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Driving from Barcelona to Venice with family in 1 week

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May 19th, 2012, 04:53 PM
  #1
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Driving from Barcelona to Venice with family in 1 week

We arrive in Barcelona June 17 and have a week to travel before we cruise. Family of 4 happy explorers. We have been to Paris and to Rome and will cover coastal touristy cities from cruise. We want to experience beautiful towns, villages and off the beaten path places on our way to Venice. We would love for our 15&17 yr old kids to experience bed and breakfasts. WE REALLY WANT to have a day of cooking in Italy for the 4 of us. Simple pasta, veggies, sauces but not seafood and learning to clean fish. Lol. We are not seafood (but hubby loves) lovers. We are looking for the family experience and great food : ). We need help because we have no clue what route to take or where to stop. Where should we simply drive through and stop for a site and where should we spend more time? Any advice for a family cooking experience that will cater to non seafood family? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have already seen some great stuff!
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May 19th, 2012, 04:55 PM
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Oh....any B&B or apartment advice for a family of 4 would be great.
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May 19th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Shortest distance from Barcelona to Venice is about 1,240km. If you intend to do stops at "off the beaten path places" it would take you even much longer. I hope you have taken that into consideration, as a week would not leave you much time for sure considering driving time, time to get to accomodation, parking etc. You definitely have to be the type that enjoys long drives.

I would suggest that you stop at a place AT LEAST every two nights, otherwise if you do one night stops you will only have short afternoons to evening to experience each town/village as a lot of time would be wasted checking out/checking in etc. Having said that, you would need to travel over 400km (or much more off beaten tracks) each time if you do say three stops. Plan your route well beforehand, and the areas you are most interested in stopping. You will find agriturismos which have cooking classed for sure in Italy.

But again, if you really enjoy long drives and consider it as part of holiday enjoyment, then go for it!!! If you give us some indication of any of the regions in France/Italy that appeals to you to make your stops, maybe we can assist in making some research for you, or for other Fodorites to give their suggestions with accomodation they have experienced.

Enjoy your trip and good luck.

PS I know what it is like travelling with teenagers, they love fun stuff, maybe you might consider making one of the stops at an agriturismo for 2 or 3 days near Lake Garda area (your last stop before Venice, and maybe they can visit the Gardaland Fun Park, as I fear that they might find the week a bit boring being driven for such a long time in a car, and then staying in off beaten track locations, unless that location includes something that is of fun for them, it does not only have to be a funpark, it could be an unusual museum or place of interest (like for instance visiting underground caves, or a funicular ride etc, or say a boat trip on a lakem or even a game of football - especially if they are boys, etc. Knowing their preferences would help us give you suggestions.
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May 19th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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Is this Anna from Malta?...If so, this is such a small world. Kids will have fun 2nd half on cruise. We want to see the countryside.
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May 19th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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Anna, let me answer your questions. We want to see villages not cities, old roads with views, not highways. No tourist traps, but kind people in their everyday surroundings. The goal of this week will be cooking together and wandering. We just do not know a simple cooking school to go to. We would love for it to be a B&B and just the four of us. No fancy catch of the day meal. Kids would love making homemade pasta. The cruise (second week) will be full of touristy, glitzy stuff and plenty for the kids. We like old quiet places and love hole in the wall restaurants.
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May 19th, 2012, 09:02 PM
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We've done several long driving tours in these areas in the past 3 years. I'd never try it in a week, but apparently it could be done. Looking at an search on directions from B to V in 1240 km, two of our favorite places look to be potentials for you. First is Ceret, in France. An Exquisite village famous for producing cherries. In Italy...Cremona. Beautiful musicians town with great cuisine. Check them out to see if they strike your fancy. Also, there are great places in Lanquedoc and Provence, as well as another fav closer to Venice, Verona...from which you could drive up and through the Dolomites ending up in Venice And providing a visual overload of gorgeous vistas.
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May 20th, 2012, 05:38 AM
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Great suggestions! We have considered taking the ferry back overnight. This
is just what I need. Tidbits that help decide what 1 or 2 places to stop on the way. Thanks! One question...is driving in other parts of Europe as slow as UK? it seems that roadworks and detours make long trips horrible there.
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May 20th, 2012, 06:19 AM
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You can never anticipate roadwork. We've had few problems driving in France, Spain or Italy, although getting into a city that is new to you can be a bit frustrating. Last year's trip we used GPS for the first time and found it very helpful -- especially in dropping a marker where you've parked the car so you can get back to it easily. (I use the GPS on my iPad). However, don't underestimate the value of good old fashioned maps. Sometimes GPS doesn't incorporate common sense. We like Michelin's regional maps for detail.
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May 20th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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Are you aware of the huge drop off fee?

Stop in Menton on the coast for 2 nites and then cut north via Cuneo and Alba and the Piemonte wine country for 2 nites. I would stay in Alba--look at Villa Favorita. My last stop would on Lago Garda. Have fun !
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May 20th, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Don't rule out highways ("old roads with views, not highways") - your trip is going to take forever on small roads.
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May 20th, 2012, 07:45 AM
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I'd almost fly to Pisa (or another Italian city of your choice) and drive from there. Then you could get more out of your week.

If you really don't want to leave out France, then make your way to Nice and fly out of there to Venice.

A week for that mileage seems like more driving and less savoring.
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May 20th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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With the ages of the kids, flying and train are much more expensive than car. If we take the ferry there or back, we would be ferrying the car too. We have no problem wandering, but need to pick a general direction and 1 over night on the way and one one the way home. Each day we will also need a place to stop for lunch and one for a snack and walk around.

Being from the US, we are used to driving long distances, but if it is not a possible journey due to road works,etc., now that is a different story.

The cruise the following week will take us to Nice, Pisa, Rome, Provence and Naples. We want to move out of the tourist areas here, but all cars seem to be booked.
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May 20th, 2012, 02:37 PM
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I know what you mean cindyroo42 that it can get expensive to fly and train as we are a family of 5 ourselves. If you do not mind doing some long tavels - we always do so when we go abroad, then go for it, but try not to go to remote areas or up mountains like in the Dolomites, we went a couple of times, and it is likely that you would hve to take long routes there which will increase your travel time even more - in fact last December from Trento we went to Madonna di Campiglio,and even though it was not that far away it took us hours and longer to to go there and return than we had anticipated, as it was a high winding road up a mountain, when you have to drive slowly, so it takes more than double the time it would take you on the highways for the same distance. Try not to deviate too much or far away from the major roads, as secondary roads really prolong your driving. I would not say that driving is really any worse than in the UK, you find road works or traffic everywhere, especially when nearing towns and cities. so do not be put off in that regard. Do not make more than 500km of travel in one day, saying that it would still take a whole day of travel, but then you can relax on the following day. As a fodorite said you are going to have to do a lot of mileage - about three whole days from morning to late evening of drivin g, but we have done it, so I am not going to dishearten you if you are determined to go for it.

What do you mean by all cars seem to be booked? I always like to book from Avis, so reliable and I always know where I am with them, but saying that, my husband went abroad on work to Germany a couple of weeks ago and hired an AutoEurope car and had no problems, but with Avis I always feel really reassured that I am well covered if God forbid I had to encounter problems with the car. And as another Fodor commented you do have to pay extra high fees when you book a car in one country and drop it off in another, plus fuel costs, like everywhere are going up. So do make allowance for them. Then there are the toll roads if you are taking the major highways, but we do find them very reasonable in Italy, can't remember regarding France.

As I said, I will get back to your regarding cooking classes. You seem to be really interested in that, so maybe you should focus more on finding good ones than in the towns and villages, always of course not deviating too much from your route to Venice.







Have you already bought your tickets from USA to Barcelona - as another fodor said, maybe if you land at Marseilles, Nice (you do not have to go to its centre if you are visiting it during cruise), or Genoa or Turin, you might still be able to visit a French town or village and an Italian one, yet you would have to drive less to reach Venice than landing in Barcelona. Pisa would be great, but then you would have to omit France, as it would not be worth doing the driving from Pisa to France and then to Venice. The distance would most probably prove to be longer than starting off from Barcelona.

I have never been to the very south of France of France, we landed in Toulouse once to drive to Barcelona, have been to Lyons, Lourdes and Paris and its surroundings. We never encountered any unusual delays when driving in France, and we even managed to drive in centre of Paris.

We have travelled quite a few times to northern Italy, we have never been to B&Bs with cooking schools in that area of Italy, but I will do some research for you. I think I had better leave southern France for other fodors who have experience on the best towns and villages there. I will get back at you tomorrow for sure after I do some research for you regarding Italy.

I think that first of all you need to start organizing this week of holiday by first confirming how many kms every day you would be willing to travel, and that would also give you an indication on how many stops you would need to make on your way. Try and find towns, villages ebtc that are not far from the shortest route to Venice, so that you would not add too much distance. If you have 7 nights maybe you can divide it in 2-2-2-1 (last night stay as close to Venice as possible).
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May 20th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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ditto what bob said - have you researched how much it will cost to drop off a spanish car in italy?

also, do your kids like this sort of holiday? ours hated it. they were much happier when we stayed in one place long enough to get to know it - which meant a week or so in big cities like Rome and Venice. How are you going to have time to do a cookery class with this sort of itinerary? you are going to be spending a high proportion of your time on the road or finding and settling into your accommodation.

I agree with Tdudette - think about flying to Pisa and then making your way to Venice from there. [or just go straight to Venice - our kids loved in when we spent a week there and we were all very sad to leave].

BTW, why are you going to Barcelona if you are just going to leave it?
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May 20th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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BTW, easyjet fly from BCN to Milan, not Pisa, but the point still holds good.
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May 20th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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cindyroo - I was browsing around a bit before heading off to bed, and I came upon a B&B which seems to be exactly the type you are looking for - pls check it out. It is called Le Due Matote, a B&B in Cuneo in the provence of Piedmont, in northern Italy. This B&B deviates from the main coastal road about 60km and is situated in a village called Bossolasco, really seems lovely.

It offers organic food, and does wine tasting and cooking classes on request. It also has really raving reviews on Trip advisor and is given ovall full marks (or stars 5/5) by those who stayed there. Have a look at it. If you decide to email them, ask them about the cooking class and if they can offer you a special price for the whole family, many do give a discount if you ask for it. I will check other B&Bs that give cooking lessons for you tomorrow, maybe even in south of France and also more to the east of Piedmont and nearer to Venice. Good night.
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May 20th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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Thanks to so many who are trying to help. I'm going to start over from beginning. June 17 we are flying into Barcelona as we take a cruise from barcelona and are brought back to Barcelona. We can go anywhere we want this week before the cruise, but we really thought we would like to tour around the general area but not really Spain. My hubby really wants to travel to Venice however. We have a car from Barcelona to be brought back to Barcelona and milage does not scare any of us. Flights and trains were too expensive for 4 and did not allow us to see things along the way. Getting to Venice is part of the adventure. We have toured Rome, Paris, Munich, Malta and the UK, so we are not interested in touristy cities, but quaint places and a bit of wandering and a COOKING adventure. Not gourmet high dollar cooking, just family fun...pasta making. We originally were going to circle through the outer edges of Switzerland, but hubby has heart set on making it to Venice. Wifey here has to figure out where to stop along the way : ). I need advice on: places to stop along the way and lodging and cooking school. I have posted on Chowhound about cooking school.
Our kids fly with anything as we find fun in whatever we do. They are 15 and 17 so not the impatient whining age. Remember, we get dropped at a bunch of tourist spots from the boat and they have the party atmosphere of the boat that week.

Help needed on cooking, bed and breakfasts and Places to stop along the way as there are different routes we could obviously take.
So far:

Flying in and out of one place and bringing car back to Barcelona are set in stone, as is the cruise departure June 23.
PORTS OF CALL:
Barcelona, Spain; Provence (Toulon), France; Villefranche (Nice), France; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Naples (Capri), Italy; Barcelona, Spain
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May 20th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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Anna! Thank you so much! Will check it out ASAP! My hubby' father was from Malta and the sister is Anna Galea!
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May 20th, 2012, 06:33 PM
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So you basically plan to drive to Venice and BACK to Barcelona in one week? Sorry, But you will be speeding past and through places that we've found intriguing enough for longstays of 2 weeks to a month, as well as traversing several mountain ranges.

I'd suggest checking out ONE great rental for a week in the Roussillon or Aude region of france so you can daytrip the region, take cooking class and practice cooking with local ingredients, drinking fabulous wine, see mountain villages, wine country, sweeping views, etc. Look for someplace like Ceret, (more Pyranees but still located for great day trips ) or Capestang (sweet village on the Midi canal) or even Pezenas ( which we loved madly) . It is a decent drive from and back to Barcelona. You'll be doing the whirlwind thing on your cruise, so it might be more rewarding to focus from a base in SW France than attempt this crazy drive.
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May 20th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Since others were giving great help, I've been following your post without suggestions until I realized you are not going from Barcelona to Venice in a week, but going and returning to Barcelona in a week. That is really, really not a good plan for a week's drive. Uhoh_busted is giving you some really good advice.
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