Spain Trip Report

Old Aug 28th, 2016, 09:13 AM
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Spain Trip Report

I don't know why it took me so long to go to Spain because it was a perfect trip and is now my favorite place. Special thanks to maitaitomi and kimhe for great trip reports, guidance and advice. A little background...

The trip was me, my mom and my daughter (15 yrs). We stayed in apartments in each location, Barcelona, Granada, Malaga and Seville over just under 2 1/2 weeks. We flew from Barcelona to Granada, and had a car from the Granada to Seville section. For any interested, here were the highlights!


This was the second time in Barcelona for my daughter and I and my mom's first time, so it was a nice mix of hitting the highlights and some new experiences.

~ Concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalana - It was a fantastic experience to see this beautiful building during a concert (Bach!). I wish we had time to also come back for a tour.

~ Swimming with the sharks - This was an activity chosen by my daughter. I did not love the breathing under water, but it was quite an experience. The aquarium does a fantastic job with this activity. You get a short lesson in scuba diving and then go into the main tank (in a cage of course!) After some time observing, the instructor took my daughter out into the tank to swim around. We will have lasting memories of being face to face with sharks and getting in and out of wetsuits!

~ Sagrada Familia - As beautiful as I remember it, we were lucky enough to be there in the late afternoon on a day when the light was just perfect. The interiors are stunning when the light flows in, it feels like a different world.

~ Gaudi walking tour - This was a good tour (with Runner Bean Tours), made even better by a great guide! You see the major Gaudi sights over a few hours with a mix of walking and metro.


~ San Nicholas Viewpoint - On our first night in Granada we walked through the Albaicin neighborhood to the San Nicholas viewpoint, which is a square at the top of a very steep hill. We were lucky enough to get a table at a restaurant with large open windows facing the Alhambra. We were lucky enough to be there on the solstice, where we watched a full moon rise over this spectacular building. It was truly magical.

~ Alhambra - I have to say I wasn't sure what to expect from the Alhambra. Of course it has a reputation that precedes it of being the sight to see in Southern Spain, but I could not have anticipated how much I would love it. It is the most beautiful, magical man-made thing I have ever seen. We had morning tickets and spent the better part of the day here and I wish I could have attended a concert here. Each room was an exquisite display of carving, etching and design.

~ Granada town - We really enjoyed Granada in its own right. It's a small compact city, easily walkable, that has its own charm. There is a lot of souvenir type shopping as well, but all in all once you embrace the touristy aspect it's a fun city. We did a great walking tour of the Sacramonte neighborhood at duck that was fantastic and really interesting. It was nice to hear a representation of Muslims that was positive and that acknowledged all of the amazing accomplishments of the Moors while they ruled Spain
It was nice to remember a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived and thrived together in peace.


~ This was one of my favorite days in Spain. We picked up a car in Gradada and made the easy drive to Malaga. We rented an apartment directly on the beach, so we checked in, changed and immediately rented a Balinese bed where we relaxed all day. A few days of nothing to do but swim, sunbathe and read were perfect.


~ We made a stop in Ronda on our way to Seville and a nice half day there, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go here again.


~Seville is what everyone says. You can't exactly articulate the must-sees (there are some) but it's just a lovely place to be. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. We did see the sights - the Alcazar, the lovely squares, but the highlight was just the city itself for me.

~Cooking Class - This is something I have never done but will do on every trip from here on out. What a fantastic experience. The class was located in the market. First a lovely woman took us all around the market to buy the ingredients for our class. She explained the different types of foods in the market and gave a great history of Spanish cooking and the market itself. We then went into the kitchen and learned how to make gazpacho, chick pea and spinach dish, paella and a lemon cava dessert. All delicious!!

All in all it was a perfect trip!
kalnalcl is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2016, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for you report. I'm a Spain lover and enjoyed reading about your experience. I'll be spending a day in Malaga this coming November. Were there any tapas bars in the old city or close to the beach that you recommend?
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Old Aug 28th, 2016, 06:05 PM
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Thank you for taking the time to do a report.

Was in Spain last year.

Always nice to read another's point of view.

Thank You again
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Old Aug 28th, 2016, 11:34 PM
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Sounds like you've had a great trip, thanks for the report!

The Sagrada Familia light can be spellbinding. Here's a great article about "a cathedral for our times", the beauty and how "the sun's rays pour and dance across the walls" of La Sagrada Familia:

There are tons of great tapas bars in the center of Málaga. My favourite tapas bar in my favourite town in Andalucía would be Café-Bar Mercado Atarazanas within the fabulous Atarazanas food market itself.
The market:
The tapas bar:

And by November the luxcury Gran Hotel Miramar from 1926, right on the Malagueta beach, probably has opened. Five so called "culinary spaces" inside the hotel with the greatest views, could be a spectacular lunch:

Also a great chiringuito on the Malagueta beach, some friends of us have lunch in Tropicana all the time:

This list is very close to my list of ten favourite tapas bars in the centre of Málaga. All are quite close to eachother:

And Málaga is now on New York Times "Places to go" list for 2016 together with two other brilliant Spanish cities, Barcelona and San Sebastián. "Beauty, but now a cultural capital, too".

Strongly recommend to spend more than one day in Málaga:
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Old Sep 3rd, 2016, 03:20 PM
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Can you tell jus more about the cooking class?
We will be in Seville in a few short weeks!
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Old Sep 4th, 2016, 07:36 PM
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Thank you Kimhe! Unfortunately, we'll only be in Malaga one day, a Sunday (its a stop on a transatlantic cruise),and the Atarazanas market will be closed
We'll sample others on your list, many thanks!
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Old Sep 4th, 2016, 11:25 PM
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Sunday at lunchtime is a highlight of the week, then people are out and about with family and friends for a loooong and solid lunch, often starting in the tapas bars.

Many restaurants and tapas bars will be closed in the evening, but the new gastro market next door to Picasso's birth house is open all day:

Fabulous traditional tapas bar and restaurant El Cortijo de Pepe on the other side of the Plaza de la Mrced from the gastro market is also open all Sunday. Highly recommended.

Close by Tapeo de Cervantes is also open Sunday all day, on top of tripadvisor for years.

And the excellent chrinringuitos/beach restaurants out in El Palo/Pedregalejo, just a five mins drive east of the center, are jam packed with locals at Sunday lunchtime for very good reasons
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Old Sep 8th, 2016, 10:31 AM
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Kimhe, thanks for the additional information, much appreciated!
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