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Choirgirl21

Planning a trip to Spain

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You have 8-9 full days/nights in Spain in mid-May. Where do you go and what do you do? Barcelona for at least a couple of days is definitely on the agenda, but otherwise, we've been considering a lot of options, including a day trip to Morocco or a little time in nearby parts of France. We do not need to fly in/out of the same airport.

We're very open to what we do. We all enjoy hiking, food, culture, art, wine so I think a balance of time exploring a major city or two (including museums, architecture, food, etc.) and some trips to smaller towns/countryside would be nice. When I was in Italy, I really enjoyed Florence and Rome, and especially loved Venice, but one of my favorite parts of the trip was our overnight in Pienza.

The only other consideration is that the friends we are going with have already been to Barcelona so while they're happy to go back, spending the bulk of our time there isn't the plan. Also, I think there will be a budget for a couple of nice (ie. expensive) dinners out, but my food budget isn't what it once was even when traveling.

Thanks!

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I would split it between Barcelona and San Sebastian.  The latter puts you within a stone's throw of France (Biarritz for sure, Bordeaux if you go a bit further), Bilbao (to visit the Guggenheim), and the Rioja wine country.  You have a wide range of food options, from tapas to Michelin-starred dining.  The only downside is that it puts you further from Morocco.

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5 hours ago, Choirgirl21 said:

You have 8-9 full days/nights in Spain in mid-May. Where do you go and what do you do?

Meet us for lunch?

I'm down with the Barcelona and San Sebastian plan (it's about a five-hour drive, if I recall, although I would consider not renting a car and taking a train). These are two of my very favorite cities.

Consider also a day trip to Figueres for the Dalí Museum (I would take the train here also).

If you do this, you may want to consider renting a car, and making a clockwise or counter-clockwise loop around the Pyrenées, and spend the night inside the walled city of Carcassonne (if you go here, you must stay inside the walled portion, trust me on this, as I've done it both ways - the time to splurge is now). If you do this, you'll see some amazing sunflowers on the side of the highway. :) 

A Barcelona-Madrid-San Sebastian loop is just as doable if you want to stay in Spain (can you get an open-jaws ticket, flying into Barcelona and out from Madrid?)

And you *will* see La Sagrada Familia (just make sure to buy your tickets online - trust me).

Even though he may seem a tiny-bit granola, I recommend Rick Steves' Barcelona guidebook (not for food or lodging (his taste in food is awful), but for things to see and do; use Michelin as your food and lodging guide unless you're on a strict budget).

Don't forget about Gerry Dawes' website.

---

Note: When in San Sebastian, drink Txakoli with your tapas (both cities, as well as Madrid, are great for tapas-hopping). In Barcelona, try to hit up this place for one meal - because it's not at La Boqueria Market, it's packed with locals (think Swan Oyster Depot), has incredible seafood, and is dirt cheap.

Here's another post I wrote about this.

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Gaudi? Gawdy! 

There is a free Gaudi architectural tour in BCN that I've taken twice, and I'll probably take the next time I go, because I always learn a lot (it's free, but give them money, it's usually art history and architecture students giving it). Eat so much great food, drink Cava, and fall in love with one of the greatest cities in the world. People generally spend the most time in Barri Gotic, El Born (get the churros!), and Eixample, but if you finish all the great tourist stuff, spend some time in Gracia and El Raval. 

I would move there in a heartbeat and never look back if I could find work there.

 

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OMG Barcelona; loved it (and yes, I think Gaudi is Gawdy). But the city is amazingly beautiful and the architecture beyond my words.

I'd like to vote for Sevilla and Cadiz. They are smaller cities but each unique. Saville has a church built on a mosque, built on a church plus lush gardens and fruit grows wild. Cadiz has a million little churches with millions of little euros worth of gold, silver, and shiny stones in them. Gotta see it to believe it. I could go on and might later.

Spain is small, we are talking trains here.

I went to Barcelona with 3 yr olds and expecting. Because we dinned early, we discovered first hand how family-oriented the city is. Since pregnant, I was treated like a...Madonna even getting free cups of soup and wine-fruit-drinks (very weak). The kids were encouraged to run around the restaurants (if they were near empty) and proprietors enjoyed speaking pre-school Spanish with our American kids.

I went to Sevilla and Cadiz while a very poor grad student. The Churches are basically free little history museums. I also remember listening to a lot of free music. I still have some pottery from that trip including my current sugar bowl.

Enjoy yourself. I need to go back and take the little girl. She'd love it because that child will eat everything.

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Logrono  is the Tapas capital of Spain, highly recommended.  The Guggenheim in Bilbo was great.  We stayed in Rioja for several days so Bilbo was a day trip.  Barcelona was great, nightclubs stay open all night.

Spain has great food, wine, art and architecture. 

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I love every part of Spain, but I would agree with the initial suggestion to really spend a good amount of time split between 2 places. Tons to do, see, and eat in Barcelona. Don't miss out on nights of too much cava and jamon at El Xampanyet, and definitely squeeze yourselves into the chaos at Quimet y Quimet. 

San Sebastian should def be the 2nd spot, and is where I long to spend my retirement.  Repeat visits have not lead to the shine wearing off.  Amazing food all around and fantastic vibe.  Make a reservation at Asadero Extebarri and rent a car to get out there.  Lunch is probably the best way to do it.  Otherwise, AirBnB an apartment in the city, and eat all around with the locals.

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