We are planning our first trip to europe in July and land in Madrid. Our plan is to cover Madrid, Barcelona and Munich for sure and possibly another city in 15 days.
Does this sound too ambitious?
Also, how many days in Madrid would you recommend given the 15 day constraint.
First of all, this trip is NOT too ambitious. It's more than reasonable! With that in mind, I'd like to make a few suggestions.
My first suggestion is to fly an "open jaws" route. That is, fly into, and out of different cities. The cost is comparable to what half of each round trip fair from the cities in question. Doing this makes you journey more linear, and eliminates the need to backtrack. I always do this.
My next suggestion is to take an overnight train from Madrid to Barcelona. doing this has several advantages. First, it saves on the cost of a hotel room. Secondly, you'll wake up in a new city. This essentially gives you an additional day of sight seeing. I'd take that over a day in transit any day! Finally, don't worry about missing the scenery by traveling at night, it isn't as grand as you may imagine. In fact, this is what I did on my first trip to Spain. Arriving in Madrid, I checked my bag in a locker and headed over to the Prado.
Finally, if you're going to visit Munich (or any city outside of Spain) as part of you journey, consider flying to that destination. I'm a big train fan, myself. However, sometimes it just doesn't make sense. This is one of those times. To travel from Barcelona to Munich by train will take about fourteen hours, require three of four train changes, and will cost approximately $133. On the other hand, you can fly from Barcelona to Munich, non-stop, in just over two hours for $103.
To address you other question; you can see most of what Madrid has to offer in about four days. And that's without racing about like a mad person.
Hi Charles! I don't think it's too ambitious, luckily Madrid is a city where almost every sight is close to each other so in 3 days you can get a great general idea of the city. It's a bit different with Barcelona, so probably I would spend a day more there. A week for Spain would be nice :) Then, I would recommend you to visit Salzburg, which is quite close to Munich and it's a lovely city. Have fun and enjoy your time here!
I think 15 days in Europe is plenty for the destinations you have selected. As Crystal has suggested, you can probably fit a lot more into your itinerary.
We spent three days in Madrid last year and we loved it. In four days you can easily fit in a day trip to Toledo or similar. For the best things to see and do in Madrid, check out my blog: http://www.neverendinghoneymoon.net/madrid/
I'm so excited for your first trip to Europe! You are going to have a great time. I would say visiting four cities in 15 day is not too ambitious. That means you will be spending 3-4 days in each city. I think it is enough time to enjoy each city and not feel too rushed, but you can always just do three cities if you really want to take your time. On the other hand you may want to see more places with your short time on the continent. It's really a matter of preference.
I would like to point out that Munich and Spain are a fair distance apart, which isn't a bad thing. It would be advisable to fly from Barcelona or Madrid to Munich to maximize your time.
I will provide a sample itinerary for you. Keep in mind I don't know your interests or budget, so this is more to help put your holiday into focus and to give you a baseline to modify. This is similar to how I would do go about it if I were going on this trip myself. Each destination has three nights with an optional day trip, and I will try to offer some variety so it's not all cathedral, museum, repeat.
Day 1: Arrive in Madrid. Check in to your accommodation and adjust to the time difference. Explore by foot to get oriented.
Day 2: Sight-see in Madrid
Day 3: Take a day trip to Cuenca (Spain) to see the cliff side houses. The whole town is within a medieval fortress. It will take about an hour to get here by high speed train.
Day 4: Take a train to Barcelona which will take about 2.5 hours.
Day 5: Sight-see in Barcelona
Day 6: Spend the day a one hour train ride away in Tarragona. This will be your best opportunity on the itinerary to take in the sights of some Roman ruins.
Day 7: Fly to Zurich. I chose to add Zurich to your itinerary to add a different country and culture to the itinerary, as well as a scenic train ride to Munich.
Day 8: Sight-seeing in Zurich
Day 9: Go to Lucerne for the day. It is also a one hour train ride away, and you will love the dramatic views of the Alps from there. You can enjoy the views from the cable car up Mt. Pilatus, or a steam boat on the lake, or just about anywhere in town. The small charming city is a complete departure from your other destinations and is all about nature and the quaintness of the old town.
Day 10: Hit the rails again, this time to Munich, which takes close to 4 hours.
Day 11: Sight-seeing in Munich.
Day 12: This time the day trip that I have for you is Schloss Herrenchiemsee. Again, it is within reach with an hour train from Munich. The Palace of Herrenchiemsee was a project of King Ludwig II, and was inspired by the French palace of Versailles. It is built on an island in the town's lake and has beautiful gardens.
Day 13: Train to Frankfurt. I choose Frankfurt because it is a great midsize city with lots of cultural options and great German architecture. The Museumsufer which is a collection of great museums along the Rhine River, and lined with large trees.
Day 14: Sight-seeing in Frankfurt.
Day 15: Fly home!
This is an itinerary that you could modify in a million different ways to really make it tailored to you. I encourage you to continue doing research. Feel free to write a comment below if you would like any clarification, or you can always post another question to Trippy.
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I really like Madrid and there's lots to see and do, if you like art, football and good food. It's an amazing city with a great, relaxed vibe and it is quite compact with good public transport, so I would allow about 4 days. Barcelona is worth another 3-4 days, Munich is nice and there are wonderful places to drive in Bavaria towards Lake Constance so, if you plan on seeing a bit of the Bavarian countryside you could allow 3-4 days there. So, you might have 5 days left! You could stay in Spain and see Seville (one of my favourite cities in the world) with a day trip to Grenada or stay closer to Munich and visit Prague which is a wonderful place!
Have a great time.
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I found Madrid a nice place to just hang out in, there aren't many must-see sights and the city centre is quite walkable. 3 days is about right I think, less if you're not bothered about the big museums. If you're there the second weekend of the month don't miss the El Mercado de Motores at the Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid, it's wonderful - a flea market with food stalls and (when we were there) an open air cinema. Watching Grease in Spanish with a beer and free popcorn was fun.
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