Europe 2014 – Narrowing the Itineraries

Europe 2014



We are working really hard to pin down which itinerary we are planning to choose. If you have been following along, we have been looking at several options. The two we are leaning towards at this point are:

1. Lisbon, Portugal; Andalucía, Spain

While I feel a little weird going back to Spain when we went to Madrid last time, Spain is one of my favorite countries and I love any excuse to learn and use the language. The flights from here to Lisbon and from Madrid to home aren’t too bad price-wise compared to some of the other itineraries we were considering, but there is still a minor issue with getting from Lisbon to Madrid. The flight (there is only one) is super expensive and not really an option at that price, and it costs an arm and a leg to rent a car or to hire a driver. The train is basically an overnight trip that connects in Madrid, therefore, making it a longer journey than necessary. There is also a 7 hour bus ride that is supposed to be the best option, but I’m betting whoever said that never took 2 small children on that 7 hour ride. What has been suggested to us is to take a train to Faro, Portugal (a coastal town in the Algarve region of Portugal) and then take a bus to Seville. This would break up the trip a little bit and if we time it right, we can explore Faro a little bit while leaving our luggage at the station. We are still thinking about using Seville, Tarifa, and Granada has our overnight stops, but doing some short day trips to places like Gibraltar, the white hill towns, and Tangier in Morocco. We are doing some research on Tangier just because we are a little leery of going. That being said, we don’t want to not go just because it’s Morocco or Africa; if we choose not to go it needs to be because of a legitimate safety/financial/travel issue, so we are looking into this more. I think it will literally kill me to be that close (you can actually see Morocco from Gibraltar) and not go there, especially if it is just out of an irrational fear.

2. Edinburgh, Scotland; Wales; The Cotswolds; Iceland

This itinerary became even more enticing when we heard about Icelandair’s deal. Apparently if you fly through Icelandair, you can do up to a 7-day layover in Reykjavik, which is a great excuse to go to Iceland. We also found out that Icelandair flies out of Indianapolis and St. Louis and this might actually be possible. The idea would be to fly to Glasgow first (Scotland gets colder faster so we would do this at the beginning of our trip), then head to Conwy, Wales. We weren’t stuck on this town but we had heard good things so that’s what we are currently researching. After spending a few days there, we would go to the Cotswolds. Eric has always wanted to go there and the little towns look really neat to see. When we were finished there, we would fly out of London to Reykjavik. The reason we would do this last is so that we would have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights. We would fly home from Reykjavik.

We haven’t completely discarded the other ideas, but these two seem to be the most possible at this point.

Any Conclusions?

We have made no definite conclusions at this point, but the more we research, the more we lean toward the Lisbon/Andalucía itinerary. Right now the transatlantic flights are cheaper and I think those places are much cheaper in general. I also like being around other languages and I know we wouldn’t get that as much on the UK itinerary.

So what’s the next step?

We will continue to check flight prices every few days just to see what’s going on there. In the meantime, we are researching lodging (mostly B&B’s and apartments) in some of the locations to get a better idea of the price ranges in each area. We hope to narrow our options down to one in the next few weeks!

Which itinerary would you most like to do and why?

Other posts about planning Europe 2014:

Europe 2014?

An Update



  1. Adelien Tan says:

    I prefer the second choice as my lecturer always told me things interesting in those places.

  2. I think I would pick 2! I think I would enjoy those areas better than Spain. Granted from what I’ve seen either trip will be gorgeous. Either way I hope you guys have an awesome time!!

  3. I have never been overseas–so I have no idea. I hope you have a great time wherever you go!

  4. Carli says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Spain! It seems like it is so much fun there!

    • Rachel says:

      We have been to Spain twice (once to Barcelona and once to Madrid with a side trip to Toledo). It is definitely one of our favorite places to go. Plus, the food is amazing!

  5. Tess says:

    I would do choice 2. That would be super fun!

  6. Wow I am so jealous and excited for you! I’ve been to Spain and woukd go back in a heartbeat even though I’ve already been. Its just too beautiful and such delicious food! I’d pick Spain out of those two. But Italy/Greece are on my bucket list for Europe travel.

  7. Holly H says:

    You would definitely be exposed to Welsh in Cymru (pronounced Cam rie), seeing as it’s like Ireland where everything is also posted in Welsh!

    You know me, I would automatically learn towards Britain, especially since there’s a trip to Iceland involved! But, Andalusia and Morocco are also places on my must visit list too. I say flip a coin!

    • Rachel says:

      That’s true about the Welsh, but I like to hear the romance languages in action, so I would probably miss that. That being said, either of these itineraries would be awesome…it will probably come down to where is cheapest to visit, which is probably Portugal and Spain…

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