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Barcelona and Madrid in October 2016

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Over the years, the Fodor's forums have been invaluable in helping us plan some great trips, among them to China, Italy and Peru. I need your help again.

We're planning a trip to Spain in October - flying to Barcelona, where we'll stay for three nights, then taking the train to Madrid for four more. We've booked Airbnb accommodations for all nights but would like suggestions for anything you think is must-see, must-do, must eat/drink, etc.

Has anyone done a similar trip and have recommendations? For example, is a day trip to the Rioja wine country feasible, or is it too far? Any suggestions for a good, "locals" places to eat and drink? I'm far from fluent, but my Spanish is passable. Anything we should make sure to avoid in either city?

I really appreciate any help you can provide. Thanks!

Bob

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