Spain

My husband and I have 15 days for Madrid and Barcelona (with probably Toledo and Segovia). We are trying to decide on how many nights in Madrid and how many in Barcelona. We will be renting apts. in both cities but we are uncertain about time allocation for the 2 weeks. Any thoughts?

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1358 posts

hi, i guess you can wing it that way. i try to figure out what i want to do/see so i know how much time i will need. However theres nothing wrong with the back wards approach. You may want to get a copy of RS SPain book or not. it could give you ideas on things to do/see. you can also use other peoples books/guides/maps and such. theres also google too or your fav web browser. If you want people (us) to just start throwing out recommendations, we can do that too. If you want more specific, something that YOU may like, it would help if you could give us some hints on what you like or not. happy trails.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

Personally, I am more of a Madrid fan than a Barcelona fan, but not everyone feels the same way. Madrid offers more choices for easy side trips than Barcelona does. Since you plan to rent apartments you really can't wing it, as Ray suggests, since you have to make those arrangements in advance. Take a look at a few guidebooks to get ideas for what you might like to see, then look at www.viamichelin.com to see how far they are from either city (are you renting a car, or using public transportation?).

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1358 posts

@ Nancy, in my opinion (imo) they can "wing it" if they have chosen and reserved their lodging already. They way i see it, and you and others may agree or not, is that they may end up having less or more time on their hands to do/see things. happy trails.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

Because the OP is renting apartments, they have to make the decision of how many days to spend in each location in advance. Certainly, they can change up their activities, but they need to have a good idea of what activities are where in order to make that decision.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1358 posts

@ nancy, I understand what you are saying and is what/how i do my trips. since the OP alredy has housing reserved/paid for...ect it locks them down with respect to lodging, not activities. what it comes down to is that for example, if they have 5 days worth of things they want to do/see (which they dont know at this time) in Madrid and they are only there for 1 day, then they will be cut short on activities. thats all. no more or less. happy trails.

Posted by Kathryn
Tulsa, OK
241 posts

You might want to just spend a week in both places. I have made it a habit to stay a week in most destinations for the last several years and love it. Both Madrid and Barcelona have day trip opportunities. By staying a week in an apartment I love getting a real feel for the place and can almost pretend I live there:)
I really enjoyed both Barcelona and Madrid and plan to return to both places. I do agree with the suggestion of getting a guide book or two to help you...

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
111 posts

Thanks to everyone for your input. I have lots of book resources and my husband and I have been to Europe many times before and Spain a couple of times. I guess I was really asking what proportional time would people allocate for each city based on past experience. I rent apartments which I know impacts flexibility because I like to experiment with local ingredients.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

The question "do you prefer Madrid or Barcelona" is one that will get 50/50 replies. So, if you haven't been to either, I'd split my time in them evenly; if you have an extra day (say 8 and 7), put more time in the arrival city due to jet lag.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7213 posts

I'm the opposite of Nancy, I like Barcelona a lot and Madrid not much. I think the reason we differ may be side trips. I normally don't stay in a city and side trip out - rather I travel from town to town and find cheaper/better lodging outside of the city. As always it depends on what you like. IMO Madrid itself offers the Prado, some nice green spaces/parks and not much else worth seeing (I also like Temple Debod). Toledo, Avila, and Segovia, El Escorial (or my preference Aranjuez) are all functional day trips out of the city. Barcelona has more interesting sights but the daytrips are realistically limited to up or down the coast or Montserrat.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

Madrid also has the Reina Sophia and Thyssen museums, Retiro Park, the Royal Palace, some beautiful churches, and great shopping. To each his own!

Posted by Kathy
Seattle
34 posts

I like Barcelona more than Madrid, but like Nancy said, there are more sidetrips available from Madrid (Segovia, Avila, Toledo.) To me, Barcelona has the ocean and more soul whereas Madrid feels way more touristy, kind of Las Vegas-like, with people up all night and bars passing out flyers, for instance.