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Need ideas for cities in which to "live like a local" for 2-4 weeks

Need ideas for cities in which to "live like a local" for 2-4 weeks

Old May 22nd, 2023, 01:56 PM
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Need ideas for cities in which to "live like a local" for 2-4 weeks

I posted a very similar question with respect to Italy, but please indulge me.

When we retire, my husband and I would like to visit a few western European cities and "live like a local" for 2-4 weeks at a time. We love museums, old churches, shopping, good food and wine, and hiking. We are in good shape. Our foreign language skills are not great. H can get by in German and I can get by (badly) in Spanish.

We would love a location where there is plenty to do and see, in the town and/or via convenient rail service. Huge crowds are a negative but we don't need to be in a tranquil space. It would be great if the city was not insanely expensive.

Your ideas would be most welcome.
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Old May 22nd, 2023, 02:35 PM
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Can I recommend second or smaller cities to you? Rather than going for the biggest of big cities? So in Germany I might recommend to you Bamberg, Regensburg, Nuremberg (instead of Munich), in the middle Mainz or Wiesbaden instead of Frankfurt; in the east Leipzig or Potsdam instead of Berlin, and in the north Bremen or Goettingen instead of Hamburg. Any of those would be great. In smaller cities you might find it easier to come into contact with the locals and it is less likely they will speak English with you (so hubby can practice German). Also you might find more welcoming neighbourhoods that way. If you are looking for an apartment google 'Ferienwohnung' + the name of the city.

Lavandula
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Old May 22nd, 2023, 02:48 PM
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Yes, second/smaller cities would be terrific. Thanks.
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Old May 22nd, 2023, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by realgirl58
Yes, second/smaller cities would be terrific. Thanks.
One can “ live like a local” in a big city like Paris, Berlin or Madrid… by staying in a non touristy neighbourhood , using public transit and knowing enough language to shop (and read the menu.).
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 05:42 AM
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Danon, I agree. But the cost of a flat could be $$$$. My original idea, years ago, was to spend about a month in Barcelona. But the cost of an airbnb has skyrocketed since then.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 06:09 AM
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I recommend Bologna, large enough, a university town, wonderful food culture center. On train line too.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 06:14 AM
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Wow, that sounds fun. Lyon? Seville? How I'd love to do that.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr
I recommend Bologna, large enough, a university town, wonderful food culture center. On train line too.
Have seen my Bologna thread? That was actually my first thought!
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 07:05 AM
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Obernai, not too far from Strasbourg, would be a good place, and German could easily be spoken there since that is where most of the tourists come from.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 07:16 AM
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Have you looked into house swaps or house sitting?
Might be worth considering anyway, then you can really live (more) like a local.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 07:18 AM
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Good idea. But whenever we have stayed in an Airbnb that is actually someone's home, it creeps my husband out. There's no fighting it.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 07:29 AM
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Time of year can also be crucial. Some "touristy" places are transformed out of season - big cities and medium sized ones, too. You'd be surprised how "livable" popular places like Edinburgh can be when the summer and festival crowds depart (but before the Hogmanay crowds arrive, or in late winter to early spring.)

Places that come to mind, particularly for those who might be challenged with the local language are Delft in Holland (English is very commonly spoken) - but even Amsterdam is a possibility. Alsace has already been mentioned - Strasbourg or Colmar, for example. For mid- to late winter, southern Andalusia (Cadiz, Tarifa, even Gibraltar) has sunshine and warm temperatures, white hill villages, beaches, Roman ruins, and day (or multi-day) trips to Morocco as possibilities.

But I'd look at the "when" question as much as I would the "where."

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Old May 23rd, 2023, 07:33 AM
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Absolutely. That will be a plus in retirement - being able to travel when the crowds aren't around.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 07:34 AM
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Adding that my most recent banner ad on this site was "Retire to Portugal!" LOL.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 10:21 AM
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Check out Tarragona, one hour south of Barcelona, rentals will be cheaper there.

in Croatia, Split in the off season can be a good bet (nice weather, and good deals on long stays.)

Ljubljana checks all your boxes, you can stay four weeks but rent a car and be at many great hiking areas (also wineries) in an hour.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 11:34 AM
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"My original idea, years ago, was to spend about a month in Barcelona."
I recently rented a flat in Rubi for a very nice price. It is 35 minutes by train into the center of Barcelona.
There are many nice vibrant town that ring Barcelona that might fit very well.
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 12:05 PM
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Y'all are coming up with fabulous suggestions!
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 02:57 PM
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My husband and I are doing this as well!

We spent four weeks in Aix-in-Provence (followed by a week in Paris and Florence) in 2021 and are going to Seville this September followed by a week in Granada and Madrid! We use apartments when we are "living like locals" and hotels when we are just touring. I will say that the last week of hotels is almost the same price as a month in an apartment. AirBnB offers better rates with long-stays.

Other towns on my list include:
Dijon
Bath
A London suburb like Hamptead
Edinburgh
Modena
Padua
Bergamo
Parma
Montpellier

Keep us posted!
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 03:22 PM
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Yo Irice,
Just a suggestion. Hampstead is nice. Another similarly nice (and pricey) place there would be Richmond. Maybe check it out too before committing. Hampstead would place you near its famed 'Heath' plus the adjoined 'Golders' park area. But man oh man does Richmond ever have a sense of atmosphere, with its excellent Village Green, history and proximity to its own compelling park.
My being so impressed with Richmond has nothing to do with its Ted Lasso connections.

OP RG, I have posted comments on Bevagna plus Arcos de la Frontera on your other thread.
Good Luck to all! Make it so, not just a dream.

I am done. the lowkul
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Old May 23rd, 2023, 08:51 PM
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Thanks Zebec! You’re the best!
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