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Recommendations for Trip to Spain

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Apr 18th, 2012, 12:37 PM
  #1
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Recommendations for Trip to Spain

My friend and I are looking to celebrate our 30th birthdays in Spain next year. Does anyone have any recommendations on good places to visit? From what I've read so far, I know we should go sometime around April/May or in October. Initially we're interested in Seville and Barcelona and really aren't looking to travel to Madrid. We're open to visiting other cities as well.

We both love food and wine and want to explore everything Spain has to offer. It doesn't necessarily have to be touristy and it's a bonus if it's something that's not very touristy as we like to do things that are off the grid.

Also any recommendations on places to stay?
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Apr 18th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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How many days? If 1 week, I'd do Barcelona with maybe a day trip or 2. We were there early Nov a few years ago and the weather perfect. Barcelona is a great city. You can easily spend a week there with more than enough to do.

I cant' speak for Seville because I haven't been, but that's typically combined with Cordoba and Granada, each deserving 2 or 3 days at minimum I would think.

Madrid is also great, but I would give Barcelona the edge.
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Apr 18th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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Other than loving food and wine, what else do you like to do when you travel? Are you interested in museums, history, culture, scenery? What is the length of your trip? We need more information before we can really help.

I have only been to Barcelona, Girona, & the Costa Brava. If you wish, you can click on my name to read my trip report from october 2010. You should definitely buy a guidebook or two. I have used Fodors and Lonely Planet in the past.

From what I have read, Northern Spain (Barcelona & San Sebastian) are very different from Madrid and southern Spain (Andalucia). Seville and Barcelona would be two very different cities to visit & April/May or October are good times to visit those places. Summer months in southern Spain are very hot.
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Apr 18th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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The entire country has fabulous food and wine so you have a lot of options! I agree that you might want to be more specific in your vacation plan.

If you are looking for things that aren't too touristy, I would avoid the major cities which are always packed with tourists. Especially if you do Feria in Sevilla (although it is fabulous).

Northern Spain, specifically San Sebastian, offered a great mix of plenty too do and definitely did not feel like it catered to overtly too tourists (I.e. no restaurants with English menus taped to windows etc.). We last visited in October and I thought it was a great time of year to visit. The wine producing regions of Navarra and Rioja are very near as well.

if you haven't already seen them, Maribels guides are great overviews of different locals in Spain. http://www.maribelsguides.com
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Apr 18th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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Whether you intend to stay in Madrid or not, depending on where you are coming from, you might be forced to arrive or leave from Madrid. If that is the case, you might as well take advantage of the circumstances. I think the least productive way to do this is to arrive at night in Madrid, overnight at Madrid airport, then fly home.

The Easter, which is a big thing in Sevilla, for 2013 is March 31. So your schedule will not run into Easter related congestion, but you cannot participate in the festivities, either.

I just came back from a trip to the Basque. I think it is difficult to top the food offering in the Basque country especially San Sebastian. For architecture, Granada, Cordoba, and Barcelona are not to be missed. For Flamenco, Sevilla has the best offerings. Toledo retains much of that medieval city atmosphere.
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Apr 18th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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While food in Spain is mostly good and can be excellent, don't expect Belgium (where someone servng anything less then great is shot) or Italy (where family places routinely do incredible things).

Agree you need to tell us how much time yuo have and what your major interests are.

IMHO the most fascnatng part is Andalusia, which because of it's moorish heritage is unlike any other place in europe. but to do just that justice is 10 or 12 days anyway.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 04:07 AM
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May is festival time in Andalucía (the South), most of them are genuinely local events and would be a great intro to food, wine, culture and people.

All Andalucian towns - especially Granada and Córdoba - celebrate the "Cruces de Mayo": http://www.spanish-fiestas.com/spani...es-de-mayo.htm

Córdoba in May is something special, the "cruces" celebration is followed by the patio competition leading on to the flamenco inspired Feria by the end of the month.
Córdoba patio exposition and competition: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/cordoba/patios.htm
The Feria in late May: http://www.andalucia.com/festival/co...pring-fair.htm

May is also the month of the famous Jerez horse fair and the San Isidro festival in Madrid.
Feria de Caballo de Jerez: http://www.andalucia.com/festival/jerez-horse-fair.htm
San Isidro in Madrid: http://www.madrid-guide-spain.com/san-isidro.html

When it comes to food, three Spanish restaurants among top ten in the world on the prestigious S. Pellegrino list. One Italian and no Belgian ;-)
http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners

San Sebastián is the food capital of Spain if not all of Europe. According to the world's most famous chef the past ten years, Ferran Adria of El Bulli, San Sebastián is "the best in Europe. The best in the West. No doubt about that at all. And if you push me, in terms of the average quality of the food, in terms of what you can get at any place you happen to walk into, maybe it is - probably it is, yes - the best in the world." http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...rink.shopping2
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Apr 25th, 2012, 07:22 AM
  #8
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Sorry guys! Clearly forgot some of the basics here. We'll be looking to go for 7-10 days depending on what makes the most sense. We'd love to check out the culture and architecture but try as we might, we can't seem to get into the museum thing completely.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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If your interest is in Sevilla and Barcelona 7 days will be quite tight. I'd budget at least 4 nights in Barcelona and 3 in Sevilla. If you have 10 days I'd add a night to Sevilla, which would allow a daytrip to Cordoba, and a couple of nights in Granada. (Seems a shame to visit Andalucia and not visit Granada). Logistically I'd fly between Barcelona and Sevilla or Barcelona and Granada and get open jaw flights (Barcelona and Sevilla or Barcelona and Granada).

I wouldn't try to do much more with this limited time.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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If it were me, I would limit my stays to 2 places and I think Barcelona is more compelling than Seville so I'd spend more days there. Cordoba is an easy daytrip from Seville. Also IMO you do not need to do both Seville and Granada - there is an alcazar in Seville that is not too different from the Alhambra (tho the gardens at the Alhambra are better) but it is easier to visit the one in Seville, then you can do the daytrip to Cordoba for the Mezquita.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 09:03 AM
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Um, Granada is worth going to the Alhambra, and that's about it. Cordoba is worth an overnight and maybe two if you just want to wander about but really isn't a three-day tour. Catching the highlights is easy enough as a daytrip from Seville.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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If architecture is an interest, Barcelona is a great destination. With a week, I'd recommend Barcelona with a day trip or 2. 10 days, then maybe Seville combined with other places in southern Andalucia.

If your flight stops in Madrid, I'd consider spending a night or 2 there, then fly/train (depending on distance) to the next destination.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 09:35 AM
  #13
 
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Also definitely print out Maribel's Guides, and check her website. Lots of great info to be had.
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Apr 25th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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The problem is that Seville and Barcelona are very far away. You will lose a day of travel, actually two because you will have to get back to Barcelona to fly out. If you want a modern major European city choose Barcelona and spend all of your time there. I am partial to Seville and Andalucia but I am biased. My trip would hit Seville for 3-4 nights, Granada for two, Malaga for one and then finish off with 3 nights in Madrid. (Madrid is also a great city).
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Apr 25th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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If the OP really wants to visit both Barcelona and Sevilla and has more than 7 days (7 would be a little tight) then I wold advocate flying between Barcelona and Sevilla. You won't loose a day of travel - perhaps 1/2 day at most. I flew last month from Palma de Mallorca to Sevilla and from the time I left the hotel for my flight to when I was having tapas in Sevilla took about 5 hours. My flight was mid morning so it didn't mean getting up extra early. There is also some very inexpensive airfare between Barcelona & Sevilla.

I'd also see if it would be possible to fly home via Sevilla. This would definately be an option if the OP was using American Airlines which is partnered with Iberia. It would mean a transfer in Madrid on the return day home but no backtracking during the actual days visiting Spain.

I could easily spend the entire 7-10 days in Catalunya OR Andalucia. However, the question I would ask is if the OP is planning a return trip anytime soon. If not with 8-10 days it would be possible to see both at a moderate pace.

I also enjoyed Granada, and much more than the Alhambra - but everyone has their individual tastes. I've also visited Cordoba for 3 nights and not been bored - there are all kinds of daytrip possibilities using Cordoba as a base.
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