SPAIN travel advice

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I would stan for Andalusia - Seville, Ronda - but only because that's the bit I'm most familiar with. Don't know the Blanca/Dorado/Brava bits that well. My parents speak highly of Northern Spain though - Leon, Oviedo, Bilbao, San Sebastián might make a good roadtrip?

ailsa, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hiking in the Pyrenees in Torla was one of the highlights of my trip -- gorgeous medieval village in the middle of a national park/nature area. AMAZING.

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

la lechera otm, GO TO SAN SEBASTIAN.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

and yeah Bilbao is lovely too, great people in both San Seb and Bilbao.

there are good pencions (spanish people using their flat/house as a guesthouse) in most places.

in fact if you go san seb i can recommend one, unless you intend to stay somewhere fancy. it was very very basic but safe, central, and clean, and the owner made us basque custard tarts and stuff, really fun.

san sebastian is like a food paradise.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

toooootally a food paradise
easy to get around on foot too, amazing beach, bizarro amusement park on top of a religious monument

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

so bummed that the funicular was closed the day i tried to go to that amusement park.

mizzell, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

this is but one of the amusements

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

and the food was amazing. but honestly the food was amazing everywhere i went in spain.

mizzell, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, p much

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

was fuego negro open when you guys were there? a tapas bar up near the church in the old town but markedly different from the older bars, really swanky in a sort of naff way apart from the fact the food is this insanely good fusion type tapas, it was really incredible.

other than that it's nice having foie gras everywhere, and those squadrones of spanish men singing opera songs as they go from bar to bar. best way to get drunk ever...

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

we mostly went to local places, just kinda skipped around. there are a LOT of super fancy restaurants in spain, but i didn't go to any of them. i love the grazing aspect of spanish eating -- just kind of grab what you want, eat it, drink a little, go somewhere else, have something else, sit by the water a while, la ti da, eat/drink some more, etc.

i'll tell you what, if i disappear, san sebastian would not be a bad place to look for me.

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

now i really want to go to san sebastien but it seems on the opposite end of the country from where i need to end up (murcia)!

bene_gesserit, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

next time! i didn't make it south or west at all on my first trip; it's not a place you can cover reasonably in one short trip, i think.

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

btw if i disappear, please don't look for me.

La Lechera, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

this was the best tapas place we tried in barcelona. one of the best restaurants I've ever been to. cleaner and brighter than many, not too expensive. two long bars laden w/amazing jamon seafood etc. in the eixample area near ave diagonal, passeig de gracia and some cool gaudi buildings.

Cervecería Catalana
C/ MALLORCA, 235, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
+34 932 16 03 68 ‎

demolition with discretion (m coleman), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

some of the tapas places were a little greasy/heavy; not here

demolition with discretion (m coleman), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

please try to get yourself to san sebastian
that is my #1 suggestion

― La Lechera, Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:24 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

YESSSSS

I wound up there sort of by accident and only for a day during a trip to France and it was amazingly lovely. I really want to go back. I have no other advice about Spain because S Sebastian is actually the only place I've ever been to there. LL otm though. If you can go there definitely try to.

ENBB, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

now i really want to go to san sebastien but it seems on the opposite end of the country from where i need to end up (murcia)!

― bene_gesserit, Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:43 PM (22 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Oh shit, only just saw that now. Bummer. I'm sure the rest of it is great too though.

ENBB, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

well i can recommend cartagena as a beautiful town, heavy roman influence still v apparent, they're currently doing up the amphiteatre and the harbour area is spectacular

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

i live in madrid and know galicia, castilla y leon, extremadura, and andalucia pretty well, but nothing of the basque country or catalonia. how long are you going to be in spain, bene?

craigorio, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

about 9-10 days! i'm definitely spending some time in madrid, and flying in/out of there, so madrid recommendations are welcome!

bene_gesserit, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

No-one repping for Lanzarote? It's great.

I don't know the eastern side of the country at all, but if you head south-then-east you can visit some superb towns - Toledo, Cordoba and Granada are all excellent, and places like Seville and Malaga would be just about within reach too. Gibraltar's really interesting and spectacular.

Stay in a ye olde parador if you can afford it. They're converted historic buildings and some of them are really amazing. Jaen (east of Granada) is a castle perched on a crag above the town.

I loved driving in Spain because it's big and empty, like a mini-America. This may be less impressive to an American, granted.

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Gibraltar's really interesting and spectacular.

really? my parents have an apartment about an hour from malaga and a trip to gibraltar is always an option when i go with friends, but all i've heard about it is that it's one of the worst shitholes in the universe.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

The bay and the rock and the view of Africa are incredible. Historically and politically it's pretty interesting. There are apes. No doubt it's full of tat - but I didn't really notice tbh.

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

God, yes, Gibraltar is awful. We hare down there, pick up cheap fags and booze and get the hell back out. The caves and that are ok, I guess, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to visit it.

ailsa, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

my tip is: avoid Gibraltar

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

go to the rock, get out

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 22:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

a few days in and around madrid then visiting a couple cities in andalucia (i second cordoba and granada!) before ending up in murcia sounds awesome. not sure renting a car would be much cheaper or worthwhile though. you're going to have to pay for gas and parking and will be driving around half the length of the iberian peninsula. you don't necessarily have to take the ave everywhere--if you like seeing the countryside then the avant trains are a lot cheaper and go through random towns. and there's always the bus. you could also just rent the car in granada and drive to murcia. cabo de gata natural park is between them (on the coast) and a car would be handy there.

in madrid i highly recommend you visit goya's tomb.

craigorio, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 23:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

i went to goya's tomb, it was cool

mizzell, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 23:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

rip

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Wednesday, 25 January 2012 00:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

thanks craigorio that is all really helpful! i'll look into costs of train/bus from madrid to granada. cabo de gata looks lovely!

bene_gesserit, Wednesday, 25 January 2012 18:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

alsa will be the bus line you want. it's about 20 euros, 5 hrs across la mancha, and there will be a bus leaving pretty much every hour all day long from madrid.

craigorio, Wednesday, 25 January 2012 21:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

ok, i've just worked out some of the details, and i think we are going to take the bus to granada as you recommended! is there a specific town on the coast between granada and murcia that you would recommend spending a night in? we definitely want to spend some time in cabo de gato and take are time going up the coast.

bene_gesserit, Saturday, 28 January 2012 20:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

alright - i've fully booked all my hotels so i could use some itinerary specific advice:

days 1-3 madrid - staying at a pension in the the universidad neighborhood, i definitely want to visit the prado but otherwise i could use advice on what to see/eat!

day 4 granada - staying in the downtown area but closer to the alhambra. definitely want to visit the alhambra but not sure what else. planning on renting a car here for the rest of the trip.

days 5-6 - cheaping out everywhere else on hotels, but splurged a little and booked two nights at parador de mojacar (http://spainparador.com/parador-mojacar.htm) which was still not all that expensive (came out to ~$70 per person per night) this is close to cabo de gata but could use advice on other towns to explore in the area)

days 7-8 - murcia - we will probably be at the music fesitival (watching PULP) most of the time

day 9 - need to find a budget accommodation near the madrid airport for an early flight home

bene_gesserit, Friday, 10 February 2012 23:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

Jely

Aerosol, Friday, 10 February 2012 23:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm considering going for a week in March. I was going to do Madrid and Barcelona, but my friend is trying to convince me to concentrate on one city, and not try to do too much. Thoughts? I am leaning toward Madrid. Also, is it an okay place to travel alone in?

Virginia Plain, Friday, 24 February 2012 04:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

you should come in march instead and hang out with me!

bene_gesserit, Friday, 24 February 2012 14:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

i mean may

bene_gesserit, Friday, 24 February 2012 14:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

I wish I could; your trip sounds amazing.

Virginia Plain, Sunday, 26 February 2012 15:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost if you have a week that should be sufficient for two cities... but I say that as someone who's generally happy with a few days per city when I travel, guess it depends on your own travel style!

Personally Barcelona was far more memorable for me than Madrid but either of them will be okay for solo travel.

salsa shark, Sunday, 26 February 2012 17:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

It takes 8 hours to get from Madrid to Barcelona by bus

curmudgeon, Sunday, 26 February 2012 19:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

my travel advice is eats lots of food because it will be delicious

a life ___________ (Lamp), Sunday, 26 February 2012 20:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

my advice is take the train.

nickn, Monday, 27 February 2012 03:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

I have never been to madrid but I suggest you don't miss barcelona

iatee, Monday, 27 February 2012 03:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

it is cool

iatee, Monday, 27 February 2012 03:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the advice. I just jumped the gun and went for both Madrid and Barcelona, with a high-speed rail connection in-between. I'm going to start fasting now so that I can eat way through.

^^although San Sebastian sounds like my cup of tea

Virginia Plain, Monday, 27 February 2012 04:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

I was underwhelmed by Madrid (and never made it to Barcelona)

curmudgeon, Monday, 27 February 2012 04:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Flying out this week for a 2-week sojourn that will include Madrid, Rioja, Barcelona and points between. Happy for any/all recommendations. We won't make it to San Sebastian or Bilbao sadly, the itinerary just won't stretch that far

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 18 March 2012 16:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

Important advice: book in advance to go to the Alhambra, otherwise you won't get in.

The Reina Sofia art gallery in Madrid is well worth a visit, particularly the civil war section.

Lots of things close on Mondays, museums an ting.

PJ Miller, Monday, 19 March 2012 11:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

how far in advance do you need to buy alhambra tix?

bene_gesserit, Monday, 19 March 2012 14:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think really far in advance? like months iirc?

Laura Lucy Lynn (La Lechera), Monday, 19 March 2012 14:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

The Prado is pretty amazing, too.

I also highly recommend this museum:

http://obrasocial.lacaixa.es/nuestroscentros/caixaforummadrid/caixaforummadrid_es.html

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Monday, 19 March 2012 14:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

I ate here a couple of times:

http://www.mercadodelareina.es/ENG/index.html

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Monday, 19 March 2012 14:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

ASAP for the Alhambra tickets.

PJ Miller, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

Estamos practicando el espanol? Dejo este sabado.

Virginia Plain, Wednesday, 21 March 2012 02:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

i'm leaving friday!! beyond excited. any recommendations for 1) cheapish eats in madrid (specifically near universidad neighborhood)?

bene_gesserit, Monday, 23 April 2012 16:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

2) translator apps for iphone?

bene_gesserit, Monday, 23 April 2012 16:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

1) Underground chino (Chinese restaurant) in Plaza de España is incredibly cheap and tasty and pretty close to the Universidad. Just go down the stairs next to Calle Princesa/Gran Via. As for actual Spanish food, I'll get back to you when my friend reminds me the name of this one amazing spot.

2) Haven't tried this one, but looks pretty useful: http://lifehacker.com/5903847/sayhi-translate-turns-your-iphone-into-a-multi+lingual-universal-translator

Charles de Gaul (Whitey on the Moon), Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

Here's that great Spanish restaurant: El Lacón Not exactly cheap but wonderful and a good value. I would recommend going for the tablas (platters of a wide variety of fish, seafood, veggies, etc) if you'll be with several people. 2 tablas and the complimentary bread was more than enough food for 4.

Charles de Gaul (Whitey on the Moon), Tuesday, 24 April 2012 21:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

Boy you werent kidding bout alhambra tix huh

bob_sleigher (darraghmac), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

I can't wait to see that thing. I've booked a ticket for next month.

Does anyone have tips on other stuff to do in Granada? I have two days. It looks like some of the Alhambra grounds don't require tickets, so maybe there'll be more than enough to see once my hours there are up.

jmm, Friday, 24 October 2014 01:58 (10 hours ago) Permalink


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