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First trip to Spain - where to start?

Arlington, Virginia
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First trip to Spain - where to start?

Planning my first trip to spain, will be traveling with my nephew next summer. I don't know where to start, so I'm hoping you can give me Barcelona in a nutshell.

We are planning on mid-June to mid-July, probably 8-12 days in all. We are planning to spend four nights in Barcelona - is this just right, to much, or not enough?

Looking at hotels, I've been finding that earlier July is cheaper at some. I am looking for a five-star hotel in a central location where we can walk to most tourist locations. I have been looking at the Palace Hotel and Hotel Arts Barcelona. Any advice on either? I am just beginning to look, so if there are any other five-star hotels in a better location that you would recommend, please let me know!

I would also love your suggestions on things to do with my nephew (he will be 18) and restaurants that you would recommend. He is studying his fifth year of Spanish, and my graduation gift for him is a trip to Spain, since he is fluent in spanish and can serve me well as a translator. I am hoping to get a local feel for most places we visit, while still seeing the tourist "must-sees"

Another side question - we are thinking of driving from Granada to Barcelona by means of a rental car...would you suggest stopping in Valencia to break up the travel and take a more scenic route rather than mainland? Or is there good public transportation between the two? We are looking to fly into Madrid, go to Granada, maybe then Valencia, then Barcelona, then back to Madrid to fly out (spending a few days in Madrid, of course, as well).

Any and all advice is appreciated! Thank you so much!

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Traverse City...
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1. Re: First trip to Spain - where to start?

Sounds like it will be a wonderful trip, but you sure have a short amount of time to make it circular rather than open-jawed. I would look at flying into Madrid, then out of Barcelona - or vice -versa. For us, 4 nights in B was perfect, but I would definitely recommend flying Barcelona-to Granada (or, again, the reverse). You don't seem to have enough time to spend 2 whole days driving around from one city to the next...or even one if you change it to open-jaw. Best of luck - It will be a fine and unforgettable graduation present!

Adelaide, Australia
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2. Re: First trip to Spain - where to start?

I agree, check for a multi city airticket, fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid

www.barcelonaturisme.com

Fly Barcelona to Granada www.vueling.com

www.andalucia.com/cities/granada.htm

Tickets for the Alhambra www.granadainfo.com/alhambra

Train Granada to Madrid www.renfe.es

www.madrid-tourist-guide.com

Accommodation www.venere.com

www.spain.info

On the respective destination pages "Top Questions" you will find more information for your visit to Spain

London, United...
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3. Re: First trip to Spain - where to start?

If you do travel by car from Valencia to Barcelona you go up the coast road and through the Costa Azahar. This area is a Spanish holiday area and will give your nephew a better place to practice than the tourist cities . You can visit Peniscola the home of the second Pope in the 14 C and location of "El Cid" or the walled mountain city of Morella and rice fields of the Ebre Delta

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: First trip to Spain - where to start?

Here is my timeline...

Fly into Madrid in the PM on Jun 26 and pick up a rental car. Drive to Toledo and spend the night there, exploring in the afternoon of 26 and morning of 27.

Leave Toledo a little before noon and drive down to Granada. Spend two nights. Leave June 29.

Drive to Valencia (this is the longest drive I'm planning) and return the rental car when I get there. Spend two nights (leaving Jul 1)

Take the Renfe to Barcelona (high-speed rail, takes less than 3 hours). Spend 4 nights in Barcelona and depart on July 5 for Madrid by train

5. Re: First trip to Spain - where to start?

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