Madrid v Barcelona v Valencia

Sep 29th, 2004, 06:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 17
Madrid v Barcelona v Valencia

I am planning to go to Spain for 3 months next year to study Spanish. I would prefer to be near the cost and fell in love with Barcelona when I was there a couple of months ago but don't want to be surrounded by lots of English-speaking people and tourists. I am tempted by Madrid but wondered what people's thoughts were on Valencia?
Nicky_P is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 669
last time I was in Valencia I was 7 years old and Franco was still in power. I have a child's memory of Las Fallas. As the city is going to host the Americas Cup next time around it should be an interesting place to be.

I thought Madrid was wonderful when I was there last year but expect it too gets its share of tourists

If you want to be trendy - go to Barcelona. If you want to be a little different - go to Valencia. Madrid would depend on the time of year - it gets mighty cold in the winter. as for being surrounded by tourists - I would have thought that is the sort of thing you can control yourself, wherever you are.
alice13 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 07:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,476
Am still wondering what "trendy" means but that's another thread....frankly, in the three places you are considering, whether or not you find yourself surrounded by tourists is going to depend almost entirely on YOU...especially in any city someone thinks is "trendy." If you choose to hang out in tourist areas, well, you'll see a lot of them. BUT, don't assume that all those tourists are Americans or English-speaking...hopefully that way of thinking will change over time.

Madrid has some things Barcelona doesn't such as one of Western Civilizations greatest art collections as well as proximity to Toledo, Merida, Segovia, Seville, etc. Madrid is the capital of Spain and for good reason.

Barcelona..I love the place and will be back next year..and if you love it then go can always venture to Madrid and other places, but STAY in the place that you love.
TopMan is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,491
of course my vote here goes for valencia.. not only because it is halfway by fast train from madrid and equally barcelona..but it will have the best weather in comparison, and you do have a tram direct from the politechnic university to the beach.

the beach in barcelona however is more prevalent in everyday life as it borders virtually the entire front end of city.

barcelona of course speaks CATALAN, in valencia there is VALENCIANO, but more castillian spoken perhaps than you will hear in barcelona.
madrid is all castellano.

basing yourself in valencia might be a bit cheaper, and will give you the equal opportunity to weekend in either madrid or barcelona for special side trips. this way you can visit all three.

i have worked with language schools for years, and still do, and many schools will allow you to do a course in all three cities for one month each (unless of course this is a sponsored foreign university course).

if you like sailing.. yes the america's cup will be having some regattas during the year.

valencia also has the largest historic area in europe, many free or 1-2 euro museums.. and some interesting architectural monuments (the new science center by calatrava).

however, no one can deny the magnificent differences of madrid and barcelona.
you really must at least try to visit all of them again no matter what you decide for the course.

have fun!

lincasanova is offline  
Sep 29th, 2004, 11:00 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2
Nicky P,

I spent my junior year abroad in Valencia in 1981-82. My university had a tie in with a program there so it was an easy choice to make! I had a great year, a lot of fun, and improved my Spanish ten fold. What I liked about Valencia is that it probably does not get the tourist traffic as does Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla. And they do speak valenciano (NOT to be compared with catalan although they are very similiar!)but as stated by Lincasnova you will hear/speak more castillian than the valenciano. The city is beautiful, very walkable, and safe (taking the usual precautions however). You can hop on a bus to get out to the beach. Fallas during the month of March is not to be missed. I've been back a few times since and it still has it's charm. No matter where you choose to study it will be the time of your life. Enjoy!!
LaMaravilla is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 01:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 17
Thank you everyone. Ok, so I am now leaning towards Valencia. I am also considering taking my car. Is there a problem with traffic and parking (like most cities)? Would I be better off leaving my car in England and just using public transport?

Also, could anyone recommend any salsa clubs/classes in Valencia? I teach salsa in London so am keen to keep it up in Spain.
Nicky_P is offline  
Oct 1st, 2004, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,491
there is free parking on some streets easier than others. however the car is not going to be too much fun depending on where you live to park it. it CAN be done..but it wil take you awhile to find your "special free space" which may not be near your apt.

which uni you going to ? there are several campuses.

tons of salsa lessons everywhere.
it is quite popular. i personally dont know the best clubs.. but once you are here will not have a problem finding out.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,482
Have you considered Salamanca? It is a lovely university town with many options for Spanish language classes.
CFW is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2004, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,491
i agree salamanca, my alma mater, gets a 10 for purest spoken spanish of cities mentioned, a 10 for history and architecture.. but depending on when you go.. does not get high ratings for weather, and is no where near a coast.

if this is not important to you, it is defintely a great place to study.

easy luxury express bus from madrid AUTORES station, conde de casal street.

also great EXPRESS luxury bus from madrid to vlc,(24 euros) normal bus from barcelona to valencia,(about 20) along with high speed train from both to valencia.(38-57E)
barcelona connects from airport to train station easily to go other places, whereas madrid is further and more complicated, although you can get to train station, but changing metros more.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 7th, 2004, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 51
I spent my Jr. Year abroad in Valencia in 91-92 and I loved it! I was also torn between which city to study in..and ultimately chose Valencia because of the weather and the proximity to the beach. I had a great time and ended up meeting tons of Spanish friends through the university as well as out on the town. The people do speak Valenciano but that is mostly in the towns around the city. My experience in Barcelona was that most..if not all people spoke Catalan.
Valencia, although still a large city, has a smaller town feel. I found it to be very manageable.
Good luck!
kleinjk is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:59 PM.