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Old 02-23-2008, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default Backpacking Madrid or Barcelona? Rome or Milan?

Which two would you pick? I'm leaning towards Madrid over Barcelona because it has 2 great daytrip cities within reach I think look interesting.

I want to do Rome, but surprisingly my brother thinks Rome would be "boring". On the other hand, I think Milan would be boring, so we're stuck on this one.
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:14 PM   #2
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Why must you pick only one?

If you HAD to choose I would vote:

Barcelona - think of Madrid as DC and Barcelona as New York. (Or, Madrid as Ottawa and Barcelona as Toronto). Basically Barcelona is bigger, livlier and more colourful.
All that being said, Madrid is still my favorite city in Europe.

Rome - never been to Milan, but how could Rome be "boring"? I guess it could be boring if you don't like history, partying or culture... but then why would you go backpacking in the first place? And besides, Vatican City is there... and even if you're not religious, Vatican City has some trippy stuff... all those optical illusions in St. Peters. I swear Michaelangelo (or whoever) must have been smoking something when he got the idea for that.
That being said, I wasn't really impressed with Rome - but mostly because my hostel was all the way in the burbs near Termini station.

Hope it helps
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Bacon View Post
Why must you pick only one?

If you HAD to choose I would vote:

Barcelona - think of Madrid as DC and Barcelona as New York. (Or, Madrid as Ottawa and Barcelona as Toronto). Basically Barcelona is bigger, livlier and more colourful.
All that being said, Madrid is still my favorite city in Europe.

Rome - never been to Milan, but how could Rome be "boring"? I guess it could be boring if you don't like history, partying or culture... but then why would you go backpacking in the first place? And besides, Vatican City is there... and even if you're not religious, Vatican City has some trippy stuff... all those optical illusions in St. Peters. I swear Michaelangelo (or whoever) must have been smoking something when he got the idea for that.
That being said, I wasn't really impressed with Rome - but mostly because my hostel was all the way in the burbs near Termini station.

Hope it helps
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Why must you pick only one?
I'm only going to europe for 3 weeks so I don't have that much time. That being said, if the high speed train linking barcelona and madrid is complete in March (which it's supposed to be), I can do both of them.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:07 AM   #4
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I am not sure if Eurail covers that AVE Barca-Madrid train or not but if it does GET THE PASS! The ticket is 120 Euros...ONE WAY! The local spanish newspaper in Marbella had a cartoon about a family that traveled roundtrip from Madrid to Barcelona but didn't have enough money to leave the station :D

While I prefer trains, with that price, I would line up a cheap Spanair flight, personally

Edit: I just read an El Pais article that said by your summer visit they hope to have a 47 euro ticket if you book 15 days in advance using the web.

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Old 02-24-2008, 03:40 AM   #5
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Well, I'll be hitting up Madrid and Barcelona in about two weeks, so I'll let you know my thoughts after.

And Rome, boring?? I had an amazing three-day weekend in Rome and loved every part of it, and my hostel was out in the 'burbs near Termini as well. Didn't stop us from walking everywhere in the city, and we took a daytrip out to Tivoli to see the Villa d'Este and Villa Adriana as well, which were beautiful.

I haven't made it to Milan and don't know if I will, but my host mom keeps telling me I have to go there as well.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:23 PM   #6
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I'm planning on going to Spain this summer, and I was talking to one of my friends who has been to Spain a couple times and he recommends Barcelona over Madrid. He also likes the southern cities as well (Sevilla, Granada, etc.). I'm planning on starting out my trip in Barcelona and making my way to some of those cities he has recommended. I wish I could offer more first hand advice, but I trust my friend's advice.
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:14 AM   #7
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barcelona all the way, pretty damn awesome city! great night life, awsum things to see, a beach, just a great culture all round!
i was grieving pretty bad in rome but still thought it was a pretty special city, well worth visiting!
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:34 PM   #8
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As a city, Barcelona is better than Madrid. However, you're right about the day trips from Madrid. I loved Segovia and Toledo. Otherwise, I thought Madrid the least impressive Spanish city I visited. As for Italia, how can you NOT choose Rome? So much history, so much art, it is truly a world class site -- one of those things all travelers must see. As for Milan, well, it's a big Italian city...and that's about it, IMO...

Good luck on your decision!

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Old 02-27-2008, 08:32 PM   #9
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As for Italia, how can you NOT choose Rome?
Most hostels are way outside of Rome and the ones located inside of Rome either suck or are very expensive.

But, that probably wouldn't stop me from going. I would definitely prefer it to Milan.

Oh and another plus to Milan is that we're going into Switzerland next and it's right there. Rome would require buying another flight or a long-ass train ride.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:56 AM   #10
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I can't talk about spain, but I would definitely suggest Rome over Milan. the best thing Milan has going for it is the luxury shopping and lets face it, that aint on any backpacker's itinerary. anyway these days all those designers have stores in every country that look pretty much the same. the duomo is lovely and the last supper is there but apart from that, Rome kicks its ass. and I didn't even like rome all that much so thats saying something!
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:40 AM   #11
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Just in case you did desperately want to see the last supper in Milan, I think it's booked up for the next half-year so don't count too heavily on getting in.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
it's a big Italian city...and that's about it, IMO...
I second that. Of cities to see in Italy, Milan is way down the list in my book. I would not make it a special destination. I spent a couple of days there and it was fine, the Duomo is nice but overall it is ho-hum. See Rome. No question about it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:43 PM   #13
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This is a bit different than the title question, but what about somewhere just generally in northern italy that isn't Milan? As much as I wouldn't mind doing Rome it would just be more convenient to go somewhere north.

I was thinking Verona (with a daytrip to venice), but are there any others?
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Old 02-28-2008, 05:35 PM   #14
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Jaime and a few others have spoken highly of Bologna. The Smart Travels episode looked really nice! Rome is not negotiable you HAVE to go.

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Old 02-28-2008, 05:46 PM   #15
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Si, I really wouldn't recommend missing out on Rome. Venice was nice, and Florence is pretty damn sweet as well...but couldn't you fly in to Rome from Barcelona or wherever you'll be in Spain and work your way up from Rome? It's only 2 hours on the Eurail from Rome to Florence..and then not too far from Switzerland.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:42 PM   #16
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Easy jet offers;

Madrid > Milan/Rome

Barcelona > Milan


So basically if I go to Rome I have to choose Madrid over Barcelona. And from the forum it seems Barcelona is a better choice.
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Old 02-29-2008, 03:05 AM   #17
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Why limit your airlines to easyjet only? I just checked skyscanner.net and you can fly from Barcelona to Rome almost any day in May for a total of 20 to 25 Euros...
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Old 02-29-2008, 02:59 PM   #18
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Oh snap I haven't even used skyscanner before. Thanks!
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:08 PM   #19
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Rome is one of my favorite cities.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:20 PM   #20
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They say usually in mid-may they open all monuments, museums, ect. free of charge but I don't know what exact dates they are.

It would be sweet to know because i'll be there in May.
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