Spain: local advice please.

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by audept, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    For years a trip to Spain has been on the bucket list for me and my wife. Yesterday we booked the airfares for Sydney - Madrid return in September. We will be there for the first 3 weeks in September. We intend to take the fast train from Madrid to Barcelona, but haven't planned any other cities in our visit. Can any Spanish forum members or anyone with experience visiting Spain give me recommendations for our holiday? All suggestions will be gratefully received.
  2. tdtom

    tdtom Gretschie

    Oct 26, 2018
    new zealand
    when I was there back in 1987, it was almost a requirement to go see the Alhambra and, even though it's British, Gibraltar, I also went snow skiing in Sierra Nevada... but I was in the extreme south. maybe you have time for a swing through the Algarve region of Portugal? Enjoy!
    audept likes this.
  3. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I'll be looking for The Lonely Planet guide to Spain in the bookstore this week.
  4. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    From what I've only seen in pictures, check out the Alhambra, and in Barcelona, the Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia. Try the tapas and the sangria. Enjoy!
    audept likes this.
  5. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    Be wary of the pickpockets...don't show your wallet/money to anyone!!
    thunder58 likes this.
  6. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Never been to Spain... I'm told a tour of The Nou Camp is worthwhile - Barcelona football stadium.
  7. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    Feb 25, 2019
    I am told that if you want to avoid rain to stay away from the plains.
    new6659, dak55 and tdtom like this.
  8. well Ive never been to Spain, but i kind of like the music. They say the ladies are insane there, and they sure now how to use it. They dont abuse it, never gonna lose it, ............well I’ve never been to England,,,,,,,
  9. Wozob

    Wozob Country Gent

    Jul 6, 2014
    The Netherlands
    You can easily spend three weeks in Madrid and Barcelona alone. Highlights are the Museo del Prado in Madrid and all the architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona. My personal favourite in Spain is Cordoba and especially the Mezquita in that city. I also liked Valencia very much and Sevilla. The Alhambra in Granada as mentioned in other posts is worthwhile too, but I didn't like the rest of the city. Or take a wine tour in La Rioja and Navarre. I've tasted some very nice Crianza red wines.
    audept and buchon2111 like this.
  10. buchon2111

    buchon2111 Gretschie

    Mar 26, 2016
    Way down in the boondocks
    Spaniard here. My recommendation would be to visit the small villages such as Pedraza, Chinchón, Cuenca and Buitrago del Lozoya.

    True Spanish culture is in those villages, and some are not too far from the big cities (Buitrago is about an hour from Madrid).
    new6659, audept and Wozob like this.
  11. Wozob

    Wozob Country Gent

    Jul 6, 2014
    The Netherlands
    I might take that advise myself on my next trip to Spain.
    audept likes this.
  12. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Gretschie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Paris, north down Montmartre hill
    Suggestions really depend on what you're in. Moving a lot and travel the whole country within 3 weeks, or rather stay quietly in a few places.

    If you like paintings, the Prado in Madrid is a must see. Last time we went with my wife, we almost spent the whole day from 10 am to closing time (which is quite early fortunately). Also in Madrid, there is the Reina Sofia museum of Modern Art (starting end 19th century) and the Thyssen museum (just in front of the Prado. All worth a (long long) while.

    When in Madrid, you should not miss a visit to Toledo, former capital city. It's very close and there is a convenient 1 hour train going there with very frequent departures. There's an impressive cathedral (also with a painting exhibition in a few side rooms that is a must see) and lots of small spots all through that rather small city built on top of a hill. Lots of small medieval streets going up and down the hill, a nice experience. And several El Greco paintings in several churches.

    Barcelona also is to be visited. That's definitely Gaudi city. You must visit the Sagrada Familia (which he started) but also Park Guell, another must see. And there are lots of amazing buildings he designed throughout the city, they are listed in any city guide.
    While in Catalunya, you should take a trip to Costa Brava (Mediterranean coast north from Barcelona to the French border), at least from Roses to Cadaques. You may head to Salvador Dali house in Cadaques / Port Lligat if you dig him, it's become a museum.

    I still never went to the former Arabian cities in the south, but that's sure worthwhile especially Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada.

    Oh, and if you want to go west (by the Atlantic Ocean), you should not miss San Sebastian old city and Concha beach. While being there, the hinterland mountains of Navarra are great.
    There's also Bilbao, it's a large city, the only thing which pleased me was the local Guggenheim museum. But I did not visit the old city. That (north west) part of the country is famous for its cider.

    Now visiting all these within 3 weeks might be exhausting...
    audept likes this.
  13. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Thank you my fair lady for that advice.....
    speedicut and Scooter127 like this.
  14. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Great suggestions everyone, keep 'em coming. Special thanks to @buchon2111 for local knowledge. Barcelona is already on my list for Gaudi, I'm a lover of architecture and this has always been on my bucket list.
    buchon2111 likes this.
  15. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    We may be visiting g this summer as well. I traveled there in 2000 and 2003 and thought it was very safe, did not have issues with pickpockets myself.
    audept likes this.
  16. Roger49

    Roger49 Country Gent

    Feb 18, 2015
    There is of course San Sebastian on the North coast of Spain with a wonderful old town with dozens of Tapas bars to die for and a great beach too, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain in my opinion. Seville is another absolutely gorgeous city with the beautiful Alcazar which although smaller than the Alhambra in Granada, is better preserved and well worth a visit. I was disapointed with Granada as a city and Seville is more beautiful.
    Cordoba is a must with the amazing Mosque in the middle of which the Christians planted a cathedral, quite stunning and a walk across the old Roman bridge and a ride in a horse drawn coach will help you enjoy other sites of this great city.
    I've been to Barcelona on 6 separate occasions and will visit it again on April 18th and I can't wait! Yes Sagrada Familia is a must but book your tickets in advance via the internet or be prepared to stand in line for hours! The inside really is as spectacular as the outside and well worth the visit, there is a Metro station right outside. The Palau Guell just off Las Ramblas is well worth a visit as is its beautiful roof layout (can only be visited when it's not raining. The Casa Míla (La Pedrera) is a brilliant example of Gaudi architechture with a stunning roof which you can walk around... as long as it isn't raining because the roof can only be visited in the dry. Again tickets in advance via internet gets you past those queuing outside but if it is raining then the spectacular roof is sadly closed to the public.
    Don't miss the Boqueria market on Las Ramblas with a huge selection of food, veg, fish and stand up Tapas bars.
    Perhaps best of all in Spain is the cusine and wine.
    Enjoy your trip and let us know what you enjoyed most, but enjoy it you will.
    audept and Wozob like this.
  17. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    Olé !
    2 or 3 days in Sevilla will be a lot of joy for young lovers as you & your wife... You can play the gypsy where she may prefer to dress in the Carmen's 'repertoire'.

    You know : ToreadoOoor prend garde à toi... which is something close to "be carefull You, silly cowboy" :cool:
    audept and Wozob like this.
  18. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    Cadiz is beautiful. Here is it's Wikipedia page.
    audept and Wozob like this.
  19. markeebee

    markeebee Country Gent

    I totally love Spain, I guess I've visited at least 20 times. Barcelona is wonderful, as is Madrid. Big, bustling, beautiful, but also exhausting when it's hot (and it usually is).

    As others have said, though, the real 'essence of Spain' is in the smaller cities and rural areas.

    The best holiday I ever had: we rented a house in Gaucin, a tiny whitewashed village clinging to the side of a mountain in Andalusia, beautiful, silent and refreshingly cool. Less than an hour from the spectacular medieval mountaintop city of Ronda, half an hour from amazing beach resorts, and within easy daytripping distance of mindblowing historic sites like Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz and Gibraltar.
    audept likes this.
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