Spain or Italy for first-timers?

Jan 29th, 2018, 09:11 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,562
Well I prefer Italy (been there 13 times) to Spain (been there 6 times) but that doesn't mean you would. However, if 'popularity' means anything, Italy is more 'popular' on this forum anyway. Look at the number of threads about Italy vs Spain. And that can be a two edged sword - more popular means more crowds, but also more English spoken (if that's an issue for you), etc. And obviously it depends on where you are going. You mentioned Lecce in Italy - way less crowded than Rome or Venice.

In terms of heat, southern Spain (Andalucia) has historically significantly higher temps than the rest of Spain or anywhere in Italy. But every year is different.

I usually pick places I want to go by looking at photos and seeing which places "grab" me. If that works for you here are my galleries of both Italy and Spain - Zenfolio | isabel's_images
isabel is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 12:36 PM
  #22  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
Oh, Isabel. Your pictures are just fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing. And you are so right about looking at pictures and choosing the place and places that "grab" us (non-Trump like, hopefully).

I know I mentioned Croatia in a previous post, but, wow, your pictures of it are amazing. Would you consider Croatia over Spain, knowing what we want out of a vacation?
sarasjourneys is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 01:23 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,562
Thanks sarasjourneys. I really enjoyed Croatia and plan to go back but if I had yet been to Italy or Spain I do think I'd go to one of them. In fact, since there is no way you can see all - or even close to all - of either Italy or Spain in three weeks, why don't you choose one rather small area in each and do both. A week and a half in Italy plus a week and a half in Spain would make a great 'into' trip. You can fly from one to the other in less time and money than some of the train journeys within a country. You would book open jaw flights into one country and home from the other. For example you could do Rome and the Amalfi Coast and then fly to Barcelona and do that and Valencia (or Madrid and Toledo and Segovia - or - Seville, Cordoba, Granada).
isabel is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 07:37 PM
  #24  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,245
I agree that deferring Croatia makes sense for now.

And while I often (usually?) agree with isabel, I'll disagree on the advantages of combining two countries in one trip.
  • For one thing, doing so makes it harder (I think) to see how very different the regions of just one country are -- and both Spain and Italy are countries that were historically divided into multiple kingdoms with only partially overlapping histories, so the differences from even one valley to the next can be astounding. There are differences in architecture and food and wine and SOOoooo much more -- differences that can be just as powerful (and in some cases, even more striking) than differences across countries that are now distinct, but were once part of the same empire.
  • For another thing, you lose time in transit -- and to my way of thinking, time is the most valuable asset one has when traveling.
  • And a third thing -- even though there are multiple languages in Spain, Castilian is spoken throughout, and my skill at languages is so poor that I find it difficult to manage even the civilities in multiple languages on the same trip. YMMV.
No right or wrong answers on that issue -- just different perspectives and preferences.
kja is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 11:43 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 112
I second kja's feelings on the language issue. It's much easier to stick to one language, even when they are similar, like Spanish and Italian. Different but the same. Can get confusing, and elicit some eye rolls from locals.
natylou is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 11:52 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 444
Parts of Italy used to be part of the kingdom of Spain.

I find some Spaniards easy to understand . Others almost impossible. That's before you get into Catalan.

Travel between the large touristy Italian cities and the large touristy Spanish cities isn't hard. For example Rome to Barcelona or Madrid has many flights each and every day. Total travel time can be shorter then some trips with in either country.

Pictures are nice but you should think in terms of what you want to do and see. Having said that here are my pictures

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rocket_italia/albums

I still don't really understand what the OP is looking for? Throwing Croatia into the mix doesn't clear things up.
Traveler_Nick is online now  
Jan 30th, 2018, 06:34 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
I prefer Italy, but either is a great choice. Just have a nice plan to visit all you want!
espressos is offline  
Jan 30th, 2018, 07:26 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,412
I like the idea of splitting your time between the two countries. You won’t see a whole country in any event. I have had several trips like this, and I like the contrast between languages, cultures, food, and ambience. I know there are contrasts among the various regions within Spain or Italy, but the contrast between countries is more dramatic. And since you are having trouble deciding between Italy and Spain and you have a pretty good amount of time, this might be a way to get a nice taste of both. I think that’s what I would do.
Nikki is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2018, 05:21 AM
  #29  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
Thanks for your pictures, Traveller Nick. Just beautiful. And thanks to everyone else who has posted.

The reason I threw Croatia into the mix is that it also seems to have the history, the natural beauty, the beaches and a Mediterranean feel that we are looking for. Isabel's pictures really made me consider travelling down it's coast to Dubrovnik.

A trip to Spain would be more city/town centric with less time at the sea, while Croatia and it's islands would be the opposite, but would still offer enough to see historically to keep us occupied.

Would that be correct?
sarasjourneys is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2018, 01:26 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,198
[QUOTE=Traveler_Nick;16663405]Parts of Italy used to be part of the kingdom of Spain.

I find some Spaniards easy to understand . Others almost impossible. That's before you get into Catalan.
_____________________________________

That is because there are regional accents and idions, dialects, and languages. Basque, Gallego, Valencian and Catalan are distinct languages, while in the south they have a tendency to clip the end of their words.
IMDonehere is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2018, 05:06 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 916
I have not been to Croatia so I cannot comment on that. However, you can certainly go to the beaches in southern Spain. We really enjoyed Malaga. I know the Costa Del Sol has a lot of high rises, but I'm sure there are people on this forum who know more about the southern beaches than I do and what places would be nice to see (not built up and filled high rises). Some people have mention Cadiz.

There is also Costa Brava, north of Barcelona, which we have visited and is lovely. We really liked Cadaques, and we stopped at small villages along the way, such as Tossa del Mar, Pallafrugel (sp?) etc. We were there in October, and there were still a few people in the water, although our main objective was not going to the beaches, but seeing beautiful coastal scenery and villages.
KarenWoo is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2018, 06:40 PM
  #32  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,245
Time to hit the library! Isabel's pictures are outstanding, but IMO -- and I'm sure TravellerNick's are, too -- no one traveler's photographs will be enough for you to make a decision. Look for the guidebooks that are known for the quality of their photographs -- the National Geographic Traveler, Eyewitness, and Insight Guide. See what appeals and then read about your options. And while a TYPICAL first trip to Spain would likely be city-centered, it need not be (as KarenWoo noted); conversely, a TYPICAL trip to Croatia would be less city-centered, but Croatia also has cities that are, IMO, well worth seeing. And if not as large as Spain, Croatia is nonetheless huge and diverse -- I spent a month there, and wasn't able to see everything I would have liked.
kja is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2018, 10:13 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by sarasjourneys View Post
Thanks for your pictures, Traveller Nick. Just beautiful. And thanks to everyone else who has posted.



A trip to Spain would be more city/town centric with less time at the sea, while Croatia and it's islands would be the opposite, but would still offer enough to see historically to keep us occupied.

Would that be correct?
First of all thank you.

To answer your question only if you wanted it to be. Spain has beaches on three coasts plus the islands. They range from city beaches for example in Barcelona to almost untouched beaches that will require a car to get to.

The big Spanish cities are well known but there are countless beaches. So many that you'll find beaches very few non locals know them.
Traveler_Nick is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2018, 09:39 AM
  #34  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
Hello kja and Traveller_Nick,

We are at Barnes and Noble reading/researching Spain and Croatia using many guidebooks and we are leaning towards Croatia. Both look amazing but we are drawn to the coastal geography that Croatia provides for many of it's highlights. Thanks for your advice.

However, my husband just brought me travel books on Greece. Dare I ask the question?
sarasjourneys is offline  
Feb 4th, 2018, 07:30 AM
  #35  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
First it was Italy, then it was Spain, followed by Croatia, and now, 100%, it's Greece. We have found are summer vacation destination.

Doing the research and seeing what "grabbed" us finally led us to finally choose Greece. We've booked our flights in and out of Athens and with just under three weeks, we now have to decide where to spend the time: the Cyclades, the mainland or Crete, or a combination.

I will start a new thread with this same question. All of you have been so great and thanks for your help. If you have any advice for our Greek trip, please post it in the new thread.

Thanks!!
sarasjourneys is offline  
Feb 13th, 2018, 06:19 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 322
Great thread!
Nepenthe is offline  
Feb 13th, 2018, 11:14 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 364
Italy
wordsmith1 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2018, 09:20 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 7
Actually, depends on what you are looking for - for me, I love Italy for the relaxing atmosphere and this old spirit, while Spain is much more dynamic and lively
ivankladinov is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
monpetit
South America
20
Oct 14th, 2013 04:02 AM
cokes
Europe
9
Mar 27th, 2011 08:01 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:44 PM.