We are going on a Mediterranean cruise in January-February 2010 which leaves from and returns to Barcelona. We will be flying back to Australia from London and would like any suggestions (cheap) on where to go for 5-7 days. This could be in Spain or UK or places in between. Any suggestions please
Barcelona is a pretty cool city. Not sure whether it is a good idea to hang out there for 5-7 days though.
An obvious choice would be Paris, there is a nighttrain to Paris as well as cheap flights to and from both Barc'a and London to P's.
For seeing more of Spain, take a look at http://looklex.com/spain/index.htm Andalusia would keep you occupied for about a week, but combined with Barcelona it might be a bit much due to time constraints.
For the UK I suggest a tour of London, Bath, Salisbury and Oxford. Since the Brits drive on the wrong side of the road just as the Aussies you could easily rent a car and tour the countryside that way.
Also: If (unlike most cruise guests) you don't have so much luggage as to rule out budget flights, you could play around with www.skyscanner.net and see where the cheapest flights from Barc'a take you.
If you want to go for the good weather than it should be the south (Sevilla / Cadiz), if you want to get some cheap tickets check Vueling and head for Madrid (after spending a few days in Barcelona.) with 3 days in Barcelona and 4 in Madrid, you could also make it to towns like Toledo and Segovia. The good point of Madrid is that you can easily make it back to London. (cheap tickets enough.)
Barcelona is a lovely city, you can spend easily 4 days in the town visiting Gaudi monuments, the art of barcelona with its different museums, its 50 gardens and nice parks... well a lot of things to do and for the 3 days left, i will suggest you to visit the costa brava if you like beach if not you can go to take some nicely walk in Montserrat in the mountains, not far away... -snip-
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
If you have about a week I would suggest you go to some different countries instead of staying in Spain. In this case the obvious thing to do would be Barcelona - Paris - Londen. You can take overnight trains from city to city to save on accommodation and time.
I do agree that Barcelona is worth a day or four (have been here myself for over 2 months now and still not bored) but if you would take 2 days you can already get some nice impressions. I reccommend the beautiful roof of Casa Mila (La Pedrera), Park Guell (buy a drink in the supermarket in front and not in the park, saves money), Hospital Sant Pau (very close to Sagrada Familia), and sitting down on a terrace next to the harbor on your way to Barceloneta.
In Paris of course you have to see the Eiffeltower, if you want to enjoy the view over the city but not wait in line to long you can climb on to arc de triomph instead, not as high but just as beautifull. Buy some drinks and go up to Montmartre at in the afternoon to watch the sunset from the stairs of the Sacre Coeur and if you have some time left don´t forget to visit the cemetary Pere-Lachaise, very impressive!
Finally in London, if you like markets make sure to go up to Camden lock where there is market all day. You can also walk down in the direction of the center via other markets. If you want to relax for a bit you can take a walk from hyde park into St James park to finally end up at Buckingham palaca where you can have some laughs with trying to get the guards to laugh (never worked for me yet though).
Of course you can also choose to do just two of those cities if you would like some more time to spend in each.
Let me know if you want some more information
Barcelona is big city cool, definitely worth hitting La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Picasso Museum, La Rambla, Gaudi architecture.... but really, if you can get a cheapy flight to Seville, you should DEFINITELY give Seville a couple of days. Seville is a big-gish city but much less hectic than Barcelona, actually quite affordable, all while being clean, friendly, and so charming. We got a flight from Seville to Barcelona (1 way) for about $60 (US) on Spanair. The flight was about 1 1/2 hours, so super quick too.
If you just have 4-5 days, best to pick a single spot rather than trying to squeeze too much in. Madrid is a wonderful city for pedestrians. I wish I had spent more time there when I visited a couple of months ago. Fantastic museums, easy to get to, and the view from the train makes for a worthwhile ride.
My suggestion would be Andalucia, either Granada or Ronda. I love the small-town feel of Ronda (although it has a population of about 50,000???). It's one of the beautiful Pueblos Blancos in the hills of Andalucia, and it's great for spending time just strolling around. Great restaurants, and very friendly people, orange trees and olive groves everywhere.
ETA: In Jan. and Feb., you can get some amazing deals in Scotland, which is a gorgeous five-hour train ride north from London (to Waverly Station in E-burgh; have your camera ready when going through Durham). Weather doesn't get terribly cold. Have some fun and maybe look into staying into a castle. There's a very nice place south of E-burgh, Dalhousie Castle. Oban is a very nice town on the west coast and makes a great base for exploring the Highlands. Stirling is a beautiful town very similar to E-burgh but without the crowds.
[ Edit: Edited on 09-Apr-2009, at 14:16 by rbyslipahs ]