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Old 07-10-2012, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
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I just came back from a trip to the far west of Europe. I spent time in Barcelona, Lisbon, Sines area, and Sintra. I felt really satisfied with the time I spent in Portugal (learned so much, spent time with very genuine and friendly Portuguese who were eager to Teach about the country), but felt like I missed out in Spain. Seeing as I only really stayed in Barcelona, which seems eager to be totally autonomous, I want to go back and check out the true hub of Spain in October or December (and go on to see more of Europe).

Is each city different enough to justify visiting the other on a seperate trip? Just from watching videos and looking at pictures, Madrid strikes me with a slightly gritty, almost kind of "noir film" appearance and feel to it. It seems like it is more on to what most people think of when you say "Spain" than anything. Barcelona makes me think of a very family-friendly, easy-going, simple, tactile kind of place.

Thoughts? I'm just looking for some personal insight to the city. I'm kind of fascinated by it now, even though I chose BCN over it last time.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Strathclyde & Málaga
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Glad you had a good time in Spain.

Catalans do consider themselves to be more or less "separate". Every region in Spain is unique and diverse in every sense - geographically, culturally, language/dialect, customs etc etc I think you get my drift.

I know your looking at the big cities but have you considered the region of Andalucía? Sevilla is the 4th largest city in Spain.



Sevilla, Córdoba, Marbella, Málaga, Cádiz are all beautiful places.

Málaga tourist board

Andalucía tourist board

The Valencia region is also very beautiful, the capital is Valencia. Truly a magic city. The 3rd largest in Spain

Valencia tourism board

I would also recommend the Island of Mallorca and a visit to Palma, one of the most chic and cosmopolitan cities i´ve visited. It´s stylish, clean and beautiful with everything to suit anyones needs.

Balearic Islands
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:57 PM
 
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I loved Madrid so much. I liked it better than Barcelona, although it was a cool city as well. It seemed like there were less tourists in Madrid. There were still a lot of foreigners, but most of them were from former colonies, so they spoke Spanish. In Barcelona, I heard a lot of different languages. The diversity is cool, but if you want the more Spanish experience, Madrid is better. I was even singing "yo soy espanol espanol espanol" in the street in Barcelona after Spain won the Eurocup and one man came up to me and said (politely) that Barcelona isn't part of Spain, it's different. And then I asked if he was happy that Spain won and he said "only a little" I noticed that a lot of people there were wearing Barcelona jerseys instead of Espana. On the contrast, when I went to Madrid the next day, everyone had Espana stuff on.


I loved Gran Via in Madrid. It felt like the Spanish version of NYC. Very bustling all the time. People in Madrid were also the friendliest out of all the places I've been in Spain (Madrid, Alicante, Barcelona, and towns in between)
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Madrid is certainly a lot different from Barcelona.

I personally did not like Madrid. Perhaps it was due in part to my LP guidebook's incessant raving about Madrid's nightlife and libertine culture that really annoyed me. As a solo traveller, going out alone at night in Madrid is really no fun, because you will stick out like a sore thumb: Spaniards tend to go out in groups. Eat only Spanish food, too: foreign cuisine is overpriced. I ate at an Indian restaurant just for the experience, and not only was the curry expensive, but the rice was like 5 euros extra!

I would agree with a previous poster that it's less "touristic" than Barcelona, but only a little. Actually, I remember reading the airport statistics and I believe MAD had more foreign arrivals than BCN, but business travellers, immigrants, or expatriates could make up the difference. Barcelona seems to have a more central location relative to Europe as a whole, so many doing the "grand tour" of Europe will stop there but not in Madrid. Still, I saw a lot of tour groups in Madrid.

I enjoyed San Sebastian (Basque Country) much more than I did Madrid. Tarifa (the southernmost city in Spain) was also a highlight of my trip.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:41 AM
 
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Madrid is nice, the "court", the official capital that always received all investments. A city built from scratch 500 years ago, with better planning, the Royal Palace, el Prado museum, fascinating parks and less tourists (the main problem that affects Barcelona). Yes, an entirely different city that deserves a visit of a week or more...but..aquí no hay playa, they have no beach, no coast. Weather is also different, Spanish continental, not mediterranean.

Yes, Madrid deserves a visit. You can also visit fascinating cities relatively near Madrid, Segovia, Avila...Salamanca, Toledo is nice but there are too many tourists.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:23 AM
 
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Madrid is great, I actually prefer it to Barcelona. Sometimes it seems that BCN tries too hard to be cool. Madrid simply doesn't care.

It's a bustling metropolis, a city made big to the capital, to impress. Its street life is one of the best in the world, hands down. And there's plenty of attractions.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
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Thanks for the responses. I'm sold!

Scotslass, I would love to visit some of the cities in Andalusia, but it is difficult for me to arrive there cheaply from Ontario, Canada. Some day, though.
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:43 AM
 
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i love madrid more than any other city in europe. ive also been to barcelona several times. madrid is way more authentic and fun than barcelona. it has a much bigger restaurant scene full of many zones with tapas bars. barcelonas nightlife is ok but no comparison to madrid. madrid certainly feels alot more spanish. it is also surrounded by cities that are pretty much the cradle of spain such as toledo segovia salamanca etc... which by the way are amongst the most beauutiful cities in the wirld. apart from gaudis unique buildings in barcelona it is a city that has never done much for me. i way way much prefer madrid. it is a much bigger city with alot more attractions
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:52 AM
 
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and the guy that speaks volumes about andalucia forgets to mentiob the regions true gem granada.ive visited sevilla cordoba granada and malaga as my wife has some cousins in sevilla. in fact have visitwd all of those cities rwice and malaga once. found granada to be the mist beautiful of all followed by cordoba. toss up between sevilla and mqlga. sevilla actuall reall dissapointed me. it is sort of nicw in places such as the interior of the incredible giralda. i find it to only have a handfull of nice buildings. it still has a very small village feel to it. and the shopping us very average indeed. the main calle serpies is tiny.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,399 posts, read 5,148,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rongens View Post
and the guy that speaks volumes about andalucia forgets to mentiob the regions true gem granada.ive visited sevilla cordoba granada and malaga as my wife has some cousins in sevilla. in fact have visitwd all of those cities rwice and malaga once. found granada to be the mist beautiful of all followed by cordoba. toss up between sevilla and mqlga. sevilla actuall reall dissapointed me. it is sort of nicw in places such as the interior of the incredible giralda. i find it to only have a handfull of nice buildings. it still has a very small village feel to it. and the shopping us very average indeed. the main calle serpies is tiny.
I was surprised to see this old thread dug up, and it's interesting that I just got back from visiting both Madrid AND Granada (and (!) Consuegra) last month. Very, very, very nice stuff.
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