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4 days in Spain

I am planning my partner and I's first Europe trip. ๐ŸŽ‰
We have just under 6 weeks and want to see as much as possible this trip so we know where we will want to come back to. Our trip will be very food ๐Ÿฅ–๐Ÿท and culture focused and we want some real local experiences.
I am a little concerned we won't have enough time in Spain after reading everything there is to do ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I was thinking 2 days Madrid and 2 days Barcelona as we are flying home from Barcelona๐Ÿ’ƒ.
We will be using public transpprt ๐Ÿš‚ domestic flights โœˆ and a car in italy ๐Ÿš—
28.Aug.20 - 8.Oct.20
Our itinerary is
3d amsterdam
3d berlin
3d krakow
3d prague
4d munich
3d vienna
4d split
Next stint my in-laws are joining us as well
6d Greece
6d Italy
4d interlaken
6d paris and surrounds
Next stint just us again
4d portugal
4d spain
Should we shuffle things to have more time in Spain? This is the first big trip I have organised like this. I am about to start booking air bnbs but I want to make sure the length in each place is realistic before I lock everything in!
I really love Rick's podcasts (I'm from Australia) and this forum has been so helpful already!
Thank you in advance

Posted by
7088 posts

You have too many days in Munich. I would add that to Spain and Portugal or skip it altogether
I was in Madrid yesterday and Barcelona last weekend; both more appealing than Munich as far as food goes

Posted by
6855 posts

It's impossible to see all of Europe in one visit, however you're attempting to do it. You're going to put untold pressure upon yourself trying to navigate such a schedule, especially since you appear not to be a seasoned traveler.
I used to take 2 weeks and 3 weekends to travel as far and fast as my rental car could get me. But my trips were one big bluuuur. Going to Italy when gasoline was $9 a gallon brought me down to earth, and we now travel slower--and better.
You really should reconsider your whole itinerary--the truth.

Posted by
20872 posts

I'm afraid my reaction is the same as David's. I can't bring myself to pick apart the itinerary because it is so wildly compressed that I can't imagine tackling it--and I'm a highly experienced traveler who has spent a total of about 3 years in Europe since 1972. All those "3 days" are really just two full days and however many hours you have on the day you arrive in the city after getting settled in at your hotel and oriented. A lot of your transfers are going to be very time-consuming; many will be best by plane. How many times during your trip do you want to trek out to an airport, arriving two hours before scheduled departure time? You're going to spend way too much time sitting on planes, trains, buses and maybe ferries during this trip. People survive moving at this pace on trips of about two weeks, but trying to do it for six weeks is going to grind you down.

It looks like you're going to end up with a very rushed tour limited mostly to the largest, most touristy cities. They have a lot of important sights, but you'll experience more of the character of Europe if you allow some time in smaller places. You have time to do that if you rein in (sharply) the geographical extent of your trip.

What I recommend is thinking of this as one of two, or three, or four... major trips to Europe, each designed to let you focus on a part of the continent. Ask yourself what your #1 priority is--where would you go if you had just a week or so? What would be the #2 area? Get hold of detailed guidebooks to those countries or regions and decide what you want to see there. I think you'll quickly find that many of your time allocations are too short just for the cities you list, never mind other wonderful places that are a short train ride away.

Your physical outliers are Croatia (Split), Greece, Spain and Portugal. You have nowhere near enough days allotted in those places, so if they are not at the top your personal priority list and musts for this year, drop them.

I realize that dropping Greece may not be an option if your in-laws have already booked flights into that country. In that case, you need to do serious pruning elsewhere so you have more time for Greece. Six days in Greece is a crying shame. You'll need to fly from Greece to Italy if you don't opt for a slow ferry (assuming those still exist), and of course you'll want to spend some time in Athens. Athens has great classical sights and wonderful museums, but as a city it is mostly not terribly attractive, having grown like topsy (in an unattractive way) since the late 19th century. You won't have much time for the rest of the country after Athens, and a good chunk of it will be spent either on ferries to and from an island or dealing with airports.

Posted by
1281 posts

It all seems rather busy, but at least earlier you are planning by city. At the end you are have two countries for four days each (similar for Italy & Greece).

In practice you seem to leave Paris and eight or nine days later must be in Barcelona for your flight home. That's actually a reasonable "lump" of time if you split it between two Iberian cities, rather than countries. I don't know the flight options from Paris, but assuming they exist I would chose either Lisbon or Seville first and then from either go onto Barcelona. Both Lisbon and Seville will give you an interesting contrast of sights and food from what you've seen and eaten before. Personally, I'd opt for five days in Sevilla followed by three in Barcelona.

Posted by
5549 posts

Does the culture part of your travel focus include art museums ๐Ÿ–ผ? Madrid has some incredible art, but youโ€™ll have just been in Paris, which has a lot, too. And thereโ€™s no better place for Spanish ham ๐Ÿ– - jamon Iberico.

But on this trip, especially if Madrid's art isnโ€™t your main priority, and day trips to nearby Segovia and Toledo wonโ€™t fit on your schedule, Barcelona might be your best best for your Spain time. While the origins of flamenco ๐Ÿ’ƒ are down south, like in Seville, you can get Spanish culture in Barcelona, and Catalan culture, too. And incredible food!

Would you be catching a flight โœˆ๏ธ, possibly on Vueling Airlines, to get from Portugal to Spain? Itโ€™d be a long train ๐Ÿš‚ ride. Hope the terrible fire situation at home gets cleared up very, very soon.

Posted by
5345 posts

I can see that you want to see a lot on your trip, but sorry, your itinerary borders on ridiculous.

WAY too much travel. You can't do justice to Spain in 4 days. That won't even be enough for one city. Suggest eliminating Portugal and Spain for this trip and spend more time filling in other places on your tour.

Six days in Italy, geese, you could spend 6 days in Rome alone and not see it all. A good tour of just Rome, Florence and Venice would take two weeks.

You do have some plusses in your plan, like six days in Paris. Hopefully the strikes will be over then.

Also, you plan 3 days in Amsterdam then go to Berlin. Are you flying, that is a long trip by train.
You plan three days in the wonderful city of Krakow, but none elsewhere in Poland. Gdansk, Warsaw and a side trip to Auschwitz are recommended.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your honest feedback!
I really appreciate the time and effort you have all taken to reply, I love this forum. I will re look at my itinerary, I am taking off some locations and will be focussing on cities not countries. I am still going to keep it busy though, this might be our only trip to Europe (hopefully not) and we want to see as much as we can.
Cyn thank you for your kind words, I hope we have more rain in the next few weeks to help the situation!

Posted by
1246 posts

Even cutting out "some" cities you will still be creating memories of airports, train stations and travel stress. And while you may "see" alot I wonder what type of experiences you will create.
Slow down you move too fast, you got to make the moment last!

Posted by
20872 posts

You don't see more by going to more places unless you count the view through the window of a train, bus, car or plane.

Posted by
14796 posts

I reckon you have 41 nights on the ground in Europe (arriving Aug 29). That gives you 40 days total, since your last day, you'll be heading to the airport early (leaving the hotel around 4 hours before your flight). I count 23 days on your own, 22 days with the in-laws, another 8 on your own. That's not possible. You can't be in two places at once. Either there are mistakes in the itinerary you've presented or you are double-counting some days.

The first thing you need to do is count nights. 2 nights in a place gives you one full day there. 3N = 2 days. You will use (lose) about 1/2 day each time you change locations. You need to pack, check out, get to the train station (traffic, waiting for a bus or tram) with enough time to find your train and board, then get to your new accommodation and drop your luggage before you start sightseeing. You say air bnbs, this often means you have to coordinate a time to "check in" and that time may mean more lost hours on arrival day. Some of your destinations are so far apart that flying is a better option. That requires more time since train stations are usually in city centers and airports are pretty far away. Plus the extra lead time at the airport for pre-flight stuff and waiting at the luggage carousel on landing.