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Old 01-31-2006, 03:16 PM   #1
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Does anyone have an opinion? Should I pick Spain focus or Italy focus? I am thinking about doing a tour thru Contiki since I am kinda scared of traveling alone. I am a blonde, very white female and my family basically thinks I am crazy to consider traveling alone & trying to meet people in hostels.
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:29 PM   #2
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I haven't really explored Spain to tell you the real pros and cons of it. Italy will have more natives who can speak English. I persoanlly liek the hsitory, art and monuments scattered through out Italy. There are tons of cities to really get emeressed in.

It would be easier to bounce around in Spain because of its geographical lay out. Itlay will more or less reguire you to start at the top or bottom and work in a semi-linear path. But thats assuming you were trying to conserve traveling time and spend more time in the cities than traveling.

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Old 01-31-2006, 03:51 PM   #3
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Which are you more interested in in terms of seeing sites? Do you speak either language? They are both beautiful, amazing food, etc...

And I say prove your family wrong; do it on your own. You WILL meet tons of people...
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:18 AM   #4
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I can't really help you to choose which country would be better to see but I'm also planning to go backing alone next month. Its my first time travelling so my family were pretty freaked out but now they've warmed to they idea and I'm so excited. You should definately do your own thing!!
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:38 PM   #5
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No question about it: SPAIN!

My opinions are only from being in Madrid, Barcelona, Florence, Rome and Venice. are my reasons:

1) beer is cheaper in Spain...they practically give it out! (as are smokes)
2) yes, Italians may speak better english, but I personally found the Spanish friendlier and more likely to talk and hang out with foreigners (unless you're a girl, then I'm sure Italians guys will be "talking" to you a lot)
3) Spain's buildings are more colourful, and therefore, happier
4) Spanish girls are much hotter (sorry girls, I didn't really check out the dudes)
5) In Italy, you're more likely to be run over my a moped/vespa
6) In Spain, people don't walk- they casually stroll everywhere, which makes me feel relaxed
7) better parties in Spain

so those are my un-objective reasons...but then again, I think Madrid is the greatest city on Earth, and I nearly cried when my train crossed over into France.
But that's my two cents

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Old 02-01-2006, 09:45 PM   #6
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It sounds like some of your concerns are safety-related. People had me worried about the whole being blonde thing, but I never felt uncomfortable. I love both countries, but it depends what you're interested in. Italy probably has a bit more of everything, although Barcelona is one of my favorite cities!
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:27 AM   #7
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You'll meet plenty of other travellers, won't be alone and will survive! I would recommend Spain but that's because I didn't get to spend the amount of time I wanted to in Italy so couldn't appreciate it fully.

I love the nightlife, weather and beautiful women (not sure if that helps) of Spain... Ahh Spain...


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Old 02-02-2006, 07:59 AM   #8
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My favorite country is Italy, having been there 3 times. I love Spain, too, but I think Italy has it beat in:

- Better food (Spanish cuisine is almost a misnomer...worst in the Med)
- Better archeological sights (Pompeii/Herculenaeum, Rome, Paestum)
- As others have said, more English speakers

On the other hand Spain has Italy beat in:
- Better Partying
- Less Touristy
- Better beaches

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Old 02-25-2006, 03:06 PM   #9
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I just wanted to say that I really hated the Contiki tour I went on last summer. My friend and I were in Europe for 5 weeks and for about 2 of those weeks we were on the Contiki tour. It took us to a bunch of places (7 countries in 12 days) but I really don't feel like I saw them properly. It was far too rushed and structured for my taste. We had a waaaaaaaay better time when we were travelling on our own in hostels because we had more freedom (and we spent much less money). A lot of people on my tour had a great time though, so I guess it's all a matter of preference. And also, I love Italy and I'm going back. I haven't been to Spain, but it's next on the list.
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Old 02-27-2006, 06:47 PM   #10
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They are both great countries so you should probably go with the one that you romanticize the most. That being said, I know Ive had tons more fun in Spain than Italy, but like UrOzmate, Ive spent more time there. As others have said, Spain is much cheaper in everything you wil buy and has better beach life. But Italy has prettier countryside (Spain is pretty arid) and definitey has better food. But again, Spain is a lot less crowded and much easier to travel around. Italy has more culture and history, but Spain is more laid back and carefree. It really depends on what matters to you.
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:06 AM   #11
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If this is your first time in Europe, no doubt, Italy. That said, Spain is my favorite country (I also saw more of it) but there is no place like Rome

If you can, try both. If you are on more of a budget, Spain is cheaper. Both countries are friendly (I give the edge to the Spanish).

However, if you are away from home for the first time in a big city, read up on the pickpocket/travel scams so you don't get everything taken from you. Rome is bad for that. If you land in Rome (providing you go that route rather than Spain), I wouldn't recommend staying there your first few nights, instead head to Florence which is smaller, safer, and less insane. From there you can probe, Venice (one day is fine, though being a girl, the shopping may make you stay two days) and Pisa (30 minutes away). FWIW, if you choose Spain and fly to Barcelona, do the same don't make that your first city in Europe with the jet lag etc.

Rome needs 3 days minimum and from there you can go to Naples (I have heard Naples can be a bit more dangerous though I felt relatively safe...I also left early in the evening)


Something you be aware of, train stations, bus stations etc. are usually not the best areas, particularly after dark. While being a woman puts you at a slightly elevated risk, once in the hostels, you will meet great people and groups going out, even of girls, is almost always safe. Naturally be alert and don't get too intoxicated (same rules apply in the US). Oh and if at all possible, arrive at new cities during the day, finding anything can be exponentially tougher at night.
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:14 AM   #12
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Italy ALL THE WAY!!! There's so many more ruins and amazing sights to see, and it has a lot more variety for a country. Sure the people dont have as much original fashion sense but w/e definitely go with italy for the 1st time. There's Cinque terre, Venice, Rome (which was by far the best big city I stayed in) florence, etc etc. That's my 2 cents.

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Old 04-21-2006, 06:59 AM   #13
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Old 04-21-2006, 08:30 AM   #14
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First off, let me say that I was in Europe in the offseason (winter) when I went. The weather in Spain was a lot nicer than when I was in Italy, so I'm sure that biased my view quite a bit.

That said, I definitely would recommend Spain. It's cheaper, it's easier to get around in, and I found the people friendlier. In addition, while touring around Spain, it's really easy to include beautiful little Portugal in your trip.

It also really depends on what you are interested in. Museums? Partying? Hiking? Culture? Small towns? Big cities?
Let there be adventure.
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