I'm doing a Europe trip with my mom and our family friend friend from mid-December to mid-January (one solid month) and I'd really appreciate if someone can proofread the itinerary I've put together. Please let me know if I'm being too ambitious or if my travelling logistics are silly. I apologize for this massive essay, it's just my mom has been looking forward to this trip for a long time and I want to get it right. Thank you so much! These are the preliminary plans so far:
Plan A: Paris -> (drive) Lyon -> Provence (Avignon, LSLS, Aix) -> Monaco -> Nice -> (fly) Rome for Christmas -> (train) Naples -> (drive) Pompeii & Amalfi Coast -> Rome for NYE -> (fly) Venice -> (train? Bernina Express it) Lucerne -> (fly/train) Paris
Plan B: Paris -> (fly/train) Munich -> (train) Innsbruck -> (train) Venice -> Rome for Christmas -> (train) Naples -> (drive) Pompeii & Amalfi Coast -> Rome for NYE -> (fly) Nice -> (drive) Monaco -> Provence (Avignon, LSLS, Aix) -> Lyon -> Paris
Plan A & B:
1. Meet in Paris: since the 3 of us all live in different countries, I chose Paris to be the starting point of our trip (however this depends on where we will want to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve, please see questions below). Spend around 2 days exploring the Christmassy feel of the city.
2. France (&Monaco): Drive from Paris to Lyon and because we are massive foodies, spend a day or two here. Then from Lyon to Provence, stopping at Avignon, L'Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, and Grasse. I'm estimating this will take 3 or 4 days? Then take a day to explore Grasse or Monaco and back to Nice and drop off the rental car. Spend 3 days in Nice then take EasyJet to Rome.
Summary: Paris -> (drive) Lyon -> Provence (Avignon, LSLS, Aix) -> Monaco -> Nice
3. Italy: Arrive in Rome for Christmas Eve. What is Rome like from the 26-30? Are any of the cultural sites (e.g. museums, etc) open? Would it be a good idea now to take the train down to Naples and spend 4 days driving from Pompeii to the Amalfi Coast then get back to Rome for NYE? I'm unsure what the atmosphere in both places will be like so an insider's perspective would be much appreciated! Then depending, spend the next week in Rome or doing the aforementioned Southern Italy circuit. Then the second week of January fly to Venice for 2 days.
Summary: Nice -> (fly) Rome -> (train) Naples -> (drive) Pompeii & Amalfi Coast -> Rome -> (fly) Venice
4. Switzerland: This is where I'm unsure of the plan - would Lucerne be better than Innsbruck and Munich, what are the pros and cons? If I chose Lucerne, would the hassle of the Bernina Express from Venice (to Milan, to Tirano and finally to Chur) be worth the view? We would spend around 3-4 days traveling and then wandering around Lucerne.
4. b) If Innsbruck and Munich, would the Christmas markets be worth it? This would have to go first before driving down France. This choice would be cheaper I think than Switzerland, which is a main concern too... This would take 4-5 days traveling and exploring or is that too little?
Before I ask any further questions, our interests are:
Eating, historical and cultural sites (as my mom's friend will be filming this), just trying to get a general feel of a "European Christmas/winter". We're trying to minimize the walking as my mom doesn't have the best back, which is not to say we can't walk but the less the better so unfortunately, no skiing as well.
So summary of my questions are:
1. Which countries: Switzerland or Austria and Germany? In fact, is my plan feasible at all? I'm worried we're traveling too much and since my mom is not a light-packer, moving from place to place might be a pain in the butt.
2. Would the combination of driving and taking the train be a concern? I was hoping that with the car, we wouldn't be walking so much for my mom. Would anyone know how much the costs compare of driving vs. taking the train in France and Italy?
3. Where would y'all recommend we spend Christmas and New Year's Eve? I'm concerned that nowhere will be open on those days. Extensive research has shown that for Christmas: Venice, Rome or Paris, and for NYE: Paris, Rome or Avignon. What do you guys think?
4. What is Provence and Cote d'Azur like in January or December? Which is the better month to go?
OKAAAY that was really long but I WOULD REALLY REALLY APPRECIATE anyone who can critique any part of it. This is my first time doing any extensive traveling in Europe so I'm super excited, but inexperienced. Apologies if any parts aren't clear, I'll clarify if anything is muddled. Thanks so much everyone!
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