13 Days, three cities. How long in each?

Travel Forums Europe 13 Days, three cities. How long in each?

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1. Posted by acoustictherapy (Budding Member 2 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

We will arrive in Barcelona on May 11 and will leave for the US from London on May 24th, for a total of 13 days in Europe. We are planning to divide the trip among three cities: Barcelona, Paris and London. Would love to hear thoughts from anyone who's been to all three as to which city you feel deserves the most time, which deserves the least, and why you feel that way (best food, coolest attractions, most interesting day tours, etc.). Thanks so much to everyone! :)

2. Posted by Old Man At (Budding Member 49 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Maybe biased, but definitely Paris the most days. It has the best atmosphere, best shops, best musea, best restaurants and best people. While Barcelona and London have snapshot places that make IG worthy shots, Paris is a city you will want to stroll and get lost in, finding something beautiful at every corner. The attractions in London an Barcelona all bored me after 5 minuted while the musea in Paris kept me entertained even after the fifth visit. And galleries LaFayette is better than Harrods. Less clinical, entertaining even if just window shopping and with a better selection.

3. Posted by ToddP (Full Member 122 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

They are equally well deserved to visit cities. Very different to each other but hard to put one ahead of another. All depends what you are in to. Personally I

1) Barcelona. Would spend one day less than in other two maybe. Nothing personal, just maybe other two are that bit bigger. Nice beach area but not sure if at the start of May will be a beach weather.

2 & 3) Paris and London. I would spend equal time in each. They both are large capital cities with a lot to visit and do. Very different from each other. You can do day trips to places like Versailles and Windsor.

I think you have picked nice places to visit. Have fun!

4. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 657 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

It depends on your finances.

IMO;
London has the most to offer but it's very spread out and ridiculously expensive (site entrance prices, hotels, food and travel). There are thing that are free like most museums but some of the other stuff is eye-wateringly expensive.
You could easily spend all 13 days there.

Paris also has a lot to offer and is also spread out, although it's expensive it's not as bad as London.
You could probably spend all 13 days there.

Barca is the cheapest and I could spend a week there as a tourist.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Jan-2019, at 03:38 by Andrew Mack ]

5. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1186 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Andrew Mack has it right, there's definitely more in both Paris and London than Barcelona.

In London, many of the museums and art galleries are free and city walks are too (unless you want to call into the Tower or Westminster Abbey). There are some good, cheap pubs there too if you know where to look - the Princess Louise in Holborn is a classic (grade II listed toilets!) and the Weatherspoons chain has real ale at good prices and their meals aren't too bad. There are supermarkets there too for cheap self-catering options.

Paris has loads to keep anyone amused for at least five days - the Paris Pass is worth looking into for however long you're there; it includes the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, L'Orangerie, the Picasso Museum and others (and it includes entrance to Versailles). Again it is possible to save on meals by self-catering.

Try a Barcelona football match if you can - a great experience, even if football isn't really your thing. :):):)

6. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 657 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Borisborough

unless you want to call into the Tower

The Tower of London really is a fascinating place and definately worth a tour (the guides are very good, it's usually like going to a show) , but it's expensive.

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 832 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I would give a little less time to Barcelona and about the same to each of Paris and London. A week would not be too long in either of these, if it's your first visit, but as that would leave no time for Barcelona at all I suggest 11th - 13th May there (three days), travel to Paris on the 14th, spend 14th to 18th there (four and a half days, allowing for travel), travel to London on the 19th (take the Eurostar train rather than fly), giving you four and a half days there too.

London doesn't have to be expensive if you focus on the free galleries and museums and explore on foot - the parks should be lovely at that time of year. Weatherspoons pubs are cheap, but many others are good value, as are some of the chain restaurants (e.g. Italian chains such as Spaghetti House and Pizza Express), Indian restaurants and many in Chinatown (though the quality there varies a lot). You can also picnic in the parks - try Tesco supermarkets or Boots for cheaper sandwiches, or the Pret a Manger chain for (imho) slightly better ones. When deciding where to stay be sure to consider the extra cost of travelling in from the outskirts (and the time involved) if you think you have found a bargain!

The Londonist website and Time Out London both have good weekly listings of free or cheap activities. I'm happy to answer any further questions you may have as you start to firm up your plans, as I've lived in London all my life, more or less, and also know Paris well - Barcelona less so however.

8. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 940 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Haven't been to Barcelona nor ever wanted to visit. London is crazy expensive and definitely not charming. The museums are free but you pay to enter the churches which seems odd to me. Really good food is expensive so it's not high on my places to visit. They have good public transportation and they speak English, both of which are good points. Don't miss the Tower of London even though it's expensive. The Beefeaters Tour was a highlight for us. The British are great on ceremony so see the Changing of the Guard (free) and any other official ceremonies they have.

I'll second the gentleman above who suggested the most time in Paris. We're going for a month in Paris and this is the second time we've spent a month in Paris. We usually spend several days at the beginning and end of each trip to France in Paris, but I could easily move there. It is a very strange city in that it is composed of 20 arrondissements (districts) and each is a separate town with its own government and its own character. That means you can go from district to district and it's like visiting different charming small towns. There are over 100 museums in Paris and the churches are free and have magnificent art inside them. City museums are free but you pay for the biggies like the Louvre and the Orsay. There is a very reasonable Paris Museum Pass (NOT the Paris Pass which is a ripoff) which will save you money if you visit a lot of museums. There are beautiful parks that are free and you can just walk around which is definitely free. The food can't be beat in Paris and you can find excellent inexpensive restaurants . . . a different one for every meal if you wish.

I think the bonus for me in Paris is the parks. There are the large, famous parks like the Tuilleries Gardens and the Luxembourg Gardens, but all over the city are small pocket parks. Each one is different, has a theme and is an oasis of calm in a busy city. Also, there are no skyscrapers so you don't feel trapped in city canyons. It is very open and refreshing. They have a great public transport service although we walk as much as possible just because it is so beautiful.

If you want to know how to use the Paris Metro or just get some information on the city, you could check my Tips on Paris here on TP. There are a lot of links to tourist information in the city. Click here for Tips for Paris Visitors by Beausoleil

9. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 832 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

Haven't been to Barcelona nor ever wanted to visit. London is crazy expensive and definitely not charming. The museums are free but you pay to enter the churches which seems odd to me.

Just to clarify, you only pay to visit the cathedrals, i.e. Westminster Abbey and St Paul's. Westminster Cathedral, the RC cathedral in London, is I believe free to visit although you pay to go up the tower. You can visit almost all of the other churches for free, including the beautiful and historic Wren churches in the City of London.

And in addition to the museums there are many smaller free galleries, not to mention all the street art. A day out in Greenwich is cheap if you skip the Observatory (and I can tell you how to stand on the Meridian without going inside lol).

Sally/Beausoleil is a good friend but I have to disagree with her about London as both it and Paris are wonderful cities in their own right! And Sally, if you can ever face coming back to London, please let me try to prove you wrong ;)

10. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 940 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting ToonSarah

[quote=Beausoleil]Sally/Beausoleil is a good friend but I have to disagree with her about London as both it and Paris are wonderful cities in their own right! And Sally, if you can ever face coming back to London, please let me try to prove you wrong ;)

You're on. We've been to London a few times and the last time we landed at LHR, we picked up our car and quickly headed away from London. I find London just slightly more appealing than New York City. I think it's claustrophobia. I like to see the sky. The best part of London for me (besides the pomp and circumstance which was great fun) was visiting the beautiful parks. We stayed right across the street from Kensington Park on one trip and that was my favorite.

If we ever go back, I'll take you up on your offer.