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Spain/Portugal vs. Czech Republic/Austria/Hungary

Spain/Portugal vs. Czech Republic/Austria/Hungary

Old Apr 26th, 2019, 11:39 AM
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Spain/Portugal vs. Czech Republic/Austria/Hungary

My girlfriend and I are planning to go on a 10 day trip to Europe (October 4th - October 14th) and can't decide where to go.
It's our first time going to Europe and we narrowed down to two itineraries:

Spain/Portugal
Most likely to visit cities: Lisbon, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona

Czech Republic/Austria/Hungary
Most likely to visit cities: Prague, Vienna and Budapest

Since it is our first time EVER to Europe, I'm sure we'll have a great time wherever we go. I just wanted to get some opinions so that we can finally decide and book our trip. Food is definitely a big part of our vacations. Site seeing is also a big part.

Please let me know what you guys think. Thanks in advance for your input and suggestions!
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 11:44 AM
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You have to figure in about a day between those bases - Lisbon - Seville - Madrid and Barcelona are far apart. I'd cut Lisbon or Barcelona.

Prague, Vienna and Budapest are fine for ten days.

Trains are great for cities - for lots on trains check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 12:05 PM
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I agree with PalenQ that 4 cities in 10 days is too much; they are far apart; and you will waste too much time traveling between them. And, exactly how many nights do you have? If you arrive on the 4th, and depart on the 14th, that gives you 9 nights. So if you visit 3 cities in Spain/Portugal, you will have basically 3 nights in each city, which is fine for Seville, Lisbon, and Madrid, but not for Barcelona, which is a huge city with lots of important sites that require advance tickets. I would almost be inclined to limit yourself to 2 cities for each itinerary if you have only 9 nights.

Regarding which itinerary, have you read guidebooks to see which countries appeal to you the most? October is perfect for Spain/Portugal because those cities are extremely hot during the summer months, so weather would be perfect in October. I've been to Seville and Barcelona in October. Early October in Seville was still hot, 90 - 95 but doable and better than 100 - 105! Barcelona was perfect in October. I have also been to Prague in October and really enjoyed the cool, crisp fall weather. We did need winter coats, but this was at the end of October. Restaurants/bars served hot mulled wine from their windows! It was great!
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 12:59 PM
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Fly into Lisbon, take the night train to Madrid (see seat61.com for details) and then the train to Barcelona, fly home from Barcelona (multi-city option on sites like skyscanner). There are several good day trips from Madrid. The weather will be good in October and the food will also be good.

I love Budapest, and you could use trains for that trip too, but I found Prague too crowded over a decade ago.

Still, suggest borrowing a few glossy guidebooks and deciding what appeals to you.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 05:25 PM
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You can see some wonderful things with 10 days, but are you sure you can see / do what you want with the time you have with either itinerary? I couldn't! I would strongly encourage you to think about what you want to do in these locations and lay your options out on a calendar or day-by-day list, and be sure to include your travel time and time to either side for the transition.
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Old Apr 26th, 2019, 07:46 PM
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We have been all of them, Madrid and Barcelona many times.
One is gives you a scant overview of Central Europe, the other some of the unrelated corners of Iberia.
As others have noted you are seeing far too much in 10 days. I would delete Lisbon and still you are pushing it with three days in each. Remember you are going to loss at least 1/2 traveling to each.

No contest, the food in Spain is superior.
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Old May 2nd, 2019, 10:39 AM
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I've done both of those trips - actually in three trips Prague/Vienna/Budapest; Spain; Portugal - and loved them all, so you really can't go wrong. It's kind of funny, Spain is the country I most want to go back to, but Vienna and Prague are the cities I'm actually going back to first (I adjust my priorities when a good travel partner comes along - plus I'm going for the Christmas markets this time!).

As KarenWoo mentioned, it might come down to weather. The central Europe trip will feel chilly and fall-like. I also did this trip in October and thought it was great. Everyone talks about how crowded Prague is, and while it was busy in October it's probably crazier during the summer so fall is a good time to visit. You'll have warmer weather in Portugal and Spain. I'd agree with those advising you to leave off Barcelona. I absolutely loved Barcelona, but you're probably better concentrating your time on Lisbon, Seville, and Madrid.

I'm not trying to argue with IMDonehere, but I didn't have the greatest eating experience in Spain...but that was probably mostly due to my lack of research. You can find great food wherever you go if you do some advance research and are willing to plan your schedule around reservations.

If you haven't already, read a bunch of trip reports on these destinations; reading about other peoples' experiences might sway you one way or the other.

Last edited by memejs; May 2nd, 2019 at 10:44 AM.
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Old May 2nd, 2019, 02:44 PM
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As some folks have advised above the weather in October would be a decider to me. Northern Europe can get really funky at that time - sometimes fordays on end. I'd rather be sipping cappuccino at an outdoor caffe than bundling up against cool and oft wet weather. And flying from Copenhagen there probably are more flights to Spain or Portugal than Berlin as many northerners go south at that time to beaches of each country.
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Old May 3rd, 2019, 03:16 PM
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We have been to all cities on your list, except for Budapest. In October, my choice would be definitely to go to Spain OR Portugal, not to both.

In Spain, I would either include Madrid (with day trips to Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, El Escorial - all of them gorgeous, just pick a couple of destinations you like) and Barcelona OR make it a trip to beautiful and warm Andalucia (Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Ronda, Malaga). Each one of these options totally deserve ten days.
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