Trip to Spain.....Need help!

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ericskitei
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Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#1 Post by ericskitei » October 7th, 2018, 11:42 am

I plan on doing 2 weeks in Spain next summer with the family.

I booked Hotel Arts in Barcelona for 9 days and was going to do 5 days in Majorca. Only problem now is that occupency is a major issue and the hotels I desire in Majorca don't allow 3 in a room.

Now that this plan is shot, I was going to do the remainder of the trip in San Sebastian, but then, due to crazy flight costs, train back to Barcelona to fly back to LAX.

I'm realizing that although tons of day trips are possible, I think I should expand our cities.

Not stuck on 2 weeks in Spain any longer as I have never been to many European Cities and would be happy to do some time in Spain and make my way toward San Sebastion than London maybe??

Or maybe start in Paris, go down to San Sebastion than over to Barcelona?

Any help would be preferred. My only pre-requisite is that I want a few days of relaxation in the mix so a place with a beach is needed. Also will be doing Marriott/SPG properties as I'll be using points for the hotels.

Any help would be really great!!!

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#2 Post by J. D'Antonio » October 8th, 2018, 7:15 am

Why not rent a car and drive from Barcelona to San Sebastian? It's only 5-5.5 hrs on the toll road. Pick up the car at the airport on your way out of Barcelona and leave from there.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#3 Post by Corey N. » October 8th, 2018, 7:22 am

I spent several days in Barcelona a few years back. La Rambla is fun, the Museu Picasso is interesting in that it showcases much work of a young Picasso, Fundació Joan Miró is equally impressive, Barri Gòtic is worth a visit, and Sagrada Família is certainly impressive. You could see all of that in a day and a half if you pushed it or a leisurely 2 days. Unless you're planing to simply relax in Barcelona (as opposed to sightsee) -- and Barca does have nice beaches -- I think you could comfortably halve your days in the city.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#4 Post by Nola Palomar » October 8th, 2018, 7:50 am

Are you locked into Barcelona for 9 days? Madrid in smack dab in the center and everything is 5-6 hour drive from Madrid. There are fast trains and slow trains to almost every city in Spain.
Train routes.jpg
Blue lines are Fast trains (AVE) Purple are the slow trains Renfre.

I have some really good friends who just returned from their honeymoon and they literally went everywhere. She had a local travel agent that is Spanish that planned their trip. They had a driver to drive them from city to city or they took a fast train. It was planned out to the T.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#5 Post by Ramon C » October 8th, 2018, 8:35 am

Many years ago, we semi-based our 10-day trip in Barcelona. In addition to the city itself, where sites/food/wine can occupy you for at least 3 days, we drove and did day-trips up to the Pyrenees (liked the small and interesting mountain towns of Ripoll and Puigcerda at the French border); north towards France and visited Cedaques, Girona, Figueres for some cool Dali and Picasso exhibits; south to the beach towns of Sitges and Tarragona; and drove up 4 hours to the south of France and stayed 3 nights at Arles where we wandered around Montpellier and including the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region. Lots of interesting places to drive to from Barcelona.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#6 Post by ericskitei » October 8th, 2018, 11:58 am

Nola Palomar wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 7:50 am
Are you locked into Barcelona for 9 days? Madrid in smack dab in the center and everything is 5-6 hour drive from Madrid. There are fast trains and slow trains to almost every city in Spain.

Train routes.jpg

Blue lines are Fast trains (AVE) Purple are the slow trains Renfre.

I have some really good friends who just returned from their honeymoon and they literally went everywhere. She had a local travel agent that is Spanish that planned their trip. They had a driver to drive them from city to city or they took a fast train. It was planned out to the T.
Not locked in anywhere. I just cancelled the hotel reservation in Barcelona to regroup. I think I may need to consult a travel agent to at least assist with the path.......

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#7 Post by George Hejna » October 8th, 2018, 4:53 pm

I Realize you want to use points but 2 weeks in hotel rooms with the family is not my idea of vacation. :) There are lots of great apartments to rent.
There is so much to do in Spain that we have not even come close to covering it in 3 trips.
9 days in Barcelona is too much.
Outside of some beach time what do you and your family enjoy doing?

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#8 Post by ericskitei » October 8th, 2018, 6:55 pm

George Hejna wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 4:53 pm
I Realize you want to use points but 2 weeks in hotel rooms with the family is not my idea of vacation. :) There are lots of great apartments to rent.
There is so much to do in Spain that we have not even come close to covering it in 3 trips.
9 days in Barcelona is too much.
Outside of some beach time what do you and your family enjoy doing?

George
Would love to get some ideas!! Barcelona was going to be a home base of sorts to take day trips to other spots for some of the days, but I honestly have no clue. We want Beach time, good food (but kid friendly), history and culture, but don't want to feel rushed. I would love to hit some wine spots, but not sure how kid friendly vineyards are or if my daughter will get bored.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#9 Post by edward bowers » October 9th, 2018, 11:42 am

Be in Madrid as the base. Maintain flexibility
Head to any coast in a few hours.
Look to Seville and the south beaches
Also spend a day or so on the Islands.
Train ravel is the best. No need for a car or driver

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#10 Post by Lonnie F. » October 9th, 2018, 3:53 pm

George Hejna wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 4:53 pm
I Realize you want to use points but 2 weeks in hotel rooms with the family is not my idea of vacation. :) There are lots of great apartments to rent.
There is so much to do in Spain that we have not even come close to covering it in 3 trips.
9 days in Barcelona is too much.
Outside of some beach time what do you and your family enjoy doing?

George
This.

VRBO, get an apartment with a terrace. Make coffee. Pull cheese and ham from the fridge. Use points for 2-3 night stays. Anything longer, get the apartment.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#11 Post by Paul Fountain » October 12th, 2018, 12:33 am

If you haven't already, have a read of this thread for the rest of Spain.

https://wineberserkers.com/forum/viewto ... 9&t=153595

Don't discount Portugal either. Lisbon and Porto are great cities and you can get your beach fix down south. It's generally a bit cheaper than Spain too. The trains are pretty good to use in both countries.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#12 Post by riaz syed » October 26th, 2018, 11:00 am

Looks like Mallorca is off your itinary, however it would get my vote, especially the north, places like Soller are less known and should have either hotel availability or better still a short term rental. Good places to eat around the town square plus will be able to stock up on local wines.

On the mainland, Alicante the city, not the resorts situated north and south, is massively underrated. Again, excellent places to eat and buy wines from DO Alicante and Jumilla. Hotel Melia rooms are big and it's right on the harbour, you get a sea view wherever the room is.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#13 Post by RyanC » October 26th, 2018, 11:02 am

J. D'Antonio wrote:
October 8th, 2018, 7:15 am
Why not rent a car and drive from Barcelona to San Sebastian? It's only 5-5.5 hrs on the toll road. Pick up the car at the airport on your way out of Barcelona and leave from there.
We did this but stopped for a night in Rioja (in Haro, at Hotel Los Agustinos). It was an easy and fun drive and Rioja was a blast.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#14 Post by Barry L i p t o n » October 27th, 2018, 4:11 pm

I'm going to piggyback on eric's thread to ask about mine:

My itinerary
5 nights San Sebastien
5 nights Mallorca
3 or 4 nights Granada
4 or 5 night Seville

The question relates to whether I should do 3 Granada/ 5 Seville or 4/4. Based on my trip 25 years ago, I preferred Seville, but because of Citi Prestige's fourth night free, I can do 4/4 and save about $200. I'm leaning towards sticking with 5/3 but being that my experience is quite dated, I thought I'd check in here.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#15 Post by Nola Palomar » October 27th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Barry L i p t o n wrote:
October 27th, 2018, 4:11 pm
I'm going to piggyback on eric's thread to ask about mine:

My itinerary
5 nights San Sebastien
5 nights Mallorca
3 or 4 nights Granada
4 or 5 night Seville

The question relates to whether I should do 3 Granada/ 5 Seville or 4/4. Based on my trip 25 years ago, I preferred Seville, but because of Citi Prestige's fourth night free, I can do 4/4 and save about $200. I'm leaning towards sticking with 5/3 but being that my experience is quite dated, I thought I'd check in here.
I just walked into the door from returning from Spain tonight. I would round out those days with out trips, like seeing the Alpujarra while you're in Granada, let someone (I've got a name) and plan out a few "non run of the mill tourist thinks". When you go to Sevilla take a day trips to Jerez de la Frontera and drink Sherry and see the school of horse training... Go to Cordoba and see the Mezquita...
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#16 Post by Barry L i p t o n » October 27th, 2018, 8:17 pm

Nola Palomar wrote:
October 27th, 2018, 5:53 pm
Barry L i p t o n wrote:
October 27th, 2018, 4:11 pm
I'm going to piggyback on eric's thread to ask about mine:

My itinerary
5 nights San Sebastien
5 nights Mallorca
3 or 4 nights Granada
4 or 5 night Seville

The question relates to whether I should do 3 Granada/ 5 Seville or 4/4. Based on my trip 25 years ago, I preferred Seville, but because of Citi Prestige's fourth night free, I can do 4/4 and save about $200. I'm leaning towards sticking with 5/3 but being that my experience is quite dated, I thought I'd check in here.
I just walked into the door from returning from Spain tonight. I would round out those days with out trips, like seeing the Alpujarra while you're in Granada, let someone (I've got a name) and plan out a few "non run of the mill tourist thinks". When you go to Sevilla take a day trips to Jerez de la Frontera and drink Sherry and see the school of horse training... Go to Cordoba and see the Mezquita...
I'll have to check them out. I've been to Cordoba and had a great time - we go pretty slow these days so given the driving I think we'll be doing in Majorca (plus day trip to Bilbao), we probably just want to soak up where we are at.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#17 Post by Mike Wenzel » October 29th, 2018, 1:58 pm

Spain is my favorite place to visit, thinking of bringing the kids this year for the first time. Backpacked in college, went there on our honeymoon and 15th wedding anniversary.

On our last trip we rented a car in Madrid and drove to San Sebastian, with a few days stop in Laguardia for wine tasting. We managed with maps, and did not have phone access. With google maps it would be super easy. Madrid is centrally located. We flew in and out of Madrid.

San Sebastian is a great place to visit. Great beaches. Great food. Thinking of taking my kids there this summer. I also love Sevilla. Then again, I love Barcelona, and Madrid too, and Segovia, and Cordoba, and Toledo.....

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#18 Post by Nola Palomar » October 29th, 2018, 2:01 pm

Mike Wenzel wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 1:58 pm
Spain is my favorite place to visit, thinking of bringing the kids this year for the first time. Backpacked in college, went there on our honeymoon and 15th wedding anniversary.

On our last trip we rented a car in Madrid and drove to San Sebastian, with a few days stop in Laguardia for wine tasting. We managed with maps, and did not have phone access. With google maps it would be super easy. Madrid is centrally located. We flew in and out of Madrid.

San Sebastian is a great place to visit. Great beaches. Great food. Thinking of taking my kids there this summer. I also love Sevilla. Then again, I love Barcelona, and Madrid too, and Segovia, and Cordoba, GRANADA, and Toledo.....

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#19 Post by Mark Cochard » November 1st, 2018, 1:18 pm

Just got back and did 3 nights in Seville and 2 in Granada. Wish I was able to do Seville 4 and Granada 3.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#20 Post by Mike Lindauer » November 13th, 2018, 10:02 pm

I'll read through the above notes, but Leslie and I are looking for recommendations for Madrid (3 days) and Majorca (7 days).
For Madrid, our only plan is a day at Prado and possibly the Bernabeu. But otherwise we'll just walk around and eat tapas and drink wine. I haven't booked a room there yet as i'm trying to decide which area is best for us.

In Majorca, we're staying at Marriott Son Antem and we'll have a car. In particular looking for restaurant and wine suggestions there. Thanks!!

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#21 Post by Mark Cochard » November 15th, 2018, 10:31 am

In Madrid, check out the Reina Sophia Museum, Picasso's Guernica is there. https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#22 Post by JKim » November 15th, 2018, 10:42 am

In Majorca, we loved Es Pati in tiny Sant Llorenc des Cardessar so much, we ate there twice. Reservations are mandatory.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#23 Post by Nola Palomar » November 15th, 2018, 12:56 pm

Mark Cochard wrote:
November 15th, 2018, 10:31 am
In Madrid, check out the Reina Sophia Museum, Picasso's Guernica is there. https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en.
+1
As well as the Royal Palace (get the personal tour) and armory museum! If you have an interest in day trips, El Escorial is very neat and Segovia (I recommend the Cathedral, the Castle and the Aqueduct for visits in Segovia. And El Duque for lunch best suckling pig around.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#24 Post by Mark Cochard » November 15th, 2018, 12:59 pm

Agree on the palace and El Escorial. Day trip to Toledo to see the cathedral is worth it as well.

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#25 Post by Nola Palomar » November 15th, 2018, 1:44 pm

And eat at the Parador just outside of Toledo....
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#26 Post by Mike Lindauer » November 15th, 2018, 10:29 pm

Thanks so much to all for your input! We will do what we can to see as much as possible. But I'm not sure we'll have time for a day trip, unless we skip Prado.
Any more suggestions for Majorca? Can anyone recommend a winery tour, or should we just see them all? I will make a reservation at Es Pati.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#27 Post by Nola Palomar » November 16th, 2018, 7:18 am

Mike Lindauer wrote:
November 15th, 2018, 10:29 pm
Thanks so much to all for your input! We will do what we can to see as much as possible. But I'm not sure we'll have time for a day trip, unless we skip Prado.
Any more suggestions for Majorca? Can anyone recommend a winery tour, or should we just see them all? I will make a reservation at Es Pati.
Only winery tour I can 100% recommend is Dominio Buenavista in Granada. [cheers.gif] [cheers.gif] [cheers.gif]

I sort of have a bias though!!! cheesehead
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#28 Post by Mike Lindauer » November 25th, 2018, 5:06 am

Can highly recommend El Barril de las Letras in Madrid. Excellent food and great wine list. They sell wine on premises and charge 7 Euros to open it in the restaurant. NV Ruinart was 68 (75) Euros. They also had 2006 Dom Perignon on the list for 118 (125). Decent selection of Spanish wines too - Malleolus, Vina Ardanza, etc. Like most Madrid restaurants they charge for water and bread, but overall we had a great meal there. Located near our hotel NH Paseo del Prado (very nice, quiet, and perfect location, though small rooms) in the Museum district.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#29 Post by Troy Stark » January 28th, 2019, 3:03 pm

Is this a wine trip primarily or a cultural trip? Since you said it's with your family, I assume wine will be a minor distraction, but maybe your children are grown?

Mallorca is a long way away from everything else and really, since there's so much to see on the mainland, not much of a loss IMO.

A fun trip might be:

- Split your time between Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid primarily, with maybe 1 or 2 nights on the road. You're making a triangle, basically, through three awesome cities.
- You'll fly between Bilbao and Barcelona ($100) and/or take a high speed train between Madrid and Barcelona. (You can either close the triangle if you want to arrive and depart from the same city, or you can leave the triangle incomplete and fly into Madrid/out of Barcelona or vice versa)
- You'll drive between Madrid and Bilbao with stops along the way.
- Where will you stop along the way? Segovia (is probably my favorite city in all of Spain - maybe 2nd to Madrid? Tough call.), Valladolid (Ribera del Duero) and Lagrono (Rioja), perhaps? These cities will give you a really great flavor for Spanish Food, culture, and wine.

Why Bilbao over San Sebastian? There's more to do and it's just a great city. You can day trip on the coastal highway over to San Sebastian (2 hrs road time maybe, plus stops?) and be sure to stop at Kaia Kaipe in Getaria for lunch or dinner. Stop at a winery in the Txakolina DO on the way. You won't regret any of it.

You can do this trip in any order - just have to decide if you want the beach (Barcelona) at the beginning or end of your trip. You can also get a beach fix on the north coast, but the Bay of Biscay (e.g. surf beach at Zarautz) is COLD compared to the Mediterranean beaches.

If you want to skip the north coast (Bilbao) you could draw the triangle pointing south and hit Murcia or Valencia, which would also be fun. But I am biased toward Bilbao. That part of the country is just other-worldly. Either way, it'll be a great way to spend 2 weeks with your family.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#30 Post by gsiokis » February 11th, 2019, 11:00 am

We did two weeks last year to Barcelona, San Sebastian, and Madrid. The itinerary was as follows:

Day 0: Depart Atlanta.
Day 1: Land in Barcelona/Check into our apartment found via Booking.com. We have had better experiences with rates/places to view than VRBO or Airbnb. Very european centric
Day 2-4: Toured all the key stuff including a trip out to the monastery.
Day 5 (Travel): Picked up rental car in the city instead of the airport to save some money (Avis/Costco rate was incredible for a 1-way drop). Drove out to San Sebastian with a lunch stop in Zaragoza. Nice downtown area to see. Easy drive and scenic. Arrived early evening in SS. Again, we used Booking.com for securing a great apartment near the beach.
Day 6-9: Toured all the key stuff with a day trip Pamplona during the running of the bulls.
Day 10 (Travel): Departed for Madrid with a day trip to Rioja. Arrived early evening into Madrid. Again, we used Booking.com for securing a great apartment near the Prado.
Day 11-13: Toured all the key stuff. Turned in the rental car in the downtown area the evening we arrived.
Day 14: Depart Madrid.

What would we do differently? Probably spend a day or so in one of the wine regions and make additional day trips outside of the cities we visited. I really can't say enough about the food especially in San Sebastian.

Hope this helps and please ping me with any additional questions.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#31 Post by Michael O'Brien » February 11th, 2019, 4:23 pm

The closest we are getting to Bodega Dominio Buenavista is the cruise ship port at Malaga and in mid-December no less.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#32 Post by Nola Palomar » February 11th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Michael O'Brien wrote:
February 11th, 2019, 4:23 pm
The closest we are getting to Bodega Dominio Buenavista is the cruise ship port at Malaga and in mid-December no less.
Well bummer, we are an excursion destination for a couple of cruise ships that come into Almeria, but it’s a little far for Malaga.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#33 Post by Michael O'Brien » February 12th, 2019, 12:31 pm

Nola Palomar wrote:
February 11th, 2019, 5:54 pm
Michael O'Brien wrote:
February 11th, 2019, 4:23 pm
The closest we are getting to Bodega Dominio Buenavista is the cruise ship port at Malaga and in mid-December no less.
Well bummer, we are an excursion destination for a couple of cruise ships that come into Almeria, but it’s a little far for Malaga.
I checked the map. We would spend all day going to and from. Too bad though.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#34 Post by Arthur Gamon » February 19th, 2019, 11:11 am

If you do go to Spain, and stay in Seville, you need to go via train or bus to Arcos de la Frontera, and stay overnight in the Parador at top of the town. It has a very nice restaurant too. It is one of the "white cities", and is a great place to visit. Check if there is any local celebrations there too. When we were there, there was a celebration with horsemen and women dressed in all their splendor in native clothes.
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#35 Post by Nola Palomar » February 20th, 2019, 5:46 am

Arthur Gamon wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 11:11 am
If you do go to Spain, and stay in Seville, you need to go via train or bus to Arcos de la Frontera, and stay overnight in the Parador at top of the town. It has a very nice restaurant too. It is one of the "white cities", and is a great place to visit. Check if there is any local celebrations there too. When we were there, there was a celebration with horsemen and women dressed in all their splendor in native clothes.
In Seville spend the night in Alfonso XIII
https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ ... l-seville/
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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#36 Post by Carlton McCrindle » March 2nd, 2019, 9:53 am

I will be with a group of 6 friends doing an R&R in Porcuna (between Cordoba to the west and Jaen to the southeast) later this spring. Any suggestions for restaurants or wineries in the area would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Trip to Spain.....Need help!

#37 Post by David K o l i n » March 2nd, 2019, 1:22 pm

Finalizing our trip to Northern Spain and Portugal this summer with our kids (we've been several times (including our engagement in Ibiza), but it will be the first for our kids). I appreciate everyone's thoughts and advice. on this and prior threads.

If Mallorca is on the itinerary, We loved Palma and adored the coast and forest drive through Valdemossa and Deia to Port de Pollenca, where you can find some old line resort hotels with patios on the beach. If you go, I'd recommend a side trip to the Cap Formentor if you like lighthouses and vistas and a detour to the unforgetable drive down the awesome road to Sa Calobra (even more fun on a bike) between Deia and Port de Pollenca.


The drive to Palma up the coas5t/forest road takes quite a while given the switchbacks and small towns, but the drive bank of the main highway is very quick.
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