Spain trip conundrum

Mar 29th, 2009, 06:13 AM
  #1  
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Spain trip conundrum

Hi there ...apologies if I am repeating a question (Very likely). We are heading to Spain for seven days and eight nights at the end of April. We fly into Barcelona and fly out of Madrid. But that is the extent of our trip planning so far! It's our first time to Spain ..and both hubby and I love to do "off the beaten track" stuff. So we were planning on renting a car and driving around. My initial plan was to drive from Barcelona to Valencia to Sevilla to Madrid ....but I am also tempted by northern Spain. What should we do? Here are some of the things that we enjoy:

- walking/trekking/being outdoors
- food/vineyards/farms etc. - doesn't have to be fancy ..in fact rustic is what we prefer
- at the same time ..don't want to miss out on the key tourist attractions. we are not big museum people
- we like to stay in bed and breakfast type places mixed in with maybe one or 2 nights at a fancy hotel

so you get the picture. any ideas??

Please help!!

thanks so much!

P.S. we are flying from NYC ...and neither of us speaks Spanish!
solitaire11 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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Ok, lack of Spanish will make this a bit tough. Note that there are 4 languages spoken in Spain, of which three are pretty similar.

Get a rough guide for the usual 40 words etc, plus a food manual (any good guide book will have these)

Barcelona has plenty of small hotels and I suggest you book into one of these 2 or 3 star in the central area.

Local wineries include a main centre for Cava and Torres winery. Barcelona does not need a car, I would use trains for this bit.

Seville might be easier by cheap flight and again it easy to get around Seville/Cordoba without a car, however if you want to visit Rioja or Picos d'europa say then a car is needed. If the museum at Bibao are of interest again car is the way.

Madrid again is useful by train and bus. But if you want to drive you can but what to do when you get to a city.

Any interest in Toledo, Granada say?
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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You really need to look at a map. You have some significant distances involved for an 8 night trip. If you are driving then I would stay focused around Madrid (Avila, Segovia,Toledo) and Barcelona. I would save Cordoba, Seville, and Granada for another time.
fmpden is online now  
Mar 29th, 2009, 08:43 AM
  #4  
 
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About hiking and trekking:
Late April is a bit early for Pyrenees, but Picos de Europa is wonderful late April. The National park of Picos de Europa is in Cantabria/Asturias on the northern coast.
If you want to go to the Valencia area, there are nice routes in Marina Alta and Marina Baixa. This area is located on the east coast between Alicante and Valencia.
You will find the route descriptions from this website:
http://www.topwalks.net/en/index.htm
There are a lot of photographs from all the above mentioned areas and parks, so it might help you to decide where to go.

If you want to go north, Llanes (Asturias), Covadonga (Asturias), Potes (Cantabria) are nice places to stay.
Denia, Javea, Moraira, Calpe and Altea are my favourite small towns in Costa Blanca (Valencia).
walksntalks is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 11:42 AM
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Given your short stay, and that you will want to see something of BCN 8 days is not very long to explore other regions. Especially seeing that you want to visit the things listed. I would strongly recommend that you should stick to the area around Barcelona. Unless you want to be dashing around and not partaking is most of your list.
For some reviews of places to stay look at the following website.
www.toprural.com There are reviews of establishments, although like most review sections you should read beyond some comments!
For wine tours you should go to the website of http://www.espavino.com/spain_wine_r...ne_regions.php
You can click on an area you are interested in and from there find out about the Bodegas (wineries) they will normally have a website. Then you can see which ones have English speaking tours.
For us in Spain the north usually means the coast right from Galicia though to the Basque Country. However I feel that you really mean the Costa Brava in Catalonia, mainly because your trip is short. Is that so?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Go to www.maribelsguides.com for extremely helpful information on traveling in Spain. She gives lots of ideas for traveling off the beaten path as well as in more touristed areas and cities.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Mar 29th, 2009, 12:49 PM
  #7  
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thanks everyone!! this is very helpful. you are right ...i am trying to cram in too much over 8 days ...let me go thru the resources mentioned by many of you ...and come back to you with my thoughts.

thanks again!!
solitaire11 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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We are taking the exact opposite trip coming up... 8 days starting in Madrid to Sevilla to Barcelona. Even that feels like it's going to be really rushed for us.

As I'm sure many others will point out... day trips are going to be nice, but you'll lose time with travel. I've never rented a car in Spain, but I'd be afraid I'd get lost and lose even more time.

If it helps, here's what we have planned:

Day 1: Arrive Madrid at noon
Day 2: Madrid with friends
Day 3: EARLY AVE to Sevilla, day in Sevilla
Day 4: Sevilla
Day 5: Sevilla in AM, Fly to Barcelona afternoon
Day 6: Barcelona
Day 7: Barcelona/Day trip Montserrat for some hiking
Day 8: Fly home

We were planning on checking out a winery on Day 6, but they are closed when we will be there.

We have VERY similar interests as you and would suggest that maybe you limit your list of places to a 3 with MAYBE a daytrip to make 4. You can get hiking/wineries in Barcelona, and you'll spend plenty of time outdoors walking around the cities visiting the sights. While they may not be "rustic", the cities certainly have lots of personality and I think they will be equally as charming.
Perhaps save Northern Spain and the gorgeous list of places walksntalks has listed for another trip (maybe we'll join you! sounds like an amazing time).
kalikiana is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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If time permits; there's this great chicken and cider house: Casa Mingo on the outskirts of town. Best cider we had in Spain including some very good Basque cider houses!
Enjoy!
pdxmeyer is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 04:15 PM
  #10  
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kalikiana - thanks for the tips! you are right we need to limit the # of places we visit.

walksandtalks - do you have a suggestion for a day hike (moderate to easy level) in the valencia-alicante-jaen-granada area? i would love to do atleast one hike. what;s your favourite in the region?

thanks!
solitaire11 is offline  

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