Which to choose: Rome or Barcelona

Sep 19th, 2009, 09:12 AM
  #1  
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Which to choose: Rome or Barcelona

Hi all, next year I'm turning 40 and I hope it'll be the year I finally make it to Europe. I've wanted to go for a long time, but because of time, money, or not having a travel companion, I haven't gone yet. I'm planning for about 1.5 weeks in mid-June.

So, Rome is my first choice. it seems like an amazing city: the history, food, and of course the Italian people. I'd love to see the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and St. Peter's Basilica, etc.

Barcelona is my 2nd choice. It's slightly cheaper to fly to, and I do have some Spanish ancestry, so I wouldn't mind checking that out. The Gaudi architecture and Picasso art would be fun to explore, among other things.

No, I won't be able to do both. So if you've been to either or both places, please let me know your thoughts and points of view. What are some of your favorite experiences in these cities? Thanks, Greg
gregs317 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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Rome, hands down.
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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hi gregs,

don't know why, but it took me 50 years to get to Rome, and I loved every minute of the week we spent there. so much to do, see, eat, ..I can't wait to go back.

Barcelona OTOH was fun [we spent 3 days there last week] but not in the same league. Gaudi and Picasso can't hold a candle to the glories of Rome. And it was cheaper once we got there.

my only doubt would be the time of year. 10 days in Rome might be a bit much in june, so you might like to think of adding Florence or a villa in Umbria to your itinerary.

whereas you could easily spend 10 days in Barcelona, mixing sight-seeing with the beach and days trips. or spend 5 days in Barcelona then hire a car and explore the area.

have a great trip

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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I have been to both places several times. Frankly, MO no comparison. Rome wins hands down. Barcelona is just a city with a few interesting things to see, period. Rome is in a class by itself.
cruiseluv is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Rome for many reasons (especially with 1.5 weeks - your could stay in the city entire time and never run out of things to see/do, although there are many wonderful day trip options).
bardo1 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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I haven't been to Barcelona although I have read a lot about it and had a friend that lived there for awhile.

I love Rome and that would be my choice gregs. The amount of time you will have would allow you to retreat to your room after lunch as the Romans that can do and having said that do get a room with air conditioning. If Rome is hot and humid Florence would be also. Actually the only times I have felt ill from the heat has been in Florence.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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Rome.


Thin
Cries_Van_Notebook is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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although Barcelona is one of my favorite cities , I have to say Rome for the reasons you have listed " Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and St. Peter's Basilica, etc."
and much more.. No place like it.
danon is online now  
Sep 19th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Love Barcelona but Rome is just phenomenal !

My vote is for Rome....
spinesrgn is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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I had a funny feeling Rome would win out, lol. Perhaps, I'll look into a side-trip. What would be a good town to visit some wineries and find a great picnic spot in the countryside?
gregs317 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Rome, Rome, Rome. And have a wonderful trip
rncheryl is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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I agree with everyone that you should go to Rome (and I say that while acknowledging that Barca is my favorite city in the world). Plus, with that much time it would be very easy to day trip or relocate for a day or two from Rome, or even to do the classic "Rome-Florence-Venice" tour - very easy to do if you have 7 to 10 days. Set Barca aside for an incredible long weekend sometime when you can catch a cheap airfare.
tejana is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Your Spanish ancestry may not be all that important in Catalonia, which is decidedly sour about its experience with the "Spanish" government.

The gregarious Italians and the many, many, many different kinds of people who head to Roma for a holiday might make for more adventure for a solo traveler.

I should declare I've almost never enjoyed being in Barcelona but am always fascinated by Roma.

I suggest checking out whether flying to Roma via Barcelona is in fact just as cheap as flying to Barcelona. (It sometimes is -- although I am not suggesting you try to do both.)
zeppole is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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I think you should go to Rome. Not because it is anybody else's favorite city, but because it is your first choice.

I have been to both cities and loved them both.

If I were making this decision, I would read trip reports here about both cities and see what inspires you the most. But you are already inspired by Rome, so you should go.

There is more to see in Rome than anywhere I have ever been. I can't help with your question about side trips because I have only gone to Pompeii, which I thought was spectacular.
Nikki is online now  
Sep 19th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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Rome, which far exceeded our expectations. What a place on a summer's evening. Park yourself in front of the Pantheon and drink (moderately of course).
colduphere is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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It has to be Rome, but make sure your hotel has AC and take a good sun hat. There are various daytrips you could make: Tivoli, Ostia Antica and the coast, the Albanesi hills where the Pope vacations in the Summer. Barcelona is fun but cannot compare.
tarquin is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 03:15 PM
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And has been mentioned so many time here on Fodor's, Orvieto is just an hour train ride north of Rome and is a small city you would no doubt enjoy visiting, gregs.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 03:18 AM
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I love both but Rome is where my heart lies. And honestly, the cuisine here is so much more varied and flavorful....and you also mentioned Rome is your first choice, so go with your gut and you won't be dissappointed And remember, Barcelona isn't going anywhere either, you can always catch it on the next trip!
Dobermina is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Thanks everyone. Do you think Rome might be a little overwhelming - esp. for a 1st time visitor to Europe? I'm not saying it isn't still my first choice, but it seems like there's a ton of stuff to do. How do you divide up your days - work out an itinerary in advance? Just be flexible and go day to day?
gregs317 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 04:07 PM
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I like your last line.
colduphere is offline  

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