Where are your favorite places in Spain?

Old Nov 16th, 2015, 07:12 PM
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Where are your favorite places in Spain?

I'm planning to spend 7-10 days in Spain for my honeymoon in September and I'm looking for ideas of where to go/stay. (I was also planning to go to Paris and the Amalfi Coast, so three weeks total, not including travel days.) If you had to choose your favorite place in Spain, where would you choose? What seemed the most "magical" to you? Which gave you the best experience? The best food? I know everyone is different, but I'm just looking for ideas.

So far, I've heard great things about Seville, and I'd like to go to there. I also have heard good things about San Sebastian, so that's another option, although I know these two are far fro each other. I spent hours researching Barcelona over the weekend and found a ton of things to do there, but after reading all of the mixed reviews on here (most negative) I'm nervous about incorporating it into this trip. Here are some of the things I found to do in Barcelona, in case it helps anyone provide recommendations on where else might interest us:

Park Guell
Magic Fountain
Beach
Basilica Segrada Familia
Cassa Battlo
Encants Barcelona flea market
La Boqueria
Free Runner Bean Tours or Sandemans tour Barcelona. 2 free tours: one Gaudi, one old city tour of gothic quarter
Vesping - get a vespa at beginning of trip to get around city
Jetskiing
La Merce festival
Concert at Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catalana.
Enigma http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...Catalonia.html
Kayaking/snorkeling tour
Night walk history tour
Photoshoot tour in the Park Güell


Thank you!
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 07:24 PM
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I also was thinking Barcelona might not give us a true "Spanish" feel as it's more of a Catalan city, if I'm saying that right. I'm not too interested in Madrid (not a big art/museum person) plus if I have to choose between Madrid and Barcelona, I'd rather choose the one with the beach.
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 07:51 PM
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I love Madrid, and there are a number of easy day trips you can make from the city. Toledo and Segovia are two that offer a lot. They're in different directions, so you'd need a couple separate days to visit them both, but if you have five days in Madrid, you could choose one or both, and experience a lot of Spanish history and architectural beauty. No beaches, though ...
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 09:26 PM
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My personal favorites of what I have seen so far: the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba, Toledo (every nook and cranny!), the prehistoric art in / around Santillana del Mar and Santander, the museums of Madrid, the ambience of Sevilla, the Alpine lakes of the Picos de Europa, the glorious plateresque facades of Salamanca, the Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boi, modernisme in Barcelona, the pre-Romanesque churches -- and cheeses -- of Oviedo.... Honestly, I can go on and on.

With only 7 days, I personally would skip Andalusia (waiting until you can give it at least 10 days, if not more). And since museums don't seem to be your thing (you don't list any of Barcelona's museums), it would seem that Madrid is not your priority, so even though there's a lot to see in that area, it doesnt seem to have a central "draw" for you. On the other hand, it seems that Barcelona calls to you, and a week for that city, including some nearby areas (Montserrat, Tarragona, Girona, Figueres, or the Costa Brava), could make for a memorable week.

I can't imagine ANY place in Spain where you will find it difficult to find great food and wine.

All that said, it really depends on what YOU want to see and experience. I recommend that you get some good guidebooks or spend some time with a few in your local library (for ALL the areas you plan to visit, I found the Michelin Green Guides and Rough Guides particularly helpful), identify the things you most want to see in each location, check their opening/closing times on the internet (remembering that many things in Spain are closed all day on Monday, much or all of Sunday, and for a big chunk in the middle of the day for a lunch time siesta), and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. That's really the ONLY way to decide how much time YOU want to spend in any of these places.

Congratulations, best wishes, and good luck!
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 09:35 PM
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I just had a very satisfactory stay in Barcelona. However, this time I stayed in the Eixample area. Last time I stayed near the old city/Ramblas, and didn't enjoy the city as much. Haven't been to the beach, but really enjoyed all the Modernisme sites - not just Gaudi. Not sure what bad reports you've been reading - did you read maitaitom's? I also fell for Salamanca this trip, and had a surprisingly pleasant time in Pamplona. From previous trips the Alhambra was the star, but I also highly recommend Toledo.
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 09:59 PM
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Spain is many countries. There is no real Spain. I imagine some think the south is the real Spain but they have not visited the entire country.
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 10:06 PM
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I also love Madrid for the old world feel, museums, tapas bars, etc. but I like nearby Toledo even more, especially when staying the night when it is most atmospheric. Toledo has one of the great cathedrals of the world and an extraordinary history.

Granada, however, is my favorite place in Spain. The Alhambra, incredibly beautiful with an amazing history, is one of the don't miss sights in Spain. It is also a great place for walking through olive groves, hiking and music. Food was excellent whenI was there.

Seville, of course a given, and the great mosque in Cordoba are on just about every tourist's list.

Now, one of my very favorite towns is not on anybody's list. It is the little town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. It is about an hour or so from Seville, so could be a day trip but you need a car, on the SW coast. It has a great swath of wide sandy beach and the prettiest central plaza you can find. The plaza is paved with mosaics surrounding a lovely fountain and little restaurants all around. It is charming in summer (I would hope through September) when the plaza fills in the evening with families (little ones with their parents and old folks, all mingling, playing, talking and eating tapas. People some times ask for authentic places when they travel. I did not hear a word of English or see anyone else who looked like tourists. The people were very nice to us though. I have to be honest about my experience because it was several years ago and things change, but it was a memory that still stands out as really special. I always wanted to return and spend a few days. Google images of the town, especially the plaza and beach, and you will see why I loved it.
More special things in Sanlucar:
Ride horses on the beach. Sanlucar is famous for horse racing on their beautiful beach - in August, but you can ride anytime.
Wine, locally produced and you can take tasting tours.
Food, lots of seafood and wine.

Look up the blog, The Owl & Pussycat Diaries, one couple's adventures in Sanlucar. It is more recent than mine.

You have quite a job ahead of you!
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 02:04 AM
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I love

Malaga
Seville
Cordoba
Alhambra (but not hilly Grenada)
Haro
Bilbao
Madrid
Barcelona
The Picos

Negativity about Barcelona is due to the pickpockets. Other than that the place is fine. Just don't take stuff into the streets of a world tourist icon that you don't mind someone else stealing.

The true spain...... what you looking for the true america or the true cross? Get real the place has at least 4 official languages and a history of conquest and violence just like the USA, stuff changes and cultures get stuck. There "is" only what you find.
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 05:00 AM
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While I really like Barcelona, but admit I have been bored by Madrid, I loved Seville and Cordoba - since to me the most interesting part of Spain is Andalusia with it's unique moorish heritage. Granada is also fascinating - but for me not to the level of Seville and Cordoba. These 3 cities would easily take up 7 days in Spain.

San Sebastian is also wonderful at that time of year - great weather and nice beaches if you want (I'm not a beach person) but great food and cultural activities.
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 05:33 AM
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My final for a honeymoon city in Spain would be between medieval, modernistic and cutting edge Barcelona (the city that has grown most on me the past ten years), Sevilla (the undisputed queen of the cities in the South), and Belle epoque San Sebastián, the culinary capital of Spain if not all of Europe, some of the finest city beaches on the continent, beautiful landscapes, a local culture that people take great pride in, and European Capital of Culture 2016.

Take a look at these introductions.

Barcelona: https://www.likealocalguide.com/barcelona
Sevilla: http://www.exploreseville.com/
San Sebastián: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 07:07 AM
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Thank you everyone! While I did rent a few guidebooks last week, I find that nothing in the guidebooks compares to the information I find on the internet!

Based on all of your suggestions, I'm going to look up information on each of these. I think the best way would be to find out what activities we can do in each place (as you can see from our list in Barcelona, we love to have options!)

Toledo
Segovia
Granada
Cordoba
Alpine lakes of the Picos de Europa
Salamanca
Oviedo
Day trips from Barcelona: (Montserrat, Tarragona, Girona, Figueres, or the Costa Brava)
Pamplona
Sanlucar de Barrameda
Malaga
Haro
Bilbao


Kimhe, I love that you like each of the three places I mentioned. Could I see all three cities this trip? Maybe if I take some time away from Paris or the Amalfi coast? What would be the best way to travel between them & order of seeing them? All three sound great, and admittedly, it seems like Spain will be the main attraction for our honeymoon.
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 07:29 AM
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I like islands a lot. So I really recommend the canary islands! I am not sure, if you that kind of person but for me islands are the best places to enjoy some quality time.
It gives you a completely different perspective because an island seems like a different world.
I like Tenerife and Gran Canaria the most!
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 08:05 AM
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I've spent a lot of time in Salamanca with three visits over the last eight years - it's an amazing city. The most beautiful plaza in Spain, in my opinion, is in Salamanca. Lots of history and beautiful old buildings, very walkable.

You could start your trip in Madrid - travel to Segovia for a couple days. Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso, the royal summer palace, is a wonderful place to visit not too far from Segovia - both times I have visited, my traveling companion and I have ended up with pretty much private tours, as we were the only English-speaking visitors. The beautiful old Flemish tapestries alone are worth a visit, and the furnished rooms and the gardens (based on those of Versailles) are also lovely.

Try the famous local bean soup at one of the small restaurants in Ildefonso just outside the palace: de fabas de la Granja - delicious! Back in Segovia, indulge in some Spanish hot chocolate - nothing like the kind we have in the US, almost like pudding - and admire the Roman aqueduct that towers over the city entrance. There's a reproduction of Isabela's castle (the original burned) - where supposedly Columbus asked the queen for funds to go out exploring.

Then you could head to Salamanca - stopping in the walled city of Avila along the way. Read about Salamanca and its glowing golden stone. It is home to the oldest university in Europe (at least that is the claim). See if you can find the famous frog on the carved facade of the university.

Spain is such a varied and beautiful country - so much art and history, and the people are wonderful. Not to mention the food!

Always hard to make choices as to where to go and stay. My advice to you is to figure out a small itinerary, enjoy seeing just that part of Spain in the time you have - don't waste a lot of time in transit, trying to see too many places.

And plan to return!
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 09:18 AM
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as stated , Spain is a big , culturally and linguistically varied country.
If you plan on visiting in early Sept expect very high temps in the south.

Hard to pick ....
I like big cities so Madrid ( and nearby towns )
and Barcelona work best for me.
Valencia is also one of the favourites.
San Sebastián is in a category by itself....
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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7 to 10 days is barely time for Seville, Granada, and Cordoba. I would skip Amalfi and enjoy more of Spain. Andalucia, Barcelona and the Basque Country are like three different countries and very far apart. Oh and they call it a beach in Barcelona but it's not.
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 11:45 AM
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I think I'm going to have to cut out the Amalfi, it just takes too long to get there. :/ even though I was really looking forward to it
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 12:50 PM
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This might be doable... Although if I'm cutting out Italy it makes me want to see a second place in France...

Thoughts? The number of nights can be adjusted I just kinda threw this together to get an idea of travel times.

Day 1: Depart JFK or Boston
Day 2: Arrive Barcelona
Day 3 Barcelona
Day 4 Barcelona
Day 5 Barcelona
Day 6 Barcelona Barcelona -> Seville fly 4 hrs
Day 7 Barcelona
Day 8 Sevilla
Day 9 Sevilla Day trip to Granada?
Day 10 Sevilla Day trip to Cordoba?
Day 11 Sevilla
Day 12 Sevilla -> Bilbao fly 4 hrs
Day 13 Bilbao -> San Sebastian bus 1 hr
Day 14 San Sebastian
Day 15 San Sebastian
Day 16 San Sebastian
Day 17 San Sebastian -> Paris 5 hrs bus to Biarritz, fly to Paris
Day 18 Paris
Day 19 Paris
Day 20 Paris
Day 21 Paris
Day 22 Paris
Day 23 Paris
Day 24: Leave Paris for home
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 12:57 PM
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I meant to put flying to Seville on Day 7
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Looks great but I'd take time off Barcelona and add to Seville.
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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And I would (and just did) spend some time in the French Basque country instead of flying straight on to Paris. See, e.g., https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...iful-biarritz/
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