SPAIN travel advice

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

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

my tip is: avoid Gibraltar

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

go to the rock, get out

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

i went to goya's tomb, it was cool

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


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


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

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

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

i mean may

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

I wish I could; your trip sounds amazing.

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

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

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

my advice is take the train.

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

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

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

it is cool

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

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

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

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

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

i think really far in advance? like months iirc?

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

ASAP for the Alhambra tickets.

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

Estamos practicando el espanol? Dejo este sabado.

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

2) translator apps for iphone?

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

one year passes...

Boy you werent kidding bout alhambra tix huh

bob_sleigher (darraghmac), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:12 (five 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 (four 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 (four 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

wauwauwau congrats LBI

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

This was my second time in Barcelona and it is seriously one of the most pleasant cities to get around. Walkable, easy/quick transport, abundance of small streets with residents out and about. I kept saying, "why can't more spanish speaking cities be more like this?" Prolly me being annoyed that I live somewhere that is too sprawling and far from swimmable water.

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:23 (seven months ago) Permalink

glad to hear cuchara was good but yeah can imagine san seb would be p oppressive with other tourists in july. bad enough any other time.

I will go to Figueres next month, for Dalí but also for the vibe (we’ll be nearby in the south of France for a few week).

i was in figueres earlier this month, tho only on the way from girona to roses. i liked roses a lot btw - a tiny bit trashy but a beautiful compact seafront and a good beach. spent a night in portes-vendres across the border also, i had been in collioure up the road which is prettier but i enjoyed the working port feeling of vendres. a thing i noticed for the second time in these parts is how beautiful the train journey from spain into france on the east side is, you go through some lovely marshland, then fields on the other side. different strike but similar to yerac my flight home from toulouse got cancelled and i ended up getting a train to bordeaux and then paris, and then paris to london, but that was actually a nice way to spend a day in a weird way. another earlier fuck-up meant an afternoon in narbonne watching france beat argentina. narbonne was a bit non-descript but i still enjoyed arriving there and walking around. i love the feeling of disembarking the train, the place doesn't have to be too nice. even getting off the eurostar in london i felt like i was visiting my own city and stayed around bloomsbury for a bit.

xpost santander is boring imo. gijon or a coruna much nicer.

xxxpost i was also in barcelona before girona - each time i visit there i like it more, from a low base of my late teens visits when i never saw daylight cos we went to razzmatazz all night doing drugs and stayed in hostels on larambla with people walking dogs on strings and offering you more drugs.

i stayed in el born this time and i loved everything about it - i love how it combines such a cavernous old town with a gridded metropolis. and the food is obv completely amazing.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

we could go to Barcelona this summer too but I don’t really feel like dealing with another giant European city, we live in on already and that’s enough, Europe’s real charms are in smaller charms imo

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:27 (seven months ago) Permalink

Narbonne is actually where we’ll spend most of our time next month, close to the sea with good Gascogne cuisine. Plus we’ve found a house with a pool...

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:30 (seven months ago) Permalink

i presume the city itself isn't the point of narbonne.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:32 (seven months ago) Permalink

tho that was all i had time to see.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:32 (seven months ago) Permalink

No not really, it’s more its location and house availability (for nine people without a car but who want to get about)

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:34 (seven months ago) Permalink

what was strange was how few people were watching the football. i mean i know that is deep into rugby country but i still would have expected it to be say, shown in bars, or to even notice it was on. had to actively seek it out.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:38 (seven months ago) Permalink

Could you hear the drums Fernando?

he's one of our pwn (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:40 (seven months ago) Permalink

on our last trip there we rented a small villa on a vineyard about 45 mins out of barcelona in the Penedès region , it was super affordable and awesome . A nice break from the city or our usual Costa Brava excursions .

(•̪●) (carne asada), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:41 (seven months ago) Permalink

you were in Catalonia they dont care much about the spanish national team or the world cup in gerneral xp

(•̪●) (carne asada), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:42 (seven months ago) Permalink

xpost Ha! I had to spend an afternoon in Narbonne too.

This time around in Barcelona we stayed between Gracia and Diagonal (have stayed before right across from Casa Mila). The best place that we went to was Bodega Lo Pinyol. Super lowkey wine bar and I had the most amazing dry beef tube things with foie mousse inside. I think the only touristy thing we did was walk up to Montjuic. Oh, and I guess using the bathroom at the Joan Miro museum should count. After Haro we stayed in a weird town called Miranda de Ebro.

Yeah, we didn't even mean to go to Paris this trip except to fly out but we got tired and just decided to do something easy at the end (meaning we have been enough times to not need to do anything besides eat and loiter).

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:42 (seven months ago) Permalink

you were in Catalonia they dont care much about the spanish national team or the world cup in gerneral xp

i mean in narbonne! that said there were plenty of people watching spain when i was in barcelona.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:56 (seven months ago) Permalink

I think we are trying Borda Berri tonight and then trying to catch the game at Bar Sport. I have a bunch of rioja I have been lugging in my bag so we have to drink two bottles while here.

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:56 (seven months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

We took the train from Barcelona (coming from Toulouse) and did a stopover in Haro/Rioja. Which was kind of oddly a ghost town.

About 5 in the afternoon? I have had this experience. It gets a bit more lively on Sunday mornings.

Peter Miller, Friday, 21 September 2018 09:16 (four months ago) Permalink

iirc most (all?) Spanish towns are dead from 3-6

groovemaaan, Friday, 21 September 2018 09:30 (four months ago) Permalink

We were there almost all day. Ghost town. We were the only people to get out at that stop and even most of the big wineries were pretty empty. Except the Muga tasting room. Party going on in there.

Yerac, Friday, 21 September 2018 11:06 (four months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

I will be going to Bilbao and San Sebastian for about a week in March. I have time to go to a third place, and was thinking of going to Logrono, but that might be boring? What about Pamplona? Is it best to split my time between Bilbao and San Sebastian and take day trips?

Virginia Plain, Monday, 11 February 2019 21:08 (one week ago) Permalink

We visited SS, Rioja, and Bilbao in about ten days in 2017. One of my favorite trips. You can definitely spend a week between SS and Bilbao alone, so I am not sure you need to add a third location, depending on your preferences for running around versus relaxing. But if you want to, a visit to the Rioja area is incredible.

If you have a car, I highly recommend staying in LaGuardia, a very small hill town west of Logrono. You can walk from one end to the other in ten minutes, but it is very handsome with amazing views in all directions. Very cool painted wood portico (one of only a couple in Europe) with the original paint intact).

Another amazing town is San Vicente de la Sonsierra, which has a fortress and church with commanding views. 1100 people in the commune and 21 wineries; my kind of ratio.

Let me know and I can dig out some restaurant reservations. Lunch in Rioja starts around 2pm. We finished one lunch about 5pm.

George R. R. Caro (PBKR), Monday, 11 February 2019 21:35 (one week ago) Permalink

Day trips from SS: Getaria is an old fishing village 20 minutes away. Definitely worth a half day. Great restaurant for whole roasted turbot is Elkano; one of my favorite meals anywhere ever.

George R. R. Caro (PBKR), Monday, 11 February 2019 21:39 (one week ago) Permalink

^^ quite possibly my favourite thing about Basque country, the 2-5pm lunches.

There's loads of recommendations itt already. I didn't really rate Logroño. Pamplona is nice, but personally I like to stay closer to the coast. Bilbao and SS will keep you busy for a week, no trouble. Beautiful places in between are Zarautz, and further west Bermeo (with the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe rock out in the sea, that you can climb up to), Mundaka (a surfer's haven), Getaria, Guernica, Zumaia etc etc

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 11 February 2019 21:45 (one week ago) Permalink

logrono has a nice little old town but pamplona is much better, fantastic square and fortress, feels very basque. it's an incredible part of the world though and you will find loads of great places.

ogmor, Monday, 11 February 2019 22:05 (one week ago) Permalink

Spent a month in andalucia a couple years ago. Completely awesome. Never even made it to the Alhambra! The Sierra directly south of Ronda are big mountains with trail systems great for running and hiking from town to town. Same goals for the hills/mts between Aracena and the PT border. Jamon is a big deal there.

Spent about 2.5 weeks in the Alameda de Hercules neighborhood in Seville. Full of hipsters and killer food and an easy walk to the touristy stuff. Highly recommended but I think any of the cities in that corner of Spain have a lot to offer. Just be careful about the heat. We were there in September and it was barely bearable.

tobo73, Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:32 (one week ago) Permalink

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