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Need ideas for my next trip in September/October: Northern Spain or Northern Italy

Need ideas for my next trip in September/October: Northern Spain or Northern Italy

Old Mar 30th, 2018, 02:39 AM
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Need ideas for my next trip in September/October: Northern Spain or Northern Italy

Hello all!

I have just returned from a glorious two-week trip to Andalusia and need to occupy my mind in deciding where to go on my next two week trip sometime mid-September/October.

My heart is full of Spain at the moment, so I am considering Castile y Leon/ Northern Spain (Some of: Madrid, Burgos, Leon, Zamora, Salamanca, Toledo, Bilbao).

I am also considering Northern Italy to finish off the trip I had last September to the Veneto and Bologna the previous year (Milan, Verona, Pavia, Piacenza).

My passions are: Art, Architecture, History, Food & Wine!I am looking for personal experiences and recommendations and trip reports.

Best regards Ger
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 03:07 AM
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Don't think you can go wrong with either of them,

Here is my trip report from Northern Spain - Criss-crossing the Camino: 5 weeks in Northern Spain (and a bit of France)
I also did a blog (pretty much the same with photos but without the fodorite comments) Zenfolio | Isabel's_View | Blog
Photos of Northern Spain - Zenfolio | Isabel's_View | Spain

Northern Italy - I've done numerous trips to the area
This one contains Milan and Pavia - Italy thru new eyes / Chasing the sun in March
This one contains Verona, Mantova, Lake Garda - Italy: Lombardy, Veneto, Emile Romagna and a little bits of the lakes
Photos of various parts of Italy - Zenfolio | Isabel's_View | Italy
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 05:11 AM
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Ger - about 30 years ago, give or take, Bill and I did a tour of Northern Spain, driving over the Pyrenees from France, and visiting [in roughly this order] San Sebastien, Burgos, Valladolid [don't miss the National museum of polychromatic art] Avila, Salamanca, Picos di Europa, Leon, somewhere on the north coast, and Santander where we caught the ferry home.

https://travelguide.michelin.com/eur...ulpture-museum

that took us about 2 Ĺ weeks but we had a car, which you probably won't have.
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 05:48 AM
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Thanks Isabel. Its a cold rainy day here so your trip reports will be most welcome

Hi Ann: I have done more or less the same drive in the past. Now I will be doing it by train and bus - I don't think I will every drive again in Europe - too much hassle. Thanks for the line.

Best ... Ger
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 06:32 AM
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Ger - I forgot to mention that having just spent 2 weeks in Bologna i can probably help with that too, but it turned out that I didn't get very far as I found more than enough to do in Bologna. My only two trips [apart from arriving from Venice and returning there] were to Le Marche to visit bvlenci who very kindly invited me down there for a day, and to Sasso Marconi to meet the people from there who are involved in a town twinning with Helston. The journey to Le Marche took about 2 hours and I had a great time with B who showed me lots of places in what was really a very short time. But you'd need to stay overnight if you wanted to see Urbino for example. When I was researching the trip it seemed that there were a lot of places within about 30 mins train ride of Bologna but I found a major problem was actually getting to the station as the buses were very unreliable. That made going to somewhere like Modena after school a bit of a waste of time as by the time I'd have got there there wouldn't have been many hours of daylight left. If you were just there as a tourist that wouldn't apply of course and you'd have more daylight in September anyway.

If you've never been to Bologna it would make a good base and you'd certainly never run out of places to eat!
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 07:42 AM
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Isabel:

I have read your blog re your Northern Spain trip. Many thanks.You have given me so much to think about, so much valuable information for my planning.

I have previously visited ALL of the cities and towns that you have (starting about 12 years ago?), split between about 5/6 trips, by car.

I explored the French and Spanish Basque regions, and drove the Camino from St. Jean Pied de la Port, through the Basque region, Asturias, Cantabria, all the way to Galicia.I was overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity.

While driving (on my own) gave me an opportunity to enjoy the countryside and the landscape, it lessened my opportunity to spend sufficient time in the towns and cities on the way. Next trip, I want to do by train and bus, so I can spend time to relish the experience in the towns and cities.This, you have done, so I am encouraged.

Your trip report and photos are wonderful, and enticing me back to the region.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience.

Walking the Camino is on my ‘Bucket List’, and know several people that have done it
.
Once again .. Many thanks.

Kind regards.. Ger
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 01:34 PM
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Ger:

Not clear if you are asking for either/or? However, if it is either, may I suggest at that time of year, Northern Italy. You indicated that you have already visited Bologna but Combine it with a visit to Verona, Lake Garda and finish up in the Dolomites. Also, an easy day trip to Venice, Modena, Parma and other wonderful regional cities.. All can easily be reached via public transportation. I never get tired of this region of Italy after several visits.

I am sure that many people would also recommend Northern Spain.
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Old Mar 30th, 2018, 05:56 PM
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I haven’t been to northern Italy yet (well, not that would count), but I have been to most of the places you mention in Spain.

My interests also include art and architecture, food and wine, so FWIW:

For “central” Spain, I managed to see most of what I wanted to see in 10 very, very busy days – 4 days in Madrid, 2 in Toledo, 1 in Segovia, 1 in Avila, and 2 in Salamanca. More time would have been welcome, particularly because I skipped a number of locations (e.g., Cuenca) that I simply couldn't find a way to include. My time there was before I knew that there was such a thing as a “Fodor’s Forum,” so no trip report.

In 2015, I spent 2.5 weeks in the north of Spain – and didn’t even find time for Galicia. That trip included Burgos (1 night), Laguardia / Biasteri (2 nights), Leůn (2 nights), Oviedo (2 nights), Potes (2 nights), Santillana del Mar (1 night), Santander (2 nights), Bilbao (2 nights), and San Sebastian / Donostia (3 nights) – and again, I was on the go every possible moment. I did write a trip report on that trip:
Four Awesome Weeks in the North of Spain and Catalunya

I trust you realize that there is nothing, anywhere, that is like awesome Andalusia. Other regions of Spain have much to offer – but they are different things!

As Huggy says, do consider typical climate before deciding! I found central Spain (Madrid +) quite lovely in Sept./Oct. I'm not sure I would make northern Spain a priority at that time of year; YMMV.

Hope that helps!
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Old Mar 31st, 2018, 03:33 AM
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I would spend some time researching the weather in both Spain and Italy at the time of year you are going. I think there are more 'inside sights' in that region of Italy than in that region of Spain. So even if the chances of rain are similar, that would give the edge to Italy. Most of my 'best memories' of the northern Spain trip were of outside things. I did get some rain on that trip even in mid summer but if it rained significantly more I would have been be pretty unhappy. But I don't know, maybe late September is not that bad in northern Spain.
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Old Mar 31st, 2018, 05:56 AM
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Ger - I don't know about the relative meteorological merits of Northern Spain and Northern Italy in late Sept/October. I do know that Bologna can be pretty cold in the rain but it does have the saving grace of 300kms of arcades which help to keep you dry as you walk around.
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Old Mar 31st, 2018, 06:50 AM
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I do know that we had two weeks of rain every day or drizzle in northern Italy from Florence above one year in early October.
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Old Mar 31st, 2018, 07:19 AM
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In 2016 we spent 10 days in San SebastiŠn, Bilbao, St-Jean-de-Luz (and Toulouse because it was on the way home by train). The weather was spectacular except for one stormy afternoon in St-Jean-de-Luz. That was a wonderful trip; just wish we'd allocated more time to Bilbao. We did it all by train and bus and it was inexpensive and easy. I'd definitely recommend that part of Northern Spain.

Las Novemberr we spent 10 days in Milano and Lago Mggiore. The weather was downright nasty on Maggiore and so-so in Milano (but it was the end of November, so probably pretty typical). I've always loved Maggiore, so that was nothing new, but what stands out from that trip was how very much we enjoyed Milano. We rented a beautiful and not expensive apartment there on the edge of the Brera district and combed every inch of the city, loving it all. It always strikes me that most people seem to think of Milan as a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else; well, we thought it was one of the nicest cities we'd ever been to. We were also briefly in Bergamo, which seemed to be a delightful little place.

I don't think you can go wrong with either choice.
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Old Apr 6th, 2018, 12:29 PM
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We are about to do the same trip at the end of April. Paris for six days first and then a month seeing San SebastiŠn, Bilbao, Leon, Burgos, Salamanca, Segovia, and then Madrid. We are doing a combination of train and bus. I have booked all the train travel through loco2 as the Renfe site does not like Aussie credit cards.
I have found a lot of great info on this here and Isobelís blog was a fantastic starting point.
Only 12 more days to wait.
Enjoy the planning as it has been great fun.
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Old Apr 7th, 2018, 09:47 AM
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Thank you all for your feedback:

Weather: Yes, this is very important to me, and I am checking out the weather.I generally must avoid HEAT, and am OK with a bit of cool and rain. On my recent trip to Andalusia, they may have had the worst weather on record – freezing cold at times, deluge of rain and we even had snow and sleet at times.I’d prefer THAT to heat in the high 80s/90s.My preference is for clear skies and temperatures in the mid-60s up to mid 70s.


Huggy: I have visited the Dolomites, but not Lake Garda area, so that might be a good combination with Modena, Parma etc.Glad to hear I can do this without a car.


Kja: You gave me excellent advice re Spain when planning my Seville trip!Your central Spain itinerary looks like a good place for me to start my planning!Your 2015 trip report:Thank you and I look forward to reading it.


Isabel/PalenQ: Good advice re weather.Checking it out.Ann: Been to Bologna three times now … and IT ALWAYS RAINED!


Mellen: Read both of those trip reports in the Lounge!Interesting about the fact you loved Milan.I have been there a dozen times on business, and saw nothing other than the train station, hotel and nice restaurants.I was always trying to leave to go south to Rome or Naples or wherever!Perhaps I need to spend some days there.


Cheska15: You Aussies are such great planners!I am going to look out for your trip report, as you are hitting all the places I am planning to visit.Thank you in advance for your trip report J.

Thank you for your feedback.



Kind regards … Ger
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Old Apr 7th, 2018, 02:17 PM
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Ann: Been to Bologna three times now … and IT ALWAYS RAINED! >

That's why they have all those miles of covered walkways!

Loved Lake Garda and boats go everywhere - but again this area can be cool - fine for you - and rainy - not - especially as fall goes on.
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Old Apr 8th, 2018, 02:11 AM
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My preference is for clear skies and temperatures in the mid-60s up to mid 70s.>>

Ger - same here. Shame we can't always arrange it, isn't it? Yes it rained [and snowed] while I was in Bologna but those arcades certainly help. Apparently they were common all over Italy in the Middle Ages but for reasons unknown, they were taken down in other cities and towns. [another fact I picked up in the terrific Museum of the history of Bologna]. BTW I have decided against going back to Bologna for a week before I have my cat-sitting gig in Venice at the end of June - I was vacillating but my mum is talking about moving down to Cornwall within the next few months so I'm going to need all the time at home that I can get, and I am already committed to going to Venice twice in the next three months. Such a hard life!

Bill and I went to Garda twice - once about 35 years ago and then 20 years later with the kids and we loved it both times. The boats make it very easy to get around the lake and explore so many places and wherever you stay there will be lots of nice cafes and restaurants.
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Old Apr 9th, 2018, 06:43 AM
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Another who loved Garda - my favorite of the three major Italian lakes. Easy to reach by train - nice fit between Florence/Milan and Venice.
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Old Apr 9th, 2018, 09:08 AM
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I love both of your proposed trips. Since you love architecture, consider a trip we did in the Veneto with a focus on Palladian architecture. We stayed outside Vincenza in the foothills. If you do this teip, Bassano de Grappa was a favorite of ours and we have now been tnere twice.
But I can not enough of Spain either. Two great parts of our world to explore and enjoy. In Northern Spain we especially enjoyed the Basque region, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.
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Old Apr 9th, 2018, 10:25 AM
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Isabel, really enjoyed your TR of Northern Spain. . .and your pix! Thanks for posting so many interesting and helpful details. We're heading there in late August through mid-September, and hoping for some sunny days!
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