I just returned to the States last night, and I am mighty tired today. My jet lag going over to Europe was essentially nonexistent, but coming back is so hard for me! What about you guys?
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing all of the ins and outs of my trip. But before I do, I wanted to break down how and where I traveled over the course of three weeks. This will make it easier to understand the scope of my journey when I share more detailed posts!
Here is exactly what I did:
Please excuse my map! I obviously drew it myself, but this was the easiest way to explain where I went and how I got there.
First of all, I took the new British Airways direct flight from Nashville to London, which was so awesome! Then, I flew from London to Nice.
1. I arrived in Nice and took a 20-minute taxi ride to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, where I stayed for 2 nights (solo). I then returned to Nice to participate in a group trip through FTLO Travel, which I will be talking more about in upcoming posts! While there, I traveled by train (solo again) to Èze (15-minute train ride) and Villefranche-sur-Mer (7-minute train ride). We stayed in Nice for 4 nights.
2. I arrived in Barcelona by train from Nice. To do this, I first took a 4-hour train to Avignon (worth visiting!) and then a 1-hour train to Montpellier. From there, I took a 4-hour train to Barcelona. I did all of this solo! There were beautiful views, and I loved it. The group trip with FTLO Travel ended in Barcelona after a 4-night stay there.
3. By boyfriend Harrison arrived to join me for the rest of my trip, and we rented a car in Barcelona and drove 5.5 hours to San Sebastián. The drive was surprisingly easy and beautiful. A photo from the drive is above! We stayed in the town for 4 nights. While in San Sebastián, we drove 1.5 hours to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe for a gorgeous day trip.
4. You cannot take a rental car across the border without it being mad expensive. So Harrison and I dropped the rental car off at the San Sebastián Airport and took a taxi across the border. We then picked up a new rental car in Biarritz (sorry, not listed on the map – but it’s close to the border) and drove 2 hours to the Dune of Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe. We spent a few hours there before driving another hour to Bordeaux, where we stayed for 2 nights.
5. On our way out of Bordeaux, we drove 40 minutes to the charming town of Saint-Émilion. From there, we drove 2.5 hours to Toulouse and stayed there for 1 night.
6. The next day, we drove 3.5 hours from Toulouse to Aix-en-Provence, where we stayed for 2 nights. We took a 40-min drive to Cassis for a beachside day trip while staying in Aix.
Going home, I took a British Airways flight from the Marseille airport (20 minutes from Aix) back to London, and then the direct flight from London to Nashville.
Here are my takeaways on travel within Europe:
-Taking a train is fairly easy and worry-free. It is pleasant, scenic, and gives you the freedom to just chill and enjoy. However, during this trip, there were train strikes occurring in France and trains being canceled, which definitely had me concerned.
-Renting a car is awesome for flexibility. I found the act of renting a car in Europe to be simple and the driving to be pretty easy for the most part. Renting a car gives you the ability to take spontaneous day trips and go where you want, when you want. However, it obviously requires more effort and takes more energy from you. Also, the tolls get expensive.
-I loved it all – traveling solo, with a group, and with Harrison. There are different pros to each of these, which I will be sharing!
I did a lot of traveling in a short amount of time, and I am going to be breaking down each part of my trip and what I would recommend in the coming weeks! I am so excited to share my travels with you – it was, truly, a stellar trip.