Help me plan my Spain itinerary!

Old Sep 16th, 2016, 01:27 PM
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Help me plan my Spain itinerary!

My husband and I are planning a 7-8 day trip to Spain in the middle of October. We are in our early 30s, and our priorities are: 1) great food and drinks, 2) shopping from local artisans (clothes, art, jewelry, housewares, etc), and 3) getting lost in a city and walking around everywhere. We hit the major tourist spots, but we like to feel like locals and get lost in cities. We love great food and cocktails, but don't need true nightlife. I would also love for it to feel romantic!

I went to Barcelona about ten years ago and my husband has never been to Spain, but I think he is really interested in going to Barcelona. Given that, I am tempted to go to Barcelona but also other places I have never been before (I have never been elsewhere in Spain).

My understanding is that southern spain is more "spanish" and northern spain does not have that same feel. And given its our real first time in Spain (other than my quick Barcelona trip a while ago), my gut is saying go to southern spain for that true spanish experience, but I am not sure how to incorporate northern Barcelona with a trip to the south. I have also heard Seville can feel a little inauthentic and like "disney."

In short, I need help with an itinerary, which should probably include Barcelona and at least one other major destination. Thank you!
cheryldc is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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If Barcelona is a must and you have a week, I would just combine Barcelona with its surrounding area, such as Girona. (Google "day trips from Barcelona" to find suitable options.) If you want major cities, then Madrid is an easy combo. Valencia could be interesting, but for small towns consult a Catalonia guide.
It's all "Spanish"--someone just decided that Andalucia represented something quintessential about Spain at some point. If you can fly open-jaw, then you could incorporate it, but I really think it's best to wait until you can devote all of your time there so you can explore all of the many close- together attractions in Andalucia.
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 01:52 PM
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Thank you for this input! I don't think Barcelona is a MUST, and I think I would be pretty disappointed to go to Spain and focus on the only city I have been to before (with just day trips outside of it).
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 01:58 PM
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My first recommendation is to frame the visit differently from "What I have heard", "My understanding", "true Spanish", etc.

Each region is "Spanish" in its own way. Many years from now when you look back, would you be glad you followed "I heard" recommendations?

Unless you are coming from a place easily accessible from Spain, it is better for others to understand the time constraint in terms of nights. 7 days = 6 nights = 5 full days? That is enough for two places. Also where you are coming home from matters. If your return home flight is early in the morning, you need to overnight in that departure city. If it is not your destination, that takes away one night from what little number of nights you have.
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 02:00 PM
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You'll have to work that out with your mate, lol, but I did not mean necessarily only day trips but as a research tool to see what small towns and villages are close by for something different. When I have limited time, I like to stick to the region I am in. It also gives variety to be in a big city and a then in a small place.
Or, if Madrid appeals, for example, it's just a train ride away. But Madrid is the easiest place to get to for a future trip and the weather could be wonderful in midOctober--making a little seaside town (say Cadaques as a totally random example--I have not been to the area) sound just the ticket.
You might play around with the flight searches first to get an idea of what is doable and convenient. The only way to go wrong really is to try to do so much that you are spending a third of your time moving around instead of giving yourself time to do all the things you want to do (soak it in, get lost, shop, etc.) Enjoy the planning!
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 02:05 PM
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Okay this is making me want to plan my next trip to Spain:
http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/20...taurants-trips
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 02:06 PM
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Yes, it is all Spain, but Andalucia has a lot of what people think of when they think of Spain. Spain is made up of several autonomous regions, so ever region has its own flavor (and sometimes language). Castilian is understood everywhere though, and a fair number of people speak English also, so language shouldn't be an issue.

Andalucia is a really neat area - lots of great towns, the architecture has a lot of Moorish influences. Food is good, weather is very nice (hot in summer though). I've spent time in Seville and Cordoba specifically, both of which I enjoyed quite a lot. I liked Seville more than I thought I would. I took a bike tour in Seville, during which I learned a lot about the city. I plan to return to that area to see more of it.

But, if Barcelona is calling to you, then go to Barcelona and plan your trip around that. I haven't been to Barcelona (yet), but I know some of the history and it seems like an infinitely interesting place.
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 02:38 PM
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Thanks all. Let me further clarify my question. Based upon our interests of food, shopping at local stores, and walkable cities - which are the best cities to go to?

I understand many might encapsulate, but offer instance I wanted all three in the USA I would recommend nyc. If just the focus was shopping, I would add LA or Chicago. Just as an example
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 02:56 PM
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Cheryl - Do understand that your holiday is a very, VERY short one. There are many cities that fulfill your wants. Just fly into Barcelona for 3 days, take the train to Madrid, and then do day trips to Toledo and Segovia. Fly home from Madrid. Great food and shopping both places, both walkable. Bring plenty of money !
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 03:49 PM
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If you are a foodie, San Sebastian is not to be missed, but that is nowhere you are focusing. It is far more walkable than Barcelona, which is quite spread out and requires a transportation to get around. Shopping depends on what you are shopping.
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 03:49 PM
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<food, shopping at local stores, and walkable cities>

Take a look at Belle Epoque San Sebastián, the culinary heart of Spain if not all of Europe, just 180 000 inhabitants, beautiful landscapes, a local culture that people take great pride in, very romantic and very walkable. And European Capital of Culture 2016:
http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...y-for-foodies/
http://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/

Video intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRWCdjw1C8Q
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Old Sep 16th, 2016, 06:56 PM
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You’ve already gotten some great advice, so I’ll just toss in a few observations.

IMO, 7 – 8 days is a bit tight for Andalusa, and not nearly enough if you want to include Barcelona, too. JMO, though, and it really depends on what YOU want to do an experience.

With 7 – 8 days, you could easily visit (a) Barcelona and surrounds or (b) Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada.

Note that Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla are NOT the only cities in Spain. Girona is a city. Cordoba is a city. Granada is a city. Etc.

I strongly urge you to consult some good guidebooks at your local library to identify your priorities.

Great food and wine won’t be a problem anywhere in Spain!
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Old Sep 17th, 2016, 11:38 AM
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San Sebastian is good, and I like kja's option B. 3 cities not too far apart and each with lots to see. And October is a good time to visit Andalusia weatherwise.

Do spend time figuring out transportation: flights in and out, and between sites. You don't want to spend too much time going from one place to another, without much time to actually see the sights. Let alone do some leisurely wandering.
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Old Sep 17th, 2016, 11:57 AM
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Seville is not Disney-fied, rather it is a beautiful Andulcian city, highly walkable. The one city in Spain that isn't as walkable as others is Barcelona. It is more like LA, spread out.
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Old Sep 19th, 2016, 08:40 AM
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Well, Santa Cruz area is just Disney tourists traps. I prefer the real Sevilla in Macarena or Alameda de Hércules.
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Old Sep 21st, 2016, 08:48 AM
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I REALIZE I AM JUMPING INTO THIS DISCUSSION QUITE LATE, BUT MY SUGGESTION IS PAIR MADRID - WITH POSSIBLY ONE DAYTRIP - AND VALENCIA. if YOU ARE LOOKING FOR QUALIFYCITIES BOTH OF THESE QUALIFY AND BOTH HAVE A WIDE VARIET OF EXCELLENT RESUARANTS AND FOOD CHOICES.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2016, 06:12 AM
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Second the recommendation of local atmosphere and bustling Macarena and Alameda de Hércules in Sevilla, and I will also add lively Triana on the other side of the Guadalquivir river.

Macarena and Alameda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WJkTCpbp8w
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...macarena-spain

Triana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mFE9k0E-2Y
http://www.andalucia.com/cities/seville/triana.htm
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Old Sep 22nd, 2016, 08:56 AM
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OK, Seville 3 nights, Granada 2 and Madrid 3. That's a perfect first time itinerary with only 8 days.
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