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1 month & unrealistic expectations


Feb 25th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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1 month & unrealistic expectations

From June 23-July 23, a couple friends and I will be traveling through Europe. They have very high expectations about seeing many different things and always being on the go, I on the other hand would like to not always be on the move.
We are landing in Marrakesh, Morocco and flying out of Copenhagen. The plan of attack is Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark.
I am looking for ideas of places to go that may be around a centrally located city, so that we could go out for the day, but stay in one city for more than a night or two.
Any helpful suggestions would be much appreciated.
Ms_KO is offline  
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Feb 25th, 2015, 09:30 PM
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Considering that you have whole countries listed, this is very difficult.

I would tell them they had to pick the four most important places for a start and make a list of all the things they want to see there, how long it will take to see them and how long it will take to move from that place to the next.

What do they want to see in Morocco? How long will that take? Four days, five days, a week? Guided tour or on your own? It seems to me Morocco could be a couple of weeks by itself. Are you flying to the next place or taking a ferry to Spain? Train to Belgium? Once in Spain, do they wish to visit Granada, Seville, Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona, etc?

They could spend 10-12 days just in Southern Spain, or skip most of Spain and fly from Morocco to Barcelona, spend four days and fly to Paris and spend five nights, etc.

Have your friends not been to Europe before? Do they want to see and experience much or tick off a list of places as they pass through? That is OK. Everybody has different travel styles and interests. They just need to know themselves that they won't see more that way.

Simple travel logistics will mean they use a minimum of a half day getting from one place to the next and likely more in a couple of cases, so at least three full days total will be used up that way, maybe four. That leaves 26/27 days for sightseeing, unless the 30 days includes travel days to/from US. If it does, then you have 24/25 days for seeing six countries.

Many places in Spain are good for several nights. Seville and Barcelona, as well as Madrid - depends on your interests.
Of course, Paris - good for days to weeks.
Bruges for a couple of days, one to visit Ghent
Munich, a few days for several tours to nearby places or do a river trip in Germany
Never been to Denmark.
Sassafrass is offline  
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Feb 25th, 2015, 11:19 PM
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I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

You could have a wonderful experience -- especially if you can agree on a plan!

Good luck!
kja is offline  
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Feb 26th, 2015, 04:13 AM
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Good advice above.

I would add that those who start fastest often burn out the quickest.

You will lose at least 5 days on internal travel. That gives you twenty-five days of touring.

You can do five days in each of five places or you can make the journey itself the focus (Road Trip!) or some combination. I wouldn't go on a trip with anyone unless we had a clear idea of which it was going to be before we left.

Another issue is whether your friends want to stay out late and sleep in or get out early and make an early night of it. You will drive each other insane if you have differing ideas about this.

Either kind of trip can be completely satisfying, but you are wise to ask these questions now.
Ackislander is offline  
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Feb 26th, 2015, 04:53 AM
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Suggest that yuo also need to have a look at two things while putting you plan together:

Weather: Southern Spain for one can be incredibly hot - highs of 100 are common and 120 possible - so if you head for that area you need to plan around that (spend afternoons in a hotel pool or room with AC).

Also look at the prices in different countries. Some places - esp Spain are much more budget friendly - while Denmark will be MUCH more expensive.

And agree that the entire group must agree to a plan in advance - if it will be a very rushed road trip or a hub and spoke trip built around 4 or 5 places with day trips.
nytraveler is online now  
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Feb 26th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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Hmmn. The first thing to do is to get a measure of travel time.
I am assuming your flights are already booked so not much I can help you with there.

I can't get bahn.de to compute any train itinerary from Marrakech/marrakesh so picked Malaga, Spain as a reasonably nearby point with both an airport and a train station.

From Malaga to Copenhagen by train it is 35 hours via Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Hamburg, OR other routes, either way about 35 hours going through Cologne and Hamburg.

I've no idea how to adjust it for Marrakesh to Malaga; you could instead try flying from Marrakesh to Seville in 2 hours (this gives you an idea of the distance between those points, by train/ferry it will be LOOOOONG), and then go to Barcelona from there by AVE train in 5 hours, and from Barcelona to Copenhagen as already indicated in an average of 28 hours, for 35 hours total plus, Marrakesh fly Seville train Copenhagen. Plus commutes to and from stations and hotels/hostels.

At an average of 3 hours per day of travel plus getting/to from commute time, that is at least 12 days devoted to being travel days, plus the day you arrive which is also a travel day.

This is sometimes the result when one does travel planning by committee, and books flights before thinking through the details. As you are discovering, it can cause problems.
Tentatively you could do"
Marrakesh -3
Seville -3/6 (fly to Seville)
Barcelona - 3/9
Montpellier, 2/11 (by TGV train)
Paris - 4/15
Brussels (Ghent) - 2/17 (again, high speed train part of way)
Cologne - 2/19
Hamburg - 2/21
Copenhagen - 3/24

That leaves you with 6 days to play with.

Good luck.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
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Feb 26th, 2015, 09:48 AM
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Everyone will have different ideas how to do this. I would probably pick 7 bases for about 4 nights each. You'll only get really 3 1/2 days in each place with four nights as you will loose at least a half day each time you move. That's why I say plan for 4 nights in each base - it's a nice compromise between moving every day or two (all you'll see is the inside of trains/airports) but still allows you to get a taste of each of countries you list. In many cases you'll be able to do day trips from the bases IF you choose - and you can make those decisions at the last minute depending on how tired/energetic you are.

After 3-4 days in Marrakesh I'd fly to EITHER Barcelona or Madrid - depending on which appeals to you more and which one has better flight connections. Even though Andalucia region of Spain is closer to Morocco I'd skip it because a) it is very hot at that time of year, and b) there are many great small towns so you'd do better moving every few days which doesn't work well for this trip.

Then, if you are in Madrid I'd fly to Paris and do 4-5 days there plus a few days in a more rural region close by (like the Loire Valley). Alternately if you were in Barcelona I'd take the train to either Nice or Avignon for 4 days in that region and then either train or fly to Paris for 4-5 days.

From Paris I'd take the train to Belgium for 4 days (base in Ghent or Antwerp and visit Brugge and Brussels as day trips), then train to Germany and then Denmark.
isabel is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2015, 12:12 AM
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I think tell them that you will be with them at the start, and you'll be with them at the end, but you just are not energetic enough to keep up with their intended pace and they should go on without you.

Particularly given that this is summer, I'd focus on an itinerary that left out hot places, for the most part.

Some people do the Rick Steves 22 days in Europe itinerary, which you could modify, but that has always seemed ridiculously rushed to me. But people on his tours have the logistics taken care of.
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