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Solo Senior 1-month Trip to Spain - which city?

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Jun 9th, 2016, 01:53 PM
  #1
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Solo Senior 1-month Trip to Spain - which city?

My 75+ year old mother is planning to go alone to Spain for one month. She has no trouble walking but can not endure long distances, many stairs, or hills. She speaks adequate Spanish and is a good traveler. She loves to eat as well. She will probably rent a room on Airbnb.

She would like to stay in one city for the month and do day trips from there. I thought Barcelona would be a good fit since there is good public transport + good seafood. We are looking in the Gracia / Eixample area.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for cities or neighborhoods that would be suitable for her?

Thank you!
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Jun 9th, 2016, 02:34 PM
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She may be interested inthe difference between the Catalonian language and Castillian Spanish- Catalan is a whole different language than Spanish but many folks here speak Catalan Spanish- anyway if looking to perfect her Spanish this may not be the best place.

Just a note - I admire your Mom's pluck at going to spend a whole month in one place - a lovely place - day trips easy to Montserrat - the pilgrimage mecca - Tarragona and even Valencia - of course the sea at Sitges and Gerona - lots of nice day trips.

To learn about Spanish trains check www.renfe.com - Spanish Railways official site; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. There is probably a senior rate or senior card to use on trains and urban transports.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 03:06 PM
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We went to Andalusia area last year for a week, perfect in early spring. Summer would be warm so depends on time of year.
Madrid would be more central, albeit, haven't been there.
There is so much to see in a sizable area.
If I had a month, I think I would choice 3-4 cities for a base if you really want to see as much as possible.
My favorites: Alhambra in Granada, Seville. Gibraltar was not a favorite but interesting if you want to go to top of rock to see Africa and the monkeys.
Why don't you join her for some of the time?
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Jun 9th, 2016, 04:50 PM
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Which season ? I would choose Madrid. Lots of places for daytrips - Toledo, Segovia, Escorial, etc. - and then very easy to get to the glories of Andalucia - Cordoba, Seville, and Granada.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 05:11 PM
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She will travel this September. She has toured Spain twice before and seen all the major sights, so she is looking to be a "local" for a month and experience daily life, with the possibility of side trips if she gets bored.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 05:59 PM
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I would probably pick Madrid too. But, haven't yet been to Barcelona (probably part of next year's trip).

There is so much to do near Madrid. A few nights in Salamanca, a night or so in both Avila and Segovia, a few nights in Toledo, a trip to Cuenca, a trip to the windmills in Consuegra, a trip to El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen, etc.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 06:54 PM
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Since she has toured Spain twice, what are her favorite places? I am not a big fan of Barcelona, so that would color my choice. I would love a month in Granada, Seville or someplace seaside like Alicante. Madrid has many good day trips, but possibly she has seen them. Maybe a coastal city like Malaga. Such a personal choice.
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Jun 10th, 2016, 06:03 PM
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kja
 
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It really depends on her interests! I would think the best choices would be Barcelona or Madrid, or maybe Sevilla or -- to escape the heat in Andalusia, perhaps Malaga (which I haven't yet visited)....
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Jun 11th, 2016, 12:05 AM
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Barcelona is a good idea, so is Malaga city (3000 year old Phoenician Malaka) by the Med. Genuine and laid-back Andalucian atmosphere, tons of history, a great variety of top notch museums, excellent food, cafes, tapas bars and restaurants, and all the possibilities in the world to live like a local right in the very walkable heart of the city.
"Málaga: Spain's best kept Secret": http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...pt-secret.html
"The emerging fine food scene in Málaga and around":
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...taurants-tapas
The wonderful Atarazanas food market, right in the heart of the city: https://eastofmalaga.net/2014/07/25/...ry-perception/

September is a great time of year to stay here (going back myself in September), and you have plenty of top of the shelf and varied day trip options.

Granada with the Alhambra, 90 mins with the ALSA bus: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/gran...hamhistory.htm
Córdoba, once the most important city in Eurpe, 50 mins with the high speed AVE train: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/cordoba/mainsights.htm
Sevilla, the undisputed queen of the cities in the South, 110-120 mins with train: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/sevilla.htm
Antequera, the so called heart of Andalucía, 30-40 mins with ALSA bus: http://wild-about-travel.com/2011/07...ing-antequera/
The Torcal nature reserve, close to Antequera, and just North of Málaga city: http://www.andalucia.com/antequera/torcal/home.htm
Beautiful Ronda with the gorge, the famous bullring etc. etc.: http://www.andalucia.com/ronda/home.htm
Coastal Nerja with the spectacular caves, lived people here more than 30 000 years ago, 70 mins by bus, 35 mins with taxi: http://www.cuevadenerja.es/index.php?lenguaje=en
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Jun 11th, 2016, 10:34 AM
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Seville would be my choice, Madrid has so many interesting daytrips, Malaga has great weather, San Sebastian might be my choice in September because it's fantastic that time of year. I'm not a huge fan of Barcelona.
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Jun 11th, 2016, 12:05 PM
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If I had to chose between Barcelona and Madrid - two cities I've been to multiple times I'd chose Barcelona as a nicer city but Madrid as a city with more great easy day trip possibilities - Toledo; Segova; Avila; Salamanca (bit long but possible); El Escorial; Aranujuex (Spanish Versailles), etc.
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Jun 11th, 2016, 03:31 PM
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I think Barcelona might be good because it is cosmopolitan and there is lots to do, you can even travel to France from there fairly easily (like Perpignan, Narbonne or Toulouse, although you wouldn't do a day trip to Toulouse as it's 3 hrs by train--Narbonne is 2 hrs).

I don't think she is planning to perfect her Spanish or take Spanish classes, at least no mention was made of that, but I speak Spanish at a mid-level but certainly not Catalan and had no problem whatsoever speaking Spanish in Barcelona. They do speak Spanish, after all, they are bilingual. The only ones who wouldn't might be some old people out in the country or something, I imagine, it isn't something to worry about. I spoke with people in my neighborhood when I rented an apt in Eixample and they all spoke Spanish and understood me--such as at stores, restaurants, at the apt. office, etc.

I like Seville also, that's a possibility, but it's easier to get around Barcelona by public transportation as the metro system in Seville is extremely limited. And of course, Madrid has great day trips, I just think Barcelona might be more comfortable. Lots of good ideas.
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Jun 12th, 2016, 12:08 AM
  #13
 
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Everybody speaks Spanish also in Barcelona, nothing at all to worry about. And if she decides for Barcelona, Eixample or Gracia are excellent choices of neigbourhoods (Eixample is huge, but almost all is upscale, modern (in Barcelona that is 19th century ;-) ) and quite local atmosphere. Don't end up with an apartment among the tourist hordes in the Ramblas/Gothic quarter area.

Fabulous seafood in Barcelona, but so it also is in Málaga. Go to the beachfront chringuitos to have the freshest fish and seafood together with the locals: http://www.spain-holiday.com/Malaga-...nt-restaurants

For me it would have been a very tough choice between two of my three favourite cities in Spain after 30 years of intensive traveling here. And I would probably end up with Málaga because of the Andalucian feel; vibrant, yet very laid-back. Andalucía is after all what the greatest flamenco singer today Miguel Poveda (from Barcelona/Badalona) calls "Tierra de calma" (Land of calm).

Málaga was the favourite city of the greatest Spanish poet of the 20th century Federico García Lorca (from Granada). And here the legendary flamenco singer Enrique Morente - also from Granada - sings his homage to Málaga and some of its greatst sons and daughters - Picasso, the philosopher María Zambrano etc. etc. "Adiós Málaga" a couple of years before he died all to early in 2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6TqkaaEKaM
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