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ladyranger94 Aug 1st, 2014 11:48 PM

Barcelona for single female
Celebrating 45 bday. 7 -9 nights in November. Thinking of Barcelona but should I split time with Madrid? Or any other recommendations. . I am a new Yorker so need a bit of a hustle. Any recommendations on hotels, cities, restaurant, bars or what to do, or would you even suggest an alternate destination. TY for the advice.

Christina Aug 2nd, 2014 03:34 AM

I would split with Madrid, and have done that same thing, about 4-5 days each. I just think 9 nights is a lot to spend in one city, but I also really like Spain and want to see more cities, so spending my entire vacation (which I don't get often) in only one place doesn't satisfy me.

For November, you could combine with southern Spain and that's something you don't want to do in summer, anyway. Such as Seville, which is a fun city. Now I don't know the best way to combine it with Barcelona, it is easy with Madrid (fast train). I do really like Barcelona and it has a lot of things to do, and a variety, so I would do that one. It is very cosmopolitan.

danon Aug 2nd, 2014 05:18 AM

Vueling airlines has cheap flights from Barcelona to Seville
if you wish to go south
Nine nights is eight days... not too much time for two great cities like Barcelona and Madrid. As suggested, take a train in between 2:40 h..
split it in half

kimhe Aug 3rd, 2014 06:46 AM

Local, friendly and a bit on the upscale nightlife, tapas bars, restaurants, cafes etc in and around Carrer Aribau:

The bustling Barceloneta district just inland from the beach with the same name:

Medieval and vibrant El Born:

Excellent nightlife with the best flamenco tablao in the country and the best jazz venue in the city +++ in heart of the city Barrio de las Letras/ around Plaza Santa Ana.

Casa Patas (top of the shelf flamenco):
Cafe Central (excellent jazz venue):

Both places with live performances every night. Changing artists every week, but only the best perform here.

Loads of popular and fine tapas bars and restaurants in and around Calle Cava Baja:

NomadLass Aug 3rd, 2014 07:58 AM

Just returned from a glorious 3 week trip to Spain (my first.) First 10 days in Barcelona, last 4 days in Madrid, and week on the Costa Blanca in between. Enjoyed both cities, each has a different vibe with a lot to do and both are good bases for day trips. Recall there is an hourly train departing from Madrid to Barcelona that takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. Not sure about the reverse schedule but check the Renfe website.

In Barcelona toured the major Gaudi sites (La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Battlo, Parc Guell) on timed tickets all purchased on line ahead of time. Also toured Hospital Sant Pau designed by a contemporary of Gaudi, not as well known but turned out to be one of my favorite sites. Walked through Parc Ciutadella to Barceloneta for lunch on the beach at Ona Restaurant. Explored the Barri Gotic/Born/Ribera historic areas, too.

Not sure if you're interested in private or small group tours but can highly recommend Spanish Trails in Barcelona. I did 5 tours with them - 2 Food and Wine tours, 1 city overview tour, and 2 day trips to Montserrat/Wine Country and Costa Brava/Girona. Tour guides are excellent and the groups are small - 8 people or less. You can check out their website for other tours/day trips and also read my Trip Advisor review under the same internet name along with some other reviews to get a better idea.

In Madrid, 2 popular day trips are Toledo and Segovia but since I only had 4 days decided to focus on the city. Explored on my own but also used 2 different tour companies and recommend both. Madrid Food Tour Company for a 3 hour small group tour of the Huertas Neighborhood. Madrid Cool & Cultural for a private, customized 8 hour city tour including Prado Museum which was a splurge but worth every dime, I have posted a review on Trip Advisor. I had the company owner, Gemma, who is one of the best guides I've ever had anywhere. Her company only does private tours and they also offer day trips to Toledo and Segovia.

Not sure what type of accommodation you are looking for? I stayed at a lovely Bed & Breakfast in Barcelona called BarcelonaBB located in the Eixample neighborhood which turned out to be a very convenient location. Have posted a Trip Advisor review. Excellent experience. On of the best rentals I've ever had and very reasonably priced. Barcelona favorite restaurant: Etapes. We ate there twice we liked it so much.

In Madrid we stayed in Chueca district at a boutique hotel called Only You. Beautiful hotel, great location, service. Madrid favorite restaurant: Taberna La Carmencita in Chueca district. Madrid favorite outdoor bar: Casa de America on Paseo de Recoletos.

Hope this gives you a few ideas. Happy to answer any questions. We fell in love with Spain and are planning to return next year.

suze Aug 3rd, 2014 08:43 AM

Reading this post to see the ideas. It's a trip I'd love to do (Barcelona and I'd be solo and am female). With one week I'd just stay in Barcelona myself, but that's how I travel so doesn't reflect your possible plans.

Since reading here it's a 3-hr train trip to Madrid, I might consider it but do it as a "day trip" or 1-night just to get a peak at the city.

jamikins Aug 3rd, 2014 09:41 AM

I would also highly recommend a tour of the Palau Musica Catalana

The tour in English was very interesting and there was lots of time for photos.

You can see our photos at the end of this was really beautiful!

NomadLass Aug 3rd, 2014 11:23 AM

ladyranger94 & suze - On this recent 3 week Spain trip, I traveled solo for a week. I'm a female in my late 50's and found it very straightforward to travel by myself in Barcelona and Madrid. Both cities were easy to navigate and I felt safe walking around on my own even late at night. Local people were warm and helpful. It's good to know a few Spanish words but was still pretty easy to communicate.

When I travel solo in Europe, I try to stay in a bed and breakfast or a very small hotel to have someone looking out for me and to have the opportunity to mingle with other travelers. I also enjoy small group or private tours with guides that are knowledgeable about history/culture but also entertaining, include hidden gems, places off the beaten path, etc. and transport you to sites that may be difficult to reach on your own.

jamikins - Am so glad you mentioned touring Palau Musica in Barcelona; it was on my high priority list but I was only able to view it on the outside. Taking the English tour and attending a concert there is on my list for the next trip. And I just want to thank you for all your contributions on this forum. I have used several of your trip suggestions and always look forward to reading your Trip Reports.

jamikins Aug 3rd, 2014 11:46 AM

That is so nice of you to say! I am so glad people enjoy our reports and find them helpful!

The tour really was wonderful...sounds like you need to do a return visit :)

ladyranger94 Aug 17th, 2014 04:26 AM

Thanks everyone for the tips. May extend trip to do 5 nights Madrid and Barcelona then 4 in Seville to end the trip relaxed with some time in a suburban setting before returning home to NYC.

jelopez33 Aug 17th, 2014 02:42 PM


We have tickets for a guitar convert at the Palau next october, at the end of our trip, I will let you know.
Hace great expectations.

jelopez33 Aug 17th, 2014 02:44 PM

Ooooops. hace......not hace

suze Aug 18th, 2014 10:20 AM

more time is better!! regardless of how many locations you choose to see (or not). the flight cost of getting to Europe is the major expense, staying a few more days is always worth it, if you can swing the extra time away.

tahl Aug 21st, 2014 04:38 AM

A quick thank-you to NomadLass - you and I seem similar in 'travel style,' and your comments are very helpful as I plan where to spend a couple of weeks in late October.

cruiseluv Aug 21st, 2014 07:20 AM

My vote would be to split the time, especially if you have 9 days, but I'm a Madrid lover and for whatever reason dont care too much for Barcelona. I know I'm in the minority.

In Madrid I recommend staying in the vicinity of Plaza Santa Ana. I just stayed at the Catalonia Las Cortes and liked it very much. In Barcelona I like the Eixample area.

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