Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

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cdu7
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Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Sun May 05, 2019 6:48 pm

My wife and I are trying to decide whether to visit the UK or Spain this summer. I'd appreciate input from anyone who has visited either or both countries. Is the UK an overall "easier" trip due to language etc? Is Spain the more "memorable" trip with scenic views etc? I'm very much leaning towards the UK because I believe it would be easier to plan and to get around, but I've traveled to many places before without issues. Still, we are now towing around 2 kids, so this really changes the equation from traveling as a couple or with one child. Any advice would be appreciated as to deciding between the two countries.
Last edited by cdu7 on Sun May 05, 2019 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Colorado13
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Colorado13 » Sun May 05, 2019 7:15 pm

How old are the kids?

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cdu7
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Sun May 05, 2019 7:16 pm

Colorado13 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 7:15 pm
How old are the kids?
Ones a baby, the other is 5.

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Watty
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Watty » Sun May 05, 2019 7:18 pm

I have visited both

Spain is fantastic but it is too hot in the summer and air conditioning, when they have it, is often not up to US standards. Part if the reason is that electricity can be very expensive there. You might be OK in very early June but I would save Spain for when you can do it in the fall or spring.

I only speak English but I had no problem getting around in Spain, in the tourist areas virtually all the people you will deal with will speak enough English and even if you spoke Spanish their English would likely be better than your Spanish. (In some parts of Spain Catalan is also spoken but that is a long story.) English is so common that you may very well end up in line behind someone that is German, but they will likely be speaking to the Spanish person in English since that is the language they have in common.

That is pretty much true in all of Western Europe.
cdu7 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 6:48 pm
Is Spain the more "memorable" trip with scenic views etc?
If you want someplace more scenic than the England you might also consider Ireland since there are a LOT of castles there and pretty countryside and coasts. To me Ireland feels more like you are in a different country than when you are in England. Ireland and England(outside of London) would be best with a rental car.

sailaway
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by sailaway » Sun May 05, 2019 7:30 pm

I'm not sure how you get more scenic than the Peaks District or the Downs. If heat is an issue for you, Galicia is usually much tamer than other regions.

Jeff Albertson
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sun May 05, 2019 7:45 pm

Check the historic temperatures for the dates and locations in Spain you are considering.
https://www.travellingtype.com/burning- ... n-seville/

On England, I would be concerned about queues during peak tourist season. It might be worth avoiding the most popular cities & sites if the estimated wait times are excessive. There's probably some site that can help estimate that.

Xrayman69
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Xrayman69 » Sun May 05, 2019 9:41 pm

Have frequented the UK often (mostly London and Wales- Cardiff) and Spain several times (Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Seville).

I like Spain soooooo much more than anywhere in the UK. London is one of the cities I despise the most to have to “visit” and will never to back unless forced by business (and in these circumstances will not bring my family). I actually refused a trip last summer in which consultant even offered to pay for my family. We respectfully declined but offered to meet them in Ireland (Dublin).

No issues with language in Spain and having young children was not an issue as the population tends to adore children as the birth rate appears to be low and thus having a baby typically helped us with restaurant seating as they did not want the baby to be hungry.

London is a traffic nightmare and the tube is a misery with strollers or even a human in a suit. Traffic never stops (I stand corrected minimal traffic at 4:00 am before the tube opens at 5 am). 2 am traffic is a mystery to me but apparently not to any taxi cab driver.

Expenses in Spain probably about 65% compared to London.

Weather in summer along coast in Spain very reasonable. Weather in London during summer, warm and still crowded.

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cdu7
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Tue May 07, 2019 8:48 am

Thanks in part to all the advice, we have decided on Spain. Does anyone know a good way to go about planning a Spain vacation? In the past I’ve used preorganized tours or relied on family advice, but this time I want to try and book everything myself. Any suggestions for a 2 week trip?

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Watty
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Watty » Tue May 07, 2019 9:03 am

cdu7 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:48 am
Thanks in part to all the advice, we have decided on Spain. Does anyone know a good way to go about planning a Spain vacation? In the past I’ve used preorganized tours or relied on family advice, but this time I want to try and book everything myself. Any suggestions for a 2 week trip?
The Rick Steves books are great and will have a suggested itinerary. Check his book for the things that you should buy tickets in advance for like Sagrada Familia, the Alhambra, Alcazar or some of the high speed trains.

In addition to flying in and out of Madrid and Barcelona there are also direct international flights to Malaga and that worked well for us.

Driving in Spain was very good but you don't want to drive in the large cities or small old cities.

FederalFIRE
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by FederalFIRE » Tue May 07, 2019 9:07 am

cdu7 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:48 am
Thanks in part to all the advice, we have decided on Spain. Does anyone know a good way to go about planning a Spain vacation? In the past I’ve used preorganized tours or relied on family advice, but this time I want to try and book everything myself. Any suggestions for a 2 week trip?
Of course it depends on what you're into, but Rick Steves, as already mentioned by Watty, is a good resource. We also really like the Lonely Planet books/website, which sometimes get a bit further off the path than Rick, though not that far.

Lonely Planet has a good 2-week suggested itinerary. It's broad brush, so just a good sequence of cities to visit, but is a great starting place and good suggestions overall. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/plan ... b3/360727

As others have said, prepare for some hot weather inland during the summertime!

four7s
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by four7s » Tue May 07, 2019 3:15 pm

Look into paradores in Spain. They are historic castles that take overnight guests. Very hard to get reservations as space is limited but a wonderful experience if you get lucky.

Starfish
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Starfish » Tue May 07, 2019 3:25 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 6:48 pm
My wife and I are trying to decide whether to visit the UK or Spain this summer. I'd appreciate input from anyone who has visited either or both countries. Is the UK an overall "easier" trip due to language etc? Is Spain the more "memorable" trip with scenic views etc? I'm very much leaning towards the UK because I believe it would be easier to plan and to get around, but I've traveled to many places before without issues. Still, we are now towing around 2 kids, so this really changes the equation from traveling as a couple or with one child. Any advice would be appreciated as to deciding between the two countries.
In my opinion Spain is a much better choice with small kids because:
1. Weather. In both Ireland and UK I had to stay up to an hour in pubs with a small because of sudden cold rains. I have no problem with drinking couple of beers in the morning but kids get bored.
2. Driving on the right. Renting a car for trips makes things much easier. Cars have AC making travelling less exhausting (for adults, kids don't care).
3. The beach and the sea. Fun to take a day at beach between your visits.
4. MUCH better food.

Other than that Spain is generally more fun, even without kids. Also is a more interesting cultural mixture.

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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by HawkeyePierce » Tue May 07, 2019 3:37 pm

With small kids in summer (assuming you want to avoid the worst of the heat), I'd strongly consider splitting the trip between a week in San Sebastian and a week in Barcelona. Set yourself up in a nice Airbnb or apartment rental so you have laundry facilities, room to spread out, etc. You'll only have to move the family and associated baggage once.

Both have tons of great side trips, especially around the Basque Country surrounding San Sebastian. Spend a day in Bilbao, hop across the border into the French Basque country, explore some of the coastal towns. From Barcelona there's Montserrat, Figueres (Dali Museum) and tons of others. Both have great beaches.

The weather in San Sebastian during the summer is just about perfect. Same for Barcelona. One quick domestic flight or a long-ish train ride (5-6 hours).

I've done two trips to Spain over the last six months. Barcelona and SS were definitely my favorite places. Tons of variety, amazing food, world-class sights and great weather. Tapas in SS were the best I had in the country.

Given that Madrid and Andalusia will be unbearably hot I'd save them for another time.

coalcracker
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by coalcracker » Tue May 07, 2019 4:03 pm

Last September my wife and I took our 2 children (5 and 1.5) and grandma on a two-week trip to Barcelona and southern France. It was great and easy with kids.

With kids that young, I'd suggest picking 2 (maybe 3) places to stay over two weeks and take day trips. Packing/unpacking every couple days and constant traveling is a recipe for exhaustion for parents and kids alike.

Some thoughts/suggestions from our trip:
-We allowed jet leg to work in our favor and switched the kids to a later nap/eating schedule. You will be hard pressed to find a restaurant open at 6 in Spain, so we shifted our lunches to mid afternoon, naps to early evening, dinner to 8 (when many restaurants open), bedtime to 10-11, and wakeup to 9-10am.
-AirBnB will be your best bet for almost anywhere in Europe. We loved being able to put the kids to bed and hang on the patio or living room for the evening.
-There is public transport in Barcelona, but it's not great. We ended up using myTaxi (their Uber) and hailed taxis from an app, paid via credit card. It was a lifesaver when we all needed to get home quickly
-We liked picking up some prepared food and a bottle or 2 of wine to picnic for lunch on many days. The kids can run around the park while the parents people watch. Barcelona has a number of nice public parks.
-We took the kids to a flamenco show and they loved it. Not sure how young your baby is, but our 18 month old tolerated most of it.
-The main market on Las Ramblas is great, and there are many other neighborhood markets around the city for all your food needs
-If you decide to skip Andalusia because of the heat, consider going to the southwest corner of France near Barcelona. We spent 5 days in a small town called Uzes and would highly recommend it. That part of France is a little off the tourist radar and might spare you from some of the massive crowds.

Have fun!

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cdu7
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Thu May 09, 2019 11:47 am

Thanks so much for all of your awesome advice so far! We hope to have our plans finalized by this weekend. I love the idea of splitting between Barcelona and San Sebastian. Also thanks for all the advice on AirBnb / myTaxi.

meens888
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by meens888 » Thu May 09, 2019 12:17 pm

Barcelona has a great metro system. You can get a T10 metro pass for 10 euro. That allows 10 trips I believe (you can tap it multiple times on a single trip if you need to make a transfer or take a train and bus).

Most of the stations have elevators, but you may want to confirm prior to taking the trip.

international001
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by international001 » Thu May 09, 2019 12:20 pm

Don't forget that in August everything is closed in Spain. Except tourist stuff. Summer is not the best time to visit the cities

Findourway1
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Findourway1 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:56 pm

Starfish wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 3:25 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 6:48 pm
My wife and I are trying to decide whether to visit the UK or Spain this summer. I'd appreciate input from anyone who has visited either or both countries. Is the UK an overall "easier" trip due to language etc? Is Spain the more "memorable" trip with scenic views etc? I'm very much leaning towards the UK because I believe it would be easier to plan and to get around, but I've traveled to many places before without issues. Still, we are now towing around 2 kids, so this really changes the equation from traveling as a couple or with one child. Any advice would be appreciated as to deciding between the two countries.
In my opinion Spain is a much better choice with small kids because:
1. Weather. In both Ireland and UK I had to stay up to an hour in pubs with a small because of sudden cold rains. I have no problem with drinking couple of beers in the morning but kids get bored.
2. Driving on the right. Renting a car for trips makes things much easier. Cars have AC making travelling less exhausting (for adults, kids don't care).
3. The beach and the sea. Fun to take a day at beach between your visits.
4. MUCH better food.

Other than that Spain is generally more fun, even without kids. Also is a more interesting cultural mixture.
I agree. I have lived in London and visited Spain for long periods (>2-3 weeks).

Spain is much more kid friendly as well and has more activities. To me UK is essentially a collection of villages with expensive and bland food. Indian food in UK does not count and it gets boring after a while.

A few questions:
1. Which month are you visiting? If August, be aware of the heat in Spain - most locals hit the beach then or shut down for siestas etc.
2. Are you planning to stay in one place or visit different places?
3. How long?
4. Lazing at the beach or tourist activities like visiting famous places preferred?

Language is not a problem as most people are friendly enough and hospitality workers usually know how to communicate.

Findourway1
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Findourway1 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:58 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 3:37 pm
With small kids in summer (assuming you want to avoid the worst of the heat), I'd strongly consider splitting the trip between a week in San Sebastian and a week in Barcelona. Set yourself up in a nice Airbnb or apartment rental so you have laundry facilities, room to spread out, etc. You'll only have to move the family and associated baggage once.

Both have tons of great side trips, especially around the Basque Country surrounding San Sebastian. Spend a day in Bilbao, hop across the border into the French Basque country, explore some of the coastal towns. From Barcelona there's Montserrat, Figueres (Dali Museum) and tons of others. Both have great beaches.

The weather in San Sebastian during the summer is just about perfect. Same for Barcelona. One quick domestic flight or a long-ish train ride (5-6 hours).

I've done two trips to Spain over the last six months. Barcelona and SS were definitely my favorite places. Tons of variety, amazing food, world-class sights and great weather. Tapas in SS were the best I had in the country.

Given that Madrid and Andalusia will be unbearably hot I'd save them for another time.
Wise advice. I did not see this before my last post. Both places are fantastic, have beaches and are much cooler than Andalusia (Cadiz beaches can get unbearably hot).

bagle
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by bagle » Fri May 10, 2019 5:45 am

Having traveled and lived in both, I would absolutely recommend Spain:

- Child-friendly: "Children should be seen, but not heard" doesn´t apply. Very latin approach.
- Modern, timely, air-conditioned, affordable high-speed train between major urban areas.
- WAY better food. UK has better beer, but they chill it in Spain. You and your wife can get a bottle of decent Spanish wine for the price of glass of decent California wine.
- Generally more affordable (Boglehead friendly).
- Airports usually not closed due to nearby drones.

In general, lack of Spanish isn´t a problem for transport, food or lodging. Spain is Europe´s no. 1 tourist destination, so employees in touristy areas are used to English speakers.

Madrid, Seville, Granada and Córdoba will be hot around July-August, whereas coastal areas will generally be less so. That´s why Spaniards flock there on vacation. So if you go to the former, try to plan outdoor stuff early or later in day and go to air-conditioned spots (e.g., museums) mid-day (or take a siesta!).
Last edited by bagle on Fri May 10, 2019 7:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

Valuethinker
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 10, 2019 7:23 am

Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:41 pm
Have frequented the UK often (mostly London and Wales- Cardiff) and Spain several times (Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Seville).

I like Spain soooooo much more than anywhere in the UK. London is one of the cities I despise the most to have to “visit” and will never to back unless forced by business (and in these circumstances will not bring my family). I actually refused a trip last summer in which consultant even offered to pay for my family. We respectfully declined but offered to meet them in Ireland (Dublin).
;-) It's like New York. London gets in your blood, an infection. If at some point you are "cured" then London becomes too much. 20+ years in I am still infected. :happy :happy

London is the world in a city - like Toronto or Los Angeles perhaps, but more condensed. In the developed world I can only liken it to New York -- but it lacks New York's verticality, skyscrapers are almost something that London is embarrassed by.
No issues with language in Spain and having young children was not an issue as the population tends to adore children as the birth rate appears to be low and thus having a baby typically helped us with restaurant seating as they did not want the baby to be hungry.

London is a traffic nightmare and the tube is a misery with strollers or even a human in a suit. Traffic never stops (I stand corrected minimal traffic at 4:00 am before the tube opens at 5 am). 2 am traffic is a mystery to me but apparently not to any taxi cab driver.
When there is less traffic, people just drive faster. Going anywhere by surface transport in London is long and slow - the top deck of a London bus is a truly great way to see the city, one of the most simple joys -- and the fare is capped at £1.50 whereas the Tube starts at £3.00 and goes up.
Expenses in Spain probably about 65% compared to London.

Weather in summer along coast in Spain very reasonable. Weather in London during summer, warm and still crowded.
Certainly those hot summers, and not effective air conditioning, has been a feature of recent summers.

(the Tube has 2 problems. Being the oldest in the world, the tunnels are literally not wide enough for air conditioning in the trains - there would be nowhere to dump the heat. Compounding the problem is that the ground temperature has actually been raised in the 150 years of service - the London clay has warmed up. )

But it can also be cold, wet and grey.

You just don't know. And it can change several times in a day ;-).

Valuethinker
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 10, 2019 8:03 am

cdu7 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 6:48 pm
My wife and I are trying to decide whether to visit the UK or Spain this summer. I'd appreciate input from anyone who has visited either or both countries. Is the UK an overall "easier" trip due to language etc? Is Spain the more "memorable" trip with scenic views etc? I'm very much leaning towards the UK because I believe it would be easier to plan and to get around, but I've traveled to many places before without issues. Still, we are now towing around 2 kids, so this really changes the equation from traveling as a couple or with one child. Any advice would be appreciated as to deciding between the two countries.
Spain

- reliably and brutally hot (except perhaps in NW Spain). You don't do much between noon and 4 pm, it's just too hot. Conversely dinner is seldom served before 9 pm. The Spanish live the night, especially in cities like Seville

- magnificent scenery, picturesque villages, wonderful churches, nice & friendly people

- probably net net quite a bit cheaper than the UK but the touristy places will be expensive

- in August the world of Europe goes to the Spanish beaches - once the German schools break (early July?) that's it, everything is ridiculously crowded. It is better if you go inland (in Andalusia that is).

UK

- expensive even with the lower pound - you will notice it most when you fill up for petrol ("gas") ;-). Restaurant meals are also expensive - comparable with NYC/ New England I felt. On accommodation when in doubt check the local Premier Inn - not always the cheapest but its a budget hotel chain that provides reliable service. Otherwise try Bed & Breakfasts

- weather is totally unpredictable - it can be very hot and humid, or it can be grey & rainy or anything in between (or both)

- August is a bit chaotic because everyone goes on holiday - the weekends when schools break up and before they return are transport hell. Ditto the Fridays before the August Bank Holiday (last weekend in August so our equivalent of Labor Day). It's also when a lot of the road works get done - cue more delays.

The way August works is the British go on holiday, and the Europeans come to Britain - especially London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath. Stonehenge is usually pretty disappointing for most (the new visitor centre is meant to be nice) but there is also a stone circle at Avebury which the village was sort of built around.

"Child friendly" is tricky. For example a trip to Legoland in Windsor (a firm favourite of children) has to be booked in advance. Museums like the Museum of Natural History get very crowded (they are free) not sure if you can book in advance. I would say there is lots to do but once British schools break (2nd week in July, usually, I think) the normally crowded get overcrowded.

August is a lovely time of year to visit Scotland. Only Edinburgh will be overwhelmed with tourists - the arts Festival means everything is booked out months in advance.

If you can avoid August at all, that's good. True for most of Europe except Scandinavia (whose holiday tends to be in July).

I think you can have a great holiday in either destination. If you are going in the heat of summer I would lead to NW Spain or Scotland - for pictureseque scenery and somewhat less overcrowded.

Bobby206
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Bobby206 » Fri May 10, 2019 8:12 am

We did both on a summer trip a few years ago. We loved them both. Two totally different vacations. We prefer Spain and plan to spend significant time there some time soon. Loved England too but preferred Spain.

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cdu7
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Sat May 11, 2019 9:03 am

We have booked flights in mid-June for a 10 day trip. Our next step is picking accommodations and determining whether to rent a car.

First question is the Gracia district a good place to stay for our "primary" hub during the first week? I'm thinking we will stay 4 nights in Barcelona then go out to some surrounding areas. I need to figure out the best location for that first "Barcelona proper" hotel or airbnb. Then I need to figure out what surrounding areas I should stay at. I would rather not have to rent a car, so are there some surrounding locations worth booking an airbnb for 1 or 2 nights that are easily accessible by train or metro?

Tribonian
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Tribonian » Sat May 11, 2019 9:22 am

Boglehead travel tip for Spain: always ask about the menu del día for your midday meal. Usually have a choice of first course (pasta or grain) second course (meat or fish), glass of wine, piece of bread, and desert (flan or fruit) at a very low fixed price. It’s a vestige of Franco, but a good one. Restaurants don’t always post it, but almost always have one.
Mhttps://www.thespruceeats.com/menu-del-dia-3083225

Haven’t been to Barcelona in a long time, but Gracia looks trendy and well served by metro. The Parque Guelk should be a great place for a five year old to run freely for a bit. Magical. I’d also consider el Gotic, but am not familiar with Barcelona now, so boulder sized grain of salt.

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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by KyleAAA » Sat May 11, 2019 10:35 am

Spain is cheaper and language won’t be an issue. They are fairly different places so I’m not sure how to advise you. I would probably choose Spain.

Jeff Albertson
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sat May 11, 2019 2:00 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 9:03 am
First question is the Gracia district a good place to stay for our "primary" hub during the first week? I'm thinking we will stay 4 nights in Barcelona then go out to some surrounding areas. I need to figure out the best location for that first "Barcelona proper" hotel or airbnb. Then I need to figure out what surrounding areas I should stay at. I would rather not have to rent a car, so are there some surrounding locations worth booking an airbnb for 1 or 2 nights that are easily accessible by train or metro?
You'll likely get better info on the Rick Steves board. There are a couple of Barcelona residents who frequently answer questions. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain

You may be aware that Barcelona is known for petty theft. Read any advice your guidebooks offer. There's lots of info on web sites like this: https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safe ... -the-world

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat May 11, 2019 4:02 pm

I stayed in Gracia and loved it, but then I'm a single twenty-something so not really the same demographic. :)

I'd order a copy of the Monocle guide to Barcelona. On my last trip I had Monocle, Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. Monocle definitely took me to the most interesting (though least budget-friendly) places. Rough Guide was the happy medium. LP was near useless.

(Side note: now that it's so easy to carry a guidebook on my phone I've started carrying more than one and comparing them as I go. LP has come in last for all my most recent trips)

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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by KyleAAA » Sat May 11, 2019 8:14 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 9:03 am
We have booked flights in mid-June for a 10 day trip. Our next step is picking accommodations and determining whether to rent a car.

First question is the Gracia district a good place to stay for our "primary" hub during the first week? I'm thinking we will stay 4 nights in Barcelona then go out to some surrounding areas. I need to figure out the best location for that first "Barcelona proper" hotel or airbnb. Then I need to figure out what surrounding areas I should stay at. I would rather not have to rent a car, so are there some surrounding locations worth booking an airbnb for 1 or 2 nights that are easily accessible by train or metro?
I studied abroad in Barcelona back in college and our dorm was in Gracia. It is a great neighborhood. Easy to get downtown via the metro but a bit less busy and more residential than the downtown districts, with plenty of cafes and shops. Parc Guell is not far, but it is up hill so might take longer to walk there than you think. It is a lot more "real Barcelona" than where most tourists stay.

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GerryL
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by GerryL » Sat May 11, 2019 9:13 pm

This post is so ironic for me.
I was looking forward to my first visit to Spain and Portugal on a cruise that would end in London. Two weeks ago -- five weeks before departure -- the cruise was cancelled. I have managed to get myself onto a land program that explores Cornwall for a week -- and have extended the trip with a five-day stay in London. Leave in a month. Not used to this kind of quick trip planning.

Have fun where ever you go!

wrongfunds
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by wrongfunds » Sun May 12, 2019 8:24 am

If you go to UK in summer it should be completely deserted as everybody from there goes to vacation in Spain.
:twisted:

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cdu7
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Sun May 12, 2019 9:12 am

Ok so I’ve booked flights and accommodations for a 10 day trip to Barcelona. We got an apartment in the Eixample neighborhood and decided to just do day trips to surrounding small cities by train, rather than try to pack everything and move around during the trip. I got an awesome deal on the flights, just 2k for the 4 of us (one lap child), which is great for such last minute plans. Accommodations also ran a bit over 2k, so that leaves plenty in the budget for food and local travel.

I will keep posting as we flesh out our itinerary, but the hardest part is done and I feel a lot less stress.

Thanks for all of your help so far!

Valuethinker
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Valuethinker » Sun May 12, 2019 9:19 am

wrongfunds wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 8:24 am
If you go to UK in summer it should be completely deserted as everybody from there goes to vacation in Spain.
:twisted:
But the Europeans also come here in summer ;-)

Actually "staycation" is a thing these days. A string if hit summers means places on the South Coast get very crowded.

Also Any big tourist sights. York Edinburgh Festival etc.

vveat
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by vveat » Sun May 12, 2019 8:53 pm

I saw a bit late that your trip is second half of June or I would have recommended Alicante - we go there every second year in late June to catch the biggest fiesta in Spain - Las Hogueras de St Joan. A week long of serious festivities (parades, food tents, music, fireworks, a night of beach bonfires, etc, etc), culminating with the bonfires night when the statues specially built for the festival all over the town are burned down. Our kids (who were 6 and 9 last time) love it, and this is also a great vacation town aside from the festival week. It seems to be popular with the Spanish tourists more than international by the way, though next door you have the Benidorm resort town which seems to be overrun mostly by British tourists.

We've been to Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Granada and Cordoba - all amazing places, but better without little children. In 2017 we took the kids to see the Alhambra palace, but while they appreciated the sights, it was a very exhausting trip.

This year Las Hougeras is June 18-23 if you decide to explore a bit further south from Barcelona. We are headed over there June 20th :sharebeer

Topic Author
cdu7
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by cdu7 » Mon May 13, 2019 7:55 am

vveat wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 8:53 pm
I saw a bit late that your trip is second half of June or I would have recommended Alicante - we go there every second year in late June to catch the biggest fiesta in Spain - Las Hogueras de St Joan. A week long of serious festivities (parades, food tents, music, fireworks, a night of beach bonfires, etc, etc), culminating with the bonfires night when the statues specially built for the festival all over the town are burned down. Our kids (who were 6 and 9 last time) love it, and this is also a great vacation town aside from the festival week. It seems to be popular with the Spanish tourists more than international by the way, though next door you have the Benidorm resort town which seems to be overrun mostly by British tourists.

We've been to Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Granada and Cordoba - all amazing places, but better without little children. In 2017 we took the kids to see the Alhambra palace, but while they appreciated the sights, it was a very exhausting trip.

This year Las Hougeras is June 18-23 if you decide to explore a bit further south from Barcelona. We are headed over there June 20th :sharebeer
Definitely will have to check it out, we leave the 20th, but it looks like our vacations may overlap.

caffeperfavore
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by caffeperfavore » Mon May 13, 2019 8:21 am

We stayed in Eixample and enjoyed it. It’s a reasonable walk to most things of interest.

We did a day trip with a local tour guide to a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It involved some light hiking with great views and a lunch at a local restaurant. It was one of our favorite activities from our time there and provided a nice break from the city.

I really enjoyed Barcelona but wish we had done more day trips to the Costa Brava or points south along the coast. A few days in Barcelona was enough for us and one week was too long.

If you like art at all, I highly recommended Barcelona’s Picasso Museum.

international001
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by international001 » Mon May 13, 2019 1:14 pm

caffeperfavore wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 8:21 am
We stayed in Eixample and enjoyed it. It’s a reasonable walk to most things of interest.

We did a day trip with a local tour guide to a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It involved some light hiking with great views and a lunch at a local restaurant. It was one of our favorite activities from our time there and provided a nice break from the city.

I really enjoyed Barcelona but wish we had done more day trips to the Costa Brava or points south along the coast. A few days in Barcelona was enough for us and one week was too long.

If you like art at all, I highly recommended Barcelona’s Picasso Museum.
Picasso museum is overrated
On summer, better not staying too long on the city. Pyrinees, Costa Brava are nice that time of the year. Montseny, Montserrat, Collserola, la Mola are also good choices for hiking. Delta for eating good rice without having to go to Valencia

caffeperfavore
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by caffeperfavore » Mon May 13, 2019 8:14 pm

international001 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:14 pm
Picasso museum is overrated
To each their own, of course, but I strongly disagree. It's a museum that provides an excellent overview of the evolution of his art, especially his early years, allowing you to come away with a real sense of him as an artist and how he developed. It's not too big, not too small, but just right. I love art, but I find large museums, like the Prado or Louvre, to be exhausting. Much like doing a wine tasting of 20 different glasses, everything just blends together after a while. Instead, I love small focused museums like this. I thought I knew a fair amount about Picasso going in, but I still learned a lot and came away with a deeper appreciation for him after visiting.

international001
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by international001 » Tue May 14, 2019 8:26 am

caffeperfavore wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 8:14 pm
international001 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:14 pm
Picasso museum is overrated
To each their own, of course, but I strongly disagree. It's a museum that provides an excellent overview of the evolution of his art, especially his early years, allowing you to come away with a real sense of him as an artist and how he developed. It's not too big, not too small, but just right. I love art, but I find large museums, like the Prado or Louvre, to be exhausting. Much like doing a wine tasting of 20 different glasses, everything just blends together after a while. Instead, I love small focused museums like this. I thought I knew a fair amount about Picasso going in, but I still learned a lot and came away with a deeper appreciation for him after visiting.
Sure.. if you are expecting a cute little museum. But by not means one of the huge/highlights museums.
You may also enjoy a trip to Figueres to see the Dali museum. And hangout in Girona or costa Brava while you are in the area (Figueres is rather ugly)

Starfish
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Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by Starfish » Tue May 14, 2019 4:01 pm

international001 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:14 pm
caffeperfavore wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 8:21 am
We stayed in Eixample and enjoyed it. It’s a reasonable walk to most things of interest.

We did a day trip with a local tour guide to a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It involved some light hiking with great views and a lunch at a local restaurant. It was one of our favorite activities from our time there and provided a nice break from the city.

I really enjoyed Barcelona but wish we had done more day trips to the Costa Brava or points south along the coast. A few days in Barcelona was enough for us and one week was too long.

If you like art at all, I highly recommended Barcelona’s Picasso Museum.
Picasso museum is overrated
On summer, better not staying too long on the city. Pyrinees, Costa Brava are nice that time of the year. Montseny, Montserrat, Collserola, la Mola are also good choices for hiking. Delta for eating good rice without having to go to Valencia
Why would one go hiking in Spain if they stay there only for 10 days? There is plenty of hiking in US, but there are no cities and towns like in Spain. And carrying a baby and dragging a 5y old?
Of course the timing is not perfect: too hot and people go to vacation in that period.

international001
Posts: 764
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:31 pm

Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by international001 » Fri May 17, 2019 1:43 pm

This is a personal preference. The ecosystems, landscapes and rural people you find are often very different. I enjoy mixing some hiking when traveling to another country, or visiting more local areas. I know people that just do the touristic route, or others that just stay in the hotel and the golf course. Tell me if you find another mountain like Montserrat. But your personal preference.

theplayer11
Posts: 721
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:55 pm

Re: Summer Vacation UK vs. Spain

Post by theplayer11 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:16 pm

Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:41 pm
Have frequented the UK often (mostly London and Wales- Cardiff) and Spain several times (Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Seville).

I like Spain soooooo much more than anywhere in the UK. London is one of the cities I despise the most to have to “visit” and will never to back unless forced by business (and in these circumstances will not bring my family). I actually refused a trip last summer in which consultant even offered to pay for my family. We respectfully declined but offered to meet them in Ireland (Dublin).

No issues with language in Spain and having young children was not an issue as the population tends to adore children as the birth rate appears to be low and thus having a baby typically helped us with restaurant seating as they did not want the baby to be hungry.

London is a traffic nightmare and the tube is a misery with strollers or even a human in a suit. Traffic never stops (I stand corrected minimal traffic at 4:00 am before the tube opens at 5 am). 2 am traffic is a mystery to me but apparently not to any taxi cab driver.

Expenses in Spain probably about 65% compared to London.

Weather in summer along coast in Spain very reasonable. Weather in London during summer, warm and still crowded.
so OP should choose Spain because you despise London?

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