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First time in Spain, how many days Barcelona???

First time in Spain, how many days Barcelona???

Old Dec 15th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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From my perspective, Paris deserves a LOT more time than Barcelona. Barcelona just didn't call to us. 3 nights was enough for us in the city. We spent an extra night at Montserrat, and that was marvelous without the hoardes of day trippers.
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Old Dec 15th, 2007, 11:24 PM
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Is there enough to do for 10 days? It is POSSIBLE that there is enough to do for someone, but is it true for YOU? For me, this kind of decision is quite easy to make. If the choice is between Barcelona and Paris, I would make a list of what I can do, for example, in 7 days in Barcelona and 5 days in Paris. Then I make a list of what more I can do if I add one more day in each city; two more days, and so on. I then compare the list of things I can do between these two cities. If the 8th day of Barcelona gives me less satisfaction than the 6th day in Paris, I would allocate more days in Paris. The resulting allocation, considering the travel logistics, would give me a satisfactory itinerary based on MY interest.

You might wonder how would I know enough before the trip to be able to make tradeoffs. The reality is that I don't know. Of the things I plan, only about two-thirds are what I think I like. The rest are in my plan so that I can take advantage of being the vicinity if there is extra time or if what I thought were must-do's turn out to be duds or closed unexpectedly.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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I like the first response above by bobthenavigator:

"Barcelona is great and deserves a week, but it is not really Spain--it is Catalonia and different from the rest of Spain."

How true. I don't think that the (nearly) north-eastern point of a country would realistically make a good "base camp" as it's so far from the majority of the country.

I think centric Madrid would make a better base-camp. From Madrid you can reach any point in the country within 6 or 7 (at the maximum). As stated above, Madrid-too is different from the rest of Spain, more of a mish-mash of all the regions (AND Spanish cultures!) together. Guess that's why it's the capital.

10 days in Barcelona would be GREAT if you'd like it to be a relaxing visit, doing very little each day, making daytrips to NEARBY towns like Girona/Gerona and Sitges. You can "DO" the city of barcelona in about 6 days if you're REALLY diligent and have daylight. If you take 10 days you'll have a better "feel" for the big city and have more time to casually explore the nooks-and-crannies which few(er) travelers find.

To find train times, schedules, and ticket prices, visit http://www.RENFE.es - English version available.

Best of luck and enjoy your stay in Spain wherever you decide to call your BASE.

Saludos, BarcelonaMan AND MadridMan @ you-know-where!
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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Barcelona isn't much of a base camp for many other cities in Spain - Madrid, Valencia, Bilbao, etc. require more train time than will allow day trips.

Also, when we took the train from Madrid to Barcelona last month, the trains ended in Tarragona, and a caravan of buses took the train passengers the final 100 km to Barcelona, as they are doing track work in Barcelona (and I don't know when that will be complete, but it certainly didn't look like a short project).

I loved Barcelona, but I feel like I could have gotten all I wanted to ever get out of it in 7 or 8 days, unless I started to just lounge places (which is not my style).
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Of course there is more to do and see in Paris than Barcelona ( or almost any city on the planet).
Madrid is great but it is another big city ( after Paris).
You may wish to spend more time in Paris , but the look and feel of Barcelona is unique and wonderful.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Madridman makes some points, but there is nothing wrong with using Barcelona as a base, depending on which parts of Spain one wants to visit. I can be in Bilbao a little over an hour. The same for Madrid, if I want to fly. Yes, a train is a little slower, but it can be a bit more relaxing and in some cases will take you from city center to city center.

"more of a mish-mash of all the regions (AND Spanish cultures!) together. Guess that's why it's the capital." Madrid is central, but that is not why it is the capital of modern Spain.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 09:39 PM
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It took me 2 1/2 days just to get my bearings and get the flow of the city which is large and densely populated. And I was not jet lagged.

I could easily have spent 7-10 days in this city and then would not have felt rushed.

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