2 girlfriends and I plan to start in Barcelona on the 23rd August and have no set plan as yet except to make the Tomato throwing festival in Valencia. Does anyone have any tips eg. best way to travel, cheap places to stay, must see spots, what kind of temperatures we're gonna be hit with, how much do you think we need to budget for? Any help would be much appreciated!!!
Well it will be very hotl. September is still a very hot month. spots...I dont know, what kind of trip is it? Sightseeing, fun,...?
check out my Spain photo gallery if you want, I uploaded some picture of Madrid, Barcelona and the coast so you can take a look at them and get an idea about it
Sightseeing & fun! We are 23 - 27 year olds so both is good. We thought about a self drive starting and ending in Barcelona but wasnt sure about driving conditions etc. I will def check out your gallery - thank u
Even with three weeks in Spain, you have to make some choices.
I would start in Barcelona, make the trip to Bilboa (if you want to include Basque Country on you trip) by Vueling Airlines. You can consider other places in the area like San Sebastian.
From Bilboa you can take the train to Madrid. (include daytrips to Segovia and Toledo from Madrid).
From Madrid you can go South to Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada.
After that you can go to Valencia, and if needed back to Barcelona.
This is a pretty usual trip of the bigger cities in Spain. You could also consider places like Salamanca & Avila. (a detour on the route fromm Basque Country to Madrid).
When heading South you could consider taking a detour before getting to Sevilla. You could go to Extremadura, and see Trujillo, Cacéres, and/or Merida. (Will be hot in August)
From Sevilla or Granada, you could also make your way to the beaches in the South.
If you decide not to go to Basque Country, you could consider, going Barcelona - Valencia - Cuenca - Madrid.
As you see there are more than enough options of places to see. This is a itinerary how I would do it, based on my interests, how your trip should look ofcourse depends on your interest, but I think if you check out the places I mentioned, you will find a couple that you would like.
The driving conditions are good, you have good roads all over Spain.
By the way, if you go to the Basque country, if I were you, I'd put San Sebastian ahead of Bilbao. It's more expensive, but it's a wonderful city. bilbao is nice, but there's not much to see unless you go to the Guggenheim Museum.
As Herr Bert says, and I agree with him, Ávila and Salamanca are very very nice, and a trip to Toledo is a must if you go to Madrid. It's about 1 hour away by car, and the road is excellent. also, if you go to Madrid, I reccomend you stop in Aranjuez: it's on the way to Toledo, and there's a wonderful palace. That's the only attraction this town's got though, but it's well worth a visit.
Barcelona is great for a 4 or 5 days stay, I don't think you should spend more time there, unless you're gonna party. It's expensive, and you can see the main tourist attractions in 2 days. and if you're looking for something a little bit secondary, you won't need more than an extra day. There are plenty of museums, but i'm not sure you're interested in that.
not far from Barcelona ( about 1 hour drive ) you have some really nice beach spots to refresh yourself after these hot hot days. check Begur or Pals, or if you go more northern, close to the french border, check El Port de la Selva, Cadaqués, Colera or Portbou.
Madrid itself is nice, but it's a very different type of city compared to Barcelona. Nice big streets, but not that you really need to take the undergorund or the bus to visit something in particular. It's just an overall very nice city. A walk in Parque del Retiro sounds very good. You have some shadow there in summertime, and there's a nice crystal palace by a lake.
Expect lots and lots of tourists in Barcelona. Madrid won't be as crowded, but expect some as well
if you go to Madrid, I reccomend you stop in Aranjuez: it's on the way to Toledo, and there's a wonderful palace. That's the only attraction this town's got though, but it's well worth a visit.
Just one remark to that, don't go to Aranjuez on a monday. The palace will be closed. There is also a big park (Jardin de Principe), with a lovely small palace called the casa de labrador (not the dog), that is just pretty.
I made the trip by train from Madrid, so that is also possible. You could also stay in either Toledo or Aranjuez for 1 night, so you don't have to go back to Madrid. And if you do, you could do Aranjuez in the morning, and ChinChon in the afternoon, and Toledo the day before (or one day later).
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 21, 2007, at 8:20 AM by Herr Bert ]
Wow thanks so much for your help. Definitely gives us something to start from. In terms of intercity travel - would you recommend car, train or bus? Also when you say hot, how HOT are we talking?
Well, it's really about you wanting to rent a car or not. Notice that spanish motorways (if this is the right name) aren't free, and they are aprticularly expensive around the Girona- Barcelona-Tarragona area.
If you don't rent a car I'd go by bus, because they are slightly cheaper than trains, but they don't run as much as trains do by the way. I know travelling from Barcelona to Madrid by bus is cheaper than taking a train, at least.
How HOT? Well... In the end of august it's normal to have around 32-33 degrees in Barcelona and the shoreline, it won't get much hotter than that in the north east, unless you get away from the sea, then it can reach 36 or 37 degrees still. In the south of Spain they usually reach the 40 degrees without much trouble (ie Sevilla) and Madrid is a very very hot spot as well.
Wow! Wicked thanks so much for your help. Any ideas on budget? How much is a drink in a bar/pub and for a meal?