Italy, France and Spain itinerary ideas

Mar 1st, 2014, 04:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 2
Italy, France and Spain itinerary ideas

My husband and I (30 years old) are traveling to Italy, France and Spain to celebrate our 5 year anniversary early this summer. We live in North Idaho and can't wait to spend two weeks in Europe. This will be my third trip but my husband's first.

I have been to Paris before, but never to Italy or Spain and would appreciate any suggestions on the "must-see, must-do" things in each of these areas.

1st stop - Rome (3 days)
We are staying NE of Piazza Navona neighborhood, closer to the train station. Think we can hit the Colloseum and Forum by foot one day and maybe even the baths. Spend another day walking to Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Palatine Hill and Spanish Steps. Final day we would take the metro or just walk the 1.5 to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel (also have St. Peter's on our list). Anything to know about Rome - are the Roma Passes worth the money if you only plan to use the metro for maybe 1 day? I like the idea of skipping lines when possible. Also, wondering if purchasing tickets to the sites we know we will visit prior to leaving the country is the best way to go??

2nd stop - Florence (2 days)
I think it is the Galleria de Accedemia (to see David and other works) and then the Uffizi.
I am very much into photography so would appreciate suggestions of the best photo op locations in any of these cities.... Back to Florence, I initially planned on taking a day trip to Pisa from here, but since we won't be here long am strongly considering pushing this option to the next leg of the trip.

3rd stop - Cinque Terre (Manarola 3 full days)
Would love to hit any and all trails between the five towns as possible. We can climb 14er's in Colorado, so hiking here is no issue. In fact, the more difficult the hike, the better. We would love to find a tough hike that are off the beaten trail but provide amazing views of the sea or towns below. I think Corniglia may fit the bill for this? As mentioned above, might tack on a day trip to Pisa from here. I know we would need to hop on the train from La Spezia - any idea when the earliest train would depart? Ideally we would get to Pisa early and get back to C.T. mid-afternoon.

4th stop - Paris (3 full days)
I've been to the City of Lights before, and loved it so much I just had to share it with my husband. We are staying near Notre Dame and Saint Germain, in my opinion, the absolute best location in all of Paris! Walking distance to nearly everything - even the Eiffel Tower. I would say I have done pretty much every major tourist attraction in Paris but will likely do them all again with my husband. I've never taken a Seine evening cruise so any feedback on that would be appreciated. Also, any other ideas of things to do in Paris would be great. I'm a Hemingway fan so plan to hit Bar Hemingway at The Ritz this time around. Also would love to know if the Creperie Saint-Germain is still open. Best crepes around - but haven't been there in 8 years!

5th and final stop - Barcelona
I have never been to Spain and we will only have two days in Barcelona. We plan to stay near the water on Las Ramblas but beyond that I haven't done much research. Any suggestions here are welcome!

Finally - thoughts on best way to get from Cinque Terre to Paris??? I'm thinking Ryan Air by way of Milan or Genoa... This is where I need the most guidance. train from Manarola to La Spezia, and from La Sp. to .....? Then plane to Paris? I contemplated an overnight train but I think that is now out of the question due to the time it'll take.

Also, would train or plane be recommended from Paris to Barcelona?

ebstutzke is offline  
Mar 1st, 2014, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
Too disjointed with too much travel time.
I would stay in Italy and see Venice or Lake Como. YOu will waste 2 days in travel with the other 2 destinations.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 1st, 2014, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 37
If you go to Barcelona, be sure to see Gaudi buildings. Not sure what else is there to make that part of your trip to Spain worth the extra travel time.
teachandtravel is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Barcelona is art, architecture, concerts, theaters, food, nightlife and a wonderful and bustling city beach. Some tips:

You have of course Gaudí - as mentioned - with the spectacular Sagrada familia at the top of many other Gaudí highlights:

A meal never to forget at Tickets, the new tapas style place of the world's most famous chef the past decade Ferran Adrià and his brother Albert. Paradise versions of traditional tapas and quite affordable given what you get. Expect some 70-80€/person for some 15-20 tapas and drinks. Book a table online exactly two months in advance. The tables are gone ten minutes after midnight Barcelona time two months in advance.

La Boquería on Las Ramblas is one of the finest food markets in the world:

Fabulous tapas in small Cal Pep. Line up some 15-20 mins before opening to get a seat at the bar where the food is prepared and all the action is. Recommend the monkfish, the tuna tartar, the tortilla with alioli, the clams with jamón, the sirloin steak, the pimientos de padrón...

Great traditional Catalan food in small and family owned Ca l'Estevet:

Concert at Palau de la Música Catalana:

Tapas, drinks and nightlife in vibrant El Born:

Local feel and bustling atmosphere in the Barceloneta neighbourhood just inland from the wonderfully eclectic Barceloneta beach:

Montjuic (Jewish mountain) in the middle of town with the castle, the parks, the museums, the theaters and the 1992 olympic arenas. And fabulous views of the city and the sea.

The medieval Gothic quarter:,_Barcelona

Always updated info:

Timeout Barcelona:
kimhe is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 37
Unfortunately La Boqueria was closed when we were there. In fact avoid a Sunday in Barcelona because most shops and markets are closed.
teachandtravel is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 08:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 2
Thank you for the great suggestions in Barcelona, kimhe and teach and travel.
Unfortunately we can't stay in Italy the entire time as we had already purchased airfare for a Mediterranean cruise that was subsequently canceled hence handicapping our travel flexibility.
Thanks all!
ebstutzke is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,526
I added up your days, and come up with 13. Since this is a two-week trip, obviously you're double counting the travel days. I imagine one of your days in Rome is your arrival day, when you'll probably be too exhausted to do much at all. Let's say you'll have two good days in Rome, which means you'll never have time to get away from the tourist horde and enjoy the city. You'll have one and a half days in Florence.

You say you'll have three full days in Manarola. That would mean four nights, so you must be also counting the day you leave Europe as one of your days, or else something else is wrong with your count. I myself can't understand spending more time in Manarola than in Rome, but then I was underwhelmed with the whole Cinque Terre.

Then you say you'll have three full days in Paris. Now I really thing your count is off, because that would be four nights again, and I'm really over two weeks at this point.

All of the wonderful advice about Barcelona seems wasted to me, because it looks as though you'll arrive one day and leave the next, probably very early in the morning if you're heading back to Idaho.

I suggest you re-plan the itinerary, writing down the number of nights you'll spend in each place. One night, if you're coming from a great distance, usually means you'll be there only for a few hours, other than when you're eating and sleeping. Two nights means one full day and a bit of a second day, and so forth.

Forgive me if I've misunderstood something, but it's not terribly clear as written above. Stating the number of nights at each destination would have made it perfectly clear.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,303
To get a grip on travel times, lay it out in nights or days that include travel.

Day 1, depart Us
Day 2, arrive Rome (what time?) get to hotel, etc. very jet lagged evening to walk around
Day 3, Rome
Day 4, Rome
Day 5, travel to Florence, 1/2 day travel, hotel checkout in Rome to check in Florence, 1/2 day Florence
Day 6, Florence
Day 7, travel to CT, 2/3 of day, sleep CT
Day 8, CT
Day 9, CT
Day 10, travel to Paris via Pisa or Milan, will take good part of day, dinner in Paris
Day 11, Paris
Day 12, Paris
Day 13, fly to Barcelona, 1/2 day, afternoon in Barcelona
Day 14, fly home

Anyway you can change anything? Flying to Barcelona for an afternoon seems like very little for a lot of time and money. Maybe you actually have more than two weeks, but this is how two weeks looks in reality.
Sassafrass is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
For people to help you, you really need to give us your dates of travel.

The way you have laid it out is very confusing - and we really can't tell how much time you have total - or how it can be divided. It does appear that you are counting some days for two places PLUS travel in between.

Agree that more time in CT (IMHO OK if you like tiny towns and hiking) versus Rome ( a world capital with an incredible wealth of sites to see and a history of more than 2500 years - never mind ruling much of the world for more than 500 years).
nytraveler is offline  

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