Going to Spain for First Time 2 Weeks!

Old Sep 16th, 2002, 07:01 AM
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Going to Spain for First Time 2 Weeks!

My husband and I are going to Spain (over Christmas time) for 2 weeks.Neither of us have ever been and we are very excited about it. I bought a fodors guide, but they only give 1-2 suggested iteneraries. Does anyone have any suggestions? We dont want to do the 'college' thing of backpacking in a differnt place every night (ie we will both pack lightly but have a suitcase on wheels) Where should we go? Also, I heard its about an 8 hour train ride b/w many of the cities, so we could definitely fly around? ANy suggestions as to the best itenerary?

In one book it said:

Madrid - 4 nights
Barcelona- 3 nights
Valencia -3 nights
Sevilla-3 nights (fly home from sevilla)

BTW, my hubby wants to see the guggenheim in Bilboa......how could we work this in? Any suggestinos out there? Should we only go to 3 places maybe that would be less travel? need help!!!!
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 08:37 AM
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I would try to work in Cordoba and Grenada when in Seville, they are both very interesting. Maybe 1 less night in Madrid, unless you want to do all the museums. I think 4 nights there are too many. Whilst Valencia is nice, I would prefer Cordoba and Grenada. Toledo is also very nice (near to Madrid).
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 10:09 AM
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I would also highly recommend Granada and Cordoba. The Guggenheim in Bilbao probably does not merit going so far out of your way, especially with all the ETA upheaval going on there. Save Bilbao for your next trip to Spain, if you go to the Barcelona area.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 10:19 AM
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Was in Spain November last year...unfortunately about the only part of the trip I enjoyed WAS the Guggenheim. My vote is you find time to get to Bilbao. Last year SpanAir offered web purchase travel cards that allowed intra-Spain flights for about 50.00 per segment if purchased before leaving the US, making short work of your jaunt to Bilbao. Search for SpanAir and I'm sure you'll find something. All of the flights connected through Madrid so plan accordingly; maybe add 2 days at the end of your Madrid stay to zip out and back. While I wasn't enamoured of Spain (mostly my own problem!) I found the food and wine to be a bargain by European standards and did enjoy time in the Basque and Rioja regions. Enjoy yourselves - but do see the Guggenheim if you can.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 10:26 AM
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No reasons to go to Valencia if this is your first visit to Spain.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 11:28 AM
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We stayed in Mijas (in mountains right north of Malaga - we could see the ships docking in Malaga from our balcony) and loved every minute! Make sure you get to the Alhambra - it's absolutely amazing.

I found an interesting "site" http://www.parador.es/
If we go again, this may be the option we take.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 12:32 PM
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Try and find time for the Dali stuff. Particularly the museum in Figueras. And whilst over that way visit Empuria Brava, Girona, etc.

Old Sep 16th, 2002, 07:49 PM
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Mary, first of all, I hope you have a wonderful time. I was there a few weeks before Christmas last year and really enjoyed it. But be sure you pack enough to handle different kinds of weather. Our warmest day was in Seville, when the temperature hit the low 70s. But at night in Madrid, the temperature sometimes dipped into the 30s.

Not that the cold weather really affected my trip. I'm a guy who hates cold weather, but I still had a good time!
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 01:06 AM
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Hi Mary,
if your husband wants to see the Guggenheim, I would replace Valencia with Bilbao. Valencia is also very interesting, but I´d go to Bilbao to have a different taste of what is Spain.
You might want to change the order. What do you think about the following ?
- Barcelona
- Bilbao
- Madrid
- Sevilla

The train ride between Barcelona and Bilbao takes 9 hours. I would look into flying. It will be only 45 mn. Air Europa and Spanair (and lately Iberia) have good offers. Check their websites.
From Bilbao to Madrid you could fly (1 hour) or maybe get the VIP bus that leaves from Bilbao at around 9:30. It takes 4 and a half hours, and it is very spacious and comfortable. By train, your best bet would be the Talgo in the afternoon (but I think it takes more than 5 hours).
And from Madrid to Sevilla, of course the AVE, the high-speed train.
Check also the Eyewitness Spain guide, and if you can find the Cadogan guide for the Basque country, it is really well done (much better than Fodors , sorry about it).
About ETA ... I think that the rest of Spain can be more dangerous than the Basque Country. After all, they don´t want to destroy their "home turf"... I´m sorry to say that we have learned to live with the terrorism.
After this sad digression, let me recommend you to do a search for Maribel´s posts. She is usually quite good. It will also help if you tell us more or less the dates you are planning. Maybe you would like to spend New Year´s Eve in Madrid?

Rgds, Cova
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 03:28 AM
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Just curious - how did you come to pick Spain for a trip when you seem to know next to nothing about the place?
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 06:34 PM
Andrew Charles
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I suggest taking a look at or purchasing a copy of Frommer's "Madrid, Barcelona & Seville," 3rd edition. It's an excellently formatted book that will provide you with a greater variety of suggested itinieries, in addition to a host of enjoyable day trips that you would really enjoy.

I'd suggest spending a bit more time in Madrid and Barcelona. As you'll see in the Frommer's book, there is a great number of worthwhile activities and day trips that you can experience in while staying in these cities. Spain is better enjoyed at a slower pace. There's simply too much to take in when you're moving so fast.
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