Hi - I am planning a 10 - 12 day tour of Spain. Can someone tell me the recommended cities that I should plan to visit ? Any specific recommendations for the tourist attractions within Spain ?
These cities would likely be high on most visitors lists of places to see:
Madrid - The Capital with the Prado Museum, Plaza Mayor, Puerta de Sol, Royal Palace, Park Retrio.
Barcelona - with all things Gaudi - Sagrada Familia, The various buildings designed by him, the sea side, the Cathedral.
Toledo - Prehistoric, Jewish, Moorish, Christian, all built on top of each other... El Greco's paintings, Its Cathedral.
Segovia - the Alcazar, the acqueduc
Granada - The Alhambra
Seville - The connection with Columbus and America.
Others of note:
Bilbao with the museum
Zamora - off the tourist track, but most interesting
Avila - Best preserved city wall in Europe
Salamanca - University and its buildings
I have made many trips to the fascinating country and find something new on each visit. The country and the people are most welcoming.
Recommend highly the book, The Moon Guide To Spain.
Hi. My family and I were in Spain for 12 days earlier this year. It was a great trip. We flew in and out of Madrid. We spent the first four days in Madrid, but one of them was taken up by a day trip to Toledo. I would have liked to spend the night in Toledo but it just didn;t fit with our plans. From Madrid we took the train to Seville, from Seville to Granada and then back to Madrid. We loved every stop. I think Seville was the highlight for us. We stayed in the Santa Cruz district which just had a wonderful atmosphere. If you are budgeting time I would not stay in Granada more than a couple of days. Better, I think, to add one of the other recommended stops. We spent the last couple of nights back in Madrid, relaxing and enjoying the city.
If you are interested in specific recommendations for hotels, please feel free to contact me privately
Here's Rick's Spain page, which should get you started: http://www.ricksteves.com/europe/spain
While Spain is only 1/6 the size of India, it's still a big place to cover in just 10-12 days. Any time spent traveling between cities will take away from time in those cities. On 2 trips with 2 weeks or more each time, we visited just the southern part of Spain (including Granada, Ronda, and Sevilla) on one trip, and just the northern part (including Madrid, Bilbao, Girona, and Barcelona) on another trip. There is still much more we haven't had a chance to visit.
Parts of Spain can be covered by very fast AVE trains, and other parts by trains that aren't as fast, or by bus. You can also rent a car. Also, fast and relatively inexpensive flights let you fly to some destinations within Spain - check out Vueling Airlines at www.vueling.com .
If you like European and North American art, in Madrid, in addition to the outstanding Prado Museum mentioned earlier, Madrid also has the excellent Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with 8 centuries of art, and the Reina Sofia Museum for modern art. The Guggenheim Musem in Bilbao has modern art, too, and is noted for its amazing building.
I spent 30 days in Spain and wished I had twice the time - there is so much to see and do.
The first decision is whether to go north or south. You don't have time for both but could do a nice circle in one or the other in 12 days. I'd choose based on your time of year. If you're traveling spring, fall or winter, go south. If you're traveling in summer, you want to stay north. What dates were you thinking?
If you can, April is a good time to go. Both Semana Santa (Easter Week) and Seville's April Fair are tremendous cultural experiences.
Below are some suggestions for too quick trips (but all you have time for):
For a ten day south trip. I'd include Granada 3 nights, Seville 2 nights, Ronda 1 night, Jerez 1 night, and Cordoba 1 night. I'd also try to add in Gibraltar, stay in Tarifa (add Tangiers if you want) 2 nights. Best places to fly in and out of are Granada and Seville. I'd bus almost all of these (maybe train to Cordoba from Sevilla), they're cheap, comfortable and convenient.
For a 12 day north trip, I'd fly into Barcelona stay 3 nights (not really enough but all you have time for). Fast train to Zaragosa and pick up a rental car. Drive north to Olite castle, stay in Pamplona 1 night (good for a fairly quick look around), stay in San Sebastian (Donostia to the locals) 1 night, Burgos 1 night, Valladolid 2 nights (see castles in area Coca, La Mota, and Penafiel), Salamanca 1 night, then drive by Avila, stop in Segovia (four good hours to see aquaduct and castle, and walk between), and end your day in Toledo, stay in Toledo 2 nights and fly home out of Madrid. Don't waste much time in Madrid, it's a new city and doesn't have the history, architecture, or culture of the rest of Spain (Prado museum is one of the best though). If that's too much, you could fly in and out of Madrid and spend longer on the circular route saving Barcelona for another trip (pity though, Barcelona is a great stop).
Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona. So much to do, safe walkable city, tons of amazing architecture that you see as you walk around. And if you have not yet seen the Mediterranean---this is your chance.
You have enough links and advice to get you started.
Thanks everyone - for great advice and recommendations.