Help on trip to Madrid/Barcelona

Apr 6th, 2012, 03:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 39
Help on trip to Madrid/Barcelona

We are planning to go to Spain for the first time in September. We both are retired and would like to know what to do there. It seems Spain is a very big country with tons to do there. We are planning to spend 3 days in Madrid and 4 days in Barcelona. We would like to take a train to Barcelona. Thinking of taking a day trip to Toledo and Monterrat. Is there lots to do in those towns? What should be do in Madrid and Barcelona? We do not want to spend a lot of time in Museums - just the main one for a few hours. Also would like to go to a Flamonco show. Where is the best place to go to one? Don't really care about the meal - just the show. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We know nothing about Spain - not even the names of famous sites there. Help!
sunburst is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,472 a long way from now. best if you take a look at a few guide books.
two very different AND big cities.
Madrid is know for great art museums and good flamenco venues
Train in between is a good idea.....try to buy tickets on line 2months earlier for discounts.
Barcelona is known for Gaudi arch., good food, elegant avenues, the Old town and more.
danon is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 06:29 PM
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September isn't that far away to start some serious planning. As noted, you want to start doing some research, and one of the places I would start would be with Maribel's Guides (, to Madrid and Barcelona, since these will be your two main destinations.
Robert2533 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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As a friend says, "Madrid is a very Spanish city while Barcelona is an international city."

There is a high speed train between Madrid and Barcelona.

As the others suggested, get some basic guides and decide what is interesting and important to you.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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I recommend buying the Fodor's guidebook on Spain; that's what I did when we went to Barcelona, & its' very helpful.

As danon says, Barcelona is known for Gaudi's architecture. You can visit Casa Battlo, Casa Mila, Sagrada Familia & Parc Guell. Walk around the different neighborhoods, visit the cathedrals in the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona has excellent food, known for its tapas. You can click on my name to read my trip report from October 2010. I give specific names of restaurants we liked, sightseeing, etc.
Kwoo is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 07:12 PM
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My trip priorities are as follows:

Do research before you think about booking. Determine where you want to fly in to. If you're going to end up in a different city, then book open jaw.

Once a structure is built, then work out the details.

Once dates and flights are taken care of, do a bunch more research. Second is firming up where you want to be each night. Then hotels. Autos after that if you're going to drive. Finally, what do you want to see, and when, and where do you want to eat.

I usually pick out 1-3 restaurants before I go for each location, and half the time decide not to go there when I'm incountry.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 07:56 PM
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I must say I always find interesting when people book a vacation somewhere and after doing that ask "What should we do there"? Shouldn't it be the other way?
cruiseluv is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 08:55 PM
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Not necessarily the case, cruiseluv. When we travel, we decide which country/countries we'd like to vist, book the flight and then begin the research of attractions/cities to see.
Jessika2011 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 10:49 PM
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I have to agree with cruiseluv. I would never go some place with out having done the research first. It dosen't make any sense playing it by ear without having some idea of what to expect.
Robert2533 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 05:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 39
I am starting to research the area and will find out what I want to see. I have some time between now and September. We have looked into different countries in Europe and find Spain to be interesting. I just want to find out what others have done and if I would be interested in doing the same. It is always a good thing to find out what others find interesting and look up the subjects to find out if I would feel the same. Thanks for your tips. Any more, feel free to let me know. I have 2 books on Spain - Fodors and Lonely Planet but there is so much info in each that I wanted to find out what others have done.
sunburst is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,227
Check Maribelsguides for Madrid and Barcelona as suggested by Robert above, plus the countless trip reports and posts on Fodors. No sense in reinventing the wheel!
cruiseluv is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Madrid is great! Spend two full days there and a third day to daytrip to Toledo, nothing like a walled medievil town. Come back on the last train 9:30p and get back in time for dinner in Madrid which is between 10-11:30pm. Didn't make it to Barcelona, I thought Granada way more interesting in every way. Absolutely a must see is the Alhambra (Palacios Nazaries) by appt only
emmywoodfall is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Sunburst:No doubts both cities(Madrid and Barcelona) are wonderful!!!!
Near Madrid you have many cities that are worth a day trip:Toledo and Segovia for sure!!! also(on a smaller scale) alcalá de Henares, Avila, Aranjuez, Cuenca.
You can read my report on our last trip to Madrid here:
When we wnt to Barcelona, we stayed in the city all days, no day trip outside thde city; of course, you must visit as many Gaudi sites as you can.
Enjoy planning and your trip(and you can ask for any help or opinion if you like).
jelopez33 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 01:55 AM
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Two great and very different cities, would be a great introduction to this very diverse country. As you read up on them you'll soon find out that there are plenty to do in both, rich cultural scene, architecture, great parks, fabulous cafés, restaurants and tapas bars.

When it comes to flamenco, both cities have got a rich flamenco history and top quality tablaos. Even though flamenco comes from the South (Andalucía), Madrid is now the flamenco capital of the world, everyone has to conquer Madrid to go to the top.

Lots of great tablaos in Madrid, but I would recommend Casa Patas. They've consistently staged some of the absloute best artists in the last years and I hold it as the best tablao in town these days. You don't need to go for dinner there, but they've got a very nice and long bar and alledgedly serves fine food.

In Barcelona, I would recommend classical Tablao Córdobes, it has got a high standing among the artists themselves:

You should also know that the worlds largest and most prestigious flamenco festival goes on in Sevilla theaters from Sept 7th to Oct 6th. Plain fantastic Sevilla is 2.30 mins from Madrid with the high speed AVE train.

Always updated about Madrid:
kimhe is offline  

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