need advice on Spain

Jun 26th, 2002, 01:04 PM
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need advice on Spain

I have been to Spain, but it's been a long time and would like to take a trip using the trains. Aside from Madrid and Barcelona where would you recommend seeing a side of Spain that is not so touristy, but still on the train lines. Thinking of a ten day trip this time around.
Jun 26th, 2002, 03:11 PM
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Hi I do not know too much about trains because we always drive,...I imagine that most like there are trains, ..... if you do not go during the hot weather time, I find Extremadura fascinating . I woudl add some nearby citys to the North , like Salamanca and to the South any place in Andalucia.
I am refering to the cities I know in Extramadura, that is, Guadalupe with it fantastic Monastery, and a good parador to stay, Plascencia with the newest and nicest of all Paradores and a lot to see, Cuenca named by Unesco as one of the three top ensemble of historical buildings inthe world, nearby Trujillo, charming, Merida with its Roman ruins and fantastic Roman Museum etc.....If you do Extremadura you can from there either visit nearby Portugal or going South visit Seville and Cordoba ......These last destinations of course are touristy but Extremadura is not.
Jun 26th, 2002, 07:13 PM
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Like the previous poster, I drove through Spain so I am not sure about the train routes, I do know some areas that probably won't be over run with tourists. I covered most of the Northern Region of Spain, the Basque region. I've heard it referred to as "Green Spain" and there is a reason for that. It is beautiful! I started in Barcelona (yes, very touristy, but magnificent) and went through to Zaragoza, Bilbao, San Sebastian (Conde Neste did an article on SS last year- check it out), Biarritz (in France, but just barely), Roncesvalles, Burgette, and ended the whole bash in with San Fermin in Pamplona! Oops! I almost forgot my little excursion to the island of Mallorca; definitely not accessable by train. I remember someone I met along the way really raving about Seville.
It was about this time last year that I was planning my trip. I relied heavily of the advice of fellow Fodorites. If you search the archives you might find some of the posts. There was a woman named Meribel who was a world of information on everything in that region. Good luck and have a wonderful time!
Jun 26th, 2002, 07:24 PM
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I recommend Sevilla and Granada. I don't think Spain was overtouristed at all, unlike Italy IMO. You can take a train from Madrid to Sevilla (about 2 1/4 hours, you can stop in Cordoba on the way). This train was just excellent (we went 2nd class, about $55). You can take a bus or train to Granada from Seville. The bus was very good and had more schedules than the train.
Jun 28th, 2002, 04:21 AM
ann young
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We just returned from our second trip to Spain and Portugal. Spain has the most wonderful train system and website in the world. Now, as far as cities of the beaten path. My all time favorite is cuenca, northeast of Spain. It is a two hour train ride from madrid and cost only 8.8 euros to visit. It is a world heritage site and easy to get around in. You would want to go to the old city and stay in that part. Two nights would be the maximum. The old city is built on rocks and is lite at night from below. It is magical. Please consider it.
Jun 28th, 2002, 06:13 AM
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Toledo and Segovia (day trips from Madrid).

Seville and Granada. Spend a few nights in Seville and a night or two in Granada (very magical).

Personally, I would minimize time in Madrid to what sights you want to see and that's it. Not a bad city, just a big one. Same way I feel about Milan. The other places mentioned are much more charming (that being said, I have heard amazing things about Barcelona, haven't been yet).
Jun 28th, 2002, 09:23 AM
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Hi Susan, I was reading what everybody had to say, and found out I included Cuenca in Extramadura, but I meant Caceres...sorry. Regarding Cuenca I like it a lot as Ann Young does. It is a lovely city too, located of course, East of Madrid .
Alter visiting Cuenca this year we continued West to Albarracin, a smaller fascinating town.
Jun 28th, 2002, 09:31 AM
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I enjoyed a day trip to Monserrat out of Barcelona. It is a bout an hour by train from the city. The trip took about six hours start to finish.
Jun 28th, 2002, 04:51 PM
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My husband and I were in Spain Christmas 2001 to mid Jan of this year.

We relied soley upon the train system using Madrid as homebase (Hotel Dulcinea's apartments are great).

We went south to Seville on the express about 2 1/2 hours. A lovely comfortable trip. Trains to outlying areas were few and far between - Merida for instance had only one train a day from Seville (late in the day) and one train to Madrid (1:50 pm the next afternoon). It made us feel very rushed. We also went from Madrid to Bilbao (wonderful place to visit) on the night train. I made the mistake of asking for first class instead of a sleeping compartment and we had to sit up all night long. On the way back we took the "express" which was only 5 1/2 hours but were slowed down by a fire on the tracks and the linkage of a train that was late coming from the east an 81/2 hour trip with no dining car. The spainard in the seat next to me asked the conductor if we were taking the train on its final journey to a museum due to its age (70's) and lack of amenities!

Overall we really enjoyed Spain, but compared to other European countries the infrastructure for train travel is fairly poor.

To end on a good note, even though we were arriving and leaving at weird times, the hotels were very accomodating and flexible. After riding all night to Bilbao we were allowed to check-in at 8 am and get some much needed sleep.

Enjoy your holiday Spain is very lovely if not challenging!
Jul 2nd, 2002, 03:56 AM
Ann young
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i tried to email you the answer to all the questions that you asked in my email and yours would not go through. Try and email me again and I will respond. Ann
Jul 6th, 2002, 02:35 PM
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Just came back from Spain. I would highly recommend Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. It's a magical city , with a lot of history, great people and great food. we stayed at the Parador Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos and loved it. We flew from Madrid, but you can get there by Talgo train from Madrid in approx 7-8 hours.
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