SPAIN travel advice

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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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

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

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

my tip is: avoid Gibraltar

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

go to the rock, get out

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

i went to goya's tomb, it was cool

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

rip

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

Jely

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

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

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

i mean may

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

I wish I could; your trip sounds amazing.

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

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

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

my advice is take the train.

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

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

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

it is cool

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

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

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

two 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

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

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

i think really far in advance? like months iirc?

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

ASAP for the Alhambra tickets.

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

Estamos practicando el espanol? Dejo este sabado.

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

one 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 (five years ago) Permalink

2) translator apps for iphone?

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

one year passes...

Boy you werent kidding bout alhambra tix huh

bob_sleigher (darraghmac), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:12 (three years ago) Permalink

one 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 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Hotel I'm staying in is pretty cool, I guess:

Had a terrific two days in Madrid and was sorry to leave. The Prado is a delight and going early on a Monday morning meant I had the best part of an hour with a dozen Raphaels and Goya's black paintings to myself. Also really loved the Reina Sofia, which seemed like a model of how a challenging contemporary art gallery should be curated - much more engaged politically than the Punta Della Dogana or the Centre Pompidou, which are amazing in their own way but feel more like a repository of stuff most of the time.

Idk why I have been to Moldova and Venezuela but it has taken this long to come to Spain.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Tuesday, 27 January 2015 22:43 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

In May and June I will be residing in San Sebastián as a writer in residence. I'm beyond stoked, and ever since the news got out I've been given plenty of tips about what to see, what to do. According to the Lonely Planet of Bilbao/SanSeb there are 17 (SEVENTEEN!) Michelin starred restaurants in San Sebastián alone. That's just crazy, and impossible to choose between.

I won't be traveling outside of the Basque Country a lot (I need my time there to write) but please give me some tips on things outside the obvious, to see, do, or where to eat. Looking at LG and LL especially since you both know the turf. (I've been to Spain loads - Catalunia, Almeria, Costa Del Sol etc) but never to Basque Country. Hit me up!

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 27 March 2017 19:41 (four weeks ago) Permalink

I've only spent a few days there but they were filled with the most amazing food.

(•̪●) (carne asada), Monday, 27 March 2017 20:21 (four weeks ago) Permalink

wauwauwau congrats LBI

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 27 March 2017 21:38 (four weeks ago) Permalink

tytyty tracer :)

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 09:06 (four weeks ago) Permalink

That's awesome, LBI! I still haven't been to San Sebastian, despite having a friend who lives there and everything.

ailsa, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:38 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Thanks Ailsa! :) You should come over!

Really looking forward to suggestions and tips here. C'mon people!

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:46 (four weeks ago) Permalink

you're the one who will be there for months -- we are going to rely on you to give the tips! my trip there only lasted a few days.
you def gotta go to the haunted rollercoaster ride on the cliff over the ocean, i can't remember what it's called but there's a funicular that takes you up there iirc

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:48 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Keep your eyes open for exceptional musician/English teacher Cecile Schott/Colleen!! https://colleenplays.org/my-studio/

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:51 (four weeks ago) Permalink

here is one of her best most recent songs https://youtu.be/5XuAMyAcwwY

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:02 (four weeks ago) Permalink

yes the roller coaster! bummed i didnt get to go on it.

(•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:10 (four weeks ago) Permalink

so i've been like 3 or 4 times - amazing place. i haven't been to any of the michelin star restaurants - i'd like to go back and do that sometime but the times i went in the past it wasn't really possible, expensive and also some are kind of remote, at least the famous ones.

ll is right about the rollercoaster, also climb up the other mountain and say hello to massive terrifying jesus. on the way up there are great views and also a british military cemetery which is interesting if you like cemeteries.

for food, you can't go too far wrong just wandering around the cobbles of the old town drinking txakoli everywhere, or the local cider, or just a tiny glass of beer (zurito!) , and eating what looks good. but some places definitely stand out.

some general advice:

imo most places have a few speciality dishes and it's best to wander from bar to bar having one thing in each, and a zurito or txakoli as you go. it's v tempting to stay in a bar and order a few more things but if you want to be really anal about it and get the best spread of stuff, move around more. also, the things on the bar are majorly tempting and even though they're great (what could be wrong with bread and cheese/meat/fish/peppers) a lot of the best stuff is made to order. check the blackboards.

with that in mind i'd say make a point of going to these bars, though you really can walk into almost anywhere and get a snack that would be worth telling your friends about in many other cities:

la cuchera de san telmo - slightly pricier than the other places at about 4/5 euro per plate, but the food here is incredible. it can be elbow-to-elbow busy, and a bit intense, and hot, but the food is memorable. the risotto is a signature dish i think, there's usually suckling pig also. i've never had anything bad there though.

borda berri - former la cuchera chef runs this - it's prob got more heart to it than la cuchera, not that the latter is without charm. also gets very busy. incredible canneloni and spider crab. i was sat at the bar here gawping at the menu with my basic spanish one time and this fisherman danny trejo lookalike just looked up and said "my freng, spider crab" in an ultra-deep spanish accent. i just nodded at the barman who brought a piece of bread covered in spider crab. "good, yes?" "very good, thanks!" "good spider crab"

bodega donostiarra - dunno if this area counts as the old town or not, it's about two mins away from old town across a bridge to the east. read about it in a cookbook by the chef jose pizarro - nice outdoor benches, it's a bit less like a bar if you get sick of standing while eating, which you prob will. great food - chicken wings is one speciality here for sure. everything is good though and they are friendly, it's on a lovely street also.

gandarias - very traditional, great bar pintxos if you go early while they're fresh. nice made-to-order stuff too. they open very late and there's a good buzz here late on as a result.

la vina - famous for baked cheesecake. i recommend it :)

a fuego negro - kind of trendy in sort of 90s way, they play jazz and it's a bit more muso than other places. the food is a bit conceptual and silly at times, like "fish and chips" in a little box or something. but as bad as that might sound there is great stuff to be had here. it's also nice for a drink early evening, good tunes and friendly staff.

zeruko - they do normal pintxos here but also some kind of ludicrously presented things. it's all very white decor-wise and less homely than some of the bars, but not insufferably ritzy. the food is great. the main thing i got here is they do this weird lobster infusion thing in a shot glass with what looks like dry ice pouring out of it. it was delicious and also a bit lol. three other people ordered when i chanced upon it. think it's called rosa di bogavante all the pintxos are nice here.

other general stuff: go to the beach! it's really nice and the atmosphere there is incredibly friendly and fun when the waves get big.

things i'd advise not to do: vomit into a metal bin in a hostel after a lengthy day of eating and drinking, moments after listening to steven gerrard trod on the ball and slip against chelsea, throwing away liverpool's best chance of the league title in 20 years. i mean not unless you need a key scene for a fever pitch type novel about being a liverpool fan : /

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:30 (four weeks ago) Permalink

dunno if you like cooking but this book would prob be a good companion for you while there even if you never cook a thing from it. it has a lot of background and cultural info, and he'll casually recommend a restaurant many times throughout: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Basque-Spanish-Recipes-Sebastian-Beyond/dp/1784880264

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:33 (four weeks ago) Permalink

or more generally this is good, and might inspire further trips: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Late-Dinner-Discovering-Food-Spain/dp/0747593809

i prob have some bilbao recommendations too if i have a think about it.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:35 (four weeks ago) Permalink

i forgot bar nestor - that's the best tortilla place. they have some system where they only make one per sitting so you need to get there on time, if you care about such things. i actually had a better tortilla at a place in london but don't tell them that :)

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:37 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Jesus man how do you remember this stuff so clearly

The night before all about day (darraghmac), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:38 (four weeks ago) Permalink

i had to open google maps but it was a pleasant trip down memory lane. as i say though i've been 3/4 times and once was for nearly a week so i know it fairly well.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:39 (four weeks ago) Permalink

AHHHH Colleen lives there? Holy shit! She's one of my musical heroines! Oh man... Ok I will try and make a meeting happen. I'm a total fanboy but that is seriously amazing.

xxxxxxxp OMG so many replies God yes

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:44 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Ronan you are a god! Amazing. Bookmarked and printed.

(apart from throwing Stevie G in this, goddamnit, don't taint my Donostia experience!)

Seriously amazing though, will keep you all posted on going to these places. Bless.

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:49 (four weeks ago) Permalink


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