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1. Posted by rivya (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

rivya has indicated that this thread is about Spain

Hello everyone,

My husband and I alongwith another couple wish to travel to Europe this coming summer/fall. We will all be starting from the US and wish to travel to three main coutries.

We are planning to make it a 2 weeks trip with France, Italy and Spain as our destinations. Ideally we would like to spend sometime in Paris, Barcelona,Venice, Rome, and along the spanish coast or the french riviera.

Since this will be our first time to Europe, we would like to get some help with planning this trip. If you could please give us tips and answer some of our questions it would be awesome...

1. What is the best time to travel top these places?
2. Is two weeks enough time to enjoy the cities given above?
3. Where can we find information about accomodation? Our budget is nominal and we would ideally want to live in a decent hotel/motel.
4. What is the best way to travel between destinations?
5. What is the best was to travel within the cities?
6. Is there a possibility to add more cities/destinations to this trip?
7. Is there anything in particular we should do in any of these cities, besides the generally recommended tourist spots?

Please respond to me with your expertise...
Rivya

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

Here's my two cents' for you!

1. What is the best time to travel top these places?
May or September - summer is way, way too hot to enjoy seeing stuff in Italy or the French Riviera.

2. Is two weeks enough time to enjoy the cities given above?
I really don't think so. You'll be spending a lot of time just traveling from one place to another. Paris alone can take 2 weeks - if not more - to really see. I'd say pick two places TOPS (with maybe a day trip or two to a city nearby) and enjoy them. Better not to travel in a whirlwind!

3. Where can we find information about accomodation? Our budget is nominal and we would ideally want to live in a decent hotel/motel.
Lots of stuff on the Internet. But if by decent you mean fancy, you'll pay for the number of stars on the door. But you can find lots of clean, simple accommodation. Ask for specific cities here on TP and you'll get lots of answers!

4. What is the best way to travel between destinations?
Train, mostly - unless they're really far apart, the take a low-fare flight.

5. What is the best was to travel within the cities?
Paris and Rome have great Metro systems - plus your feet will do you fine. Venice is a walking city too. I haven't ben to the other places.

6. Is there a possibility to add more cities/destinations to this trip?
Not if you want to enjoy yourselves!

7. Is there anything in particular we should do in any of these cities, besides the generally recommended tourist spots?
See the catacombs in Paris! And the cemeteries.

3. Posted by fraluchi (Full Member 129 posts) 9y

Hi,
Tway is absolutely right: if you want to enjoy yourselves, don't overdo the traveling.
You should ask yourselves what you are really interested in. What is the use of boasting that you have been in Paris, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, the French riviera, etc. when you haven't really learned something ? (by the way, Barcelona is in Cataluña. For more of the "real" Spain you'd have to go to Madrid, Cordoba, Valencia, Pamplona, Burgos and so on ....)
And what's wrong with the real "tourist spots" when your time is so limited ?
I would suggest that in each of the towns you mentioned (Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Rome) you take a day and also an evening tour. That'll give a good overall impression, whereas the time in between these tours can be used to "sample" what has struck you to investigate further. You can easily spend three nights in each of those 4 towns and run out of time to see the meaning of hundreds of years of history.
All 4 towns have excellent public transport: Paris, Rome and Barcelona with subways, Venice by "vaporetto" (boat, of course).
Other things to note are differences between the US and Europe, such as travel facilities (highways, air) and particularly driving habits. The latter are sobering in the Paris area and Italy as a whole, with Rome in particular.
The best way to travel will be by train: you may reserve a Euro rail pass from the US (in Europe it'll cost you more !) which allows to travel freely between the various cities you mentioned.
Accommodation: check the websites for hotels or B&B's in each country/town, and once you have defined your overall program and itinerary, book ahead of time. The towns in question are "hotspots" and rates my vary considerably from one town to the other. In doing so, consider the vicinity of hotels and railway stations, lest you find yourselves wasting time between one and the other.
Enjoy surfing the web and preparing for an exciting holiday !

4. Posted by J_P (Budding Member 9 posts) 9y

Paris, Barcelona,Venice, Rome, and along the spanish coast or the french riviera.

Some little tips, I've used the following websites/organisations for my visits to Paris, Venice and Rome:
- www.lodging.it (for really nice city accomodation in Venice and Rome, the staff of this website all speak English, so if you need any help or specific advice, give them a call too)

-www.paris-tours-guides.com (these guys can organise ANYTHING for you in Paris, they're totally fantastic, they can be a little pricey, but if you want something special and to go without problems then these are the guys for you, when I called they had an American and a British girl working there and they were so friendly and nice - very helpful).

1. What is the best time to travel top these places?
I think May or September, simply because for Italy and Spain, June, July and August is way to hot to enjoy it.

2. Is two weeks enough time to enjoy the cities given above?
You could spend a week in Rome alone! 3 weeks would be slightly better for you to really get stuck into the culture, but hey, 2 weeks is better than nothing.

3. Where can we find information about accomodation? Our budget is nominal and we would ideally want to live in a decent hotel/motel.
For Venice and Rome I've used www.lodging.it before, all the accomodation is really nice and comfortable. I usually just stop with friends when I visit Spain and France, but the hotel chain, NH Hotels are quite famous and well respected in Spain I think :-)
4. What is the best way to travel between destinations?
In Italy, you should use the railway (www.trenitalia.com) it's the cheapest and most efficient way of doing things. For travel between countries, the cheapest flights will be found on these websites; www.ryanair.com , www.easyjet.com , www.vueling.com , www.meridana.com

5. What is the best was to travel within the cities?
Venice - by boat hehe!
Rome - Metro
Paris - Metro
Madrid - Metro
It's cost effective, get a day pass on the Paris Metro, it allows you to use the system all day as many times as you want.

6. Is there a possibility to add more cities/destinations to this trip?
If you're in Italy, and going to Rome and Venice, you should visit Florence too, it's inbetween the cities and is absolutely amazing, my favourite city in Europe, it's so rich in art and treasure and not as commercialised as Rome and Venice. It could even be the highlight of your trip.

7. Is there anything in particular we should do in any of these cities, besides the generally recommended tourist spots?
In Rome, you have to do the Sistine Chapel and the Spanish Steps (they're my favourite things)
In Paris, if you want real authentic French food at a decent price go to the Latin Quarter near to Notre Dame, you can get a three course set menu for 15 euros, which is real cheap for Paris. It'll keep you on budget and give you a real flavour for the Parisian Food Culture!
In Venice, try and steer away from eating near to St Mark's Square if you're really on a budget, you'll be paying like ten bucks for a coffee there, but I think, you only do it once, and to sit and have a coffee in one of the most celebrated places of Italy is okay once in a while, it depends if budget, or real culture is your priority.

If you need to know about anything else, feel free to ask :-) I can only speak from experience, but it's a help, right?

Jade

5. Posted by elsebas (Budding Member 51 posts) 9y

1. What is the best time to travel top these places?
May, June, September... whenever but in July or August. The weather will be more beautiful, the prices will be cheaper and you will find less tourists.

2. Is two weeks enough time to enjoy the cities given above?
If you want to visit just these 4 cities is more than enough. I would say Rome is the one with more stuff to see and 3 or 4 days (depending if you want to see everything or if you don't need to go into every museum) are more than enough, Paris and Barcelona need 2 or 3 days and Venice not more than 2.

3. Where can we find information about accomodation? Our budget is nominal and we would ideally want to live in a decent hotel/motel.
INTERNET! booking.com, venere.it and lots of other sites offer information about accomodation, opinions and the best rates.

4. What is the best way to travel between destinations?
As already said the train but also flying could be cheaper and of course faster. Take a look to www.clickair.com, www.vueling.com and www.ryanair.com. According to the dates you could find good bargains there.
I prefer always drive myself but since you are going to visit three different countries, rent a car it's not more an option (rent a car in Spain and leave it in Italy costs a lot).

5. What is the best was to travel within the cities?
Never ever take a subway in Rome, you could miss something great that doesn't come in your guide and it's hidden on the corner. Barcelona and Venice are also cities where one should walk rather than take the subway or Vaporetto. Paris is really big and the subway makes easier to visit the city.

6. Is there a possibility to add more cities/destinations to this trip?
Of course! You should visit Florence and Siena in Italy, and many other cities in Spain (Girona, Valencia, Tarragona, Zaragoza, etc.) but you decide what to see and how fast do it.
Paris is a beautiful city but (According to me) overrated. Maybe it would be better to spend a week or 10 days in Italy and a week in Spain, it would be something like. ITALY: 2 days in Venice, 3 in Rome, 2 in Florence and one in Siena, flight from Pisa to Valencia for example with Ryanair, or Rome to Barcelona or Valencia, or whatever, then SPAIN: 3 days in Barcelona, 1 in Girona, 2 in Zaragoza, 1 in Tarragona and 2 in Valencia. Take the train or rent a car in each one of the countries in order to make your own pace.

7. Is there anything in particular we should do in any of these cities, besides the generally recommended tourist spots?
That's difficult but in Rome don't miss the small churches in Trastever quartier, many of the guides talk about Trastevere much less than the area deserves.

Use the internet to see as much information as possible in order to decide what to do and good luck! Enjoy your trip!

Sebas

6. Posted by rivya (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

thanks you everyone...for all the valuable advice you provided...I think we now have a direction...ofcourse that does not mean I will not need your help anymore...
Today, we plan to continue with out plans...and atleast outline the trip on paper...

With that done...we will move on to the harder piece...accomodation, air/rail booking etc. Once there...I will be calling on to you guys again....
Thank you once again...