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Trip List by clouisep

A week in Spain!

Jul 17, 2007  Our first European vacation!
4.5 of 5 stars based on 8 votes

A driving vacation in Spain visiting Avila, Madrid, Segovia, Pamplona and Barcelona.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Avila, Segovia, Madrid, Pamplona, Barcelona, Catalonia
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Never been before
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Families with teenagers, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Summer
  • 1. Avila
    Avila, Province of Avila

    After picking up our rental car at the Madrid airport, we took the 1 hour drive to Avila to see the famous walled city. It was beautiful and quiet...and we visited for about 1 hour. I wish we could have stayed longer - the weather was perfect, but we needed to drive to Segovia to check in to our hotel. Lots of great little cafes and bars.

  • 2. Segovia
    Segovia, Province of Segovia

    What a wonderful town! Just the right amount of relaxation, nightlife, history and sightseeing. The souveniers are by far the BEST we encountered in Spain and at great prices. The cathedral of Segovia is beautiful, especially at night. The tour of El Alcazar is definitely worth the trip and the Roman acqueduct is an amazing feat of engineering. I purchased a beautiful oil painting from a local artist that is a wonderful rememberance of Segovia.

  • 3. Infanta Isabel Hotel
    Infanta Isabel Hotel, Segovia, Province of Segovia

    A MUST (IMO) stay if you choose to come to Segovia. The views of Plaza Mayor and the cathedral cannot be beat! The price is very reasonable as well. Very large rooms by European standards.

  • 4. Alcazar
    Alcazar, Segovia, Province of Segovia

    A beautiful castle which for us Americans, we will recognize as the inspiration for Disney's "Cinderella's Castle". The view of Segovia from atop Torre Juan is lovely, but the climb up the steps is pretty strenuous!

  • 5. Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)
    Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid

    A one hour drive from Segovia, we started our day in Madrid at Palacio Real. Amazing, beautiful, impressive...definitely see the Palacio Real. I would suggest the audio tour as there is a lot to see and the written explanations are quite brief.

  • 6. Plaza Mayor
    Plaza Mayor, Madrid

    A great place for lunch or a light snack. Lots of street artists and wonderful shopping as well. We enjoyed our walk through here and lunched at Museo de Jamon on jamon bocadillos.

  • 7. Prado Museum (Museo del Prado)
    Prado National Museum, Madrid

    Although we are not "arties" by any stretch, the masterpieces in this museum are not to be missed. We used the "Dummies Guide to Spain" cheat sheet which identified the most important works in the museum...that was most helpful and helped us direct our attentions. Velazquez's Las Meninas is a MUST.

  • 8. Plaza Del Toros
    Plaza Monumental de Toros de las Ventas, Madrid

    Immense! I've never seen such a huge structure, especially for bullfighting! Bullfights are only on Sundays, so we did not partake, but just seeing the structure itself was amazing.

  • 9. Pamplona
    Pamplona, Navarra

    We drove 4 hours from Segovia to Pamplona to partake in the festival of San Fermin, also know as the Running of the Bulls. What an amazing experience! A party like you've never seen! My husband ran while I watched safely from a balcony. If you can splurge on renting a balcony spot, please do!

  • 10. Holiday Inn Express - Pamplona
    Holiday Inn Express Pamplona, Pamplona, Navarra

    A great hotel away from the madness of downtown Pamplona during San Fermin. A short bus ride took us to and from the center of town for only 1 euro each way. The hotel had ample parking and a complimentary breakfast. They also gave us red kerchiefs to wear for the festival! Rooms are small, but very clean and windows open for fresh air. Closet space is quite limited, but we were not staying very long. Very affordable as well, compared to the downtown hotels at that time.

  • 11. Barcelona

    A five hour drive from Pamplona and we reach Barcelona. A big city...a little bigger than we expected as it felt much like NYC. Amazing architecture for sure, and plenty to keep you busy for days on end. It was not our favorite city in Spain, but it was a place we had to see. Lots of tourists and too many tourist-trappy shops and restaurants for our liking. The souvenier shopping was MUCH better in Madrid and Segovia (for authentic Spanish items).

  • 12. Manzana de la Discordia (Apple of Discord)
    Manzana de la Discordia (Apple of Discord), Catalonia, Spain

    This block of uniquely stylized buildings is most amazing. Great for pictures, and unlike any buildings you will see elsewhere in Spain. Gaudi's influence and projects are ALL over Barcelona.

  • 13. La Pedrera - Mila House (Casa Mila)
    La Pedrera, Barcelona

    Take the tour through this apartment block building designed by Gaudi. The building still holds permanent residences - and the model apartment is stylized as if a family was living there in the 1920's. The roof terrace has wonderful views and one can appreciate the details that Gaudi puts into his work.

  • 14. Guell Park (Parc Guell)
    Park Guell, Barcelona

    If you can handle the almost unbearable walk to this park....please go. The 360 degree view from atop Tres Cruces is beautiful (on a clear day). This park was originally designed for the weathly, before the project was abandoned. The mosaic details are exquisite and the famous "salamander" is a great spot for pictures. Be sure to look at the subway map and get off at the location NEAREST to the park - this route provides escalators to get up to the top and you will actually enter at the rear entrance of the park...otherwise the VERY LONG uphill walk will have you cursing!

  • 15. Church of the Sacred Family (Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia)
    Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

    Ugly or beautiful? It is up to you to decide. At the very least it is quite impressive. Shocking to know it is still under construction even after Gaudi died in 1926. Even more impressive is that the project is funded purely on donations.

  • 16. Las Ramblas
    Las Ramblas, Barcelona

    A strange assortment of vendors (they sell birds, guinea pigs, turtles and t-shirts). Tourist-trappy restaurants, but a really wonderful market. Worth the stroll, but don't get caught by the high prices at the cafes and shops.

  • 17. Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso)
    Museo Picasso, Barcelona

    As a fan of Picasso, I loved this museum. My husband on the other hand....not so much. I truly enjoyed seeing the progession of Picasso's work through the years and his interpretation of Velazquez's Las Meninas is quite impressive.

  • 18. Parc de la Ciutadella
    Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

    A beautiful park near Meseu Picasso...La Cascada (the fountain) also designed by Gaudi is very impressive, although the water was not flowing when we visited. Strangely too, there is a statue of a wooly mammoth inside the park as well.

  • 19. National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d`Art de Catalunya - MNAC)
    Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya - MNAC, Barcelona

    We did not visit the museum inside but rather went to view the stunning palace and the Font Monjuic. The fountain only is on at night, accompanied by a light show. We took the escalators to the top of the palace. It really is beautiful, and more great views of the city. Nightime is probably the best time to visit.