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Review my Europe itinerary

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Hello experts,

I was hoping some of you might review my Europe itinerary. Of course, I have done a lot of research myself, but I'm sure there's lots that more experienced Europe-goers might pick up on that I have neglected to notice. Things like travel times/distances, the logistics of getting from one place to another, and perhaps how long it takes to have a basic "experience" of a place.

I am travelling with my partner. We have 8 weeks in Europe all together, arriving August 3rd into Paris. I am late 20's, and he is early 30's. We are active and outdoorsy, we love photographing architecture, galleries, sampling local cuisine, and the beach/seaside. Not so taken by things like wineries, and happy to stick to main cities/towns (don't have enough time to venture too far off the beaten path).

Basic plan:

(Japan - 7 nights)
Paris - 5 nights
Bruges - 2 nights
Amsterdam - 3 nights
Berlin - 2 nights
Vienna - 3 nights
Venice - 4 nights
Florance - 2 nights
Rome - 6 nights
Dubrovnik (and Croatian coast) - 6 nights
Greece - 6 nights
South France - 3 nights
Barcelona - 4 nights
Somewhere else in Spain - 4 nights
Somewhere else in UK - 4 nights
London - 3 nights
Fly out of London to Beijing to continue journey.

My general feeling is that the first half is a bit rushed. Considering leaving out Berlin, and spending an extra night in Amsterdam, and in Vienna.

Also considering leaving out Greece altogether, as during my research I've realized it's difficult to get form Croatia to Greece without backtracking into Italy?

I would be very grateful for any advice, thanks for reading :)

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    With all that travel I would definitely leave out Greece. It is not so easy to get to and with all its history and architectural sights plus the Islands, it might be worth a seperate trip. Berlin is one of the great cities of Europe and is worth an extra day or two, also Florence is worth another day. Remember a lot of time is consumed getting in and out of airports and travelling, so you don't have as long in the cities as you might think.

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    Please please please do not remove Berlin - if you are in to galleries, photographing architecture, food, then you need to add 1 if not 2 more nights to Berlin.

    Venice for 4 nights (ie 3 full days) will be a lot, but again that depends on what you plan to do there. Keep at at no less than 2 full days if you adjust your time here.

    Ditto on Florence needing more time - make it 2-3 full days...just for the food alone!

    Vienna for 2 full days will be good. Paris, Brugges, Amsterdam are all good amounts. You might want to take some time in Innsbruck or the surrounding Tirol if you like the outdoors, so consider having a few nights there too. Not sure, based on your description/interests, that you'll want 5 full days in Rome, but I could be wrong. South of Frnace for 3 nights - not sure what you want out of your experience here (beaches only?) so hard to recommend where to stay. Maybe Nice (not a fan, but stoney beaches abound) or Antibes or even around St Tropez if you want to style it up. As for somewhere else in Spain for 4 nights - I'm going to go with Madrid first as you can also do a day trip to Toledo or Sergovia in that time. But then Sevilla is beautiful and San Sebastian is also amazing. Croatia 5 full days will be good, but limit the amount of cities, or consider a cruise up/down the coast.

    Somewhere else in UK could be anywhere - Edinburgh, York, Lakes District, take your pick. London for 2 full days might not be enough, so consider one more night there.

    A good point was made about Greece - if you are not sure about getting around, then maybe leave it for another dedicated trip and spend more time exploring the islands and mainland.

    August, as I'm sure you're aware, is a busy month in Europe - many Europeans also take their holidays at this time of year so parts of France and Italy close their shops down for a few weeks or sometimes the whole month of August. This means if your dates coincide with being anywhere beachy in August, you'll have to book that accommodation quick smart.

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    Thank you so very much for your insightful and fast replies!

    I have taken them into account and now rearranged our schedule with help from my partner.

    We have changed the order slightly to allow for more streamlined travel (Croatia before Italy), and as suggested, we took out Greece. You were both right about it, too tricky. However, we are still trying to work out how to fit in Berlin. The trouble is, we have booked our Rome accommodation already, so we can't add more time into the first part of the trip.

    With Greece out of the equation, we now do not need to book any internal flights. Everything should be accessible by trian/boat. Correct me if wrong. Also, we tried to extend any 2-night visits to 3 at the least. 2 nights just seems way too rushed...only one full day in a country didn't seem right.

    We also took out UK in favor or more time in the warm South (aside from London, where we fly out of to China at the conclusion of our Europe leg). Reason for this is that we can again avoid an internal flight, and also won't need to pack cooler climate clothing. Our full trip is over 3 months, so we are trying to keep it to thin, light summer clothing :)

    Here is what we have now come up with (again, please make suggestions if anything seems awry!)

    (Japan - 7 nights)
    Paris - 5 nights
    Bruges - 3 nights
    Amsterdam - 4 nights
    Vienna - 3 nights
    Travelling South down Croatian Coast - 6 nights
    Boat across to Rome - 6 nights
    Explore Southern Italy (Blue Grotto etc) - 4 nights
    Florance - 3 nights
    Venice - 4 nights
    South France/Monaco - 6 nights
    Spain (Barcelona and Coastal) - 10 nights
    London - 3 nights
    Fly out of London to Beijing to continue journey.

    Thanks for all your help :)

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    As your dates in Rome are fixed, you could still add Berlin by taking one night from Amsterdam and 1 night from Brugge/Bruges (the train from Paris to Brugge is not long, around 2.5hrs, same for Brugge to A'dam, so you'll have time on arrival days in that section), and even 1 night from Paris (I know, I know, what a suggestion!)to make 3 nights total in Berlin, but even then that's hardly fair so I guess Berlin is for another time.

    Not sure you want to take the train from A'dam to Vienna, bit of a hike and unless you're a fan of overnight trains...Have a look at flights with Austrian Air or KLM if they have any specials, otherwise they might be on the expensive side. And I'm assuming you're flying from Spain to London, not taking the train. <we now do not need to book any internal flights. Everything should be accessible by trian/boat.>

    Not sure if you mean it exactly as it's written, but the boat "directly to Rome" from Croatia is going to be a tricky one. If you mean catch a ferry to Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, etc on the Adriatic coast of Italy, then a train to Rome, that will work.

    I see you've added "southern Italy", but that's a big place. Maybe you mean Sorrento/Naples/Amalfi Coast, in which case 4 nights will be fine in one base and you can take day trips around the area (train or bus).

    As for the route, is there a reason why you changed the order? Was it the Rome booking? The south of France/Monaco for 6 nights is a lot - are you looking to really explore or lie on beaches? Or both?

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    Hello again Madam, you are my itinerary guru right now, thanks so much for this :D

    I am certainly still considering chopping a night off Bruges and Amsterdam to go to Berlin. I did not consider the looong train ride from A'dam to Vienna, so perhaps stopping in Berlin would therefore be a good idea after all, even just for 2 nights... yes? Unless of course the train ride from A'dam -> Berlin and Berlin -> Vienne is similarly arduous. In that case, perhaps a flight from A'dam straight to Vienna is our best bet.

    <And I'm assuming you're flying from Spain to London, not taking the train.> Yes, after Spain we will likely catch a flight to London. I think that is best. The rest of the trip, we were hoping to catch trains/buses.

    <Not sure if you mean it exactly as it's written, but the boat "directly to Rome" from Croatia is going to be a tricky one. If you mean catch a ferry to Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, etc on the Adriatic coast of Italy, then a train to Rome, that will work.> Ah ha, I knew it couldn't have been that simple. Yes, it looks like we'll have to do that as per your suggestion. Do you know off the top of your head how long the boat ride + train ride would take, approximately?

    Southern Italy I must research (as with Spain...) but as you said, we will base ourselves in Naples probably. Or Sorrento.

    We changed the route as we thought it would be more complex to get from Croatia to Southern France/Monaco, rather than from Venice (or Florence) to SF/M. Now that you mention it... 6 nights does seem a fair bit... I still feel like we have too much time post-Rome and too little pre-Rome. I wonder what my chances of rearranging our accommodation dates are...

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    Also, we rearranged the route so that we'd hit Rome first as our first entry into Italy, from Croatia, instead of Venice from Austria. That way, we could fit a few more nights in pre-Italy.

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    Edinburgh is magical and unlike any other city I've been to, so I would look into it for your "other UK city"; also, I think 4 days is way too long in Venice. Add 2 days to Florence and explore Siena and Tuscany. I love that you are spending 6 days in Croatia--it's gorgeous! But after 6 days in Croatia, 6 days in Greece might be unnecessary if you are wanting beaches. I would consider leaving it out or substituting Istanbul. Also, keep Berlin! I didn't love it, but it is a must-see, a very interesting city undergoing lots of reconstruction and renewal.

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    Thanks all. This is a work in progress!

    Yes, definitely rethinking so long in Venice now.

    I'm going to try to move our Rome accommodation booking so we have 3 more nights prior to Italy, which I will allocate for Berlin, between A'dam and Vienna. This will make the train travel more bearable too.

    I am then chopping a night off Venice also. I'm sure 3 nights is enough. I'm unsure of how we will travel from Venice down to the French south coast... any ideas? Any easy/nice way of journeying along there?

    @Doh - yes, Granada, Seville, Barcelona, Cadiz, and a final night in Madrid before flying to London. Not necessarily in that order, and perhaps not all of them, but they are on the short-list right now :)

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    Good to see you're rethinking Venice - as I mentioned earlier, you might find 2 full days (3 nights) a better option.

    For southern Italy, I'm a fan of Sorrento, but it's not for everyone. Other places to consider are Amalfi or Positano. Not sure I'd base myself in Naples if it's your first time in that region. Again, I like Naples, but it can be a bit chaotic and not to everyone's taste. For your first visit, I think you'd probably enjoy being in Sorrento or on the Amalfi Coast. You can still access the sights and other cities by train and/or bus, and you can make a day trip to Naples as well.

    If you don't change the route and end up travelling from Venice to the Cote d'Azur/SF, look at flying into Nice rather than the train, or break up the train journey (which is around 8-9 hours with a few changes during the day).

    For Croatia to Italy, the boat ride time will depend on which port you're aiming for and which one you leave from in Croatia. And of course, which order your eventual itinerary takes. For example, if you leave from Dubrovnik you can sail to Bari (9hr crossing) or if you reverse and start in Dubrovnik going up the coast you can travel from Pula or Porec to Venice on the ferry/hydrofoil (about 3-4hrs depending on port). In fact, you could still do Vienna-Venice then travel to Croatia and start at the top. Then from Dubrovnik you can ferry or fly to Rome (check essyJet or Croatia Air, there might be others), train up to Florence and train around to the Cote d'Azur if that's a better route for you. Just to throw into the mix, Split to Ancona fast ferry is around 4.5hrs.

    Keep us updated on the outcome of altering the dates of your Rome accommodation - that will make a differene (in a good way) to what you can shuffle around and pla for your itinerary.

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    Good to see you're rethinking Venice - as I mentioned earlier, you might find 2 full days (3 nights) a better option.

    For southern Italy, I'm a fan of Sorrento, but it's not for everyone. Other places to consider are Amalfi or Positano. Not sure I'd base myself in Naples if it's your first time in that region. Again, I like Naples, but it can be a bit chaotic and not to everyone's taste. For your first visit, I think you'd probably enjoy being in Sorrento or on the Amalfi Coast. You can still access the sights and other cities by train and/or bus, and you can make a day trip to Naples as well.

    If you don't change the route and end up travelling from Venice to the Cote d'Azur/SF, look at flying into Nice rather than the train, or break up the train journey (which is around 8-9 hours with a few changes during the day).

    For Croatia to Italy, the boat ride time will depend on which port you're aiming for and which one you leave from in Croatia. And of course, which order your eventual itinerary takes. For example, if you leave from Dubrovnik you can sail to Bari (9hr crossing) or if you reverse and start in Dubrovnik going up the coast you can travel from Pula or Porec to Venice on the ferry/hydrofoil (about 3-4hrs depending on port). In fact, you could still do Vienna-Venice then travel to Croatia and start at the top. Then from Dubrovnik you can ferry or fly to Rome (check essyJet or Croatia Air, there might be others), train up to Florence and train around to the Cote d'Azur if that's a better route for you. Just to throw into the mix, Split to Ancona fast ferry is around 4.5hrs.

    Keep us updated on the outcome of altering the dates of your Rome accommodation - that will make a differene (in a good way) to what you can shuffle around and pla for your itinerary.

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    Extremely helpful as always Madam, thank-you!

    The good new is, I successfully shuffled my Rome accommodation around, we were able to rebook to give us 3 nights pre-Italy, so now we can fit in Berlin for 3 nights, yay! Also shortened Venice to 3 nights as per your suggestion.

    Here is our updated itinerary (now with dates, lol)!

    3/8 Paris – 5 nights
    8/8 Bruges – 3 nights
    11/8 Amsterdam – 4 nights
    15/8 Berlin – 3 nights
    18/8 Vienna – 3 nights
    21/8 Croatian Coast/Dubrovnik – 6 nights
    27/8 Rome – 6 nights
    2/9 Southern Italy (still to choose place) – 4 nights
    6/9 Florence – 3 nights
    9/9 Venice – 3 nights
    12/9 South France/Monaco – 5 nights
    17/9 Barcelona – 3 nights
    20/9 Granada/Cadiz etc (still to determine) – 5 nights
    25/9 Madrid – 1 night
    26/9 London – 3 nights
    On to China leg...

    We will likely fly from Dubrovnik -> Rome, and from Madrid -> London (or somewhere in Spain to London - we aren't dying to see Madrid really). All the rest, we will train/overland.

    Trickiest bit to determine is still the Venice along South France bit. Perhaps we should see Venice first, then Florence, then go from Florence along the South Coast, breaking it up and doing stop-overs (as we have 5 nights to allocate) so it's not one massive long-haul train ride.

    So hows it looking now to your trained eyes?

    :)

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    That's great you were able to re-jig your Rome accommodation, gives you more to play with timewise. I'm still a fan of doing Rome-Amalfi-Venice-Florence then SF, so have a look at changing that around. Going from Amalfi Coast to Venice makes it a long day, but once you connect in Naples to the Eurostar (Italia) fast train it will flow better. When you can, look at the info on going from Vienna to Venice then boat/ferry/hovercraft/catamaran to the top of Croatia - unless you already have flights from Vienna to Croatia booked. If so, where are you flying in to for the start of the Croatia part? And I realise this would muck up the newly acquired Rome accommodation dates, but still...!

    Spain - I'm no expert for the whole country, but I can say that 1 night in Madrid will not be enough. This is going to be tricky as Barcelona, Granada and Seville are all worth a visit. I'm inclined to say that 5 nights on the French Riviera will be to many, but not knowing exactly what you plan to see/do there apart from Monaco. If you can steal days away from there that will help with Spain.

    It's coming together, just a little more fine tuning and you'll have this part of your trip sorted.

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