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Thread: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

  1. #1

    Default Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Hey guys,

    i'll be heading to spain this july. Planning to go from Barcelona to Seville via plane, then trains from there to cordoba, then granada then valencia and finally back to barcelona.

    I think that there are plenty of trains from Seville to cordoba and onwards to granada. My
    only concern is the overnight train ticket from Granada to valencia. Seems like renfe isn't allowing me to book them and so is rail europe. Called up rail europe today and they claim that the schedule for 17th July hasn't been released. Any ideas other than waiting for a few days? Anyone in spain that can help me out? Other than that, would appreciate if people can share any tips on food/restaurants and places to go in the various cities that i'll be visiting. TIA

  2. #2

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    I got my train tickets from STA Travel. You can talk to Ian if he is still there.

    STA TRAVEL PTE LTD
    534A North Bridge Road
    Singapore 188 749
    [Opposite Bugis Junction, at the beginning of Tan Quee Lan St]
    Tel: 6737 7188 ext 802

    Seriously, I won't advise trying the overnight trains as they are terribly infested with bed bugs. My wife, daughter and myself were badly bitten.

    The 3-star hotels in Spain are really good. I stayed at Hotel Murillo (Seville) and Hotel Abadia (Granada). Location and price-wise, good and no complaint.

    For Barcelona, I would recommend the "hop on & hop off" tourist bus. It brings you to almost all the tourist attractions and it is relatively cheap. Most importantly, you avoid the public transport and minimise your exposures to the thieves/pickpockets.

    Have fun and I am sure you would enjoy your stay there.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    I followed the "gaudi" trail when I was there...
    I probably cannot recall the names of all the places..so just goggle, and select your favourite gaudi's architectures to visit.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    ouch... bed bugs? hmmm... i need to let my frens know about this... thanks a bunch for the replies guys!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    If you are want to try the seafood, I would suggest the supermarkets instead. They sell the same stuff at a fraction of the price. I buy bottled water from there as well.

    You should really try the Tapas. They are really good. It is akin our Tim Sum.

    Personally, there isn't much in Granada except for the Alhambra. I wouldn't spend too much time there.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    My wife and I spent a month in Spain in April-May 2007.

    The cities we visited in chronological order were: Barcelona, Girona, Figueres, Seville, Ubeda, Granada, Malaga, Nerja, Ronda, Jerez, Cordoba, Madrid and Toledo. We planned our itinerary such that we witnessed city festivals like San Jordi in Barcelona, April Fair in Seville, Fiesta de Caballos in Jerez and Fiesta de Patios in Cordoba.

    We even managed a side trip to France (Paris, Roeun, Caen, Giverny) because we purchased first-class Spain-France eurailpass. For long journeys, first-class rail is best. It's more like being in an airplane, first class, except for the longer journey.

    We stayed mainly in pensions which cost less than 60 euros a night. I did all my hotel reservations in advance online, as we were travelling to different cities every 2 or 3 days. We took buses and trains most of the time. We took a taxi only on the days of our arrival and final departures from Spain. Our taxi in Madrid from our hotel to the airport cost more than 80 euros!

    You are travelling during peak and super hot season. Buy lots of bottled water at supermarkets. Don't buy near tourist attractions where they charge as much as 2 euros for a small bottle.

    We visited churches, museums, palaces and gardens. In Madrid, don't miss El Buen Retiro (accessible by their MRT), an urban retreat much larger than Sentosa. It has the largest rose garden we have ever seen.


    Buy your tickets to the Alhambra online. If you queue to buy, you will be wasting a lot of time. Read up on the Alhambra beforehand so you can appreciate the place better. Also, take a trip to Albaicin from where you can shoot the Alhambra at sunset.

    Watch out at all times for pickpockets. They are professionals and operate in groups. Always keep a close watch on your bags.

    Spanish food is salty, so take care of your health. Locals don't start eating dinner until 9 or 10 p.m., so stack up on tidbits.

    Check carefully what you plan to buy before buying it. More and more Spanish clothes are actually made in Asia, especially China.

    Be sure to watch some flamenco performances. Some of our most memorable destinations in Spain were the museums and Palacio Real in Madrid, the works of Gaudi in Barcelona, the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada, the bullfights and the April fair in Sevilla (where more than 25000 people dressed up in holiday and flamenco attire party every night for more than a week), the Mezquita and the various courtyards in Cordoba, the churches in Toledo, and the gardens in just about every city.

    I took over 10,000 shots during that single trip to Spain and France.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    I am in Barcelona as I am replying this... haha

    My itinerary for 11 days trip covers Madrid, Seville, Granada, Ibiza & Barcelona.

    My 5c worth of comment will say that you may want to consider more days in Madrid and Barcelona. This 2 cities have more things to see and you may wish to consider taking their Hop-on & off bus as they take you to major tourist attraction, however, if you plan well enough for Barcelona, you can buy their "T10" ticket for metro which allows you to take 10 trips on train(this ticket can be shared among 2-3 people).

    Ibiza (aka europe phuket) if you wish to club and relax as its a small island but you got to take a flight there. ** Lots of babes there, topless....**

    Train can be booked via www.renfe.es but note that its in spainish so you got to translate everything via free translator online.

    Overnight train aka trenhotel is not too bad if you dun might to share the bunk(i took the 4-1bunk) with others who might snore and have BO like what I encountered... And if you are travelling with a female counterpart you will not share the same bunk. Its allocated based on your sex. Some train allows you to choose your seats so do go thru the website properly b4 you book.

    I stayed in hostel which is cheaper than hotel but you got to find your way to the place from airport or train station. Hostel are smaller so you have more difficulty in finding it unless you do your homework really well.

    If you need more information, PM me and I will try to help you as much as I can...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Hi,

    My two cents worth:

    1. Definitely try to book train tickets online on renfe. For overnight trains, try to book at least 8 days in advance to get the Estrella price. You can book in Singapore and print it at any train stations in Spain. If you encounter any problems printing, head for the AVE counter in the train station. Estrella price for overnight from Granada to Barcelona cost me about 35 euros. (Price should still be about the same because I just returned about two weeks ago). Don't go to the English version of the website - the selection is a lot less. Not sure why, except it may be for tourists. Go to the Spanish version and just use a online translation tool.

    As for short distance train tickets e.g from Sevilla to Cordoba, no special prices so you can just check the train schedule online and buy tickets on the day itself at the station. One-way ticket between 10-15 euros, depending on whether it's a regional train or a faster train. You get a small rebate (I think it's 10%) if you buy a return ticket. You don't have to buy it at the same time. If you keep the ticket for the first leg, just show it to the ticket counter officer when you buy the return trip - you'll still get the rebate.

    Erm, not too sure about the bed bugs though, cuz I took the "hard seat" version. No bugs there.

    2. Definitely go to the Albaicin in Granada. It's a UNESCO site and it retains the winding streets of its Moorish past. I stayed in a hostel in the Albaicin and it was great! There's also a little Morocco on the southern end of the Albaicin near the Gran Via. Plus bars in Granada still practises the tradition of serving a free tapa with a drink (coke, water, wine, beer cost the same). Lots of bars in the Albaicin do this. Just note that southern Spain is VERY hot. It was 42 degrees celsius in Granada in mid-Jun. If you're going to the Alhambra, try to get a morning ticket. Walking through the Generalife in the afternoon sun is no joke. Buying the ticket online is a good idea, cuz if you want to buy at Alhambra itself, note that you can only purchase tickets for the day's entry, no pre-purchase of tickets for the next day.

    Have a great trip. Don't worry too much about the pickpockets. They happen everywhere, just don't carry all your money together. Case in point, my guide book said the Albaicin was dangerous, but I was travelling alone, and I was fine.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    eat lots of seafood paella and potato pancakes!

    If you're going to Barcelona, try Citrus, its a restaurant at the same st of casa mila... forgot whats the st name, where LV, Gucci and so on sits at. You wont miss it!

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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Quote Originally Posted by couleur View Post
    eat lots of seafood paella and potato pancakes!

    If you're going to Barcelona, try Citrus, its a restaurant at the same st of casa mila... forgot whats the st name, where LV, Gucci and so on sits at. You wont miss it!
    St name should be passeig de gracia... there's a lot of nice cafes lining the road. You should also visit the famous market, la boqueria. For one of the best paella in Barcelona, ask your conceige for the address to 7 Portes. It's not cheap but well worth the money i feel.

    As for trains, the Barcelona-Madrid train only takes about 2-2 1/2 hrs and it's travelling at 200+ km/hr and it's very comfortable for 1st class (only abt 100 euro return i think). Barcelona and Madrid will takes you easily 5 days each to walk around.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Near Sagrada Familia, there is a buffet place for only 7 euros including beer and wine. If you're not a rich ass and on a budget, I highly recommend that place for lunch. Many locals eat there too!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Quote Originally Posted by defn View Post
    Near Sagrada Familia, there is a buffet place for only 7 euros including beer and wine. If you're not a rich ass and on a budget, I highly recommend that place for lunch. Many locals eat there too!
    That is a big area. With no name of the place, how to find?
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    sorry I read this too late
    You're probably in Spain now. I live just next to the Sants station here in Barcelona.

    Enjoy your stay. Just one thing- be very careful with pick-pockets especially in crowded areas. Always be cautious especially if you're not familiar with the places.

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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Hi,

    Just came across this thread. I am also planning a trip to Europe this coming november for my honeymoon. actually more of a stopover. main iteniery is LONDON and Marrakech. Planning to stopover in barcelona in between for about 4 days.

    would like to know which area or where to stay as budget is slightly tight. tried to go thru some websites but kinda of confusing with the different areas and street names...

    what is best way to get around in barcelona? cheap places to stay and "must see" attractions or shopping district.

    Thank you
    EOS 400D | 5D II | BG-E3 Grip | 10-22mm | 24-105mm f4 L |Tamron 17-50mm | 50mm f1.4 :blah:

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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Quote Originally Posted by subwirl View Post
    Hi,

    Just came across this thread. I am also planning a trip to Europe this coming november for my honeymoon. actually more of a stopover. main iteniery is LONDON and Marrakech. Planning to stopover in barcelona in between for about 4 days.

    would like to know which area or where to stay as budget is slightly tight. tried to go thru some websites but kinda of confusing with the different areas and street names...

    what is best way to get around in barcelona? cheap places to stay and "must see" attractions or shopping district.

    Thank you
    Hmm... if you going London and Marrakesh, i don't think Barcelona is a good place to stop over.. You will likely fly direct to London. Maybe you can try Madrid instead, or Seville. Of course i am thinking more by the geographical location rather than the sights as if you are keen on Gaudi architecture then only Barcelona will do.

    The must see sights of Barcelona is essentially the Gaudi architecture, the most famous of which is the Sagrada Familia. Others includes a few residential projects in city and the Hospital San Paul. One more place i heard is very good but i didnt have the time to visit is Gruell Parc or something. There's a Gaudi museum there too.

    Other main sights include the 2 shopping streets, La Ramblas (theatres, open air market, small shops, baskers) and Passeig De Gracia (mainly high end boutiques and cafes). You should also visit the La Boqueria on La Ramblas, which is a very good market to get local goodies like chocolates, Jamon Serrano (Spanish smoked ham).

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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Inital plan was to just head to morrocco using london as base. but after working out our "schedule" we discover we had bout another 4-5 days free, hence the added dilemma of thinking of going to another destnation.

    still surfing the net finding cheap (budget) airlines flying to marrakech from BCN..paris was an option BUT decided against it as got bad or unfavourable remarks fom close friends who had just returned recently...

    Thank you for the recommendation of places to visit nemesis, will continue to do more background research..hehe
    EOS 400D | 5D II | BG-E3 Grip | 10-22mm | 24-105mm f4 L |Tamron 17-50mm | 50mm f1.4 :blah:

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Quote Originally Posted by subwirl View Post
    Inital plan was to just head to morrocco using london as base. but after working out our "schedule" we discover we had bout another 4-5 days free, hence the added dilemma of thinking of going to another destnation.

    still surfing the net finding cheap (budget) airlines flying to marrakech from BCN..paris was an option BUT decided against it as got bad or unfavourable remarks fom close friends who had just returned recently...

    Thank you for the recommendation of places to visit nemesis, will continue to do more background research..hehe
    I think while it's true that most Parisans are quite snobbish, Paris and France itself offers a lot to tourists. Lourve musuem for one, is the best musuem i have visited so far and you probably need a week to finish looking at all the exhibits.

    For your situation, you may want to consider spending more time in morroco and fly direct from london instead. London is the hub for europe and you will have abundant of choices for flights of different prices. Based on what i have read, there's a few places like Fez, tanger etc thats very interesting.

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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis32 View Post
    For your situation, you may want to consider spending more time in morroco and fly direct from london instead. London is the hub for europe and you will have abundant of choices for flights of different prices. Based on what i have read, there's a few places like Fez, tanger etc thats very interesting.
    I agree with the suggestion, still ironing things out right now. might stay longer at both london and morocco instead, or take the eurostar down to Paris and say "hi" lol. thank you very much again nemesis. Should be done with my bookings by 1st week of august!. So excited but so nervous bout the bank book also...heheh
    EOS 400D | 5D II | BG-E3 Grip | 10-22mm | 24-105mm f4 L |Tamron 17-50mm | 50mm f1.4 :blah:

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    There's also Montjuic and Tibidabo.
    If you still have extra time in Barcelona, go to Montserrat.

    Might be a personal preference but November is nearing winter and it's not a good time to visit places because days get shorter and you have to bring extra clothes. I would go somewhere down under like New Zealand

    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis32 View Post
    Hmm... if you going London and Marrakesh, i don't think Barcelona is a good place to stop over.. You will likely fly direct to London. Maybe you can try Madrid instead, or Seville. Of course i am thinking more by the geographical location rather than the sights as if you are keen on Gaudi architecture then only Barcelona will do.

    The must see sights of Barcelona is essentially the Gaudi architecture, the most famous of which is the Sagrada Familia. Others includes a few residential projects in city and the Hospital San Paul. One more place i heard is very good but i didnt have the time to visit is Gruell Parc or something. There's a Gaudi museum there too.

    Other main sights include the 2 shopping streets, La Ramblas (theatres, open air market, small shops, baskers) and Passeig De Gracia (mainly high end boutiques and cafes). You should also visit the La Boqueria on La Ramblas, which is a very good market to get local goodies like chocolates, Jamon Serrano (Spanish smoked ham).

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Spain July 2009 advice on train tickets and food!

    Quote Originally Posted by paisatge View Post
    There's also Montjuic and Tibidabo.
    If you still have extra time in Barcelona, go to Montserrat.

    Might be a personal preference but November is nearing winter and it's not a good time to visit places because days get shorter and you have to bring extra clothes. I would go somewhere down under like New Zealand
    I was supposed to visit Montserrat last year but stupid SIA flight was delayed by about 4 hrs and then my hotel in BArcelona was not OPEN FOR BUSINESS! lol... ended up 1st day wasted so after thinking abt the places in Barcelona that i need/want to cover, i decide to give Montserrat a miss... It's definitely a must-go imo as well... If going Barcelona, you can detour to the home town of the Dali as well.. i cant rem the name off my head.

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