my tip is: avoid Gibraltar
― Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:56 (six years ago) Permalink
go to the rock, get out
― teaky frigger (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 22:07 (six 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 (six years ago) Permalink
i went to goya's tomb, it was cool
― mizzell, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 23:25 (six years ago) Permalink
― teaky frigger (darraghmac), Wednesday, 25 January 2012 00:54 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six years ago) Permalink
― Aerosol, Friday, 10 February 2012 23:32 (six 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
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
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
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
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: 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 (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
Boy you werent kidding bout alhambra tix huh
― bob_sleigher (darraghmac), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:12 (five years ago) Permalink
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 (three years ago) Permalink
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 (three years ago) Permalink
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
tytyty tracer :)
― Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 09:06 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink
yes the roller coaster! bummed i didnt get to go on it.
― (•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:10 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one month 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 (one month 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 (one month ago) Permalink
i presume the city itself isn't the point of narbonne.
― FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:32 (one month ago) Permalink
tho that was all i had time to see.
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 (one month 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 (one month ago) Permalink
Could you hear the drums Fernando?
― he's one of our pwn (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:40 (one month 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 (one month 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 (one month 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 (one month ago) Permalink
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 (one month 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 (one month ago) Permalink