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Finalizing Trip Plans-Be the tie breaker Madrid or Barcelona.

Finalizing Trip Plans-Be the tie breaker Madrid or Barcelona.

Old Mar 17th, 2007, 02:34 PM
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Finalizing Trip Plans-Be the tie breaker Madrid or Barcelona.

I am traveling with four other females to Europe. We are finalizing our city selections. Two of us would like to visit Madrid, the other two would like to visit Barcelona. Which city would you recommend, and why? We are in our forties, love adventure, museums, etc, and love good food and wine. We have never been to Spain before. Last question, we will be traveling during the week before Easter. Will that impact whether shops are open, etc., Please advise.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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First of all you can't go wrong with either. My vote is for barcelona. Madrid was awesome, very vibrant, great mueseums, food was nice as well. It was to metro for me however. Barcelona has incredible food at cheap prices, great art(picasso Sp?) mueseum, Gaudi's building, vibrant night life, and the beach. Not to mention some great roman ruins in near by tarranga. Barcelona is your answer.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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i agree, Barcelona is an amazing place, an amalgam of outstanding architecture, medieval neighborhood, great art, terrific beach, excellent food, and Las Ramblas all within a very condensed area.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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hi, lucky,

if you click on my name, you should find my recent madrid trip report.

we ended up there partly because the flights were a lot cheaper than to BCN. As for adventure, I didn't find much in madrid, thank goodnes..

I suspect that BCN would suit you more than madrid; unlikely that there will be much difference between them in respect of the week you are going. madrid filled 3 days for us in an interesting way, but it is in essence a large city, with shops and museums, and not a lot more.

have you read maribel's guides to each city? www.maribelsguides.com.

regards, ann
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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I've been to Madrid about 8-9 times (mostly for work but also for a Spanish course and on my honeymoon) and been to Barcelona three times. Hands down, Barcelona is my favourite Spanish city. Actually, it's tied for first place as my favourite city among all the places I've ever visited (and I travel a lot).

To me, Barcelona is like Paris (stylish, interesting architecture, lively cafe culture) only better - and I live in Paris. (For one thing, residents in Barcelona clean up after their dogs ...)

As I mentioned earlier, what I like best about Barcelona are its architecture (Gaudi's buildings are extraordinary), the shopping, and the cafes and nightlife. There are some interesting museums, including one that shows the history of the city. The climate is temperate because it's beside the water. I like staying in the Eixemple district and then strolling down Las Ramblas to the old city to explore.

I find that Madrid is very lively, but not as stylish. It is perhaps more elegant in terms of its archictecure, but to me that has also made it feel a little more old-fashioned. (The club kids would disagree. Madrid parties hard into the night, as Barcelona does.) Perhaps I haven't had as good luck with the locations where I stayed, but I found the city somewhat less walkable than Barcelona. The art museums might be somewhat better in Madrid than Barcelona (everyone should see Picasso's Guernica once in their life), but this wouldn't tip the balance to Madrid for me.

In Barcelona, you can take a sidetrip to Montserrat (if by adventure, you mean outdoor adventure).

For hotels, I can recommend the H10 Villa de la Reina in Madrid, and the hotels in the Derby Chain in Barcelona. I've stayed at the Astoria several times in Barcelona and found it to be quite a good value. I also stayed at the H10 Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona - very convenient, stylish and it offered a great breakfast (including sparkling wine).

By the way, in Spain, when you want to pay by credit card, they will want to see your passport. So, I usually planned my shopping trips as special trips, otherwise leaving my credit cards and passport locked up in the hotel room safe and just keeping about 100 euros or so for impulse purchases with me.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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Will you be going to other places or will you be spending all your time in a city?
Barcelona is great and the daytrips are awesome. I wouldn't miss Montserrat with a drive up the Costa Brava.
Madrid is vibrant city and the daytrips offer more shopping opportunities.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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More details are needed to be able to offer a half-sensible answer, i.e. logistics. Where are you all coming from? where would you be going next? how many days? how are you traveling? The fact you said "city selections" made me think you will be touring around, right?

The week prior to Easter in Spain is business as usual.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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BCN was so gorgeous last Spring -- the great food and drink at incredibly low prices, great architecture, wonderful little shops, opera at Liceu (half price tickets for the understudy cast).

look for maribel and laclaire's names for great rec's.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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With flight times of one hour and five minutes between the two cities and cheap fares available I am not sure why you couldn't do both.

Why limit yourself to one...unless there is information you aren't sharing with us.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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I may make this choice next year or later. Can't find direct flights to SVQ from SFO so I have to fly into either MAD or BCN, take the AVE or maybe Iberia on my own to SVQ.

In the middle of my first trip to Madrid. Damn subway ticket machines won't take my American credit cards.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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I may make this choice next year or later. Can't find direct flights to SVQ from SFO so I have to fly into either MAD or BCN, take the AVE or maybe Iberia on my own to SVQ.

In the middle of my first trip to Madrid. Damn subway ticket machines won't take my American credit cards.

Oh and I wanted to add, I didn't really do the museums that much in BCN. Only went to the Miro but not the Picasso. I think the 3 big ones in Madrid are generally considered better than what Barcelona has in the way of museums.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Thanks so very much everyone. This site has been absolutely wonderful.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:14 PM
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Barcelona hands down.

Madrid is ok, but kinda boring. People less friendly, I found. It's more of a business city.

Barcelona is definitely your answer.

It is my favourite place in the world, and I've travelled a lot.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 10:01 PM
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definetly Madrid. Has so much more to offer. But you have to take into effect the time from one place to the other. If you're closer to barcelona than that might be enough. I know they can look close on the map, but they aren't that close when it comes to trains. Unless your flying, then madrid all the way.

Ciao

Theresa

http://www.nomadwannabe.com
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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I actually like Madrid more, b/c too me it is more Spanish than Barcelona. Barcelona is very cosmipolitan and I like it, but it felt like it could have been any European city to me. There are also good day trips from Madrid to towns with a more authentic feel (Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, and Salamanca). So you get a little of the best of both worlds - big city - small town. El Prado and the Reina Sofia museums are great. The people aren't that friendly, though. I agree with Kate W. Actually, Sevilla beats Madrid and Barcelona, IMO!
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Madrid! Sorry, I am one of those rare people that does not care about Barcelona.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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Here's how I would rate Spain, in terms of fun, things to do, architecture, nightlife:

1. Barcelona
2. Mallorca
3. Valencia
4. Sevilla
5. San Sebastian
6. Madrid

but that's just a personal preference

But that's just a
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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For Madrid: art museums, and night-life
For Barcelona: everything else!

My vote is for Barcelona.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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My vote is for Barcelona, too.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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luckie16:

The vote seems to be Barcelona, but, overall, I preferred Madrid. If you like museums, you’ll love the Prado. It’s magnificent. Plus, you have the Reina Sofia (the modern art museum, including Picasso’s Guernica), and the Thyssen-Bornemisza (a gem of a museum near the Prado). From Madrid, you can take a number of interesting sidetrips, including a stop in Toledo. I found Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia fascinating in its ludicrousness, and Barcelona’s Rambla thoroughfare wildly overrated.

But that’s just me.

P.S. The New York Times ran an article a few weeks ago in the Sunday Travel section about how Madrid is becoming very ”now.” You might want to check out the NYT website for that piece.
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