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Spain: Renting a Car in Madrid and Driving: Need Suggestions

Spain: Renting a Car in Madrid and Driving: Need Suggestions

Old Nov 27th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Spain: Renting a Car in Madrid and Driving: Need Suggestions

I will be touring Spain, Portugal, and Morocco for 16 days (with a tour company). The trip will end in Madrid, and I plan to rent a car to get off the beaten path. I thought I'd head to Barcelona (not dead set on it), but I wanted to see if any travelers had advice on what we should see (e.g., Andalusia, Ibiza, etc.) Also, if anyone knows of any great b&b's in Barcelona (or anywhere else), I'm open to suggestions. Thanks much!
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 12:01 AM
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off the beaten path? there are plenty of small places to visit where having a car would be advantageous.. but barcelona is not one of them.
not sure what you are looking for.

a nice jaunt through the wine region (Rioja area) north of madrid would be my first inclination.

la guardia.. also go see the frank gehry new wine hotel and cellars.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 12:50 AM
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Here some options for you:

- You stay for a couple of days in the area around Madrid. Beautiful landscape and interesting places: El Escorial, Toledo, Avila. If you want to leave the beaten path, you may drive to Oropesa with its castle.

- You drive north to Barcelona (just the opposite of the beaten path!) and head farther north along the the Costa Brava. Cadaques (Spain's most beautiful "white town") might be a destination in the area, also Figueres. See my trip report here on this forum:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35086408

- You drive south to Andalucia: Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla. There you might visit some "white towns", too. The Fodorites prefer Ronda, but there are other towns too, like Carmona.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 03:35 AM
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Spent a month in Spain this past September. Stayed in the Costa Brava, Basque Country, and Madrid. Each had its own attraction and I preferred the Basque Country most. The food was better, the people more friendly and the Coastal towns less cluttered with Condos and hotels. You can email: www. [email protected] which is closest to you. It may help you as what you want to see then select a city that interests you and contact their Tourist office.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 04:15 AM
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Please..not being "snarky" but you'll need a car with propellers to get to Ibiza and frankly I'd skip it anyway...too many other landlocked places to see.

Have a great trip.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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My suggestion is a trip to northern Spain.
Madrid to León:
http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Dest...on?language=en

León to Oviedo:
http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Arte...do?Language=EN

Oviedo to Santander:
http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Dest...tm?Language=en

Santander to Bilbao:
http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Dest...es?Language=en

Bilbao to San Sebastián:
http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Dest...an?language=en
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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How much time do you have with the car? We did a fantastic week-long road trip from Madrid, stopping at Toledo, Caceres, Jarandilla, Segovia and Pedraza. I will top the report for you..I highly recommend. What season will this be?

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34810840
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Agree with the idea of driving from Madrid to Segovia & Pedraza.
Also have you looked at the Maribel Guides so often recommended here?
It's a lifesaver.


http://www.maribelsguides.com/
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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Hi, WT,

what time of year are we talking about? that is quite an important question in spain.

regards, ann
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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Thank you to all for your fantastic responses. This is wonderful information. We will travel in late July. Does this impact anything?
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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Well.....have you ever been in southern California in The summer late July? It's hot almost identical to that.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 02:21 AM
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hi again, WT,

July. I'd head for what is called the costa verde on the north coast, and the picos d'europa mountains. they would be the coolest places in spain that time of year and lovely to tour.

NOT andalucia or BCN.

regards, ann
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 03:28 AM
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depends on your interests-we drove from madrid to granada and from there toured the rest of andalucia-cordoba, sevilla, returned to madrid, and then stayed in the very nice parador in toledo. Granada has a top-rated parador that is part of the ancient works.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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I like Revulgo's advice but: there's a Santiago Festival in Santander just before Santiago (18-23 jul.). The Avda. de Burgos is the place to be.

If you continue west to Santiago don't miss the fireworks the night of the 24th AWESOME!' And the
Botafumeiro after the Misa Mayór 11:00 AM in the Cathedral/Basilica. The last time I was there for that, Spain's King and Queen were there.

You'll be 'off the beaten path' as far as American tourists go; but Santiago is a world-class event, every year.

About halfway between Madrid and Barcelona is Zaragoza, Capital of Aragon. There's an Expo there from 14 May for three months. If there are music and dancers, that would make it a destination for me. I love the Jotas Aragonesas.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 04:58 PM
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As you are going in July I think it's an easy decision: go North! Avoid really bad heat and gain really great temps. [Of course I probably would have recommended North no mattter when you were going].

I would aim for either of the two extremes: Santiago de Compostela or San Sebstian. Both are truly wonderful and manageable. If San Sebastian, follow it by heading west along the coast. if Santiago, follow it by heading east along the coast. Either way duck inland occasionally into the mountains.

Depending on how much time you have, it's an easy drive all the way across the top and you can catch both.

You will visit super places and avoid some tough heat.

One final thought: so as to avoid Madrid traffic which is a nightmare [yes, I've lived in Manhattan and San Francisco] pick the car up at the airport and not downtown.

For my thoughts re San Sebastian check my blog http://marshlands.blogstream.com/

Do it! you will enjoy.
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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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You guys are amazing! I have so much to read, and I can't wait to dive in. Thank you for all the tips. I will likely have more questions after I do my reading.
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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Stay north that time of year. I suggest a route like this:
Segovia
San Sebastian
Picos de Europa
Leon
Back to Madrid
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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Just as a matter of curiosity - what places is this tour going to visit? It makes little sense to back track to places you have already been.

Doesn't the tour do Barcelona? Or Andalusia? If not, where does it go?
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