NWR: Solo trip to Spain

posted 2 years ago in Travel
Post # 2
Member
265 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I love Spain! I’ve been 3 times and visited Barcelona, La Guardia (small town in Rioja), San Sebastian, and Alicante. San Sebastian is hands-down my favorite place in Spain, but it depends what you’re interested in– I like it the best because it’s pretty chill, on the beach, and a foodie town with tons of pinxtos bars. Barcelona is obviously much bigger, with a lot more to do and gorgeous architecture. 

My tips would be: 

– I find driving in Spain very easy, so I personally wouldn’t hesitate to rent a car to get between cities if it’s more convenient than a train/bus. The roads are nice and well marked IME, especially compared to, say, Italy

– It helps to know some Spanish but you should be able to get around just fine in English, especially in the bigger cities. I always lead with Spanish greetings to be polite but I try to do that in any foreign place

– Do some research on business and restaurant hours. Their mealtimes are all crazy and it can be confusing. I would try to confirm the hours of any place before you go, just in case

– I’ve never felt unsafe in Spain but of course would encourage you to use the same common sense advice for foreign travel you would anywhere else, especially travelling alone. E.g., be wary of strangers who approach you, be super mindful of your purse/pockets, don’t walk down dark alleys alone. Google “europe tourist scams” and things like that to get a sense of what to watch out for

– I never worry too much what to wear in Spain like I sometimes do in France, Italy, the U.K. (not like anyone else cares, lol). I feel like it’s pretty chill and laid back and I wore jeans the entire time on my last trip (Alicante)

Enjoy! I think you’ll have a great time and keep us posted on your travels!

Post # 3
Member
662 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2020

I love all three cities! With two weeks though, you could base yourself in two (or all three, depending on your desired pace).

 

I know most about Madrid since I lived there in 2010.  Lots has changed! If I were you I’d look at the Malasana neighborhood – it’s a cool hip neighborhood with lots of restaurants and bars.  You could do many day trips from Madrid as well, like Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, and tons more.  All just about an hour.  I recommend sitting and eating at some of the outdoor cafes, checking out Mercado San Miguel (go around lunchtime) for a gourmet experience, reading a book in Parque del Retiro.  And eat all the tapas!

Post # 4
Member
1234 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

namsayin :  One of my friends recently did a solo trip to Spain (she visited several cities) and had a great time! I know she was nervous about doing a solo trip, but that this trip challenged her and helped her gain confidence, while still giving her the freedom to do what she wanted and time for introspection. 

 

Post # 5
Member
12 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2016

Spain is very beautiful country! I recommend to visit Barcelona!

Post # 6
Member
328 posts
Helper bee

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Madrid, but I’d really recommend Andalucia – Sevilla, Granada & Cordoba are all really lovely, with amazing architecure & history. 

Post # 7
Member
3644 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2016 - Manhattan, NY

namsayin :  My husband and I just did a Western Mediterranean cruise and then stayed in Barcelona after for a little bit. We were right by La Rambla so we did a lot of walking around and taking in the sights and we also did a tour of La Sagrada Familia, which was amazing. I’d look at what each of those destinations have to offer and see what you find most appealing. Best of luck! 

 

Post # 8
Member
9567 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

My family is from Spain and I’ve gone to visit my cousins in Barcelona alone a few times (so I stay with them but then wander alone during the day). I also lived in Barcelona for a year when I was 12.

Other ppl have said useful things but I do want to point out pickpocketing and theft in bcn is not that uncommon. Even locals deal with it. My cousins phone was ripped out of her hand while she was talking to my uncle a couple years back (scariest moments of his life cus he heard her scream in pain and then just ambient noise.–the guy ripped her hoop earrings with the phone).  So common tips include keep your purse/backpack close, don’t carry your passport with you when you go out for the day (lock it in the hotel lockbox), don’t carry too much cash on you (lock the rest in the lockbox. My mom also likes to put some under the sole of her shoe and I’ve done that too.. not a bad trick. In case if you see something you really like that is too expensive for what you have in your purse you can duck in a restroom to get it out.

What else.. there is a bullet train bcn to Madrid. I think it takes 2 hrs? Worth taking to get to see both cities.

Lunch is typically served 1pm to 3pm and dinner is typically 8pm to ?.  Peak times for lunch are 1:30/2 and dinner.. very late. 9/10pm weekday but 11:30/midnight on weekends as clubs don’t open till 1/2am so people will go out for a late dinner before going to the club.   Similarly stores open late (10 isn’t uncommon), take a decent lunch break, and are open rather late.  So uh.. sleep in.

 

Post # 9
Member
30 posts
Newbee

I would absolutely go to Granada!! And highly recommend ibiza for beautiful beaches! 

Post # 10
Member
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I went a few years ago. I’m an architecture geek, so Barcelona was the best! I also loved Sevilla. Got robbed in Granada – I hear that’s pretty common, my stuff was actually taken right out of a hotel dining room. Everyone seems to keep late hours, which suited me just fine because I’m a night owl. Picked up some gorgeous pottery in Valencia, still have it. Can’t really remember the food, but it was all right.

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