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First time to europe - want to go to spain

First time to europe - want to go to spain

Apr 16th, 2007, 08:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 31
First time to europe - want to go to spain

hi all,

Having read through some of the posts, I have developed a very good respect for the Fodor's pouplation. My husband and I ( along with our 2 yr old son) would like to visit Spain in this OCtober. I do not know if there are already threads to address this but I could not find anything from grounds up. I am looking for basic advice on first where to go. We are planning to be there for about 5-7 days or so. Here are some of my husbands key likings
- Beautiful scenery which is quintessential
- Small charming colorful villages / towns
- Some big city architecture
- Good food (vegetarian)
- Local Arts and crafts
- My husband is into photography. So tips on photographic points/ places very welcome.

I know that I have asked a very open ended question. Any guidance or possible itineraries are very welcome.

Thanks a lot
AVS is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,062
My suggestion would be in and out of Barcelona, maybe going into the region around Valencia for a few days. Barcelona is wonderful for architecture. The central part (Madrid) including Toledo has some of your interests but the landscape is not too scenic. Let's see what other posters suggest. Or maybe go into Madrid and head down to Andulucia - that would be a combination of the big city and then the charming white villages. Are you renting a car?
suec1 is online now  
Apr 16th, 2007, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,869
There is lots of specific info on the many www.tripadvisor.com forum sites for all of Spain/Portugal.
mikemo is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The internet is wonderful, but in the "blank slate/dream" stage... I think that books are better. Big picture-filled books. Coffee table books. Get thee to yon nearest large public library or big bookstore and spend a few hours browsing and daydreaming.

I do agree that Barcelona is a good first start as a hub (but there is much to be said for northwest Spain as a terrific dozen-destinations-in-one location) - - the scenery issue depends a little bit on what month you have in mind, and whether you want "green", "snowy" etc.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 91
Have you decided on Spain or are you asking many of these questions more related to "first time to Europe"? I have not been to Spain - its next on my list after our trip to Amsterdam next week but have been to some of the other European countries. From what I hear and read about Spain, I believe language is more of a problem in Spain than many other European countries. For your first visit to Europe, you may want to go to a place where this does not become an issue. We are vegetarians too and have not had problems finding food in Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, and Paris (haven't been to other parts of France). Language wasn't a problem in these places too except for an occasional random experience. Switzerland was big on beautiful scenery. I love going to Europe!!
Aurora is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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My husband and I went to Spain last October and visited Barcelona, the Costa Brava, Ainsa and the Pyrenees, and San Sebastian. Lots of amazing scenery; the Costa Brava includes many small medieval villages and seaside towns. The Pyrenees are breathtaking, too. (In a seven-day trip, you could cover Barcelona and much of the Costa Brava.)

One thing I noticed, though, is that Spain might be tough for a vegetarian. I don't eat meat very often at home, but I ate a lot of it in Spain, including seafood. I found myself craving vegetables when I got home! Perhaps other parts of Spain are different, but meat and seafood seem to be a central part of the diet. Of course, you'd have more options in big cities like Barcelona and Madrid.

I agree with a previous poster's advice to hit the library. The best place to start is with books, especially for Spain, which is such a huge and varied country!
strass is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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In that time you can cover about 20% of Spain. I suggest a very regional approach---such as Barcelona and the Costa Brava[Catalonia]. Andalusia is my favorire region but you really need 10 days for that. We have spent 9 weeks in Spain and still plan to see Galacia later. It takes time.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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5-7 days is not a long time.
Barcelona (side trips)
or Madrid ( side trips)
or Seville , Cordoba, Granada

All have what you listed ( not sure about good vegetarian food).
Apr 16th, 2007, 01:44 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Good luck in Spain if you are veggie.

In many parts of Spain outside the major cities veggie means you don't eat beef and insisting on a veggie meal means you get either salad or an omelette
alanRow is offline  
Apr 16th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Things have changed a bit in Spain for vegetarians. When I lived there, one who would not eat meat was considered very odd, indeed. There is an abundance of the raw material; lots of wonderful stuff in the markets, but still the restaurants outside of large cities have trouble with the request.

If you had more time and could rent an apartment or villa, you would have more success with cooking the vegetable bounty in Spain. Eating in restaurants will be hit and miss, I'm afraid.

You will love Spain, anyway!

nukesafe is online now  
Apr 16th, 2007, 11:16 PM
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AVS, all you are looking for you'll find in Andalusia: great monuments, churches, baroque buildings, small villages, small impressive towns, plus better average weather; and there are plenty vegetables. You just need to know how to ask for them.
josele is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 01:03 AM
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Beatiful scenery: San Sebastian.
Download the Maribel's Guide to San Sebastian-Donostia at:
and see these sites:
Revulgo is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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Thanks a lot for all your good suggestions... I was myself toying with the idea of hitting the library .. The idea just got hammered in by most of you .. Thanks a lot for the sanity check ... We do need to find out what we want to see ..W e are definitely the "green" kind of people.. Love the mountains .> Would love to see a pretty mountain range in the spanish setting .. Wanted to go to switzerland as first choice but we are constrained to go only in Oct ... And October is not supposed to be a good time for Switzerland - foggy and gloomy ... So, we decided to explore the idea of Spain or maybe even some parts of France ... As I said, we are looking for mountains beauty with spanish or french architecture showcased in either cities or even small villages ...

But, thanks once again .. I will pay my dues and research in the library as to where we want to go ...

Will come back to you guys for more questions ...
AVS is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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Definitely look into Ainsa, in the Pyrenees! It's incredibly picturesque and smack-dab in the middle of the mountains.
strass is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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We just got back from Spain and the Pyrenees and are already planning our next trip! I agree, if you are a vegetarian you will have a lot less choice. I was CRAVING vegetables. There was plenty of produce in the supermarcetes so we bought things that didn't require cooking and di fine.
fro316 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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i loved marbella. we drove from madrid to sevilla and then to marbella. amazing scenery all around. was fabulous. vegetables not so much though.
jt7dreamz is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Go to Barcelona if you want to be like everyone else. Go to Northern Spain; ie, San Sebastian, (Monte Gueldo), for a different taste of the Basque Culture! The Basque Country is breathtaking, and the food is far better than Spanish Foods! Many salads, fresh white asparagus,fresh bread, eggs,& Mayonaise, will be available, but you're missing-out on the fresh seafood! Maybe you should think about changing your eating habits? My husband is Basque, and we travel 2-3 times/year. Fall is an excellent time to travel,not crowded, nice weather, (like California), and less-expensive for airfare. If you're interested in the history, try www.paradores.es for accommodations. There are 92 all over Spain, and all are affiliated w/the govt.. Your husband will come back with pictures that look like post cards, and will be astounded at the views!You've got the mountains, Ocean, green valleys, to only name a few. Also, you're only 45 min. away from France, so you'll have that opportunity to visit as well. Rent from "Europcar", when you get to the airport. It's cheaper from over there, and you can get direct flights on AA to Madrid, rent the car @ the airport, and then you'll have a 3 1/2 hr. drive to the Basque Country. This is my advice for something different, better, and for an ultimately relaxing experience from my many trips to Spain. Also, you might think about leaving your baby @ home if you're only going to be gone for a wk. or so?
amyashworth is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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My wife and I took our first European trip last year, to Spain, and it was wonderful. We only had eight days, and we wanted to spend most of the time on the Mediterranean coast. We flew into Madrid and took the AVE (hi-speed train) to Seville. Online, we had made reservations at two "paradores" which are govt-run hotels in historic castles. One was just outside Seville at Carmona, which is a mideval town on a hill in the middle of a wide plain. I almost could see the Moors attacking from miles away. From Carmona, we toured Seville, Cordoba and Gibraltar, even taking the ferry to Cueta, the Spanish colony in north Africa. When we passed Valdarama, I wished I had brought my golf clubs. We then drove to Malaga, home of Picasso, on the Mediterranean and stayed at another paradore atop a mountain overlooking the harbor. From there, we drove east to Granada and visited the historic Alhambra and then came back down the coast. We flew out of Malaga, back to Madrid and back to the states. We're going to Italy this year, but I will miss Spain! Good luck.
jwmilz is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 10:20 PM
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People who love mountains in Spain go to Picos de Europa in northern Spain (Asturias&Cantabria)
Check out this site:
Revulgo is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 10:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I just returned from Andalusia last month. I agree with others: it is harder to be a vegetarian in Spain than in France, Italy, U.K. or Germany.
greg is offline  

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