Itinerary Suggestions after Barcelona?

Oct 27th, 2003, 03:07 PM
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Itinerary Suggestions after Barcelona?

Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are planning to visit Spain next summer. I'm interested in Barcelona, but feel that because Spain is so big, that we'd save Madrid, Seville, southern coast, etc for another trip.I have 3 travel books on Spain, but am overwhelmed.

We typically spend 12 days total (incl. travel time) and like to stay in four different hotels. Renting a car is an option, as is venturing into France (we've been to Paris and Provence before).

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated! Thanks.

mikewalsh is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 06:26 PM
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Hi Mike:
Your gut feeling about dividing Spain into several trips is definitely the right one.
If Barcelona is your choice on this trip then here are a few suggestions for the general area surrounding Barcelona.(perhaps within a few hours.......and even though I have done parts of France in combination with this area it was on subsequent visits to the general area not on our first visit as there is so much to see.....however it can be done..the motorway provides quick travel between this area of Spain and Languedoc/Pyrenees even in Provence.

My husband and I have explored the Costa Brava area at length and keep returning because of it's beauty and diversity. A car is necessary unless you only want to visit one or two spots then local buses /trains in the summer are plentiful to most if not all of the places I mention here.
I'm not sure what you like to do but maybe check out Tossa de mar for a few days on the beach. Others on the board have also great recommendations for Aiguablava (book early) so do a search for Costa Brava, etc.(this is on my list for our next visit to Costa Brava for sure.
Take the fabulous coastal drive from Tossa de Mar to St Feliu de Guixols; if you like modern art check out the Salvador Dali exhibits in Figueres, Pubol and Port Lligat(Cadaques); explore the villages of Pals, Sant Marti, Peretallada, Banyuls, Olot, Besalu and the fabulous drives between.
And for the ultimate mountain village to visit check out Val de Nuria ( , accessible only by train,the last leg a cogwheel .
You can get there from Barcelona on SNCF train to Ribes de Freser (or you can drive to Ribes)and then just take the cogwheel from there.Nuria is fabulous if you like hiking, climbing, and a secluded few days of relaxation next to none.
Not to further your already overwhelmed feeling about travel books for this area but in the past I have relied on Thomas Cook Signpost Guide to Catalonia; AA Essential Costa brava and Hachette Vacances guide to Catalonia.

Other trips in the Barcelona area may also include Tarragona, Penedes, Sant Sadurni d'anoia, Poblet,Miravet....the list is endless and you will feel in your twelve days that there will be so much more to see. And I didn't even mention Barcelona yet! which is of course a wealth of glorious finds in itself!

Maribel! and others invariably have fabulous info on this area of Spain too.

keldar is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 07:12 PM
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Keldar, as usual, has given you wonderful information about the great delights of Catalunya, which we both love so much.

You're absolutely right in that gut feeling of wanting to save Madrid and the south for another trip.
Barcelona best fits with the rest of glorious Catalunya and a bit of France, the region of French Catalonia, in Roussillon.

A wonderful vacation can be had in Barcelona, the Empordá (Catalunya's answer to Tuscany) the Costa Brava and the catalán Pyrenees, dipping your toes perhaps into French Catalonia in adorable Ceret or Coulliore on the Cote Vermeille.

And as keldar wisely says, a car is essential. You can spend a week exploring the joys of this "country within a country" or you can spend a lifetime! There's just so very much to see.
I concur, as always, with all of keldar's suggestions, particularly the spectacular drive between Tossa and Sant Feliu de Guixols! It's unforgettable, as are the seascapes around Aiguablava, the poshest, most scenic, least unspoiled section of the coast. And I promise that a trip up to the Sanctuary of Nuria in the Val de Nuria via the "zipper train" will be the experience of a lifetime! I took friends with me 2 years ago, and they're still waxing rhapsodic about this marvelous short train trip!
Besides all the wonderful medieval villages that keldar mentions to you, I'd just add picture postcard perfect Rupit (featured in The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain), and lovely and peaceful Santa Pau in the extinct volcanic region of La Garrotxa, near Besalú (also featured in the above tome).

Your 12 days will fly by, I promise!
Just do a text search for Cataluña, Catalonia, Catalunya and the above mentioned places and you'll find volumes of info.

Maribel is online now  
Oct 27th, 2003, 07:46 PM
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Meant to add that the village of Montblanc, that keldar and I have both enjoyed, is also featured in The Most Beautiful Villages of Spain. It's in the Tarragona province, so you might want to save it and the entire Tarragone province for yet another trip to Catalonia! This land is so captivating, you'll surely return some day.
Also for guidebooks, I once again need to thank keldar for her recommendation of the Thomas Cook Signpost guide to Catalonia and the Spanish Pyrenees; its driving tours are excellent. We also enjoy the Hachette Vacances Catalonia, and the Lonely Planet Catalunya & the Costa Brava is very good for the nitty gritty, practical stuff, as is the excellent Rough Guide Costa Brava (pocket edition, '02), which gives tons of detail.
Maribel is online now  
Oct 28th, 2003, 03:03 PM
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Dear keldar and Maribel,

Thanks so much for your wonderful suggestions, you've made it sound incredibly exciting. I now have my work cut out for me (narrowing down all the possibilities), and am looking forward to it!

mikewalsh is offline  
Oct 28th, 2003, 05:01 PM
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Hi mike,
Have a great time planning your Catalunya adventure. The Michelin regional map 574 of Catalunya and Aragón can help you greatly with the planning and is invaluable on the road!
Wish I were tagging along with you!
Maribel is online now  
Oct 29th, 2003, 01:09 AM
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just a sad memory that arrived as I read this.
I've been using a Firestone map of the area I got with a rental car in the late 70's. Of course it was in Spanish, and now town names have reverted to Catalan. Some new roads too !
But I always used it because I'd marked the routes taken on each trip.
Last year my car was stolen and burnt out. And I guess my old map was still in it because I can't find it anywhere.
A real sense of loss of an old friend.

mpprh is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 04:20 AM
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Speaking of maps, where does one get the Michelin maps?
mikewalsh is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 04:24 PM
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Hi mikewalsh:
We initially bought our Michelin maps here in Canada at either our major bookstore Indigo/Chapters or in Toronto at the Worlds Biggest Book store. However if you check out your local bookstore wherever you live you can purchase them at the store or on line. (not sure where you live)
If you wait til you get to Spain though they tend to be cheaper and you can usually get the most up to date and more detailed maps (i.e. scale is better for in depth planning).
I'm so glad you are excited by what the posters have suggested here. (Maribels advice is always excellent!!) Post again if you need any further general or more specific info, there are lots of posters with great info on that area.
keldar is offline  
Oct 29th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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Like keldar, I purchased my original ones in Spain, at the superhighway gas stations where they are a bit cheaper, but the new, very detailed Regional series 571-579, I actually purchased at my favorite map store in the US.
They carry some of these (but not all) at US Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Or you can purchase them on line at Globe Corner Bookstores
or at Language Quest

Maribel is online now  
Nov 4th, 2003, 08:24 PM
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Lucky you! Spain is a wonderful country and we loved Catalonia. The suggestions above are excellent and I can only add that you may not want to miss Monserrate. It's a short funicular ride up to the mountaintop and I saw the corealation to Gaudi's Casa Mila once I got there. You probably know by now that Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's favorite architect. Enjoy your trip. And by the way, if you can possibly go in the early fall, the Pyreness are spectacular then.
mcgeezer is offline  

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