Help me plan/budget a 1-week Spain or Greece vacation!
January 14, 2008 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out a budget and an example itinerary for a February trip to Spain or Greece!

I'm in Austria, and found some €20 roundtrip tickets (Feb 4-11 or thereabouts) to Barcelona, Spain (Well, Girona) via Ryanair during a February school break. This is cool. Now what? [Alternatively, tickets to Greece are ~€60 each RT, but we have someone to stay with for ~3 days]

I'm trying to figure out a rough outline of what a potential low-budget trip would look like for me and my fiancée, in terms of itinerary and cost. (As it's much easier to modify an existing itinerary than start from nothing)

Trip Goals: Go do touristy things, have fun, eat some things, get out of cold Austria, while keeping costs to minimum. We'd prefer private rooms to hostels.
posted by sdis to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Girona is pretty awesome, touristy-wise. My wife and I spent hours wandering through the staircases and gardens and towers and walls of the old castle there, which is well worth seeing, and the later part of the town, still very old, is also worth seeing. Unfortunately, it's also very expensive; it's a pretty hot tourist spot right now. So, while it's a good place to spend a day, it'd be better to go elsewhere to stay the night.

I don't know that area very well personally, but that's what I can tell you.
posted by koeselitz at 1:39 PM on January 14, 2008

It's not exactly a secret, but the Lonely Planet Guide was really really useful for us. As for specific recommendations:

Cordoba was lovely and relaxing. You won't find exciting nighlife, but it is absolutely charming and friendly. We stayed at Pension Agustina (957 47 08 72) and couldn't have been happier with it- E33 for a double, perfectly located, and run by a very friendly older couple. Not heated, but they give you lots and lots of blankets. The Banos Arabes were wonderful, although it was a bit pricey (I think E25?). Go get a drink at Amapola.

Granada was also great, a bit more action than Cordoba but also more tourists. We stayed at Pension Lisboa (958 22 14 14, Not as charming as the Agustina, but also well priced and centrally located. The staff were very friendly and there was free internet. The Alahambra is pricey but worth it; walk up instead of taking the bus. It's a charming walk and not that long (but it is steep). Take a walk around Sacramonte- but don't go alone and beware of scary dogs. And those caves that look deserted? Many are, but not all! Be careful where you go poking around. And absolutely do not skip going to the Capilla Real, even though you have to pay a few euros-- there is a wall (altar wall? I don't know what it's called) that is the gaudiest, bloodiest, craziest thing I've ever seen in a church.

I liked Sevilla, but it was a much bigger city and lacked some of the charm of Granada and Cordoba. Very much worth it for the night life and the general spirit in the air. The cathedral is HUGE, and there is a crazy tower attached to it. We stumbled onto a local bar that had a group of people singing and dancing flamenco just for fun, not a show. Everyone sang and clapped along and it was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. Do not, under any circumstances, skip going to El Garlochi, on Calle Boteros. You might want to go to Sevilla just to get to this bar. It is Jesus themed, or rather Semana Santa themed, and is totally over the top without being ironic. Crusty old bar-keep (singing flamenco to himself) served us the house special, Blood of Crist (an insanely sweet grenadine concotion). Skip Club Boss- it's mostly 16 year olds in dark suits with slicked back hair. The line outside looked like the prom.

Cuenca is adorable but a bit out of the way. Worth a stop if you happen to be in the area. We stayed at Posada de San Jose ( and really liked it. The staff speaks more English than anyone else you'll find outside of Madrid and Barcelona, and the restaurant was surprisingly good. Walk down the hill and find a neighborhood bar for drinks. Tapas are free where there are no tourists, and everyone was super friendly and interested in talking to us about politics, art, why no one in Spain speaks English, etc. There is a very good abstract art museum in the famous hanging house.

We loved loved loved Barcelona, and so will you. Be there on a Sunday, and go to Mass. There is a band that plays traditional catalonian music and old folks do traditional dances outisde the cathedral after mass when it's nice out. Go to the Boqueria market on a Saturday morning and have mini squids over fried eggs at Bar Quim- a bit pricey but you can share it. Eat olives! Park Guell is free, and the Picasso Museum is free on the first Sunday (Monday?) of the month.

Have fun!
posted by ohio at 2:14 PM on January 14, 2008

I forgot to mention: the general "Spain" Lonely Planet Guide skipped a lot. If you are going south, just get the Anadalucia one, etc.
posted by ohio at 2:15 PM on January 14, 2008

the forums at have a lot of good stuff.
posted by MillMan at 2:25 PM on January 14, 2008

Here is a site with centrally located hotels in Athens. You can see Acropolis, Thiseio, the Agora and the National Archeological Museum or one of the newer museums, walk through Plaka or through the belly of the city and climb the hills of Athens. Then you have the bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants that the locals frequent. You can always go for a short trip of course. Sometimes the weather worsens in February (winter and all), but we rarely have long streaks of bad weather. For what it's worth, the sun shined today.

There is also a really good site of an American about Athens, which I can't find. Google fails me. If you need any extra information, MefiMail me.

That said, Barcelona is awesome (you can go there from Girona by bus or train).
posted by ersatz at 3:52 PM on January 14, 2008

I went to Spain for two weeks over Christmas 2006, and loved it. You can see my basic itinerary and budget (predicted and actual) here. As everybody says, Barcelona is fantastic. I stayed with friends in Hello BCN hostel, staff were awesome, walking distance to Las Ramblas, and nice rooms (I saw the private rooms thing, just saying). I cut short the rest of my trip to spend an extra day there on my way home, and I think you could totally spend a full week there.

Touristy stuff includes: Park Guell, La Sagrada Famiglia (worth going in, go early to avoid queues), Las Ramblas, the beach, the cool little shopping districts to the southeast of Las Ramblas, a bunch of randomly found churches, the Magic Fountain (that I didn't end up seeing), several museums including the museum of the city. Also, the weather is great, and they have palm trees :)
posted by jacalata at 2:00 AM on January 15, 2008

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