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Itinerary help: Madrid, Barcelona and maybe Valencia?

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We are planning a trip to Spain in early October. We have spent time in Andalusia but my husband has not been to Madrid or Barcelona, (i was there in 1965 --Franco Barcelona was, I am told, very different from modern Barcelona!) We will be using public transportation and not driving.

We will probably fly into Barcelona and home from Madrid, although this can be reversed. I would like suggestions regarding how to distribute our time. Should we overnight in Toledo from Madrid or just do a day trip? Other possible day trips we have thought of are Salamanca and Segovia. Any thoughts on this? Or other suggestions? What day trips are suggested from Barcelona, other than Montserrat? While we would love to explore Catalonia and even Basque country we assume that is not doable without a car. Or, is it?

How accessible is Valencia by public transportation from Barcelona. Or is the effort more than the reward?

A bit about us: We are a very active retired couple. We love wandering cities, eating well but not high end (with locals, not tourists), spending time people watching, enjoy museums, architecture, street life and love Spanish wine.

We look forward to all suggestions. Thanks.

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