Just Back from Spain

Jan 19th, 2000, 06:54 PM
  #1  
Bobby G
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Just Back from Spain

Hi Folks,

I'm just back from three glorious weeks in Spain -- Ronda, Cordoba, Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Pontevedra and Santiago de Compostella. Can I help anybody plan a trip to any of these (or other) cities in Spain?
Bobby
 
Jan 19th, 2000, 09:25 PM
  #2  
hhansell
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Hi BobbyG!
We are planning a trip to Spain for late July in order to attend our friends' wedding and do some sightseeing. We will be in Madrid and also wish to go to the Basque Region. What were your experiences in Madrid?
Where did you stay and what were your favorite experiences there? Thanks for your help!
 
Jan 20th, 2000, 05:47 AM
  #3  
Greg
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Did you stay in Toledo? If so, was
it a reasonably priced hotel?
Thanks Greg
 
Jan 20th, 2000, 08:04 PM
  #4  
Scooter
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My friend and I are going to Barcelona in late August to early September. We are in our mid-twenties. Can you reccomend good beaches to visit and (if you don't mind) some good restaurants (not cheesy-touristy) to try? Thank you.
 
Jan 21st, 2000, 01:10 AM
  #5  
Bobby G.
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Hansel: Madrid is excellent. If you're interested in art, there's no other city in Europe (not even Paris) that will keep you so busy. Madrid has three world-class art museums -- the Prado, the Thyssen-Bournemiza and the Reina Sofia. That apart, there's plenty of historical sites of interest. For fun-lovers, Madrid has an energetic, exciting nightlife, with literally hundreds of great bars, most of them in and around the old city.
My wife and I love just walking around the old city, through narrow, cobbled streets, chancing upon pretty little plazas, with cafes and bars. We also love soccer, and watching Real Madrid club play is a special thrill.
I'll be happy to answer more specifc questions: what, specifically, are you looking for in Madrid?

Greg: We stayed at the Pintor El Greco hotel It cost around $90 a night. It's worth every cent. Great service, big rooms, lovely decor and a terrific location. We'll certainly go back.

Scooter: We didn't go to any beaches, I'm afraid. For meals, we tended to bar-hop for the tapas (snacks). Our favorite: Qu Qu on Passeig Garcia.

Have fun in Spain -- I know you will.
Bobby
 
Jan 24th, 2000, 05:24 PM
  #6  
Suzanne
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I agree with Greg - the hotel Pintor El Greco is great! We found it to be a great deal and very comfortable.
 
Jan 25th, 2000, 07:26 AM
  #7  
Carl
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Bobby G.:My wife and Iare going to Spain for two weeks in mid October and I have trying to figure out an itinerary.Were arriving to Madrid on Fiday AM. I'm a soccer (futbol) nut and want to see Barcelona and Real de Madrid play. I thought we would stay in Madrid three days and visit Seville, Cordoba and Granada for three days and then go to Barcelona the second week end. Some of my questions bus or train travel? How can get a soccer schedule for late this year? Are we trying to see too much? Thanks for any comments!
 
Jan 25th, 2000, 08:51 AM
  #8  
Dan
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Bobby G:

Heading to Barcelona in late-March and we welcome any recommendations you have on hotels/restaurants/must sees. Also, reading a lot of posts of petty crime in Spain. Is it really that bad?

Thanks for all advice.
 
Jan 25th, 2000, 09:23 AM
  #9  
Maira
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Bobby G--- where did you stayed in Santiago? How you liked it? What kind of transportation did you use throughtout the trip? Isn't Spain a dream destination?

Carl--- I think that you are trying to do too much in two weeks. Invariably, first-time Spain visitors soon realize that Spain is worth another visit, so knowing that, plan accordingly ahead of time. In opther words concentrate in two major cities this time. Say, one week Madrid and environs (Segovia-Toledo-Avila) and the second week Barcelona (Montserrat-Tarragona). Andalucia is worth at least 8-10 days minimum. I wouldn't even try to do Seville-Cordova-Granada in three days. Not fair neither to you, nor the destination(s). Train travel on Madrid and Barcelona is very convenient. October is a perfect time to visit Spain. Enjoy the planning and the visit!!
 
Jan 25th, 2000, 05:05 PM
  #10  
Bobby G
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Hi folks.

Carl: The Spanish First Division games are usually held on Sunday afternoons, so try and make sure you're in Madrid and Barcelona on Sundays. Of course, there's a possibility that the teams will be playing away games on the days when you're in their town. The Liga schedule for 2000-2001 should be available by the end of July. USA Today's website usually carries the schedule.
As to transport: the AVE high-speed train from Madrid to Seville is excellent. It takes around 2 hours. From Seville, I'd recommend you take buses to Cordoba and Granada. Alsina Graells, a bus operator, runs an extensive fleet in Andalucia. The buses are comfortable, the services reliable.
Are you trying to see too much? In Andalucia, yes. I'd drop Cordoba (as lovely as it is) and spend the extra night in Seville.
Hope this is helpful


Dan: We stayed at the Hotel Continental (www.hotelcontinental.com) in Barcelona, for the second time in as many years. We love the place. It has a great location on La Rambla and terrific balconies overlooking the street. Our favorite restaurant in Barcelona is Qu Qu on Passeig Gracia.
In Two visits to Spain (five weeks in all), we've never experienced any petty crime. Take some simple, common-sense precautions (wear a money belt, don't leave luggage unattended, and you'll be fine.
Have fun.

Maira: We stayed at the Parador in Santiago, and it was fantastic. In fact, all the Paradores we stayed in (in Toledo and Pontevedra) were superb. The one in Santiago is 500 years old, and very grand. It cost around $150 a night, which made it the most expensive hotel of our trip, but it was worth every cent. The rooms are enormous, the furnishings luxurious and the service and foot outstanding.
We travelled mainly by train -- RENFE runs a very good, very reliable network, one of the best in Europe. In Andalucia, we took buses.
Spain is indeed a dream destination. I can't recommend it enough. We've been twice in two years, and already we're planning to return in 2001.
Cheers,
Bobby
 
Jan 28th, 2000, 05:20 AM
  #11  
Ryan Fink
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Hi Bobby G,

My girfriend and I are heading to Madrid in a few weeks. We want to see Segovia and Toledo- what's the best way to get there: RENFE? AVE? Are we able to buy tickets for the same day we want to travel? Thanks for any help you can give us!
 
Jan 28th, 2000, 07:25 AM
  #12  
Dan G
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Bobby (or anyone else),

We are going to Madrid in March and along with the regular sites (like the museums you mention) we also want to see a bull fight. Did you do this, or do you know a good place to try and get tickets?

Thanks,

Dan
 
Jan 28th, 2000, 10:57 AM
  #13  
Anne-Rose
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My husband and I are planning to go to Barcelona in May. We would like to take at least on side trip from there. Any suggestions?
 
Jan 28th, 2000, 11:55 AM
  #14  
Tom
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I would suggest Montserrat for a day trip.
 
Jan 28th, 2000, 09:42 PM
  #15  
Bobby G
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Hi again, folks.

Ryan: Trains for Toledo and Segovia are plentiful and leave practically every hour. You can be sure of getting seats even if you buys tickets minutes before departure. See RENFE's very comprehensive website:www.renfe.es/ingles/hir/index.html.
Toledo's just an hour away by fast train; Segovia is (if I remember right) three hours away.
You CAN do a day trip to Toledo, but I highly recommend staying a night. As for Segovia, you'll spend 6 hours traveling both ways, so a day trip will probably be too short.

Dan: I'm not sure, but I suspect March is too early in the year (too cold) for bullfights. The only fight I ever saw was in Seville, in April 1998, and I recall that it was one of the first of the season. Madrid, being a lot colder, probably starts later in the year.
If the season does start in time for you to catch a fight, it's a great experience. Madrid has a very lovely bullring, and tickets sell pretty quickly -- particularly if one of the more famous matadors is on show. I don't think you can book online, but perhaps your travel agent or hotel concierge can help you.
Can someone else on this Forum pitch in here with more detailed advice?

Anne-Rose: Montserrat would be my choice, too. Take the cable-car if it's in operation -- it's a spectacular ride. If you're a beach-addict, the Costa Brava has more seaside towns than you can shake a stick at. But the beaches will likely be wall-to-wall people, and I'd stay well away.

Cheers,
Bobby
 
Jan 29th, 2000, 06:56 PM
  #16  
Gail W
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Hi Ryan Fink: I went to Spain almost exactly 2 years ago and visited friends who are teachers in Segovia. They advised taking the bus from Madrid to Segovia instead of the train because it's much quicker (2/3 of the time and as I recall, it made no stops at all before Segovia). The downside was that the bus station was not as close to the airport as the train station when you arrive Madrid. Sorry I can't recall more details, they met me at the airport and we went to the bus station together so I wasn't focusing on how to do it. But the bus was clean, comfortable and I think was even very cheap (maybe a few dollars).
Segovia is wonderful. You'll be happy you went.
 
Jan 30th, 2000, 05:37 AM
  #17  
Lurker
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Bobby G: This thread is an example of the very best about Fodors forums -- you are great to give all this information, as are the others that have added to it. Was in Spain last summer -- your advice is good -- to others asking advice: continue the good exchange when YOU get home.
 
Jan 30th, 2000, 05:49 AM
  #18  
mast
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dear Bobby, do you think three days is enough for barcelona? how's the weather during winter time?

regards,

mast
 
Jan 31st, 2000, 10:57 AM
  #19  
Ivy
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Hi Dan and Anne Rose

My Mother and I went to Barcelona for a week and had a great time! We stayed at the Rivoli Ramblas, great location, nothing too fancy but very nice for the $. We took 3 day trips, Sitges, Figueras and Girona. All three are definitely worth seeing! Sitges if you are looking for a beach resort type place and the other two for great sight seeing. Girona is amazing!
For authenticity you should definitely eat at Cal Pep and Los Carolcoles, they are both great!!!
As far as petty crime, we got robbed one night on the Ramblas but I think if we had a man with us it would not have happened. Definitely wear your purse inside your coat and always keep your passport in your room, use your license to change $$.

Definitely see parc Guell, Montserrat, Sagrada Familia!
Have fun!
 
Jan 31st, 2000, 02:16 PM
  #20  
Kim
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Has anyone ever been to any of the following cities: Siguenza, La Guardia, Haro, Laredo, Santillana del Mar or Ribadesella? My husband and I are going to Spain in late May and plan to stay in Madrid, do wine country in Rioja and maybe stay one night on that side of the coast. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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