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Old 01-23-2018, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Illinois
989 posts, read 595,645 times
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Traveling to one of these places in July of 2018. Family of 5, "kids" will all be over 18.

We have 6 full days/nights. None of us have ever been to any of these places. I've been to the UK once. That's it. Mixed race family. I'd describe us as humble and respectful, but distinctly American, inexperienced international travelers (lots of domestic travel), and we only speak English (aside from a tiny bit of Spanish).

I've done some research. A bit skittish about how crowded it may be in Barcelona in July and what I've heard is growing anti-tourist feelings there. But absent that, it would be our first choice.

I mention both Rome and Florence because I see there is train service between the cities, and spending 3 nights in each could allow us to diversify a bit. Have always wanted to see Florence in particular. However, I've heard it is very hot in those cities in July. Also, we know ZERO Italian.

Lisbon is just more unknown. From what I've seen on TV, etc., it seems poorer, grittier, and smaller than the other options, but also very beautiful. I am actually 50% Portuguese by heritage, but have no connection to the culture or language. And the flights aren't as good. The day trip options look quite good, so we could move around.

Would rather not rent a car if possible. Prefer to use trains/buses or cabs. One exception may be Rome/Florence, where we may want to rent a car for one day to see the coast.

Very much struggling with this decision on where to go. Looking for some guidance. Hoping this doesn't devolve into a fight between locals of these places....but a good discussion of advantages and disadvantages.

Thank you.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,664 posts, read 6,487,596 times
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Tough choices!!!

My vote is Lisbon, would almost certainly be less crowded than the other options. I've been to Lisbon and absolutely loved it.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:30 AM
 
2,143 posts, read 3,559,991 times
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Regarding the language, you don't need to be fluent but out of respect, you should probably learn a few words here and there. Just my two cents.

As for your choices, it's tough...Lisbon is definitely a bit grittier, I wouldn't say dirtier but it's definitely less polished. It's arguably also cheaper and it's beautiful. It's a humble country for sure.

If you're going to do some of Spain, you definitely need more than 6 days. It just doesn't make sense to stay in Barcelona for 6 full days and then that's it.

So my pick would be Rome/Florence, it's easier to get between the two cities without much hassle and less of a headache since your kids will be 18. It can also be more "packed", you can do the Vatican, Duomo, it would be 6 extremely busy days and I think that's what you're probably looking for.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:43 AM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,020 posts, read 1,038,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmanshouse View Post
Traveling to one of these places in July of 2018. Family of 5, "kids" will all be over 18.

We have 6 full days/nights. None of us have ever been to any of these places. I've been to the UK once. That's it. Mixed race family. I'd describe us as humble and respectful, but distinctly American, inexperienced international travelers (lots of domestic travel), and we only speak English (aside from a tiny bit of Spanish).

I've done some research. A bit skittish about how crowded it may be in Barcelona in July and what I've heard is growing anti-tourist feelings there. But absent that, it would be our first choice.

I mention both Rome and Florence because I see there is train service between the cities, and spending 3 nights in each could allow us to diversify a bit. Have always wanted to see Florence in particular. However, I've heard it is very hot in those cities in July. Also, we know ZERO Italian.

Lisbon is just more unknown. From what I've seen on TV, etc., it seems poorer, grittier, and smaller than the other options, but also very beautiful. I am actually 50% Portuguese by heritage, but have no connection to the culture or language. And the flights aren't as good. The day trip options look quite good, so we could move around.

Would rather not rent a car if possible. Prefer to use trains/buses or cabs. One exception may be Rome/Florence, where we may want to rent a car for one day to see the coast.

Very much struggling with this decision on where to go. Looking for some guidance. Hoping this doesn't devolve into a fight between locals of these places....but a good discussion of advantages and disadvantages.

Thank you.
My guess is that Lisbon and surrounding area would be the least "touristed" at that time of year of the 4 cities you mentioned (and, therefore, the most manageable for anyone who isn't entirely familiar with foreign travel). Ideally, I'd combine it and Barcelona. You could easily spend 6 days in Barcelona - lots of stuff to do, but ... many people contending for the same attractions (I was there in September and naively thought I could just walk up and buy a ticket for Sagrada and other big-draw items. No way. So plan ahead.) Barcelona has an excellent transit system - no need at all for a car.

But the thing about these multiple city trips is that even if you're going by plane (v. high-speed rail), you're going to chew up a good portion of a day just getting from place to place. So if you're twitchy about possible anti-tourist sentiment in Barcelona (or the political climate) and want to best utilize your time, your best option might be the single location, "Lisbon+" scenario (go up the coast to Porto, Santiago de Compostela, etc. etc.).
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Illinois
989 posts, read 595,645 times
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Good comments so far. We are not looking to be tired from the vacation. Would like to sight-see for sure, but also want to be relaxed. Hustle/bustle the whole time isn't what we are looking for.

So taking one city and doing a couple of day trips, meandering and taking our time is more what we want.

If there are other cities better suited for this, I'm open for suggestions. We have ruled out Paris, Dublin, Scandinavia, and Germany.

Flights to Prague are too expensive for out budget.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:16 AM
 
2,143 posts, read 3,559,991 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmanshouse View Post
Good comments so far. We are not looking to be tired from the vacation. Would like to sight-see for sure, but also want to be relaxed. Hustle/bustle the whole time isn't what we are looking for.

So taking one city and doing a couple of day trips, meandering and taking our time is more what we want.

If there are other cities better suited for this, I'm open for suggestions. We have ruled out Paris, Dublin, Scandinavia, and Germany.

Flights to Prague are too expensive for out budget.

Any reason why you're ruling out Paris, because as a first time family trip, that's probably where I'd go. It's cheap to get there, and you can literally do day trips to Brussels, Amsterdam or stay local-ish by going to Versailles, Normandy, etc.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:46 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,910 posts, read 1,589,162 times
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Italy: 4 days-Rome/2 days-Florence; Height of season - very crowded & long lines for all major sites, hot & humid, probably the most expensive choice; great, great food; amazing sights & art & history; english widely spoken; need to set up most "must see" places in advance with online reservations & keep to schedule because of crowds then; easy train Rome-Florence. Rome perhaps my favorite city in the world & an absolute "must see" sometime for any traveler.

Barcelona: also crowded & hot, perhaps less than IT; cheaper too; amazing walking city with good food & drink; 1 week good amount of time for initial visit - Rome/Florence in 1 week is rushed imo; very politically unstable now, no one knows what will happen or how it will be expressed in streets (demos, riots, strikes, just political moves... ?) Everybody seems to love Barcelona.

Lisbon: 1 week good amount of time, could include Porto, Cascais or Silver Coast day, but definitely include Sintra; cheapest & least crowded of the 3 choices; reminds me of a Mediterranean San Francisco, it's a surprise pleasure to "discover" things; very good but simpler food- seafood, terrific wine, cafes; English widely spoken; warm also but not as hot as the above 2 & not quite as humid

Lisbon is currently my "favorite" destination & I'm planning a return trip soon, also to Porto this time, after a wonderful week last year. But Rome is a must see kind of place, I would pick the off season myself, but if you have only one chance to go take it... but if you will plan another trip sometime go off season to Rome/Florence. Lisbon will be less crowded & is a particularly youthful city I found, your 20-somethings will love the bars in Barrio Alto & you will like the $$$ saved for a Euro vacation & not having to hassle with huge lines everywhere. Plus you will have "discovered" a place before the big rush of tourism which is starting there.

So Italy for the once in a lifetime trip, or Lisbon/Sintra for the less hassled & family-oriented cheaper trip I guess is my advice.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:01 AM
 
1,179 posts, read 479,141 times
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If you go to Italy, am thinking 3 days in each would work best. There's so much great stuff to see in both cities. Also, one advantage to choosing Rome/Florence over Barcelona/Lisbon would be the travel time between the two, which is much less for the two Italian cities.

Some Rome/Florence suggestions (from an earlier post on the subject):

A great gelato place in Florence is Vivoli. In Rome, try Tre Scalini and if you like chocolate, get the "tartufo."

For Rome, spend one day at the Vatican. See St. Peter's and the Vatican Museum. Spend a second day at the Forum and Coliseum, and include the nearby Capitoline Museums (fine sculpture collection). Include the Pantheon in one of these two days. A third day could be one of the day trips, or consider the Etruscan Museum, Borghese Gallery (was being renovated when I went, so didn't see this, and get tickets ahead of time), or some of the pilgrimage churches like the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria in Trastavere, or San Pietro in Vincoli.

For Florence, go to museums, especially the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, Galleria dell'Accademia, San Marco, and Il Bargello. Check to see if you can get timed tickets ahead for any of them. Definitely include the Medici Chapels. For churches, the Duomo is a must, and also consider ones like the Basilica de Santa Croce and Basilica di San Lorenzo. If you're big on shopping, the city is known for leather goods like coats, purses, etc.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:06 AM
 
Location: North State (California)
39,626 posts, read 2,991,249 times
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six days is best spent, in one city, losing a day in travel is no fun.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:22 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,592 posts, read 39,962,822 times
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For 6 days...
Consider the 'Other options' (outside of big cities) and just do an intensive Day in each big city (starting pre-dawn to avoid transit crowds, lasting well past dark) You can get in a LOT of city sites (monuments / parks / Piers / farmers markets / street markets, before the 'building / gated events' open, and after they close.

Take night trains between cities so you do not burn daylight traveling.

Italy has many great venues and terrain / activities / history / coastal cities and good infrastructure.

Lisbon was not my favorite and quite crowded too. Portugal is pretty spread out to see much of it, but there is plenty to see.

I would determine the interests / objectives of those attending, but if kids above age 18, they may have Italy expectations and be disappointed in Portugal (which deserves more time to imbed into local culture, villages, and people).

Where-ever you go... do your research and set your plans up front, cuz 6 days will go by very quickly. .
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