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Jan 23rd, 2014, 09:30 AM
  #1
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Barcelona

I have 8 days for a trip starting March 28th. I was thinking of going to Barcelona. I will be traveling solo and have not been to Europe before. Is it worth going to Barcelona for such a short period of time or is it smarter to go somewhere that i could go to a coupe places, like Cambodia and Vietnam? Should I save Barcelona for a longer Europe trip? I really want to visit Barcelona but there are many other paces I'd love to see too! Advice welcome!
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 10:05 AM
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Frankly, if it is your first visit to Europe, I would not pick Barcelona. Barchelona is a nice city, but for a first trip I would recommend Paris, London or Rome. You should stay in one of these cities and spend two or three days in the countryside that surrounds the metropolis. So, you will get a good impression of Europe.

Why do I propose Paris, London or Rome? These three cities have attractive cityscapes and zillions of attractions which are typical for Europe, e.g. historical buildings, boulevards, museums etc.

Barcelona is good for a second trip. Personally, I even rank Madrid higher than Barcelona. If you have a very special crush on Barcelona, you might combine Madrid, Barcelona and a bit of the Costa Brava within your 8 days.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 10:28 AM
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I went to Barcelona for 8 days but it seems that most people only spend 2 or 3 days there and many go for the day off a cruise ship. While I liked Barcelona it's not among my top favorite cities.

For your first European trip I would spend 8 days in Paris or Rome and a couple of days in either Florence or Venice (not all 3 in 8 days).
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 02:00 PM
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I really like Barcelona, I think it's okay for a first trip, why not. Although I think 8 days there might be a bit much for a first trip. What if you really don't like it that much? It's funny you think that is a really short time. Now if you said should I go to Spain for only 8 days, I could understand it.

If you want to see Spain, I'd go to at least two cities, Barcelona and Madrid, or Barcelona and Seville. Madrid is easier as there is a high speed train between them. However, you can fly Vueling, a low cost Spanish airline, direct between BCN and SVQ for a pretty low fare. see www.vueling.com

That would be a fantastic trip in March -- Barcelona and Seville, or Barcelona and Madrid, either one.

Do it either way -- into SVQ or home from there.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 02:24 PM
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I would not pick London for the first trip...perhaps Paris or Rome.
Nothing wrong with Barcelona - Madrid either.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 05:28 PM
  #6
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I don't see anything wrong with going to Barcelona on your first trip to Europe if that is a city that you are really interested in visiting. I loved Barcelona and probably my second favorite European city after Rome. The food is fabulous, and there is quite a bit to do and see. That being said 8 days might be a bit long - would recommend looking into daytrips or as others have recommended consider 5 days Barcelona and some time in either Madrid or Seville.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 06:21 PM
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Rome and Florence or Rome and Venice would be my pick for 8 days in Europe.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 07:34 PM
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I think Barcelona is a great city to visit, although I would say that Paris trumps it. I have not been to Rome. You could spend some days in Barcelona and take the train to Girona, well worth seeing and then on to a couple of days in Cadaques. I could see spending 4 days or more in Barcelona, no problem.
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 09:32 PM
  #9
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Thank you so much for your replies. They have been most helpful!
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 09:48 PM
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I have spent a month a Barcelona plus numerous subsequent visits. It is a fascinating city with joie de vivre rarely seen. There are also a number of day trips from Barcelona including Montserrat, Girona, and Figueres.

It is not usually the first city someone visits in Europe but it is rewarding.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 01:11 AM
  #11
 
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At the risk of sounding, um, whatever - can the Rome protagonists in this thread please spell out they key reasons why they put Rome up there as the European city to visit? I'm not doubting, just trying to work out some of my own travel plans and Rome is in the potential mix.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 02:41 AM
  #12
 
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I think when a place is calling your name, that's a good place to go, whether or not it is your first time to Europe. I agree that with eight days you might want to see both Barcelona and Madrid, but if you want to stay put in Barcelona and maybe throw in a day trip or two, that would be good too.

As for Rome, I think there is more to see in Rome than anywhere else I have ever traveled. The combination of a modern city living cheek by jowl with its ancient past is fascinating. The layers of art and history and civilization are visible in a way that just takes my breath away.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 03:38 AM
  #13
 
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As I think you are hearing, there are a lot of Barcelona fans here (me too!), but it's not the first city we'd think of for one's first trip to Europe.

My personal rec as far as first trip to Europe would be Paris for many reasons:
a)You could do nothing but walk and people watch in cafes and STILL have a great time.
b) You CAN walk everywhere because the historical center is SO centric, but still...
c) The Metro system is easy-peasy to understand
d) There are a zillion museums with fab art
e) You can do amazing eating
f) Daytrips are easy: Chartres, Giverny, Versailles, and on and on
g) It's easily linked via train to places like Amsterdam, so you can do a two-city trip if you'd like.

I also really, really like Rome, but the past few times we've been there, we've felt crushed by the sheer number of bodies we have to move past to see the Trevi Fountain, etc. It becomes wearing.

But let's go back to your Barcelona idea. Obviously, it struck a chord with you. Well, I'm in love with it and with all of Catalonia; in fact, I like it much more than the southern areas of Spain.

I had no idea until we went last year that Catalonia is actually is an autonomous community of Spain fighting politically for independence right now.

With that in mind, I could EASILY see your designing a little mini-tour of Catalonia, using Barcelona as your key starting and end point, to take it all in. Train lines from Barcelona go to Puigcerdà on the French border, and to Girona/Figures.

Have a lovely time planning your trip, no matter what your destination.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 04:21 AM
  #14
 
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I also like Barcelona. Unfortunately you give us absolutely no information as to why you want to go there so a bunch of people are saying go to other places.

Barcelona is probably not the place a lot of folks think of for a first-time visit to Europe but it seems reasonable enough IF it turns out to have things you enjoy.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 09:58 AM
  #15
 
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I thikn people go places that are of main interest to them. I'm not interested in Rome very much myself, but I know that -- I wouldn't ask others where I should go. My first big trip abroad was to Cairo Egypt and Athens, as I had always been fascinated by ancient history. I went there before Europe.

All of the reasons given above for why one must go to Paris exist for many other cities, including Barcelona, actually (the ones that are valid, you can't walk everywhere in any city of such a size, including Paris). But all of those same reasons could be said of Barcelona, except maybe easy train links to other major cities in other countries, but that's not of main interest to the OP.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 10:07 AM
  #16
 
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I think Barcelona is a great city for a first visit to Europe. There's loads to do and see (architecture, art museums, outdoor attractions like the parks, Olympic facilities and beaches), great food and drink which are pretty affordeable despite Barcelona not being the cheapest region of Spain by any means, a very good public transport system, and pretty much guaranteed good weather, without ever being as scorchio as the interior of Spain. You could easily fill eight days here.
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Jan 24th, 2014, 11:27 AM
  #17
 
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Barcelona is not the best city to introduce Europe to a first-timer. The first impression of Barcelona to most people I talked to is "big city, I thought I was in NYC at first". Tons of great places to visit, but nothing special in the big scheme of great European cities. My pick would be Paris, even Prague. If you do choose to go, enjoy it, but watch your pockets very closely; the most notorious city in the world for having the most gifted pickpocketers. They are truly amazing and quite ubiquitous.
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Jan 25th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #18
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Thanks everyone for your replies! I appreciate all the thoughts and shares. I will consider as i plan my vacation. Still unsure if I should go with Barcelona or southeast Asia. Yes, I am pretty indecisive but I will use all your advice to make my ast minute impulsive decision.
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Jan 27th, 2014, 12:43 PM
  #19
 
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The weather in March will be pleasant in Barcelona (or Rome) and most likely chilly and gray in Paris or London. Depending on your interests you can fill many days with museum visits, shopping and just enjoying the cafes and street life. You also can take day trips, or overnights, up or down the coast, or take a train or discount flight to Madrid or another city.
I don't see much in common with Southeast Asia! Depending where you live, travel time and convenience may be an important consideration.
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Feb 3rd, 2014, 12:42 AM
  #20
 
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Karmakik. It seems (to me) that your question is more about deciding between going to S-E Asia and Barcelona.

It's like choosing between a dish of meat and a dish of fish in a restaurant. They are different ...yet both tasty. But again, it's just a matter of taste.

I went to both. They are both nice places, but your experience will be VERY distinct. What do you want out of your experience? Where have you been before? What are your interest?

One more point, Barcelona is one beautiful place to go but Europe is so big - countries are very different from one country to another - same for Asia. It's like if I were saying I want to go to America - people would ask me where would you like to go ? To the U.S. or to Argentina? Seems, very different place, right ?
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