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a Spanish vacation

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thinking of taking a vacation to Spain in August...thoughts?  Best cities? what should I NOT miss (besides the wine, tapas, and Spanish ham.....)  10 days

 

 

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Barcelona, the cathedral that is still being built (Gaudi???). Watch your wallet; pickpockets aplenty.

My 0.02

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1 hour ago, dacapo said:

thinking of taking a vacation to Spain in August...thoughts?  Best cities? what should I NOT miss (besides the wine, tapas, and Spanish ham.....)  10 days

 

 

Rent a car and drive from city to city.  Driving is easy, roads are great.  Take tours of the countryside such as The Costa Blanca coast, the Catalunya and Aragon countryside...just gorgeous.  Must see cities...Barcelona (Park Guell and the beach and -- just walk and walk) and Grenada (Alhambra) and Valencia.   Stay in paradors - state run resort hotels - typically in converted castles, perhaps Franco's one positive addition to Spain.  

I haven't done the northern coast, like Galicia, but I hear cities like Santander are pretty nice.  

Oh, and if you happen to stumble in to it driving along the back roads, stop by the best tourist trap:  "Texas, Hollywood.  The town where all the Sergio Leon/Clint Eastwood movies were made and the only desert in Europe.  Don't have to go in, but take a picture having a cold roadside Spanish beer there anyway.

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Personally, I found Valencia depressing. If you like truly great food, hit San Sebastian on the North coast. I agree  with Barcelona, but allow plenty of time there, it's an awesome city, and hang onto your backpack, theft is a way of life there. 

Our favorite romantic getaway is the Costa Brava,  about halfway between Barcelona and the French border, a little town named Callela de Palafrugel or any of the small seaside villages nearby. Very charming, cool little restaurants, a great botanical garden and no high rises. After reading Michener's The Drifters I was up to visit the Costa del Sol  but blew it off when I saw recent pictures.  I hate high rise beach hotels.

There;s a very cool island/ castle/ town  just East of Valencia that's worth a visit if only for the name... Peniscola. 

Of course Madrid is very cool, but awful far from salt water.

If you can get over to Gibralter it's worth a day or too as well.

Have fun!

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Do yourself a favor and buy a couple of slices of the most expensive ham you can find, you won't be sorry.  We were at a small beach town near Barcelona (Callela) and went to a shop specializing in sausages and hams.  Along with the usual hams, I saw a ham that cost about $75.00 a pound, I think it had been aged for 8 or 10 years.  Now being a bit of an epicurean, I had to wonder how good such a ham could taste.  My theory is expensive food, to a point is expensive for a good reason.  So I asked the lady for two slices, one for me and one for my wife.  The 2 hand cut, thin slices cost almost $10.00.  At the first taste, I told my wife, "If I were filthy rich, I would buy this shit all of the time.  I never tasted anything like it, and the flavor lingered in my mouth for at least 15 minutes.  The pigs that become these hams are fed nothing but acorns.   It's difficult to eat the regular stuff after trying something like this, the word ham just isn't adequate or do it justice.  They should call it 'The worlds best fucking pork product ever'.  I can still recall the flavor 6 years later.

And skip the Sagrada Familia church if you got to Barcelona.  I doubt they are following Gaudi's original intentions after all of these years and while it has its interesting aspects, I think it is a monstrosity, and if you want to go inside, the lines are long and it costs around $20.00 to go in..  On the other hand, Gaudi's Parc Guell on the edge of the city is free and not only does the park offer a magnificent view of the city but it also captures Gaudi's bizarre charm very well.  Also walking around Barcelona you just hit on random Gaudi designed buildings here and there, and the joy of stumbling upon them is wonderful.

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13 minutes ago, Willin' said:

Personally, I found Valencia depressing. If you like truly great food, hit San Sebastian on the North coast. I agree  with Barcelona, but allow plenty of time there, it's an awesome city, and hang onto your backpack, theft is a way of life there. 

Our favorite romantic getaway is the Costa Brava,  about halfway between Barcelona and the French border, a little town named Callela de Palafrugel or any of the small seaside villages nearby. Very charming, cool little restaurants, a great botanical garden and no high rises. After reading Michener's The Drifters I was up to visit the Costa del Sol  but blew it off when I saw recent pictures.  I hate high rise beach hotels.

There;s a very cool island/ castle/ town  just East of Valencia that's worth a visit if only for the name... Peniscola. 

Of course Madrid is very cool, but awful far from salt water.

If you can get over to Gibralter it's worth a day or too as well.

Have fun!

I just mentioned Calella when you posted that. 

I too loved Michner's The Drifters so I made a pilgrimage to Torremolinos about 3 years ago and a side trip to nearby Malaga, to check out Picasso's birthplace.  Torremolinos was actually pretty nice.  It is hard to avoid the high rise hotels and apartments anywhere on any European coast town but it isn't too bad in Torremolinos.  One thing I didn't know until I got there is that Torremolinos has become the gay capitol of the Mediterranean coast, NTTAWWT.  I was careful how I ate my ice cream cone though.  I didn't want to be too suggestive... Malaga didn't impress me too much, except it is the only city I have seen anywhere in the world that has marble sidewalks all over the center of the town.  I am a Picasso fan and I went to the house he was raised in there which is now a small museum.  His family wasn't poor.  Most of his major works are in the Prado in Madrid but they have many sketches and studies in the house, which was interesting. 

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4 minutes ago, Ed Lada said:

Do yourself a favor and buy a couple of slices of the most expensive ham you can find, you won't be sorry.  We were at a small beach town near Barcelona (Callela) and went to a shop specializing in sausages and hams.  Along with the usual hams, I saw a ham that cost about $75.00 a pound, I think it had been aged for 8 or 10 years.  Now being a bit of an epicurean, I had to wonder how good such a ham could taste.  My theory is expensive food, to a point is expensive for a good reason.  So I asked the lady for two slices, one for me and one for my wife.  The 2 hand cut, thin slices cost almost $10.00.  At the first taste, I told my wife, "If I were filthy rich, I would buy this shit all of the time.  I never tasted anything like it, and the flavor lingered in my mouth for at least 15 minutes.  The pigs that become these hams are fed nothing but acorns.   It's difficult to eat the regular stuff after trying something like this, the word ham just isn't adequate or do it justice.  They should call it 'The worlds best fucking pork product ever'.  I can still recall the flavor 6 years later.

And skip the Sagrada Familia church if you got to Barcelona.  I doubt they are following Gaudi's original intentions after all of these years and while it has its interesting aspects, I think it is a monstrosity, and if you want to go inside, the lines are long and it costs around $20.00 to go in..  On the other hand, Gaudi's Parc Guell on the edge of the city is free and not only does the park offer a magnificent view of the city but it also captures Gaudi's bizarre charm very well.  Also walking around Barcelona you just hit on random Gaudi designed buildings here and there, and the joy of stumbling upon them is wonderful.

Agree on Sagrada Familia.  They are finally moving forward, but...it doesn't have the happiness that Parc Guell instills.  One of the most fun nights we had was in a transvestite club in L'Eixemple district, with a hilarious floor show that didn't need translation.   The Miro Museum is also worth a trip.

I was in Valencia during the AC, so that may be part of why I enjoyed it, but there are lots of small pleasures dotted around the city.

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Heat, everyone tries to  escape the cities and inlands to coastal areas, avoid big towns too.

And who mentioned Calella de Palafrugell has a good travel eye. Though it is very small. But Palamos has good fish restaurants, and crepe bar in the old city for the evenings.
Platja De Sant Feliu ,at  Sant Feliu de Guíxols is nice too. Begur a special place. Plenty to do with your interests, walks on the beach,a good book,a good cry. really a good place to research. You can go to Barca with train for one day, but it is just a big city, good tapas, for the rest a tourist trap.
https://www.tripadvisor.nl/Attractions-g609015-Activities-Begur_Costa_Brava_Province_of_Girona_Catalonia.html

Or go to the Balearic  islands, Mallorca is nice. lots to do, but avoid the big towns- centra in the South due to tourist accept Palma, go to the West part Soller, or more North.
If you want to go more beachy, ask where the Italian tourist are now, tour operators specialize on areas, for instance avoid Megaluff, its British.

Or as mentioned the North West coast, Bask or Azuria, very pretty small towns, but not a Mediterranean feeling.

I lived in Spain for 3.5 yrs, Mallorca, Tarragona and Palamos. Loved Tarragona to live, not as tourist destination, impressed by the beauty around Palamos-Begur, Mallorca was just fun, specially if you know the beach the strippers went too.

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As a Spaniard I don't think I'd recommend most of tbe places mentioned above ... Too touristic. What would you like to do or see?

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Some may argue with this, as I did until I tried it on the recco of my world traveler brother, but if you're in a huge town such as Madrid or Barca for the first time and don't have a clue where to begin, take the stupid double decker bus. Be a tourist for a few hours. You'll get a comprehensive lay of the land and a quick read on where to dig deeper and what to avoid. If memory serves, Barca has at least 5 routes. How can you even begin to know where to go without a quick looksee all over?

Just sayin'.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, chuso007 said:

As a Spaniard I don't think I'd recommend most of tbe places mentioned above ... Too touristic. What would you like to do or see?

What would you generally recommend, Chus? I love to know where the locals go.

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4 minutes ago, LeoV said:

Heat, everyone tries to  escape the cities and inlands to coastal areas, avoid big towns too.

And who mentioned Calella de Palafrugell has a good travel eye. Though it is very small. But Palamos has good fish restaurants, and crepe bar in the old city for the evenings.
Platja De Sant Feliu ,at  Sant Feliu de Guíxols is nice too. Begur a special place. Plenty to do with your interests, walks on the beach,a good book,a good cry. really a good place to research. You can go to Barca with train for one day, but it is just a big city, good tapas, for the rest a tourist trap.
https://www.tripadvisor.nl/Attractions-g609015-Activities-Begur_Costa_Brava_Province_of_Girona_Catalonia.html

Or go to the Balearic  islands, Mallorca is nice. lots to do, but avoid the big towns- centra in the South due to tourist accept Palma, go to the West part Soller, or more North.
If you want to go more beachy, ask where the Italian tourist are now, tour operators specialize on areas, for instance avoid Megaluff, its British.

Or as mentioned the North West coast, Bask or Azuria, very pretty small towns, but not a Mediterranean feeling.

I lived in Spain for 3.5 yrs, Mallorca, Tarragona and Palamos. Loved Tarragona to live, not as tourist destination, impressed by the beauty around Palamos-Begur, Mallorca was just fun, specially if you know the beach the strippers went too.

Heat...forgot that the OP was talking about an August trip.  It will be hot.  Last time I was there in mid summer, we drove and explored the country side and stopped in small villages in the day time and walked around and ate in the cities in the evenings.  

Getting up in the mountains helped too.  

Chuso, Sometimes touristic things are what we travelers want to do.  Bu t I do find that most beach towns don't offer what you hope for, especially in the high season.  

My suggestion of Texas, Hollywood was mostly as a joke.  An American joke.  We had no idea it was there until we turned down the road and saw the sign.  Fortunately we had a cooler in the car with the beer.  

 

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1 minute ago, Left Shift said:

  Bu t I do find that most beach towns don't offer what you hope for, especially in the high season. 

True, so you should try Tarragona in the summer, ugly surrounding, take a look on Google, but there is a nice beach hidden somewhere, no tourists, but its town square Plaça De La Font is something I really miss, great food, lots of bars and some clubs. But it is the opposite of a tourist city, it is a working town.
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.1168928,1.2554448,3a,75y,240.73h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sBXWxFGBvh_xXNzGJVEzjUw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DBXWxFGBvh_xXNzGJVEzjUw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D233.35521%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

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11 hours ago, Willin' said:

What would you generally recommend, Chus? I love to know where the locals go.

Home?

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14 hours ago, Ed Lada said:

Do yourself a favor and buy a couple of slices of the most expensive ham you can find, you won't be sorry.  We were at a small beach town near Barcelona (Callela) and went to a shop specializing in sausages and hams.  Along with the usual hams, I saw a ham that cost about $75.00 a pound, I think it had been aged for 8 or 10 years.  Now being a bit of an epicurean, I had to wonder how good such a ham could taste.  My theory is expensive food, to a point is expensive for a good reason.  So I asked the lady for two slices, one for me and one for my wife.  The 2 hand cut, thin slices cost almost $10.00.  At the first taste, I told my wife, "If I were filthy rich, I would buy this shit all of the time.  I never tasted anything like it, and the flavor lingered in my mouth for at least 15 minutes.  The pigs that become these hams are fed nothing but acorns.   It's difficult to eat the regular stuff after trying something like this, the word ham just isn't adequate or do it justice.  They should call it 'The worlds best fucking pork product ever'.  I can still recall the flavor 6 years later.

And skip the Sagrada Familia church if you got to Barcelona.  I doubt they are following Gaudi's original intentions after all of these years and while it has its interesting aspects, I think it is a monstrosity, and if you want to go inside, the lines are long and it costs around $20.00 to go in..  On the other hand, Gaudi's Parc Guell on the edge of the city is free and not only does the park offer a magnificent view of the city but it also captures Gaudi's bizarre charm very well.  Also walking around Barcelona you just hit on random Gaudi designed buildings here and there, and the joy of stumbling upon them is wonderful.

Spanish jamon is one of the finest things in life....I've had the opportunity to sample some....and shall again :-)

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14 hours ago, chuso007 said:

As a Spaniard I don't think I'd recommend most of tbe places mentioned above ... Too touristic. What would you like to do or see?

I want to see Spanish art, I want to hear some really good Spanish Music (and perhaps buy an instrument to bring home with me to add to my collection)  I want to see the history of Spain....of course in Aug. a beach perhaps....tapas, wine, jamon......

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14 hours ago, Left Shift said:

Heat...forgot that the OP was talking about an August trip.  It will be hot.  Last time I was there in mid summer, we drove and explored the country side and stopped in small villages in the day time and walked around and ate in the cities in the evenings.  

Getting up in the mountains helped too.  

Chuso, Sometimes touristic things are what we travelers want to do.  Bu t I do find that most beach towns don't offer what you hope for, especially in the high season.  

My suggestion of Texas, Hollywood was mostly as a joke.  An American joke.  We had no idea it was there until we turned down the road and saw the sign.  Fortunately we had a cooler in the car with the beer.  

 

heat doesnt bother us...of course I'd like to go to the beach for a day ;-)  

 

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Granada

The Alhambra is simply the most beautiful place I've ever been.

Pictures just don't get the ambiance, the size and the beauty of the place.

 

If you book the 8am slot it's not swarming with people.

it sits on a hill facing the Albayzin (old moorish quarter) with a ravine and small river separating the two..backed by the sierra navada (mountains) 

The rest of the city is beautiful too..more tranquil than Seville..

Then skip the hoards and head north through old spain, extremadura Caceres (game of thrones location) through the mountains, up to the costa verde and turn left .

There's some lovely little villages and towns on that coast..and at least most of the tourists will prolly be spanish ,,not broiled pom and chips.

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Granada/Alhambra is excellent as Meli says, but a long way from anywhere else and Spain is bigger than you think.

You haven’t got a lot of time, so I would concentrate on an area. Costa Verde is a good suggestion and likely to be the coolest area in August and no shortage of beaches.

San Sebastian, Bilbao/Guggenheim and further west, plus Picos Europas and Barcelona if you can fit it in.

Use Paradors, national heritage buildings, which provide good accommodation at reasonable prices.

Enjoy.......

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tried to pm

Cheuso007 posted some lovely photo's here.really sound advice

.I spent 5 days in one tiny village O barquero ..heaven on a stick

 

 

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18 hours ago, Black Sox said:

Barcelona, the cathedral that is still being built (Gaudi???). Watch your wallet; pickpockets aplenty.

My 0.02

 

On the public train from Nice to Monaco in October, we were warned about pickpockets in Monte Carlo, but did not see any suspicious types there, even though it was packed with people, being the last day of Monte Carlo Boat Show.

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The southern itinerary suggested in Meli’s post above is good idea also, and arguably more Spanish, as opposed to Basque and Catalan influences of the north. Thing is to either do South or north, not enough time to do both.

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Spain? August?

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On 12/21/2018 at 2:37 PM, chuso007 said:

As a Spaniard I don't think I'd recommend most of tbe places mentioned above ... Too touristic. What would you like to do or see?

Drink Watneys Red Barrel of course.

And see Torremolinos.

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13 hours ago, billy backstay said:

 

On the public train from Nice to Monaco in October, we were warned about pickpockets in Monte Carlo, but did not see any suspicious types there, even though it was packed with people, being the last day of Monte Carlo Boat Show.

I think someone was taking the piss. There are more security cameras per square meter in Monaco than probably anywhere else in the world, plus cops on just about every corner who are extremely pro active... Undesirables would last about 3 minutes in Monaco. 

Thread drift over, back to Spain...

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9 hours ago, charisma94 said:

I think someone was taking the piss. There are more security cameras per square meter in Monaco than probably anywhere else in the world, plus cops on just about every corner who are extremely pro active... Undesirables would last about 3 minutes in Monaco. 

Thread drift over, back to Spain...

 

This was a public service announcement from the train operators, themselves.  I don't think anyone was taking the piss, but we encountered no sketchy people while in Monte Carlo. And while we didn't see any armed military in Monaco, they were in attendance in St. Tropez, the last 2 days of the Regatta.  Appeared to be carrying fully automatic weapons as well. Saw a few in Athens as well, on our way home.

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On 12/22/2018 at 6:27 AM, Sidecar said:

The southern itinerary suggested in Meli’s post above is good idea also, and arguably more Spanish, as opposed to Basque and Catalan influences of the north. Thing is to either do South or north, not enough time to do both.

Agree.  San Sebastian and Bilbao are amazing but it's an all night drive to Barcelona.  The coast from Barcelona to Valencia and Granada is a long ways too, but beautiful

Barcelona-do the Gothic quarter walking tour.  Lots of history (and lots of pickpockets)

Valencia is great.  Big city but sleepy.  Have the paella

Granada-what they said.  It is a bit out of the way, unless you're headed to Marbella which looks like Laguna Beach if it was invaded by Russian guidos 

Madrid museums and food and lots of history.  Make sure to see Picasso's Guernica in the Reina Sofia museum. Read up on it first.  Leave a whole day for the Prado

It will be hot, and remember everything shuts down for siesta every afternoon.  Good time for either a siesta, or to drive to the next city.

Leave lots of time to sit around and eat.  The food is amazing and "to go" isn't a thing.   If you ask for your food para llavar you get major stinkeye because then they know you're an asshole American who misses the whole point of eating.  Which you are.

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also-when in Barcelona go to La Boqueria (food marketplace off Las Ramblas), find the jamon serrano stall, and buy a little of the most expensive one.  its like butter made out of pigs

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Spain is 2nd only to France (and it's close), in terms of European countries in area.  Not counting Russia which is partly in Asia, and Ukraine, because who goes there?  So in my opinion it's best to focus on a few parts and not get worn out rushing all over the place and trying to see too much.  

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On 12/21/2018 at 11:43 PM, Willin' said:

What would you generally recommend, Chus? I love to know where the locals go.

I travel around the coast for work, so I know almost every town, definitely every town with a boatyard. I admit that as a Northerner (although I was born In Madrid and lived there for 20 years) I'm a bit biased towards the North.

In my defense I'll say that I hate tourist traps, and most of the Mediterranean coast, as beautifu as it is and the great weather, it has, It is a tourist trap, evenmoreso in August, because it's the Spanish tourist season. That means lines in restaurants, not so good service (usually the waiters will be just inmigrants hired  for the season, nothing wrong about it, no racist remark here, but a good waiter is a very important part of the restaurant exoerience, IMHO)

On 12/22/2018 at 11:35 AM, Gissie said:

Home?

In August? Yes. Now? Only for food

On 12/22/2018 at 2:05 PM, dacapo said:

I want to see Spanish art, I want to hear some really good Spanish Music (and perhaps buy an instrument to bring home with me to add to my collection)  I want to see the history of Spain....of course in Aug. a beach perhaps....tapas, wine, jamon......

About Spanish art, you'll have to be more specific, this country is really old!  You can see the oldest (I think) cave paintings in Europe up in Altamira, or go to the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid for the latest stuff. In between, you can check out:

Architecture:

Cathedrals, from the oldest Romanic to the Sagrada Familia, you have every style, (also thousands of smaller churches all around). León, Segovia, Zamora, Burgos, Sevilla, Córdoba, Santiago de Compostela and Palencia are the best Cathedrals, and of course the Arab Architecture in Granada and Córdoba. Check out the monasteries and castles too.

If you do the "Ruta de los pueblos blancos" (White towns route) you'll get a beautifull trip of the interior of Andalucía. but again, you can melt down there in August.

Paintings. Go to Madrid. There's no other place like El Prado, anywhere. Also the Sorolla Museum, Lázaro Galdeano Museum and of course the Thyssen Museum. If you go to Madrid you MUST go to se the Monasterio del Escorial (about 40kms. away) You'll drop your jaw there, pick it up because that day I would also drive to Pedraza or Sepúlveda in nearby Segovia (also an outstanding catedral, and the castle that inspired Walt Disney) and eat some cochinillo and/or  cordero. You'll thank me later.

Also in Madrid, best luthiers there, but I'd bet my ass they'll be closed in August. Madrid is empty in August, so it's the best time to visit. (I'm a guitarist myself, what kind of instrument are you looking for?)

Music: For flamenco, Madrid or further South, Sevilla, Córdoba and Cadiz are the best.

Beaches:

The best in Spain  are in Cádiz and Galicia, no questiln about it, except for the ones in  the islands (Balearic and  some in Canarias) but again, too crowded in August. 

My recommendation for what you want, in August, Andalucia, Madrid and the North. Avoid the super touristic trap of the Med coast, it's not authentic anymore, If you want to see the real Spain, that's away from the coast, except in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and País Vasco.

On 12/23/2018 at 1:51 AM, Mrleft8 said:

Spain? August?

Believe it or not, YES. But I wouldn't go to the really hot places, and that includes definitely Mallorca and Med coast, except Marbella area, because the mountain range behind it makes it cooler. Awfully touristy though...

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On 12/22/2018 at 3:21 PM, Shortforbob said:

tried to pm

Cheuso007 posted some lovely photo's here.really sound advice

.I spent 5 days in one tiny village O barquero ..heaven on a stick

 

 

Yup  I did post a shitload of pictures there...:P

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4 minutes ago, chuso007 said:

Yup  I did post a shitload of pictures there...:P

And very much appreciated they were :)

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1 hour ago, chuso007 said:

I travel around the coast for work, so I know almost every town, definitely every town with a boatyard. I admit that as a Northerner (although I was born In Madrid and lived there for 20 years) I'm a bit biased towards the North.

In my defense I'll say that I hate tourist traps, and most of the Mediterranean coast, as beautifu as it is and the great weather, it has, It is a tourist trap, evenmoreso in August, because it's the Spanish tourist season. That means lines in restaurants, not so good service (usually the waiters will be just inmigrants hired  for the season, nothing wrong about it, no racist remark here, but a good waiter is a very important part of the restaurant exoerience, IMHO)

In August? Yes. Now? Only for food

About Spanish art, you'll have to be more specific, this country is really old!  You can see the oldest (I think) cave paintings in Europe up in Altamira, or go to the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid for the latest stuff. In between, you can check out:

Architecture:

Cathedrals, from the oldest Romanic to the Sagrada Familia, you have every style, (also thousands of smaller churches all around). León, Segovia, Zamora, Burgos, Sevilla, Córdoba, Santiago de Compostela and Palencia are the best Cathedrals, and of course the Arab Architecture in Granada and Córdoba. Check out the monasteries and castles too.

If you do the "Ruta de los pueblos blancos" (White towns route) you'll get a beautifull trip of the interior of Andalucía. but again, you can melt down there in August.

Paintings. Go to Madrid. There's no other place like El Prado, anywhere. Also the Sorolla Museum, Lázaro Galdeano Museum and of course the Thyssen Museum. If you go to Madrid you MUST go to se the Monasterio del Escorial (about 40kms. away) You'll drop your jaw there, pick it up because that day I would also drive to Pedraza or Sepúlveda in nearby Segovia (also an outstanding catedral, and the castle that inspired Walt Disney) and eat some cochinillo and/or  cordero. You'll thank me later.

Also in Madrid, best luthiers there, but I'd bet my ass they'll be closed in August. Madrid is empty in August, so it's the best time to visit. (I'm a guitarist myself, what kind of instrument are you looking for?)

Music: For flamenco, Madrid or further South, Sevilla, Córdoba and Cadiz are the best.

Beaches:

The best in Spain  are in Cádiz and Galicia, no questiln about it, except for the ones in  the islands (Balearic and  some in Canarias) but again, too crowded in August. 

My recommendation for what you want, in August, Andalucia, Madrid and the North. Avoid the super touristic trap of the Med coast, it's not authentic anymore, If you want to see the real Spain, that's away from the coast, except in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and País Vasco.

Believe it or not, YES. But I wouldn't go to the really hot places, and that includes definitely Mallorca and Med coast, except Marbella area, because the mountain range behind it makes it cooler. Awfully touristy though...

Thanks for he suggestions. Visit Mallorca during the summer most years, loved the 40+ this year. Wife not so much. 

Meaning to look around between kids and grandkids, just seems to always slide by. Long way to go and family takes time. Will try and make use of your advice. 

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2 hours ago, chuso007 said:

I travel around the coast for work, so I know almost every town, definitely every town with a boatyard. I admit that as a Northerner (although I was born In Madrid and lived there for 20 years) I'm a bit biased towards the North.

In my defense I'll say that I hate tourist traps, and most of the Mediterranean coast, as beautifu as it is and the great weather, it has, It is a tourist trap, evenmoreso in August, because it's the Spanish tourist season. That means lines in restaurants, not so good service (usually the waiters will be just inmigrants hired  for the season, nothing wrong about it, no racist remark here, but a good waiter is a very important part of the restaurant exoerience, IMHO)

In August? Yes. Now? Only for food

About Spanish art, you'll have to be more specific, this country is really old!  You can see the oldest (I think) cave paintings in Europe up in Altamira, or go to the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid for the latest stuff. In between, you can check out:

Architecture:

Cathedrals, from the oldest Romanic to the Sagrada Familia, you have every style, (also thousands of smaller churches all around). León, Segovia, Zamora, Burgos, Sevilla, Córdoba, Santiago de Compostela and Palencia are the best Cathedrals, and of course the Arab Architecture in Granada and Córdoba. Check out the monasteries and castles too.

If you do the "Ruta de los pueblos blancos" (White towns route) you'll get a beautifull trip of the interior of Andalucía. but again, you can melt down there in August.

Paintings. Go to Madrid. There's no other place like El Prado, anywhere. Also the Sorolla Museum, Lázaro Galdeano Museum and of course the Thyssen Museum. If you go to Madrid you MUST go to se the Monasterio del Escorial (about 40kms. away) You'll drop your jaw there, pick it up because that day I would also drive to Pedraza or Sepúlveda in nearby Segovia (also an outstanding catedral, and the castle that inspired Walt Disney) and eat some cochinillo and/or  cordero. You'll thank me later.

Also in Madrid, best luthiers there, but I'd bet my ass they'll be closed in August. Madrid is empty in August, so it's the best time to visit. (I'm a guitarist myself, what kind of instrument are you looking for?)

Music: For flamenco, Madrid or further South, Sevilla, Córdoba and Cadiz are the best.

Beaches:

The best in Spain  are in Cádiz and Galicia, no questiln about it, except for the ones in  the islands (Balearic and  some in Canarias) but again, too crowded in August. 

My recommendation for what you want, in August, Andalucia, Madrid and the North. Avoid the super touristic trap of the Med coast, it's not authentic anymore, If you want to see the real Spain, that's away from the coast, except in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and País Vasco.

Believe it or not, YES. But I wouldn't go to the really hot places, and that includes definitely Mallorca and Med coast, except Marbella area, because the mountain range behind it makes it cooler. Awfully touristy though...

Gracias.....after the New Years starts we'll be planning.  We want to be mobile, stay just 2-3 days in each place we go ( which limits us to  3 maybe 4 places)  Barcelona, Madrid

 

yep, looking for a Spanish Guitar possibly  maybe a Bandurria or Laud.....some Spanish percussion instruments to play with at home

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2 hours ago, dacapo said:

Gracias.....after the New Years starts we'll be planning.  We want to be mobile, stay just 2-3 days in each place we go ( which limits us to  3 maybe 4 places)  Barcelona, Madrid

 

yep, looking for a Spanish Guitar possibly  maybe a Bandurria or Laud.....some Spanish percussion instruments to play with at home

you flying in and out of the same airport?  Barcelona--Madrid--Toledo --Granada..then fly back to Barcelona?

Flights appear to be pretty cheap on that route

https://tickets.vueling.com/ScheduleSelect.aspx

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8 hours ago, Shortforbob said:

And very much appreciated they were :)

They are all from Galicia though, IIRC...

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6 hours ago, dacapo said:

Gracias.....after the New Years starts we'll be planning.  We want to be mobile, stay just 2-3 days in each place we go ( which limits us to  3 maybe 4 places)  Barcelona, Madrid

 

yep, looking for a Spanish Guitar possibly  maybe a Bandurria or Laud.....some Spanish percussion instruments to play with at home

I haven't bought a Spanish guitar in ages, I do own a 1939 Domingo Esteso though, a real gem in need of restoration...

 

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