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Late Dec.-early Jan.: where should a mom and daughter go? Barcelona? Rome?

Late Dec.-early Jan.: where should a mom and daughter go? Barcelona? Rome?

Nov 1st, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Late Dec.-early Jan.: where should a mom and daughter go? Barcelona? Rome?

I hope to visit Europe between Christmas and January 10 with my 21 yr, old daughter. Neither of us speak Spanish or Italian.
We are both very interested in architecture, museums,ruins,etc.
I thought of Barcelona (Gaudi) or Rome/Pompeii, or maybe both (this will be about a 10 day trip).
I am concerned about safety-we have traveled in cities-have heard some very negative stories about Rome and
Barcelona looks like it might have better weather. Any ideas?
I would love Sicily but I do not like driving so public transportation is a must.
hellokittie is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 05:02 PM
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If you like architecture, it HAS to be Barcelona. I have not been there at this time of year, but could spend days just visiting the Gaudi buildings... and there are so many beautiful buildings there
Holiday is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 05:05 PM
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Barcelona is amazing, but I'd pick Rome. And you can do Pompeii in a day. Hard trip but do able.
Mamaw is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 05:08 PM
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Thanks--which has better public transportation? Why do you prefer Rome? It may be rainier?
hellokittie is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 07:23 PM
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You can check out my trip report of my first trip to Italy/Rome here on fodors it's under THERESA10

And I think that Rome has better public transportation. You don't even want to drive in Rome, it's crazy.

I was there in Nov. and again in March. Nov was beautiful. We had excellent weather. March was cold but sunny during the day. Is Dec/Jan the rainy season? If so, the sidewalks can be very slippery.

I traveled in both cities alone and never had a problem. It's just smart to be aware. We stayed in Rome for 13 nights the first trip. We traveled to Naples, Pompeii and Venice. The train system there was great. In fact the hotel we stayed at was 10 min walk, so we went there quite often. Great place to shop, eat and people watch.

Mamaw is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 01:23 AM
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barcelona has excellent public transportation. metro and buses. the tour bus itself is worth every penny.

it stops at the train station where you come into the city (sants) from the airport!

you could also zip down to valencia ( architecture/museums galore)
for a night or two on the convenient euromed train.

how nice to be able to do this with your daughter!

lincasanova is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 03:57 AM
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I would pick Rome even though Barcelona is definitely a worthwhile destination. Rome has everything you want--amazing architecture, art and ruins.
Public transportation is very convenient in Rome and if you stay in the central historic part of the city you can walk to most of the major sights quite easily.
I am not sure why you are so concerned about safety? You do have to use caution and beware of pickpockets on the metro and some of the bus routes.

I would not try to do both Barcelona and Rome in one ten day trip.
Vttraveler is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 04:13 AM
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hellokittie, Hub and I have been to both places and I'd have to choose Rome. Busses and trams in Rome will take you to many sites easily.
Agree about a day trip to Pompeii, and Tivoli Gardens is cool also-check out tours online-but there is enough in Rome to keep you well-occupied.

Please let everyone know what you do!
TDudette is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Thanks for all the advice, keep it coming! It appears from the weather sources that Barcelona is much drier
than Rome in Dec/Jan. I wonder how much fun Rome is in the rain...aren't most of the major sites outdoors, ie ruins?
Safety? Well it gets dark very early then and we are two unescorted Americans.

hellokittie is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 08:23 AM
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I would pick between the cities by your interests, not the weather.

Because I think you need to be (mentally) prepared to have cold or rainy weather either of those places because of your travel dates. There's no reason that needs to ruin a trip, but to expect 100% clear weather is probably not goin to happen. Pack a travel umbrella, decent coat, and water proof boots so you'll be comfortable.

I'm not sure what you mean "two unescourted Americans". That would be pretty much every tourist who goes to Europe, no?
suze is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 08:37 AM
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You are right; what I mean to say is 2
women (one of whom looks like a teen)
who are likely American.
hellokittie is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Rome and Barcelona are both perfectly safe as long as you take the normal precautions you would in any city. Barcelona may have slightly more in the way of pickpocketing - but neither has a level of other types of crime that come near any big city in the US. (And I have been in both as a single woman - adding days onto a business trip.)

Agree there is no guarantee of weather in either place - and you have to assume both will be chilly and rainy - and be happily surprised if you get all clear weather.

To me - Rome has so much more to see and do that there is no comparison. (IMHO 3 days is plenty for Barcelona - Rome can take a week easily and more with day trips.)
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 10:16 AM
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a hard choice!
I love Barcelona ( better public transit, easy to get around ...) but for 10 days I would pick Rome .
Even if the weather doesn't hold , there are so many places to "explore" indors.

danon is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 03:25 PM
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I love both cities, so it's a difficult decision. But I would agree that there's more to do in Rome, both indoors (museums and churches) and out. But if having better or drier weather is relatively important, you will definitely enjoy your time in Barcelona, as well. An easy day trip from Barcelona, should you choose it, would be to take the train to Girona - a lovely, interesting city as well.

In terms of safety, I felt perfectly comfortable in both cities, and I'm a very short, small female. I went out by myself in both cities for early-morning runs, and was not concerned. As others have said, just be aware and careful with your belongings. As a point of reference, however, I've lived in several big American cities, so I'm accustomed to city life and being careful and aware. If that's an environment that you're less familiar with, keep that in mind that your personal comfort level may be different.

After dark, especially at during the holiday season, there will be many other people outside in the evening hours. Make sure your hotel is in a well-trafficked area, and as you walk around in the evening, stay within the parts of town with lots of people. That will make you feel more comfortable.
Lexma90 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 03:58 PM
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My daughter and I went to Rome a week in January. Rain only 1 night. I have been to Rome a 2nd time and still have not seen and done everything I would like to do.
Stay in the central area, and it is very walkable to historic places.

I have not been to Barcelona.
maryanne1 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 08:21 PM
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Both are great cities. Rome has more to see than anywhere else I have ever been. But I loved Barcelona also. For ruins, Rome has the edge. Actually it has the edge on just about everywhere for ruins. And Pompeii is wonderful.

I traveled with my daughter in Rome when she was that age and had no concerns about safety.

You could go to both places in ten days, giving Rome more days than Barcelona, maybe six nights in Rome and three in Barcelona, if you took a budget flight between the two cities and flew into one and out from the other to go home. For budget flights within Europe, check www.whichbudget.com.

There is an extensive bus network in Rome. The metro is less extensive than in some other cities because there are so many ancient ruins under the streets that any excavations for subway systems are damaging.

There are buses, metro and plentiful taxis in Barcelona.
Nikki is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:22 AM
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Thanks so much; I am wondering if the early sunset/short days really eat into your time to enjoy Rome.
Did you go in the winter?
hellokittie is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:54 AM
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Rome at Christmas/New Years time is fantastic. It is a bit more expensive, but you could spend a month there and not see everything. December/January is when we normally go.

Rent an apartment in the Navonna area, this puts you right in the midst of everything and costs substantially less than hotels. SleepInItaly is a good service. Bus/Metro/Train service is very good and inexpensive.

As to the weather, yes that is considered the "rainy" season, but you are more likely than not to have sunny days in the mid-60s, lows at night in the 40's.

With 10 days you can see much of Rome, as well as taking a couple of day trips, to say Pompeii and Florence. Train service is very easy.

DW and I have been everywhere in the city, at all hours. I feel it is much safer than most, if not all, US cities. Yes, you need to be aware of your surroundings, but that is true anywhere.

Get to Rome before the 24th and enjoy a Christmas Eve mass in the Pantheon, an amazing sight.

Spend New Years Eve watching the fireworks from Campidoglio.

Here is a link to some online tour videos I have been making for the past few years (still not finished). Most of the shots are done over the Christmas season, but some are in the summer.

Have fun.
daveesl is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:54 AM
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Oops, I forgot the link...


daveesl is offline  
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