Where to travel to in Spain?

Aug 26th, 2007, 02:54 PM
  #1  
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Where to travel to in Spain?

My hubby and I are interested in going to Spain next May/June. We're into beaches, history (him), photography (me), old buildings, and good food. We've been to Prague, Austria, and Italy. My hubby says he's interested in going over to Morroco for a day trip is that possible? We'd probably have up to 2 weeks to play with. Thanks for any suggestions you can give!!
Amy
littlehouse is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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I've been to three areas in Spain - Barcelona; Madrid and central Spain - Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca; and Andalusia. In my opinion andalusia was the "best" - but I loved all of it. The three main cities in Andalusia - Seville, Granada, and Cordoba are the most unusual, most beautiful in all of Spain. The only drawback would be that by June it's getting pretty hot in that area. If that bothers you, perhaps consider one of the other areas.

I just posted by trip report from my July trip to Central Spain. I also have one from my March trip to Andalusia. There are many trip reports floating around about Spain now. You can do a search on them. With two weeks you could probably do two areas if you don't mind moving around alot. Easiest would be to combine central Spain/Madrid with Andalusia, but many people combine Barcelona with another area and fly between them.

Have a look at my photos of all these areas at www.pbase.com/annforcier Maybe that will help you decide where to go.
isabel is online now  
Aug 26th, 2007, 05:36 PM
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I agree that Andalusia is the most unique and interesting part of Spain - due to the long Moorish heritage. You should spend several days in Seville, and at least a coupe each in Cordoba and Granada. When you add in a couple of days seeing the White towns, a little beach time in Marbella (Puerto Banus has the nicest resorts) and a trip to Morroco (I think you need more than one day) it will take up your 2 weeks.

We also loved Barcelona and the Atlantic coast of Spain - but the latter is really for the hottest months.

Madrid was NOT our favorite - a very modern city with lots of skyscrapers, every chain store known to man and not a whole lot to do - except nightlife - for which it is famous.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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I've traveled from my home in France to Spain a number of times. It is not my favorite country in Europe by a long shot, but I've enjoyed certain aspects of it.

I hate, just hate, Madrid. I loved Grenada and Cordoba and Sevilla. Most things in between I was lukewarm about. I thought the Costa del Sol was horrid - never would I consider a beach vacation there. Some of the Costa Brava I found somewhat alluring, though nowhere near the allure of the French beach towns on the Med further north.
I would not do a daytrip to Morocco. That would probably mean Tangiers, which will fill you with a totally false sense of what the wonderful country of Morrocco is actually about.Morocco is fascinating, beguiling, multidimensional...but you must get deep into it to experience it. In Tangiers all you will experience is the frenzy of young boys tugging on you to be their guide and a lot of overpriced hype in the bazaars. It will skew your impression of this amazing country if you just take a daytrip there. Don't do it.
StCirq is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 06:26 PM
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StCirq..your thoughts on San Sebastian? Barcelona. Were planning on Grenada, Barcelona & along Costa Brava. Suggestions on French side?
Thanks
foodiern is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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I am startled, well not really, that a previous poster would self-identify as French and then go on to criticize Spanish beaches while praising French Mediterranean beach towns.

Good grief! Most French towns on the Mediterranean have junky, rocky beaches covered with stones or gravel and not at all suitable for man nor beast.

Spain, on the other hand, DOES have good quality beaches with soft sand and clean water, in some areas equivalent to a Caribbean or Hawaiian beach.

Time for a reality check on this, me thinks!
easywalker is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 04:36 PM
  #7  
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Thanks so much everyone. I'll try looking around by using the places you have suggested and I'll check out your photos isabel!!
littlehouse is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Isabel---
I've just looked at the very first album of yours and I'm blown away. I take photos too and a lot of your photos are ones I would take as well. I love your angles. Here's a link to my photos if you want to see them: http://community.webshots.com/user/amylittle
Thanks for sharing your photos. That'll help me decide on where to go in Spain!!
littlehouse is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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I've been to Andalucia (Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, Ronda, Nerja, Gaucin, Frigiliana, Alcaucin, Estepona, etc.), Madrid, Barcelona and Figueras. Barcelona is by far my favorite (I've been back 4 times in the past 5 years), with Seville a close second. Barcelona gives you tons of history, art, architecture and a beach! Plus you can take the train (a little over an hour) to Figueras for a day trip which is Dali's hometown and where his fabulous museum is located.
bianca1975 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 05:30 PM
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Not sure if I'd agree that Andalucia is the most unique part of Spain. After all Spain is made up of several very unique areas - coming to the top of the list Galicia and the Basque country.

However, Andalucia is one of my favorite parts of Spain and where I would definately NOT want the first time visitor to miss.

You don't mention if you'll rent a car or be relying on public transporation. For my first trip to Spain I had a car for this itinerary:

Toledo - 2 nights
Fly into Madrid and immediately headed to Toledo to wind down

Segovia - 2 nights
visit to El Escorial on way

Salamanca - 2 nights
visit to Avila en route

Sevilla - 3 nights
daytrip to Cordoba en route

Arcos de la Frontera - 2 nights
daytrip to Jerez en route

Ronda - 1 night

Granada - 2 nights

Madrid- 3 nights
(airplane from Granada)

Looking back it was alot of moving around for me. I tend to like to move very slowly though! However, it gave me a good taste of some very important World Heritage cities (Segovia, Salamanca, Toledo) Avila) in central Spain in addition to Andalucia. This was the trip that started my passion for Spain. It is truly an incredible country. I had visited many of the countries in Western Europe but when I visited Spain I absolutely fell head over heels. Of course, not everyone agrees and if everyone liked the same things it would be a pretty dull world!

You're never going to come up with an itinerary that everyone agrees is the perfect trip - people have different tastes. In fact, I'm not a big fan of Madrid. However, the friend that accompanied me on this itinerary loved Madrid! Barcelona is a beautiful city. You could easily alter my first itinerary and fly from Granada to Barcelona for 3 nights.

I don't have first hand experience going to Morroco on a daytrip but a good friend of mine took a daytrip from Tarifa to Morroco. She was very disappointed. She was harrased by men from the minute she got on the ferry and never felt comfortable in Morocco. She would have rather spent the day visiting the white villages or relaxing on the beach. If you do a search on Morroco daytrip you'll find many postings (with different opinions!) on this trip.

You have plenty of time to study some good books and postings!
CathyM is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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littlehouse (on the prairie? or that little White House? ), Consider visiting http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34954915 for an informative discussion aligned with your interests.
 
Aug 27th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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I really don't care for Madrid either. I would only go to see the fabulous Prado or Thyssen-Bournemizsa Museum. Or to eat at Viridiana (is it still open?).

I adore Barcelona for its Gaudi architecture, food, design stores, and gay vibe. You can go to the beach at Sitges--very gay and fun, like Key West.

I also adore Segovia and Toledo for the architecture and food (roast pig in Segovia.) You can view El Greco's masterpiece, "The Burial of the Count Orgaz," in Toledo.

Granada will be very hot in June. I was there in June and it was 103F. The gardens of the Alahambra are fabulous, however. I didn't like the food in Granada, but I really liked the people.

Another interesting place is Valencia. There is a beach with a lot of cool restaurants and bars. They also have an opera house and a world-class aquarium.

Thingorjus
marginal_margiela is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 03:11 PM
  #13  
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Okay still researching Europe travel for next year. So who has been there at the end of May/beginning of June? Is it really hot? We'd love to go but don't want to be miserable since I know that there's not a lot of a/c there.
littlehouse is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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To answer your last question first, I was last there in early June, mostly around Madrid/Toledo/Segovia/Valencia, and the weather was warm but not really too hot yet. I wore capris, jeans, skirts, nice sleeveless tops (w/ a handy wrap for churches, air conditioned museums, etc.) and often a jean jacket at night. Mostly sandals. I have been there several times in the heart of summer, and yes - HOT!

I love Spain now, but honestly it took me many trips (went there a lot in my younger days with my parents, who adore Spain) to slowly fall in love with it - which I did completely on my last trip, two years ago.

Agree with some of the comments aleady here:

Andalusia (esp. the three classics, Sevilla, Grananda & Cordoba)is a great 'must' for the first time visitor.

A day or two in a smaller town (charming Cuenca for example) or one of the above mentioned 'white towns' will get you out of the cities and show you a different side of Spain.

The interior cities of Segovia, Salamanca (truly one of Europe's great cities), Toldeo and I would add Avila, really capture the heart of Spain, I think. Next trip I'd like to see Burgos...

Agree with Thin - Valencia and the surrounding areas are interesting. If you like modern architecture, don't miss the City of Arts & Science by native son Calatrava. Google him and check out his designs. And of course, this is where you must eat Paella!

I can't wait to get back to Spain and see the Basque country and also Galicia, those 'greener' areas of Spain...

I do like Madrid very much. Lots of energy and crazy-fun nightlife, and wonderful museums to suit all tastes. The Retiro park is a great refuge of trees & gardens (and an intriguing statue of the devil); it is a good place to watch the Madrilenos (is that it?)hang out and relax...
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Sep 12th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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We were in Spain at the end of April of this year for 10 days with a group tour. We started in Madrid (2 nites) with a day trip to Toledo, then an overnite in Seville, 4 nights in Torremolinos along the southern coast (aka the Costa del Sol) from where we did side trips to Granada, Cordova and Malaga, and our final nite back in Madrid to catch our planes home.

A couple of thoughts. First, I'd recommend doing an open jaw trip, flying into one city and departing from another. Saves lots of valuable time and usually isn't much more expensive, if at all.

Second, some in our group opted for the day trip to Tangiers, Morocco. We passed, based on the comments here. We're glad we did. In talking with those who went, the vast majority were disappointed for the reasons mentioned by StCirq and others above. Trip went from about 6am to 8pm which made for a very long day; Tangiers is an incredibly touristy city where the group spent a good portion of the day in shops they had no interest in visiting but which are apparently required by the gov't of every tour company that makes that trip to generate revenue; the highlight was a trip to a town outside of Tangiers but that wasn't enough to make the day worthwhile according to most. Now, if the goal is to say you've set foot on the African continent, that's another matter unless you think you might visit Egypt one day.

Third, we enjoyed Madrid. We stayed in the city center which reminded us of Paris architecturally. Very beautiful with lots of wrought iron balconies. There was plenty to do and see for 3 days and the food was very good.

Fourth, like the others have said, Seville, Toledo, Cordoba and Granada are all worthy of a visit. The length of stay in each place would depend on your travel schedule and style. There aren't a lot of A list things to see and do in each so you could hit the highlights in a day or 2 and be off if that's your preference.

Lastly, I didn't particularly care for Torremolinos. Nothing special about the place. High rise condos and hotels line the beach. There's a tiled boardwalk paralleling the beach for about 5(?) miles which has tons of shops and restaurants. That said, the beach itself was very nice and there was nothing per se objectionable about the area. It's just very commercialized. I understand that Torremolinos in specific and the coast in general gets incredibly crowded in the summer months when the schools let out. Apparently that's where many Spaniards vacation. I also understand there are nicer cities along the coast to park it on the beach but they're more expensive for lodging.

Hope some of this helps.
dcd is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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Thanks you guys! This does help out a lot
littlehouse is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:40 PM
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My DH doesn't like me to blab (in other words, keep it to ourselves) but we really like Nerja. It is not like the rest of the Costa del Sol.

We have been to Madrid often as we fly in and out of there but it took us about five visits to finally enjoy it. I wouldn't consider it a "destination" but it can be fun for two or three days.

I would personally omit Morocco and Gibraltar as well. We like Salamanca but were disappointed with Segovia. We enjoyed Sevilla and Barcelona.

We go to Nerja every year, often in May and the beginning of June. The weather is perfect!
Judi is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Thanks Judi! I'll check out your suggestions.
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