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carpaikyle123 Dec 26th, 2014 07:40 PM

One week in Spain, late May
Husband, college-aged daughter and I have 8 days in late May and wish to travel in Spain - our first trip there - flying into Madrid and out of Barcelona from Washington DC. Good idea? Where else should we stay/visit between the two cities? How much time in each city to get a vibe and understanding of culture/food/traditions. We are foodies/wine lovers, some museums/churches, shopping. Other ideas? Thank you in advance.

kja Dec 26th, 2014 08:25 PM

One week is VERY little for Madrid AND Barcelona. You will have to be very selective. What to see / do depends on YOUR interests. I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

As for guidebooks, I strongly recommend the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet as your primary resource. I would also recommend that you consult Fodor's, Frommer's, or the Michelin Green Guides to help prioritize and the National Geographic Traveler, Insight Guides, or Eyewitness for inspiration.

macdogmom Dec 26th, 2014 09:37 PM

Probably you should stick to visiting Madrid and Barcelona (maybe day trip to Toledo). They both are full of wonderful sights and great food. This is a great guide-

Robert2533 Dec 26th, 2014 10:26 PM

As already noted, you should stick with splitting your time between Madrid and Barcelona. You will not have enought time for anything else except for a couple of day trips. And I second taking a look at Maribel's Guides.

kja Dec 26th, 2014 10:40 PM

Actually, depending on your interests, you might want to choose EITHER Madrid and surrounds (Toledo, Segovia, etc.) OR Barcelona and surrounds, rather than both. Just a thought!

kimhe Dec 27th, 2014 02:50 PM

Madrid and Barcelona would be great for a week, would give you a taste of two wonderful and very different cities. Give three full days to each.

The San Isidro festival goes on in Madrid May 14-18. The major festival of the year.

The cutting edge Ciutat Flamenco festival goes on in wonderful Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona May 21-24:

Updated info:

One restaurant tip in each city:
Casa Alberto from 1827 serves excellent traditional Madrid Food. Popular with both tourists and locals:

Tickets Bar in Barcelona is the new paradise version of traditional tapas style restaurant run by the Adrià brothers of the world's by far most awarded restaurant the past decade, now closed El Bulli. Very affordable Tickets is now ranked #57 on the list of the world's 100 best restaurants, two years after they started.

The basic concept is traditional tapas prepared and presented as you never would imagine and with tastes to the maximum. Iberian ham, Spanish cheeses, olives, croquetas, tomatoes, anchoas, shellfish, Iberian pork etc etc plus some surprises from out of this world. Just tell the waiter how much you would like to spend and what kind of food you like, and then leave it up to the kitchen to make it an evening never to forget. The four of us had 17 dishes here a year ago and payed around around 60-65€ each with wine/cava included. Lived very much up to the high expectations.

You can normally only book online and only two months in advance. Tables are literally gone 10 minutes after midnight two months prior to every day year around, so you have to be online on midnight Barcelona time two months on the day before you want to book a table.

carpaikyle123 Dec 29th, 2014 05:15 PM

Many thanks for your insights and advice.

Sassafrass Dec 29th, 2014 05:51 PM

How many days exactly do you have on the ground? A day, more or less, could make a difference in suggestions.

If you enjoy cities and are excited by Gaudi's work (which is awe inspiring) then (because you can use fast train between) Madrid and Barcelona work fine, especially for a short time.

My personal choice "might" be Madrid and Seville with day trips to Cordoba and Toledo. That is because with a short bit of time, I often feel I have seen more by visiting smaller towns and get more of a sense of the place and local culture.

Either will make a wonderful trip.

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