We are traveling to Barcelona in April for 8 days. We have already booked our flights. We arrive in Barcelona and fly back home from Madrid.
I have a couple of questions:
1)Where can we stop for a day on the way to Madrid so that we can see extra destinations? (We don't mind staying in this place overnight). We are traveling with one 17-year-old and one 15-year-old, and we want the trip to be interesting for them as well.
2)What are the best side trips from Barcelona?
3)Is it best to go to Madrid by train? If we take an overnight train, is it possible to sleep there at night? How comfortable is it?
I'd also appreciate any other suggestions for planning our trip (attractions to see, length of time in each city, means of transportation, etc.)
Thanks a lot for your help!!
Spains really great so I'm sure you'll have a good time whatever you decide to do.
Barcelona's really interesting especially with all the Gaudi sights to see, I would probably recommend 4 days here. Valencia is only about 4 hours by bus/car from bacelona which could be an overnight stop for you before heading to Madrid, Toledo is a good day trip from Madrid - quite expensive there.
Im not sure about overnight buses/trains from barcelona to Madrid I dont think its quite fare enough to be an overnight trip.
I went from bacelona - valencia - madrid and it took about 7 hours with an hour stop for lunch.
hope this is of some help to you.
Barcelona is a fantastic city and there's lots to do there. A day trip up to the parc de montjuic is to be recommended - there are museums (the Museo de Joan Miro is fantastic), the Poble Espanol (which is a kind of open air museum designed to be a microcosm of a "spanish village) a castle with a funicular up to it and a beautiful park all within easy distance of each other.
There are also loads of other museums around Barcelona - the Picasso Museum and MACBA (The museum of contemporary art), not to mention all the beautiful Gaudi architecture. And a trip up to Parc Guell, in the Gracia area would be a good idea - some wonderful Gaudi and also amazing views of the city.
As for day trips, if you can handle any more Gaudi then there's the Gaudi Museum in Figueres, which by all accounts is well worth the trip. I never made it there, despite living in Barcelona for over 8 months - there's laziness for you, hope you make it!
If you're travelling with teenagers then maybe they won't be up for spending all their time in museums though! A day trip to Sitges might be nice - it's a beautiful little sea side town not too far from Barcelona, and the beaches are far nicer and cleaner than anything you'll find around Barcelona city. You can get there by train really easily.
Also - Sundays in the Parc de la Ciutadella were always wonderful when I was in Barcelona. Lots of poeple gather there to play music, and there's a samba band that play at 6, as well as lots of Capoiera and acro-balance demonstrations. Its just a nice place to sit and soak up the atmosphere of sunday in Barcelona. But please make sure this is still happening before you head off to the parc - when I was there there were rumours of it being stopped because of complaints about the noise. Does anyone else on the forum know if it's still happening? I hope so!
As for getting to Madrid - not sure, but www.seat61.com has loads of information about travelling all over europe by train, also look at the RENFE website for times etc.
Wow - I've written loads! hope at least some of it is helpful!
Enjoy your trip,
I travelled from Madrid to Barcelona by overnight train. The trip took about 8 hours. My sleeping car had 4 beds and a small sink. It was comfortable, and we got off the train well rested in the morning and were able to spend the day sightseeing.
Barcelona has a lot of amazing buildings. Make sure to go in to a few of the Gaudí buildings. La Sagrada Familia is amazing but be prepared for a LOT of steps. I have also heared that the Picasso Museum is very cool, but I was not able to see it during my travels. Parc Guell is also very cool and a little different then a traditional museum.
In Madrid The Prado is Amazing. El Parque de Buen Retiro is an equivalent of Central Park. It is nice to relax there for a while. La Reina Sofia is a modern art museum. La Puerta Del Sol is the center of the city. It is also close to La Plaza Mayor, which is the town square and The Royal Palace.
Both cities have very different feels to them. When I was in Spain I felt like there was more to do in Barcelona, but I liked Madrid better.
As far as a small city on the way from Barca to Madrid...I have heard good reviews on Zaragoza, but again I haven't been so I can't tell you what it is like.
How long are you going to stay here? This is, of course, a personal opinion, but Madrid (www.descubremadrid.com) has just museums, nothing but the cultural aspect is worthwhile. Toledo, Alcalá de Henares and the Monasterio del Escorial are cities or monuments close to the city much more interesting.
On the other side Barcelona (www.barcelonaturisme.com) is a wonderful city, really, really beautiful, gothic quartir, Gaudi buildings, Ramblas, Gracia... visit the city won't take you more than 2 days but if you take into account Montjuic and Parque Güell (both "museum-parcs" close to the city) I recommend you spend 3 or 4 days there.
Other interesting cities on the way to Madrid: Zaragoza and Valencia.
Zaragoza (http://turismo.ayto-zaragoza.es/) is a beautiful city and one day is enough to visit its main sightseeings.
Valencia (www.turisvalencia.es): This is my city, and I'm in love with it, so what can I say? Really beautiful, there are not so many things as in Barcelona but more than enough to spend two wonderful days here. The gothic quartir is beautiful, there are a lot of museums, beautiful sport and leisure areas, etc. The city of Arts and Science (www.cac.es) will be great for the children.
So my advice is: 3 or 4 days in Barcelona, 1 or 2 in Valencia and 2 in Madrid (spending one of them in Toledo).
You won't need an overnight train, it won't take you more than 4 hours going by bus or train from Barcelona to Valencia or from Valencia to Madrid.
If you want more information just ask.
I'm also travelling to Barcelona next year and I already started to collect as many information I can about this wonderful city. We, me and my husband, will go there for our honeymoon, in may. I heard that shopping is one of Barcelona's greatest attractions with a bountiful five kilometre shopping strip, so I have big plans concerning gifts for all my dear ones.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please... ]