Here is the itinerary I created for my Mediterranean Vacation which covered Spain, France, & Italy. It took me a good month to work out the details, but I really enjoyed researching my trip. I hope you find my itinerary useful if you plan on visiting Spain (Madrid, Seville, Barcelona), France (French Riviera), and/or Italy (Cinque Terre).
DEPART - United States to Madrid, Spain
Day 1 : Madrid, Spain @ Hotel Lusso Infantas
*recommend staying at least 2 nights
- Puerta del Sol - stroll around; go to La Mallorquina bakery
- strolling on Gran Via
- if you are into museums, go to Museo del Prado
(Train - Madrid to Seville - booked via ****Rail Europe)
Day 2-3 : Seville, Spain @ Vincci La Rabida
*recommend staying at most 1 to 2 nights, add additional for daytrips
- Santa Cruz district - famous cathedral, stroll, hangout in the square
- El Arenal district
- Triana district & bridge
- drink lots of Sangria
- watch a Flamenco show - Tablao El Arenal is a good one to consider.
- also consider daytrips to Cordoba | Granada
(Air - Seville to Barcelona - booked via Spanair)
Day 4-6 : Barcelona, Spain @ Hotel SixtyTwo
*recommend staying at least 3 nights - Barcelona is beautiful!
- Las Ramblas - Boqueria Food Market (check out the empanada stand)
- Gaudi's Masterpiece Sagrada Familia at night when lit
- Port of Barcelona (Port Vell)
- Placa de Catalunya – square great for pigeon watching, hanging out
- stroll and shop on Passeig de Gracia; view the architecture all around
- El Borne district – supposedly very trendy
- Gothic Quarter district – midieval
- La Barceloneta district
- drink Café con Leche anywhere; go to a Tapas place
- if you are into museums, go to the Picasso Museum
(*Train - Barcelona to Nice - booked via ****Rail Europe)
Day 7-11 : Nice, France @ Hotel Massena
*recommend staying at least 4 nights (2 nights for Nice, more for daytrips)
- Place Massena – go to Le Milo's and order Penne alla' Arrabriata
- stroll and get lost in Vieux Nice (Old Town)
- stroll on Promenade des Anglais; great for people watching
- stroll up the road from Place Massena - this area is great for shopping.
- visit the chateau in Nice
- enjoy Café au Lait and a French macaroon
- visited Eze Village
- visited Monaco-Monte Carlo
- visited Cannes
- also consider visiting Antibes | St.Tropez | St.Paul-Vence
(**Train – Nice to Monterosso al Mare booked via ****Rail Europe)
Day 12-13 : Monterosso al Mare, Italy (The Cinque Terre) @ L'Antica Terrazza (B&B)
*recommend staying at most 2 nights in Cinque Terre, or just do a daytrip here
- walk around Monterosso and the beach
- famous for pesto, make sure you try it.
- enjoy lots of Cappuccino and Caffe Latte
- visited Riomaggiore
- hike on the “Lovers Walk” from Riomaggiore to Manarola hanging above the Mediterranean Sea (30 minutes)
- visited Manarola
- also consider visiting Vernazza | Corniglia
(Train - Monterosso to Rapallo)
Day 14 : Rapallo, Italy @ Hotel Italia e Lido
*recommend staying at least 2 nights in this region, add 1 more if you want to visit the Cinque Terre
- walk around Rapallo along the water and check out the side streets too
- visited Portofino
- visited Santa Margherita Ligure
Day 15 : Genoa Airport
(***Train - Rapallo to Genoa Piazza Principe Station; then take a Cab from the station to Genoa Airport.)
ARRIVE - Genoa, Italy to United States
* I strongly discourage you from doing the train ride from Barcelona to Nice since it is about 10 hours in addition to train delays. Instead take a direct flight on Spanair from Barcelona to Nice - the cost is pretty much the same.
** The train ride from Nice to Monterosso is long, but doesn't feel that long. The views are nice, but I certainly wouldn't say they are amazing. You can even take a direct train from Nice to Milan and then to Monterosso. There is no point flying from Nice to Genoa since you will have to take the train to Monterosso which is 1.5 hours south of Genoa, however you can look into renting a car.
*** If you really want to stay in the Cinque Terre region, stay in Monterosso and you will need at most 2 nights in the area. The area is an adventure and it's worth it. Hotels are not common in the area, instead Bed & Breakfasts are very popular in the villages. If you want to avoid check-in & checkout and want more modern facilities, then consider making Rapallo or Santa Margherita Ligure your base and spend an entire day in Cinque Terre scoping out all 5 villages which takes a full day. Spend the remainder of your time in Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure, & Portofino.
**** Rail Europe : For the most part booking via Rail Europe is convenient, however it is also misleading. The trains in Italy aren’t in the best shape so even if you request 1st class tickets, you may not get this. In addition, they have open tickets which can be very confusing since the tickets don’t specify what train to take, it simply says Nice to Monterosso which requires a couple connections. Spain’s RENFE was awesome and it is definitely an experience to remember. France was good, although they don’t translate anything from French to English as they do in Spain and Italy.
TELL ME: If you have been to Spain, France, and/or Italy, please share your itinerary with us!