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Help Request - Planning a 8-10 day trip to Southern or Eastern Europe

Help Request - Planning a 8-10 day trip to Southern or Eastern Europe

Old Dec 18th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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Help Request - Planning a 8-10 day trip to Southern or Eastern Europe

My girlfriend and I are trying to plan an 8-10 day trip to Europe for this coming August of 2013, but are finding ourselves overwhelmed by the options. We have both been to, and loved, Spain(especially Madrid) and would be open to another trip to Spain, but are also interested in the following areas(to which we've never been):
-Italy: Rome, Florence, Milan, etc.
-Lisbon: We would enjoy staying here for a few nights.
-French Riviera

We're both relatively active people who love to walk and bike around beautiful cities during the summer. We're hoping to split our trip among 2 or 3 cities, with the potential to go out to the Mediterranean coast at some point as well. We each love food, although in different ways; we both love trying new food, but she is a picky eater(mostly vegetarian, as well) and I will eat almost anything. We like seeing some tourist attractions, but often find that we most enjoy exploring cities on our own. Finding a beautiful beach would be a great treat; in the past, she hiked part of the Iberian Coast and came across a beautiful secluded beach.

Budget-wise, we're looking at a moderate budget of about $1800-2000 per person, including daily food costs, etc. For this reason, much of Italy is out of the question, but Spain and Portugal may be good options. For flights, it looks like the best options from Boston are Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, and Milan, although we would be open to a multi-city flight(Boston->Lisbon->Madrid->Boston, for example).

Does anyone have any recommendations? Thank you very much for your help!
tuftsauto is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2012, 10:09 AM
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I'd advise you to look at some northern destinations. August will be extremely hot in Spain and Italy. I think northern Spain would be more temperate than southern Spain.
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Old Dec 18th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Of the places you mentioned my first thought was Italy but you only have 8 to 10 days and a modest budget so I would save Italy for when you have more time and money. And I would add Venice to the Rome/Florence mix.

Lisbon is very affordable, has enough sights to keep you busy for a few days and has easy access using public transportation to beaches and other towns such as Sintra or Evora. If you have 10 days you can add Porto to your itinerary, again via train.

Portuguese food is very good and the portions are huge. You only need to order 1 plate between 2 people; if you each want something different then order half portions - this is done all the time, even though it's not mentioned on menus. The wine is good, and again, very cheap.
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Old Dec 18th, 2012, 05:47 PM
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From what you've said, I'm also inclined to think that Portugal might suit your interests and budget well. Croatia is another contender, although it isn't quite so easy to reach. I'm not sure what either would be like in August. Enjoy!
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Old Dec 18th, 2012, 06:13 PM
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August is terribly hot in Italian cities, so I would advise you to avoid Florence and Rome. If you want someplace cooler, head for the mountains. Also, half of Europe will also be on vacation. so beaches everywhere will be wall-to-wall people.
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Old Dec 20th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Your budget excludes flights, right?
If food is really important, then I would put them in this order for a vegetarian: Italy-France-Portugal/Croatia (those latter two are probably about equal). Though you must consider Italy is also more expensive.
It is hard to advise because the crowds of August must be considered. I would reconsider visiting the coast for that reason.
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Old Dec 20th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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I would recommend Croatia, perhaps looking at a few days in Dubrovnik or Split plus one or two island stops. Lots of beautiful beaches, public transportation (buses and ferries) or car rentals are available and food is reasonably priced. There are lots of great trip reports to read and learn more about Croatia on this forum.
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Old Dec 20th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Of the places you mention Portugal sounds like the best fit. It is a bit less expensive (I think the others are all about equal, Italy does not have to be expensive, although lodging in Rome and Venice can be, but food can be quite inexpensive and lodging outside of the big cities is quite reasonable as well). Portugal is also a lot easier (and cheaper) to get to from Boston than Croatia is. Lisbon is small enough that a few days there will let you feel like you've seen a lot, and there are many small towns easily accessed from it - so you can cover a lot of ground in the time you have.

To try to do Rome, Florence, Milan (and Venice) in that amount of town will be frustrating, plus in that case you are only seeing big cities. And you wouldn't have enough time to add in some smaller towns or beach areas. If you wanted to do Italy I'd pick two of those cities and then add a non city destination - one of the lakes, a few days in Tuscany or the Cinque Terre. I'd say the Amalfi Coast which is absolutely amazing but I think in August it would be way too crowded.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2012, 06:50 AM
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I also think that Portugal would be your best bet. If you want to split yoru trip between two areas, try Porto and northern Portugal along with Lisbon. The weather in the north is more moderate, and there are some beautiful beaches along the coast, although you'd have to study up on getting to them without a car, presuming you're not renting one.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2012, 08:44 AM
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I'm another fan of Portugal. Besides Lisbon I would recommend Coimbra as an alternative to Porto.
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 06:49 PM
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Thanks for all your input. After considering our options, we have actually moved towards a trip to Italy. However, we are paralyzed by choice. We've come up with two trip options:

Option 1:
Fly to Milan or Torino and enjoy Northern Italy through visiting some combination(3 destinations over 10 days) of Lake Como, Bologna, Parma, Cinque Terre, Verona, Milan, and Torino(in order of preference). We would be getting around via train, as they seem to be very affordable in those areas. One thought that we had would be to do 2-3 days in Lake Como(Como area), 2-3 days in Cinque Terre, and the rest in a city, possibly Parma due to its central location; from that city hub, we might take a day trip out to Bologna or another city, as well.

Option 2:
Fly to Rome and stay for a few days. Then, take a train to Tuscany to stay at agriturismo lodging for a few days.

We're more interested in option 1 right now, but are still open to option 2. Does anyone have any comments, suggestions, or criticisms on these plans? Thank you very much for your help!
tuftsauto is offline  
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