itinerary help for 2 weeks in Spain

Old Aug 21st, 2012, 10:58 PM
  #1  
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itinerary help for 2 weeks in Spain

My husband and I and our two adult children will be traveling to Spain for 2 weeks this October. We enjoy cultural and historical sights as well as exploring natural areas while hiking. We particularly enjoy local music, food and festivals. We fly in and out of Madrid. We plan to spend about half our time in Madrid and its environs and the other half in Barcelona and its environs. We are trying to decide how many days to spend where. Ideally we would like to spend time in Toledo, Segovia and Avila as well as Madrid. When visiting Barcelona we would also like to go to Montserrat, Sitges and Figueres or Girona. Our biggest question is should we rent a car as we leave Madrid to visit the smaller towns and then drive to Barcelona stopping for the night in Zaragoza, which looks very interesting. We would return the car in Barcelona upon arrival. We would then fly or train back to Madrid from Barcelona. Alternatively, we could train everywhere around Madrid and then fly or train to Barcelona and back. Since there are 4 adults, I think the car could be more economical and we do like to have the flexibility/convenience of a car. We have taken road trips in the UK, Europe and Australia so this would not be our first time driving outside the US. However, the train/ flying would save time. I must admit I am a little worried about trying to get train tix on renfre. I've read it can be quite a challenge. I would appreciate any input from all you lovers of Spain. Thank you, Jeanne
jjmmll is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2012, 11:34 AM
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I would not rent a car at all. You will need about a week in each place if you intend on doing 3 daytrips from each city. You should spend at least 3 days in Madrid and 3 to 4 in Barcelona before taking daytrips.
Egbert is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2012, 11:51 AM
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The car would be more economical if you where staying out in the country, but I agree with Egbert, you'll have no need for a car if you are basing yourself in Madrid and Barcelona. You can stop overnight in Zaragoza on the way to or from Barcelona by rail.

Toledo, Segovia and Avila are all easily reached by train from Madrid. Girona & Figueres can be reached by train, while you can visit places like Vic taking the Rodalies Barcelona, the commuter line.

You might be interested in reading Maribel's Guides to Madrid and Barcelona. They should come in handy in planning your stay.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Wondering how in heck you're going to see Segovia, Avila, Toledo, Montserrat, Zaragoza, Sitges and either Figueres or Girona in the same two weeks you'll be in Madrid and Barcelona. That's seven day trips, and the three you mention from Madrid are SEPARATE day trips because Avila is west of the city, Segovia is to the north (and needs 1/2 day, if that - you're better off with Toledo alone) and Toledo is to the south. You may be able to combine two of the sites near Barcelona but that would be rushed. Plus, going to Avila means you're 1/2way to Salamanca - continue on and see Salamanca, which is excellent.

And driving in Madrid or Barcelona is highly unnecessary for a tourist - both have good public transport systems that reach every place a tourist would likely want to go and both have many cars on the roads controlled by people who drive like Europeans. The central areas of Barcelona are easily walkable too (Born, Barri Gotic to Arc de Triomphe and Parc de la Ciutadella on the one side; Poble Sec, Placa d'Espana/Montjuic area on the other side; Placa Catalunya/the various Ramblas in the middle).

Also wondering why you're coming home from Madrid - you could have open-jawed for about the same money, especially after considering travel costs from Barcelona back to Madrid.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2012, 11:11 PM
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Thank you for your valuable input. We are flying in and out of Madrid because those were the only frequent flyer mile tickets we could get. We are still trying to get them changed to fly home from Barcelona. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear about where we would drive the rental car. We have no intention of driving in Madrid or Barcelona. We would visit Madrid for a few days, pick up the car outside of town (airport) then drive to Toledo and Segovia, spending a night in each. We were hoping to get to Avila but realize we can't see it all. Then we would drive to Zaragoza for the night and on to Sitges or somewhere on the coast for the night. (We've decide to skip Figueres and Girona.) We would then go to Barcelona and return the car on the way into town. We would go to Montserrat on the train from Barcelona (which 2 of us have done before.) I was mostly wondering about driving in the areas outside of Madrid and Barcelona and through the town of Zaragoza. We do enjoy train travel but prefer the flexibility of a car, especially if it saves money. I'm also intimidated by the stories I've heard about trying to reserve tix on renfe. So, if we are just using the car for the smaller towns, is it a good idea? Thanks, again.
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Old Oct 12th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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I will stay 2 days in Zaragoza on November.
Any recommendations of things to do and where to eat?
ABCM is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2014, 12:16 PM
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There are literally scores of buses and trains each day from Madrid to Toledo and there is a high speed train from Madrid to Segovia as there is from Madrid to Barcelona.
IMDonehere is offline  
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