In the Spring of 2006, we traveled to Barcelona for 10 days, with side day trips to Girona and the coast. It was a magical city and a great vacation (looking back, however, we should have stayed a little less time in Barcelona and use some of the time to stay in Madrid).

Now we fast forward to this coming July, and we so want to go back to Spain. However, we do not want to keep changing hotels that often, so we would like to base ourselves out of three, or maybe four areas, and take day trips to other places of interest.

We initially thought of flying into Barcelona, staying for 3 nights, then taking a train to Madrid, where we would stay 6 nights, with day trips to Segovia and Toledo. We would then rent a car, and leave very early to drive to Seville, where we would stay for 5 nights, with day trips to Ronda and Cordoba, and then off to the coast for a 3 night rest at a beach in the South of Spain, including a day trip to Granada, before returning home.

Then we came up with another idea. Instead of going back to Barcelona, use that time, and the time we were going to allocate to a beach in the South of Spain, and take a flight, from Malaga to the Canary Islands, which we have heard is just gorgeous, where we would stay for 6 nights. We have looked at the fares for us to fly this route in July, and the prices were very reasonable.

In this way, our 17 night trip can have the best of all worlds.

Has anyone ever considered this type of itinerary? Does it make sense? If so, are the Canary Islands worth it?

Your help would be so appreciated, as planning a trip like this, as you all most probable know, can be daunting.

Thanks for all of your help.

Michael and Lisa
MichaelandLisa is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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Your itinenerary is qutie doable, my only comment is it could be very hot for walking in Spain in the summer.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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The Canary Islands are very popular, and very diverse.
I think that Tenerife would fit your requirements best. The lush, green, subtropical North (which does regularly get a shower of rain), with many opportunities for hiking, visiting old towns, botanical gardens, but few beaches. Those are in the South and stretch for kilometers. The landscape is more desert-like in the sunny South and has tons of hotels and vacation rentals for the beach enthusiasts.
In between there is the massive Teide mountain with almost 4K meters and the National Park of Las Canadas. So there is a lot to do and see, and you won't get bored during your six days.

The climate is much more comfortable on the Islands than in Southern Spain. The Canary Islands are not nicknamed islands of eternal spring for nothing.
Usually around 25-27C in summer, and not 40C as in Sevilla. So I would save the hiking until you get to the islands.

Gran Canary has similar features as Tenerife.
Lanzarote is a very bizarre volcano island - but you have to like that.
Fuerteventura is mostly beaches.
La Palma is the green island, and a hiker's paradise
La Gomera is quite similar to La Palma, but is not so well connected by air.
Finally, el Hierro, is the smallest island which gets hardly any tourism at all.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Andalucia will be very hot in July and most restaurants, museums and other attractions are not air-conditioned. This is the reason why the Spaniards have Siesta during a good part of the day and life begins after 10 p.m.

Frankly speaking, I would not travel to Andalacia in July. Better stick to the North of Spain. Donostia is beautiful, as well as the Pyrenees and Rioja. The Balearic islands, especially Mallorca, are an interesting destination.

Canary Islands: Tenerife is perhaps the most attractive island with a gorgeous volcano, two or three quaint towns and a few beaches. The problem is that the Canaries are very touristy and may be crowded, except when you are opting for one of those very expensive luxury hotels. In any case, avoid Los Christianos, Las Americas and Adeje. Playa de la Arena in Puerto de Santiago is a beautiful beach with black volcanic sand.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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I'm leaning with the people who are advising you to consider the heat in southern Spain. But only you know how much you can tolerate.

I'm a big fan of Spain but not so much Barcelona -- perhaps like you. So I would urge you to consider a trip to San Sebastian and mountainous Spain -- the Pyrennes -- in summer.

You will lose something in monumental sights, but you can even dig up those -- but you can have a wonderful adventure.

Start in Madrid so you can enjoy the great museums, but don't head south. Head elsewhere.
zeppole is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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I would like to also suggest that you start in Madrid and then go north. The North has beautiful beaches, right in the cities of San Sebastian or Santander. From there you can do many interesting trips to Picos de Europa area or alongside the Cantabrian sea. You might be able to get all the way to Galicia, my favorite!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 05:09 PM
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Are the beaches in San Sebastian and Santander (so often recommended on these forums) like other "city" beaches, or like resort beaches? Are they sandy or rocky? Narrow or wide? I'm just trying to get a "handle" on them for a future trip!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Santander has miles and miles of 'resort like" sandy beaches . It is a lovely city.
Google it and you'll see.
From Santander you can easily visit Bilbao - little over an hour or other place on the coast San Sebastian over 2 hours). very good bus servuce in and out of town. .
San Sebastian is ( I think) a bit more upscale but i have not been there.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 05:26 PM
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If you do a google search for these places, and use the "images" link on google you can see for yourself.

zeppole is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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San Sebastian is my favorite city in Spain. Weather is a bit touchy this Winter as you can see.
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