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How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

San Diego
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How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

My family and I are planning to be in Spain for 12 days. We fly in and out of Barcelona, arriving early on Monday, November 12 and departing on the afternoon of Friday, November 23. We plan to spend about 8 days in Barcelona and 4 days in Madrid, with some day trips as part of that. That means we'll be traveling from Barcelona to Madrid on one day, then returning four days later.

I'm looking for advice on how to break the travel up. I'm thinking we stay in Barcelona that Monday through Friday, then take the train to Madrid on Saturday morning, then back to Barcelona that Wednesday for the last two nights before flying home.

Are there any pros or cons to this? Any disadvantages to taking the train on Saturday versus a weekday? Are there things that happen in Barcelona on Saturday or Sunday that are worth making sure we're there for? We're hoping to go to El Rastro in Madrid and that's only on Sunday, but it's not crucial that we go to that if there are better alternatives.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Spain
Spain
Europe
Barcelona
Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Madrid
Madrid
Community of Madrid, Spain
El Rastro
El Rastro
1,264 Reviews
Madrid, Spain
10 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
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1. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

I don't have a problem with it, and I don't think there is anything inherently better than your plan, considering the month. (In a different season, Barcelona has enchantments at the weekend, but I don't think in November. And I like going to the Rastro market.)

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Barcelona
Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Malaga, Spain
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2. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

For trains:

https:/…Buying.Renfe.Tickets.Online.html

Be careful with your belongings if you go to the Rastro in Madrid.

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Madrid
Madrid
Community of Madrid, Spain
Shrewsbury
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for Barcelona
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3. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

Although Barcelona weekends tend to be more exciting in spring, summer and early autumn there's still a chance of something interesting at all times. There's a castellers performance on the 18th in central Barcelona which will be the most memorable thing you see in your 12 days but better still there is one close by in Terrassa on the same day that will be magnificent. On the equivalent day in 2015, the local group, Minyons de Terrassa set a new best in the discipline with the first ever 4 of 10 castell. Put "Minyons Terrassa 4 de 10" into a search engine and watch the video. With three strong groups taking part the event will last 2-3 hours. Although Terrassa is not top of the recommended day trips from Barcelona there's a gorgeous collection of ancient churches at La Seu d'Egara, a remarkable modernists building, Masia Freixa and several decent restaurants to enhance a visit. Structure your trip to include this and you won't regret it.

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Barcelona
Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Terrassa
Terrassa
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Masia Freixa
Masia Freixa
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Terrassa, Spain
San Diego
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4. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

Thanks for the replies! Looks like there can be a big savings to book the train in advance, good to know.

And thanks for the info on the castellers performances, @pandachris2. I found the video you mentioned and it looks like a memorable event indeed. Will have to reconsider our plan...

Barcelona, Spain
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5. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

While November isn't the best time to visit, you might consider spending some hours, or, better, an overnight stay, in Zaragoza, which is about halfway between Madrid and Barcelona on the high speed rail line. It's very different from the other two (that's it far less visited by foreign tourists, being only part of its appeal)

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Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Province of Zaragoza, Spain
Madrid
Madrid
Community of Madrid, Spain
Barcelona
Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
San Diego
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6. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

Thanks, Lynda. I'll check it out.

London, United...
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7. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

I think one AVE train ride between Barcelona and Madrid is enough so why not take the train to Valencia on the coast and then a train along the coast to Barcelona? One night in Valencia to gorge on paella?

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Barcelona
Barcelona
Province of Barcelona, Spain
Madrid
Madrid
Community of Madrid, Spain
Valencia
Valencia
Province of Valencia, Spain
Barcelona, Spain
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8. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

Another vote for Zaragoza. I lovr spending my time eating my way through "el tubo" famous district i the centre for some really tasty food. Great atmosphere.

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Zaragoza
Zaragoza
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Barcelona, Spain
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9. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

And Zaragoza gives you a glimpse of the wonderful heritage from Al Andalus too

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Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Province of Zaragoza, Spain
San Diego
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10. Re: How to break up a 12-day trip between Barcelona and Madrid

Zaragoza is tempting but I'm not sure it would be good to stop for a couple hours given that we'd have our suitcases with us. And I'm not sure we'd want to stay overnight. But thanks for the suggestion!

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Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Province of Zaragoza, Spain
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