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Apr 18th, 2015, 04:08 AM
  #1
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Best Location for Month Stay in Spain

I'm interested in staying in Spain for a month to work on my Spanish, and I'd like to rent an apartment in a home base. My husband will be with me--we're both 30. Here are my criteria:

-Not a big city
-Big enough to have a decent market, nice cafés, etc.
-Pretty cheap (rent less than $800)
-Less than 2 hours from the coast / water by public transit
-Not touristy (I feel like in a touristy town, I'll learn less Spanish)
-I do not care about the nightlife
-temperatures that stay under 90 most of the time in June and July are preferable (I'm in Texas, so I can handle a few 100+ days, but I'd prefer to escape that!)

Also, at the risk of sounding like an idiot, how do I rent an apartment for just a month? VRBO? I'm not super interested in attending language school, as my grasp of Spanish vocab is pretty good--I just need more daily speaking practice / want to experience a new culture.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 04:18 AM
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My pick would be Pontevedra. It does get some English-speaking tourists, but I don't think it gets so many that it would interfere with your agenda. I think temps are normally cool-ish even at the peak of summer, but double check.

Another choice for me would be Tui, but I am wondering, since it is right at the border of Spain and Portugal, if the Spanish spoken there is influenced to any significant extent by Portuguese. I have no idea, and it's possible that proud Spanish residents of Tui would be outraged by my even imagining such a thing. However, it's an attractive small town and you might want to check it out.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 04:27 AM
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Dang--Pontevedra looks lovely. Also, it seems to fit one more criteria I want to add: access to cheap, delicious food.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 04:48 AM
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Pontevedra is lovely. Food throughout that area is fantastic. Some of my very favorite food in Spain if you like seafood. While you said you are not interested in nightlife, Pontevedra is marvelously lively at night, just walking around and sampling its tapas bars, and conversing with a whole variety of locals. Everybody is out and about.

I've never rented an apartment in Spain so I can't comment on the procedures, but I will say that for Pontevedra you would want to get some assurances about being in a quiet neighborhood, not right over a tapas bar, if you want to study at night or get some sleep.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 05:19 AM
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Also, if we decided to do the big city in Madrid, are there any semi-quiet neighborhoods in Madrid. Thanks!
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Apr 18th, 2015, 05:29 AM
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Also, I'm kind of looking at Salamance--any info there? Thanks!
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Apr 18th, 2015, 06:24 AM
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There are certainly semi-quiet neighorhoods in Madrid. Even quiet ones. How well you would do on price in Mardrid. I am not sure. Sorry, but never been to Salamanca.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 07:00 AM
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Salamanca is nice, mostly tranquile and upscale.

I like Chamberi very much. Take a look at the area around the Rios Rosas/Canal metro stations down the local main thoroughfare Calle de Bravo Murillo towards Glorieta de Quevedo. Just a few metro stops to the heart of the city, nevertheless a slower pace here and nice local atmosphere daytime cafes, terraces and tapas bars. About the Chamberi area: http://moving2madrid.com/neighbourhood-chamberi/
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Apr 18th, 2015, 07:16 AM
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Salamanca is beautiful. Its a University town which has a very good Spanish for foreigners program. It also has other Spanish language schools. I know you said you're not interested in taking classes, but you may change your mind once you're there and that might be an option.
You said you don't want "touristy", but Salamanca gets its fair share of tourists and many young, foreign students. It wouldnt be close to the coast though.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 07:34 AM
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As mentioned Salamanca is full of tourists and you will hear lots of English and see lots of partying-loud!It also gets quite hot in the summer.
Pontevedra has a very small histirc are,the rest of the city is pretty ugly.
Take a look at the website rentalia.com
I would suggest Leon and outside Segovia,La Granja,ouside Madrid,El Escorial
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Apr 18th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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I keep thinking about this question, because even though I go to Spain often and I love it I have never stayed put in one place for too long.
If you want to avoid extreme hot weather I would concentrate finding a location in Northern Spain, in Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia or Basque country. What about Oviedo in Asturias? I found it a charming, underrated city that doesnt get many foreign tourists. I would say its less than an hour from the coast, many pretty coastal towns not too far. And also close to the majestic Picos de Europa. Food is good and the sidrerias are fun!
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Apr 18th, 2015, 08:20 AM
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We stayed for 7 months at a relatives place in Trabuco a small town about 40kms north of Malaga 30-45 mins by car, an hour by bus. NO tourists and only a handful of expats. Some decent restaurants but not a lot else going on. Great fro learning Spanish as hardly anyone speaks English.

It is more or less equidistant between Seville, Córdoba and Granada so very well placed for exploring Andalucia. It may be a little too rural for some tastes, if so Antequera, a beautiful larger town with more going on is only 20kms away and has the added benefit of rail links to the rest of the country.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 09:14 AM
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Another vote for Oviedo. It is not a big city (though there is a fair amount of urban sprawl around it), with a great indoor food market and a plethora of bars and restaurants.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 09:34 AM
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I was talking about the Salamanca district in Madrid, sorry for the confusion ;-)
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Apr 18th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Quaint, super cool area of Madrid: The Conde Duque (part of the Malasaña). Low rise, cobblestone, small plazas, design museum, stylish shops, fabulous cafes, much less touristy and authentic than Salamanca or Sol or Las Letras. Walking distance to all major attractions, neighborhoody by day with vibrant outdoor cafe culture at night, reminiscent of the Marais in Paris.

Our son lived in this area while studying abroad, but there were lots of 30 somethings as well. We rented an airbnb on the super charming Plaza Comendadores - above your budget, but there were less pricey options.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/travel/19surface.html
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Apr 18th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Oh -- I also thought the OP was talking about the town of Salamanca, not the neighborhood in Madrid, which I find very lovely and has many quiet streets.

All of the destinations being mentioned have a lot to offer but I would rule out the Basque country if you want to chatter away in Spanish with the locals, and maybe even engage with them about the finer points of speaking Spanish. All the regions of Spain take pride in their historic dialects such as they are, but the Basques (and the Catalonians), as you know, like to give their language a priority over Spanish.

Doing some research about the typical weather in all places being mentioned is probably in order if avoiding summer heat waves remains a consideration for you. In some of the cooler areas of northern Spain you would never need air conditioning, which would help keep down the costs of a rental. In a city like Madrid, leaving the windows open to sleep could get pretty noisy.

I agree that Pontevedra has less attractive modern areas (some sprawl), but the historic center is sizeable and easy to walk to. Were it me looking for a moderately priced rental for a month, I would probably pick an ordinary "ugly" neighborhood at the periphery of the historic center, which would be cheaper and quieter and give me lots of exposure to non-tourist shops and transactions to practice my Spanish. Yet at the same time, every evening I could easily stroll over to the historic center and enjoy its atmosphere and conversations.

You really have lots of choices, even beyond what's mentioned so far, and can fine tune it as to what most appeals to you with respect to how big or small a place you want, what's available to you as day trips using public trans (if that interests you) and what temperature range you want.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 10:42 AM
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crosscheck and I were writing at the same time, and I would say that the Conde Duque area is also part of Trafalgar and Chamberi. Drawing a circle around the Metro stop San Bernano would be one way to define the area. I would also say drawing a line from the san Bernardo metro stop to the Temple Debod would demarcate the area in terms of parameters for renting an apartment. I've stayed in the Conde Duque area and greatly prefer it to the typical tourist areas, but I do think cost and heat might be an issue, given how you initially described what you were looking for.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 10:57 AM
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Sorry for my typo, and want to be clear: San Bernardo metro stop
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Apr 18th, 2015, 12:51 PM
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HI sandralist, Conde Duque may actually be part of Chamberi, but the airbnb map includes it in Malasaña. And the spirit is more like Malasaña (which is comparable to the E. Village in NY).

BTW, off-topic here, but I agree with you about leggings and sneakers (though I don't want to get involved in that thread). That combo is all over Paris and the rest of Europe, worn by all ages, including by cool, fit women in their 40s and 50s. Fodors is NOT the place to go for fashion advice!
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Apr 18th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Everybody speaks Spanish (castellano) here, apart from some of the inland towns.
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