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2 Weeks - Where?

Husband and I are planning our longest "holiday" ever - two full weeks! Amazing! Hoping people can throw some recs our way. What I think we'd like to do is to go to 1 or maybe 2 countries max, but at least only have two, or three at most main "bases" during the trip, splitting the time somewhat evenly between them. We want to rent an apartment. One of the base areas should be on or very near a pleasant beach town with warm weather and good swimming (white sands not necessary though - just warm water). And we want to go somewhere we haven't been before. Our current thoughts are Turkey (Istanbul + unspecified beach area), Greece (Athens for a few days + an island or two), Spain (Barcelona which I've been to but husband hasn't + Madrid) or maybe somewhere in Eastern Europe? Frugality is always great, which is why we're leaning away from Spain a little bit at the moment as it seems more expensive than some other options. We love history, great food, great scenery, and again - THE BEACH. And if you think you can try to talk us into Italy please feel free. Potentially we could even do October but I want that warm weather!

Posted by
3050 posts

As stated, we want to visit one or two places and spend a long time there, as opposed to popping in for a few hours cruise-style.

Posted by
24 posts

Yes, we've considered a cruise, but we're really looking to spend some time in areas on this trip, as Sarah said. We've not done much in Southern Europe yet, so that's the primary focus of our planning, but we're open to all options.

Posted by
485 posts

Sarah, I thought that Spain with its economic issues was fairly inexpensive. And there are cruise lines like Oceania and Azamara that are destination-focused and that have cruises as short as seven days. But they are not inexpensive.

Posted by
3050 posts

Yeah, the smaller cruises with more time in port is something we'd considered and would like to do one day, but right now we'd rather not spend all our savings on a vacation. Spain's economic woes do not seem to have reduced prices in the main tourist areas, unfortunately. Barcelona is still relatively expensive compared to Greece, Turkey, and Eastern Europe. But if we can find a good deal on apartments we may consider it anyway, I really do love Spanish food and want to see more of the country.

Posted by
10395 posts

I rented a 2 bedroom apartment in Barcelona in the Sagrada Familia area last September for 95€ a night. Let me know if you would like the info about it.

Posted by
1003 posts

How about Portugal? Lisbon is fantastic and as far as European capitals go, very inexpensive. And there are lots of nice beaches. And I think it satisfies your other requirements - Portuguese cuisine is underrated in my opinion (very fresh and flavorful), good wine, certainly amazing history/scenery/museums/sights/architecture, and beaches galore.

Posted by
3050 posts

Debra - that is a great suggestion. I don't know much about Portugal but it was on my radar previously, I don't know why I forgot about it now. Everything I've heard about Portugal is fantastic. Will start pricing it out.

Posted by
3696 posts

You could do southern Spain and the southern Beach coast of Portugal. Beautiful area with great beach towns... not the little fishing villages I thought of when I was thinking about Portugal, but upscale beach locations and lots of hotels with wonderful amenities, and definitely not pricey.

Posted by
9363 posts

I stayed in seven different places on my recent trip to Spain and never paid more than 40 euro a night (for a single) in hostals and small hotels. Food was cheap, too, even in Madrid.

Posted by
3050 posts

Terry Kathryn - another great suggestion to combine southern Spain with Portugal. Once I narrow down locations I'm gonna be hounding y'all for hotel and restaurant recs, fair warning!

Posted by
2145 posts

Have you been to Croatia & Montenegro? You could spend one week in or near Dubrovnik, taking day trips to nearby islands. And then you could drive/bus to Montenegro, maybe one night in Kotor and the remainder in Budva. Great sandy beach south of town (area called Becici ... Google it). We found great, inexpensive food and lodging there and the most gorgeous scenery! Good hiking too.

Posted by
11294 posts

Just a warning: If you want to combine southern Spain with Portugal (and I agree Portugal sounds ideal given your wish list), be sure to check the transit connections BEFORE you make any other plans. I've seen several threads here about how difficult it is to connect Spain to Portugal; almost no trains, few buses, and high drop off charges if you rent a car in one country and leave it in another. It can be done, of course, but you can't assume that you can get between places without checking first.

Posted by
3696 posts

Two more options for you.... Romania..really reasonable and great food and people. We found a great beach just north of Constanza, but from what I read there are lots more just to the south and might be worth investigating.
Also, if you go to Athens you don't have to go to an island for a great beach...just take the bus to Nafplio. It is a beautiful town with wonderful restaurants and fun shopping and also a great stone walkway that goes around the water and leads to an incredible beach. I would choose this over all the other places if you want a unique adventure.