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First time in Spain - family of 2 adults & one child(10 yr old)

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Nov 15th, 2017, 09:14 AM
  #1
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First time in Spain - family of 2 adults & one child(10 yr old)

We just purchased tickets to Spain. In and out of Barcelona. March 21-30 of next year.

We are not sure how to divide our trip as there is so much to do. We were thinking a few days in Barcelona and a few in Madrid with a little side trip to one of the towns outside either Madrid or Barcelona.

The other option - just focus the trip on Barcelona and north of Spain region.

What would be your recommendation given it is our first time ever visiting this country? Thanks in advance!
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Nov 15th, 2017, 09:18 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
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It always helps if you mention your interests

I'd take the train or maybe fly to Madrid on the day of arrival. Spend the next four days before taking the train back to Barcelona.

Both are large cities with plenty to do. If you back out travel days you don't really have enough time to do the two cities. But you can get a good taste.
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Nov 15th, 2017, 09:30 AM
  #3
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We love to explore. We are interested in the museums, Parks, churches, traditional sights that people usually visit on these two cities and that are must see. We were thinking to take ‘El Ave’. We are also bilingual - fully fluent in Spanish.
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Nov 15th, 2017, 09:54 AM
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Be sure to buy train tickets in advance at a good discount. Yes, go to Madrid with a day trip to either Segovia or Toledo. You'll have great fun !!
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Nov 15th, 2017, 10:52 AM
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Think with a 10 yo I would go to Segovia. There's the castle and the funny bridge (the aqueduct). Have one of their famous cochinillo meals. Of course, Toledo is wonderful, too, and the child would enjoy riding the train around town. For me day trips around BCN are not terribly interesting. Madrid is the star !
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Nov 15th, 2017, 12:56 PM
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Yes take train or fly straight away from airport to Madrid - (see if you can re-write ticket to fly into or out of Madrid) and spend 5 days - great day trips by train to Toledo - awesome place everyone loves and or Avila or Segovia (yes fairy-tale castle), etc.

Take high-speed AVE train to Barcelona (quicker than flying if not at airport) in about 3.5 hours

Barcelona - possible day trips to Montserrat (famous pilgrimage center on mountain top not far by train from Barcelona) or to Sitges for a nice old beach town or Figueras for Dali Museum, Girona, etc though Barcelona has enough for 4 days or so itself.

For lot on Spanish trains (book early for discounted AVE tickets)- www.seat61.com is the source on advising how to book your own online discounted tickets) - general info and where to go I like www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
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Nov 15th, 2017, 02:25 PM
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Semana Santa is 25-31.... busy time for travel in Spain. Keep it in mind.
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Nov 15th, 2017, 05:58 PM
  #8
kja
 
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I think that either plan could work for you, but with so much to see in and around Barcelona, you might want to more fully explore that option before you consider options that would include Madrid as well. JMO.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 07:08 AM
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Semana Santa is 25-31.... busy time for travel in Spain. Keep it in mind.>

Would Madrid or Barcelona be better for this or both them same - great?
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Nov 16th, 2017, 09:03 AM
  #10
 
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It is a holiday time ending with Easter...
We were in Andalusia one SS ...it was a madhouse.

Madrid/ Barcelona may be different.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 09:30 AM
  #11
 
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They definitely are different, it isn't a madhouse all over Spain during HOly Week. Some areas are just really into that (seems mostly in the south, but maybe that's just what I know about). I was in Madrid once for that, and it was no big deal.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 11:58 AM
  #12
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Thanks so much to all for the awesome advice. Our tentive schedule looks like this:

Wed. March 21- Fly to BARCELONA overnight
Thur. March 22- Arrival to Barcelona 7am (1 night stay Barcelona)
Frid. March 23- Barcelona-> Madrid via AVE (night 1 Madrid)
Sat. March 24-Madrid (night 2 Madrid--hotel tbd)
Sun. March 25-Madrid (night 3--hotel tbd)
Mon. March 26-Madrid(night 4--hotel tbd)
Tues. March 27-Madrid-Barcelona via AVE(2nd night in Barcelona--hotel tbd)
Wedn. March 28-Barcelona(3rd night in Barcelona--hotel tbd)
Thursday March 29-Barcelona(4th night in Barcelona-hotel tbd)
Friday March 30----Back Home - (

I will need recommendations of neighborhoods to stay in both Barcelona and Madrid. I am looking into Barrio Gotico, Gracia and Eixample district in Barcelona.

In Madrid I have only looked at the Paseo Prado Neighborhood, Atocha, Lavapies.

We have to book apartments due to our son needs. We do have one free night at the Majestic Hotel available in Madrid that we are not sure if we will redeem.

For the one day side trip we are considering: Segovia or Avila. Smaller less touristy based on what I’ve read so far—if there are any better alternatives please advise... Also not sure how these two will be the days leading to Holy Friday.

From Barcelona thinking of a side trip to Montserrat....but not sure how tired we will be. This one may be our wild card.

Please keep the feedback coming it is helping immensely!!! Thanks so much!!
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Nov 16th, 2017, 12:21 PM
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Btw didn’t intend to put an emoji.. it was actually a sad face.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 01:25 PM
  #14
 
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Lavapies and some areas near Atocha would not be my choice .

Might be easier to continue to Madrid the morning you arrive in Barcelona :
AVE or fly ( you are at the airport already ). This way you avoid going to Barcelona for just one night and all the transfers.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 01:34 PM
  #15
 
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For the one day side trip we are considering: Segovia or Avila>

To me Segovia was a bit nicer because of its fairy-tale castle but if into St Theresa of Avila Avila may be better.

But I'd still recommend Toledo as being so exceptional in spite of being so touristed. In March tourist crowds may not be overwhelming as in summer. And shorter by train - easier all in all.

Montserrat is also easy - short train ride and lift to top of mountain it tops but yes no need to pre-plan those side trips as by regional or suburban trains no need to book ahead - buses also go to Toledo.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 01:49 PM
  #16
 
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In Barcelona, stay close to Plaza Catalunya..Gracia would not be my choice

For apts..
in Madrid , check Spain Select . In Barcelona, Habitat.
We used both several times. No problems
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Nov 16th, 2017, 04:57 PM
  #17
kja
 
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Are you sure that you have the time to do everything you want to do on this trip? Given your stated interests, it seems that you might be trying to do too much. You might want to mark up a calendar based on opening/closing times, particularly because many things in Spain are closed on Monday, and often for all or part of Sundays too; and many things in Spain will also be closed daily for a very long mid-day break.

If you do proceed with this plan, and actually end up with time for any day trips, I'd agree with PalenQ that Toledo is the most unmissable of side trips from Madrid (although I felt rushed with 48 hours there). And while I enjoyed Avila, I would consider Segovia's aqueduct more interesting than Avila's walls. JMO.
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Nov 20th, 2017, 09:12 AM
  #18
 
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Test...
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Nov 20th, 2017, 09:25 AM
  #19
 
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Haha! I can post again.

I took my then 10yo to Spain several years ago in April. I have not yet been to San sebastien (bucket list) but I would discourage that because of the travel time. I would think BCN would be a delight for a child that age!

We flew in/out of Madrid and did a day trip to Segovia by bus. Very interesting and easy. With Retiro Park (rent bikes), El Rastro, Prado and other great museums, royal Apartments, flamenco, street performers, good restaurants and a great vibe, you will not be lacking for diversions in Madrid.

We also went south to Seville and loved it (very different than Madrid and warmer), but I agree that it will be very crowded and some sights might be closed on Semana Santa. Spain was perfect for a first trip together-we felt safe and very welcome.

Enjoy!!!
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Nov 20th, 2017, 09:47 AM
  #20
 
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We just returned from 7 nights in Spain: 5 in Seville and 2 in Madrid.
We absolutely LOVED Seville.

I can highly recommend Spain Select, for apartment rentals.

This apartment is where we stayed in Seville. I can't say enough good things about it: perfect location, sparkling clean, modern electric and wi-fi, amazing courtyard spaces and rooftop terraces. Spain Select was very helpful via e-mail, in choosing the best place for us. We also reserved through them for Madrid, and were very happy.

https://sevilla.spain-select.com/en_...cio-san-jose-v

However, since you are flying in & out of Madrid, maybe you want to focus on that area? DD went to Barcelona and Majorca for their honeymoon. They loved it.
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