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Need help to plan a 7-day trip to Spain - Any recommendations?

Need help to plan a 7-day trip to Spain - Any recommendations?

Jul 25th, 2012, 12:12 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Need help to plan a 7-day trip to Spain - Any recommendations?

We are taking a quick vacation to Spain during Thanksgiving week. We are a family of 4 with 2 teen ager boys. We will be flying into Barcelona on a Sunday and Flying out of Madrid on the following Sunday. I don't know if I should spend more time in Barcelona versus Madrid and if there are any other cities I should consider. It would be great if some subject matter experts can provide a good recommendation of itinerary, given that we are there only for a week. Thanks!
Penguix is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 12:17 PM
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I'd spend more time in Barcelona because the architecture there is fabulous--the Sagrada Familia (cathedral) and other Gaudi buildings.

I think either Sevilla (the Alcazar) or Granada (the Alhambra) would be very interesting to your kids as well as you yourselves.

Madrid has world class museums, Retiro Park, and also the Royal Palace as probably its main sightseeing venues, but I like the other three cities.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 01:52 PM
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With 7 days I would divide my time between the two cities. There are many, many threads that deal with your question.
If you copy and paste this it'll show you several threads. I'm sure there are many more. Good luck.

cruiseluv is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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The Alhambra is famous, but it is all there is in Granada, Granada is difficult to reach compared to Seville and Madrid (it's not on a fast train line) and you only have about 5.5 days on the ground for real touring (Monday to Saturday minus a half day for going from Barcelona to Madrid; Sunday will be recovering from jet lag and wandering Barcelona a bit).

Barcelona can keep you and the boys busy for the whole trip. Madrid is trickier. The boys won't really care about the Retiro (it's a park, ooh aah). Its major attractions are the art museums and the Palace. Check out the Real Madrid website and the FC Barcelona website early next month - the Champions League will be on in November and there's usually Tuesday/Wednesday matches during Thanksgiving week. La Liga plays both Saturday and Sunday (more Sunday) so check out the schedules for the Saturday you'll be in Spain. Real's ACTUAL website is easy to use and tickets are usually available for any match other than a Clasico.
BigRuss is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Given that you only have a week, I would also suggest just the two cities. If you want to check out somewhere else, do a day trip from Madrid, or a one-night stay in nearby Toledo.

We took our then-11yo son to Barcelona, and he enjoyed it a lot. He's big on architecture, as are DH and I, and Barcelona is GREAT for that.

We took our then-12yo daughter on a separate trip to Madrid and Andalusia, and that trip was also great. I would agree that for us, at least, the major draw of Madrid was the museums, primarily the Prado, and that was our major reason for going to Spain in the first place. But we really enjoyed Madrid; we loved all of the piazzas, and the cafes, and the tapas bars.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 04:05 PM
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4 days Barcelona, 3 days Madrid. You don't have enough time to be heading off to anywhere else unless you really want to drive the boy nuts.

There is more than enough to see and do in Barcelona and Madrid. You can keep up to date about what's happening in both at the following:

Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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Thank you all for the quick replies. Based on various comments, my takeaway is that we would be better off spending 4 days in Bracelona and 3 days in Madrid. Any tips of top 3-4 things to do on each of the 2 locations?
Penguix is offline  
Jul 25th, 2012, 10:31 PM
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Penguix, there is a lot of information which has already been written about both cities on this forum. Please do a search and you can find a lot which will suit your interests. Which we do not know!
ribeirasacra is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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For your teenage boys it might be of interest that these two cities are home of the two best football (soccer) teams on the planet, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Unfortunately both teams have got away games on Nov 25, but just to tour the stadiums could be an experience in itself.
Camp Nou in Barcelona: http://www.fcbarcelona.com/camp-nou/camp-nou-experience
Santiago Barnabéu in Madrid: http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satelli...adium_Tour.htm

The less known, but excellent, rival clubs of Barcelona and Madrid, Espanyol and Atlético de Madrid have got home games the same week-end.
kimhe is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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Do your own research. Presumably the boys will have interests that you want to fit into the itinerary too. There's enough information to overload yourself on such reputable websites as Fodors.com, Fro-----.com, R---S-----.com and others.

Check the Uefa.com website in early September regarding Barcelona and Real Madrid Champions League matches. There are matches on November 20 and 21, but the schedule won't be released until all the qualifying matches are done, which will be in late August. Otherwise, you'll be stuck dealing with the second-tier teams like Atletico or Espanyol (neither of which is "excellent" -- think in terms of wanting to go to a Yankees game but only the Mets are in town). The Europa League will have a matchday on Thanksgiving itself so if you're in Madrid and Atletico is home, you can go to that. I'm thinking the stadium tours would be dull if the boys don't follow the teams or know their histories.
BigRuss is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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I agree with BigRuss, check with your kids and their interest.
Also, break up some of the time of big city visiting with smaller places. To do that, I would spend more time in Madrid. From there you can go to Segovia and/or Toledo, both small cities with a lot of medieval feel and winding streets. Segovia has the Roman aquaduct (and great roast piggies) while Toledo has the moorish element. Both places can be half day visits out of Madrid.

Barcelona has a young feel and as mentioned the beautiful architecture of Gaudi and others of his day. For a medieval city that's a half day trip away, try Gerona. Go to the old section. It's amazing.
iffy49 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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We went to Barcelona with our two kids for 5 nights. We absolutely loved it. I agree with the suggestion of touring the Camp Nou site - it was quite interesting and they had a good photography exhibit as well. FC Barcelona wasn't playing while we were there, but we did go to an Espanyol game, and that was a lot of fun.
Definitely see as much of the Gaudi architecture as possible. I consider must sees - Sagrada Familia, Casa Battio, Casa Mila and Parc Guell. Here is a link to my trip report along with pictures.http://www.fromhometoroam.com/2012/06/barcelona/
jgg is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 03:41 PM
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Thanks for the input so far. I am doing my research on some of the suggestions. Since we will only have 2.5 days in Madrid, is their particular neighborhood or location that you would recommend for a hotel stay that would allow for reduce communting time to the top sightseeing spots?
Penguix is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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The Plaza Santa Ana/ Museums area. If you give us your budget we can provide specific recommendations.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 05:26 PM
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i too was split between Barcelona and Madrid and chose Madrid. The architecture, Prado, and nightlife were what we were after and we got it. With a whole week, i think you have plenty of time to split between the two cities however. those two should probably be enough
tailsock is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 01:58 AM
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I was able to make reservation using my Marriott points at AC Hotel Carlton. However, I do have availabilty at Hotel Recoletos or AC Hotel Atocha near the Atocha Railway. Has anybody stayed or know which property would be better to hold a reservation from a location standpoint?

Also, would recommend having a rental car either in Madrid or Barcelona?
Penguix is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 05:50 AM
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Can't help you with those hotels, but the answer to rental car question is NO!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 10:31 AM
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The AC Recoletos is the better of the three, especially for location, but you might not like the open bathroom concept. It's not for everyone.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for the quick input. I think I have finalized my plan as below:

- Day 1 thru Day 4 in Barcelona - Le Meridien Barcelona
- Take high speed AVE train in the afternoon on Day 4 to Madrid (AVE tickets are only $35 Euros if I book in now!).
- Day 5 thur Day 7 in Madrid at AC Recoletos hotel and sightseeing in Madrid

Now I will work on the sightseeing details based on many of your recommendations above. If you have any other input, please keep them coming!
Penguix is offline  
Aug 20th, 2012, 04:37 AM
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I would opt for more time in Barcelona over Madrid.. Its such a wonderful city, modern mixed with old, on the coast, plenty to see and do for children and adults... and with wonderful areas outside of Bcn to explore.. such as the Gaudi and Dali museum, Montserrat, Tarragona etc

Enjoy your stay!!

golfbeach is offline  

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