Any Spain Sightseeing Tips for the Clueless?

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    Feb 12, 2008 12:51 AM GMT
    My Hubby and I are going to Spain for two weeks in May and I am trying to plan activities, restaurants, museums and etc that we can do. We have the itinery down starting in Madrid - Seville - Granada and ending in Barcelona.

    Do you have any advice on places that we can go, sites to see, places to dine, great bars? I've never been before and am clueless!
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Feb 12, 2008 1:40 AM GMT
    I've only been to Barcelona
    ...but there's a great gay life there
    it doesn't really start until 1-2 am tho
    most of the clubs are within walking distance and the people are Very friendly

    the thing that I'd suggest is a quick day trip to Sitges
    which is about an hour away by train
    leave in the morning and either spend a night or come back the same day

    it's a very nice beachtown
    kind of like a Provincetown with some latin flavor to it
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    Feb 12, 2008 1:58 AM GMT
    GQ - thanks! I'll check it out - we will have several days in Barcelona to explore...

    I've heard that the bar scene is very late night - I'll have to work-up to that one!
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    Feb 12, 2008 3:27 AM GMT
    In Sevilla be sure to go to Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus. They perform "real" flamenco dance and music there most nights. They are much better performances than you see at the flashy tablaos.

    My favorite lunch place in Sevilla is Casa Salva near the museum. I've eaten there just about daily every time I go to Sevilla. It's cheap and very high-quality. The owner can tell you the pedigree of every pig that gave its life to become ham.

    It's been a few years since I've been to Sevilla and I hear some new bars have opened. Itaca, on the wonderfully named Calle Amor de Dios, was the most entertaining when I was hanging out there. It's a disco, has a backroom (like most bars in Spain) and hosts a very retro drag show some nights. Don't go near the makeshift stage. They love to drag Americans onstage and humiliate them.

    Across the street is El Hombre y el Oso (the man and the bear); it's a tiny bar (with an upstairs back room). I used to go to Isbilyya too. There are quite a few gay/straight mixed clubs and bars too, around the Alameda de Hercules.

    When you go to the Prado in Madrid, don't miss the El Greco exhibit. It's like taking LSD. I'm sure you and your partner will want to visit The Strong Center, Europe's largest dark room. Imagine 1,000 men all looking for sex at the same time under one roof.

    You can try to get a reservation at El Bulli in Roses, not far from Barcelona, although I think it's just about impossible these days. If you do go, plan to spend over 200E per person. The food -- this is where "molecular cuisine" was invented, basically -- is amazing.

  • ataru13

    Posts: 89

    Feb 12, 2008 11:57 AM GMT
    Madrid is a really gay-friendly city now.
    Chueca is the gay neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants, bars, discos, etc.
    You can find several musical theatre plays in Gran Via, plus many interesting architectural buildings, from Palacio Real, to the Almudena cathedral, gardens, etc.
    You could also pay a visit to some nearby cities which are World Heritage by the UNESCO, like Aranjuez, Alcalá de Henares, Toledo,....
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    Feb 12, 2008 12:24 PM GMT
    While in Barcelona, make sure to visit Sagrada is realy fascinating cathedral, also every Friday they have some sort of Fountain show in front of the royal Pallace, and it's really worth seeing.
    Also they have *La siesta*, it's usually taking place on weekends, and it's maybe an hour or less outside the Barcelona in an old villa, I think it's called Santa Susanna.It's like a flamenco show, and after paying for the ticket you get unlimited ammounts of Sangria (sort of their wine) icon_smile.gif It has the genuine flavor, really enjoyable.
  • duglyduckling

    Posts: 279

    Feb 12, 2008 1:43 PM GMT
    My boi is from Barcelona, so he wrote up something a while back to a travel forum, so I'm copying and pasting what he has written...

    First of all there are many do´s and a lot of don`t about Barcelona and I hope to be able to answer some of them - been living in Barcelona for the past ten years now so I got some notion of the city...

    Depending on if you are travelling alone or with friends, there are different types of accos to make do with - what is commonly referred to as tourist-flats could be rented from starting price at 50 euros/night, depending the area, you have some pretty cool places - and BCN is crammed with such places...

    Cheaper alternatives are hostals:

    Then after having done the reservation, and having landed at the airport you need to get there and the best alternative is NOT taking a cab as they screw you good time - for 3.95 euros you can take the Airportbus to Plaza Cataluña and from there it is way easier to get to the place you are staying...

    In Barcelona, I suggest you get a T10 (ten travels on bus/metro/train to a certain extent) as it is at 7.20 and one single journey is at 1.30.

    Cheap experiences?

    Well; even if Barcelona has got some of the best shopping in Europe - I would suggest you do that part when having seen some of the great museums or landmarks that are to be seen here... One good thing is that you can get Guia del Ocio in which the museums with free entrances are listed (certain mondays/sundays are free and tend to be the 1th of last in each month).

    If you can/willing to pay some, I recommend the Touristbus for less than 20 euros, it will take you around all Barcelonas landmarks and you can get off and get on as many times you want during that day.

    Place to have been, at least once but I hardly recommend it because - it sure is nice to talk it down - like Ströget in Copenhagen - but everything there is expensive and the food is not what you want to associate Barcelona with; adding the fact that it is normally CRAMMED with people does not add much "glamour" if you know what I mean...

    Parque de Ciudadella...
    Barcelona has it´s own Hyde Park/Central Park, even if it is not at HUGE as in New York or as british as Hyde Park but sundays - when the weather allows to - everyone goes there to have a few relaxing hours with some green leaves and grass under ones belly; it is rather amusing when they put on shows and play music there because the multiethnicity is one of the things I really would like to point out as one of the best ingredients in Barcelona.

    Extreme DO´S & DON`TS!

    DO NOT go into the Casa Battló, they charge you like 17 euros and you are done with it in less than half an hour; it sure is nice and whatever but not worth the entrance fee... (this is the building in Paseo de Gracia that looks like a dragon and the story behind this building is that it represents George and the Dragon; the balconies are to be the jaws of dragons, the building itself are to to represent the body of the dragon and the roof... There you can see the sword and the dragon´s back as well...)

    INSTEAD you ought to go to the Casa Milà, you find it on your right hand when walking UP the same street and you cannot miss it... In the summertime you can - for a few euros - have a glass of spanish champagne and you get to listen to jazz... At other times, I think they charge something for entrance and it is rather worth it to pay... If not interested, you can have a free preview on HOW the building is if you go to the free exposition they have at all times on different themes and it is situated on the first floor...

    Go to Palau Robert, an old home from the beginning of the century which is converted into a public building in which they - normally - some cool expositionson different themes

    Go shopping at El Corte Inglés, it is like NK in Sweden - - because everything you see there, you can get cheaper elsewhere. This goes for FNAC as well; people go there to check things out and then they go to other places in order to actually buy the stuff...

    Go to the market Mercado Sant Antonio at sundays between 10.00 - 14.00 as it turns into a experience one must have

    Go to Plaza España in the evening/nighttime to see the water fountain and what is done there, it is simply breathtaking - time and startingdate depends so check it out before IF coming here and just spending a few days...

    ONE MUST!!!
    One of Barcelonas least hidden treasure, you will find out WHY when going there but be aware, dont buy anything close to the main entrance as all the tourist do that, they raise the price quite high...

    There are many opportunities to have great food for little money; my personal favourites are:

    1. MAOZ
    For 3.70 you get some freshly fried falafel and you can have as much salad as your tummy can take and adding 1 euro you can have the salad menu which include a soda/water and believe me, I am a tall swede and I can eat and I hardly leave that place not filled...

    2. Fresco
    As some spanish food can be very fatty, I tend to go here and have a blast with all the food you can have - it is pay one price, before 18.00 you pay like 8.30 euros and after 18.00 you pay 9.90 and you can have as much salads/different hot dishes/desserts/coffees/teas/icecreams/fruits and at some of them, as much sodas as you can have...

    3. Sushi
    There are some kaitensushi in Barcelona, in which you can have as much sushi as you want for one price and if you go there during lunch hour, for like 8 euros you can have as much sushi as you want and a soda - at night, they tend to raise the price to be around 13 euros, beverages excluded but even so, the food is rather good.

    4. Meditteranean beach
    There is nothing like getting some bread and cheese (or salami/pastrami if you are not vegetarian as I am) and heading to the beach; because listening to the waves and having a really good sandwich is like....
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    Feb 12, 2008 4:32 PM GMT
    Guys - some great tips - thank you!

    Obscene - We are staying next to the Prado and wouldn't miss it for the world and will try some of the restaurants! Will check-out the clubs as well.

    ataru - sounds like there are some great side trips outside Madrid.

    damned - love Sangria! icon_smile.gif

    dugly - great list! Thank your boi for me! I especially like the "don'ts" list..