1 Month European Itinerary

Dec 6th, 2002, 09:22 AM
  #1  
tiffany
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1 Month European Itinerary

I am going to Europe for the first time next summer. I plan on staying for a month. Would anyone offer any suggestions as to places to go? Thanks in advance.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 09:33 AM
  #2  
Wayne
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If I had a month, I'd spend close to a week each in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and France. Without knowing anything about your interests, I can't recommend any more specific items. Like mountains and lakes? Northern Italy and western Austria are the best. Like big cities? Well, you know those. Like little villages? You can find them in every country. Going by train? You'll be limited in where you can go. Renting a car? Now you have the flexibility to go and do whatever you like.

Specific cities I would not miss in a month-long trip: Rome, Venice, Vienna, Munich, Paris, maybe London as a last stay before returning home.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 09:37 AM
  #3  
Rex
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These questions are asked here repeatedly, but perhaps not often enough for newcomers to know how often they are asked.

And my answer remains the same - - where you go in Europe begins with WHY you THINK you want to go to Europe. Close your eyes, and name the first 3 or 4 or 10 things that come to your mind when you think of the Europe you fram of wanting to go see.

For some, it will be the Vatican, others, the Alps; many will visualize food and wine - - or castles or Greek islands - - or where their grandparents grew up. If it's a battlefield from the 20th century - - or the 13th - - if it's the fashion runways of Milan or Paris, if it HAS to include Scotland, or Poland, or Portugal - - then YOU have to tell us that.

And once you do, you will find lots of help in fleshing out an itinerary that fulfills your dream vision(s).

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers
Westerville, Ohio
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 09:42 AM
  #4  
mpprh
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Hi

It's difficult to give info without any idea of your interests, number of people etc.

Firstly, I would use the cheap airlines to get around, and check routes / pricing now at : http://aerfares.net

This is cheaper than paying cross border collection fees on rental cars.

To get an idea of Europe, I would include a Scandinavian country, a Benelux country and then a Mediterranean country. You may also be interested in including an ex Eastern block country.

If you use a centre in each region and rent a car, you can cover a lot of ground.

I'd say it may be worth considering :

Gothenburg (with travel to Copenhagen, Oslo)
Brussels (with travel to Amsterdam, Luxemburg and London)
Montpellier (with travel to Italy, Spain, Provence)

You won't see everything, but if you research these places, you can refine your trip.

Bon chance
Peter
http://tlp.netfirms.com


 
Dec 6th, 2002, 10:02 AM
  #5  
tiffany
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Thanks for the advice!

To be more specific, I am graduating from law school and want to go to Europe before I begin working and won't have the opportunity to go for an extended period of time. I think I would like to stick mostly to big cities.

I was thinking of London, Bath, Paris, Versailles, Prague, Venice, Rome, Florence, Milan, Barcelona, and Madrid. I also thought about Nice and Amsterdam. Does this sound like too much?
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 10:20 AM
  #6  
Sue
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Tiffany, if you want an overview of Europe, try getting a copy of rick Steves' Best of Europe, or Europe Through the Back Door. He give suggested itineraries for those with 3 weeks to 2 months. Since he tends to go a bit fast, I'd take his 3 week itinerary and slow it down a little. You'd cover Amsterdam, the Rhine and some German towns, Venice, Florence, Rome, the Italian Riviera, and a few days in the Swiss alps and some smaller French towns on the way back to Paris. You might squeek in a couple of days in London, but forget Barcelona and Prague - too far out of your way (a month is a short time for what you are planning.)

Or you could look at tour brochures - tours aren't popular on this board, but they do provide an overview. Good luck.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 10:28 AM
  #7  
Mina
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Hi Tiffany:

Yes, to me it sounds like a lot. You've listed 12 cities for 30 days. That's 2.5 days per place, not counting travel time. I think you'd be a bit pooped!

How about 6 cities within a concentrated geographical area? Either London, France, maybe Spain (keep in mind, that's still a big chunk of land we're talking about). Or Northern Italy (you can do Florence, Venice, etc) and then you can head over to Austria or the Czech Republic? Since you are talking about major cities, it seems it would be a shame to not spend at least 3 days in them, if not four.

A month is not a lot of time. I'm currently planning for 8.5 weeks, and finding that I have to cut a bit out of my initial plans. I'm down to about 12-14 cities.

Have fun!
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 10:52 AM
  #8  
tiffany
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Thank you, Sue and Mina. I will rethink trying to see so many places in such a short period of time as I don't wish to be exhausted at the end of my trip.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 11:18 AM
  #9  
Patrick
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OK, I'll stick my neck out with a suggested itinerary, which incidentally utilizes much of what has been said above.
Start in London for a week (day trip to Bath and others)
Take the Eurostar to Paris for a week (again day trips to Versailles and others)
Fly to Venice for 3 nights
Take a train to Florence for 2 nights (you will arrive before noon and will have a full day plus a full afternoon).
Take a train to Rome for 4 nights.
Fly to Barcelona for 3 nights.
Train to Madrid for 4 nights.
Fly home from Madrid.

London and Paris are the European cities by which all others are measured and deserve the most time. The three main cities of Italy I've mentioned are certainly worthy of any major trip to Europe. And I've added the two cities in Spain for a good contrast.

The other option I'd suggest is to replace Spain with a combination of Prague and Vienna, putting those in the middle. In that case, I'd start in London, fly to Prague, train to Vienna then the Italian Cities. Hopefully fly from Rome to Paris, and end with a full week there.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 12:16 PM
  #10  
Rex
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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you've filled in some dots of this picture, but still not said WHY. You're attracted to big city dining? culture? shopping? the culture and language of every one of these six countries? their connection to the renaissance? or vibrant urban contemporary life? (Versailles doesn't exactly fit the mold, but you're entitled to wanting to sample a bit of this and that).

I do think it's a bit too much - - mostly because you are "skipping" or overlooking the countries in between the Czech Republic and France and Italy; likewise between Holland and France and/or Czech Republic (i.e., you can't travel by ground to Holland or CR from the other four countries without passing through countries you haven't mentioned: Belgium, Germany, and Austria or Switzerland).

Quite honestly, I would NOT recommend spending a month on a first visit - - cut back to 15-22 days, and put away some money for a return trip BEFORE a full decade rolls by.

Then think about it in 5-7 day chunks - - or several 3 day chunks, and one ten day visit devoted to the country you want to see most (so many people pick Italy, and sound like maybe you are planning to do so too). Keep in mind that you have chosen Italy's three biggest high-priced cities (Rome, Florence, Venice - - but with good reason), plus Milan which is fairly expensive, but not nearly as charming as some smaller-but-still-fascinating destinations.

I'll move on to my second most often offered advice: you need books - - serious book time at your local library, or bookstore or both. Focus on the big coffee-table sized picture filled books, and follow your nose to the visual images that make you droll the most.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 01:40 PM
  #11  
Mina
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Rex, in tiffany's defense, many first time visitors can't pinpoint WHY they want to go and what they want to see. They just want to go, period.

After my couple of jaunts to Europe, I know better what I want to see. But when I was a first timer, I wanted to go to Europe, because it seemed like something one should do. When I got there, I realized what kinds of things touched my heart and soul, whether it was history, food, etc.

Tiffany, I say go for a month. You'll find out all kinds of things about how you prefer to travel and of course, about yourself. It will make the next trip even better. I agree with Rex's suggestion...definitely go to the bookstore and go to the photography section. There are wonderful books on all kinds of places, and inevitably something will call out to you. Helps narrow down the field tremendously!
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 01:44 PM
  #12  
Janine
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My favourite cities and personal recommendations:
Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Venice, Rome.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:01 PM
  #13  
Rex
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Mina,

I agree - - sometimes it seems like the best "we" can do to help define what they would like to is to throw out some of the various "ends of the spectrum", and have "them" say <<no, I am not so much interested in that>> - - that was the objective of my first post.

I think that the kind of "I ought to do it" notion IS very common - - people think that they will get a better grasp on things they don't know a whole lot about if they go see the "famous" sights "firsthand" - - and indeed, that's all the "gut feeling" that a person needs to have. But even then, every person has a different idea of what ARE the "famous sights"?

If a first trip is designed to experience the REALLY famous sights firsthand, then I would say it should include the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

And "we" can ALL plan a better trip than that - - as far as learning something about Europe and its important landmarks.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:57 PM
  #14  
Selena
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Rome, Venice, Paris, Barcelona and Amstedam. I think this would give you a broad range of cultures and you would remember the sites you saw and you wouldnt need a vacation from your vacation.
Best of luck to you.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 03:13 PM
  #15  
Lexma90
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Tiffany -I, too, took a month-long trip to Europe after law school. I went to France for 2 weeks, then Switzerland and Austria (including the Salzburg Music Festival and quite a bit of hiking).

You'll have to make your own decisions on which cities (and whether to intersperse them with more rural locations), but here are a few more suggestions:
- It's nice to know at least a little bit of the language of the country(ies) you're visiting. The more language changes, the more words you'll need to learn, and the harder it will be to switch from language to language.
- For a month-long trip, don't make your stays too short. You'll get tired of packing and unpacking your luggage.
- You may also (I did) get tired of eating in restaurants, waiting to order, waiting for your food, and mostly, waiting for the bill. So have some picnics, some fast food (if you want), etc. Many big-city department stores have great cafeteries.
- In London, there used to be a walking tour of legal London, offered by a company that I can't remember the name of, but I'm sure you can locate easily on the Web. You'll love it!
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:08 PM
  #16  
tiffany
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Rex,

To answer your question, I wish to go to Europe because my travel experience has been limited exclusively to North America. Eventually, I would like to travel around the world, but I thought Europe would be a great place to start. I enjoy meeting people, going places and trying different foods and learning about other people's cultures firsthand. My interests vary widely, but I love history and want to see castles, catacombs, and ruins.

As to going for a month, money will not be an object once I start working, but time definitely will.

Once again, thanks to everyone who has contributed their two cents. All comments are welcome.

-Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:38 PM
  #17  
Bob Brown
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I have a slightly different suggestion to make about visiting Europe. Why not pick a theme of interest and travel to to places that maximize that theme.

For example one friend of mine chose a dozen major cathedrals/churches in Western Europe. He restricted the geographical area to be south of Scandanavia and west of Vienna. Some cities were excluded from the final list because of time considerations, e.g. Madrid, Barcelona, etc.

Another friend of mine, who is an art historian, picked about 9 of the most famous art galleries in Europe. (I don't recall the whole list, but the Prado, Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Uffuzi, 2 or 3 in Rome, Kunsthistorische Museum (Vienna), a couple in Amsterdam, etc. were included.) In between there were some minor galleries because they were the home base of a particularly important work. (Vienna was excluded because it was too far off of a route from Madrid - Paris - Venice and Rome.)


The art galleries were of course mostly in major cities, so the city stay had quite a few collateral attractions to visit.

Another person I know wanted to visit the major opera and concert houses. He started in London, went to Paris, and then various places in Italy, Munich, and Vienna for the Staatsoper and the Volksoper. (Don't recall if he went to Berlin or not.)

My own first love is mountains. So in 2002 after a "by product" visit of a few days in Paris, we went to Switzerland and Austria where we rented a car and drove over some of the spectacular roads in the mountains. Then, to come home, we ended in Munich.
Talk about burning 4 weeks off the clock, we did it in about 10 days, or so it seemed.

I think that way you can maximize what you like to do and, at the same time, visit some of the major cities of the world.

The drawback to this idea is of course the travel time involved. So I think you could combine two themes and reduce the geographic area so as to minimize travel time.

In saying this, I realize that Paris is a show in itself, one that can soak up gobs of time. With all of the churches and art museums in Paris, you could spend 7 days without blinking.
London, Amsterdam, and Paris would run off an extensive amount of time.

What ever you do, plan it carefully, but allow "buffer" time. Paris and London have ways of reaching out and grabbing your attention for events unforeseen.
 
Dec 7th, 2002, 07:08 AM
  #18  
Rex
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Excellent answer, Tiffany. There is no expectation that you should be able to rattle off some detailed essay as to why you want to go to europe. But you're starting to paint a more focused picture, whether you know it or not.

<<trying different foods and learning about other people's cultures firsthand. My interests vary widely, but I love history and want to see castles, catacombs, and ruins.>>

If you're quite set on a month, then I would recommend two "core" countries, selected from this list, in alphabetic order: England, France, Germany, Italy or Spain. they can all scratch the itches you describe above. And any two (with the exception of Germany/Spain) are just a short hop from the other. Plan on ten days in each, to start to develop a real feel for the diverse geography, culture, history and cuisine each offers (some will quarrel with England on the cuisine, but that's another story).

Then you might add in a sampler of 2-4 days in one or more other country for variety.

Get thee to the books to decide on the core of two, and then, this trip will start to plan itself.

 
Dec 7th, 2002, 03:37 PM
  #19  
John
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Hi Tiffany,

You are getting a lot of good advice from some super folks. A couple of thoughts:

1. Consider starting your tour in an English speaking country/city such as England/London. It will allow you to 'step into Europe' rather than jump into it.

2. Even if you decide to 'do cities', allow a couple of days for an out-of-city experience. There is a world of difference between city center and non-city center areas.

3. Consider the time of year. Southern Europe can be quite warm during the summer. Mid/Northern Europe are very comfortable.

4. As you gather information continue to post questions/threads as your refine your knowledge.

5. Always remember, a great deal of the experience is in the planning.

Have a great trip.
 
Dec 8th, 2002, 07:26 AM
  #20  
Tom
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very good thread
 

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