The best attractions in Spain, France and Italy with flights and Eurorail
Greetings! A trip across Europe sounds absolutely delightful! Here, I have given you insights into some of the best attractions within the countries you mentioned and also include information on transport and flights. Read on!
Paris Cafe (Source: Pat Guiney)
Da la bienvenida a España! Spain welcomes you! One of the most visually stunning countries in the world, the awe that it inspires comes not only from nature's extravaganza but also from the myriad of tastes, colours and fragrances that run a riot with one's senses.
Albarracín (XVI) (NO HDR) (Source: José Luis Mieza)
What can I say about Barcelona? One who hasn't been there, should; and one who has, should go again. Barcelona might have lost Tierry Henry to New York Red Bulls, but it certainly keeps all its charm shining as the seventh star. Home to some of Spain's best restaurants and bars, it is a gastronomical treat. The architecture is flamboyant and the people ever so charming.
Torres de Sants (3). (Source: Jordi Armengol)
Visit a flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen in Poble Espanyol, which offers a spectacular flamenco evening. The entrance fee (€35) includes the 1.5 - 2 hour show, drinks and free of charge entrance to Poble Espanyol.
Ride the Cable Way to get from the sea front to Montjuic mountain. €7.50 for one-way ticket. Note that rides on the Montjuic cable are not included in transit tickets like the Barcelona Card.
Flamenco (Source: Budi Akbarsjah)
Mercat de la Boqueria is the a well known market and the best place to blend in with the local culture and heritage. Situated just off La Rambla, this is where you can find all sorts of spices, fish and fruit. Try one of their salads, which is popular all over Barcelona.
La Boqueria (Source: Klearchos Kapoutsis)
Barri Gotic is in the oldest part of the city, where you will find the typical Roman and medieval aged buildings. Santa Maria del Pi, Town Hall, Palau de la Generalitat are some of the attractions in this area. A vibrant neighborhood with its narrow streets, beautiful churches and old buildings, it stands as an example of the flamboyant Gothic architecture.
Gothic Quarter Street (Source: Cary Bass)
The capital and largest city of Spain; Madrid. This city is a wonder onto itself, from the awe-inspiring architecture to the frescoes of El Prado museum, it is a city that never sleeps if there ever was one. Home of Real Madrid, football is a religion here and one should be careful what colors he wears on the streets, specially on match days.
Madrid sin editar, solo para visual (Source: Santiago Ave)
It was the 1500s. Women of the aristocracy, either as a ramification of failed love or to seek the Christ as her lord, would steal into the convent and lead a life behind the veil. Each one that joined brought with them a dowry - making this, in time, one of the richest convents in Europe.
plaza de las descalzas 10.9.08 - 29 (Source: Laura Padgett)
The Madrileños have been going to elegant Casa Alberto since 1827 to get their vermouth where it is served from a tap. More than just a bar, it is Madrid's soul itself. Go on a Sunday after 1pm and you'll see the place at its best.
Sunlight & Stools (Source: Ann Larie Valentine)
The Rastro has been Madrid's local tradition for over five centuries. Be there by 7 am if you want to beat the rush. However, things start heating up only after 9, and after that, it is literally shoulder-to-shoulder right down till Calle Ribera de Curtidores. I am sure, you have heard "you will find everything here". Let me tell you this, the adage stands as a Biblical truth here.
El Rastro 9 (Source: Hans Dinkelberg)
Antiques (both real and fake), secondhand clothing, Franco-era furniture, paintings (you will find an endless line of Velázquez copies), bullfighting posters, old books, ancient relics, World War II motorcycles, porno flicks and you-name-it's, are for sale.
Rastro (Source: marimballamesa)
Las Ramblas is one of the main attractions in Barcelona. It's often the first landmark that tourists associate with the city - the central most boulevard that cuts straight through the middle of the Barcelona. The vibrant colors and lively atmosphere is known to be infectious.
Ramble along the city’s most famous avenue with its bird markets, flower stalls, street musicians, mimes, overpriced tapas bars and hundreds upon hundreds of people.
Malabares en Las Ramblas de Barcelona (Source: Kom bo)
There's no doubt; one has to start with Paris for France. If there is one city in the world whose charm has only increased with time, it is Paris. The city of lights- you just want to stand quietly and let the romance of the place soak in.
A labyrinth of pristine chapels, works of art by Masters, engineering marvels, suave fashion boutiques, fine restaurants and historical landmarks. The whole city is a sight in itself. A turn left off mainstream Paris. It sure does promise to be absolutely endearing! For the casual traveler, there would seem little hidden by the mammoth shadows of the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. One could not be more wrong!
Sous le ciel de Paris (X) (Source: José Luis Mieza)
The Louvre has got to be the first choice. Pardon me If I sound biased for I am an art enthusiast. Built in 1973, it is the treasure trove of art, housing masterpieces like the "Mona Lisa", "The Last Supper", the "Liberty leading the People", to name just a few. Apart from the fab paintings, the architecture is breathtaking. A unique mix of ancient masonry and modern impressions - sprawling lawns and the glass pyramid of I M Pei.
Geometry... (Source: Steffen)
The Eiffel Tower has become the icon of France all over the world & an engineering marvel. The gardens surrounding are just as lovely. Spend an evening sitting on one of the wooden benches that have not changed since World War II. An idealistic romantic evening in Paris. The light show at this time is a fascinating spectacle.
Effiel Tower (Source: Andrew E. Larsen)
Spend an evening in the city of love and lights than taking a cruise on River Seine! Since the medieval times the Parisians have embellished the Seine river banks. The result is seen today as one of the most mesmerizing man made landscapes on earth.
Sail along as you treat your eyes to the Notre-Dame, the Louvre, the Orsay, Palais de Chaillot, the Eiffel Tower and the list would go on.
Seine at night (Source: echiner1)
At Le Grenier à pain: Start the day at around nine in the morning with that delightful Parisian air whiffing up all things pretty. If one closes the eyes and tries to think of Paris and something long and stately that is intrinsically attached to the city, what but naturally comes to mind is the baguette. The deliciously crispy, knobbly and sometimes meter-long loaf that moves around the city’s streets in brown paper bags and gives a stiff fight to the Eiffel Tower as far as recall value goes.
Baguettes (Source: Garry Knight)
There is a boulangerie or bakery in every nook and corner in Paris. The divine ones, however, are found at Le Grenier à Pain on Rue Abbesses in Village Montmartre. It was the winner of the ‘Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Francaise de la Ville de Paris’. Or simply put, “the best baguette in Paris”. Plagued on most days with serpentine queues but certainly worth the wait. The greatest smelling breakfast – under € 5.
Established in the early 1600s, Marche des Enfants Rouges is an ancient shopping area - the oldest covered market in Paris. Time has taken its toll; new facade replacing the original, but it still is home to countless cheese-mongers, colorful grocers and exotic vintners . To add to that, you will find a plethora of small restaurants in every turn, catering to all cravings; Italian, Japanese, French, Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern and more.
Marché des Enfants Rouges (Paris 3ème) (27) (Source: Jacques Froissant)
Nice promises a turn left off the mundane, a peep into the not-so-common and marvellous luncheons. Buckets full of flowers of a thousand shades, colourful umbrellas, charming boutiques and tiny little lanes. Cours Saleya (Cours Saleya, Vieux, Nice).
Turn around and head over to the eastern edge, and you'll you be greeted with the aroma of freshly baked bread and ripening figs and pastries. Not to mention, the cheese. There are long trestle tables laden heavily with these and so much more. Here is the food market.
Flower cans (Source: Valerie Everett)
Designed by Sacha Sosno (2 place Yves Klein City Centre, Tel.: 04 97 13 48 00 Hours : 13:00-18:00 Tue-Sat), this place is a must-see for anyone who has an eye for the unusual or the abstract. Sporting a curious sculpture in its yard, the Bibliotheque Louis Nucera is essentially a library, the main office being inside the La Tete Carree de Sosno, a huge 30 m high façade.
Cave de la Tour is technically a cafe cum bar, this old timer of an institution is an attraction onto itself. It serves some particularly delectable wine along with an amazing array of nik naks made from provisions from the nearby market.
(Source: jenny downing)
Linda and her cat friend Vodka maintain a well stocked store at Cat's Whiskers (30 rue Lamartine Near Gare Nice Ville). Closed during the weekends and during lunch hours.
Cascade Donjon (Parc Du Chateau, Vieux, Nice) is a picturesque 18th century artificial waterfall, perfect for picnics, idling around and to hang your boots, wet your feet. Blue Beach (Promenade des Anglais) offers the usual beach scene, the sand, the sun, the breeze. Albeit, French styled.
Cathedrale Ste-Reparate (Source: Jon Mountjoy)
Food from the Goddess of Love Herself, Aphrodite (10 Boulevard Dubouchage, 06000 Nice), the restaurant manages to deliver the coup de grace in the competition to be the best eatery in town. It proudly wears the Michelin star and is known to dish out food in the style of the 'culinary alchemist', Heston Blumenthal.
Let's start with Venice. The first thing that comes to your mind are the gondolas. Just as the sun is about to set, grab some particularly delectable sandwiches from the ever so popular Harry's Bar, chilled prosecco, and hop on for a gondola ride with a dear one along the Grand Canal for an experience to last a lifetime.
Gondolas, Venice (Source: Kevin Gibbons)
Basilica di San Marco or St. Mark's Basilica is an architectural delight. Frommer's sums it up beautifully:
Venice for centuries was Europe's principal gateway between the Orient and the West, so it should come as no surprise that the architectural style for the sumptuously Byzantine Basilica di San Marco, replete with five mosquelike bulbed domes, was borrowed from Constantinople.
St Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) (Source: Francisco Antunes)
Ducal Palace and Bridge of Sighs is a pink and white façade with a splendid Gothic-Renaissance architecture was the residence and governing center of the dukes, or the 'doges' as they are locally known who ruled Venice for over a 1000 years.
Grand Ducal Palace Guards (Source: Steve/Ruth Bosman)
One of the lesser known but highly conflicting pillars of Christendom, with an interesting bit of history. It is museum that pays homage to Jacopo Robusti (1518-94), also called Tintoretto because his father was a dyer. This place is full of his 50 odd paintings which are as much dark as highly mystical.
The series of the more than 50 dark and dramatic works took the artist more than 20 years to complete, making this the richest of the many confraternity guilds or scuole that once flourished in Venice.
Frommer's (Source: Frommer's)
The Eternal City of Rome is a living legend. With over 2,500 years of history and home to arguably the most advanced civilizations of the past, this city has left no stone unturned to develop and modernize while maintaining its immeasurable history and ethnicity. A walk along its roads will take you to ancient basilicas, grand ruins and as many as 900 churches. Indeed, there are but few places like Rome that enthralls so completely.
Perhaps the Vatican is the only city in the world that needs no introduction. It is the smallest and the richest country in the world and not a part of Italy as many believe. This tiny city packs more history, art and religion than any other place across the globe and it deserves a separate trip onto itself.
HDR St. Peter's Basilica (Source: é‡‘å¨œ Kim S)
St. Peter's Basilica Here you will realize that it is always size and not time that defies us. The monument exudes ethereal beauty and awe inspiring art with its dome painted by none other than Michelangelo.
St Peter's (Source: Michael Gwyther-Jones)
Swiss Guards Corps : They are rather oddly dressed, they are allowed to smile unlike their brothers in similarity of the Buckingham Palace, and appear quite amiable if you ask me. But be warned, they are officially one of the most highly trained security guards in the world!
Swiss Guard (Close) (Source: Justin Ennis)
The Vatican Museum : This is one of the grandest museums in the world with its mighty spiral staircase being amongst the most photographed elements ever. You can get the tickets in advance here. This is what WikiTravel has to say about it:
The Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel are famous for Michelangelo's frescos. It's organized so you follow a one-way route. Open Monday to Saturday 9:00 AM-6:00 PM, closed Sunday except last Sunday of the month, when its free, crowded, and open 9:00 AM-2:00 PM.The museum is closed for holidays on: January 1 & 6, February 11, March 19, April 4 & 5, May 1, June 29, August 14 & 15, November 1, and December 8, 25, & 26.
Vatican (Source: Wikitravel)
Taking photos at Vatican Museum. Ferragosto 2008 (Source: Xavi)
The Colosseum: Although the clank of the gladiator's sword and the lion's roars are no longer heard, once you step into this sprawling wonder, you are somehow magically transported back in time. The corroded walls and the romantic ruins are all reminders of both a heroic and a tragic past. You can book tickets here.
Colosseum (Source: Garètte Herrin)
Wine in Spain is as renowned as its sparkling twin from the Champagne district of France. The heritage, the aroma, the rich color and the silk smooth taste, not to mention the almost sinful allure in the grapes even before they are plucked. A walk in the morning in the vineyard, and often poetry makes a lot more sense.
I have hand-picked two wine tours for you that will give you an unforgettable insight into the magical art of brewing and the pleasures of tasting.
Take a day trip to some of the most prized of Spanish wine legacy. Ride the rack railway to the summit of Montserrat and the monastery there, relax by the beach of Sitges and of course help yourself to some lovely wine. To top it, it is only a partially guided tour, so you'll have ample of time to yourself if you so choose.
Rates start from EUR 69.00.
This tour comes from viator.
Glass of Red Wine with Cork (Source: Michael Johnson)
Another equally amazing trip comes from Vintage Spain. An exclusive and amazingly structured wine tour into some of the very best vineyards and breweries in Spain. Here's what they have to say:
Discover Ribera de Duero, La Mancha, the land of Don Quijote, or visit a bodega and vineyards in Toledo from Madrid, go to wine and cava country in Penedes from Barcelona, visit La Rioja from Bilbao or San Sebastian and what about some Sherry from Sevilla? The possibilities are endless.
Wine excursions (Source: Vintage Spain)
Contact them at email@example.com for a quote on the itinerary, which is I might add, is completely customizable.
A pathway to Vineyards (Source: John)
Noe for the flights. Since we do not have the information as to where in Canada you would be starting from, and which city you'd like to fly first into, I have taken the liberty to give you the flight rates for nearest geographical points of your trip - that is, Montreal and Madrid.
The best deal comes from Air France. The flight duration is for 14h 15m onward and 11h 33m return with layovers in New York for 4h 43m and 1h 35m onward and return respectively.
Rates are at $759 per person return-trip. Bookings here.
Note: It is assumed you will fly in and out of the same city for incurring the minimum charges. Multi-city flights can, however, be also researched.
Montreal to Madrid, Spain and 3 more (Source: Hipmunk)
For moving around within Europe, there are a number of options - flights, rail, ferry and road. However, as popular as Eurorail maybe, it is certainly not the most inexpensive option.
Since we have not yet fixed upon an exact itinerary, it is not possible for me to give you an exact route and cost figure.
However, I have given you an idea about the costs. You will notice, the ryanair is the best option for fast and economical travel. Once the exact itinerary is fixed, I will be glad to assist you further.
Nieuwe Sprinter voor NS (Source: faceme)
Here's the details for Barcelona to Paris. Note that dates and prices are indicative.
The flight is for 2 hours about and the rates are at 58.06 EUR / US$75.50. Detailed information and and bookings here.
The flight details:
Barcelona to Paris (Source: Ryanair.com)
ryanair (Source: kevin rawlings)
Alternatively, we can go for Eurorail. However, it must be said that it will be way more economical if we go for country specific passes from them rather than individual tickets.
The rates are as follows (more details can be found here):
Eurail Pass | Eurail.com (Source: Eurail.com)
Alternatively, the same Barcelona to Paris fare starts from $152 for the Shared Tourist Cabin for 4 persons. More options (more details and bookings):
Barcelona to Paris Overnight Trains (Source: Euro Railways)
Hope this helps. Do let me know if you'd like us to plan further. We can make you an itinerary with exact stop-overs, and the likes.
We would love to recommend some great accommodation options for you. However, for that we will be needing the exact dates for each of the cities individually. Waiting to hear from you.
diviértete (have fun)!
(leaving you with Love Madrid - )
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