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


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


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 ( 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


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:

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:

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:

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 (four 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

OK, good stuff.

I will be opposite you and to the right at the football. I hope it goes well.

Peter Miller, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:29 (two months ago) Permalink

earlier this month we were walking through the basque country doing the first seven days of the camino de santiago, which took us from the french side of the pyrenees to logrono via pamplona. had a really great time and would recommend getting out into the country for walking and visiting some of the smaller towns. so many pelota courts, even in very small villages, plenty of basque nationalist graffiti, lots of rolling hills covered in corn and dotted with poppies. pamplona is definitely worth a day trip to wander round the old town, the walls of the citadel, the cathedral. like everyone else we were v charmed by bilbao, had lots of great food, and of course the guggenheim is amazing, was v struck by the richard serra sculptures that you can wander into, and they've got a great abstract expressionism exhibition on atm

ogmor, Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:16 (two months ago) Permalink

That sounds like a wonderful trip Ogmor! Not too far from where I'm residing right now. You are damn right about the graffiti, the many flags, the pelota courts. I have been inland a bit already (cider farms, Rioja country), but still have Iruña and the Guggenheim high up the list.

(Can the camino be done in more than one way? Bcz I'm in an old fisherman's town just outside Donostia, and this is also part of the camino to Santiago, but you describe a different path?)

It's been a dream, so far. Really, *really* easing into the rhythm here of two/three hour lunches and in the evening just a small dish, makes me feel better and more fit working all day, too. Preferably when the sun is shining but it works even when it rains, too. Wish I could bring that into Northern Western Europe but know that can't happen. Just feels so much more pleasant.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 18 May 2017 20:10 (two months ago) Permalink

very jealous!

(•̪●) (carne asada), Thursday, 18 May 2017 20:13 (two months ago) Permalink

Are you in residence close to Deba? I spent a lovely week there a few years ago.

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 18 May 2017 22:51 (two months ago) Permalink

Not close-close, though Deba is certainly not far away from Donostia (55km). I really want to go to Bilbao along the coast one day, preferably by bike if that can be done in a day, otherwise taking my car, so will def come across it. Any Deba things I need to know on forehand?

View from my balcony two minutes ago:

Le Bateau Ivre, Saturday, 20 May 2017 19:37 (two months ago) Permalink

No, nothing particular about Deba, just a village with a lively centre ville, where the wine is 0,50€ a glass.

droit au butt (Euler), Saturday, 20 May 2017 22:18 (two months ago) Permalink

sounds heavenly. there are indeed lots of camino routes though the one we did - 'the way of st james' - is the most popular

you get to stay at some rad places such as roncesvalles, which has meters-thick walls and was a v welcome sight after our very stormy first day:

ogmor, Wednesday, 24 May 2017 15:52 (two months ago) Permalink

Are you staying in Pasajes San Juan? Heavy!

The Santiago path here is the "coastal route".

Peter Miller, Friday, 2 June 2017 12:33 (one month ago) Permalink

"The way of Saint James" is just a translation of "el camino De Santiago", encompassing all the different paths. The most common route, dark red in the map image above, is usually called the French way.

I've been living in Catalunya this academic year and I'm planning on doing the Northern (coastal) route when my work finishes 3 weeks from now. Starting in Asturias and going to the end. Looks incredibly beautiful and will be my first time in that part of the peninsula.

ƒ©˙∆˚¬ (Whitey on the Moon), Friday, 2 June 2017 12:48 (one month ago) Permalink

Cadaqués is enchanting. At least it was years ago, last I was there. The "coastal route" was not so straightforward though.

Josefa, Friday, 2 June 2017 15:39 (one month ago) Permalink

xp this is obv right, I was getting muddled. it does indeed look gorgeous up there and hopefully you'll have some good weather for it too. everyone seems to say the last bit to finisterre is well worth it

ogmor, Friday, 2 June 2017 15:50 (one month ago) Permalink

Are you staying in Pasajes San Juan? Heavy!

Yes, well spotted! It's great.

Peter, can I ask you a question? I find that there are surprisingly few bars/cafe's suited to do some work (ie. writing on laptop). The small taberna's obviously aren't suited for this. I have been working in Tabakalera a couple of times which is nice, but do you know of any good cafes with ok coffee and wifi who are not Starbucks to get some work done? Doesn't matter if it's in the old town or in Gros.

Le Bateau Ivre, Saturday, 3 June 2017 14:22 (one month ago) Permalink

Try the bar/café at San Telmo Museum.,-1.9844947,18.29z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xd51affe3b68fe15:0xe43ec55994864649!2sSan+Sebasti%C3%A1n,+Gipuzkoa,+Spain!3b1!8m2!3d43.318334!4d-1.9812313!3m4!1s0x0:0x178723f034036ead!8m2!3d43.3253148!4d-1.9848266?hl=en

It's usually quite quiet inside, and there is wifi from the library upstairs. Said library is also quite good, although it might be a bit too quiet, and is not open in the afternoons. A good procrastination resource though.

Not sure about wifi, but Café Artess just across the square is usually quite quiet in the mornings. It used to be "atmospheric" but they've modernised it, stripping it off all character in the process.,-1.9842142,19.29z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xd51affe3b68fe15:0xe43ec55994864649!2sSan+Sebasti%C3%A1n,+Gipuzkoa,+Spain!3b1!8m2!3d43.318334!4d-1.9812313!3m4!1s0x0:0xa6794037d659e930!8m2!3d43.3249567!4d-1.9838865?hl=en

Peter Miller, Saturday, 3 June 2017 15:54 (one month ago) Permalink

Dabadaba has wifi and big tables, but I'm not sure about its suitability as a workplace:,-1.9761317,19.92z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xd51affe3b68fe15:0xe43ec55994864649!2sSan+Sebasti%C3%A1n,+Gipuzkoa,+Spain!3b1!8m2!3d43.318334!4d-1.9812313!3m4!1s0x0:0x871976c5077fefff!8m2!3d43.3155042!4d-1.9763408?hl=en

(By the way, I am hoping to see MOON DUO there next Sunday, if you're interested.)

Peter Miller, Saturday, 3 June 2017 15:57 (one month ago) Permalink

Thanks so much man, will update you about my findings!

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 4 June 2017 11:28 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I miss a lot of things Euskal Herria, but what I miss the most is probably the Txakoli. Joder.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 16 July 2017 16:56 (one week ago) Permalink

Any hotel/pension/airbnb recs for San Sebastian? I am trying to pull of trip for 4 nights to see La Femme at Dabadaba.

Hey, a ('merican) girl can dream, right?

Mid September, would be nice to be in Old Town I suppose? Need not be fancy, just comfortable and well located to great food/drink.

Flights to/within Spain is another matter. Need a friend with a Gulfstream, really.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 21 July 2017 21:57 (one week ago) Permalink

Dabadaba, nice! :D

Old Town, Gros, or even Antiguo, it doesn't really matter because "everything's a 20 minute walk away" as they say over there, and it's true. The great food and drinks are everywhere.

For flying, Bilbao is obv your best bet, but there probably aren't (m)any direct flights from the US? Otherwise you'll end up having a stop at Barcelona or Madrid. Bordeaux could be an option as well.

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 21 July 2017 22:10 (one week ago) Permalink

Oh I had forgotten that Bilbao may be an option! I need to find a good balance between cheap/time-efficient as I am dealing with a short frame of time I can get off work.

I have been dreaming of San Sebastian since I visited in 1997 or '98? It made a huge impression on me, the food in particular but really everything about the place was just enchanting and so, so fun.

You are still there, LBI? If I can pull this off I hope to meet you in person!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 21 July 2017 22:20 (one week ago) Permalink

I'd love that and I wish I was, Quincie, but I'm back home again... It's been three weeks since my return and I've still not re-adjusted to life at home. I cannot get back into my rhythm here. Never thought it would affect me so severely, but still long for that city and life every day.

From Bilbao airport it's just one hour by comfy coach to San Sebastian. When it comes to time efficiency you can't beat that, really.

Also you must be La Femme's biggest fan in the whole world to fly over for their concert there! :)

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 21 July 2017 22:31 (one week ago) Permalink

Well La Femme is an excuse, also I have two vacation days that I have to use between now and Sept 30; the world is a big place and it is hard to decide where to go when, so sometimes I have to just create tight boundaries and work within them!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 21 July 2017 22:41 (one week ago) Permalink

Any hotel/pension/airbnb recs for San Sebastian? I am trying to pull of trip for 4 nights to see La Femme at Dabadaba.

i've stayed in a few of the pensiones in the old town - they vary from v basic and cheap to quite fancy for a little more cash. i wouldn't distrust any of them, if you're in the old town you're surrounded by pintxo bars.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Saturday, 22 July 2017 10:29 (six days ago) Permalink

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