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Lisbon to Rome - travel the coast or island hop?

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Hi everyone,

My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe beginning the middle of March and ending mid-April. We'll be landing in Lisbon, Portugal and then flying out of Rome, Italy. I know March/April can be quite cool still, so we're hoping to make the best of the weather by starting in the south (ish) of Portugal where the temperature will hopefully be mild and finishing in Italy where we hope it will have warmed up a bit by April. We are trying to travel through four countries in a month, but we don't want a crazy fast-paced trip or a strict schedule. This is our belated honeymoon trip, so while we want to do and see as much as possible, a little romance and a few lazy days are also important.

We'd love some thoughts on the best way to travel from the French Riviera to Rome. So far we are planning on spending few days in Lisbon and the surrounding area, then travelling to Madrid followed by Barcelona. This part of the plan is pretty well set, but what would be good itinerary for the rest of the way? We'd love to see the beautiful coasts of France and Italy, but are also interested in visiting Corsica and Sardinia. Given our travel time and budget, I don't think we can do both.

So, here are a couple very rough itineraries we're considering:

A) From Barcelona, head to Marseille then to Cannes or Nice. Spend some time exploring Cinque Terre and make our way down to Rome.

B) From Barcelona, head Marseille and/or Nice and from there take a ferry over to Sardinia or Corsica (hopefully we'd have time to do both islands) and then ferry back to Rome to spend our last couple of days there.

We are not totally married to visiting Marseille, either -- if there are other places in that area that are more worth a visit, I would love to hear about them (Aix-en-Provence, Toulon?). Keep in mind we will be traveling this area in late March to early April, so we're open to adapting our plans to best suit the weather :)

Thanks for your help!!

Monica

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