First Trip To Spain, 10 day Itinerary

May 5th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 54
First Trip To Spain, 10 day Itinerary

Hey all,

I will be traveling with a companion in August/September to Spain for the first time. We are planning a 10 day trip (not including travel days). Here is a base itinerary. I'd love to get any feedback and ideas back for this plan. Here are some of the things I've done in the past: Walkable areas, hiking, definitely trying local food, seeing unique architecture, coastal cities (we both love the water and such), and a handful of museums/art (I enjoy these, companion doesn't).

Day One: Fly into Madrid overnight, arriving around lunch to Madrid
- I know I've heard from Fodorites in the past around not planning much day you arrive, but we've so far been able to do this without issue after a quick nap when arriving.
Day Two/Day Three: Hang out in Madrid for two full days
- Any specific food suggestions/restaurants?
- Specific sites to see?
- Where to stay (geographically central)?
- Finally, what is the best way to get around the city? Walking or public transit?

Day 4: Travel from Madrid to Toledo for part of the day and go to the sword making shops and other fun sites (again, any suggestions in Toledo would be great). Then planning to take a night train from Toledo to Valencia.
- Is it best to stay longer in Toledo?
Day 5/6: Spend days in Valencia similar to time in Madrid
Day 7: Travel from Valencia to Barcelona, spend day in Barcelona
Days 8, 9: Spend two days in Barcelona

Then the question is this, I really want to go over to Majorca or Menorca for some time, but I've just left a day (day 10) for that. I could fly back on day 11 prior to flying home (flying out of Barcelona), but I want to be sure I get a taste of the islands as that has always been one of my favorite parts of traveling (seeing the coastal cities, islands).

Any thoughts and additional things I missed are welcomed. Looking forward to the input!

BradCurry16 is offline  
May 5th, 2015, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Maybe you're comfortable with this style of traveling but it seems too fast paced for me, specially in the summer months which are HOT in those areas of Spain.

Regarding Madrid, for me the must sees are the Museums , spend some time in the shade in Retiro park, Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace. And of course , spend time visiting tapas bars/ restaurants. I recommend Mercado San Miguel and the various cafes/ bars around Plaza Santa Ana. My favorite area to stay is the Plaza Santa Ana/ Barrio Las Letras area. If you like lamb I recommend the Posada de la Villa restaurant for great , traditional roasted lamb.

You cant go direct from Toledo to Valencia by train, you need to go back to Atocha train station and then change to train to Valencia. IMO, one day in Toledo is plenty.

IMO, it would be crazy to wedge in a trip to Mallorca/ Menorca given the other places you want to visit. A 3 cities trip in 10 days is already a stretch. Do not understimate the time that's consumed checking in/ out of hotels, going to train station, travel time , etc.
If it were me I would just do Madrid and Barcelona There are many other day trips you could do from Madrid if you got "bored" spending too many days there.
cruiseluv is offline  
May 5th, 2015, 11:09 AM
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Or, cut out Valencia entirely and fly from Madrid to Mallorca and then to Barcelona. Would give you three days in Mallorca!!
Bedar is offline  
May 12th, 2015, 10:22 PM
LuisJp is offline  
May 17th, 2015, 10:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
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I just can say that we visited Valencia last March and it was excellent! There is always something for anyone. If you like sightseeing there are plenty of highlights in the city centre which is beautiful. If you are a food lover, gastronomy is varied and the prices really affordable. And the best time we had was a day trip to Valencia inland where we learn how to cook the famous paella with a Cooking Holidays business. The people there were really nice and the cooking class excellent! THe best experience we ever had. Hope to be helpful!
LucySwift is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 11:02 AM
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Hey all,

Sorry to just be responding to my own post, but life has certainly been busy.

So I appreciate the initial feedback.

Here is my general thought nowadays, after more research.

Use Madrid as a base hub for days 1-4, doing day trip to Toledo and possibly another city (any ideas for where else to travel?)

Travel from Madrid to Valencia for a day trip and do the hot springs near Valencia (I checked out Valencia and there wasn't as much that appealed to me and my partner).

Travel from Valencia to Barcelona for days 5-8, spend time there.

Any day trips from Barcelona we should do? How accessible is it to go visit some of the local wineries in the lower parts of the Pyrenees?

Finally, go from Barcelona to Majorca for 2 days before returning and flying out of Barcelona. Any thoughts on this itinerary? I figured making it more about day trips and having Madrid and Barcelona as main hubs is a better plan.

Thanks in advance for all of the help!

BradCurry16 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 11:29 AM
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At that time it's going to be so hot I would just split the time between Barcelona and Mallorca. Madrid will be really really hot. A daytrip to Valencia does not make sense.
Egbert is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 11:46 AM
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At Egbert, the heat will be bad, but not something that will really hurt us. Both of us travel in heat a lot and did a trip to Rome in the heat of July without issue. Is Madrid that much warmer? The average temps I researched are similar. Also, for Valencia, I envisioned maybe staying a night in the city, but the main reason to go being the hot spring trip I mentioned which I read about on several travel sights.
BradCurry16 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 12:08 PM
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The Cathedral in Toledo is mind blowing…so are the GinTonics, but you have to leave the cathedral for those.

maitaitom is offline  
Jul 6th, 2015, 07:28 PM
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As this trip time is approaching, I'm into finalizing my details. I'm definitely flying into Madrid and flying out of Barcelona. The main questions are, can I make it to Valencia (how long to be there?) and can I go to Mallorca (how long to be/is it worth it?)

Can anyone help with that detail?

Also, where to stay in Madrid and Barcelona would be great. Location is always quite key to me based on past experience in Italy and France. I'd like to be in a central location that allows the ability to walk to many sites, but also access public transportation quickly. Any advice?

Thanks in advance!
BradCurry16 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2015, 08:06 PM
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"can I make it to Valencia (how long to be there?) and can I go to Mallorca (how long to be/is it worth it?)"

That REALLY depends on YOUR interests -- none of us can answer for YOU!

I recommend that you consult a few good guidebooks (always a good investment, IME, or go to your local library), decide what YOU want to see and experience, and mark their opening hours on a calendar. Then block in your transportation, time to check into / out of hotels, etc. Only then can you decide what you can / can not do.
kja is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 12:33 AM
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People usually ask questions here to get some advice and tips from people who knows, in this case, Valencia and Mallorca...

In Madrid, I recommend to stay in the heart of the city close to Plaza Santa Ana and Plaza Mayor. About the area:

I use to stay in either Persal or Hotel Plaza Mayor. Both are great value.

In Barcelona, both medieval El Born or modern and upscale Eixample would be centrally located to both many sites and public transportation.

I use to stay in El Born, close to both the Gothic quarter, heart of the city Plaça de Catalunya, famous Las Ramblas, the nice Ciutadella park and the Barceloneta beach. El Born is a cradle of Catalan identity and culture, and here you'll find the Santa Maria del Mar Church (one of the finest Gothic buildings anywhere), the Fossar de les Moreres (the memorial for the fallen in the 1714 war and the loss of Catalan Independence to Spain), the Picasso museum, the Catalan Cultural Center, and some of the finest tapas bars and restaurants in town.

Take a look at Banys Orientals:
and Park hotel (stayed here a couple of months ago, and it was just what we needed, fine hotel in the best location):

Banys Orientals would be 100 meters from the Jaume I metro station.

Bus stop almost on the door step to Park hotel, and the hotel is about 400 meters from both the Barceloneta and Jaume I metro stations.
kimhe is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 01:55 AM
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@ kimhe -- "People usually ask questions here to get some advice and tips from people who know... " -- true enough! And it seems to me that providing relevant advice and tips is easier if there is some understanding of what an asker's interests are, at least in part because people DO have different priorities and interests. I admit that I think that many travelers would do well to do a bit more research on their own, and I try to encourage them to do so.

You are incredibly generous with your knowledge, kimhe, and that is something I truly admire and appreciate! I think you know that I have benefited enormously from your input, and that I have tried to give you credit for the MANY lessons I have learned through you -- and to take responsibility for any mistakes I have made in passing what I thought I had learned through you on to others.

When I said that none of us can make choices for others, I was NOT criticizing YOU! As I said, I commend you for offering information so generously -- information that OTHERS can use to make their OWN decisions. If my words seemed like a criticism of you, I sincerely apologize -- I had no intention of criticizing you in any way! I was only trying to remind OPs that it would be to THEIR benefit to do at least a little research on their own.

Does that make sense? Are "we" OK? I honestly do NOT want to leave some unintended criticism out there....
kja is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 03:19 AM
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Wow, everything ok, my point was only that this forum can be and often is a place where people get some general inspirations and ideas without having done much research on their own, like a first intro, and that is very ok. Know that you are of a different caliber ;-)
kimhe is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 10:20 PM
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@ kimhe -- I'm glad that we agree that this forum is one that can serve everyone from the complete novice to the experienced traveler. Here's to sharing our love of the places we have come to treasure!
kja is offline  
Jul 13th, 2015, 10:28 AM
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Hey guys,

I do agree that I could have provided slightly more detail around my interests, especially in the decision between time in Valencia vs. Mallorca. The main interests are summed up with these descriptions: hiking, bike riding, a bit of history/museums (I like them, companion doesn't), unique food options (never had issues finding this), and any "can't miss" items. We also do enjoy some night life, which is part of how Mallorca piqued our interest, but we'd want to be able to do that more as a choice, not be constantly surrounded by it.

I don't know if that insight helps at all. If it doesn't, here's a basic idea of our "ideal" day when on vacation somewhere new (I take this from when we have done our past trips and had our best days):
- Wake up and go on a run/bike ride through the location we are in
- Come back and find a cafe or eat breakfast at the location we are staying in (read: hotel)
- Go out in the city/island and have something planned in particular for that day (in Rome, this was visiting the Coliseum).
- Find lunch, relax for a couple hours
- Normally then some afternoon activity (the same day in Rome with the Coliseum we did the Forum and Spanish Steps in the afternoon/early evening) and relaxing
- Go to a dinner somewhere near by and take our time there, then get some drinks somewhere

So yeah, any help knowing that we don't have strong preferences but like variety of activities. Hope that helps!
BradCurry16 is offline  
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