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Art & Architecture Madrid, Seville, Barcelona

I am helping my married daughter, a Spanish teacher, put together a two week trip to Spain to immerse herself (and her husband) in Spanish culture, and specifically study well-known Spanish artists and architecture. She wants to start in Madrid for 5 days, take a fast train to Seville for 3 days, then train to Barcelona for 3 days. She hopes end the trip in Nice for 3 days, where they can take a train to visit Antibes for the Picasso museum there (day trip), and get a little R&R on the beaches of the French Riviera, unless it is too expensive to fly out of there. They would like to stay in small apartments or B&Bs. Anyone have a favorite?

They have to travel in July, since they both work in high schools, and will be on a fairly tight budget. Does anyone have any ideas here? Should they fly, not take trains? Are there too many towns? Should they forget Nice and just spend more time in the other three? What art museums are must-see for viewing works of Spanish artists? We know the big three in Madrid (Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia) but what else? I think not more than one museum a day is a good idea. They will definitely need down time. Is this schedule too much? Both have traveled internationally and to Europe, so are confident in their ability to get around.

Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Jan B

Posted by
4529 posts

Sounds like a great trip to me!

While in Madrid, they should do a daytrip to Toledo (or spend a night). Toledo has a rich mix of Moorish, Jewish and Catholic culture and architecture and lots of El Greco paintings. Segovia and El Escorial are also popular daytrip options from Madrid. With 5 days, they will want one or two side trips. They should definitely take in some flamenco performances in both Madrid and Sevilla. If they do several, they can get a mix of touristy shows and more artistic interpretations. While in Sevilla, a daytrip to Cordoba is a good idea to see the Mezquita. There is also a nice little museum to the artist Julio Romero de Torres there.

Barcelona has of course all of the Gaudi architecture and splurging for at least one of the two apartment house tours is a must (they are not cheap). Plus Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. By the Olympic Park is a reconstruction of Mies van der Rohe's Pavillion and the Miro Museum. There is also a Picasso Museum and a daytrip to Figueres offers the Dali Museum.

Nice is a good base for the Cote d'Azur and a bigger town. The beach is not that great but amazing beaches are short train rides away, as is Monaco. They could probably fly out of Marseilles or Milan.

Posted by
9363 posts

Douglas did a great job of outlining the options, so I will just comment on a couple of things. I would suggest a day trip to Segovia over one to Toledo if you have to choose. There is nothing like the Roman aqueduct, and there is much to see there aside from that. I am just not a dance person, so even one flamenco show would bore me silly. In answer to your later concern, I personally would stick with just the three cities and forget Nice. They have beaches in Barcelona and nearby towns that would be much easier to get to without a lot of travel time.

Posted by
9 posts

Jan,

The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is great. I visited it last year as a part of a Picasso in Barcelona walking tour operated by the Placa Catalunya Barcelona Tourist office. The 2 hour tour cost about Euro 18 or 19 per person and included admission to the Picasso Museum and a short (30 minutes) guided tour of the museum. The Museum is at the end of the tou, so you can stay there as long as you wish - until closing time.

Posted by
1244 posts

Art and architecture......
1) have they purchased plane tickets? If not, suggest using an open jaw ticket to fly into seville then out of barcelona. This will save time and should not add any expense to the flights. Recommend flying into seville and then take train to madrid and then train onto barcelona.
2) to save money for the train use the renfe site to purchase tickets. Renfe is the spanish train system. This site is difficult to use, but well worth the effort.
3) hostels may be the best answer for inexpensive accomodations. Today hostels are a far cry from the old image of cheap grungy one size fits all accomodations image.
4) suggest four days in seville w a day trip to ronda. Then to madrid for 3/4 days. Then to barcelona for remainder of trip. This will minimize train travel expenses. Barcelona does have excellent beaches for relaxation.
5) also suggest they strive to eat outside of the tourist zones where food prices are substantiaaly less expensive. A couple of blocks walk outside the tourist zones can make a huge difference, plus provide better exposure to the culture.
6) a big expense can be admission prices to museums/buildings, important to research days when admission is free.
7) of huge importance is for them to do extensive research into each city to gain knowledge and set priorities for visiting.

Our daughter fell in love with spanish due to the passion her high school spanish teacher imprinted on her. Soon she departs for her study abroad program in spain as part of her international marketing major w another major in spanish. So ask any question desired, and thanks for your daughters work!

Posted by
491 posts

I am also a Spanish teacher and absolutely love to visit Spain. It is always hard to narrow down the places to visit. Here are a few suggestions. If you go with the original Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona itinerary, forego Nice. Too far away and if you want beaches there are plenty much closer to Barcelona. Is she interested in Dalí? She could consider a daytrip to Figueres from Barcelona. Also I suggest a visit to Montserrat.

In Madrid I recommend Hostal Acapulco, a small hotel, not a youth hostel. It is well located, clean, comfortable and budget friendly. Also close to the metro. In Sevilla tell her to look at Hotel Maestranza.

Another suggestion is to eliminate Barcelona altogether and include Granada. In my opinion, the Alhambra is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and a must see site in Spain. She could then spend more time in Andalucía and consider some of the beaches there. She has enough days that she can do a daytrip to Segovia or Avila and as suggested, Toledo.