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Trip Ideas for before Cruise from Barcelona

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Jun 22nd, 2010, 11:17 PM
  #1
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Trip Ideas for before Cruise from Barcelona

I'm trying to plan a last minute vacation. Our current "plan" is to fly from NYC to Europe on a Tuesday in July, spend Wednesday to Saturday somewhere (be in Barcelona by Sat night), then depart from Barcelona on a cruise on Sunday at 5pm for 1 week. We will return from the cruise to Barcelona the following Sunday, and depart Barcelona on Monday for NYC. I originally thought we'd just spend a couple days before the cruise in Barcelona, but now I'm thinking we should take advantage of our vacation time and go somewhere new. We spent 3 or 4 days in Barcelona in 2004 (loved it) and have done all of the main tourist things except we only saw but did not go inside La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milo, or Casa Batllo - all of which we'd hopefully tour on this trip. I also am intrigued by taking a day trip to Montserrat. While I'm worried that going somewhere else before the cruise will prevent us from seeing these sights, I also worry that spending all of the time in Barcelona will render us a bit bored. No flights are booked so, if we don't spend all our extra time in Barcelona, I'm hoping to find a decently priced open-jaw flight to some city then home from Barcelona, with a cheapish intra-Europe flight to Barcelona, possibly on Easyjet or RyanAir.

The cruise stops are: Monte Carlo, Livorno (Pisa), Rome, Naples (Capri), Majorca.

We'd like to go somewhere we've never been. In addition to our previous visit to Barcelona, we've already spent time in: London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice, Florence, Dubrovnik., Milan, Lake Como. He's also been to Amsterdam, and I've been to Munich, and spent time in northern central Spain (Leon, Santander, Burgos).

Places I can think of off the top of my head that we're interested in visitng: Ireland, Budapest, southern Spain (Seville, Granada), French countryside, Bruges.

My fiance's main criteria for vacations is he likes to work out every - or nearly every - day, so hotels with decent gyms are a must. My guess is hotels with "big" gyms (more than just 1 treadmill) don't really exist in smaller towns or are very pricey. In Barcelona, we will book the Hotel Fira Palace for about US$150/night (other suggestions welcome). I'd prefer not to spend too much more than this per night.

We're pretty much open to anything but aren't really museum people and also dont want to just sit on a beach.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions of cool places that we could go during the time before our cruise that fit into the criteria above? Or should we just stick with Barcelona for these days?

Additionally, does anyone have additional ideas (in or just outside Barcelona) if we decide to just make Barcelona our base during this time? Girona? Pyrenees? A winery? A cool beach town?

Thanks in advance! Much appreciated!
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 02:35 AM
  #3
 
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Take the AVE (high speed train) to Madrid) or there are flights to southern Spain.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 02:52 AM
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Lisbon? There are relatively inexpensive flights between Lisbon and Barcelona on www.vueling.com. Also between other destinations in Spain and beyond.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 04:56 AM
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The immediate area of the Costa Brava has a lot of very lovely relais fitted out with gyms and fine restaurants. In July, you could stay on the seaside or in the mountains, but also use a car to do some interesting sightseeing.

I suggest you fly into Barcelona, do your city sightseeing, take a day trip to Montserrat, and rent a car to head out to a rural Costa Brava location, returning for your cruise when you need to.

Finding the right hotel with a gym will be key. No matter where you are based, you will find interesting sights nearby for day trips. You might try looking on Tripadvisor first:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g6...ia-Hotels.html

For people who live in Barcelona, it is a very popular thing to spend a weekend in July in a countryside destination restaurant that has rooms and a spa or other luxuries. That means that there are a lot to choose from, in all price categories, but it also means you are likely to encounter traffic coming back into the city on a Sunday, so leave time for that.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 04:59 AM
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PS: If you haven't already bought your tickets, you might consider flying to Ireland (since it's cooler there in July!) and then flying to Barcelona in time to do your sightseeing and make your cruise. Bruges is also doable in your short time frame. Personally I would fly to Brussels, stay in Antwerp, and day trip to Bruges from there.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 05:03 AM
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Take a look at Vueling, Easyjet, Ryan and Iberia airlines.

Some of the cheaper flights, however, leave from Girona than BCN.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 05:12 AM
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You should also look at the booking.com website for the Costa Brava area, and hotels as well as specialty lodgings on Tripadvisor. If you are willing to stay in a big modern resort hotel, you will find plenty in your budget, with gyms, in July, but you will need to book soon


http://www.booking.com/searchresults...telfacility=54

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g6...ia-Hotels.html
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 05:16 AM
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Final tip: If you end up basing in the Costa Brava, but a copy of the Rough Guide to the Costa Brava, which is small and available from Amazon and is jammed with descriptions of all the towns in the area, so you can pick interesting day trips.
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 05:24 AM
  #10
 
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I see you are in Europe and well traveled, so this is probably not news to you...but I recommend people using the cheaper airlines (Ryan Airlines, particularly) be careful to check the maximum weight of checked luggage - in the US we are allowed 50 lbs - Ryan is much less - and my friend got hit with a $200 overweight fee!
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Jun 23rd, 2010, 08:04 AM
  #11
 
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I would either stay in Catalunya visiting potential cities such as: Girona, Tarragona, Vic and a trip to Monserrat OR spend the 4 days in Madrid with daytrips to Segovia & Toledo. I'd save Andalucia for another trip when you have more time and it's not in the middle of the summer and extremely hot.
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Jun 24th, 2010, 10:22 AM
  #12
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Thanks everyone! We decided to keep things simple and make Barcelona our base.
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