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Advice needed for 5 weeks France,Spain, Portugal & southern Italy

Advice needed for 5 weeks France,Spain, Portugal & southern Italy

Old Mar 7th, 2021, 12:02 PM
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Advice needed for 5 weeks France,Spain, Portugal & southern Italy

Prior to 2020 covid we had a well planned trip through France, Spain, & Portugal. Trains from Paris to Provence, to Barcelona & Seville. Flying from Seville to Porto, train to Lisbon, return home. Now that we are vaccinated we are looking at planning that same trip for 2022! That was all well & fine until Stanley Tucci came along with his show In Search of Italy. Watching that made us decide we want to do southern Italy & especially Sicily! While we’re there why not make it a 5 week trip? We could reverse the trip starting in Lisbon & ending in Paris. From Paris fly (nonstop) to Naples, tour Naples & surrounding area, Amalfi coast working our way by train down to Reggio Calabria, & ferry to Sicily. Fly from Palermo to Naples, train to Rome, fly home. I haven’t seen a direct flight from Palermo to Rome. Flying home is 1 stop from Rome & 2 from Naples, I try to avoid 2 stops. How crazy does this sound? Any thoughts or suggestions? I’d like to hear from you.
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 12:20 PM
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It sounds feasible when it comes to the connections. It's the amount of time that might be a problem, depending on how much outside the big cities you wish to travel. It does not look as if you want to rent a car, which makes traveling time much more efficient. I have not seen the Tucci presentation, but places like Villa Casales would require getting to Piazza Armerina (somewhat off the beaten track), and from there a taxi; and that represents a loos of time compared to driving directly to the site.

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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 01:10 PM
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I’ve read pros & cons on driving in Italy. That’s something we’ll consider. We like taking trains & hire drivers as needed.
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 01:23 PM
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If I've understood you, your proposal is Lisbon - Porto - Seville - Barcelona - Provence - Paris - Naples - Amalfi coast - Reggio Calabria - Sicily - Naples - Rome. My view is that that is waaaay too much for five weeks. Several months, maybe. I suggest choosing between five weeks France/Iberia or five weeks southern Italy. Apart from time, I feel that you're buzzing around too much and there will be too much to absorb. You have single stops in whole regions. For example, Seville but nothing else in Andalucia. Two towns in Portugal. Personally, I would find it more rewarding to visit places which are closer together and enjoy a particular region or two.
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 01:38 PM
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As planned from last year we had 3or 4 nts in all our stops, except Seville which was 2 nts. So we figured 2 weeks in southern Italy should work. Stay 2 or 3 nts Naples, 2 or 3 Positano then down to Sicily. We realize we add in travel time. Ending in Rome just to fly home, not staying other than maybe the nt before staying near the airport to fly home. Again, we are just trying to work out the framework to see what works. We’ve discussed possibly eliminating Paris as we’ve all been there several times. That would open things up a bit. I’m not 100% sold on Barcelona to Seville, that’s a 5 hour train ride if I remember correctly. Lisbon , Porto, and Provence are my preferred places. Spain just happens to be in the middle!
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 02:06 PM
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I agree with dreamon. I suppose you could get away with that little time for Naples/Amalfi Coast, although I certainly wanted more, but you need at least two and preferably three weeks for Sicily. My TR is dated, but should give you an idea of what there is to see: Crumbling Palazzos and Creamy Cannoli - Savoring Sicily
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 02:55 PM
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Wherever we go & no matter how much time we allow, it will not be enough!
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 02:56 PM
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Thanks, Thursdaysd, I’ll check out your trip report. You had me at cannoli!
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Old Mar 7th, 2021, 04:21 PM
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fluff224, given your priorities, I suggest ditching Paris, Spain and Rome. Then I would choose between Provence and Portugal. Assuming the latter, then you could perhaps fly into Lisbon and explore Portugal (10nights) - fly to Sicily (15nights) - Amalfi coast (6nights) - Naples (4nights)? Assuming Provence, fly into Nice - Provence (10 nights) - fly Nice to Sicily (15nights) - Amalfi coast (6nights) - Naples (4nights)? Of course, that's just ideas and you'd have to check fight availability (which won't be published yet).

For myself, I'd still choose either southern Italy OR Portugal/Provence. Nice to dream though.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 06:16 AM
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I would look at www.skyscanner.com before deciding there are "no direct" or any other kinds of flights anywhere. Of course, flight schedules are going to drastically change whenever Italy FINALLY gets vaccinated. I applaud you for not even considering this trip until 2022.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 07:36 AM
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I know we are planning this trip for spring of 2022 is WAY far in advance. But, my friend & I are planners & love researching & reading. We like to put everything into our bucket list & then eliminate places as we start putting it all together. Id completely forgotten about Skyscanner! I usually use Kayak as a resource for flights. I’ll definitely add that to my travel apps.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 07:38 AM
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As Dukey wrote, there are plenty of direct flights in normal times between Palermo and Rome (and more from Catania and Rome). Frequency increases per the season as well. Some do not run every day of the week, and outside of summer. As others have said, dropping one or two regions (at least) would improve your enjoyment. Dropping Paris will leave you with needing to find a flight to Naples (from Marseille or Nice). These are more seasonal and non daily as well. Along with skyscanner, there is whichbudget to identify soutes -- some of these routes are serviced primarily by budget airlines.

As a note, driving in Sicily is easy, except for Catania. Palermo is also more difficult, but not as much as Catania.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 08:20 AM
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I'd suggest using Google Flights instead of Skyscanner. Skyscanner is more limited. Picking a random day in June I'm seeing three flights per day with Ryanair and even more with Alitalia.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 07:32 PM
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I think you have too many destinations planned for 5 weeks!

For example, you mention originally planning 2 nights in Seville, which is not nearly enough time. We had 4 nights in Seville; it's a gorgeous city with many important and beautiful historical and cultural sites. And since you are going to be in Andalucia, wouldn't you want to also visit Granada to see the Alhambra (absolutely stunning), and Cordoba to visit Mezquita??? So I agree with Dreamon's advice in post #4.

Visit countries that are close together. So, for example, I think you could do Portugal, Spain (Andalucia and Barcelona), and France (Provence and perhaps Paris, or Provence and French Riviera).
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 11:18 AM
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First off, I enjoyed reading your trip report, thursdaysd. Lots of good info that I’ll save for later. I’ve been using Google flights, RometoRio, Skyscanner & Kayak to see what possibilities there are at this point knowing it could look a lot different next year. I’ve worked out several different itinerary options that I’ll share with our travel friends.
1) Omit Portugal & Spain altogether. Start in Paris working our way down to Provence & flying to Palermo from Marsielle, working our way to the Naples area, train to Rome for flight home (no sightseeing there)
2) Omit Paris. Start in Barcelona & area, train to Arles & Provence,fly Marsielle to Palermo, Naples, & Rome.

Im having fun reading various trip reports & blogs & getting lots of good ideas! Who knows what this trip,will look like when we’re done??
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 11:22 AM
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Thanks, fluff, good to know you enjoyed it!

I am a big fan of Portugal. Another option is Portugal and Spain, then ferry to Genoa or Rome, train to Naples and area, finishing in Sicily.
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 12:52 PM
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Ferry to Rome or Genoa? Hmmm, that’s interesting, thursdaysd! Tell me more.... Would it e possible to get a ferry from Marseille or Nice? That might be more time consuming than flying. I love hearing different options!
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 01:04 PM
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I would suggest looking at any reviews you can find on the Barcelona/Rome ferry very closely. In general it's not looked on positively.

The ferry ride is long,expensive and not exactly a luxury cruise. The flight is short and cheap.
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 01:10 PM
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I'm a big fan of not flying when there are options, even if they take longer. That said, I do get bored on boats, but on an overnight ferry that shouldn't be a problem. This site is a good one for finding ferry routes and companies: https://www.directferries.com/
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 03:15 PM
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100% agree with thursdaysd about avoiding flying whenever possible. You could have an adventure and take the ferry from Nice to Palermo.
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