We are a family of 3 (2 adults around 50 and a teenager) and we are flying in/out of Madrid on December 25-January 3. We have never been to Spain before, except one of us to Barcelona multiple times for business. We plan on spending 6 days in Madrid (including 1 in Toledo) and are not decided about the other destination that we'll go to, by train, for 3 days. Barcelona, although obviously interesting, is not an option as one of us has gone often.
We are currently considering Seville and Valencia but are open to other suggestions too. We will do our own independent research but are open to any suggestions/insight. A little concern is that Rick Steves' Spain guidebooks -- one of the many sources we look at and usually enjoy -- doesn't even talk about Valencia, likely because he doesn't consider it a prime destination. Everybody is different, and it's just one person's opinion, but it is a concern to us as we had narrowed down our search to Seville and Valencia.
Ideally, we would like a destination for our 3-day side trip to be as different as possible as Madrid. A different experience, different ambiance, different sights, different look-and-feel, etc. Seville seems to fit the bill. Should we consider Valencia? Or another destination?
We like to walk and see the sights, a bit of museums but not just that, take in the ambiance of what we visit. Try local restaurants. Not into the party/bar/nightclub scene (too young or too old...!)
Any comments, suggestions, and ideas and welcome!