I have been to Barcelona and loved it. Read up on Gaudi as his architecture there is incredible. There is a nice Gaudi gallery there-it looks like a toad house but I loved Park Guell I think the most. Gaudi designed it and it is truly lovely. Of course the outrageous cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, was under renovation when I was there but there is a neat park area in front of it where you can eat a sandwich and gawk at this cathedral he designed but died before finishing. www.sagradafamilia.org is the website. Barcleona is way cool, allow ample time to stroll the La Rambla, numerous living statues and street vendors. Be aware, La Rambla and Park Guell are on opposite sides of the city which only matters if you are planning to walk it. Oh, and they don't speak actual Spanish in Barcelona, it is a mixture of Old French and Spanish, it was quite surprising. I went to Seville as well and I can promise you, the one thing you cannot miss is the tapas bars. Have a cafe' lon leche and eat whatever looks a little interesting, it will be fabulous. I also found every Spanish wine I tried to be very enjoyable.
I have been in Spain about ten times since the 1980's, my latest visit being last May and my next visit will be in about two weeks. Prices have really gone up! The roads are better but not quite comparable to more well-traveled European countries. Food and hotels have really increased in price, but there are still bargains if you're willing to spend time looking. All in all, our best lodging experiences have not been in the cities, but rather small communities near the cities. This requires that you do your own driving, so if you HAVE to be on the beach or INSIDE the old city, it will be worth it to pay a little more for drive-free locations. We like to do a variety of things, so having our own transportation is a must. Train travel is also a great way to get around as well as intra-European flights. We flew from Barcelona to Munich last May for under $100 per person! Spain is a small enough country that you can visit mountains, oceans, plateaus and diverse cultural areas without traveling too far. And the history is outstanding! Be careful, though, of being robbed whether in person or your auto--take every extra precaution to secure your valuables and not leave them in sight through a car window, for example. While traveling the roads, we found that most gas stations have fair to nice cafes or restaurants inside their establishments and not so high priced either.
In two weeks I will be traveling through Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo, Segovia and Barcelona. I will be zeroing in on affordable hotels and restaurants in those areas. I will check back in and let you know what I've found, as well as gas prices, parking hints and other things travelers should know. And I'll have photos as well.
Well, I just returned from a 2-week visit to Spain and found the prices quite high for the most part. Gasoline, of course, is to be expected now. For two weeks, the total cost for 3-star hotels was $2,200. None of those hotels were in downtown city districts, nor were they far, far away from the sites except in Sevilla. Walkable distance or in the case of Madrid, easy access to the Metro. Sevilla required us to drive to the sites in our car and park. Would rather have been located in a hotel in that area. Service, rooms, etc., were all very good. My favorite one by far was the Los Linajes in Segovia--very quaint with lots of ambience, great restaurant with reasonably-priced food and wonderful staff to work with. They have their own parking garage, too, a great plus, and very short walking distance to the main plaza where the cathedral is, a bit further walking distance to the famous aqueducts.
Food in restaurants tends to be very expensive unless you eat the menu of the day during the MIDDLE of the day--not in the evening. Even then you could expect to pay close to $15-20 given the value of the Euro now. It priced out at $1.63 for my trip. Dont' expect to find great values at McDonald's either--a meal deal can cost about $10. We stayed at a pretty decent beach hotel in Santa Susanna, Spain, up north from Barcelona. Everything you need including huge shopping areas were very close by, the beach across the street and a lot of amenities offered inside the hotel. Here are the names of where I stayed and all were places I'd go again except for perhaps Sevilla I'd prefer to be closer to the historical downtown area.
Hotel Convención****, Madrid
C/ O´donnell 53
28009 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 746 800
Hotel Catalonia Hispalis***, Sevilla
Avenida Andalucía 52
41006 Sevilla, Spain
+34 954 529 433
Hotel Mirador de Montoro***, Montoro+34 921 460 475
03/30- 04/03, 2008
Hotel Mercury***, Santa Susanna
Av.da del Mar, 2
08398 Santa Susanna
Ate at the Restaurant Bodin in Madrid, supposedly the oldest restaurant in the WORLD and it cost 100 Euros for four people, including drinks and a dessert with the meal. A nice atmosphere, though. There's an Irish restaurant across from the Cathedral in Sevilla that is reasonable and good food, too.
If you have any other questions, please ask. I was in Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo, Segovia, South and north of Barcelona (Santa Susanna and Sant Sadorni), but not in Barcelona.
I realize this thread is a little old and am hoping I can revive it! How was your trip to Spain?
I am taking my wife there for our 25 Ann. this fall. We are booked for the Marriott Playa Andaluza Resort in Estapona - near Marbella on the beach, 28SEP-05OCT.
Currently our early plan is to:
We would really love to here about your trip and any suggestions you or anyone else on this thread could give - particularly from anyone who has visited recently i.e. How have the economic woes affected tourism, customer service, etc. Places to see, stay, eat, etc. etc.
Many thanks for any guidance you can share!