Madrid Barcelona in May help

Old Feb 23rd, 2024, 03:02 PM
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Madrid Barcelona in May help

Updated our itinterary based on tips but looking to finalize and need help. Plane tickets booked so no changes to start & end. NOT renting a car. dates for activities can be changed around other than the football match which is TBD. accommodation isn’t booked yet so advice welcome.. should we do an overnight in between Madrid and Barcelona in maybe Tarragona or Girona? Not interested in Zaragoza.. thanks

May 13 arrive Madrid 1330
14 Madrid Retiro park
15 Real Madrid game - if can get tix stubhub
16 Madrid
17 Madrid - day trip to Toledo?
18 Barcelona
19 day trip to Girona?
20 Barcelona - Park Guell when to book?
21 Barcelona day trip to Sitges or Tossa de Mar?
22 Barcelona
23 Montserrat
24 Barcelona - Sagrada when to book?
25 Barcelona
May 26 Leave early am.
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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 01:31 AM
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"should we do an overnight in between Madrid and Barcelona in maybe Tarragona or Girona?"

Since Girona isn't between Madrid and Barcelona but Tarragona is a stop on the high speed train route, it would make sense to overnight in Tarragona to see the Roman sites and take your day trip to Girona from Barcelona.

May 15 is the Fiesta de San Isidro Labrador (feast day, local holiday) in Madrid.
You may want to witness some of the outdoor activities then, like the parade of Giants and Big Heads at 10:15 in the Pradera Parque de San Isidro or the folkloric dancing at noon on the Plaza Mayor or the evening concerts in the Plaza Mayor or the fireworks display in the Parque de San Isidro.
The full schedule will be posted later on.

For your day trip to Toledo on May 17, you should probably purchase your AVANT tickets a few days ahead at www.renfe.com just in case. These trains around holiday periods do at times sell out (I've experienced this twice), as it's a very popular destination, especially on weekends.
These AVANT fares are static; they don't go up closer to departure and there's a r.t. discount.

For the Parc Güell you will need timed tickets, as you know, and I would book them a couple of days in advance if you want to visit in the morning, when most others do, as there will be less availability for the more popular morning slots, starting at 9:30 than the late afternoon ones.
Some visitors combine the Parc Guell with the Sagrada Familia, but perhaps you'd rather do them on separate days.

For me it's very easy to get Gaudí fatigue if I try to do 3 in the same day.
Do you plan to visit any other Moderniste sites (Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Palau de la Música Catalana, Casa Amatller, Recinte Modernista de Santa Pau, the latter which is an easy combo with the Sagrada Familia?

As. to Sitges or Tossa, the trip to Sitges will be shorter, around 40 min, on the commuter train, Rodalies, the R2S (Sud) line from Passeig de Gràcia.
https://rodalies.gencat.cat/en/inici/

For Tossa, you would take the direct Moventis Sarfa bus from Estació Nord. The ride takes 1 hr. 20 min.
https://compras.moventis.es/online/search

For the Sagrada Familia if you have a specific entry time in mind (the earliest to avoid huge crowds or later in the afternoon), it's best to book these 4 or 5 days out to make sure you snag the entry time you prefer.
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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 03:38 AM
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If you'll let us know the type of accommodations you prefer in each city and a nightly budget, we can give suggestions. Luxury, small boutique, low budget, apartment, serviced aparthotel....?
May will be a very busy travel month and it's advisable to book your lodging ASAP.

Also, very important: The Boys' Choir, the Escolania, will not sing in the Monserrat Monastery on May 21, 22, 23, 24, as they will be on tour.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 24th, 2024 at 03:41 AM.
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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 05:16 AM
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Madrid Barcelona may

Originally Posted by Maribel
If you'll let us know the type of accommodations you prefer in each city and a nightly budget, we can give suggestions. Luxury, small boutique, low budget, apartment, serviced aparthotel....?
May will be a very busy travel month and it's advisable to book your lodging ASAP.

Also, very important: The Boys' Choir, the Escolania, will not sing in the Monserrat Monastery on May 21, 22, 23, 24, as they will be on tour.
Thanks! Not sure about doing any of those other sites you mentioned in your other reply. Someone else mentioned doing the park and sagrada the same day to free up another day to do other things such as the castle etc. we like nature and outdoors and didn’t originally have the castle on our list but the views and sites there caught our eye as it looks beautiful. Also like architecture culture new foods and history.

it’s okay about the boys choir we did know and understand

we aren’t looking for luxury just standard as we typically don’t spend too much in our lodgings on our trips as we are out exploring. We look for a safe neighborhood reasonably central to sites and as far as the room clean bathroom in the room type of deal. Don’t care about a pool or anything like that. We usually stay in airbnbs but I’ve looked at hotel sixties in Barcelona, hotel jazz, hotel catalonia 1864.. some are a bit pricier than others. No idea about Madrid or tarragona
Found some airbnb as well but again just unsure of locations..

will look at doing an overnight in tarragona. someone had suggested Zaragoza but I think tarragona may be more for us and on the way.
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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 06:01 AM
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In Barcelona I prefer to stay in the Eixample district simply because I don´t have to take as many extra and constant precautions regarding my personal belongings as I would these days in the Gothic Quarter or Sant Pere or La Ribera (sometimes referred to as El Born).
The Ciutat Vella has become incredibly crowded, congested, and I prefer a quieter, less hectic location but yet within reasonable walking distance of most of the major sites.

I can't help with airbnbs in those cities because I don't use them. But for 8 nights in Barcelona you would probably be better off financially to find a short term rental (and the convenience of a kitchen and laundry facilities). Hotel rates in Barcelona are the highest of the major Spanish cities. If you do want to use Airbnb, it is important to double check to see if the listing has the necessary H.U.T license/number (Habitatge d’ús turistic). This is required for short term tourist stays in Barcelona. If the listing does not have/provide one, it's most likely illegal.

For Madrid, since this, I assume, is a first time visit, you may want to look for something in the Barrio de las Letras, aka Huertas (which is also the name of a street there), aka Cortes (the official name). This is an area handy for first timers, as it has all the services that you'd need and is walkable to most all the major sites. And it's also walkable to Atocha rail station where one catches the AVANT train to Toledo.
In this neighborhood filled with short term rentals and hotels, you wouldn't need to use the metro or bus except to get up to Santiago Bernabeu stadium, for which there's a metro stop, line 10, or take bus 14 or 27 up the Castellana boulevard.

All hotels and hostales (family-run guest houses, not hostels) have private bathrooms these days. And Spanish housekeeping is immaculate.

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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 08:35 AM
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It's been a few years but we stayed at the Hotel Jazz when we were last in Barcelona, maybe 15 years ago. It was clean and comfortable and a great location, easy walking to the Sagrada Familia as well as the Paseo de Gracia. Easy access to the Metro and the rail to the airport. I am sure you know this already but Barcelona is known unfortunately for pickpockets so be aware of your surroundings and people around you especally on the Ramblas. There are restaurants and markets right there as well.
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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 08:41 AM
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Las Letras neighborhood in Madrid:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...G2lzBlvQ77iSvY
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Old Feb 24th, 2024, 08:42 AM
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The Hotel Jazz is in a dead central location, very near the bustling Plaça de Catalunya, within easy walking distance of most major sites but it is on a side street and is "reasonably" priced for Barcelona.
I would personally not use the metro these days in Barcelona due to the much increased incidents of pickpockets.

In Madrid, since you're not seeking boutique, just a handy hotel with decent pricing, I would seriously look at the 4-star Mercure Madrid Centro and the 3-star Ibis Styles Prado, both in the Las Letras neighborhood. Both are members of Accor.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 24th, 2024 at 09:00 AM.
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Old Feb 25th, 2024, 04:34 PM
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Madrid Barcelona help may trip

Originally Posted by Maribel
The Hotel Jazz is in a dead central location, very near the bustling Plaça de Catalunya, within easy walking distance of most major sites but it is on a side street and is "reasonably" priced for Barcelona.
I would personally not use the metro these days in Barcelona due to the much increased incidents of pickpockets.

In Madrid, since you're not seeking boutique, just a handy hotel with decent pricing, I would seriously look at the 4-star Mercure Madrid Centro and the 3-star Ibis Styles Prado, both in the Las Letras neighborhood. Both are members of Accor.
how would you recommend getting around if the metro is unsafe? just walking?

thinking maybe tarragona is not necessary. we were in Italy and saw plenty of Roman ruins so it may be a waste of a trip for us. however previously when I posted we were told we had way too many days in Barcelona so I was trying to find somewhere to shorten the amount of time we were spending there..
I’ve looked at Zaragoza and Valencia as they seem they are on the way but not sure about either

you think we should book our train tickets now to avoid sell outs? even for our day trips? Directly with renfe or train line is better? Thanks for all your help!
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Old Feb 25th, 2024, 08:39 PM
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We used Habitat apartments in Barcelona long time ago. Don’t know the rates now, but it was a good outfit then.
I like Barcelona, there is much to see, but you might consider staying a bit longer in Madrid.
Salamanca , Valencia, Cordoba are all under two hours by train from Madrid.



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Old Feb 26th, 2024, 06:23 AM
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My mention of the metro has to do with its being ripe for pickpockets. I should have said, "if you take the metro be sure to use a neck pouch/ money belt and leave all valuable belonging at your lodging, including any jewelry".

I walk to most sights in Barcelona except for the more far flung ones, such as the Park Güell, the Fundación Miró, other sights on Montjuïc, the Pedralbes Monastery. Then I just take the bus or a taxi.

Valencia is not on the way. It´s a 3-hour train ride south from Barcelona via the Euromed. It´s not on the Madrid-Barcelona high speed train route. This route is now served by Renfe's AVE, Renfe's low cost AVLO, the Italian IRYO and Sncf's low cost Ouigo. See all your options/departure times at www.thetrainline.ccom. I don't use the Trainline to book but instead to do research and then I book my train ticket directly with the provider.

You don´t need to book your train tickets now for day trips but for your train ride from Madrid to Barcelona, you should book now to save money. The fares will only increase closer to your departure date.

As danon suggests, I would look at the apartment availability in Barcelona through Habitat, very reliable.
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Old Feb 26th, 2024, 04:10 PM
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Madrid Barcelona

Originally Posted by Maribel
My mention of the metro has to do with its being ripe for pickpockets. I should have said, "if you take the metro be sure to use a neck pouch/ money belt and leave all valuable belonging at your lodging, including any jewelry".

I walk to most sights in Barcelona except for the more far flung ones, such as the Park Güell, the Fundación Miró, other sights on Montjuïc, the Pedralbes Monastery. Then I just take the bus or a taxi.

Valencia is not on the way. It´s a 3-hour train ride south from Barcelona via the Euromed. It´s not on the Madrid-Barcelona high speed train route. This route is now served by Renfe's AVE, Renfe's low cost AVLO, the Italian IRYO and Sncf's low cost Ouigo. See all your options/departure times at www.thetrainline.ccom. I don't use the Trainline to book but instead to do research and then I book my train ticket directly with the provider.

You don´t need to book your train tickets now for day trips but for your train ride from Madrid to Barcelona, you should book now to save money. The fares will only increase closer to your departure date.

As danon suggests, I would look at the apartment availability in Barcelona through Habitat, very reliable.

thank you! we decided on Madrid May 13 to 18 with day trips to Toledo and Segovia on separate days and then Barcelona May 19 to 25 leaving May 26. Day trips in Barcelona to Girona, Montserrat, and possibly Sitges. I will look at the train tickets now.. is there one provider that you think is best?

I will also look at booking park guell and sagrada now. not sure if we need to book Montserrat now. I know the tickets to Toledo and Segovia can sell out as well but a bit nervous about booking since the Real Madrid game can be changed and we won’t know for a bit..
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Old Feb 26th, 2024, 11:31 PM
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For your Madrid to Barcelona high speed train ride, I would check your options with prices/departure times convenient to you at www.thetrainline.com, which sells tickets for Spain's national railroad, Renfe's AVE, Renfe's low cost AVLO, plus Renfe's new private competitors now operating on this route: Italy's IRYO (a joint venture of Trenitalia and Air Nostrum) and Sncf's (France) low cost OUIGO.

I do this then book the train directly with the provider
www.renfe.com
www.avlorenfe.com
www.iryo.eu
www.ouigo.com

But some Fodorites have preferred simply to book tickets with www.thetrainline.com for convenience. There will be a slight surcharge.

No, you don't need to book Montserrat now. You may. want to wait and see what the weather is like. Read all about getting to Montserrat by public transportation here.
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Old Mar 20th, 2024, 08:19 PM
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madrid hotel

We will be in madrid May 11-15. Based on recommendation of the Barrio do Las Letras area from Maribel, and the map (I believe she) posted, I just booked the Villa real, a Derby hotel. Around $200 for delux room. It has a bit more character than some of the modern ones I saw, though not a palacio or anything. It does have a small pool! (hope it's open in May).
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Old Mar 20th, 2024, 10:59 PM
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The Villa Real does have an excellent location right on the Plaza de las Cortes, directly across from Las Cortes and the Palace. I don't know whether the rooftop pool will be open in May. The Villa Real is more of a classic choice.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2024, 08:17 PM
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In Madrid I always stay in Barrio Las Letras, my preferred hotel there is Catalonia Las Cortes, but have also stayed at Villa Real and Ibis Prado, all different price points but totally acceptable. I would just like to mention not to shortchange Madrid and use it as a stepping stone to Toledo, Segovia or wherever. Madrid for me is one of the greatest cities in Europe and deserves so much more than a night or two.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2024, 01:23 PM
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What cruiseluv said! My new home, fabulous city!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2024, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cruiseluv
In Madrid I always stay in Barrio Las Letras, my preferred hotel there is Catalonia Las Cortes, but have also stayed at Villa Real and Ibis Prado, all different price points but totally acceptable. I would just like to mention not to shortchange Madrid and use it as a stepping stone to Toledo, Segovia or wherever. Madrid for me is one of the greatest cities in Europe and deserves so much more than a night or two.
I agree about Madrid! I loved our visit there. We spent 4 nights in Madrid (excluding Toledo), and I wish we had an extra night. TBH, I actually enjoyed Madrid more than Toledo.
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Old Mar 24th, 2024, 10:57 AM
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cruiseluv
I remember that we met at the Ibis Prado several, well maybe many years ago, and had dinner (tapas/small lates) together at Cervecería Cervantes!
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Old Mar 24th, 2024, 01:22 PM
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[QUOTE=Maribel;17547009]What cruiseluv said! My new home, fabulous city![/

I envy you I
btw, I haven’t been to Cuenca ..is it worthwhile day trip ?

Last edited by danon; Mar 24th, 2024 at 01:27 PM.
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