I thoroughly enjoyed my five-day trip walking round Barcelona last October, thank you for your tips. I am now looking for suggestions from your experiences, for similar holidays for the end of February and end of May. I have already walked the streets of Rome and Florence.
The Greek island of Santorini. Spectacular volcanic landscape. I went in June and it was hot but not unbearably so.... plenty of sea breezes, a fabulous historical site to rival Pompeii, boat trips across the sea-filled caldera to the island.
Part or parts of El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain? It starts in St Jean Pied de Port in France in the foothills of the Pyrenees and you can pick it up from there or indeed anywhere along the route. Also Bilbao is a wonderful city with lots to explore on foot and/or, if you're a bit of a foodie, San Sebastián. Both cities are very walkable especially if you want to get the best out of them.
February might not bring any sunshine wherever you go, so for me Amsterdam with its canals and architecture. Santorini sounds like a good choice for May. I've never done the Greek Islands myself. Enjoy your search!
Seville and Cordoba, it's easy to get a train from Seville to Cordoba. We did 2 nights in the latter, so much to see amazing Moorish architecture. Have been in both October and March mid to late twenties. Cordoba is the hottest place in Spain so February may be quite warm. Both are wonderful cities.
Thank you for your ideas. It has made me realize that I had already visited several European cities, 45 or so years ago. I had completely forgotten what I had done before the family having a second home in the Alpes and then …
Thoroughly recommend Tbilisi in Georgia. I went for a wedding and had no particular expectations as I didn't really consider it a holiday as such. Tbilisi is a beautiful city and very manageable. There's an excellent public transport system but the city is compact enough for you to be able to walk from one end to the other in a couple of hours. There's an interesting mix of historical buildings, soviet concrete brutalism and some wonderful contemporary architecture. There's also a fascinating flea market with tons of soviet memorabilia and chandeliers! In the mountains surrounding the city there are easy walks with spectacular views. Georgia is not an expensive destination which is a bonus. The food is also excellent with some lovely restaurants in picturesque locations just outside the city. There are no crowds of tourists either. I was only there for 6 days but am returning in March for a week or two.
Unless you’re a sun seeker, Poland’s great for a short break - Gdańsk, Wrocław or Krakow. They’re so atmospheric and beautiful in the snow, and the warming comfort food is so good. I saw wolves streaking across the fields on our way back from visiting Auschwitz and the salt mines in February, which is one of my best memories.
Cape Verde offers walking holidays & warm at that time of year. I'll second Madeira Then my favourite - La Palma - the small Canary islands with 2 separate climates - North & South of the island so different & so beautiful. Interesting plants & history going back to cave dwellings - some still lived in.
What about the Basilicata area - based maybe in Matera but visiting the surrounding areas? Matera: Rupestrian churches, Cave dwellings 13th century duomo Art galleries Restaurants etc Then: Bernalda - where Copola has his family home (now also a very pricey hotel). A friendly town (with one of my favourite restaurants!) Temple in Metaponto near the coast.
Further afield there's national parks, a thermal spa, and other delights. Pistici is a nice small straightforward and friendly town. Aliano is where Carlo Levi was exiled (he has artwork in a gallery in Matera) and then Maratea with a coast like the Amalfi but where many Italians choose to holiday. Lots to see and extraordinary landscapes. So unusual they filmed the Temptation of Christ here. - oh yes, and the deserted town, Craco which you can visit with a guide.