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Traveling for First time to Italy and Spain. NEED HELP!!

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Mar 16th, 2014, 06:52 AM
  #1
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Traveling for First time to Italy and Spain. NEED HELP!!

All you seasoned travelers out there, I desperately need your help! My 21 year old daughter and I are going to Italy and Spain from May 8-28. Schedule right now is arrive in Milan, spend one night, go to Venice for 3 nights, go to Florence 4 nights, go to Rome 3 nights, go to Naples 2 nights, fly to Barcelona 4 nights, go to Madrid 2 nights. Already booked hotel in Milan and apartment in Venice. Have apartment in Rome but we can switch those dates around as it is with a friend.

Should we be doing this another way to fly out of an easier, closer airport to Spain than Naples?

We are also having a very hard time booking lodging so I thought maybe changing dates around might help.

I am completely overwhelmed! Would also love info on getting around by rail and bus. Best companies, best way to do it and still keep on some kind of budget. Way too much info on internet. i am about to give up and cancel trip. HELP PLEASE!

THANKS ALL!!!
7sloane is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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You have an awful lot of moving around. Assuming you're arriving in Milan in the early morning, I would have continued on to Venice that day. And I'd skip Naples this trip. Several airlines fly from Rome to Barcelona, Vueling being the cheapest.

I'm wondering why 4 nights in Florence and only 3 in Rome. That's only 2 full days in a city with lots to see. Do you have a special interest in Renaissance art and architecture?

For your travel in Italy you want to take the train, buying point-to-point tickets. You can save a lot of money by buying your tickets 2 or 3 months ahead of time. For schedules and tickets look at Trenitalia.com and italiarail.com. And look at http://seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm#.UyWx9vldXIU for detailed info about traveling by train in Italy. In fact read seat61 before you try buying tickets on the crotchety Trenitalia.
Mimar is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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1) looks a bit rushed, if you look at nights
9 Milan
10-12 Venice
13-16 Florence
17-19 Rome
20-21 Naples
22-25 Barc
26-27 Madrid

I might drop Naples and spread the time into Florence and Madrid. But up to you.

Trains: http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...005817f90aRCRD and http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/
and seat61.com to understand the other 2

Flights Rome to Barcelona: Veuling, Italia, Iberia and the dread Ryanair

Buses tend to be city based, not sure why you want it, for instance the bus from Madrid to Toledo can be a train as well
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Mar 16th, 2014, 07:24 AM
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Wow Mimar, posting while you did and such similar points ;-)
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Mar 16th, 2014, 07:38 AM
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As stated above too much. You are harried and it seems substance is following form.

You are going to lose a lot of time moving from town to town. I would skip Naples. I like Vueling as well. The trains and buses in Spain are excellent. For example there are the standard trains and the high speed AVE between Madrid and Barcelona. Chose one and you go directly from the city to city without wasting time at airports.

In Madrid we like the Hotel Persal and the nearby but more expensive Room Mate Alicia.

Do not have favorite hotels in other cities.

Also read about the restaurant hours and customs in Spain, they quite different than the US.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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I think the problem is that you are just not very focused - trying to do too much in too little time - no wonder you're confused.

I agree to kill Naples and put the time to Rome - to which you have given very short shrift. I would also not stay in Milan. - but head straight to Venice - to avoid losing another day.

Also - I think you - need to just quickly sort out places to stay - there are a gazillion in each city but you have left it very late to have a lot of good choices.

Then start on the fun stuff - what you want to see/do and where you will eat etc. Do be prepared for later dining than you may be used to - depending on where you are from. Dinner in Italy typically starts at 8 pm and in Spain at 9:30 or 10 pm - and is the major activity of the evening - so allow 2 hours - no rushing!
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Mar 16th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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thank you for the great info!
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Mar 16th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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The Milan to Venice on the first night is worth thinking about. It depends a bit on how you suffer from jetlag. If you think you could be up for a bit more slog I'd do it, but if you normally crumble then I might stop over in Milan.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 08:47 AM
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We are going to skip Naples and see Pompeii on another trip. We are going to see The Last Supper in Milan on first day. Already have the tickets. We are now inserting Verona/ Vicenza into trip as my friend's sister has a villa and has just graciously offered to pick us up at Verona train station and stay with them overnight. We will spend day in Vicenza and then we will go onto Venice the next day and spend 3 nights there. Florence is where we had day trips planned to go to the main attractions and then Cinque Terre for a day, Pisa for a day and Tuscany of a day. That is the reason for 4 nights there. If we extend Rome, what day trips should we plan on? Then fly from Rome to Barcelona. Is this better? THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 08:55 AM
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4 nights = 3 full days which you have filled with day trips...do you not plan to see anything in Florence?
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Mar 16th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Not that I actually recommend doing this, since all your days actually in Florence seem to be day tripping somewhere else, but here is an article that may interest you:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...que.Terre.html
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Mar 16th, 2014, 09:02 AM
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I have to agree, going to Florence and just poping out to see Pisa, Tuscany and the CT is a bit like going to New York but dropping up to Boston and Washington the same weekend. Florence is the cradle of the renaisance.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Thank you! All very good points. We will add another night in Florence. Yes,of course we want to see Florence's sights, too. Even with 3 weeks, there just isn't enough time.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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To do the absolute basics IN Rome you need 3 full days (4 nights) there - so I don't see how you have time for day trips.

The 3 days gives you one for ancient Rome (Coloseum, Forum, Pantheon, etc), one day for the Vatican (St Peter's, Dome, Treasury, Vatican Museums and Castel SantAngelo), and one for Renaissance Rome (tons of churches, pizzas, fountains and several major museums.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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I don't think the Cinque Terre is a good day trip destination. I would only go there if you could spend two nights, for two reasons. First, the best reason to go to the Cinque Terre is for the hiking, which you wouldn't have time for on a day trip. Second, whenever the weather is nice, the tiny villages themselves are absolutely sinking under the weight of tourists, many of them day trippers and cruisers. Staying there in overnight allows you to enjoy the towns without all the chaos. Staying one night isn't worth the long trip to get there and back, unless you're traveling from some place very close, which Florence isn't.
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Mar 16th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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Tell me more about what you'd like to see in Spain! Barcelona and Madrid are the biggest airports so that will give you the most flexibility with dates/times/destinations, etc. And as was already pointed out, the trains and buses in Spain are great, and you should definitely read a little about restaurants and other customs surrounding meals and meal times before you arrive! It can be pretty shocking for Americans and any foreign travelers, really.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 01:41 AM
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It must be worse for Poles who often eat supper at 5:30 pm
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Mar 17th, 2014, 04:01 AM
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With only 6 nights for Barcelona and Spain I'd consider just visiting Barcelona and doing a couple of daytrips. Save Madrid for a return trip to Spain and combine with Andalucia. After so much moving around in Italy 6 nights in one place will be a nice way to slow down and relax.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 06:49 AM
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Have you already booked tickets out of Madrid? If not, for this trip, I would skip Spain and add that time to Italy to see Pompeii and the AC or the CT. Your whole time could be less rushed and wonderful, especially when you want to stop in Milan and now in Verona and Vicenza, which btw is a gorgeous little city filled with Paladian architecture. Many people skip it, and it is so lovely, and right on the way to Venice.

If you must see Barcelona, do not take the bus to Madrid - long and boring. Take the train. For my money, even if you have tickets out of Madrid that cannot be change, I would still skip Barcelona, fly to Madrid and add couple of days to Madrid and see Toledo and Segovia. Add the other days to Italy. Cut places that take a lot of time to get to, add places near your bases.

CT is not a good day trip from Florence - way too much travel time for too little sight seeing time.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 07:03 AM
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So not only too many stops but too many daytrips. When are you going to enjoy just being in one place? Sit in a sidewalk cafe and people-watch? Live an hour or so of la dolce vita?

Re: your daytrips. I'd drop the Cinque Terre. It won't be so busy in May, but the weather might not be good. If it isn't, there's nothing to do. Even if the weather's nice, the trail between towns may not have yet been repaired after the winter storms.

Personally I've never been to Pisa in 8 or so trips to Italy. But I'm more interested in la dolce vita than ticking off tourist sights.

If you had some extra time in Rome, you could go to Ostia Antica instead of Pompeii. It's an easy trip from Rome, the ancient harbor city of Rome, spread out over quite an area. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/tr...ries.html?_r=0.

But there I am, adding another excursion.
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