Spain is pretty well serviced with trains, and they are reliable but they are a bit expensive. If you're travelling on a budget the best way to go is by bus. The bus company that runs from Madrid to San Sebastian is ALSA - one of the two main bus companies in Spain (the other is Avanza but they don't run a route to San Sebastian). Their site is http://www.continental-auto.net . Search for the route 'Madrid' to 'San Sebastian/Donostia'. Donostia is the Basque name for San Sebastian. It costs 33 euros and takes 6 hours. Buses leave every few hours but you should book in advance - buses are often full. All buses leave from Madrid in Avenida de America bus station, which is accessible via easily followed signs from the Metro Avenida de America. Another way - recommended only if you're travelling with company - is hitchhiking. It's more common in Europe than in, say, Australia. The word in Spanish is 'autostopista' and the thumb-out signal is universal! A great way to practice your Spanish if you're keen, but all you really need to know is "van ustedes a San Sebastian? Por favor, pueden llevarnos?" Happy travels! over 8 years ago
Visiting Barcelona for the first time in a few weeks. Any great way to see Gaudi? Great restaurants? Self walking tours?
Definitely early hours for the Sagrada Familia! The lines can be prohibitive. You MUST see Parque Guell as an example of Gaudi archietecture and design - give yourself at least three hours to wander through the park. Other Gaudi buildings can be seen along the Passeig in the city centre. Gaudi's first contribution to the architecture of Barcelona is some quirky street lights in Placa Real - probably a bit lesser-known. If you do one thing in Barcelona, go to the la boqueria food markets! They are an amazing cornucopia of deliciousness! Other than the Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell, most of the cities gasp-worthy sights can be enjoyed within strolling distance from the city centre. The Cathedral is worth checking out, and the labyrinthine tracery of old cobbled streets that surround it are a great place to wander through just to get a feel for the city. Barcelona is a beautiful city! Enjoy! over 8 years ago
Off to barcelona this weekend,any suggestions for accessible place to stay and which are the best places to see?
Hi! Luck you - Barcelona is such a beautiful city! I've been there twice, and in order of the best things to see... The Sagrada Familia. It will be crowded, you will have to wait for ages in line, it is far from the centre and will take a significant chunk out of your day, and it will be worth it. It is AMAZING!! Take the metro there, and arrive as early as possible. I would also recommend hiring one of the audio guides as they fill in some really interesting details that add to the whole experience. Ditto for Parc Guell. Spend the afternoon here if you can, as it's the best time to take in some sun ('tomar el sol' as they say there) Wander up Passeig de Gracia to see the best architectural sights, including a couple of stunning buildings by Gaudi (obviously I'm a huge Gaudi fan! But truly, his work is the best and most unique thing to see in Barcelone) The best place to wander in the city is La Rambla, the main street. About halfway along, you will find a marketplace, called La Boqueria. It's GORGEOUS! So many bright, bountiful, luscious food displayed artistically along the stalls. It's just stunning. The Cathedral in the Gothic quarter is another highlight - best to go here at night and then have some tapas and drinks in the area. The streets are very picturesque - all twisty and winding and cobbled. As for places to stay - it really depends on your budget. I stayed in hostels, and of course the ratings on hostelworld or hostelbookers are always the best way to judge these. For areas... along or near Passeig de Gracia is a popular and respectable area. Down near the ocean front things get a little seedier, so if you were feeling particularly cautious I'd avoid that general district. If you stay in the north-ish reaches of the main city, you'll be closer to La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, which could be a bonus if you only have a couple of days and will be travelling up there. If you're interested in shopping, the central area has heaps of nice, quirky little shops. A couple of unique Spanish brands are Custo Barcelona and Desigual, both of which have several outlets in the city centre and surrounds. Have a great trip!! over 8 years ago