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4-5 day trip to a place on my bucket list

4-5 day trip to a place on my bucket list

Old Jan 17th, 2010, 06:38 AM
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4-5 day trip to a place on my bucket list

Hi
I've got an itch for a short European trip in April or May, to a location that I haven't been to before. I'd be forcing myself not to go to a place I already love, but to see a place that has been on my to-do list.
Contenders at the moment are

Barcelona
Grenada (to see the Alhambra)
Edinburgh
Chatsworth
London's Chelsea Flower Show
Sissinghurst
Zermatt (No idea yet of those travel logistics, assuming plane plus trains)
Iceland

I have visited Great Britain a number of times, mostly London plus some sidetrips, but have always wanted to see the Chelsea Flower Show.

I am interested in history, art, architecture, and gorgeous scenery (not necessarily all on the same trip). Each person's tastes are his/her own, but I'm interested to hear why you would recommend one of these over another.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 06:59 AM
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If you want to see the Chelsea Flower show, you could do Sissinghurst in the same trip. There is lots to see and do in Kent. Ightham Mote is a 15th century moated manor house.
Hever, Ann Boleyn's childhood home, is in the area. Along the coast are the splendid chalk cliffs and Dovwer itself with its castle, Roman lighthouse, World War II memories. The castles at Walmer and Deal are a great visit.

If you like gorgeous scenery, Chatsworth and the Peaks area might be your cup of tea. Lots of little villages. Welldressing in Tissinghurst is held on Ascension Day which comes in May. Flower petals are used to decorate the wells there. Other villages have their day for well-dressing.

I think these might be my top choices for a 4-5 day trip. However, I would not scorn any of the others. It is just that these two choices would seem to combine the most of the differenbt things that you want to see.(By the way I think it is Granada in Spain. Grenada is one of the Carribean Islands.)
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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yes, you're right of course about the spelling, I realized my uncorrected typo after I posted it.
Thanks for the insights.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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By the way, any tips on how to get to some of these smaller places, whether it's Chatsworth, Sissinghurst, or Zermatt, much appreciated also. I will also do some searches.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 07:32 AM
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Elaine, I made a mistake: it is Tissington not Tissinghurst. I just googled it to check on the dates of well dressing this year. It is from Thursday May 13 through Wednesday, May 19. Also discovered a small manor house located in the town which might be fun to visit.

derbyshire-peaksdistrict.co.uk
tissington-hall.com

Above are two websites which might be of interest should you choose Chatsworth and area.

In both the areas I recommended I think you would want a car to make most use of your time. In Kent, you might be able to get around by train and bus, but in the Peaks you would want a car to get out into the Park. Perhaps some of the UK experts could give you more help on this.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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the Derbyshire-peak website has links to public transport in the area.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 07:40 AM
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The only place that I've been to on your list is Granada and the Alhambra, which I enjoyed immensely.

Have you been to Seville? If not, Granada and Seville would be a nice trip in the spring.

I'd like to visit Barcelona. I only rode from the port to the airport but liked what I saw on the way
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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I would be traveling solo, and definitely do not want to drive.

I think someone here posted about visiting Chatsworth via public transport; I'll see if I can find that.
Never considered Seville; will look up the culture and attractions.
Right now, airfares from NYC to just about anyplace in Europe seem visciously expensive ($800-1000), but I may bite the bullet anyway.
Great information so far, thanks.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Well I vote Barcelona - for a short trip I would think it is one of the easiest, logistically - I would assume direct flights. May would be a great time to be there and there is alot to see and do - wonderful architecture, a medival part of the city, plus the waterfront - quite different than Great Britain.
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Old Jan 17th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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Iceland. Short flight and it is beautiful in may. You can take day trip tours from Rekyavik. The currency collapsed so the exchange rate is great. Check out Iceland Airline's packages for ideas.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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I guess I'd better do more reading about Iceland. Daytrips never occurred to me.


To the above list (for a short trip) I've just added Sarajevo, but not sure how I feel about going there solo. Again, more reading is needed.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Chelsea/RHS Wisley (a MUST in my opinion)/Hever/Chartwell/Sissinghurst/Scotney Castle. That would be an AMAZING 3 days gardens trip. You'd need a car though.

If you want to see the flower show, it is a good idea to join the RHS. It does cost - but it also gets you in on the much less crowded member days. They are still crowded, just not CROWDED

Chatsworth would be a very doable one night trip from London by train/bus. A couple of Fodorites have actually managed it as a day trip - but it is a loooong day.
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 03:41 PM
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Another vote for Barcelona. My husband and I did a last minute trip while in France for only 3 days and I'd love to go back. We were there in late May a couple of years ago; I'm a fan of Gaudi.
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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I say knock Barcelona and Iceland off your list. Not places to go unless you already are wildly enthusiastic.

Granada is one of the world's certifiable wonders. It's just indescribably beautiful and important. You like flowers? Go to the gardens of the Alhambra in April. Those are some of the most incredible gardens ever created by man. They changed Europe's ideas about gardens, and the beauty of dancing water. The Alhambra is a statement, a cultural triumph. A lost moment for humanity. An education. Profound. Be sure to go at night too. Stay at the Parador if you can. They sometimes have last minute cancellations.

"History, art, architecture, and gorgeous scenery" -- ?

Granada. And you can even have them all on the same trip.
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 04:20 PM
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still thinking about this, though May air fares are giving me pause.
How can I get to Grenada by public transport?
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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how about Brugges? architecture, history, visit the western front, bicycle, etc.
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Old Feb 10th, 2010, 04:52 PM
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My top picks from your short list would be either Edinburgh or Granada, although we haven't been to Granada yet. Edinburgh in late April or May would be lovely and the bus system is so easy to use. While we had a car, we only used it for daytrips outside the city and used the bus system for touring the city. We spent two days just wandering between the Castle and Holyrood Palace! As for daytrips, there are plenty of places and opportunities nearby. Could you keep us posted on what you decide?

--Annie
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Old Feb 11th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Both Barcelona and Edinburgh are very easy to do solo without a car. Both perfect for that season and amount of time. Both offer day trips by train if you wanted (but enough in each city to keep you busy for that length of time. I have photos of both at www.pbase.com/annforcier if you want to whet your appetite.

Granada is wonderful, as is Seville. I did a Seville-Cordoba-Granada trip that I loved but had 8 nights. Four or five days might be a tad long just for Granada, and just a bit short to do both Granada and Seville, so doable but not perfect. We flew from NYC to Seville and out of Grananda (on one ticket but with a change in Madrid) and did trains and bus between them.

I'm doing Reykjavic this summer but only for one day, I think you'd have to like that kind of scenery a lot to do five days. And it looks like it would be mostly day tours if you don't rent a car and five days of that could get boring.

But the short answer is see where you can get the best priced flight. I was looking at Paris in March and seeing prices of $900 and up (and not even non stop or good times). Then I came upon a $490 flight to Barcelona. I'm going to visit my daughter but I can pay for my flight plus her easyjet flight from Paris to BCN and still have money left over. Flight prices are crazy this year (that's also the reason I'm going to Rekyjavic next summer, Iceland air had the best prices to europe so I'm doing a stopover).
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Old Feb 11th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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I would recommend either Grenada or Iceland. Very different but both beautiful and easy to do in a few days. We took the high speed train from Madrid to Seville, enjoyed the town and then the train to Granada. Very doable in 5 days. Take a tour into the country around the capital of Iceland. Awesome geography.

Spearfish
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Old Feb 11th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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For good weather and the time of the year you want to go along with prices-Barcelona!! It is a great city to get around on by foot,bus or underground;prices on hotels and restaurants are terrific along with wonderful food and wine!!! Sightseeing includes many varied things from the waterfront to art and history.
Iceland is VERY expensive and hard to get around without a car or bus service-rental car was going to be extremely expensive for our family last year at almost $2800USD for a week. Edinburgh can be really rainy at that time of the year and since you have done London and the UK alot-go for something different but reasonable?
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