SPAIN travel advice

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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 (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.

http://dickschmitt.com/travels/spain/granada_province/granada/images/2008_09_23_Spain_Granada_Alhambra_sala-de-las-dos-hermanas-cupola-of-mocarabes.jpg

jmm, Friday, 24 October 2014 01:58 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

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

http://i.imgur.com/o4OmD33.jpg

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 (seven months 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 (seven months ago) Permalink

wauwauwau congrats LBI

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

tytyty tracer :)

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 09:06 (seven months 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 (seven months 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 (seven months 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 (seven months 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 (seven months 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 (seven months ago) Permalink

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TabWFox1whw

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

You'll be there at a truly historic moment. So jealous.

Are you planning on staying in and around Barcelona or will you be able to travel around more (rental car?)?

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 09:21 (two months ago) Permalink

barcelona is the best. can drop a few restaurant recs in if that appeals. how far are you willing to travel in your two weeks? i am not so familiar with the places in the immediate vicinity of barcelona, more with the north or south. depending on what you're into, i would try to see madrid as well, personally. barcelona gets all the hype but madrid imo is not to be missed. many spanish cities have a very distinct character and culture though - that is what makes it such a great country in which to travel.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 19 September 2017 09:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Our habit is to just rent a car and take off somewhere... Definitely would like to go to San Sebastian and then loop around through Portugal and Andalucía and back up into Barcelona but really we're just letting ourselves wander around for a couple of weeks.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:19 (two months ago) Permalink

i've travelled that route before, i'd recommend it. vigo is v nice. a coruna too and gijon. it's quite a big gap from barcelona to san sebastien so you might want to think of stops along the way. never been to zaragoza but i'd be curious enough. same with pamplona. i dunno, i've ended up really enjoying some places others say are more backwatery, in spain.

biarritz across the border might be worth a day after san sebastien. it's a bit glitzy but it has its charms. bilbao is nice and v close to san seb. guggenheim etc. santander kind of boring imo but you would be passing through if you go along the north coast.

possibly not great weather this time of year, the north coast can be kind of rural and green, reminds me of ireland a little. there are some beautiful and affordable hotels on the cliffs outside gijon, with amazing views and nice paths along the sea into the town. (maybe a few miles' walk)

if you make it to porto the douro valley wine tours can be really good, a boat up the river and a lot of nice little stops along the way.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 08:47 (two months ago) Permalink

the pamplona old town is lovely to walk about and impressive with the citadel and cathedral, definitely worth a stop, and bilbao is obviously classic

ogmor, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 09:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, Pamplona, Bilbao (Guggenheim) and obv San Sebastian are great. Popping over to Biarritz is a good idea. Following the north coast from San Seb to Bilbao/Bermeo is a delight, wonderful scenery.

Ronan otm, it does look like Ireland at times. The climate makes it one of the greenest areas of Spain. In stark contrast with the heartland around Madrid.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Not to contradict any of the above, because it's all good advice, but Seville is one of my favourite places in the world and I will never stop recommending it.

Tim, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:07 (two months ago) Permalink

i love the south as well - can't disagree with that. and prob good weather in seville at the moment. malaga is underrated also, lovely little city.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:17 (two months ago) Permalink

Seville is beautiful. And so is Cordoba. And Ronda. Man, two weeks just isn't enough.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:42 (two months ago) Permalink

Absolutely love Bilbao. Santander is not too exciting from the little I've seen. My partner's family live nearby but we never go there. Smaller interesting places in that coastal vicinity that I'd personally recommend, moving east to west from Bilbao through Cantabria to Asturias... Castro, Santillana del Mar, San Vicente de la Barquera, Llanes, Ribadesella.

brain (krakow), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 13:41 (two months ago) Permalink

The “no” demonstration outside our hotel right now isn’t nearly as big as it looks on EuroNews. Probably should have read more Graham Greene books...

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 1 October 2017 13:40 (one month ago) Permalink

Not to contradict any of the above, because it's all good advice, but Seville is one of my favourite places in the world and I will never stop recommending it.

― Tim, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:07 (one week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes

passé aggresif (darraghmac), Sunday, 1 October 2017 16:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Video of La Femme at Dabadaba for mom tossed in kimchee:

https://vimeo.com/234219516

Peter Miller, Tuesday, 3 October 2017 06:22 (one month ago) Permalink

^^^god I would have loved to have seen that show! Alas, I could not make San Sebastian logistics work out :( Did a long weekend in Montreal instead, so no La Femme but at least *some* french!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 16 October 2017 02:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Not to contradict any of the above, because it's all good advice, but Seville is one of my favourite places in the world and I will never stop recommending it.

― Tim, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:07 (one week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes


^^^^ indeed. Spent a few weeks in the Alameda de Hercules (iirc) neighborhood last year and loved it. My kids loved the plaza and touristy stuff; city is very easy to walk and skate around, and the food rules like Pink Floyd. Took some weekend side trips to the Sierra south of Ronda, can’t remember the town names right now, but would highly recommend. Also great hiking and running and eating in the hills around Aracena, to the NW of Sevilla. Ugh thanks for bringing this up - wish I could go back rn!!

tobo73, Monday, 16 October 2017 02:21 (one month ago) Permalink


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