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Spain, Canary Islands -- Initial Planning help

Spain, Canary Islands -- Initial Planning help

Jan 7th, 2011, 08:10 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Spain, Canary Islands -- Initial Planning help

Happy New Year to all fellow Fodorites ... I need to tap on your wisdom and experience in planning our family trip to Spain from Florida. I gathered that flying out of Miami via Iberia airlines is cheapest (is it true??). We are going to be in Tenerife from June 24th till July 1st (through an exchange program), so I need to build my trip around those dates. About us: We are family of 5 (Children from 8 to 11 year old), Mostly vegetarian (will that be an issue to find vegetarian food in Spain -- we have kitchen in Tenerife) and like to see major spots and experience the culture. We are on a tight budget, and I am looking into a 3 week trip for our family.
I checked and it seems that we have to fly into Madrid to get the best fare. By initial reading on fodors, I think I need 2 to 3 days in Madrid and 4 to 5 days in Barcelona. I want to see Granada area also if we have time and money. Right now I am looking into flying on Tuesday 14th June (cheapest on Tues., wed, fares) and then flying back to US on 5th or 6th of July.
In that one week from 24th till 1st is in South Tenerife.
Any help in trip planning, cheap but clean and safe places to stay, or any other insights/thoughts. We do not speak Spanish but it seems that most tourist places, you can get away with English and few Spanish phrases.
Thanks
travel0102 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2011, 11:14 AM
  #2  
 
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If you want to include other Canary Islands I suggest you look at La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. You can get to all of them by ferry from Tenerife, and you could fly back to Spain from La Palma.
They are less touristy than Tenerife, with more green and some lovely walking an scenery, though not good beaches. La Palma beaches are black and small. The west coast is nicer and has the better weather. Plenty of lovely houses to rent in La Palma though you would probably need to start looking soon.
I have no idea about vegetarian meals there I'm afraid - plenty of fish if you eat fish, but no experience of vegetarian food.

I may be going to La Palma next month - I could look then if you are interested.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 06:37 PM
  #3  
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Hi Hetismij,
Thanks. Any idea how expensive it is to go from Island to island. We live in FL so beach is no big deal. And how much are the houses to rent in La Palma. We want a safe and clean place, nothing fancy, which is inexpensive. We are planning to rent a car in Tenerife -- have you been there? Is it a good idea to rent a car there?

Thanks
travel0102 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 12:09 AM
  #4  
 
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Tenerife is a huge island, the lushest part is the northern end. We had a car and did a round trip of the whole place.

A trip up to the top of the highest mountain there should be exciting for your family (El Teide).

Lanzarote is supposed to be unique and gorgeous. Our son is working there now and is impressed, keeps on telling us we need to go there. We have never been to the other ones.

No car for madrid, barcelona, etc. but on the island you will definitely want one to explore.Never leave ANYthing in it visible. Conceal everything in the trunk before you stop.. never putting purses, etc. in the trunk at the beach.
lincasanova is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 12:13 AM
  #5  
 
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careful with "vegetarian" claims in Spain. They do not really "get" it many places. For example, at many places a "sandwich VEGETAL" is toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, asparagus and HAM.

You should be able to get lots of vegetables but even vegetable rice MAY be made with chicken broth. However, there ARE a lot of true vegetarian restaurants cropping up, and with the foreign influence on the islands, perhaps true vegetarian THERE is easier to find.

Doing a search you should be able to find a list of vegetarian restaurants.
lincasanova is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 12:20 AM
  #6  
 
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That's quite a bit to cover - Canaries + Castille, Andalusia and Catalonia.

What are your reasons for 4-5 days in Barcelona? Do you intend to take a day-trip from Madrid to Toledo?
Smart3 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 05:57 AM
  #7  
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Thanks to all of you who replied. I know people have different concepts about being vegetarian (many places, they think that seafood is vegetarian). We will have Kitchen in Tenerife so I am thinking we can cook and make sandwitches and stuff -- making it probably cheaper than eating out most of the time. I am going to search on restaurants also, like Lincasanova suggested (I did that when we were in Germany and Switz. area couple years ago).
Smart3 -- How many days you recommend for Barcelona -- I thought there is a lot to see in Barcelona, but if not, we can see something else. If you were going there for 2 weeks, what would you definitely see -- Beaches are of little interest to us.
Lincasanova -- How expensive it is to travel to various islands like Lanzarote?
All -- is it better to explore various islands for most part of the time and spend only couple days on Mainland or viceversa?
Thanks a lot.
travel0102 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 07:07 AM
  #8  
 
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Hi travel0102
Have you definitely booked flights and accommodation in Tenerife? I ask this because if you are not in to beach life why are you bothering with the Canaries? If its art and culture, I would stick with mainland Spain and focus on some of the cities there such as Madrid, Barcelona, Granada. Lanzarote is one of my least favourite Canary Islands although some of my friends adore the place. It certainly would not be at the top of my list especially if I didn't care for beach life.
stevelyon is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 07:15 AM
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Houses on La palma are cheap - obviously you can pay as much as you want but generally they are very reasonable, as is car hire.
I haven't been to Tenerife but definitely hire a car - you will want to see more of the island and will need a car to do so.

Here's a couple of sites which have house to rent on La Palma:

http://www.islalapalma.com/en/index.html - these people are very helpful and can also organise a rental car for you. Try to stick to the west side of the island for a house if you can.

http://www.oasislapalma.com/

http://www.la-palma.de/contacto/con_ing/

Both of these can help with car hire, and Oasis can help with travelling to the island too.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 10:07 AM
  #10  
 
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maybe try www.rumbo.es foo intra island flights. there are also ferries. I literally have NO IDEA of any of those expenses.
lincasanova is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 11:01 AM
  #11  
 
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Have a look at www.bintercanarias.com for inter island flights.

To La Palma it can be as low as €19.50 pp, but normally it's between €34 and €43 pp. The kids pay less of course.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 11:52 AM
  #12  
 
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If your budget is very tight and you don;t care about beaches why would you go to all the expense and time to get from Spain to the Canaries and back again.

I don't know the costs off hand, but 5 RT airfares can't be that cheap. There is so much in Spain that is fascinating and different from most of europe - why skip that to head for a beach resort you're not really interested in?

IMHO you really need 2 weeks to explore from Madrid south through Andalusia - and if you also want to do Madrid, Barcelona etc - you will run out of time.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 01:52 PM
  #13  
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Hi All,
I like beaches but since we live close to nice beaches anyway, that is not the top of my list of things .. of course different places have different experiences also. I think it will be interesting to see north Tenerife (mountain, hiking). We got the one week resort as an exchange, so we had no choice to pick -- it is a nice 2 BR palce with kitchen so we are going to explore that island while we are there, and possibly see one other island. We wanted to go to find something by Malaga or Barcelona this summer, but unfortunately could not find anything in our exchange program. SO that leaves us 10 to 14 days to do whatever we want to see and do in rest of Spain.
We do not have to see the whole Spain in 2 weeks (impossible to do anyway) but whatever we can do, we will try to do. Does it make sense..? We generally spend money on sightseeing but we are not into food and much luxury. Yes, 5 rt to Europe is expensive, but couple years ago when we were in Germany, Switz, and Austria -- the experience and knowledge we gained about the area and people was worth it -- we like to travel to different places, just not in luxury (can't afford it either). Thanks to all of you for taking time to reply. Love your insights .. Thanks for sharing them
travel0102 is offline  

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