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Barcelona to Rome? First timers in Europe

Hi everyone!

Looking for some advice on our first trip to Europe in September 2019. As of now, plan is to do an open jaw trip between Barcelona and Rome over about 10-11 days. These are our top 2 cities we want to see. I am coming here to get advice on where to go in between. I understand that travel is time consuming, BUT I definitely don't see myself being able to go to Europe yearly so we want to take in as much as we can in the little time we have. We're young and will keep pushing no matter how tired we may be, lol!

Where would you go in between? Initial thoughts were stop over in Nice, Florence and then on to Rome. After looking at travel between Barcelona and Nice it looks like flying would be the easiest option so this has me thinking.. could we just fly somewhere else? Is Brussels way too far off the map? How do you like Zurich, Munich, Paris? Open to any recommendations. We enjoy culture, FOOD, wine, and beer. I really just want to immerse in the culture and see as much as we can.

Posted by
243 posts

I want to be clear. You are flying from the US to Barcelona and returning to the US from Rome. Given this info, I would spend 3-4 nights in Barcelona and fly to Rome and spend the rest of your time in Rome and in the surrounding area of Amalfi or Umbria. All the other cities you mention are quite a bit away from both Rome and Barcelona and you will spend most of your precious vacation time in airports traveling. Enjoy.

Posted by
139 posts

It's 850 miles from Barcelona to Rome. That's actually an amazing route, but probably way too much for a 10-11 day trip.

Similar to Boston to Charlotte. (which also be a rewarding trip). To add Paris or Munich would be like adding Chicago or Nashville to your Boston-Charlotte itinerary.

The suggestion to fly from Barcelona to Rome and stick to these two areas should be strongly considered.

Posted by
250 posts

For 11 days you can set up the Itinerary like this:

Barcelona – 4 days

Day trip options - Montserrat, Figueres, or Girona

Fly to Florence from Barcelona

Florence – 3 days

Day trip options - Sienna and Lucca

Take train from Florence to Rome

Rome - 4 days

Day trip options Orvieto or Ostia Antrica

Posted by
409 posts

Well, I would recommend a minimum of 4 nights each, for both Barcelona and Roma, they are very sight rich cities with many of the top sights requiring timed tickets, not to mention all the day trips one can do from these cities. So with only 10 nights available, that leaves 2 nights somewhere else, which is not too much time. Personally I would not try to cram in another city with your already limited time. I would recommend this:

Fly in to Barcelona
Barcelona (5 nights)
-Day trip to Girona
-Day trip to Montserrat Monastery
Fly to Roma
Roma (5 nights)
-Day trip to Ostia Antica
Fly out of Roma

Posted by
1153 posts

Another option is to take the overnight ferry from Barcelona to Rome and not waste a day flying!

Posted by
11504 posts

It's cool that there is ferry service between Barcelona and Rome, but the travel time is 20 to 21 hours, so you lose a day in transit.

Posted by
18546 posts

With 10 days you really don't have time for more than three stops -- and I would prefer only two. And you have a choice -- do a drive by where you hit a lot of place lightly (kind of what you are currently proposing) or hit a couple place hard and save the other ones for a later trip. We find the latter approach more relaxing. You could consider Barcelona, Florence, and Rome. You should look at three legged flight -- to Barcelona, Florence, and home from Rome. Train between Florence and Rome.

Posted by
60 posts

In April 2018 we took our first trip to Europe and visited Barcelona for a few days before flying to Rome to begin the RS Heart of Italy tour. We decided - after much research - to fly Ryan Air between the two. The flight is only about 90 minutes, cost around $60 US each, and there were many times to choose from. We found that we needed at least three days in a place to finally feel like we were "there" and absorb the culture of the area. I agree with the posters above that focussing on just the two cities, with a possible day trip from each, will give you a richer experience. Otherwise what you will immerse yourself in is the travel from place to place.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you to every one for your advice! I think we will stick with the Barcelona, Florence, Rome idea. Is there more to see/do in Florence vs. Nice/Monaco? We were looking into maybe exploring a bit of the wine country in Tuscany. Where is the best place to stay if we wanted to do this?

Posted by
1545 posts

It may just be personal preference, but I'd rather spend 3 days in Florence than Nice/Monaco. Just seeing all the sights in Florence can easily eat up all 3 days. Plus you have Pisa, Lucca, and Sienna all easily doable as day trips. You can check online for bus day tours from Florence to Tuscan wineries.

Posted by
18546 posts

When you get to Florence hit the local TI just off the city square. They will a provide a number of options for wine tours. Pay the extra price and go with a small van tour and not a bus tour. Big buses cannot get to some of the small wineries.

Posted by
68 posts

It looks like you are leaning towards a stop in Florence and Tuscany instead of Nice/Monaco... and that would be my choice as well. While there will be defenders of Nice and Monaco, I did not really enjoy Monaco, and Nice left me lukewarm. However, I have visited Florence twice, and the Val d'Orcia area of Tuscany once-for a week-, and without a once of hesitation I can say that I adored Tuscany and I want to go back.

You say you want fast paced and that you will sleep when come back home. So what about:

Day 1: leave USA

Day 2 land in Barcelona. 2 nights in Barcelona.

Day 4: fly to direct to Florence. (find a cheap one way on skyscanner.com, take an early flight; random day in June shows that it cost 40$) Night in Florence.

Day 5: rent car: explore Tuscany; spend night in an agriturismo or village in Val d'Orcia in Tuscany (Pienza, Montepulciano) or like this one: https://www.lafoce.com/en/
OR bus to Siena, night in Siena.
OR day trip from Florence with a group (tripadvisor) or a private driver.

Day 6: more Tuscany

Day 7: train into Rome. Stop in Orvieto if you want. Night in Rome

Day 8-9: days and nights in Rome

Day 10th: fly out

Posted by
11774 posts

Ryanair and Vueling both fly from Barcelona to Bologna. That is the place for FOOD. Only Vueling flies to Florence. You could spend a couple nights in Bologna, then either spend a day in Florence on the way to Rome or stay overnight to see more.

Posted by
6 posts

You guys all have great recommendations! So many day trip options from Florence.

I think we will land 9/22 in Barcelona and do 3/4 nights, then fly to Florence for 3 nights and do day trips from here (Tuscany, Bologna, Lucca, Pisa) Will likely pick 2 and decide after some more research. Lastly will be train to Rome for 3/4 nights. Now if only flights were $1300 round trip, but worth it to see this dream of ours!

Posted by
11504 posts

Three nights in Barcelona at the beginning of your trip would give you only two real days of sightseeing. (I don't count the jetlagged/sleep-deprived arrival day.) I urge you to read the Barcelona chapter of a current guidebook and make a list of what you want to see. Keep in mind that there are many sights in Barcelona for which you'll need to buy tickets (probably timed tickets) in advance to avoid lines of an hour or more and possible sell-outs. I believe you will come to the conclusion that a short visit to Barcelona can be very frustrating. These are the problem sights I'm aware of: La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Mila/La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Palau de la Music Catalana and the Picasso Museum. Those are by no means the only top-class sights in the city, just the ones for which you'll probably need to tie yourself down to specific entry times.

Edited to add: I don't mean to imply that you must (or should) go to all six of the listed sights. You should see what you want to see. But from reading a lot of questions about Barcelona on this forum, I know that many visitors want to see all those places, and virtually everyone wants to see at least 4 or 5 of them. Plus the Barri Gotic, Montjuic (Magic Fountains, Miro Museum, MNAC), the Cathedral, La Boqueria market...

Posted by
68 posts

your flights to Europe for 1300$ round trip seems high for me... do you mind telling us which airport you are flying from? Maybe we can find cheaper flights.

Posted by
250 posts

I think your trip can be successful in this order of the itinerary with the number of days to spend in each city.

Barcelona 4 days - Florence 3 days - Rome 4 days (with a few day trips from each cities) = 11 days trip

Posted by
6 posts

we will be flying out from St.Louis. Playing with dates now to see what can do to make it cheaper but avoiding the 12 hours layover are worth an extra $100 to me. It all looks like a good price until United pulls the basic economy rules and you don't get to bring a carry on without paying extra!