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Sicily or Barcalona to Nice??

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Sep 18th, 2015, 06:41 PM
  #1
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Sicily or Barcalona to Nice??

We have two trips in mind for end of March, beginning of April. We will have a car in each scenario.

One would be 10 days in Sicily, with two travel days on each end. Is that a good amount of time to see the island? I'm assuming it'll be too cold to swim but am hoping for a heated pool at some point. Suggestions for itinerary, interesting towns, hotels...any and all info appreciated.

Our other option would be to drive from Barcelona to Nice, with stops in Aix Provence, Avignon and anyplace else that seems cool. We would add a few more days to this trip, maybe 13 days with two extra travel days.

We'd appreciate any thoughts on these options. We are in our 50s, not hostelers but not luxury, chain hotel fans - just want local color.

Thanks.
s
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Sep 18th, 2015, 08:47 PM
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kja
 
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"One would be 10 days in Sicily, with two travel days on each end. Is that a good amount of time to see the island?"

IMO, no -- Sicily easily deserves at least 2 weeks, or better 3. But it depends on what you want to see! I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (always a good investment IME -- the Rough Guide was the best of the half-dozen I used when planning my time in Sicily, but you can also spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see , note their opening/closing times, and plan a possible itinerary. Then pencil in your transportation (Sicily doesn't lend itself readily to "bases," although you can do a few parts with bases), add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

FWIW, my favorite places in Sicily included the Cathedral of Monreale; the Villa Romana del Casale; the ruins of Agrigento, Selinunte, and Segesta; Ortygia; and Palermo. LOTS of runners-up in this amazing island!

There are LOTS of trip reports on Sicily on this board, and also MANY threads about traveling there, which can be even more useful than trip reports since you'll learn about options the TR-posters didn't pursue.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 06:07 AM
  #3
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Thanks so much. This is helpful. We could fill up much more time than we usually spend on various vacation but, alas, we have time constraints and will be limited to about 10 days, not counting the 2 travel days. Any experience with Catania, other than the airport? Worth a day or two?
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Sep 19th, 2015, 06:38 AM
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You might find picking up a car in Barcelona and dropping it in France quite expensive. There is typically a big drop-off fee for returning in a different country.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 07:05 AM
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I'm currently investigating Sicily and have done a lot of research. Unless you want to limit yourself to only a portion of Sicily, I agree with kja. It is my understanding that Sicily is considered a travel experience that is not quite so easily undertaken because the tourist infrastructure is not a developed overall as the other areas you are mentioning. However, I keep reading that Sicily is absolutely gorgeous with wildflowers at the time of year you mention.

We've done quite a bit of the Spain/France itinerary you mention (but broken up into several different trips). There is a lot to do and see, and it is very well developed for tourism. I'm thinking you'll find more chain hotels here than in Sicily but am not sure since we aren't fans of chain hotels. I think there is a chance at this time of year that the mistral or tremontaine might blow and that definitely puts a damper on things. But, do take into account the comment about car drop fees.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 07:12 AM
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Fly into Catania but don't linger, head to Siracusa or Taormina. Spend more time in Siracusa than Taormina.
If you do the Barcelona/France trip, take a train across the border and pick up another car there.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 07:18 AM
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Thanks, Julies. Just to be clear, we are NOT interested in chain hotels and very touristy places. We like to find the town near the big tourist destination and prefer a less "globalized" trip. Will ck on drop fees. Last trip, we picked up a car in Brussels and dropped it at Munich airpt. Fees weren't too deadly. Will look up the negs on the mistral and tremontaine - not familiar.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 09:28 AM
  #8
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I'm not sure what julies means about Sicily's infrastructure -- I didn't find troubles with it when I visited in 2007. Good roads (though some of the drivers are nuts), good public transportation options, good museums, etc. I easily found accommodations that suited my needs, and lots of wonderful restaurants.
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Sep 19th, 2015, 09:13 PM
  #9
kja
 
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The OP has decided on Sicily. Here is the new post:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...l-560615-2.cfm
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