I plan to backpack Spain early July. I am going to spend 2 weeks + there. My budget is pretty limited at around 600GBP. Do you guys think I am able to make it with my limited budget? Probably I am going to couchsurf to save some on the accomodation expenses.
Here is a few places I wanted to go:
Pamplona (San Fermin Festival)
Andalucia (All the main places)
I am not sure if I want to go to Barcelona or Valencia. Should I? I am thinking of skipping Barcelona.
My starting point is Madrid. Fly in. And my ending point is Malaga. Fly out.
I am not sure where to start. It's pretty much from the north to the south. Can you help me stitch the places together? And the approximate days should be spend on those places.
Thank you very much.
[ Edit: Edited on 03-Jun-2009, at 08:46 by katopunk ]
I studied in Madrid for a semester and absolutely loved Spain. It's a great country.
From Madrid, I visited Barcelona, Bilbao, Salamanca, Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, Segovia, Toledo. I've also heard great things about Valencia but I didn't make it there.
If I were you I would not skip Barcelona. It's a really fantastic city. Since you want to go far north to Pamplona you would be able to hit Barcelona, and Valencia as well if you wished. But they are kind of far apart to travel by bus, which was my preferred method of transportation in Spain since it's cheap.
But since you only have two weeks it might be tough to hit Pamplona too.
I would go to Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Sevilla, Malaga. You would probably have to fly from Barca to Granada to make that feasible. And if you can live without going to Pamplona you should add it in, but you'll probably have to fly more than just between Barca and Granada to make it work.
Sorry if this is kind of all over the place. I hope it's at least somewhat helpful.
ellenmelon, thanks for the information.
Maybe I shouldn't fly into Madrid. Instead of that, I start from Barcelona. As for Pamplona, I definately want to go there. the one of the main reasons for I am heading to Spain is the San Fermin Festival (Running of the Bulls) on 6 July.
Barcelona > Pamplona > Madrid > Cordova > Seville > Granada > Malaga
How is that? How about the days I need to spend on each city? And also, how much is the estimated bus fare?
Your second itinerary seems much better, it would be crazy to fly to Madrid and go up to the north only to return to Madrid again.. And, I totally agree that you should visit Barcelona, I live there now and it is an amazing city just be warned that it is not cheap to stay here especially since you are travelling in high season (this goes for every place you will be travelling to). When there is no option for couchsurfing check out hostelworld.com and gomio.com, both website have a broad offer of hostels all around the world.
You have a limited amount of time to visit all these places, take 3 days for Barcelona and Madrid if you really want to get a ´feel´ of the city. 2 days would be possible if you are only going to see the highlights, just what you prefer, but I would try to go for three. Be sure to count in the travel time!
http://gospain.about.com/od/gettingaroundspain/qt/how_get_city_to_city.htm Check this link for the travels you have to make, they have a lot of links from city to city by different types of transport so you can calculate the time and price for it. Check if it is possible to take nightbusses/trains for some destinations because you might save on accommodation that way.
Just some tips for Barcelona, since I know most about that city: Check out Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila & Batllo (if you want to enter one of these, mila is cheaper but batllo has a more impressive interior), walk trough the streets of Ciutat Vella (around the Ramblas to Barceloneta) and Gracia, don´t spend much time on the Ramblas (they are way overrated in my eyes).
If you want to spend time on the beach consider taking the train outside of BCN to Sitges (in the south) or direction of Blanes (North) because it is quieter, cleaner and without people asking you if you want beer/cocos/massage/tattoo every minute.
Keep a close eye on your stuff because there BCN is infamous for pickpockets. To me, never anything happened, just try to look the least touristy as possible and keep your hand on your bag at crowded places. Don´t take out big amounts of money and leave creditcards etc in a save place if possible.
When you feel like sitting down for a drink walk away from the touristy areas into the smaller streets to save money.
Don´t worry too much of getting accommodation in the centre, outside it is prob. cheaper and the public transport is very good and cheap.
Hope this helps you! let me know if you have more questions.
I agree that your second itinerary sounds better. And I also agree that you should spend most of your time in Madrid and Barca since they are both fantastic cities with a lot to see. I loved Granada as well but it's small so you could see it in two days. Same with Sevilla. When I went to Cordoba I didn't even spend a night there. I just stopped for an afternoon between Granada and Sevilla to visit the Mezquita and I was satisfied with my time there. The bus system in Spain is great and cheap. You can take a slow, cheap bus from Barca to Madrid overnight and it takes about 7 hours. You can also do overnight to Granada from Madrid. You might not sleep as soundly but at least you don't waste your days traveling! Have fun!
OP.... What are your tipples and dislikes?? Pamplona, Madrid and Barcelona is a bit like saying (no offence whatsoever intended) London, Belfast and Cornwall.
I can help - if you offer your likes and dislikes.
If you're planning to visit Cordova & Granada (Moorish Spain) then I recommend you do not miss Toledo.
Yes, it's very touristy but the architecture and ambiance are not to be missed. Spend a few hours and then travel onto La Mezquita in Cordova which could be simply the afternoon (featured in the Sci-fi movie The Fountain with Hugh Jackman & Rachel Weiz)....
In Granada, there is more than simply the Alhambra but the entire grounds is an absolute "must see" and should be done late afternoon as the sun paints it with a pink-orange patina...On the grounds is the Hotel America which is where we stayed the night. Quaint but with very few rooms so you may want to call ahead. Down the hill is a cathedral and with Spain's love of detail you'll never tire of their fascination with the martyrdom of their saints. In the town center you may be able to catch a flamenco lesson in one of its numerous studios...Its also a University town and outside a ski resort which boasts the "original" Sierra Nevada. Padre Junipero Serra must have hailed from this nice city; it is no wonder he traveled undaunted into California (very similar flora and fauna)
If you can get a bus to take you from Granada toward Malaga - find one that will go via "The Moor's Sigh" It is no wonder the Moor after which it is named sighed as heavily as he did when departing Spain. Picturesque doesn't capture the ambiance nor the continuous views ----additionally, lots of paragliders make this route because of the uplifts/drafts from the sea....
Before you exit Malaga, stop in at a little tapas bar: Rincon de Truillio just off the harbor where yachts are moored and cruise ships dock. Lovely....and sublime! I've no idea if Alessandro is still there, but he kindly guided us to many great treats.
My last recomendation is the Alcazar in Seville....be sure to walk all the way to the top of the bell tower converted from the original mosque's minaret where the mezuin would sing the call to prayer....
If at all possible I would time it so that you travel from one point to another during siesta(?) We found we could lunch in the car while navigating the drive by stopping into a groccery store for odds and ends then travel and see the next spot. Just don't know if the bus drivers are also napping? I do know the highway patrol men are not napping!
Engage in the night life if you can!