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Unsure of what cities to visit

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Hainesport, New...
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Unsure of what cities to visit


My wife and I are planning to visit spain for 12 nights in the middle of June. I am having a tough time deciding what areas of the country to visit and how much time to budget to each area. We are both late 20s and enjoy historic area as opposed to brand new city areas or luxury resort areas. We generally enjoy wandering about new places and taking in some local culture, and some good food/drink with some nice scenery. We don't spend too much time in art galleries or museums. We enjoy places/things that are off the tourist track. I wanted to take in some Moorish architechture/areas as well to mix things up and get a look/taste of something I've never seen in person before. My initial plan for cities to visit, based off of a few travel shows I have watched, and research on this site was well as wikitravel is as follows:

San Sebastian, Barcelona, Seville, and somewhere in the Costa del Sol (looking at marbella/malaga/estepona/mijas/ojen...maybe even sneak in Gibraltar if it looks like a good idea).

I was thinking of the following breakdown: 3 nights in San Sebastian, 4 nights in Barcelona, 3 in Seville, 2 in Costa del sol area.

Not sure if costa del sol is a good fit for me or not...based on input from you guys, maybe those 2 nights are better used spending longer in one of the other areas. Also, I did not initially plan on visiting Madrid. In your opinion, do you feel as though it is a worthwhile place to visit and take in, if I am visiting the other areas listed? I don't mind driving or taking the train...is train travel convenient/cheap in Spain? I just worry about air travel with losing bags/delays/missing a flight connection, etc and enjoy being able to take breaks when I choose or walking around the train car, etc etc.

I appreciate any and all input. Thank you!

Biarritz, France
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for Biarritz, San Sebastian - Donostia, Basque Country
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1. Re: Unsure of what cities to visit

Trains in Spain are excellent. They are provided by RENFE: http://www.renfe.com

Not sure about your other destinations but San Sebastian fulfils all of your needs.

Palma de Mallorca...
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2. Re: Unsure of what cities to visit

Spain's railway system is quite good, as the user above me already explained. You'll want to make sure that there are trains running between your cities of choice, as the rail network is not fully complete (yet).

As BiarritzTaxi said, it seems like San Sebastian is what you're looking for. Spectacular food, very unique culture and scenery, I'm sure it's well different from New Jersey. And even though it's been receiving more and more tourists in recent years, it's still a relatively unknown destination for foreigners.

As to the rest of destinations, you say that you want to take in some Moorish architecture, but you never mention the best place in Spain for that kind of stuff - Granada. I'd say forget about Sevilla and go to Granada instead. Or spend less time in Sevilla and San Sebastian and give Granada a couple of days. The town is, in my view, Europe's number 1 when it comes to Moorish architecture

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3. Re: Unsure of what cities to visit

I would skip Madrid and I think you are trying to pack in too much with all those places-- you will spend alot of your time in transit and don't forget a day to adjust from jet lag on arrival. It will be difficult to soak in local culture, if that is your objective. On your list, I have been to Madrid and Barcelona only. I would visit Barcelona and then just pick one other region: the Basque Country, Andalucia or further into the Catalonian countryside and coast.

Even though you say you don't spend much time in art galleries and museums, in Barcelona you MUST do the Gaudi sites in Barcelona! Nothing like them. Don't miss the Casa Botilio (sp?) and the Catalunya Music Palace (we went to a concert so didn't need the tour), and of course La Sagrada Familia. (La Pedrera is also a wonderful house, particularly the roof). I am more of a local culture, scenery traveler, too, but the excitement and creativity of these buildings is not to be believed.

We did two weeks solely in Catalonia: Barcelona and then La Garrotxa and Costa Brava. It was the perfect blend of city, country, culture, food, wine, etc. La Garrotxa was definitely off the beaten track, at least as a place to stay. We stayed at Mas Can Batlle in Santa Pau. Wonderful! Then, we moved on to two other hotels on the coast, not because we had to, but because I wanted to try them!

Edited: 7:07 am, April 17, 2013
Malaga, Spain
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4. Re: Unsure of what cities to visit

Seville is a wonderful city and full of amazing Moorish architecture but you might hate it in June. It is VERY hot there then. I visited in June once and got straight out of the place and went to Cadiz, where there are refreshing sea breezes (from the Atlantic). Granada is also a very good city for Moorish sites and suffers from the same heat problem during the day in summer. However the temperature in Granada drops by 20 degrees celsius at night, due to the proximity of the Sierra Nevada. Mornings in Granada can also be cooler. If you hire a car in Andalucia in summer, aircon is essential and that goes for hotels too. The temperatures on the north coast of Spain are much better in summer. Hope that helps.

Hermosa Beach...
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5. Re: Unsure of what cities to visit

You have just 12 nights and I don't think it's realistic to try to visit 4 different regions of Spain. I'd narrow this down by half. As another posted noted it will be very hot in Andalucia. If this is an issue you may want to visit the basque country and Barcelona or Madrid. You also need to consider the flights you're taking and I'd you need to be in a particular city your final night.

6. Re: Unsure of what cities to visit

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