Hello! This July my friends and I will be traveling to Spain, we have planned for 3 days in Barcelona then we have 4 days free before we need to be in Pamplona for the running of the bulls. I was wondering which place would be more worth while to visit: Seville or Madrid?
Either one is going to be way out of your way, but Seville will be farther. There are great things to do in both cities, but you can reach Madrid in just over two hours by fast train from Barcelona for about 40 euro if you book early enough. You would probably need to fly to Seville (and of course, back again to get to Pamplona).
I agree with Nancy. For your journey, Madrid will be the better choice. Think of a triangle, with Barcelona and Madrid being the base line. Pamplona is the apex. Seville will be way off the map. Word of caution. Do NOT run with the bulls...as glamorous as it may sound, it can be a very dangerous activity. It is NOT what you think it is. The streets are slippery, the participants highly intoxicated. This is from Spaniards I personally know who have been there. They have all advised they would not do it again..one even offered to show me his scar!!!.
For an excellent restaurant in Pamplona I will recommend that you contact Feli Colon at email@example.com. A personal friend of mine, she has a great menu of authentic dishes. I am unable to give you the name as it has escaped my memory. Write her direct and tell her that I have recommended it to you. I am sending her a copy of this email myself. H J Thomas, Jr.
Both cities definitely have plenty to see, and proximity is as good a way to choose as any. Madrid has the Prado and other world-class art musuems, the royal palace, tapas and churros, easy daytrips to Toledo, El Escorial, or Segovia, and more (see also Rick's At a Glance section for Spain).
I agree with the others; it'll be easier getting to Pamplona from Madrid than from Sevilla. And both cities have plenty to offer with four days (less actually counting travel).
Seville! Seville! Seville! Much more beautiful and interesting and cleaner. If you take the AVE train, it's a pleasant, fast and easy trip from Barcelona. A bit pricey, though. Best to buy tickets ahead of time.
madrid! someone mentioned cleanliness. i actually think madrid is a very clean big city. i ididn't think there was any difference from seville. i've been to madrid 3 times and never once thought it was dirty. other big cities like athens and rome gave me that feel but not madrid. i guess what you are looking for may help you make this decision.in madrid you will find interesting museums (prado, thyssen, reina sofia. see Guernica!!), the royal palace (i liked it more than versailles actually), lounge and people watch in plaza mayor, big tapas scene, lively nightlife if so inclined, make a great meal simply wandering through mercado san miguel and great shopping.
It will be very hot in both Seville and Madrid in July. Have you considered the Northern Coast of Spain or a smaller village on the Mediterranean? We are making a similar trip this July with Bilbao, San Sebastian and Barcelona. I love both Seville and Madrid, but as others have said, Seville is out of the way and Madrid is easier to reach. However, I would look into some smaller villages in the North as an alternative.
I'd go with Seville. Madrid is a modern (by European standards) city. It has no real historical significance and the main buildings aren't nearly as impressive as you will find elsewhere in Spain.
The fast train will take you to Seville through Madrid. Give yourself some time for the connection and walk three blocks to the Prado museum from Atocha station. The Prado is IMO the only must-see in Madrid.
Where are you staying in Pamplona? Prices and crowds are pretty drastic during San Fermin (a 60 euro room becomes a 300 euro room). If you haven't already booked something, I'd rent a car from Zaragosa, you can get there easily by fast train, to give yourself freedom to roam and get away from the crowds and stay in a nearby town. Highlights to me would be Olite (great castle there), between Zaragosa and Pamplona, and San Sebastian/Donostia (beach, seafood, and more relaxed nightlife).
When driving in Spain I skip the AP (toll) roads and use either the A or N roads (A is better than N). You lose a little time but not enough IMO to justify the tolls.
Afterward, you can drop the car in Zaragosa and fast train back to Barcelona, or wherever you need to get to.
Thanks for all the suggestions! I know it will be hot! Not something I'm completely looking forward to but we're already going to "beachy" areas and the friends I'm traveling don't want to go to "too many coastal areas".... Don't know why. In Pamplona we are booked with Contiki travels to make that not as hectic as planning on our own would be. For the most part we will be using prublic transportation only- my friends are also too paranoid to drive in foreign countries.
Thank you HJ for the restaurant recommendation! Told my friends about it and we've made plans to check it out!
I'll take the minority opinion. I agree with Brad above. Go to Seville! You will love it. I agree that the Museo del Prado is the only must see museum in Madrid. It is close to the Atocha train station that you use to take the high speed AVE train to Seville.
Seville is a wonderful city and the highlight of our trip to Spain. (We are actually still in Spain as I write this reply). Seville is beautiful. Go to the the old Jewish Quarter. (I don't know why the still call it that as the Jews were forcibly removed in like 1100-1200 AD.). The cathedral is magnificent as is the Alcazar. But, the real treat again is the Santa Cruz district (the old Jewish quarter). Take Rick's walking tour there. Be sure to stay close to the cathedral as Rick recommends.
I thought that I would like Seville, but it far exceeded my expectations. Yes, it wasn't as convenient as other locations for us either as we were also going to Pamplona and the Costa Blanca but again well worth it