(Closed) A European Vacation

posted 4 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
8387 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I haven’t been to Spain, so I can’t comment on that one. Rome vs. Venice would be a really hard choice for me, as they are both really amazing IMO. I guess I would choose Rome just because there’s more of a variety of things to do. You could easily spend 2-3 days just exploring Rome. Personally I’d probably only do 3 days in Spain and split my time between the two cities in Italy.  😛 

I’ve been to Greece but not Santorini (always wanted to though!). It was my favorite vacation and I’ve been on quite a few, lol. If you’re looking for relaxing I wouldn’t go to Athens, although the city is quite fun and there’s lots of historic things to see there.

Are you planning on renting a car? The driving over there is crazy…personally I would not want to drive if you go to any of the main cities. Obviously not an issue in Venice haha.

Post # 5
4436 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@hopefloats:  We have a place in northern Spain and are going this summer for the first time with our newborn and toddler. Not so fond of Madrid-big city, hustle and bustle but does have shopping, museums etc. We love relaxing in the north- hardly any English at all. Beautiful beaches. The food is incredible- different all over the country! I’d pick Barcelona over Madrid, but depends on what you are interested in. We have toured around a lot of the country- excellent wine region La Rioja- incredible kwine and food! Renting a car is cheap, so we always do. Ryanair and easyjet offer super cheap flights throughout Europe, so flying around is easy and cheap, and there is always the rail option (never done it myself).


Post # 6
5423 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 2012

Ok here it goes:

I have spent 5 days in both Madrid and Barcelona and I don’t think I could choose just one.  I definitely lean more toward Madrid (and most people think Im crazy for it), but I love it.  Madrid is less touristy than Barcelona.  The weather is milder.  With Madrid you have lots of touristy things: Royal Palace, Museo del Prado, Museo de la Reina Sofia, Plaza Mayor, Parque Retiro.  Theres an exploding culinary scene thanks to the former chef of el bulli.  Plus the oldest restaurant in thr world is there too.  Lots of day trips go from Madrid too.  On my last trip I went to Segovia, which is an old Roman Town. But you can also go to Toledo, Avila, plus other fanous sites that escape me. 

Now Barcelona is definitely a world of its own with the Basque influence.  It’s coastal so you do have water access there.  They pride themselves of architect Gaudi and they should he made some awesome stuff.  La Sagrada Familia is the most famous cathedral in Spain.  He also built Casa Batlo and Parque Guell.  You have your museums there as well like the Picasso museum.  The gothic quarter definitely has some amazing architecture.  La Rambla, which is a main street full of shops and restaurants is almost the main drag.  You can walk nearly anywhere from there.  From Barcelona you can take some amazing day trips outside town too.  There are trips to Monteserrat, Girona, the Dali Museum.  On my last trip I went to Tarragona and Sitges.  Both cities are vastly different eventhough they are in the same country.

So I have never been to Venice but my understanding is you don’t need more than 2 nights there.  I have been to Rome.  I was just there in last month.  Rome is another city thats jam packed with things.  Number 1 obviously is eat everything. lol.  There are the obvious tourist spots: the colosseum, the forum, the vatican, some catacombs.  And they are all worth the visit.  Rome does have some great musesums too because of all the history obviously.  The capuchin friar crypt is worth a visit and is quite short.  You can take day trips to nearby Pompeii, Naples, Florence, and Hadrians Villa,  I found Rome to be more expensive than Madrid and Barcelona. 

I haven’;t been to Greece yet but its on our short list.  My suggestion is do a lot of research and decide what you really want to see and coordinate from there.  Five days isnt a lot, but enough to see what you’ll want.  Good luck!

Post # 7
2958 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas

– What major city should we stay in Spain? Barcelona or Madrid? – I’ve only been to Barcelona, but I loved it! 

– For Italy: Rome vs. Venice? If you choose Rome, what are some things to do/nearby cities to see? – I loved Venice more than Rome, but you only need a couple of nights there. We had 3 days, and it was slightly too much. Rome has SO much to see. I would try and fit in both places if you can. From Rome you can visit Pisa – about an hour train journey!


Post # 8
8387 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I seriously loved Venice and found it much more relaxing than Rome (maybe because there’s no traffic? haha), but there is definitely less to do there. There are museums and churches to visit, and lots of shopping. Exploring the little canals and such is neat too. We also took a ferry to a neighboring island and had lunch there.

In Rome I would highly recommend going first thing in the morning to the vatican and climbing the dome. We had the place completely to ourselves and the view at the top is amazing. If you go during the day the line can be loooooong and often very hot inside. I’d also recommend the typical tourist spots like the colosseum, roman forum, trevi fountain, sistine chapel, pantheon, etc.

Post # 9
12248 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

That sounds like an AMAZING vacation!

Post # 10
41 posts
  • Wedding: May 2014

Re: Spain. I LOVED Barcelona. From there, you can do day trips to Monserrat (hike amongst the rock formations if you are into that), and Sitges (beach day!). I did not go to Madrid, but I have heard mixed reviews.

Re: Greece. If you stay in Athens, make sure you stay in Plaka, the old part under the acropolis. It’s beautiful. I think a couple days to see everything would suffice.

When I backpacked through Europe, we literally asked Greek people on the plane from London to Athens what island they would recommend. We ended up in Naxos, which was a great combination of touristy, cute town, and beach. We took the “local” bus to a little town inland. It was nice. I plan to hit Santorini on my honeymoon though 🙂

Re: Italy: I honestly HATED Rome…but I was a female traveling with another female. We were mauled by the men despite our greasy hair and general unkempt appearance. I am sure if I had gone with a male, I would have had a different experience. Have you looked into Cinque Terre? It’s on the NorthWestern coast of Italy, and it was seriously my favourite part of the country.

The best thing I can recommend is that you remember that for every time you move cities, you kill at least half of a day for teh most part in travel time.

Post # 11
8689 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@hopefloats:  we went to italy for our honeymoon.  we spent 11 days venice, florence, rome, and naples. 


given the choice of venice or rome, i would highly recommend rome.

but florence was my favorite.


we thought we covered alot in such a short time, but 3 countries in 14 days in a lot. there will also be a lot of travel time flying or taking the train between the countries


Post # 12
14486 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

4-5 days in each *country* is not enough imo.  3-4 per city would be more reasonable.   Personally, I would cut down on so much distance and time (and cost) country hopping and picking a few cities with in each country. I honestly don’t think 3 countries, really just 3 cities in each country would be as enjoyable as focusing on a smaller area of the map.  We spent 2 weeks alone just traveling in Italy.

For me, I’d pick Madrid over Barcelona, just because you can day trip from Madrid to Toledo, and other places.  Rome vs Venice is just no comparison, I feel like both are a *must*.  But If i HAD to pick one, I’d go with Rome.  So many more sites and history to see.


Post # 13
727 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@hopefloats:  I’ve only been to Barcelona and Madrid, but I would definitely recommend Barcelona.  Really cool city with lots to see.  I thought Madrid was okay, but I much prefered Barcelona.

Post # 14
2224 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Barcelona, definitely! I’ve never been to Madrid, but the friend I travelled to Barcelona with had and she liked Barcelona 10000% times more. It was so much fun; the architecture is AMAZING (make sure to go to Park Guell and see all the other Gaudi stuff) and the food was soooo delicious. 

I was in Rome, too, but only for like 24 hours. I liked what I saw of it, but I definitely wish I had spent more time there.

I was ALSO in Greece, but only Athens. The historical stuff was cool, but the city is dirty and kind of gross. I spent 3 days there and it was definitely WAY too much time. I am DYING to go to Santorini (on our honeymoon, hopefully), so I would definitely go there if I could.

Your trip sounds amazing, have so much fun.

Post # 16
709 posts
Busy bee


I think if you only have 14 days, fitting Spain, Italy and Greece in might be a bit tough. 

How about chosing Portugal over Greece? 

But you’d have to fly to Portugal nonetheless – so maybe it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. 

What time of year do you plan on going? how do you guys handle the heat? mid-July / August / September can get quite hot in Spain and Greece. 


Spain: I have only been to Barcelona but it’s amazing. It’s such a great place – i loved the architecture by Gaudi like 

– the sagrada Familia 

– and especially the park Güell that you can enter for free http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_G%C3%BCell

There is so much to see and do there (La Rambla http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Rambla,_Barcelona, ….)  and it’s right on the beach. 


Italy: In my opinion Venice is quite overrated. I didn’t really like it all that much. Just a maze of streets and alleyways, and way too many pigeons 😛

I like Rome a lot better, it has so much history (Colosseum, Forum Romanum…) and character. 

Accessible from Rome would be for example 

Florence / Firence (also a really great and interesting place; lots of art there like Michaelangelo’s David http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Michelangelo)) ; going there you could also pay the leaning tower of Pisa a visit

– and the area around Naples (Naples is not nice in my opinion, but the area around is): you have Mount Vesuvius http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesuvius there and the ancient city of Pompeii http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeii and beautiful Sorrento and fancy Capri island; that area is really, really beautiful 

(Other places in italy i like but that aren’t that close to Rome: 

– Bolzano 

– Lago Di Garda

– Verona 

– Finale Ligure

on this thread i tell a little more how great i think italy is: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/backpacking-italy#axzz2roFAOQhD

Greece: I haven’t been to Santorin, but i’ve been to 

Crete -> really beautiful, quite different places to visit (beach, gorges, historic places, fun places to go out in Iraklio…) ; good food

Rhodes -> really beautiful as well; the medival town of Rhodes is amazing; the island is smaller than Crete thus maybe more interesting for a short visit, it has beautiful nature, intersting historic things and nice beaches; good food

Cyprus (I know, it’s its own Republic; but it shares a lot of history / food / culture with Greece) it’s quite interesting of an island as well (nature- and historywise); make sure not to stay in Larnaca or Agia Napa because that’s just sooo crowded (unless that’s how you like it); good food



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