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Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

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New Jersey
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Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Need some help on a planned trip to Spain in Summer 2012.

My teen-aged son and I will be spending 4 nights in Madrid and 4 nights in Barcelona. I’m planning on taking AVE train in between.

Does anyone have any advice on the trip order in relation to ease of travel? I’d prefer to have the most difficult transit to/from the airport at the end of the trip, so if it’s easier to get into Madrid from the airport, I’d want to fly into Madrid and out of Barcelona. Or Barcelona then Madrid, if the opposite is true. Also planning to stop at Zaragoza on the train ride between, if that makes any difference in the travel order.

I’d appreciate any input!

MG

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Hola MG!

This is going to be a FUN discussion! (much better than crime and pickpocketing any day, LOL!)

I admit that I'm biased about Barcelona.

To satisfy your requirement of "most difficult transit at the END", I would elect to fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid. Barcelona's Aerobus is a no-brainer. You could do that with your eyes closed and becuz Barcelona is a very compact city, the Aerobus route bisects almost the entire city and stops/starts in the centre of town at Placa Catalunya.

www.aerobusbcn.com/index.php/en/lines.html

Madrid's Airport Express stops at only 3 places on the east side of this big city. Unless you are staying in a hotel nearby, you'll have to taxi/metro over to the Airport Express bus stop. Or take the metro all the way to the airport.

emtmadrid.es/lineaAeropuerto/horarios.html

HOWEVER, if I disregarded your requirement and considered the TIMING of your visit (Summer = HEAT), I would choose to start in Madrid and finish in Barcelona. You would have the beach to look forward to! Just the sight of all that blue water would cool me down! Nice ocean breezes sometimes too.

Edited: 29 September 2011, 22:17
Barcelona, Spain
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2. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Sorry to disagree with G_m... In my opinion, reaching the airport in Madrid is easier (and cheaper) than in Barcelona. In Madrid you have both direct "yellow" buses, local trains (new line reaching T4 started last week) and metro to the airport, for just 2€/person, so its difficult to be not close to some option when you're in the city centre. But in any case, both cities have excellent public transport options so there IMHO is not much of a difference.

A stop in Zaragoza in between is a great idea, Zaragoza is really a hidden gem! Again, it really does not matter in what order, you'll be arriving/departing from the same train station and trains are equally frequent in both senses.

In any case, traveling in Summer, I would leave Barcelona to the end too, for the same reason as said above :)

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3. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Marty:

I suggest two days in Zaragoza. There are many things to see there. Read the top questions in the Zaragoza forum.

Barcelona, Spain
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4. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

A night in Zaragoza wd be good (I'm a big fan too) but if get an early AVE train to Zaragoza and al ate one on to barcelona you could fit in the main sights (El Pila, la Seo and palace of Aljafería). there are lots of trains a day.

As to the order, i'd say check your flight options for the two variants first, see if there's a big price-difference and/or question of direct flights. Traditionally most transatlantic flights went to Madrid (so Barcelonans had to choose which airport to connect in and it might not have been Madrid on price, we flew BA several tines to Boston via london for example)

I know Continental flies from EWR direct to BCN but you may get a cheaper deal using aircanada via Toronto, for example now there are BCN-Toronto flights (my brother lives in PA near Trenton and both he and we have gone that route).

Barcelona is on the coast and is very humid in summer although slightly lower temps than Madrid (breeze in the evening here if you're lucky!); the beaches are urban beaches, and interesting to see the promenade etc but I wouldn't make the idea of a beach an important element of your choice (nor would I choose a hotel near the beach because it's a lot less convenient for other sightseeing

karachi
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5. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

G_m, Bel and Benny- Hola folks!….back home…down and out with a nasty bout of flu…no peace for the wicked!…ah, Zaragoza!….strategically located between Madrid and Barcelona and a very manageable AVE train journey from both points, this “hidden gem”(spot on, Bel!) cries out in anguish for both attention as well as appropriate projection…my five day visit, this September to the Aragonese Capital was a memorable one…perhaps not as visually striking as some of the ancient Spanish cities, Zaragoza nevertheless represents a multi-layered, multi-dimensional land of great historical pith….civilization upon civilization….fascinating, simply fascinating….from the magnificence of La Seo to the restrained baroque splendour of El Pilar; from the glory of those strikingly individualistic Mudejar bell towers of Santa Maria Magdalena, San Miguel de los Navarros and San Pablo to the majesty of the Aljaferia; from the treasures of the recently opened Diocesan Museum, housed within the Episcopal Palace to the breathtaking beauty of those stained glass lanterns(seeing is believing!) displayed in the equally stunning Iglesia San Pablo, to be paraded on the streets during the Rosario de Cristal procession; to the Caesaraugusta route, encompassing the ruins of the Forum, the Public Baths, the River Bed and the Theatre, Zaragoza unfolds a history-laden surprise at every turn and point…

Marty, do give Zaragoza a chance…you will never regret your decision…there is plenty to do and see to keep one occupied and enthralled for at least two days, as wisely recommended by Benny…G_m, make sure to include this destination to your 2012 itinerary!…

karachi
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6. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

www.europeantraveler.net/te-zaragosa.php

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Hola Darius and welcome back!

You had my full attention already at "...Mudejar bell towers", LOL! Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

PS. Very nice link in post #6!

Edited: 30 September 2011, 14:00
karachi
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8. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Thanks for the “welcome” G_m…for “sharing”, caring and “inspiring”….making all of us feel so special and appreciated on the forum…you have revitalized the Destination Expert tag…if only Chris had lived to see this day…you will love Zaragoza….would strongly recommend Teruel too…the town is magical….

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Simon Calder's "48 hours in Zaragoza" on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVs8mtc04Yw

New Jersey
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10. Re: Madrid & Barcelona - What order?

Thanks to you all for the advice & hijacking my question to talk about Zaragoza!!!

I'll fly out of Phila, with US Air which has direct flights to both Madrid & Barcelona, so price wise, either works. I was leaning towards Madrid first, so that sounds the way to go. And we will stop and spend the day in Zaragoza. As I'm traveling with my teenaged son, who will probably be less than bedazzled by "stained glass lanterns", I think a day trip is good. Although I do appreciate the poetry in your writing!

Thanks again!!

MG