First time traveller to Europe and thinking about doing the coast of France and Spain...by train or bus. No real plans but do feel clueless about the best route/places to hit. any advice would be greatly appreciate. I am planning to leave in July and spend about 3 weeks.
I guess it depends what you mean by 'the coast'. The Med, the Atlantic or even the Channel coast in the north of France? I am assuming also that you will be flying into Paris or Madrid. As far as I am aware neither country has long distance bus routes, the equivalent of Coach Canada or Greyhound, so rail is the obvious option. A good routeplanner is the Thomas Cook European Timetable, even one that is a bit out of date, just to get an idea of the national rail networks in either country. You will find that travelling between France and Spain that you will need to change trains near the border: Cerbere/Portbou on the Med, Hendaye/Irun on the Atlantic.
Check these sites for timetables and fares:
if you want to use buses, you can go to www.eurolines.com and www.alsa.es
In Spain, buses reach more places than trains, but the service is not very good.The advantage is that they can go from one country to another, whereas the trains don't.
In france, there are no bus stations, so it throws you and picks you up in the street, which is a total and complete pain.I recommend strongly to use trains there, but in Spain, most cities do have bus station,right next to the train ones,and you can buy your tickets online. Some of the routes have premium services, which have much,much better service than the normal buses.
There are 2 other ways of travelling, one is by AVE (hi-speed train), it's more expensive than the normal train,but there are lots of disccounts online
And the last one is by plane, there is a low cost airline called Ryanair. The disadvantage of this airline is the ammount of luggage you can take, but check the routes,it might be convenient.
Now, if you want to visit places,I strongly recommend the Mediterranean coast from the bottom of the peninsule to Barcelona (visiting Malaga, Seville, Granada, Murcia, Valencia and Barcelona, among others). In France, you can go to Tolousse, Montpellier, Bordeaux,Arcachon and up to Parisand then goback to Spain via Irun to Santanderand the vasque country, and of course, you cannot miss Madrid.
Hope this is useful.
Enjoy your trip.
I think that the bes way to be allways on the coast and to see the charming smal historical towns is by Car. Yo can rent cars for really cheap money in southern spain and go all arround the coast. My favored Option would be
Calais + Boulogne sur Mer, Cap Gris Nez, Rouen, Bayeux, Mont Saint Michel, Paimpol, Guerande, Pornic, Rochefort, Bayonne, San Sebastian/Donostia, Santander, Gijon + Oviedo, A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, viana do Castelo, Porto, Coimbra, Lisbon, Lagos, Huelva, Jerez de la Frontera, Tarifa, Malaga, Granada, Jaen, Murcia, Valencia, Barcelona, Perpignan, Nimes + Arles, Haute Savoie, Lyon, Paris, Calais. This is just some places to visite in the french Portuguese and Spanish coasts the problem ist that if you want to reach them you need a lot of days even by Car if you want to do it by bus and train so it will be nearly impossible because of time and money. I am not a really big friend of Hudge citys full of Tourists thats because i recomend you the Relative smal Towns and just some Big cities in between.
I just recomend you not to do to many kilometers in the day like that you will be always tierd maybe it would be better to short it up in some etaps because like that you make some 7000-8000 KM and you need some 4-5 weeks to do the tripp.
It really depends on what sort of holiday you are looking for. In July the Mediteranean coast will be very busy indeed but if you want a beach holiday then you will have a great time. The Med is a much warmer sea but the Atlantic coast will not be as busy and there some amazing places on this coast; Santiago De Compostella, Santander etc. I would recommend sticking to the coast as the weather will be scorching hot at that time of year, especially in the south of Spain so you will need the sea close by. This is a really hard question to answer as your choices are huge. Barcelona is great city that is near the coast so that could be an option. Remember also that places like Nice and St Tropez in the South of France are very expensive so it also depends on your budget. Whatever you decide to do though you will have a great time as they are both excellent countries to travel around. The only thing I would recommend that you don't do is go to Malaga or one of the very touristy places in the south of Spain as all you will see there are sunburnt Brits and English pubs with karaoke.
Dont forgett the Germans with Bermuda VoKuHiLa OLiBa (hair like Ruddi Völler) Kliensmann and Ballack Shirts. But generally are this Historical cities good to explore.
Planning to go in Spain. Theres to many good places to see in Spain. But if you love beach partying better not to miss holiday ibiza beach its definitely one of the best beach party places in Spain.
But if you are architecture enthusiasts better go to madrid. Although Madrid cannot match the architecture in Rome , Paris or London , its sought-after churches (basilicas) display unique and charming personalities. The architectures found in the city ranges from a medieval to a modern style. If you wanna know more information about madrid look here at -snip-
Good luck to your trip...
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
I don't know if you were thinking North coasts or South coasts, but if the later I've heard amazing things about Arles! Even had one person tell me that they would prefer to go there to Rome.
I've been to Spain and France before. It was safe for a solo traveler like me
Just to give you some tips...if you're planning to take flights between Spain - France, opt for Ryanair or Vueling, I tried both, good for budget travellers
If you're planning to get the train in France, try idtgv. Sometimes they'll offer great price for the night trains. I've even travelled from Paris to Hendaye...near the border of Spain for just 19 euros!!
I think that go to France
Thanks for all comments,