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Advice for 20th Anniversary in Madrid and Barcelona please.

Advice for 20th Anniversary in Madrid and Barcelona please.

Sep 23rd, 2012, 05:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 127
Advice for 20th Anniversary in Madrid and Barcelona please.

My wife and I are planning our 20th in Madrid and Barcelona next July. We will have eight nights. We are experienced travelers who love art, history, natural beauty (but no hiking), food and wine. This will be our first trip to Spain. We will splurge a bit on hotels but our budget is not unlimited (probably need to average around 200-250 euro a night but less would be great). We like traditional and cozy or luxury more than trendy and love a room with a view if possible. We would love help with the following: What areas to stay in in both cities. Specific hotel recs. How many nights (of the 8) in both cities. Day trips. Romantic restaurants.

Thanks so much!
JWH is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Eight nights gives you seven days
Changing cities will probably take half a day.
There so much to see and do in both cities, especially for lovers of art and history,
I don' t see much time for day trips.
In Barcelona, staying relatively close to Placa Catlunya places you in the very center
In Madrid, majority of travelers seem to prefer the area near the museums.
We usually rent apts.....sorry cannot recommend a hotel
If you take a look at http://www.maribelsguides.com/, you will get some great
Keep in mind the very hot summer wether in Spain
danon is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,530
I agree with the Placa Catalunya idea in terms of being "central." If you look someplace such as TripAdvisor you can place hotels on a map.

I've stayed in the Atrium Palace near the Placa Catalunya; also the Montecarlo which is on the, for some, dreaded La Rambla and will do so again next year. I've also stayed over in the Colon which faces the gothic cathedral. I'd recommend each of these but for different reasons in each case.

I also agree that if you are interested in art alone then you simply must go to Madrid for the museums if nothing else. It is a city of wide avenues and various sites of interest. DON'T allow anyone to tell you "it isn't as good as Barcelona" because that is not true.
Dukey1 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 06:54 AM
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I agree about Madrid... Going for the forth time in a few weeks.A great city.

Cannot understand why some posters say it is modern and compare it to the American cities.
Before America was even discovered, the population of Madrid was 30.000
danon is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 59
I actually think Madrid is better than Barcelona, especially for food and wine and great art, and you have the opportunity to go to Toledo from there, so unless you want to split the time on the ground 50-50, you might want to favor Madrid.

Both natural beauty and hotels that are cozy and traditional can be hard to come by with these destinations. For Barcelona can be almost terminally trendy, and Madrid is very urban, the big Retiro park notwithstanding. You can check out your guidebooks for urban parks that might appeal to you.

In July, you will really need air conditioning. In Madrid, I prefer to stay slightly outside the designated museum area to get more of a flavor of Madrid. The subway system is excellent. You might enjoy perusing this to get some sense of which neighborhood suits your style:


Once you've picked a neighborhood, you should look at a site like booking.com, where you will see copious pictures of hotels, read user reviews (from people who actually stayed there -- you can't post a review unless you booked through the webiste) and you can also see if the hotel is available your dates.

For romantic restaurants, you really need to specify your budget and your idea of romance. I find it romantic in Madrid to eat tapas, drink wine and spend a LOT of time in outdoor cafes, and almost never find it romantic to eat dinner at 10pm. (Can't comment much on Barcelona; just not my thing.)

Hope you don't mind my saying that were it my trip, I'd rent a fab air-conditioned apartment in Madrid for the whole time and do selected day trips to places like Toledo or Cordoba or possibly Segovia.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 10:04 AM
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No one is suggesting that Madrid isn't older than Chicago. But a lot of the buildings - grey highrise office buildings from the 1920's and 1930's - remind me of Chicago. Granted there are older sections - but IMHO it's nothing like Andalusia - which has a totally different vibe and is like nothing anywhere else.

I think the incredibly unpleasant weather - which we didn;t expect that early in the year - was also part of the problem. But that was the only time we tried to return early from a trip to europe - since we had run out of things to do - and it was so awful outside we just wanted to hide in our AC hotel room.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 59
Yes, when you don't expect hot weather, it can be terrible. I was in NYC once the first week of May, and it was over 100 degrees!

When I was in Madrid it was very pleasant to be outside all day, and be in the cafes when we were not in the museums, especially at night. But I've never been there in July.

I wanted to add that I think the only way to know what it "central" in Barcelona is to pick what is central for your trip. For me, I don't like the Barri Gotik near the Cathedral or Las Ramblas, so it is not important for me to have a hotel that makes it easy to get there. But there many different destinations in Barcelona, depending on your interests, and you should find them on a map and then look to be near them, or near a good subway line to get to them.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:26 AM
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Go to Lisbon instead!
PeaceOut is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:36 AM
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I like Eixample in Barcelona
Could happily live somewhere between Rambla de Catalunya ( not Rambals)
and Passeig de Garcia.
In Madrid I like the elegant Serrano, just north of Retiro but it may not be the best location for a first time visitor
danon is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Vibrant Barrio de las Letras in Madrid is as central as it gets. Close to the tapas and restaurant area in and around Calle Cava Baja, comprises lively Plaza Santa and close to majestic Plaza Mayor and the heart of the city Puerta del Sol. Close to the main museums, 10 mins walking to the Royal palace, the Retiro park etc.
Barrio de las Letras: http://www.barrioletras.com/
Plaza Santa Ana: http://www.gomadrid.com/sights/plaza-santa-ana.html

NH Palacio de Tepa is ideally located, gets raving reviews and is within the price range: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/nh-p...ea90552;dcid=1

Lots of places around here. Just click on the map and look around at the other hotels in the area.
kimhe is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 05:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 127
Thanks so much for all those who replied. We will be planning for the next several weeks (months) so feel free to add on if you think of anything else. We already have the airline tickets booked and are flying into Madrid and out of Barcelona and yes we know it will be hot but we are from Atlanta so we are used to it. Thanks again and keep the advice coming.
JWH is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
The Veranos de la Villa (Summer in the city) Festival in Madrid goes on through all of July and August. Top national and international artists every night at scenes around town. The outdoor scene in the Sabatini Gardens just outside the Royal Palace is spectacular. Rock, pop, blues, theater, dance, zarzuela, flamenco. Have had some great concert experiences here. About the 2012 edition: http://veranosdelavilla.esmadrid.com/index.php/en/

http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do is always updated about wonderful Madrid.
kimhe is offline  

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