One week in Spain. Barcelona or Madrid?

May 18th, 1999, 08:11 PM
  #1  
Carmen
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One week in Spain. Barcelona or Madrid?

We are traveling to Spain for the first time in October for one week and would like some suggestions. Would you try traveling to several cities or just visit one or two? Which city/cities would you visit and why? If multiple cities, what type of transportation would you suggest? We are interested in its culture, museums, and history?
 
May 19th, 1999, 04:40 AM
  #2  
Carl Lindskog
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We are just back from Portugal. Took a day trip to Sevilla. Beautiful! The cathedral is outstanding. We'd put it on a par with or ahead of Madrid. Granada is well worth seeing, but the pollution and traffic are negatives. Two days is Sevilla would be perfect.
 
May 19th, 1999, 05:02 AM
  #3  
Denny
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Carmen: We travelled to Spain last March. While planning the trip, we had to make the same decisions: which cities for how long. Since we needed to be on the Algarve for family business for part of the time and had to fly in and out of Madrid, we decided to spend time in Madrid, take the AVE train to Seville, rent a car and drive to the Algarve. We had more time than you (two weeks) so we stayed in Madrid for 4 days (plus day trip to Toledo), Seville for 5 days. It was very hard not to want to do everything, and see more (such as the White Villages, Granada, etc.) but I'm happy we took time to immerse ourselves in the museums and sights of both cities, with plenty of time to just wander the streets and go off the beaten track by foot. We hope to return some time to visit other cities, such as Barcelona. Wherever you decide to visit, you will fall in in love with Spain. We did! If you want more details, let me know.
 
May 19th, 1999, 05:59 AM
  #4  
Brian in Atlanta
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Barcelona over Madrid. One week is enough time for 2 cities. Try to pick the second city to have a slower pace than Barcelona (or Madrid if you choose it). It's nice to have a change of pace.

Though I haven't been to the south of Spain, I have heard wonderful things about it on this forum.
 
May 19th, 1999, 06:13 AM
  #5  
Jo
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Definitely Barcelona in my opinion. So much to see, so much to do. Probably not as much atmosphere as Madrid, but a much nicer holiday.
 
May 19th, 1999, 07:35 AM
  #6  
michele
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Seville is fabulous; very Moorish, fountains tiles, winding streets, really unique. Barcelona is far prettier, more interesting,(Gaudi, plus lots of museums) and much easier to walk than Madrid. We drove around the Barcelona area last year and this year used busses and trains for Seville, Cordoba, and Granada. If you are staying in cities, a car is a hassle. If you plan to tour the countryside it is a must.
 
May 19th, 1999, 09:59 AM
  #7  
Martha B
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Although Madrid is a great city, to me the area around Madrid is not as interesting as the area around Seville or Barcelona. You spend a long time hasseling with the ring road to get anywhere. Toledo is nice, but a fairly long day trip from Madrid. The other two cities have interesting side trips. In one week, you might be able to see Seville, Granada, and Cordoba. It would be best to rent a car, but even on a bus, that might work. This is a very special part of Europe, because it was under Moorish rule for so long. Barcelona is right on the sea, with easy side trips to Tarragona, Girone, Montserrat, and the Costa Brava. There isn't much history right on the beaches of the Costa Brava, but there are delightful little inland villages like Peratallada and Pals. Because of the surroundings, I'd rank Seville or Barcelona over Madrid.
 
May 19th, 1999, 10:59 AM
  #8  
sue
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I spent three weeks in Spain last November and loved all of it. If you're interested in culture, museums, and history I suggest going south. Stop in Cordoba and visit the Mezquita - this was the best site of the trip and unmatched by anything else I've seen. You'll only need one night/ 2 days there. Then head to Sevilla, which as others have mentioned is great. If you decide that you want to head south then it would be easier to fly to Madrid, spend a couple of days there and then take the high speed train to Cordoba and then continue on the train to Sevilla. The weather will be very nice in October. You don't need a car unless you want to go off exploring, which is another option around/outside of Sevilla. Madrid and Barcelona are both cities, both nice, but I think the south also has a lot to offer and is a nice compliment to one of them. I liked Barcelona better than Madrid, but it seems that Madrid would more convenient if you wanted to compliment it with the South. I also would pick Sevilla before either Madrid or Barcelona.
 
May 20th, 1999, 10:10 AM
  #9  
maria
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My husband and I spent 2 weeks in Spain last fall and loved every minute of it and are planning our return trip. Madrid is great, but very big, lots of cars snd motorcycles,etc but the Royal Palace, Prado Museum, Plaza Mayor, Retiro Park etc. were worth the big-city hassle. DO NOT MISS SEVILLA AND SOUTHERN SPAIN! It is absolutely a magical city with the Cathedral, the Royal Palaces (Reales Alcazares) La Casa de Pilatos, and just strolling the streets. Granada and the Alhambra are also unbelievable although ditto on the cars and pollution. Stay up on the hill of the Alhambra and you can be somewhat isolated. Cordoba and the Mezquita should be one of the 7 wonders of the world it is so amazing. Also the city of Ronda was fascinating and scenic. If you need further info on hotels, restaurants I would be happy to pass more info along. Also, if your budget affords it, do not miss the Parador system of Spain for either accomodations or dining. It is top notch and worth every penny...we found that by paying $13/apiece for lunch in the parador gave us a world class gastronomic experience with a 5 course meal that it was not even worth considering spending $10/apiece in a less expensive place for a meal that was too oily or with very poor cuts of meat or typical touristy fare. Go for it!
 
May 21st, 1999, 05:31 AM
  #10  
merriem
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Barcelona is beautiful, clean, and just a fantastic city. You could spend a week there, and take a few side trips. Don't miss Monserat. Enjoy
 
May 23rd, 1999, 02:12 AM
  #11  
Catrine
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Hola Carmen!
I have been living in both Madrid and Barcelona (I am norvegian), and I love both cities. Barcelona is butiful in autumn, and I think you might like it a bit more than Madrid. the seaside is nice, and there is so many places to go.
You should wisit Montserat, Sitges and all the places in the town. If you have time, take a trip up on the Costa Brava coast (and Girona) -it´s butiful. I´m moving back to Madrid now, but I will spend many weekends in Barcelona...
Have a nice trip!!
 
May 24th, 1999, 12:50 PM
  #12  
sheila
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Barcelona, without hesitation. We recently spent a week in each and left Barcelona longing to stay longer.
 
May 24th, 1999, 04:37 PM
  #13  
wendy
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Neither! Spend the week in Sevilla, Granada, and Córdoba. If you fly into or out of Madrid, spend a couple of days there, but if this is your first trip to Spain Sevilla and Granada are musts. Lots of history, art, culture, good food, friendly people.
Take the bus or buy a Spanish flexipass for the train.
E-mail me if you'd like more info!
 
May 26th, 1999, 08:16 AM
  #14  
Maira
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Another vote for neither one! Stay in Segovia, or Seville, or Salamanca. E-mail me if you need more details on hotels, etc...

 
May 26th, 1999, 12:32 PM
  #15  
michele
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Well, I have to admit that although I loved Barcelona it was my very first trip to Seville that got me hooked on Spain. Upon returning to Seville this year I can see why. Yes, skip both and head south...layers of history, beautiful architecture, and very unique.
 
May 27th, 1999, 06:46 AM
  #16  
Cassandra
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Barcelona, no question. Seville via the AVE was the best part of our trip to Madrid, and Madrid is a city with a lot of "authority" in Spanish culture, etc. But Barcelona is so lovely and graceful, with so many surprises and discoveries, whether you like art or history or just poking around. And side trips like Montserrat, Tossa, etc. just make it better. Eat at the Cafe de l'Academia (need reservations for evening). DON'T miss the Park Guell or the Palau de la Musica. Don't let the Catalan language throw you -- it's like an interesting mix of Spanish, French, and other mysterious linguistic relatives, but everyone will make an effort to communicate either in English or whatever you have in common.
 
Jun 1st, 1999, 06:55 PM
  #17  
mora
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I would also suggest a week down south,
I just came back (2 weeks ago) and my favorite cities were Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada. They are pretty close and you can travel by train. All the streets and narrow and winding so I wouldn't drive. Between Barcelona and Madrid, I take the first one. Lots to do. Take walking shoes and enjoy your visit. I imagine by your name you speak spanish. It helps!
 
Jun 3rd, 1999, 06:38 PM
  #18  
graziella
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I agree with Maria, Wendy and Mora and others, spend the week in the South , the weather is very nice, and the three cities Granada, Sevilla and Cordoba are fantastic, they have an enormous wealth in art,folklore, architecture and their pieces of resistence:
The Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba and the complex Cathedral,plus the Alcazar and Giralda in Sevilla plus their charming "white" old barrios like Santa Cruz in Granada, la Juderia in Cordoba and the Albaicin
in Granada are charming .Lovely to stroll there , to have tapas and drinks in their multiple bars etc These cities are cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona, everything hotels, meals, tapas,etc. Being smaller they are so much easier to visit and enjoy. - If you fly into Madrid, stay there one day for a general look and spend as much time of that day at the Prado Museum, that is a real jewel. No equal in the rest of Spain //..museum wise.
Then for charming streets, bars, rest.,
and the landmarks I mentioned before go to Andalucia.
You can visit B and M someother time.
Also if you find room in any of the Paradores they are great. Except in Cordoba because it is out of town, I just came from Spain if you need a hotel send me an e mail. I can recommend where we stayed, because we had a very good stay in those charming three cities.
Best wishes.
 
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