Spain in November

Old Sep 11th, 2022, 12:20 PM
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Spain in November

Hi all-
I'm planning our first trip to Europe since 2019 and feel very rusty and out of practice, so all input is appreciated. We (myself, DH, DS1 (age 11), DS2 (age 8), and DD (age 4.5)) are planning our first trip to Spain over Thanksgiving week. We fly into Madrid and out of Barcelona, and will have 6.5 days (7 nights) on the ground. Definitely short and sweet, but it's what we have to work with.

​​​​I'm wondering how to split the time we have? I'm leaning towards 4 nights in Madrid (with a day trip to Toledo), with the remaining 3 nights in Barcelona (possibly with a day trip Montserrat). Should I reverse the split? Is there something glaringly obvious that I'm missing, other than the fact that this is a whirlwind?

In an ideal world, I'd squeeze in a day (night?) in Granada, but I'm thinking that is probably best left for another trip.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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Old Sep 11th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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I would split it 3 nights Madrid, 4 nights Barcelona.
I think Barcelona has a lot more to interest children.
Barcelona will also have more pleasant weather in late November. It will be warmer than Madrid by 5 - 10 degrees and those few degrees make it nicer for walking and being outdoors in general.
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Old Sep 11th, 2022, 03:20 PM
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I agree with Sassafrass. As much as I like Madrid, there is more to see and do in Barcelona. And I think Barcelona will be of more interest to your children, such as the weird and interesting Gaudi architecture, such as La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (La Pedrera), escpecially Casa Mila's bizarre rooftop. Madrid has outstanding art museums, but I suspect your children would not be as interested in those.
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 08:06 AM
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Thank you both! I booked our first 3 nights in Madrid, and am researching lodging in Barcelona for the second half of the trip. One of the options I'm looking at is near Sagrada Familia, while the other is just off La Rambla. The former offers more space, while the latter is more central. Am I silly for considering space over location or is being close to La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter more important? The cost difference is negligible, so that's not really part of the decision making process.
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 09:03 AM
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As others say, Madrid may be cold (I think it is the highest capital in Europe) so take warmish stuff. Barcelona is by the sea so generally warmer.
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Danielle811 View Post
Thank you both! I booked our first 3 nights in Madrid, and am researching lodging in Barcelona for the second half of the trip. One of the options I'm looking at is near Sagrada Familia, while the other is just off La Rambla. The former offers more space, while the latter is more central. Am I silly for considering space over location or is being close to La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter more important? The cost difference is negligible, so that's not really part of the decision making process.
Barcelona is pretty easy to navigate, most attractions are in a relatively compact area and taxis are everywhere...and cheap. The metro is really easy too.

I wouldn't sweat it. We stayed a stone's throw from Sagrada Familia last time and easily walked from there to La Rambla (and this was with someone who hates to walk...the polar opposite of me).
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Danielle811 View Post
. One of the options I'm looking at is near Sagrada Familia, while the other is just off La Rambla. .
Neither?

Okay November should be quieter but La Rambla is pretty busy. I wouldn't call it unsafe but keeping your eyes open is a good idea.

Sagrada familia area is the opposite but it's pretty out there. Yes you can walk all the way but with three kids? You'll want the metro.
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
Neither?

Okay November should be quieter but La Rambla is pretty busy. I wouldn't call it unsafe but keeping your eyes open is a good idea.

Sagrada familia area is the opposite but it's pretty out there. Yes you can walk all the way but with three kids? You'll want the metro.
Is there an area that you would suggest instead?
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Danielle811 View Post
Is there an area that you would suggest instead?
BCN is full all year. Once again the inhabitants are stating to protest.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/9290984...rude-graffiti/

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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Danielle811 View Post
Is there an area that you would suggest instead?
I like the area just west of the University, around Urgell station - part of Eixample. You can walk to almost everywhere from there, but it is a more residential area with good shops and restaurants in abundance.
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 04:21 AM
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Eixample not too far from Placa Catalunya is more residential. Quieter. Less hectic. Still reasonably close to most things.

The Gothic quarter is close to La Ramblas but less choas. I like choas but not everybody does.

In the end like most things its a balancing act. Budget, location other needs
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 08:31 AM
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Thanks all for your replies. I've continued looking and found two properties that might work (keeping in mind that for hotels we need a family room, which doesn't always come readily. I looked at booking two rooms, but not sure that is the way to go with kids the ages of ours). I'm not opposed to Air BnB, but I'm not having a lot of luck with properties that fit both budget and location.

Of the new properties I'm considering, I'm looking at Hotel Regina Barcelona which is near Placa de Catalunya and not far from the Universitat metro station. The other is Royal Passeig de Gracia, which is in the Eixample neighborhood, near Casa Mila.

Again, price differential is minimal, so that wouldn't be a deciding factor. Just looking for input about either area or the hotels themselves.

Just for reference, the lodging I was considering near Sagrada Familia looks like it may be further out than the description implied (the approximate location was to the northeast of that area). The other one that was on my initial list is a hotel on a side street off La Rambla near Liceu metro station.

Thanks again for everyone's help. It's been a huge help in narrowing things down!
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Old Sep 15th, 2022, 06:26 AM
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We stayed at Hotel Gran Via in 2010 in the Eixample, and we loved that neighborhood. It is very convenient to so many sites. We walked to La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Las Ramblas, the beach, the Cathedral, Gothic Quarter, Parc de Ciutadella etc. The architecture is very pretty, and we always felt safe.
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Old Sep 16th, 2022, 06:48 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your feedback. I'm hearing Eixample loud and clear, and have spent the past couple of days trying to find something that ticks all of the boxes. Having a better feel for things (and going cross-eyed looking at reviews and maps), I think we're going to end up with an Air BnB in Eixample.

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as we get closer, but as always, thank you for your expertise and help.
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Old Sep 16th, 2022, 07:31 AM
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Just know Eixample is BIG. IMHO you want to be at the edge closer to the south than the northern edges.

But just plot out the places you want to go.
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Old Sep 16th, 2022, 11:02 AM
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yeah, I've stayed there a couple times, once only about two blocks from pg de Gracia which was convenient for transportation. Also I was closer to Casa Battlo than Mila, and liked it there. I stayed in the NH Barcelona Calderon hotel there which was fantastic but I don't know how you'd situate that big a family that well in a hotel like that although they have triples. It's very reasonably priced for that level of hotel, I think. But that area is very convenient.
I think either of those areas would be fine, actually. And I would have picked more days in Barcelona also but not because I would expect kids to be interested in Gaudi in particular, or architecture.

You could take your kids to the amusement park Tibidabo up a bit from Parc Guell. There is a funicular that goes up there and you can get to it by bus. Their website gives good transport info. They are open on weekends in Nov. Casa Mila is near Diagonal metro stop and I'd prefer not to be that far out myself.

https://www.tibidabo.cat/en/plan-your-visit/schedules
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Old Oct 15th, 2022, 07:57 AM
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I have been working on nailing down specifics for our upcoming November trip, and am stuck about plans for our arrival day. We will land in Madrid at 9:15 AM, and I am expecting the morning to be transitioning from airport to hotel in the city center. Is it crazy to consider visiting the Royal Palace that afternoon? I had originally been thinking of just planning on Mercado de San Miguel for lunch, stopping in at Almudena Cathedral, and probably throw in a playground. However, if we're going to be at the cathedral, it seems like the palace is a logical stop.

An alternative plan would be saving the palace for another day, and instead adding Templo de Debod and the Teleferico.

As we only have 2 full days and 2 half days in Madrid, I want to maximize our time, and keep everyone moving. However, I also want to be realistic with what we all (kids in particular) can manage after a red eye flight from the East Coast.

Thanks in advance, and as always, other suggestions are more than welcome!
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Old Oct 15th, 2022, 09:26 AM
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Stay in one place for the seven nights, preferably in an apartment with cooking facilities, somewhere near a beach, and just take it day by day.
It is a vacation, not an endurance race.
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Old Oct 15th, 2022, 10:14 AM
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For arrival day, I would keep the family moving and outside in the sun as much as possible (just my way to try to combat travel fatigue).
Yes, the logical stop would be at the Royal Palace (with tickets in hand) next door to Almudena, but... the complete Royal Palace visit with armory and kitchens can take up quite some time and might be too tiresome for your first day. I would suggest moving on to the Temple of Debod instead.

The new, wide pedestrian walkway that opened this year from the Cathedral/Royal Palace all the way to the Plaza de Espaņa is a delight for strollers, and there is a playground area on the Plaza de Espaņa.
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Old Oct 15th, 2022, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Maribel View Post
For arrival day, I would keep the family moving and outside in the sun as much as possible (just my way to try to combat travel fatigue).
Yes, the logical stop would be at the Royal Palace (with tickets in hand) next door to Almudena, but... the complete Royal Palace visit with armory and kitchens can take up quite some time and might be too tiresome for your first day. I would suggest moving on to the Temple of Debod instead.
Thank you, Maribel! This was my inclination as well, especially if the Royal Palace is a larger time commitment. I don't want to rush through because I was over-confident about what we could manage. The proximity to other sites had me questioning my logic, haha.
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