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Suggestions requested for Spain itinerary 2 weeks, in and out of Madrid

Suggestions requested for Spain itinerary 2 weeks, in and out of Madrid

Mar 22nd, 2014, 06:10 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 239
Suggestions requested for Spain itinerary 2 weeks, in and out of Madrid

Pertinent info: Traveling last two weeks of May...Hubbie and I, ok with driving.
Prefer art, culture, cathedrals,moderate foodies, classical music, light hiking.
Marriott Gold.
We have both been to Madrid and environs but that was a long time ago, we need to revisit. We know some conversational language, but will likely study up a bit.
I was originally planning Spain and France, then just southern France, but I have read more about Spain and am becoming increasingly intrigued with Burgos, Valladolid, Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastian Of course Barcelona is desirable as well. If we had more time, would love to work in Toulouse area...
So have at it fodorites...we arrive at 9 a.m. on day 1, and have 14 nights total, departing at 12:30 p.m. on day 15.
treble is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 06:20 PM
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I should add that we have already spent time in France, just not the southernmost areas...Also, this trip is unfortunately not open jaw, I just could not get the award travel coupled with buying one ticket to work well...Perhaps we will fly to furthermost spot to save some time? Otherwise I know it's much more pleasant to be on a train or in a car usually...
Oh, and though we like to save a buck here and there, who doesn't? we prefer upscale...so a happy medium, leaning to the elegant.
treble is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 06:27 PM
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I spent time in Burgos, Valladolid, and Bilbao in addition to a number of other places in August. enjoyed all of them. Took the bus from Barajas airport to Burgos upon landing in Madrid.

The AC Hotel in Burgos (Marriott) was in a great location. I'm lifetime plat w Marriott so I used points. You can see my pics and review of the hotel on marriottrewardsinsiders.com if you do a search. Stayed in independent hotels in your other two cities.

I did a loop of northwestern Spain. Here's a link to the pics. First two stops were Burgos and Bilbao. Valladolid was toward the end of the trip. The pics have captions telling you were I was and the first pic for each location has the name of the town/city on the pic. The very first pic is a map of my itinerary.

Hope it is of some help!


San Sebastián, Santander, and Barcelona are on my agenda for my northeastern Spain trip.
joannyc is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 06:43 PM
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joannyc--I'm just looking at your pics--so pretty! Thank you, can you give me an idea of time frame.. also, I was considering the AC Burgos hotel. Was the bed comfy? Did they upgrade you to a king? And I'm hoping to go platinum eventually! But at the same time I won't let it rule all my choices, you know? We already used up most of our points on our Christmas vacay, so are now in the acquisition phase...but we do have a couple free nights to use.
treble is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 06:55 PM
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Wonderful pics..been there, done that and would absolutly do it again!! Hope the time will come and sooner than later!!
amer_can is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 07:13 PM
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Possible itineraries,
Days 1, 2, 3, 4 Madrid (include Toledo one day)
Day 5 Valle de Los Caidos on way to Valladolid
Day 6 Valladolid (AC Hotel Palacio de Santa Ana)
Day 7 Santander
Day 8 Santander
Day 9 Bilbao
Day 10 Bilbao/San Sebastian
Day 11 Burgos (AC Hotel Burgos)
Day 12 Burgos
Day 13, 14 Madrid
Should I shorten any of these to just one night? I realize I'm missing Barcelona, and southern France..so here is another one I'm toying with ...
Day 1 train to Barcelona
Day 2/3 Barcelona (rent car on way out of city)
Day 4/5 Toulouse
Day 6 Bayonne or Biarritz?
Day 7/8 Bilbao/San Sebastian area
Day 9 Burgos
Day 10 visit Valle de Los Caidos on way to turn in car in Madrid)
Days 11, 12, 13, 14 Madrid (including Toledo)
treble is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 07:17 PM
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Below is Time Madrid which lists all manner of things including attractions, art galleries and restaurants.


If you like art you can take the AVE to Cuenca and see a small but quirky abstract art museum in one of the most scenic towns in Spain.


For an overnights stay Salamanca has one of the most beautiful Plaza Mayors in Spain. And the University is the oldest in Spain. It is about 2 1/2 hour train ride if you want to do it all in a day.

IMDonehere is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 07:21 PM
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Toulouse is wonderful! I thought Toulouse itself deserved at least 2 full days, and Albi another day, so - depending on your interests and your travel times (which don't show in the way you have presented your itinerary) - you might see if you can add a day or two to that area.

I also thought Toledo deserved 2 full days. Even if you choose to give it less than that, do consider spending at least 1 night there, as it is one of those places that is quite different after day trippers have left.

I haven't been to northern Spain yet, so I'll be eagerly monitoring the advice you get.

kja is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 08:15 PM
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I spent 22 nights on the ground (24 days total).

I, too, am not married to Marriott anymore. Exploring my options!

AC Hotel Burgos was clean on the surface but if you really looked... not so clean on thermostat, window frames, etc. Bed was very comfortable. Sorry, don't remember the bed size, queen or king. Traveled solo so wasn't concerned with it. Should be in my MRI pics. Lobby area was dark. Staff very friendly. But, it's worth the money, was pretty inexpensive from a $ perspective as I recall.

The AC Hotel in Valladolid is about 5 miles from the center. I'd rethink that hotel but, then again, I like to be in walking distance of everything.

In Bilbao, I stayed at the Hotel Carlton. And in Valladolid, at the Hotel Boutique Gareus (which was about a 10-15 minute walk to the center).

I'd probably choose Option 1 but put all my Madrid time at the end to save time and hotel checkins/checkouts. Option 2 has too much travel time between locations, I think.

Toledo is worth at least 2 days imo. Loved it. I spent 3 nights there on a previous trip with a day trip to Consuegra.

Salamanca is one of my favorites as is Segovia. But they really require a few nights too. I did 4 nights in Salamance and 2 in Segovia if I recall correctly.

I'm doing the south of France this year... flying into Toulouse and making my way to Nice from where I will fly home.
joannyc is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 08:47 PM
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BTW, I stayed twice at the AC Recoletos in Madrid. It was very nice and clean. I thought it was a good location near Retiro Park and between the museums and the pedestrian zone. All walkable but buses available if tired.
joannyc is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2014, 09:01 PM
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Treble and amer_can, thanks very much for your compliments on my pics!!!
joannyc is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 06:36 AM
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Hi Treble - My husband and I flew in and out of Madrid for a week and a half long trip last August. Upon landing we immediately rented a car and drove to Burgos. (That's about as far as I'd recommend driving on day 1.) We were pleasantly surprised with the ease of driving the highways surrounding Madrid.

Downtown Burgos was very nice! We stayed just out of town at the Landa Hotel (great dinner), and didn't plan for any longer than a quick morning in town to view the cathedral. The town merited more time than we allowed.

We stayed four nights in San Sebastian -- probably too much for cooler weather, but fabulous for the great beach weather we were lucky enough to get. Nonetheless, you might want to book a solid 24 hours (or more!) in SS and not try to split the time between Bilbao and SS. SS is a real treat for foodies. (I highly recommend a pintxo tour.)

If you drive, don't underestimate the distance between Burgos and SS. It's quite a drive. Be prepared for many tolls. It did add up.

We spent two nights in Toledo and felt that we the right amount of time for us. We also enjoyed our night in Segovia and have some great photos of the aqueduct.

Happy Spanish Travels!

bibliotecaria71 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 06:45 AM
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Just some background info about Valle de los Caídos/Valley of the fallen that might affect your plans. Many foreigners have little idea of what this monument is apart from the official presentation in the past of being an homeage to "all" the fallen in the Civil War.

The Valle de los Caídos/Valley of the Fallen has always been controversial in Spain as it rightfully has been understood as a tribute to the Franco regime. The last years has seen a very increased politization of the matter, since the so called "pact of forgetting" after Franco's death in 1975 has been dissolved with the uncovering of about 2000 mass graves throughout the country (more than 50 000 bodies of Franco victims, all ages and both sexes, has been found during the last decade). Since 2007 the usual Francoist ralleys at the monument has been banned as a part of the wider Historical Memory Law.

"The biggest Francoist monument of them all", Guardian
kimhe is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 07:50 AM
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You are so right kimhe. On my first trip to Spain in 2001 I had wanted to visit Valley of the Fallen. I didn't have a full understanding of the significance of this place. Fortunately we didn't end up having time for the visit. Now I have no desire to visit this controversial place. I just finished a very good book, Goya's Ghosts, that did a good job on explaining the "pact of forgetting".
CathyM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 08:51 AM
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AC Recoletocs has those see through bathrooms I hate.
Nearbyl Jardin de Recoletos is a much better hotel.IMO
danon is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:15 AM
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Oh, yes... I forgot about the frosted glass bathroom walls durning my first stay in the AC Recoletos! I was alone so it didn't matter to me. My next stay, only the door was frosted glass and the location of the bathroom made it a non-issue.

The door of my bathroom in Burgos was also a frosted glass.

Here's the MRI link for Burgos hotel:


I'll find the link for the AC Receoletos and post that too.
joannyc is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:24 AM
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Here is the link to both of my stays at the AC Recoletos. Pics from first stay are at the top of thread, pics from room the following year are further down the thread towards the bottom.

joannyc is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 10:32 AM
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kimhe, CathyM, Yes, I was aware of the controversy at Vallee de Los Caidos, but I visited it when I was nine years old, and would really like to see it again. My step-grandfather was an architect on the project...
joannyc and others, thanks so much for suggestions, keep them coming! I am not crazy about the glass walled bathrooms, maybe we could drape a sheet on the one wall!
I'm working on fleshing out the itinerary some more..will share soon.
treble is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 11:10 AM
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Valle de los Caídos is of course of great historical importance, and it shall be interesting to see what happens with it in the future. The former PSOE government tried to remove Franco's grave from the basílica, but that has not surprisingly been turned down by the new PP government: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-14189534

About "the pact of forgetting" after Franco, by Guardian's Madrid correspondent Giles Tremlett and author of the very interesting "Ghosts of Spain" (2006): http://www.theguardian.com/commentis.../comment.spain

I highly recommend Ghosts of Spain. About how and why the Civil War and the dictatorship have returned to the surface in recent years:
http://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Spain-T.../dp/0802716741 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/bo...grim.html?_r=0
kimhe is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 12:36 PM
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I have been reading a book called "Franco's Crypt"
What a horrible Civil War and the long period under Franco.

It is hard to believe that in the 70's women were not allowed to become judges or university professors. I will never visit Valle de los Caidos.
danon is offline  

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