Posted by: Mary | September 11, 2012

Planning for Spain

My friend, “M”, and I got together last night to begin planning for our trip to Spain in December. We’ll be flying into Barcelona and out of Madrid, with a short flight between the two cities. There’s so much to see in Barcelona that it will be really hard to narrow it down to the highlights that we each most want to see. We both expect to visit these cities again someday, so we don’t have to pack everything in, but it’s hard not to want to see it all.  Of course, we both really want to see the Gaudi architecture, so Casa Mila (La Pedrera) and La Sagrada Familia are high on our list, as well as Park Güell.  We also both want to go to La Boqueria, Barri Gòtic and the Illa de la Discòrdia (Block of Discord), and we want to visit the La Seu Cathedral of Barcelona. Fortunately, the Christmas markets are located near the sites that are on the top of our list, so we should be able to do a little shopping in between sites and then come back in the evenings for the food and atmosphere.

We plan to spend only one full day site seeing in Madrid, and may have some time in the evenings there, too. In Madrid, the Museo Nacional del Prado tops the list, followed by the Palacio Real de Madrid and the Catedral de Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena.  We’ll also check out the Christmas Market in Plaza Mayor.  We will be making a day trip to Segovia to see the Roman aqueduct, the Segovia Cathedral and the Alcázar de Segovia.  After checking out photos of these places, they are a “must see” on this trip.  Our other day trip will be to Toldeo, where we plan to visit the Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo and the Alcázar.  We’d also like to see the Gate of Bisagra and the Bridges of Alcántara and San Martin.

With only one full week, it’s a lot to pack in, but seems doable.  Of course, as we go along, if other things catch our interest or different opportunities present themselves, we’re both open to changing plans.  And who knows what recommendations we may receive between now and then!



  1. Sagrada Familia is amazing! Be prepared for a stiff neck. When you see the ceiling you will know what I mean!

    • I bet! I just love visiting cathedrals and really look forward to this one since it’s so different from the others I’ve visited. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  2. We spent a week in Barcelona at the beginning of our RTW. Search “Barcelona” on our blog for a few posts. We did a Gaudi walking tour that was wonderful.

    • Thanks! I’ll definitely check it out.

  3. If you need some information or tips from Barcelona, let me know, I’ve lived all my live near… 😉

    • I appreciate it and am always open to suggestions and tips! Since you read my post, you have a basic idea of what we want to see, but is there anything I didn’t list that we really should consider? I’m particularly interested in things that would really give me a sense of the place that I’m in. Restaurant suggestions are also welcome. My friend and I both enjoy small neighborhood or family-owned places where we may have the opportunity to chat with the owner or staff and learn more about the area. On my last trip to Spain, we found a wonderful place like that in Mijas Costa and visited a few times during our stay. Thanks for the offer!

      • Hi Mary, I gather that if you are going to stay 1 day in Madrid , you can spend 4-5 days in BCN, it’s OK? So, all the places you have in your list are awesome. I only would add La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia street and Gràcia district that is at the end of Passeig de Gràcia street. If you would like to know about catalan culture, it’ll be difficult in Barcelona city and metropolitan areas, because nowadays has become a really cosmopolitan and european city, with everything that entails. If you like mountain, I can go to Montserrat mountains (see photos at google images), a Catalan nation symbol (it’s an only 40min railway travel from the city. In Barri Gòtic you’ll find a lot of charming cafes, restaurant & bars. I specially like one known as Els 4 gats, at C/ Montsió Nº3 near Plaça Catalunya. It was the inn where a lot of illustrated catalan artists of the modernist period went to philosophize and exchange ideas. If you need something, I’m here! Kind regards.

      • Thanks for all of the suggestions! We will spend 3 full days in Barcelona with 3.5 days based in Madrid. Since we’d like to go to Segovia and Toledo for day trips, that leaves one full day to explore Madrid. Montserrat sounds wonderful, if we can find a way to make it work.

        We definitely plan to see La Rambla and will follow your suggestion to see the Gracia district. It sounds like there will be o shortage of good restaurants and cafes in Barri Gotic and we’ll look for the one you suggested. It sounds like just the type of place I’d enjoy, with lots of history. Thanks again for the suggestions! If you think of anything else, I’d love to hear it.

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