Crete or Barcelona? Or Positano?!

Mar 29th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Crete or Barcelona? Or Positano?!

Hi, I'm in a huge dilemma, and would appreciate your help. I'm surprising my DH for his 45th birthday with a trip to......somewhere. I've narrowed it down to either Crete or Barcelona (with Positano as a contender too, sort of) and I cannot decide between them! They would be such different holidays - Crete being more of a vegging out/relaxing holiday in luxury (we have four small children and really need some peace and quiet. On the luxury side of things, we haven't travelled too much - Santorini, Italy and Prague in 13 years together - but when we finally do, I love to stay at luxury, preferably boutique, hotels.) and the other, in Barcelona, being more sightseeing, active and busy, which we also like.....

And on the Positano side of things, the pictures of the views are breathtaking, which we also love.

I'm thinking of the first week in June, we have only about 7-8 days, and because we don't do it too often, I want it to be really amazing.

The most logical question to ask me would be "well, what do you feel like?" but honestly, I don't know. They both sound great.

Because we've been to Santorini, I can get an idea of what Crete would be like, but what about Barcelona? Is it as beautiful as I hear?

Any advice would be greatly welcomed!! Also, if you have a better recommendation for where to go, other than what I've listed, I'd love to hear too. (I actually thought of Thailand, but for just a week it doesn't seem very doable!). And if you know of any stunning hotels with amazing views in any place you suggest, I'd love to hear!

thank you!
tamaraten is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:28 AM
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Does eating well fit into your criteria? If yes I would then choose any destination in Italy (even though there will be others who love Barcelona's tapas...which I thought was not particularly "stellar").

How about Florence or Venice then Positano? Not sure there would be enough in Positano for a 7-8 day stay.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Eating well is definitely part of the holiday. We were in Florence and Venice a few years ago, so I wanted to try something new, therefore the dilemma between Crete and Barcelona. From what I read, it does seem like 7-8 days would be too much for Positano, although I really don't think we could get enough of vegging out at this very busy time in our lives, but only if we're in an amazing hotel. Still, that's sort of why Positano came in 3rd, although the views there seem truly magnificent.
tamaraten is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Barcelona is not the land of tapas, but it is certainly a world class city in terms of food.

Why don't you look at a beachfront hotel in Barcelona and have the best of both worlds?

Or stay here:
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Barcelona has a number of luxury hotels ( with a pool),
museums, shops, great restaurants, many side trips possible.
It is a big city with tons to do , but you can also make it as "'quiet" as you wish.
danon is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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Wow, ekscrunchy, the hotel Florida looks incredible, and the recommendation is brilliant - it sounds like it's a great place to relax, while still being in Barcelona. It's exactly the type of place we love - just wondering about the distance to the city. Have you stayed there?

And have you been to Crete? Would you choose Barcelona over Crete? While I'm at it (all the questions, I mean), do you have a recommendation for a great luxury hotel in Crete? The thing that gets me about Crete is the breathtaking views at some of the hotels (was looking at the Elounda Mare, if anyone's heard of it).

thanks a million.
tamaraten is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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Danon, thank you for your response. Barcelona does seem really interesting - I guess my question is, is it an amazing city? (You know, like Florence is amazing?) Is it really unique?
Have you been to Crete and would you go to Barcelona over Crete? - I know the question is pretty ridiculous, and it so depends on what you're in the mood for....but I'm so interested to know what people think.

tamaraten is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 01:33 PM
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okay, I'm adding another little question because I had another idea. Five years ago, we went to Italy (also a surprise for DH's 40th!) which was fantastic (Rome, Florence and Venice). We did not do Tuscany. What about that for a week vs. Crete or Barcelona?

Our main loves are views, as in breathtaking scenery/vistas, relaxing in a gorgeous boutique hotel, great food with some history thrown in as a bonus.

thanks again.
tamaraten is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 01:43 PM
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Hi Tamaraten, I went to Barcelona for the first time last month. I've traveled a lot and my favorite big city of all is Paris. I have to say I fell in love with Barcelona and it's probably now my second favorite. However, my favorite place in the world to chill out, relax and enjoy the scenery is the Greek islands. As you've already said, they are soooo different, it's really impossible to compare.

So, I'll just list some things that made me fall in love with Barcelona: ease of getting around, either by walking or by the subway; all the wacky Gaudi architecture and his crazy Park Guell, his Sagrada Familia blew me away!; the history of the city - we had a local guide one day and seeing the city through her eyes really made it come to life; the food was great; the architecture of the buildings was so pretty - learning about the history from the guide brought it all into perspective; having the beach right there in the city was very unique and the beaches were so incredibly clean; the Miro and Picasso art - especially the Miro Foundation and that gorgeous Park Montjuic. The vibe of the city is really good, I felt.

So, now for Crete - well, there is definitely plenty to do there and the beaches are much better than what you'll get in Barcelona! The food is great just because it's Greek and I love Greek food; there is so much history here too; the white mountains are so beautiful, we spent a day up in a small village in the mountains and it was a wonderful experience; the Chania harbor and that light at dusk is amazing; hiking the Samaria gorge and visiting the southern beaches like Matala, etc.; the Greek people are great, nothing against the people of Barcelona but I'd have to say that the Greek people are more friendly.

So, I probably haven't helped any but, maybe that gives you a bit more to think about? Let us know what you decide. It's such a big beautiful world it's always hard. So many options!
wug is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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Thank you wug for your thoughtful response! I know, they both sound wonderful. DH and I went to Santorini a couple of years ago, to Oia - wow. We stayed at a stunning hotel, and had the time of our lives just chilling, walking, people watching, eating great food. I was sort of hoping for something comparable this time in Crete. On the other hand, Barcelona sounds so interesting with all the architecture. I'm wondering though how hectic it would be. Barcelona would be a totally different holiday - because there's so much to see and do, I'd feel guilty chilling out. I'm the kind of person who feels I need to see everything (or at least a lot) if I'm in a place like that. On the other hand, because Crete is really mostly relaxing (I think, at least in comparison to the major cities), I'd be able to do it without the guilt!

This is such a difficult decision! Which would you choose if you hadn't been to either, but knowing what you know now? (I know, insane question....)
tamaraten is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Yes, Barcelona is unique (and much more exciting than Florence ).
If you wish to just "chill out", a small town (and beaches) might be e better choice for you.
danon is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 02:38 PM
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So either go to Barcelona and stay in a resort-ey hotel like the one I linked above. Or the W hotel:

Or go to Tuscany and stay in a great small country hotel; you need a car for that, though. These seem to be very popular; my sister loved La Saracina. There are many, many others as well.

I have not been to Crete and did not fall in love with Santorini.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 03:24 PM
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haven't been to Crete but for 7 days I would choose Positano-romance, views, food, location and all those again.
northie is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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If you choose Positano, you could do a couple of nights on Capri.
Judy is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 03:56 PM
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The more desirable area of Crete is in the western part of the island. I'm sure Elouda Mare, to the east, is lovely but you might want to split your time there with Chania..look at Casa Delfino.
Crete is different from the other Greek islands as it is so much larger. Like ekscrunchy, I wasn't a big fan of Santorini but loved the rest of Greece especially Chania.
You could also split yur time between Positano and Capri.
Barcelona is also beautiful and an art filled city.. You have so many good choices to consider.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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I have not been to Crete, but have been to several Greek Islands and to Barcelona a couple of times, and to Positano as well as other areas on the AC, Capri and Sorrento.

Barcelona is interesting, has great architecture and is lovely, but no more so than Rome or Paris or other great cities.

OTOH, I do not think the Greek Islands come close to The AC for stunning natural beauty. The first time I went there, I intended to stay only a couple of days. We ditched the rest of our trip plans and stayed ten days. We have been back three times, and hope to go again. So, IMHO, 7-8 days is a perfect trip for the AC.

Should you actually get tired of chilling out, there are plenty of things to do there: Pompeii, Amalfi, Paestum, Capri, Vesuvius, even Naples if you miss a city atmosphere. The nice thing is, I don't think you will feel guilty if you don't do much sight-seeing.

Positano is the most beautiful cliffside city/town I have seen. Pictures do not do it justice. You might also consider staying in Amalfi or some other small town, or a couple of nights on Capri.
Sassafrass is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 06:04 PM
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I'd go to a luxury hotel with a fantastic pool and view in Positano. The food is incredible.

For eating and drinking, I'd pick Italy over Spain or Greece. Just me.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 06:13 PM
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I, too, would pick Italy over Greece or Spain although all have amazing places to visit and wonderful food. We spent some time in Positano last fall and also some time on Capri. On a beautiful day, Capri is one of the most beautiful places I have been (if you stay away from the main square during the day). Why not split your time between Positano and Capri?
mamcalice is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 06:50 AM
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I am blown away by your generosity in taking the time to reply to my questions. Thank you to all of you!

I think I've pretty much decided on Positano - the views look spectacular and I think for the type of vacation we need, that would be key. To be able to sit out on a terrace and look into a gorgeous view while sipping some wine....divine.

Now, here's the question. Ideally, I think I want to stay in one spot - again, to maximize the relaxation time (and we only have 7 nights, possibly if I'm lucky, 8) and not have to move places. Do you think we could do this in Positano and then take day trips to Capri and to some of the other places mentioned? or do you think it would be best to split the time between Positano and Capri? Would taking a day trip to Capri do the trick? Or is Capri so gorgeous too (and different) that it's worthwhile to sleep there also?

Where would you go to from a base of Positano?

Next question: Can you please recommend the most beautiful hotel you've stayed at in Positano (and Capri, if you think we should also sleep there)? And the most important thing for us is a spectacular view from a terrace in addition to an outstanding hotel.

Again, I am greatly appreciative of all of your time and replies.
tamaraten is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 10:34 AM
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UPDATE!! HELP!!! After driving myself crazy, I finally decided on Positano, and it seems like all the great hotels are taken for when we want to go. I originally thought we could go in June, but now we can only go May 24-May 31st. It's a very finite time, but that is the week that works.

Should I try somewhere else on the coast? Can someone recommend another place as stunning as Positano? I'm so disappointed!!!!! Maybe someone out there with experience can suggest a solution!! (btw, although I wanted luxury hotel, I even checked out a lot of the four stars and they are also taken!!).

tamaraten is offline  

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