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Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

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ca
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Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

Hi everyone, we just got back from Spain about a week ago. Thanks for the brilliant advice! We visited Madrid (2 nights), Granada (1 night), Sevilla (4 nights) and Barcelona (2 nights). Yes, it was a fully packed trip! :) Thanks to TA, we managed to see/do a lot more than I initially thought possible.

The weather was pretty awful, and although we escaped snow, we met rain everywhere. Personally, I would recommend visiting Spain in spring/summer instead when you can enjoy the outdoors more. But all that being said, despite the rain, we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery in Sevilla/Granada, and the truly fascinating monuments/sights in all four cities.

Just an observation - to me, Madrid felt much more “Spanish”, while Barcelona felt more cosmopolitan or “international”. We enjoyed all four cities a lot, in different ways. Finally, I would advise that you should either love ham/pork, or research ahead of time on what you want to eat, and how to say it in Spanish : )

Instead of a full trip report in sentences, I’m listing below our most enjoyable experiences in each city with some comments. I’ll post this on the forum for all four cities. So, here goes:

Madrid

1. Royal palace (honestly, enjoyed the outside courtyard area more than the rooms inside), musician playing in the plaza, stunning sunset views (never made it to Temple Debod, would have liked to)

2. Casa Lucas (best tapas of our trip. Tasty yet not fried, and very different from any food I’ve ever had…maybe it was supposed to be “gourmet”?? We just picked the first two from the recommended list without knowing Spanish…)

3. Guernica at Reina Sofia (my favorite museum experience. Picasso’s sketches leading up to the creation of Guernica really helped me understand both his artistic process and the painting as a whole)

4. Las Meninas at Prado (the Sunday free line was crazy long starting an hour before the free time started. We opted to pay and just walk right in. Would advise waiting 30 mins past free time start if you want to go in for free)

5. Churros con chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines (we were jetlagged and went there at 6 am – fully packed and awesome!)

6. Sheesha bar right next door to San Gines (we went there the next night after churros. Tiny place, great drinks and teas, nice sheesha too)

One comment: Despite what the guidebooks say, it takes a ridiculous amount of stamina to visit Prado and Reina Sofia in one day. For us, adding Retiro Park on the same day (as planned) was just impossible.

Granada

1. Alhambra and views (No words. It’s amazing. If we loved it in the rain, I can only imagine how amazing it must be in mild sunshine.)

2. Sunset at San Nicolas (I think every tourist in the city was there! The sunset wasn’t great, unfortunately, because of the cloud cover. But the ambience was great)

3. Walking down the narrow streets from San Nicolas to downtown (really cool atmosphere. We heard someone praying from one of the house windows…)

4. Buying sweets from one of the convents (it’s right in front of the river)

Seville

1. Bakery Horno de San Buenaventura (yummy treats and little oasis during sightseeing. Right next to cathedral)

2. Alcazar (Everything, but especially the ridiculously beautiful room with the golden cupola. The underground pool was closed due to rains…)

3. Flamenco at Casa de la Memoria (the dancers were clearly up and coming performers not perfect experts, but their passion for flamenco was fantastic!)

4. Bullfighting arena (fun little tour)

5. Cathedral and climbing bell tower

6. New Year’s Eve in the town square (nothing crazy like a conga line forming :) But it felt great to be part of a large community counting down to midnight with grapes)

7. Plaza de Espana (the one sunny day, finally a lucky break! The photo opps are really great! Very pretty structure)

8. Las Teresas (Nice tapas. The server was wonderful and very sweet to us)

9. Italian dinner at a little restaurant near the cathedral (yes, I know this is a Spain forum. But seriously, this place served better food than a lot of the restaurants we went to in Italy!)

10. Shopping at Cortes Ingles

Cordoba (day trip from Seville)

1. Mezquita (Words fail. Just amazing. HIGHLY recommend going before 10 am. Entrance was free, we got to hear the church choir echoing throughout the building thanks to speakers, and by 11 am it was packed with tourists)

2. Just walking around the tiny streets

3. Lovely little lunch – menu del dia including gazpacho (forgot the name of the restaurant)

Barcelona

1. Pinoxto at boqueria (MUST go. Our favorite meal in Spain! We just asked him what was good and kept eating :) The fish was especially great)

2. Chocolates at boqueria (all the stalls offer high quality chocolate)

3. Magic fountains (Fantastic experience. Couples of all ages loved it, families with children loved it. We decided to forgo Casa Battlo and the Picasso Museum for this. And didn’t regret it – possibly because we had already spent a lot of time indoors at museums, cathedrals etc. during our trip)

4. Sagrada Familia (Very cool. Get tickets in advance for first morning entrance, and head straight to the elevators if you’re interested in going to the top. Personally I found the interior much more interesting than the teeny tiny spot on top, though the walk down the stairs was awesome/scary! Also, to be honest, I didn’t care much for casa mila where we went the day before Sagrada – guess I just didn’t get it)

5. Sardana dance (be there any time from 12 – 1. It was really nice to see). Separately, we really liked the Born district where we went for lunch right after. Reminded me of the village neighborhood in Manhattan with cool little bars/eateries and stores

6. Parc Guell (Nice, and the caves were fun, but would recommend going there not as a “sight” but as a place to picnic)

7. Bombas (meatballs) and crème brulee at Paco Meralgo. (Other tapas were nice but not noteworthy for us. The service was nice. The recommended battered/fried onions should be missed, unless you like fried food of course!)

Malta
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1. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

Nice trip but how did you go from one city to another?

ca
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2. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

We only took carryon luggage. Flight from Madrid to Granada, bus from Granada to Seville, day trip via train from Seville to Cordoba, flight from Seville to Barcelona

granvisconti@yahoo.c...
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3. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

The bombas @ Paco Meralgo are becoming "legendary"! (I will admit that they are part of my "Dream Menu" of dishes that I crave....)

San Diego
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for San Diego
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4. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

Thanks for writing your report!!! How did I miss the "bombas"???

My fave was the razor clams,definitely NOT fried!

Northampton, MA
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5. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

Thanks for the report. Yes! Casa Lucas is great, the chef must be brilliant and the food is not expensive. I love that place!

Big Island, Hawai'i
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6. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

I'm planning a trip to Madrid and Barcelona....can you tell me where you stayed in those cities? Thanks!

ca
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7. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

Hotel Plaza Mayor, which was fine. Small room, convenient location. Praktik Rambla apartment/hotel in Barcelona. It was nice, good location. No pool etc.

I can't really give a solid rec on the hotels because we barely stayed in them :)

queensland
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8. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

Thanks for a great trip report. We are going to all these places in May/June this year so I have printed it out to take with us.

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

hi,

my husband and i are going to the same places in May. :) thank you so much for your input.

we were thinking of madrid, AVE train to Seville, ??? we don't know how to get to Granada from Seville .. then Granada to Barcelona ...

we have to start at madrid and end at barcelona because we booked our flights.

any suggestions would be great ... :)

10. Re: Trip Report - Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Barcelona

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