Help! Madrid or Barcelona?

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Aug 21st, 2003, 01:33 PM
  #1
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Help! Madrid or Barcelona?

My soon-to-be-brand-new husband and I are planning a trip to Spain over Thanksgiving, leaving on 11/27 and returning on 12/3. We will just have gotten married, and are looking for lots of walking, sightseeing, and good and frequent eating/drinking. I'm torn between going to Madrid, with a day trip to Toledo or Segovia, or going to Barcelona, with a possible day trip to Montserrat. We'd be flying from Washington, DC, and the prices are pretty much the same.

I know that this is not exactly a terrible dilemma, and that we will have a wonderful time in either city. As far as we're concerned, there are fabulous artistic experiences to be had in both cities -- the Prado and Guernica v. Gaudi. I guess I'm wondering which you all think is a more delightful, celebratory place for newlyweds to hang out and be happy.

Many thanks!
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Aug 21st, 2003, 02:10 PM
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This is a dilemma , as you rightly say you will enjoy both. You can easily spend the five days in Barcelona, period. It has all you are asking for and more.

In Madrid you can complement it with
el Escorial, Toledo as you say or
Segovia + Avila. and of course there is no other art museum for me as fascinating as the Prado.

Frankly I cannot make the choice for you and I would encourage you to ask your own hearts and follow your hunch. Buena Suerte.
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Aug 21st, 2003, 03:01 PM
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I love both cities and you'll get more first rate museum time in Madrid (if that interests you) but in terms of being a bit fanciful I would probably advise Barcelona...not just because of all the Gaudi architecture but also for the Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas, etc...in some ways Barcelona seems a bit more whimsical and magical (despite the pickpockets on the Metro (wear your moneybelts!!!!).
 
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Aug 22nd, 2003, 05:49 AM
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I just came back several months ago from being in Spain (Madrid) for about a year...just as everyone else said... major pros and cons to both cities:

Madrid: much more expensive, urban and has a very american feel in a sense. Much of Madrid is fairly new so you don't get that old world european feeling. However, Madrid is one of the cleanest cities I've ever had the pleasure of staying in, great food, PLENTY TO DO! Shopping as plaza del sol and gran via, restaraunts in Plaza Mayor, El museo prado (which you should need a whole day for) el retiro (much larger than central park) as well as soccer games (real madrid) and anything else you can think of...plenty to do here.

Barcelona, however, is one of my favorite cities. It airs on the dirtier side, but is much more authentic. You have the beach, Gaudi (amazing), a Picasso museum, plenty of flamenco shows, EXCELLENT PAELLA, they offer tours by boat, las ramblas and beautiful people. Something that a lot of americans don't know when going to barcelona is that although they speak castillian, the official language of barcelona is a completely different dialect of spanish called catalan, which is a mix of french, portugues and castillian...plenty of people speak english there however.

Have you ever considered doing both?? A few days in madrid and a few in barcelona. You can usually catch a flight b/w these cities for about 50 euro, or you could take the overnight train (8 hours) and catch a look at the countryside...

In either case, whatever you decide to do, I'm sure you'll have a fabulous time!

Que tengas un buen viaje!
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Aug 22nd, 2003, 06:20 AM
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As you say, a great dilemma. One thing that might sway you is weather. Take a look at weatherbase.com and worldclimate.com

Both cities will be cool, with Madrid at an average high of 55F and Barcelona an average high of 59F. Barcelona will be rainier, Nov/Dec are in the higher end of the rainfall probability scale. Chance of rain in Madrid too, but not as high as Barcelona as Madrid's average is 2 inches for the Nov/Dec period month versus 9 for Barcelona; chances are a downpour in Madrid seem unlikely.

Hope these temps were what you were expecting; "Sunny Spain" may be sunny but not really warm in winter, as is true for the rest of Europe.
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Aug 22nd, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Have you considered Sevilla? Not only will the weather be nicer but it's a wonderful, romantic city. There are several hotels in the old town that would be excellent and charming for a honeymoon. Food is excellent too. You could easily spend 5 nights in Sevilla, with easy daytrips to Carmona, Jerez, Corodoba, etc...or even spend a night or 2 in the romantic parador in Carmona since it is your honeymoon. Sevilla is an easy 2.5 hour train ride on the high speed AVE from Madrid.

If you really want to visit either Madrid or Barcelona, I'd have to choose Barcelona. More charm, better restaurants and more "sights" in my own opinion. An hour north is the lovely medieval city of Girona.

Have a great time no matter what you choose and be sure to keep us posted!
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Aug 22nd, 2003, 08:30 PM
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Congratulations on your upcoming marriage.

Having been to Madrid, Barcelona, & Seville, I agree with Kathy. I think Seville is the most romantic of the three, followed by Barcelona. But whatever you decide, you'll have a wonderful honeymoon in Spain. (We'll be there in Nov. too).
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Aug 25th, 2003, 01:15 PM
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Thank you all so much for your helpful and quick responses! We've purchased tickets for Barcelona. Seville was tempting, but once my darling future learned about the Dali museum, his heart was set. Neither Seville nor Madrid are going anywhere.

I'm not at all worried about rain; we lived in Seattle for a time, so we like it! I think we'll have a wonderful time.
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Aug 28th, 2003, 08:09 AM
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That was supposed to be "my darling future husband" above, not "my darling future." Ew. Sorry about that!
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