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MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

Travel to Spain 

I've been thinking about going to Spain next June with my family and maybe spend 2 weeks there. A friend of mine suggested to fly in to Madrid, spend a few days there, then head to Sevilla (train?). Then from Sevilla drive towards Malaga then Granada. Then drive along the coast to Barcelona spending a few days in places along the way. Then fly out from Barcelona. Does this sound like a good plan? I still have almost a year to plan but I would like to hear suggestions.

Thanks
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 3 2015 17:11:35
 
crooksj5

 

Posts: 98
Joined: Jan. 7 2014
 

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

I will be very interested in this thread as well. I have been wanting to travel to Spain for a couple summers now...
Hopefully those who have been can shed some light on how to do it best especially the little things that some of us might not be aware of if never having been.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 3 2015 19:53:37
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3262
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

I think your itinerary in Spain is just fine. It will give you a good overview of various regions in Spain. Madrid with its great attractions, including the Prado; Seville, Malaga, and Granada for Andalucia; and Barcelona could be a two-week visit in itself and is a world apart. Do not miss the architectural wonders of Antoni Gaudi, including the cathedral Sagrada Familia. And I believe Torres's original papier mache guitar is in Barcelona's Museu de la Musica.

My only concern would be two weeks might not be enough time for such an ambitious itinerary. I like to spend some quality time when I visit a place and probably would cut down on my itinerary if I only had two weeks. Given your itinerary, however, I think I would shoot for three weeks.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 3 2015 22:04:01
 
tele

Posts: 1455
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

Jerez is 1 hour from sevilla by train and cadiz is 2.5h. I personally would skip madrid and fly to sevilla, from there it's possible to take a train all the way to Jaen, see the train map for more details

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 3 2015 22:29:07
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to tele

Well, it is a family trip and Madrid and Barcelona are a must, I think. Most people tell me they prefer Barcelona over Madrid. That Madrid is a big city, kind of similar to going to New York. I'm not sure about that... From what I've read the 4 cities I would like to visit are Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona. I'm not sure how to do it efficiently in 2 weeks. I still have time to research it. Maybe go by train Madrid-Cordoba- Granada-Sevilla. Maybe fly from Sevilla to Barcelona?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 3 2015 23:35:47
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

Your itinerary is very close to mine when I went to Spain:
Madrid - Sevilla - Malaga(Rhonda) - Granada - Sevilla
I ended up not making it to Granada and just went straight back to Sevilla because I was tired of packing up all my crap and resettling down. If your not bothered by the actual travel part of travel get to Granada, otherwise you may be trying to do a lot in 2 weeks.
Madrid - very cool place, Casa Patas is a truly world class tablao, check their calendar before you get tickets to be sure you see the best show possible. Madrid is great big European city sight seeing. Great subway system there.
Sevilla - hands down my favorite, many great tablaos to see flamenco, very old feel to the city which was cool. It's small, which I liked, you can basically walk the perimeter in a day if you wanted to but there is TONS to eat see and do.
Malaga - Didn't go to the city of Malaga but I've heard it's a beautiful Mediterranean beach city, not sure how much flamenco you'll see. It's around but you may have to look a bit before you go.
Granada - I still gotta go, it's gorgeous, the Alhambra, Sacramonte, just look at the pictures of it.
Jerez - This is certainly the most "flamenco" city but if you don't know someone there I don't know how much flamenco you're going to be able to catch.
I took a plane from Madrid to Sevilla and a bus to Rhonda, I found traveling around Spain to be easier than traveling around my own home town of LA.

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 3 2015 23:37:18
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3262
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

quote:

From what I've read the 4 cities I would like to visit are Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona. I'm not sure how to do it efficiently in 2 weeks.


If there were four cities to visit in Spain, I think you've got them nailed. I sometimes think Foro members are too narrowly focused on flamenco when they think of visiting Spain. If one's focus is strictly flamenco, one should stick to Andalucia and forget the rest. If one wants to experience Spain, however, Madrid and Barcelona are not to be missed. Yes, Madrid is a big city, but historically, and today, it has been, and is, one of the great European capitals. And if you have an interest in art, the Prado is not to be missed. I have sung the praises of Barcelona in my previous comment.

My takeaway is this: If you just want to experience flamenco, stick to Andalucia. If you want to experience Spain, keep Madrid and Barcelona on your itinerary.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 0:18:54
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to Leñador

Leñador: maybe I should limit the trip to Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona. Granada if possible. That is a good point about packing and unpacking, especially with 2 kids. I imagine that taking a 10 yo and 14 yo to tablaos or flamenco shows is ok. They both like the music, and my daughter enjoys the music and dance.

BarkellWH: My wife and I have never been to Spain. We are interested in experiencing Spain. Flamenco is my interest mainly. She is an interior designer and artist, so definitely museums and architecture are of great interest.

Thanks all for your help and advice. Anybody else feel free to add to the conversation.

Best way to get from city to city? Train? Is a car recommended or should I stick to public transportation and walking?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 1:24:32
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1799
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

quote:

ORIGINAL: MikeC
Best way to get from city to city? Train? Is a car recommended or should I stick to public transportation and walking?

Spain also has some amazing countryside, the Pyrenees, the Picos de Europa etc etc. You'd need a car to explore the wilds.

But for a city trip of 2 weeks? I once drove from Montpellier (France) to Albufeira (Portugal) with my wife and 2 kids. It took us 3 days, had they been older 2 very long days might have worked. But why not take things easy and take a train?

One thing I remember from that trip was the cost of flamenco CDs in gas stations getting lower and lower as we approached Andalucia.

_____________________________

Ay compañerita de mi alma
tú ahora no me conoces.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 5:22:05
 
edguerin

Posts: 1558
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

quote:

"How lazily the sun goes down in Granada, it hides beneath the water, it conceals in the Alhambra!"
Ernest Hemingway


quote:

"Dale limosna mujer,
que no hay en la vida nada;
como la pena de ser
ciego en Granada."

Francisco A. de Icaza


'nuff said. Granada is a must!

_____________________________

Ed

El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 7:50:15
 
Escribano

Posts: 6273
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

quote:

I've been thinking about going to Spain next June with my family and maybe spend 2 weeks there. A friend of mine suggested to fly in to Madrid, spend a few days there, then head to Sevilla (train?). Then from Sevilla drive towards Malaga then Granada. Then drive along the coast to Barcelona spending a few days in places along the way. Then fly out from Barcelona. Does this sound like a good plan? I still have almost a year to plan but I would like to hear suggestions.


Hi Mike,

Having lived in Granada province and traveled extensively around Spain, here are my thoughts.

Time of year is important, mainly because of the heat. Temperatures in the South average around 95˚ in July and August and even higher in some cities like Seville. Air conditioning is not ubiquitous. Walking around in that heat is punishing so you will end up indoors between noon until 7:00pm, at least. On such trips, I use these hours to drive, in an air-conditioned car, to my next stop. May, early June and September are better options. Kids are back to school, fewer tourists and prices are lower. The Spanish evacuate the city in August.

If you are after some flamenco, then try to include a major flamenco fiesta in your itinerary or you may be struggling to find anything worthwhile (depending on the day of the week etc.). Flamenco does not throw itself at you (whatever else you may read). It has to be sought out and it is not always very rewarding. A fiesta like the Fiesta de la Bulería in Jerez (September) is an awesome way to experience flamenco.

The route from Granada to Barcelona is across country and then parallel to the coast by freeway mostly - with tolls as you approach the Costa Brava - which can add up. Driving that distance on alternative roads would be a long, slow haul. The coast is beautiful but I would recommend picking a destination and heading for it in that area. It is better to book something in advance - especially with kids.

1. Madrid - never been outside of the airport, but I have heard good things about it for tourism. Probably makes the most sense for direct flight and car hire - I would recommend the major hire companies - Avis is good. Make sure they do drop-offs at your final destination, preferably the airport. Of course, you could get the fast train to Seville as has been mentioned and pick up a hire car there. You will see ads for cheap, local car hire but avoid at all costs - crappy cars, terrible service, miles from arrivals in a stinky bus. SatNav is a must-have but make sure it is a good one (recent updates etc.) not some stick-on TomTom from 2001 - you will need it to find your hotels. One consideration is that is will probably be cheaper to buy return air tickets to Madrid than returning from Barcelona. Madrid is better served by the International carriers.

2. Seville - is quite a city and very beautiful, but watch the heat (as mentioned), it is the hottest city in Spain in the Summer.

3. Jerez is not what I would call a vacation destination compared to other places - outside of flamenco and especially outside of major events. There is plenty of flamenco resources, teachers, classes and peñas there for the aficionado.

4. Cadíz - well worth stopping over.

5. Gibraltar - just weird, but you'll get a kick out of it.

6. Malaga - it's an urban dump outside of the old town. I would suggest driving from there along the Costa del Sol (horribly packed with ex-pats) but it leads to the Costa Tropical and up to Granada. Stop off in La Herradura for lunch by the sea. Call on Stephen Hill (a luthier on the forum). It's a dramatic freeway along the coast and then up into the hills to Granada but you should get off and check out the valleys and hills in the shadows of the Sierra Nevada. My old home, Lecrín Valley, is a quite beautiful drive through some typical pueblos blancos. Oranges, lemons, walnuts, figs, olives, almonds, you name it.

7. Granada as mentioned. You won't regret it from your first sight of the place, nestled in the mountains, perhaps as you drive over El Suspiro Del Moro on the autovia.

8. Cordoba - 2 hours from Granada. The Mezquita alone is worth the trip but I also found it very hot - no breeze in the narrow streets.

9. Barcelona - I have been many times (mostly on business) and would not seek it out on your trip. The city is large and laid out in long, wide avenues (by Haussmann). It is hot and busy with no natural soul for me, especially on foot. As it is way North of flamenco country, I might consider ending my trip there, taking in the Costa Blanca as you suggest - Figueres to the North is worth a trip for the Dali Museum. Port Lligat (Dali's home) and Cadaques are also very nice coastal towns. Further south on the Costa and you are going to run into us Brits on cheap holidays, which you do not want to do. I generalise, of course, but you get the idea. I have been going to that coast since 1968.

You could easily drive from Seville to Jerez, Cadiz to Gibraltar, Malaga and on to Granada - it's a long haul from there to the Costa Brava and Barcelona.

I think that's about it, but I would probably recommend staying in the South and maybe taking in a bit of Portugal instead of Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 11:34:12
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to Escribano

Thanks Simon! Thanks for taking the time to write such a useful post. Due to the school schedule my time frame is June-August. I was shooting for early June. As for the weather, I don't enjoy hot weather but being from Panama (hot and humid) and living in South Florida (hot and humid), I think we can handle it.

From what you are saying and from looking at the map, this is what I'm thinking:

Fly into Madrid (3 or 4 nights) ---train to Cordoba (maybe stay 1 night)---next day train to Sevilla(stay 3 nights) while in Sevilla, rent a car and drive to Cadiz and spend the day---drive to Granada from Sevilla (stay 2 or 3 nights). I have a few days left...Drive towards Barcelona?

or the other choice: Stay in Madrid 3-4 days. Rent a car and drive to Toledo--Cordoba--Sevilla--Cadiz--Granada--back to Madrid. And leave Barcelona out.

I kind of like the idea of driving because you get to see the countryside and stop at little towns along the way. Spanish is my native language so I have no problems communicating with people outside of metropolitan areas.

It is ambitious for 2 weeks I know. Tough decision.

Mike
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 14:07:59
 
Escribano

Posts: 6273
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

Sounds good. Yeah, I would save Barcelona for another trip, it is 'out of your way'. Driving is great because you can change your mind anytime you want. You can book accommodation ahead every day on Tripadvisor and get some great last minute deals.

Early June is perfect and it's not at all ambitious. I just drove through 10 countries & principalities in Europe in two weeks with plenty of time to stop and explore.

Just buy a cheap cooler and some ice from Carrefour - stick in some drinks, some barras, tomatoes, jamón and manchego and you have got a great picnic for little money. There are plenty of rest areas on the freeways (aires).

Also hire a diesel car; the prices should be lower than gas (super) and better mileage but check before you book.

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 15:06:53
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3152
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

Last time I was in Spain was in early June a couple of years ago. Flew from London to Madrid, took the train to Granada. It was hot--and I'm from Texas.

Sevilla is much hotter than Granada.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 19:25:29
 
Escribano

Posts: 6273
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Yep, I've been all over and even worked in the Congo, but Andalucía gets ****ing hot. It's not just the temperature but the heat index. If it blows in from the Sahara, those are not good days. Get thee to the coast!

In Granada I found it most disagreeable from around June 25th to mid-September. My Jeep Cherokee literally fell to bits standing in the street - modern adhesives just gave up.

We could ask Anders but he is in Northern Europe for the Summer.

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 20:54:06
 
MikeC

Posts: 79
Joined: Mar. 19 2015
From: Panama (living in South Florida)

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to Escribano

You guys are scaring me with the heat. I just checked with my wife and the earliest we can get there is June 13th. We may be able to do 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. But if it is as unbearable as you describe it during that time....it makes me rethink this idea. Hot weather puts me in a bad mood!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 4 2015 23:43:10
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

When I was there it was about 100 degrees, it's a totally dry heat so it seemed pretty bearable to me, felt just like LA. A couple weeks ago I was in Mexico and it only hit 87 and because of the humidity it was completely unbearable, I didn't even go outside between 10:00am and 8pm. If you are from Panama and now live in Florida I think you'll be able to handle Sevilla just fine.

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2015 0:03:29
 
tele

Posts: 1455
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

June should be fine(especially in the coast) but july and august can be hot as hell!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 5 2015 17:40:04
 
gbramer

 

Posts: 15
Joined: Jun. 5 2014
 

RE: Travel to Spain (in reply to MikeC

Hello!

I just got back from a long stay in Madrid this morning and an overnight to Segovia - which was excellent. Highly recommend that. I have traveled a lot, and Madrid has shot up there in my list of favorite cities, having stayed there for a whole week (normally i'm rushing about) please do visit it for a few days or more, especially with family.

I can give you infinite good food/drink recommendations for Madrid, I was really blown away by the quality of basically every establishment I set foot in food and drink wise - incredibly cheap too (perhaps the euro will have bounced back though when you go) - no comparison to eating in often drab central London, sourcing/cost/fun factor was surprising. We didn't' scratch the Michelin/posh restaurant scene - genuinely didn't seem worth it given the quality you could get for fifteen euros a head But you probably aren't that asking here for bar/restaurant tips (but if you are, let me know and i'll come up with a list).

Madrid flamenco wise, august is a bad month (lots of shops shut for the whole month etc) but June should be fine - check out pena duende and this article http://www.madridchow.com/blood-sweat-and-gypsy-tears-five-best-flamenco-bars-and-the-best-flamenco-show-in-madrid/ (the whole site is great). For some pointers. I picked up a good monthly listings magazine in english and spanish for flamenco across all of spain (and france!) (from pretty much the only open pena in august - taberna candela) - which i'm sure is online somewhere. The tablaos run all year, and there seemed to be some amazing venues (vila rosa etc), we just went to one though.

I've been to most of the other cities mentioned - but briefly - nothing to add to the comments above!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 10 2015 19:47:32
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