Madrid/Valencia/Barcelona advice?

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Mar 18th, 2018, 12:11 PM
  #1
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Madrid/Valencia/Barcelona advice?

My husband and I (active, but pushing 70...) are going to Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona in late April for 2 weeks. We want to visit these 3 cities, but i'm unsure how long to spend in each. We like walking, architecture, art, history, nature, food! Any advice is welcomed! This is our first time in Spain.
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Mar 18th, 2018, 12:17 PM
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Well just on trains - book them yourself online at Renfe - Spanish Railways site - book early for discounts - for lots of info on trains check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com.
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Mar 18th, 2018, 01:16 PM
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great, thanks
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Mar 18th, 2018, 01:47 PM
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It's hard to say how much time you would want in these cities, as it really depends on what you want to see and experience. FWIW, I wanted 4 days for Madrid itself, plus 2 for Toledo and 1 for Segovia (plus more for other places in the region). I wanted 5 days for Barcelona itself, plus another 5 for nearby places such as Montserrat, Girona, and the Costa Brava. Unfortunately, I haven't been to Valencia yet.

You might want to plot your wish list on a calendar, with an eye to opening hours. Note that many things in Spain are closed on Monday, and often for all or part of Sundays too; and many things in Spain will also be closed daily for a very long mid-day break.

Hope that helps!
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Mar 18th, 2018, 02:16 PM
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We visited these 3 cities in our first trip to Spain in 2016. We spent 4 nights in Barcelona, 3 nights in Valencia and 6 nights in Madrid. As Kja has suggested, how long you want to stay in each place will depend on your interests. For our trip, we could have easily tacked another night onto Barcelona, there is lots to do and see in the city. Valencia, 3 nights was about right for us, this allowed us to explore the old part in the city centre, visit the modern Arts and Sciences buildings and go to the beach. We loved Madrid and were very happy to have stayed 6 nights, there are some great day trips you can do from Madrid. We took a trip to Toledo for the day by train, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. I hope this helps.
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Mar 18th, 2018, 04:06 PM
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How many days for Madrid and Barcelona?

Originally Posted by jilldan View Post
My husband and I (active, but pushing 70...) are going to Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona in late April for 2 weeks. We want to visit these 3 cities, but i'm unsure how long to spend in each. We like walking, architecture, art, history, nature, food! Any advice is welcomed! This is our first time in Spain.
Hi Jilldan,

We have visited Madrid and Barcelona, but not Valencia. While I agree that how many days you should spend in each city depends on your interests, I think most people want to see the main sites the first time they visit a new destination. And given your interests, I think the number of nights we stayed in Madrid and Barcelona should help you plan your itinerary.

Madrid
This past September we spent 4 nights in Madrid, and this did not include Toledo in case you are interested in Toledo. Madrid has OUTSTANDING art museums! We visited the Prado and the Reina Sofia. We did not have time for the Thyssen. We had a tour of the Royal Palace, and spent time in Retiro Park. We visited the Temple of Debod. We also had time to wander through neighborhoods and squares, walked through Plaza de Sol, and Plaza Mayor, and had a leisurely dinner at the San Miguel Market (delicious food, fun, but expensive). We also had time to relax in a cafe with sangria and gin tonics!

Barcelona
We visited Barcelona in October 2010. We spent either 5 or 6 whole days in Barcelona in addition to a trip along the Costa Brava. For sightseeing, we visited a lot of the Gaudi sites: Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo, Casa Mila, and Park Guell. Had a tour of the Palau Musica. Visited Montjuic, Citadel Park, & the Gothic Cathedrals. My daughter was studying in Barcelona at the time, and she recommended that we also wander through some really nice neighborhoods that are not very touristy, such as Gracias, Las Padrables & Sarria. These are neighborhoods where locals live, work and eat.

We did not have time to visit any museums in Barcelona. We like to divide our time between sites and leisurely wandering.

I would not recommend fewer days than what we did because I think otherwise you will be frustrated trying to figure out what to see and what to miss.

BTW, if you are interested in seeing Toledo, I recommend staying at least one night if you can. Toledo is beautiful at night and much quieter after the tour buses have left. Toledo gets a lot of day trippers from Madrid.

Hope this helps.
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Mar 19th, 2018, 06:35 AM
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2 weeks -I spend equal time in Madrid and Barcelona and less in Valencia -maybe just a few days there - lots of nice daytrip possibilities from the other two.
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Mar 19th, 2018, 07:52 AM
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I have visited all 3 (more than once...) Sililar to what PQ said :

Three nights in Valencia sounds ok...
Madrid has great museums and options for interesting day trips.
.I would give it a day more than more compact Barcelona
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Mar 19th, 2018, 08:57 AM
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At least 4 days in Madrid--5 better, imo. If you love art, the big 3 museums would take a day each. The main square, royal palace another day. Plus so much more to see plus day trips.

4 or less in Barcelona. Agree with those who mention its compactness.

I haven't visited Valencia.

Hope to hear back upon your return!
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Mar 19th, 2018, 01:01 PM
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So helpful, many thanks. Do you have any housing suggestions or neighborhoods to share as well? If so, please send along
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Mar 19th, 2018, 01:03 PM
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Excellent, many thanks!
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Mar 19th, 2018, 01:04 PM
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thanks!
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Mar 19th, 2018, 01:22 PM
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In Madrid, we
stayed at the Mercure Madrid Centro at Lope de Vega 49. It’s an excellent location, especially if you want to visit the big 3 art museums. It’s a 5 - 10 minute easy walk to the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen. There’s a street a few blocks away (forgot the name) that has a lot of good tapas restaurants. We also walked from our hotel to the Plaza del Sol and the Plaza Mayor and the San Miguel Market. We took a taxi to the Royal Palace.

Our hotel room was very nice! It’s an adequate size, the bathroom was a good size, and the floors were hardwood, not carpeting. We ate breakfast there every morning so that we could get an early start to the day and not waste time looking for a restaurant. (There didn’t seem to be many breakfast restaurants nearby.) We really like the hotel’s breakfast buffet!

In Barcelona we stayed at the Hotel Gran Via in the Eixample neighborhood. Another excellent location. Within walking distance of Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo, and Casa Mila, Los Ramblas, and the beach. Our room and bathroom were a good size.
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Mar 19th, 2018, 01:45 PM
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One neat day trip right near Barcelona goes to mountain-top Montserrat, once thriving medieval pilgrimage site and still popular with modern day pilgrims and tourists. ABout an hour on suburban train and cableway to top from train station. Sme nice easy walks up top including a Way of the Cross if I recall correctly

https://www.google.com/search?q=mont...h=738&dpr=1.25

Barcelona in centro is compact but two widely removed sights are Parc Guell - for more Gaudi stuff from its namesake and the hilltop Montjuic section with a variety of sights including boffo views over Barcelona spread out below.

Parc Guell was my favorite sight in Barcelona:
https://www.google.com/search?q=parc...w=1503&bih=738
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Mar 19th, 2018, 11:49 PM
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In Barcelona we stayed at the Ciutat Hotel Barcelona. It was very conviently located in the El Born region, easy walking distance to lots of sights, La Ramblas etc. It was a longer walk to Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. We really loved this location, Aside from plenty to see there are plenty of restaurants close by. Ciutat Barcelona Hotel OFFICIAL WEBSITE | Barcelona 3-star Hotel

In Valencia we stayed in the Barcelo Valencia, this is located across the road from the Arts and Sciences Centre, it was quite a walk to the old town in the city centre, and had much more limited food options. We would stay in the city centre next time.
https://www.barcelo.com/en-gb/hotels...celo-valencia/

In Madrid we stayed at the ApartoSuites Jardine de Sabatini. We booked an apartment with a view of the Royal Palace, so lovely to see lit up at night (I love a great view). We stayed in the studio apartment which has a small kitchen, which is handy if you want to make your own meals from time to time. The hotel is close the the Temple de Bod, Royal Palace, Plaza Major and Gran Via etc. It was a longer walk to Retiro Park, and the Prado and Reina Sofia. We did not mind walking as we are both quite fit, coming back from the Prado is an uphill climb, some we took our time, stopping off at cafes on the way. (We are staying here again in June this year).
ApartoSuites Jardines de Sabatini | Hotel in Central Madrid Official Website
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Mar 20th, 2018, 05:19 AM
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I stayed here in Madrid--literally across the street from the Prado. Bus and taxi stands right outside:

NH Paseo del Prado
Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, 4. 28014 Madrid
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Mar 20th, 2018, 05:49 AM
  #17
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Thank you so much, everyone!!
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Mar 20th, 2018, 12:14 PM
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Madrid has so many day trips and actually many folks here are not overwhelmed with Madrid itself - though others are. But Toledo is a mandatory day trip - to me about the most awesome town in Spain - maybe even stay a few days to savor the city when most day trippers have gone.

Avila - especially for religious places - Salamanca - great university town - Segovia especially for its dreamy castle and famous Roman aqeduct - and many more are all easy day trips by train.
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Mar 20th, 2018, 06:06 PM
  #19
kja
 
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Toledo is a mandatory day trip
Well, I would have hated a day trip there -- as I noted above, and as PalenQ goes on to suggest, it is easily worth a couple of days IMO.
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Mar 21st, 2018, 09:40 AM
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Should not have said mandatory day trip but you know what I meant - if going out of Madrid for a day or longer Toledo should be right at the top IMO.

Staying overnight is great but relocating takes time for one-night stands.

Yes you could and should stay overnight or a few days everywhere you go but a day trip was great for me the two times I did it. Day trip better than no trip.
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