More to see in Barcelona or Madrid?

Oct 18th, 2007, 05:43 AM
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More to see in Barcelona or Madrid?

Hi guys!

We are tossing up whether we should spend more time in Barcelona or Mardid? we are currently going to Madrid for 4 nights and then Barcelona for 3 nights,though I heard (and from research) that Madrid is a bit boring compared to Barcelona and there is less day trips.

We are mainly interested in good food, touristy sight seeing attractions and maybe day trips. Any ideas? thanks for your help in advance!
super_duper_linda is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Both cities are amazing, very different. It took me to my third trip to appreciate Madrid. That said, I now love it. It is more Spanish in feel than Barcelona, though that might sound Any way I prefer Barcelona but that just a personal preference. So if it were me I'd do 4 in BCN and 3 in Madrid. Have fun.
laartista is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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If someone told you Madrid is at all "boring", I would ignore any other advice they gave you.

Both cities are big, lively, and full of interest - and I doubt if it is worth agonising over which deserves one more day than the other.

Barcelona scores for Gaudi archtecture, surrounding hills, and the sea. It is also about 2000 years older than Madrid.

But Madrid is still much older than the USA ! I love it and would go there at the drop of a hat anytime. For theatres (the Munoz Seca is good for light plays and farces that are worht experimenting with even with a thin grasp of Spanish), art galleries, bars, and "buzz" it can't be beat. And it is still old enough to have plenty of "old stuff" to look at (eg the Descalzes Reales convent).

You'll want to go back to both, however you split your time on this trip.
Chris_England is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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Oh, and "fewer day trips".

Only Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Cuenca, the Escorial, La Granja, the Valle del Caidos (if you like partisan grandeur!), Cordoba (by AVE) ....

By the way, are you going by train between Barcelona and Madrid ? It's quite luxurious in "Preferente" class.
Chris_England is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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thanks for the info! umm we were thinking of hiring a car to get from one place to another because from experiences in munich and switzerland trains arent that cheap, why? is there anything that is particularaly cheap? or we should watch out for?
super_duper_linda is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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The Spanish trains and buses are efficient and reasonably priced.

As a friend says Madrid is a Spanish city and Barcelona is an international city. The museums in Madrid are spectacular as are the accessanle towns but Barcelona is a more interesting city.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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I would give the extra day to Barcelona, but I haven't spent more than two nights at a time in Madrid, so I don't actually know whether it would be a better place to spend more time. I liked both cities very much, but within the cities themselves I think Barcelona has more attractions.

However, I believe there are wonderful day trips close to Madrid that I have not explored. If you decide to explore more of that area, the extra day might be more valuable in Madrid.

I think that whichever city gets the shorter stay will occupy your time without any day trips. I was in Barcelona with my husband for a week in February, and we cancelled our planned day trips as we found plenty to do in Barcelona itself.
Nikki is online now  
Oct 18th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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Madrid to Barcelona by train
(English version available)

8 trains per day
Most are the posher ALVIA trains:
4.5 hours
€65 (turista, with a cafeteria)
€101(preferente, includes at-seat meal)

As I said before, beware of possible one-way car-hire fees (may not apply in Spain, but are a rip-off here in UK)
Chris_England is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Chris England, do you have any idea when renfe will update its website to include its January '08 schedule? Thanks.
Iregeo is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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I have never been to Madrid, but if you are planning on spending only 3 nights in Barcelona, you will not have time for any day trips.

It would take at least 3 days just to see the "biggie" sights in Barcelona, and even then, you'd have to breeze through them pretty quickly. Barcelona has a lot of wonderful things to see and do, much more than I imagined before I visited. It also has much better food than I would have guessed. I've had some truly fantastic meals there. It's a truly unique city that is unlike any other I've ever seen.
cheryllj is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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hi, SDL,

we spent 3 nights in Madrid last feb. we liked it but it was long enough. we didn't do any side-trips though.

i haven't been to BCN, but all my reading here and elsewhere convinces me that you could easily fill 4 days there.

I think that were I you, i would give one more day to BCN.

regards, ann
annhig is online now  
Oct 18th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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Madrid for wonderful museums. May enjoy a slight cost advantage.

Barcelona for incredible architecture and wonderful night life.

Both have great tapas bars and other restaurants. Both have good public transit systems which are relatively user friendly for non-Spanish speakers.

4 and 3 days won't be enough no matter which city gets the extra day.
wcmll is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Both cities are fantastic to visit. Madrid is far from boring and there are wonderful places for day trips. Some of the places Chris mentioned as day trips from Madrid are really "not to be missed". Since you are into art and architecture, a day trip or overnight in Toledo would be exciting. The Toledo Cathedral is one of the great ones and the city, itself is beautiful - great place for photos. Segovia is charming and well worth a day.

The Prado in Madrid could easily take a morning or afternoon, or more (I spent an afternoon and morning there my first visit to Madrid), and the Palace is another two hours or so. Shopping is fun and some of the historic walks are interesting. A late evening on the Plaza Mayor is fun.

Barcelona - Gaudi! The Sagrada familia will take up an afternoon or morning, and no matter how many cathedrals or churches you have seen, this one is unique and amazing. Then there is the Picaso Museum and just sitting on the Ramblas for an hour or two. I also love Parc Guell and could easily spend hours there. Take a taxi around one evening to see many of Gaudi's buildings lit up. There is a big dance club in the shopping center down on the dock area if you want to dance and hang out with locals. Just ask at your hotel for directions.

Either way you go, you will find lots to see and do. Perhaps you could make a list of things you would most like to see or do in each place and see how much time those things will need.

I would take the train from Barcelona to Madrid. It is a long drive. I've actually done it, and - never again!
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 03:06 AM
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I took the overnight train from Barcelona to San Sebastian and flew from there to Madrid. The train was $69 in second class. Surprised me how quiet a ride it was. As to the two cities. Barcelona had more of a San Francisco feel to it while Madrid more like NYC for me. Loved both but I am an art person and enjoy the solitude of parks so to each his own. Neither city compared to San Sebastian for Tapas, safety, friendliness and ambience. Then again that was for me.
johnthedorf is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 03:16 AM
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I prefer Madrid but there are more tourist-type things to do in Barcelona. I've visited Madrid once and Barcelona three times, and never felt the need to do day trips - there's still plenty I haven't seen in both cities.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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i think that your choice is right, 4 nights madrid and 3 for barcelona.

Both madrid and barcelona have many things to see, while barcelona has more historic buildings and may be more architure to see all over the city, madrid compensate with much better museums.

I would add the extra night in madrid for a daytrip to toledo or segovia.

It's in daytrips where i think that madrid beats by far to Barcelona. From barcelona you can do some nice trips, but in my opinion, madrid have better and much more daytrips to do.

If you don't want to spend your time in museums in madrid, just add another daytrip.
victor_d is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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Totally agree with caroline_edinburgh, there are more tourist-type things to do in Barcelona and the city is more beautiful, but, imo, Madrid is far more interesting.

As for tapas, even the Barceloneses agree that there's really no comparison, they are much better in Madrid. Think the "tapas culture" is rather new to Barcelona, it is not really a Catalonian custom. However, the Catalonian mediterranean cuisine is awesome.

I also believe that although Barcelona is more tourist-oriented (and tourist-friendly) Madrid is more cosmopolitan. But that's only my opinion.

P.S: I'm not neither from Madrid nor from Barcelona,
argos364 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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If you look for things touristy things to do- choose Barcelona!
If you want to experience Spain- Madrid.
hejno is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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If you look for things touristy things to do- choose Barcelona!
If you want to experience Spain- Madrid.

This is not true. The Barcelona culture is literally one thousand years older than the one in Madrid. The Gothic Quarter, Mercat, and Moderisme architecture attract tourists becuae they are genuine. It is not planned like Diisneyland.

The Sardana is Catalan dane of unity and heritage.

I also enjoy Madrid for many reasons but you are misrepresenting Barcelona.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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just got back from seven days in Barcelona and six in Madrid.
We do not like to rush from place to place or "see" cities on Ho-Ho bus.
Barcelona is fantastic - a mix of Pris and Nice with a twist. We had to leave but wished we had a few more days ( never left the city on a side trip)
At first Madrid ( after Barcelona) seemed like a big, traffic filled city. Between Gran Via , Sol ,Santa Anna and Atocha there must be more bars, restaurants and people ( late at night) than any other city in the world. It does have a "buzz" that is unique and exciting. But if you wish to see a more elegant and upscale Madrid just walk east of Prado to Retiro and north to Salamanca . We loved the tree lined streets, smartly dressed women ( and men) and all the expensive shops of Salamanca. It is like two different cities.
Prado is a must for art lovers.
The area around the Palace is wonderful at night!
Toledo is lovely but overrun by tourist groups and souvenir sops.
AVE tickets sell out early in he day!

danon is online now  

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