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Croatia, Spain or Greece? Please help me decide and plan my itinerary.

Croatia, Spain or Greece? Please help me decide and plan my itinerary.

Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 01:34 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Croatia, Spain or Greece? Please help me decide and plan my itinerary.

The title is a bit vague for a good reason. We are a family of 3 (Self, Wife and a 4 YO when we travel). We are planning to travel early/mid October to skip crowd. We traveled to Italy in 2015 November and had a blast.

Here is the issue. I can't decide if I want to travel to Spain or Greece. Please help me decide. Our preferences:

1. We both are history buffs
2. We both love nature and scenic vistas
3. We are a family of vegetarians and we do want to enjoy some nice food
4. We want to keep our costs low, if possible
5. We are not into nightlife. We couldn't care less about pubs or discos
6. Beach would be nice but we get bored quickly
7. We'd rather stare at a mountain for 5 hrs than standing in line at the Empire State Building
8. We love ancient history
9. We love architecture
10. Be safe for kid to travel with us
11. We don't mind driving, but would prefer public transport as long as it is safe to do so and convenient with a 4 YO
12. I am a huge FC Barcelona fan and I would love to watch a game at the Camp Nou while Messi is still in his prime

Hope I have given enough information. Please help me decide.
PS: We will return to Europe again later. So I am not in a "If I have to do one thing ..." situation.

Thanks.
pulibidda007 is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 06:20 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,499
Any of these locations could suit your needs -- or more precisely, some small segment of any of these countries could work for you. Even if you have a full month, you would barely be able to scratch the surface! Which leads me to ask: How long do you have? (Sorry if I missed that). That could make a difference....
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Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 06:43 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 502
I have been twice to Greece in early October and the weather was beautiful; it was hot enough to swim during the day and we would wear a sweater at night. I think Greece fits your requirements nicely with the history, hikes, beautiful vistas, and vegetarian food. Greeks love children but then again so do the Spaniards.

I was also in Andalusia in October and it was also perfect weather and we really enjoyed ourselves. I travel with my two daughters 2 and 5 years old.

Between the two countries, I give Greece slightly the edge, just because of the amazing shades of blue the Mediterranean has in the Cyclades. And the food. Delicious food.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 11:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
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You're trying to decide on whole countries when those countries are different enough between them.

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. The largest Catalan city. But it's NOT Spain. I love Barcelona . Most of the reasons why I love Barcelona is it's different then Madrid which I like but it's not Barcelona.

Madrid isn't Seville. Or Valencia. Or the Basque area.

How long do you have?

The weather should be fine October but weather is highly variable. Autumn rains can start earlier any year.

Traveling within Spain will be much easier then Greece. Especially if you're thinking of the islands. The later the summer gets the less flights you'll find. Even the ferries drop off.

I think your net is too wide. Are you thinking Athens? Or are you thinking of the islands?
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2018, 11:37 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
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"different enough between them."

I meant with in them
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2018, 06:44 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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How many nights do you have? Are you still considering Croatia, which is in your title but nowhere else.

I was in Greece in the 1970's so I can't really speak about Greece since it was so long ago. I do want to return and visit the islands. We have friends who love Crete and have been there several times.

We have been to Spain twice, and we love it!!! Our first trip was to Barcelona and Costa Brava in October 2010. Our second trip was this past September to Madrid, Toledo, and Andalucia. October will be a great time to visit Andalucia because you will be missing the heat of summer. The food is amazing, the cities are beautiful, and you will see lots of history and gorgeous architecture. The Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba are amazing, as is the Alcazar in Seville. I think Seville is the most beautiful city architecturally, but one of our favorites is Cordoba, with its white-washed buildings, narrow lanes, flower pots on the outside of buildings, Roman Bridge, etc.

A wonderful Andalucia itinerary would include Cordoba, Granada, Seville, and if you have the time, perhaps Malaga (on the Mediterranean) or the white towns.

I'm sure you would enjoy Barcelona, too, but the reason I recommend Andalucia is because the fall or spring is the best time to go. Summer is extremely hot in southern Spain.

Public transportation in Spain is excellent! We took the trains or buses everywhere. No need to rent a car, except for possibly the white towns.

Do you have guidebooks? If not, I suggest you buy a couple guidebooks. I used Lonely Planet, Michelin Green Guide, and Rick Steves for our most recent trip. I also find reading trip reports is very helpful. If you wish, you can click on my name to read my trip report from this past September. I wrote one for Barcelona, too, but my screen name at that time was kwoo, so I'm not sure if that is easy to access now.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 4th, 2018, 07:43 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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How long are you going? With a four year old, I'd park yourself in one place or two places and then explore. You could start in Barcelona and do daytrips - commuter rail goes to Tarragona, Valencia, and even Southwest France. One trip, I got a night train from Madrid to Barcelona for something crazy like 19 euros - if you poke around the renfe Spanish website there may be some great deals. Then, head to Madrid, poke around, take a daytrip (or overnight in Cordoba, overnight in Toledo (magical!) I'd save the South of Spain for an older kid. I've seen Barcelona at Camp Nou and tickets are a bit tricky to get - I forgot how we did

I would think Greece would be fun with a four year old - we took ours to Athens and the islands last year and it was very affordable (more affordable than Spain, IMO, and better food). I loved the historical aspect of that trip and we are going back this year.

IDk much about Croatia.

FWIW I have been to Spain many many times but have no desire to go there with small children. If I were to go, I'd go to Mallorca. I used to love to roam around on trains and buses (still do) but with small children it's more relaxing to do less (IMO)!
OverIt is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2018, 09:02 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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For "ancient history buffs" and weatherwise (in October), Greece or Southern Turkey would be the best solution. And it's way cheaper than Spain!
For Fans of BARCA and less ancient architecture (than Greece/Turkey), Spain would be better.
If you want to combine both, you could fly for some 60 EUR from Barcelona to Athens: http://www.vueling.com
neckervd is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2018, 06:23 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Neckervd gave you a great idea. You can fly into Barcelona, see the game, and fly direct into Santorini (check one ways on skyscanner.com-do whole month calendar), ferry to the islands you want, come back to your hometown from Athens. It depends obviously how much time you have.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2018, 10:51 AM
  #10  
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Thanks for the great responses. I forgot to check this thread. For some reason Fodors does not email me when there are responses so I assumed no one responded.

Anyway, here is the missing detail. We are planning to spend 10 full days (Not including travel days to-from SFO).
pulibidda007 is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2018, 05:10 PM
  #11  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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With 10 full days at that time of year, you might want to give serious consideration to Andalusia -- perhaps 4 days in Sevilla, 3 in Granada, 2 in Cordoba, and 1 in Ronda or Malaga or....

OR, given your specific interest in Barcelona, you could spent all you time in and around Catalunya, to include Barcelona, Tarragona, Montserrat, Girona, a bit of the Costa Brava....

Or Crete and Athens.

Or ...
kja is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2018, 04:17 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Croatia is definitely more.. chill and calm. There are more stone beaches than sand beaches... and some of them could hurt your kid. But Croatia has some really beautiful places! I think Spain would be a better choice for you, because you could see much more. More history and beautiful architecture. There are more people.
So decide if you want to be your journey more chill or more eventful.
isabellienchen is offline  
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