Help With Travel Plans to Spain

Aug 30th, 2013, 02:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6
Help With Travel Plans to Spain

I am in the beginnings of planning a trip to Spain. We will be leaving from Bordeaux, France on the 4th of November to fly into Spain. We have approximately 5-6 days in the country. Looking for suggestions on whether to fly into Barcelona then travel to Madrid or vice versa. Also, on that travel between cities, is the "fast" train still an option? Next, things to do in both cities. My husband was thinking about going to Lisbon, Portugal also but in the short amount of research I've done, I think that would be pushing it. Thoughts, please.

Many thanks in advance.
RBHaaland is offline  
Aug 30th, 2013, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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The fast train AVE takes 3 time to get to and from train
Which city you go first depends own your further connections
.and how you split you time depends on your interest.
danon is online now  
Aug 30th, 2013, 04:25 PM
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With only 5 days I'd definately stick to Madrid OR Barcelona. If you have 6 days it will be very short but you could visit both cities - although I'd still prefer with 6 days to pick one and do a couple of daytrips.
CathyM is offline  
Aug 30th, 2013, 05:15 PM
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Agree with Cathy M. You should factor in the time that its required to check in and out of hotels, go to tarins station/ airport, packing/unpacking, etc. With 5 days you're better off staying in one city.
cruiseluv is offline  
Aug 31st, 2013, 12:20 AM
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Perfectly doable with both Barcelona and Madrid in 5-6 days, two fabulous and very different cities. Would give you a fine taste of two fabulous and very different cities. The high speed AVE train take you from city center to city center in 2h 30mins and 2h 45mins. Have lunch in one city, relax on the train, and have dinner in the next. You can save lots of money if you buy tickets online in advance on

Madrid is majestic, very "Spanish", world class museums, wonderful parks, great tapas bars and the best nightlife in the country. Modernistic Barcelona is Catalan with a centuries long history in fierce opposition against anything Spanish (read: Madrid). Spectacular architecture (Gaudí), the very intact medieval Gothic quarter, a vibrant city beach, fabulous restaurants, plus a more touristy feel in central parts of the city. Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona is one of the most famous rivalries in the world of soccer, just as much about politics, history and culture as about sport results.

Hard to give you advice on what to do without knowing more about your interests. BUT if you are in Barcelona in the beginning of November, you must not miss the flamenco celebration of Carmen Amaya in Teatre Nacional de Catalunya with out of this world Rocío Molina among others. Carmen Amaya (1913-1963) is one of Barcelonas greatest daughters, and this is the highlight of the Carmen Amaya year in Barcelona. The theater will be full of a predominantly local and very knowledgeable crowd. Could easily be the highlight of your trip. About Carmen:

These sites give good and updated infor on these cities:
kimhe is offline  
Aug 31st, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Thanks to everyone for input!

Kimhe, we will be there for the Flamenco celebration! My husband and I enjoy experiencing local foods and wines; also love the architecture of the city. I'll check out the shared links!
RBHaaland is offline  
Sep 1st, 2013, 12:52 PM
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For a genuine Barcelona dinner in a small and family owned restaurant in the center of town, I suggest you go to Ca L'Estevet. I can strongly recommend the world class Iberian ham, the Barcelona speciality Bacalà a la llauna and the wonderful grilled chicken with prunes.

Perhaps also a meal in Barcelona classic 7 Portes. Consistently great, traditional Catalan food in the best atmosphere, tons of Barcelona history and culture in the walls. Popular with tourists, but it's easy to understand why this 1836 establishment still is a favourite with locals. Some months ago we had a fabulous fish soup, monkfish/rape a la plancha and a divine Catalan speciality Arroz caldoso. Not too expensive either, we use to pay some 35-40€ pr. person.

Reservations a must in both places.

And remember, Barcelona and Catalunya is Cava country.

The tickets to the Carmen Amaya celebrations will eventually be sold online here:

Fabulous tapas bars and restaurants all around Madrid, lots of genuine places and far fewer tourist traps than in central Barcelona. I never leave Madrid without having had the squid in its own ink and the famous Bacalao at Revuelta, just off majestic Plaza Mayor:
kimhe is offline  
Sep 1st, 2013, 07:31 PM
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Do not miss pimentos padrone..the cava (where ever you are)will be will be the rosado. Oh to be back in Espana!!!
amer_can is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2013, 02:19 AM
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... and in Ca L'Estevet, every Wednesday during the winter season, they serve the most typical of all Catalan dishes, Escudella i carn d'olla, the oldest documented soup in Europe (14th century). Served in local restaurants all around Barcelona, but in such a great place and as a special Wednesday only dish, I would definitely go for it here.

About Escudella i carn d'olla:'olla
kimhe is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2013, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
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I spent 5 days in Madrid during my recent Spanish home exchanged trip. Here is the Madrid blog:

I did not have enough time in Madrid with 5 days. There are 3 major art galleries--each of which merits a day.

Bullfights at the Plaza des Toros are only on Sundays. Worth seeing once but lots of gore and the bull has no chance to avoid becoming steaks. Not my cup of tea, but something I wanted to see since I was in Spain.

I flew Iberia's discount carrier from Bordeaux to Madrid--a very quick flight. It leaves every day, I believe, in the evening. Only a little over $100 if my memory serves me correct.

If "El Rey Leon" is still playing, you might want to consider that. Lots of fun seeing it in Spanish even though my Spanish is this side of a bad joke.

I saved Barcelona for a future home exchange. My home exchange in Spain was in Salamanca, so I did a lot of day trips from there--which included El Escorial & Aranuez Palace and visiting small towns, etc.

I really enjoyed my stay in Spain but really could have used another 5 days in Madrid.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  
Sep 15th, 2013, 06:28 AM
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The tickets for the Carmen Amaya flamenco concert "La Capitana" in the Catalan National Theater are now on sale. With fantastic artists such as Rocío Molina (dance) and Mayte Martín (song) in separate parts of the performance:
kimhe is offline  

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