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France or Spain and Portugal

I’ll be spending a week in Como the second week of May. I have 2-3 more weeks to plan somewhere else to go. We have been all over Italy and pretty much everywhere else except the south of France and Spain and Portugal. My question is- what is your preference? These are the options I’m thinking- fly from Milan to Nice and do all south of France to Barcelona and fly home after a few days there. Or fly directly to Barcelona and do Barcelona, Madrid and the southern coast, Algarve… fly home from Lisbon. Thoughts???

Posted by
3021 posts

Go to Spain because there are no nonstop flights from Milan to Nice but there are to Barcelona.

Posted by
11350 posts

Don’t mix Spain and Portugal. Each country deserves it’s own trip.
Travel to Barcelona, Madrid and Andalusia
( Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada.) Three weeks would allow those places. If two weeks, then omit Barcelona.

Posted by
27336 posts

How are you with sightseeing in the heat? It may be getting quite hot in Andalucia by late May.

Actual, day-by-day, historical weather statistics for Seville:

May 2022
May 2021
May 2020
May 2019
May 2018

There's a lot of year-to-year variation, so don't just check one year. May 2018 wasn't horrible; May 2019 was miserable, with highs of 90F or more on 18 days, including the last 10 days of the month.

Posted by
15640 posts

I didn't think I'd ever love a country as much as Italy. Then I went to Spain.

Posted by
7804 posts

Consider taking the train from Milan to Nice, it is not far.

If you have 2-3 weeks you can't do the south of France as well as Spain and Portugal. You will need a week in the south of France and you can't even do Spain in two weeks. Still, you could head down to Barcelona after France and then perhaps take the high speed train to Madrid. While in Madrid to day trips to Segovia and Toledo. If you have more time, do to Seville, not Portugal.

You need two weeks just to do Portugal, especially Lisbon and Porto (and what is between the two).

Posted by
244 posts

Thank you! I love the week idea in south of France and then Barcelona and Madrid!!!

Posted by
291 posts

Should you choose to go solely to Spain, Acraven has a good observation about weather. That leads me to suggest starting in Seville and spending a week in Andalucia in mid-May, That starts you in that part of Spain most heavily influenced by the Moors and the Reconquista. Fascinating culture, history and architecture. A loop or partial loop could lead you from Seville to the white towns, Granada with the Alhambra and on to Cordoba.

From there you can head to Madrid (with side trips as suggested by others) and finally Barcelona, moving north and then back to the coast as temperatures continue to rise in May. From a weather point of view, Madrid can get beastly hot in the summer, since it is inland. Fly home from Barcelona. While Madrid and Barcelona are very old cities, they are more modern in feel than those in Andalucia, so you move forward in time.

What you don't mention, Aly, is what you like in your travels. Is it museums? food? architecture? churches/mosques/synagogues? parks, whether in the city or in the country? beaches? small towns? art galleries? history? music clubs? Do you speak any Spanish? French?

Posted by
920 posts

Channeling Chani: I didn't think I'd ever love a country as much as France. Then I went to Spain.
If you go to Barcelona and Madrid as your last post stated, you might also make a day trip from Barcelona to Girona and from Madrid to Toledo for that ancient Spain feel. While I enjoyed both Barcelona and Madrid (Barcelona more), I am in love with the Andalusian towns. I'm returning next month! You have so much to enjoy ahead.

Posted by
6996 posts

If you pick France, you can take the train from Milan to Nice. Milan-Genoa-Vintimille-Nice is the route, it takes 5-6 hours if I remember correctly. Scenic in parts but less than it used to be as the line got rerouted in some long tunnels. Less hassle than a flight to Spain!

Posted by
441 posts

I'm with Chani and Lindy. Never thought I'd get enough Italy. Love France.... but Spain! Just got back from 3 weeks in N. Italy and I'm planning my next trip to Spain. Fly to Barcelona don't bypass Catalonia. Brad

Posted by
244 posts

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. We decided to do a week in the south of France, head to Como for a week then fly to Barcelona and do two weeks in Spain (in that order because of timing and others who are joining us) We are into hiking, eating or anything outdoors, not museums :) Happy to read anyone suggestions regarding itineraries or favorite spots in the above.

Posted by
27336 posts

At that time of year I think it would be a good idea to focus on Catalunya (possible side trips include Girona, Figueres for the Dali Theatre-Museum, Cadaques, Besalu, Montserrat and Sitges) and points west. Spain is a very large country, two weeks isn't very long, and Andalucia (Seville-Cordoba-Granada-etc.) is getting really hot by June (and often even by May). The Basque Country tends to be cool and a bit overcast, so it's best as a summer destination, which fits with your timing.

Alternatively, you could focus on Barcelona/Catalunya and Madrid. Madrid has a large number of exceptional day-trip options (though all are worth overnight stays), including Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Cuenca and Alcala de Henares.

Between Barcelona and Madrid, right on the rail line, is the interesting city of Zaragoza. Note that it can be unexpectedly hot.

Posted by
15640 posts

Consider Spain. I never thought I'd love a country as much as Italy. Then I went to Spain. You could easily fill 3 weeks there. Portugal really needs at least 2 weeks. I've been to Barcelona 4 times for a total of close to four weeks. There is so much to enjoy in the city and lots of good day trips as well. If you go to Nice, you could follow the coast to Barcelona. Nice and nearby towns are rather small and will probably be crowded by May. I was there in March and it was delightful with few crowds.