EU trip (Spain + France + ?)

Old Oct 12th, 2019, 11:45 PM
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EU trip (Spain + France + ?)

Hi guys,

I'm planning (sort of) an EU trip, starting in about a week, that should last about 3 weeks (I'm a bit flexible with the end date, but only to some degree).
I'm starting the trip in Spain based on an event in Madrid and will stay in Madrid for 12 nights.

Because I'll start my trip in Madrid and probably spend majority of the time in the event / city, I was thinking to rent a car afterwards and drive to France, and possibly even Italy but I'm not sure if it's realistic in the time frame. It's important for me to note that this trip isn't about seeing as many places as possible, it's more about "stopping to smell the roses" sort of thing. I don't want to be in a rush to get anywhere, and if I find a nice place and feel like just staying there and chilling for 2-3 days then that's what I'm going to do.

I wanted to visit the south of France for a while (been to Paris only), I really enjoy some of those small towns and the idea of traveling between some of these for a week or two seems fun (I hope it turns out to be the case .

So now that I've given a bit of context..I guess this is what it comes down to -

1. Spain - Outside the event, I have about 7 days and I need to figure out what to do.
I was thinking to spend about half in the city and the rest taking day trips outside of Madrid. I've already been to Barcelona so I don't see a need to visit it again, and have been recommended places like Málaga or even going to Lisbon but I wonder if it's worth the hassle for a day trip or turning it into a 2 day trip. I already have an apartment for my entire Madrid stay, so I'm not super happy about paying accommodation twice, but if you guys think there is a place worth doing it - please feel free to suggest.

2. Spain - France - Like I mentioned, I really want to visit the south of France and the question is how do I get there and for how long. I like the idea of renting a car, and it seems like driving through the border is quite expensive (drop off fee) so looks like the solution is dropping off at Girona, taking a train to Perpignan and then continue in another car from there.
How long should I take for the Madrid - Girona trip? It's about 6 hours drive, I can do it in a day but I'm not sure if I want to. Should I stretch it over another day and visit some places on the way?
Once in Girona, any reason to stay there / in the area? Or should I just take the train and continue to France?

3. France*- Once I arrive in*Perpignan, this is where I feel like I'm the most clueless. Should I stay in the area? Should I just rent a car and start driving? Should I create a list of a few places I want to visit and just drive through them as figure it out as I go? I do want to have some flexibility in the timing, so if I really enjoy some specific town, I can just stay there a bit longer. I also don't plan to book accommodation in advance for this part of the trip. Does it make sense? I figured I shouldn't have an issue with places being fully booked or anything like that in this time of the year but I'd appreciate some input on that as well.

Last thing I'd like to add - I'm REALLY open minded to suggestions, so if you have ideas outside of what I mentioned but can fit given the time frame / geography etc - please feel free to let me know, (almost) nothing is set in stone ��

Thanks!

Last edited by moshel9659; Oct 12th, 2019 at 11:47 PM.
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 02:10 AM
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too much

3 weeks = 21 days (maybe excluding fly out time)-12 days = 9 days
Where do you fly out of, if Madrid then you have to back track, can you go open jaw?
I'd focus on NE Spain and southern France (see fly out question)
Visit Girona and environs, Narbonne and environs, Nimes/Avignon and maybe Marseille
that is it. If you want to smell the roses and actually enjoy the area that is all you have time for and frankly that is all you have time for.

Girona, do you like Dali?
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 02:20 AM
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Sorry, I forgot to mention in my post that I'm planning to come back from France, so I don't need to go back to Madrid.
Since I already spent a week in Barcelona few years ago, and I heard quite a lot about the south of France and I do love those historic cities - I was thinking maybe it makes more sense to focus there.

It also seems that it's quite easy to use trains so I'm thinking maybe that will be better and maybe limit renting a car for a day or two for a countryside trip. Does it makes sense?
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 04:57 AM
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Certainly most of the interesting sites have stations but you might to think about a car in say the Dordogne.

I last did parts of this area on bicycle so don't just think train/car. Other options exist.

www.seat61.com explains how trains work in both countries in English.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Oct 13th, 2019 at 05:01 AM.
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 06:46 AM
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What time of year are you going? That would influence where I would go. We love Languedoc area. But if you are starting in Madrid flying out of Paris then exploring the Atlantic area versus the Mediterranean area might make more sense-the Basque areas of France and Spain for instance. However if you are flying back from the med side like Marseille or other then my ideas would change.
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 07:42 AM
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"
I'm planning (sort of) an EU trip, starting in about a week "
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 08:20 AM
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If you follow Lonely Planet you can see more of this OP's attempts to forge an itinerary (without, apparently, much or any guidance from books or websites). Kind of a blind mess, though I do think he's trying (just not doing any research).
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 01:38 PM
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If you are interested , there are numerous day trips you can make from Madrid by train:
Toledo, Segovia, Aranjuez, Escorial, Cuenca , Alcala de Henares and more.
Cities like Salamanca, Valencia , Zaragoza are about 1:40 minutes from Madrid by fast train.
Of course , there is a great deal to explore all of them..but you can still see some of the highlights
without staying overnight.
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Old Oct 13th, 2019, 02:05 PM
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Sorry-I missed the fact that the trip is in a week. In that case I would probably head to the south of France but I am sort of allergic to cold weather so would probably go for that just for that reason-but I think Languedoc and Provence would be lovely this time of year.
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Old Oct 15th, 2019, 11:35 AM
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Check out Collioure!
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Old Oct 15th, 2019, 12:39 PM
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You may find this blog useful: https://rail.cc/en/blog/barcelona-marseille-nice-train
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