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France or Italy and ending in Barcelona

Hi Everyone,

My husband and I are traveling to Europe May 26 ending up in Barcelona for our friends wedding June 3-9. We already have return tix to LAX on June 9th from Barcelona but now cant decide where to begin.
We have never been to Europe and are big foodies and love off the beaten path places and are also on a budget.
1. Should we begin in France or Italy?
2. We were thinking about Paris to Basque country then to Barcelona
3. Or Milan or Venice then to Barcelona.
The idea of train travel is appealing so we could see more of the countryside and were thinking maybe we could take a train and then hop off a few places in between? Can we hop on and off the high peed trains for overnight stops?
Just now sure where to begin. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Posted by
2559 posts

So you don't have flights to Europe but have return tickets? Hmm. Expensive. But, if that is the case, consider flying to Paris. It's a world class city and if you've never been there is much to see. Easily a 5 day trip including a day trip to Versailles. Not all that expensive a place, although more than Spain which is a relative bargain. The high speed train to Barcelona is about 6 1/2 hours and travels through Provence. It's a very relaxing and scenic ride although the scenery goes by pretty quickly.

Posted by
7124 posts

May 26. To Paris (4N)
May 30. Train to Provence (4N)
June 03. Train to Barcelona

May 26. To Venice (3N)
May 29. Train to Florence (2N)
May 31. Train to Rome (3N)
June 03. Fly to Barcelona

I would choose to stay in Spain
May 26. To Madrid (3N)
May 29. Train to Sevilla (3N)
Jun 01. Train to Granada (2N)
June 03. Fly to Barcelona

I appreciate your input. Yes - I did not know where we would start and found a one way flight from Barcelona to LAX for only $789 for both of us on the day I knew we had to leave so I jumped at it. One way LAX to Paris flights also look super affordable.

Can we get off the high speed train anywhere along the way? I would like to see one more destination added to Paris and Barcelona as long as we are not pushing the boundaries and feeling frantic.

Posted by
7124 posts

Each sector on high speed routes needs to be booked separately with seats allocated.
Avignon would be the easiest stop for you.
Day trips easy from there to ...
- Arles
- Nimes & Pont du Gard

Posted by
21033 posts

I'd tend not to try for Paris + Basque Country + Barcelona on this trip, given the time you have available. Although you can get from Paris to San Sebastian about as fast as you can get to Barcelona. The last leg of the trip (San Sebastian on to Barcelona) will take at least 7 hours by train, and flying is such a hassle.

This forum is so helpful and I am leaning towards David's great idea of Paris > Provence > Barcelona. We love wine tasting and are now researching whether we should go Paris> Marsaille or Paris >Nice.

The famous Train des Pignes (Pine Train) that chugs along a narrow-gauge railway from Nice to Dignes looks super fun and Dignes looks special with lavender fields and thermal pools.

Does anyone have any advice/input about these ideas?

Posted by
1202 posts

Have you considered staying in Spain with a dip into southern France? Spain's cheaper than France and the farther you travel the more it costs for transportation. Try flying into Madrid, and then visiting the Basque country on your way to Barca. Also, don't be afraid to rent a car in the more rural areas (they're a pain in big cities).