North Spain vs. South Spain

Old Apr 10th, 2015, 05:19 AM
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North Spain vs. South Spain

Hi,

I am flying in and out of Madrid this year in July and I'm in the process of deciding which other cities to go to. My group and I just found out that the running of the bulls in Pamplona is going on during the time we are going. My ideas were to go to Madrid, Sevilla, Granada. However, this event in Pamplona sounds awesome, so our focus would shift to Madrid, Pamplona, and Barcelona. This is my first time going to Spain.

Since I have to choose, which region should I go to? I am so stuck as I want to go to both regions but I'm only in Spain for 8 days (not counting traveling days).
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 05:34 AM
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None of the places you mention is in what I would think of as "North Spain".

Your original cities were part of the Islamic Moorish Empire for a thousand years. Barcelona is arguably not part of Spain but of Catalunya and IIRC Pamplona is in Basque Country. This makes the first group very different from the second, and Madrid is very different from both. It is a big sophisticated, rather dignified city that reminds me of Paris.

Does that help or make it worse?

It would be useful to know who is in your group and why you are going.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 06:49 AM
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In July? It's going to be extremely hot in Sevilla and Granada at that time of year.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 06:49 AM
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Well, of course those places are in the north of Spain, but, as Ackis says, Barcelona is Catalan and Pamplona is Basque as is San Sebastian. Evidently you have some interest in going to San Fermin but for what ? the running of the bulls ? the bullfights ? the boozing ? the general party atmosphere ? I attended once when I was 23, and that was enough. My husband was there four times, each time for fewer days. But, he had a lot of aficion ( love for the bullfight). Some people, usually guys, go every year. Anyway, if you want the Pamplona experience, by all means go. It's something extraordinary, special.
I would visit Madrid, Pamplona, San Sebastian, and out thru Madrid which is a GREAT city. Leave Barcelona for a trip to the South of France.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 06:50 AM
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southern Spain which means Andalusia to many swelters in July - avg high in Seville around 95 F or so I heard. places in eastern and northern Spain can be hot too but not quite so sweltering.

You cannot go wrong with either grouping - Pamplona is a mob scene at that time of course with hotels hard to find but many just partee all night like in the Sun Also Rises so that may not be a factor.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 06:51 AM
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I am going with my boyfriend and I am of Spanish descent. My cousins might go but I'm not sure. I know Madrid is not northern I'm just comparing the 'northen' cities to the southern cities because I'd have to stick to one region. I have no choice but to go to Madrid as I am flying in/out of there.

My boyfriend argues that we should stick to Pamplona and Barcelona. I feel the need to see the southern part to really get a taste of Spain.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 07:23 AM
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BTW I am from Miami so heat is not a big concern for me!
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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"heat is not a big concern for me"

How much of the middle of summer do you spend outdoors, not on the beach? I live in NC and spend the summer indoors with AC, but you can't do that when you're a tourist. You couldn't pay me to do southern Spain in July or August. I would head for actual northern Spain - or Basque country - the Bay of Biscay coast. You could do Pamplona on the way, if you insist.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 07:50 AM
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Ah, see, it's the guy who wants to go to Pamplona !!! What does he think he'll find so fascinating about Barcelona ? I agree with you. For me, Spain means the South. Not until I see whitewashed houses with tile roofs and geraniums out front do I feel I'm in Spain. And, we lived in Spain for 20 yrs. You could compromise and go to Pamplona for a couple of days ( that will be enough!) and then fly to Granada or Seville. Be sure to get tickets to the Alhambra now. They are selling out fast.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 08:10 AM
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"My boyfriend argues that we should stick to Pamplona and Barcelona. I feel the need to see the southern part to really get a taste of Spain."

If it weren't for the heat, I'd go to Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba as well--Andalucía is the "heart" of Spain, in my opinion. If you don't mind the heat, then. . .

As those above said, the Basque Country and Catalonia are not "really" Spain.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 08:46 AM
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If I were young I'd go to Pamplona for the all out fest and party - one place you can go when you're older but won't be the same - I say that despite my anathema to bull torture and bull fighting.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 09:20 AM
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8 days is pretty limiting to begin with and traveling from the north (yes, Pamplona is in northern Spain) to Andalucia is not the best way to spend your limited time.

The weather generally will be milder, cooler and wetter during the first part of the fiesta, at lest it has been for most of the last 25 or so years, then Sevilla and Granada, so bring a sweater. There are some hotel rooms still available, but they are expensive. It you arrive without reservations (pre-paid), you will end up sleeping in the park with a few thousands others, or walking the streets until sunrise, not the best way to get a sense of what the fiesta is all about.

The Navarran Basque culture is fairly dominate in Pamplona, but the city isn't totally Basque, only about 50% on any given day.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 09:29 AM
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The heat is the south in summer is truly shattering. Highs of 100 are common and 120 degrees are not unknown.

We have been twice to Andalusia - in April - and that was plenty hot - highs well into the 80s and definitely beach weather. In the summer you cant our only in the am and evening and need to spend the afternoon in an AC room or the hotel pool (make sure it has a good/shady one).
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 09:42 AM
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Well that's why they have a siesta for half a day at noon and eat around midnight!
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 10:03 AM
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I very much recommend the San Fermín festival in Pamplona for the fabulous "convievencia" atmosphere and the party. Something very, very special even before the bulls run in the mornings. Madrid, Pamplona and San Sebastian or Barcelona sounds like a great plan.

And regarding regional differences: Madrid, Andalucia, Catalunya, Navarra and the Basque Country (etc. etc.) are very different in many respects, but not THAT different. All over Spain people tend to tell you how different their region are from the other Spanish regions, or even how different their city is from the neighbouring city. But coming from the outside, I think there is something very recognizable Spanish to it all ;-)

And Pamplona is serious business. Here from the opening in 2009. Watch the start of it all from 1 min: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwV-WCtrjDw

... and it's so sad when San Fermín is over. Here the traditional ending ceremony when everybody sings "Pobre de mi"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5jt1...eature=related

But I recommend to stay only two or three days, after that Pamplona has a tendency to turn from being your best party ever to your worst nightmare ever in a couple of hours...

Many people go to plain fantastic San Sebastian one hour away after Pamplona: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/
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