Madrid or Barcelona for Old Folks?

Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Madrid or Barcelona for Old Folks?

We are a senior couple contemplating our first trip to Spain. Having trouble deciding which city would be best for our interests. We will only have 7-9 days and want to base in one location, with occasional day trips. We have been to Europe 7 times, but to northern countries (Great Britain, Germany, Belgium). Our style and interests:

Independent, usually prefer self-catering. Like old architecture and history. Love to visit flea markets and food markets. Need good public transportation and taxi service when we tire of walking. Prefer buses to underground. Know a few Spanish phrases from high school and visits to Mexico. We will not participate in the famed night life of either city. Rather, will sight see during day and rest up at night. Plan to take day trips, preferably small van tours to neighboring towns and villages. Would like to visit good art museum and perhaps a history museum. Not into fine dining. My preliminary research has me thinking that Barcelona might be best for the younger crowd, and Madrid might be a better fit for more stodgy, older couple. Trip reports make ALL sound good, but sometimes hard to ascertain writer's age and travel style. Welcome any advice.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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Madrid is definitely a party town for the young and young at heart. I think there is more sights to see in Barcelona, but I also think the daytrips out of Madrid are better. We spent 3 days in Madrid and then went to Toledo for 2 days and Segovia for 2 days with half day stops coming & going to Avila & El Escorial. Barcelona can take 4 to 5 days to just see all the sites properly. Either way will be fun for you. We never took any daytrips from Barcelona so I can't answer you that.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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Start with these downloads. Good day trips from Madrid. Segovia, Avila or Toledo, all good day trips from Madrid. But also good day trips from Barcelonia. Richard
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:27 PM
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In our late 70s..never too old for Barcelona!! Hop on/Hop off bus, side trips to Monsarrat, Beachy area of Sigres(sp??) Lovely places. Tapas in small bars (patatos brava yum yum) enough for elderly evening meals..Would give alot to go back and will if time allows.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:28 PM
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Should have dittoed Richard on the website of Maribel.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 06:10 PM
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Another good day trip from Barcelona is Girona. We are in our early 60's & spent 5 days in Barcelona in October plus 2 nights in Girona (also the Costa Brava & Cadaques) and loved every moment of our trip. Definitely lots to do in Barcelona. We spent our evenings dining out & did not go to clubs. We enjoyed being right on the Mediterranean.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 06:20 PM
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The "Madrid vs Barcelona" debate is an ongoing one. I have visited both at different points of time in my life , and I have always liked Madrid better, Based on what you have described I would suggest Madrid. It has several world class museums, especially El Prado. It has wide beautiful avenues with interesting architecture. Madrid also lends itself to many day trips to very interesting and nearby cities such as Toledo, Segovia, Avila. And even if you are not into fine dining, the tradition of tapas afford you to taste the local cuising in casual settings.
My advice would be that you look at travel guides with lots of pictures and see which one might have more of what you like.

Agree with the previous poster which suggested you look at Maribel guides for ideas.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 06:31 PM
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I'm also a senior and in love with Barcelona for all the reasons mentioned above. The architecture is just a wonder. Even though I appreciated the museums in Madrid, it didn't capture my heart the way beautiful Barcelona did. Next to Paris, it's my favorite city in Europe.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 06:33 PM
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Barcelona is easier to get around and more compact.
It is a beautiful city...great food, unique architecture,
walks by the sea, parks, 2000 years old history.
WE always found so much to see in Barcelona ( in four visits) that we made only one day trip - to Girona ( liked it). Next time , we hope to visit Tarragona or maybe spend a couple days in Valencia.
We enjoyed Madrid's museums and parks , flamenco, tapas, and big city vibe. There are beautiful towns to see near Madrid ( as mentioned above) . I find Madrid a bit more tiring.
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