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First time to Spain-Barcelona and?

Hello- I am travelling to Spain at the end of May for about 7-8 nights. Since it is our first time, we feel like Barcelona is a must, and have heard in order to do that city justice you should spend at lease 4-5 days. We would like to add another city to our trip and wanted some recommendations. Some options were Costa Brava (Tossa de Mar or Palemos), Valencia or Madrid. Any recs for spending 2-3 nights in one of these places? or another location for a couple nights?
Would love to do southern Spain Andalucia, but feel like that may be a trip on its own.

Posted by
552 posts

If you haven't bought plane tickets yet and could do an open jaw with Madrid, that would be my first suggestion. If you're already flying in and out of Barcelona, maybe Girona and Figueres area (you could include a Costa Brava diversion) or southwest on the coast to Tarragona? If you wanted to keep going that direction all the way down to Valencia by train, Madrid would be much closer due to the AVE connection.

Posted by
513 posts

Hi Lucille,

The big question is "Have you already purchased you air tickets?" If you have not purchased them yet, I suggest flying into Barcelona and out of Madrid. Then as early as you possibly can, get online to the Spanish rail site (RENFE) and buy a 2nd class ticket to Madrid. The Barcelona station is Sant and you would want the Madrid Puerta de Atocha station. It is less than a three hour trip, Buy your rail tickets as soon as you are sure of your dates. They are typically available 60 to 90 days out.

If, on the other hand you have already purchased air fare round trip to Barcelona, don't worry about it. You re still going to have a great time! I would suggest going by train to Zaragoza. It is a beautiful city with much o see ad do, including th not to be missed El Pilar church and many Roman sites. It is about a 90 trip from Barcelona Sant station. Zaragoza is worth one or two nights, even on the quickest visit. This leaves whatever time is left to visit Girona or a beach town.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks so much for the tips! I have not purchased tickets yet and would probably fly into Barcelona and out of another city. These are very helpful!

Posted by
2983 posts

Hi Lucille,
Barcelona is the capital of the region of Catalonia, a small patch of land, the size of Maryland that offers a wide variety of landscapes, from beaches of golden sand in the south, in Costa Daurada, to abrupt little coves in Costa Brava -beyond Tossa de Mar and Palamós- to impressive mountain ranges in the Catalan Pyrenees. If you're going to spend just a week or so in the area, I strongly recommend to look for stays in one of the many options within Catalonia -will save you unnecessary long travelling. While indeed 4-5 days is a bare minimum for visiting Barcelona, I'd suggest day escapades to other sites nearby, most easily reachable by public transportation, be bus be commuting train or fast trains.

SOME IDEAS FOR AN EXCURSION OUT OF THE CITY

GIRONA : http://infocatalonia.eu/w/aj5on
FIGUERES : http://infocatalonia.eu/w/gLjZv -note this and Girona are very close
SITGES : http://infocatalonia.eu/w/ibDWG
MONTSERRAT : http://infocatalonia.eu/w/lOODr
BESALÚ: http://infocatalonia.eu/w/2MR8p
TARRAGONA : http://infocatalonia.eu/w/IltXs
VIC : http://infocatalonia.eu/w/qtmGR
ROSES: http://infocatalonia.eu/w/P10rx
TOSSA DE MAR: http://infocatalonia.eu/w/AMRJo

or perhaps attending an event ( http://www.infocatalonia.eu/w/category/events/ ) or "festa major" ( http://www.infocatalonia.eu/w/2013/12/17/what-is-a-festa-major/ ) somewhere in the region can be another great option to immerse yourself in Catalan culture.

If you prefer more traditional text-based advice:
http://catalunya.com/ -Catalonia’s Tourism Agency
http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/ -Barcelona’s Tourism Agency
http://en.costabrava.org/ -Costa Brava Tourism Agency
http://www.baixemporda-costabrava.org/en/
http://www.lleidatur.com/ -Lleida and Pyrenees-Aran Tourism Agency
http://www.visitpirineus.com/ -Pyrenees-Aran Tourism Agency
http://www.turismeamposta.cat/en -Terres de l’Ebre Tourism Agency
http://www.bcn.cat/ -Barcelona City Council
http://www.girona.cat/turisme/eng/index.php -Girona City Council
http://www.tarragonaturisme.cat/ -Tarragona City Council

Lastly, if you prefer to spend a couple of nights away from the city, you could rent a car and visit the many small picturesque towns of Costa Brava: http://infocatalonia.eu/w/AioW1
Enjoy!

Posted by
7175 posts

I would recommend you immerse yourself in the cities of Barcelona and Madrid.
There is always something new to discover even for regular visitors.
Never mind excursions further afield, you are just wasting your precious time with travelling.
Stay central and walk, walk, walk.
Oh, and eat, eat, eat !!