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Milan-Venice-Barcelona-Madrid in 7 days?

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Dec 23rd, 2012, 10:10 PM
  #1
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Milan-Venice-Barcelona-Madrid in 7 days?

I know this itinerary seems a little too cramped but we booked a very good deal on non-refundable/non-changeable open-jaw tickets flying overnight into Milan, arriving at 7AM on the first day, February 19, and out of Madrid on February 26 at 12:45 pm.

My friend lived in Milan for a few months in the past and really wants to go there- that's why we have to spend two days there despite the fact that most people seem to move on to more interesting destinations once they land there.

The plan after that is to take a morning train to Venice on the 3rd day and then fly directly to Barcelona the next day. After that we would spend two days in Barcelona, and two days in Madrid.

I've always wanted to visit Venice, but should I do it more justice by skipping it this time around and hoping to return to it in the future for a week or so?

Any comments/suggestions about our itinerary are genuinly appreciated!
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Dec 23rd, 2012, 10:29 PM
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7 days - 4 destinations. Too much - really.

You have totally discounted travel times. You will have about 1.5+ days in Milan, a bit over half a day in Venice, 1.5 days in Barcelona, and 1.5 days in Madrid.

Why not just Milan and Madrid? That would give you 2.5 days in Milan and about 3.5 to 4 days in Madrid.
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Dec 24th, 2012, 01:16 AM
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Depends on what you want to see and do. If you look at most travel itineraries, you will frequently see just 2 nights in Madrid (where it would be cold in February!) and of course Venice has become a huge cruise ship port, where people spend one day. You will frequently read on Fodor's that "one day in Venice is better than none at all!!"

I don't even like Barcelona, and don't have much interest in Gaudi, so I would skip it entirely. Other people would be through with everything they want to do in Milan or Madrid in half a day, but I like both cities, and I especially like their food and night life and museums, so I would be happy to have more time there.

Do you want to spend 4 days in Madrid? Any time in Madrid?

Maybe you'd rather spend 4 days in Venice. Is there a direct flight from Venice to Madrid?

I don't think it is a good idea to pian a trip to Europe without content. Look at guidebooks for Madrid and Barcelona and see which sights are really interesting to you. You are already going to one place that doesn't seem to interest you very much for the sake of your friend's wishes. I wouldn't put ease of travel ahead of making the other days in the trip worth the jet lag.
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Dec 24th, 2012, 01:55 AM
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I think you have more than 7 days in your itinerary. Better count travel time and subtract a day from someplace, especially since you plan to fly from Venice to Barcelona and then spend 2 days in Barcelona. That would leave you with half a day in Madrid.

Day 1 & 2 - 1.5 days Milan
Day 3 - 1/2 day Venice
Day 4 - fly to Barcelona
Day 5 & 6 - Barcelona
Day 7 - 1/2 day Madrid

I agree with janis - Milan and Madrid and forget the other cities for this trip.
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Dec 24th, 2012, 02:03 AM
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chillout,

Here's another thought:

How about if you go directly to Venice while your friend hangs out in Milan for a few days? It is a very simple train ride, and once you get to Venice, you will not have any difficulty handling anything on your own for 2 days, even if you don't speak a word of Italian. You can arrange to meet your friend at the hotel when he or she arrives 2 days later.

Also, be aware that a lot of the advice you get on message boards doesn't reflect any experience with the places you are going. Meaning, people will divide the number of destinations you mention by the number of days you have, and then tell you how many days to spend where even when they have never been there. It's just a numerical formula for them.

That kind of travel absolutely works for probably 30 percent or more of people who post on message boards, no matter how old or young they are. It's a fixed personality thing about planning a trip. As you have already figured out, there is no point in going to a destination if you aren't going to be there long enough to accomplish what you really want to accomplish while your there. The opposite is also true. There is no point in spending days in a destination just because you need to be at the airport to fly out of there if you have to make up reasons to be excited about seeing anything there.

Just figure out what you most want to do in those 7 days, and avoid the dissatisfying as much as you can. Don't worry about how it looks on paper (or to other people).
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Dec 24th, 2012, 04:05 AM
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janisj- I am leaning towards your suggestion as I wouldn't want to feel so rushed, plus travel times would take up big chunks of our short time in Europe.

goldenautumn- I've been to both Barcelona and Madrid once before, and I definitely prefer Madrid. I really enjoy seeing different styles of architcture around Europe, but Gaudi isn't one of them.

Regarding Milan, though it's never been high on my list of places to see like Venice, I actually do want to see it as it would probably be interesting to see how different it is from cities like Rome and Florence, being the commercial and fashion capital of Italy. Plus I can take a day trip to lake Como or Verona if I feel like getting out of the city.

adrienne- I agree that traveling from Venice to Barcelona would take up half a day and so we would basically spend the first evening there plus one full day, Or 1.5 days as janisj put it.

Thank you guys for your help. I will tell my friend that if he agrees to skip Barcelona, then I will agree to skip Venice!
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Dec 24th, 2012, 09:13 AM
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"Also, be aware that a lot of the advice you get on message boards doesn't reflect any experience with the places you are going. Meaning, people will divide the number of destinations you mention by the number of days you have, and then tell you how many days to spend where even when they have never been there. It's just a numerical formula for them."

Zeppole - you have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe stick to giving friendly advice and forget about trying to 'one up' everyone else . . .
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Dec 24th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Maybe you can eke out a couple of days in Venice; especially if you've already been to Madrid? For me, Venice would be the high point of your itinerary. I've only been there when the crowds were madding; February sounds great!
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Dec 24th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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IMHO there is not way to do justice to these 4 cities in so few days. (YES, I have been to all 4 cities - at least twice and 4 or 5 times for Madrid and Venice.)

If you really want to see Venice - why not drop Barcelona - which you seem not to like and fly from Venice to Madrid and then home from there?

Still very rushed - but not wasting time in and traveling to and fro someplace you're not interested in.
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Dec 24th, 2012, 04:41 PM
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Goldenautumn: "Also, be aware that a lot of the advice you get on message boards doesn't reflect any experience with the places you are going"

Why do you keep saying things like that? You have given that same response on several threads. It isn't true and it isn't very nice. You can give your own advice in a very nice way without discounting other's advice so much.

Many posters on this board have been to the places the OP wants to go. Some live in the countries or have spent weeks or months there. I've been to every one (except Milan - I've been there, but not enough to give advice) of his/her proposed destinations, at least twice or more, and some for a week or more at a time. I didn't advise the OP because they were rushing around so, I couldn't get a grasp of what their real interests are. Many people here have knowledge of unique or special interests and can give worthwhile advice if they know the OP's interests.
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Dec 25th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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IMHO Milan offers quite a few things to see and do. It is cold in the winter, so be prepared. Stay in Milan for the 2 days, and visit the Duomo and walk on the roof; for art museums there is the Brera and the works in the Szfora Castle, and its really worthwhile to see the Last Supper (buy your tickets in advance). Lots of fashion houses and art galleries. If you are interested you may want to take a tour of La Scala. So see the sights, shop if you like, and dine out in some nice restaurants.

If you are only spending 2 nights in Milan you will not have time to go on a day trip out of the city. Como in the winter is pretty quiet; the lake resorts are really summer towns.

You do not need to rush around in a week and change accommodations every few days.

I would then fly to Madrid and spend the rest of your time there. You can take a day trip or stay in Toledo. the trains leave every half hour from Madrid, it takes 30 minutes, and the fare is about 14 dollars. You can read about it in the NY Times travel section Dec 23 2012.

As you have an early afternoon flight from Madrid I would just consider that a travel day and not plan on doing anything other than getting to the airport and clearing security

You can always plan a trip in the future which will do justice to Venice and maybe even go to Barcelona, as part of some other trip.
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