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Where to go? 5-7 days in August

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Hello all:

I am looking for ideas on where to go in Europe first/second week in August. Yes, I know its late, but unfortunately work schedule dictates it!

I rarely travel in August, as I can’t stand heat – I am melting here in London right now in temperatures of 30 degrees, which is pretty well as hot as I can take it. Therefore, I need to stick to the northern region.

I would welcome your advice on some of my initial thoughts. My primary interests are art and architecture, which dictates a city, but might also consider a week at a cooking school or something like that. I am not a beach-holiday person – I need lots of activity. I might hire a car, but am more inclined to base myself in one location and take day-trips by public transportation.

Some initial thoughts:
Berlin: Never been, but have heard it is a wonderful city. What would the weather be like?

Northern Spain: I have been several times, driving from the Basque country to Santiago de Compostela. Loved it immensely and the weather was perfect for me in late July. If I base myself in Bilbao, would I be able to fill my days with day trips to other towns/cities? What other cities should I consider?

Northern France: I have driven around Brittany. If I decide not to drive, where should I base myself?

Lisbon: I have always wanted to visit, but would it be too hot?

Apologies for the vagueness, but I am really stymied, and have little time to plan. I thank you in advance for your time in helping me decide.

Best regards .. Ger

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